Calif. Families Thomas Isaac & Elizabeth Contact

Isaac Thomas & Elizabeth Massengill


Isaac Thomas
Moved TN
Married1780Washington Co., TN
Death30 Oct 1818Sevierville, Sevier Co. TN
Elizabeth Isabella Massengill
Bornb. 1761 NorthHampton Co., NC
Moved Washington Co., TN
Married1780Washington Co., TN
Death1832Sevier Co., TN
Father Henry Massengill
MotherMary Cobb
Children: Isaac, Lucretia, Ailsey, Ellis John, Elizabeth, Henry Massengill, Dennis M.

* Note: As of 2006 his is birth place was still unknown according to some of the people who have done the most research on him.
There are several new entries at with conflicting information. I called the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, but they could not reveal the source of any of their entries.
One of the entries (see below) shows his Grandfather was born in Wales.
Another person (I lost their name) said there is evidence he was German. Some of the entries show his parents came from Bucks County, PA. Pennsylvania was originally colonized by Dutch and Swedish settlers. In the mid-eighteenth century, the colony attracted many German and Scots-Irish immigrants.
The fact that his son John married a German woman (Hanna Andes<) would add credence to this theory.

Most of the entries at RootsWeb have him born in Frederick Co., VA In 2013 I looked at FamilySearch again and found several records for his parents and birth place.

Birthplace     Parents     
Talbot, MD      John Thomas 1716 Bucks Co PA -   Lucretia HART abt. 1720 - 
Talbot, MD      John Thomas 1716 Bucks Co. PA-   Lucretia HART abt. 1715  
Frederick Co., VA    John Thomas Cheltenham, Montgomery, PA - Lucretia Hart 
Fredrick Co, VA  John Thomas b. 1716-   Lucretia HART b. abt. 1720 
                                             Warminster Township, Bucks, PA
John Thomas b. Oct, 1673, Pembrokeshire, Wales;
            d. 25 Dec 1747 Cheltenham, Montgomery, PA,
  John Thomas b. 19 Jan 1716 Cheltenham, PA; d. 1759 VA
    Isaac Thomas b. Frederick Co., VA; d. 30 Dec 1818 Sevier, TN

1736 Berkley, WV Nathaniel Thomas 1714 
                         WHITE CLAY CREEK, New Castle, DE- Ann Morgan 1718

The Plaque above in Court Square (Court Ave. & Main St) Sevierville, TN reads:
A Soldier of the American Revolution, Isaac Thomas guided John Sevier's army to King's Mountain as well as serving with him in many battles against the indians. Believed to be the first permanent white settler in this area, Thomas lived with and traded among the Cherokee Indians. His home at "The forks of the Little Pigeon" served as the setting for the first Sevier County Court, Territory of the United States south of the river Ohio in 1794. Thomas suggested this settlement be named "Sevierville" in 1795 in honor of his friend and companion, General John Sevier. With his wife, Elizabeth Massengill (1759 - 1832), Thomas reared his large family upon their vast land holdings along the west prong of the Little Pigeon River near this site.

Jean Fladger Shanelec in "For His Own Personal Adventure" writes in the words of Mary Cobb Massengill:
"There was a well-known trader living down at the Indian capital Chota. He had been an interpreter when we bought our land from the Cherokee. He wore fringed buckskins and a coonskin cap. His name was Isaac Thomas. The Indians were in awe him, and we all felt safer when Isaac was around. There was a high priestess the Cherokees at Chota who had often befriended the white settlers. Her name was Nancy Ward and people called her the Pocahontas the West. Several times Isaac Thomas brought messages from her, warning us to be prepared because the British had incited the Indian braves to attack. One time he made the 150 mile trip across the wilderness in the unbelievable time three days and saved over two hundred lives."

Issac lived with the Cherokee Indians for 8 years. He along with Patrick Jack and Captain Stuart were spared durring the massacre of Fort Loudoun because of the love borne him by Chief Atta Culla Culla.

During the Revolutionary War, Colonel Sevier asked Isaac to lead his troops directly over a mountain after they discovered two spies had warned the British their plans to take the old trail. And that is how the overmountain men Tennessee completely surprised and defeated the British at King's Mountain in South Carolina on October 7, 1780.

An interesting note is that Isaac Jones (1735-1818) died 30 Oct 1818, the day after Isaac Thomas died, and is buried in the Thomas family cemetery in Sevierville TN, along with Isaac Thomas. Although their families followed different routes to Calif., Jones to KY, TN, Stockton, CA and the Thomas to TN, MO, Sonoma Co. CA, two their respective G G Grandchildren, Susan "Fanny" Gard and Benton Thomas' were married in Lake County CA in 1884.

Plaque picture is from "For His Own Personal Adventure", Jean Fladger Shanelec, 1996.

More Information: Isaac Thomas Page at Terry Mason's web site.
Nancy Ward (Nanye'hi1 the Ghi-ga-u, daughter of Fivekiller and Tame Doe) was a Cherokee leader who knew Isaac Thomas. See information on her at Robert B. Ringo's Nancy Ward Genealogy and Women in American History
Isaac "Big Shoulders" Thomas, Sr (1735 - 1818) - Find A Grave Memorial
Reference to Issac in a page about Caleb Starr "The Mystery Indian Trader" by Linda Sparks Starr.
Referemce to Isaac in a page about Captain William Kennedy who was imprisoned by the indians and Isaac convinced them to release him.
Google Isaac and you'll get a lot of hits.
Person:Isaac Thomas (7) - Genealogy |

Return to the Thomas Page.

last updated 13 Apr 2001