Virginia Reunion: The Thomas Family







by Pattie “Pat” Thomas Harris*

Biography:  William*/Bettie*/Belle*

Isaac Christopher (Chris) Thompson, descendant of Isaac Thomas, is passionate about researching our history…where we began.  He has been working on the family tree for some time.  As a result of Chris’ research, we know so much more about the family, beginning with Generation I (Chaney Thomas (b. 1800) in South Hill, Mecklenburg, Virginia) through Generation VIII.  Chaney Thomas was the grandmother of William Abraham Thomas.  Chaney had one child, Elizabeth Thomas (b. 1829).  Elizabeth Thomas had one child:  William Abraham Thomas.  William Abraham married Bettie Mayo in 1884 and had one son: Isaac.  William married Belden “Belle” Boyd in 1890 and had six children:  Jimmie, Elizabeth, Mollie, Joseph Elmo, Clarence, and Lelia. Chris’ research answers many of the questions left unanswered by our original biography.  Thanks to Chris, we now know the names of William Abraham’s mother and grandmother!  To God Be the Glory!


William Abraham Thomas was born (probably on a slave plantation) on March 15, 1864 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

William married Belden (“Belle”) Boyd on May 28, 1890. He was 26 and she was 21. They made their home around LaCrosse, Virginia (in the Marengo community). To this union, six (6) children were born: Jimmie, Elizabeth, Mollie, Joseph Elmore, Clarence and Lelia. William’s oldest son was Isaac (half-brother to the other siblings). On Granddaddy William’s marriage license application, he listed that he was a widower. We have not yet found out the name of his first wife or the date of that marriage. We are sure, however, that Isaac was the offspring of that marriage.

(Note: On Thursday, July 2, 1998, Pattie and Vivian – Clarence’s daughters – visited the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Boydton, Virginia and found the ages and marriage date of our grandparents, which was May 28, 1890. William listed his age as 26 and Belle, whose name was listed as “Belden” Boyd on the marriage license application, was 21. According to this documentation, that would make Granddaddy William's accurate age at the time of his death as 92, not 101 as previously believed. He was born March 15, 1864 and died on November 13, 1956).

All that is known about Grandma Belden (Belle) is that her place of birth is believed to be around Bracey, VA and she was of Indian descent. Her date of birth, according to he above documentation, would have been in 1869. Grandma Belden died when her children were young (probably around 1910 at the approximate age of 41). She is believed to have been buried in the Thomas Family Cemetery.

Lelia (the baby in the family) believes her oldest sister, Elizabeth, was around 14 or 15 years of age when “Mama” (Belden) died. Elizabeth, who was affectionately called “Sister”, helped William (Poppa) raise her younger siblings. She was the only mother the younger children knew. Mollie was probably 11; Joseph (Elmore”) was around 9; Clarence was 4 and Lelia was 2. We believe the older brother, Jimmie, was around 17 and probably left home at that time. There is little or no information available about his life. Lelia recalls seeing him once when she was very young and remembers him telling her he would, “never leave his baby sister again.”  However, he did leave again and, to this date, the family has no accurate knowledge of why he left; where he spent his life; or the whereabouts of his descendants. We believe William’s oldest son, Isaac, was already grown and out of the household at that time.

Granddaddy William continued to farm his large acreage (cotton and tobacco crops) until his children were all grown and left home. He eventually became blind – we believe as a result of an accident from a woodchip cutting. Some of the grandchildren remember leading Granddaddy William back and forth between his house and Clarence’s house for visits, until his eyesight completely deteriorated. He then came to live with Clarence (wife Harriet) and their family, where he lived until his death on November 13, 1956 at the ripe old age of 92 years. He is buried in the Thomas Family Cemetery.

In writing this biography, much is still not known. However, the research will continue and any information obtained will be added to the documentation yearly. In order to provide consistent, factual information regarding the family, we encourage each of you to make every effort to help us in completing the history of the “Thomas Family.” We look forward to receiving any information that you may wish to share with us. Thank you.

“Our Family Tree”








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