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Tin Type 2 Thomas.jpg

THOMAS EWING, born 1807

Son of William - Westward Pioneer

Tin Type 1 Thomas.jpg

The images at left were given to my father by his Aunt Ida Ewing Smith back in the 1970s.  They are images taken from "tintype portraits".   Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the 1860s and 1870s, probably the time frame these were made.  They were at first usually made in a formal photographic studio, but later they were most commonly made by photographers working in booths or the open air at fairs and carnivals, as well as by itinerant sidewalk photographers. Because the lacquered iron support (there is no actual tin used) was resilient and did not need drying, a tintype could be developed and fixed and handed to the customer only a few minutes after the picture had been taken.

When my father (Thomas Harvis "Pap" Ewing) was a boy, these photos were in the top dresser drawer in the room of his grandfather John Tyler Ewing, next to his Colt 45 revolver.  Dad had seen them several times and one was known to be John Tyler's grandfather Thomas Ewing, and the other was Samuel "Sam" Harris also a grandfather to John Tyler.  This would make them both my great-great-great grandfather.  When he died, Dad's Aunt Ida got them, and she gave them to my Dad.  But she didn't know which was which.  Over the years we have compared the photos with those of relatives of the Ewing and Harris families, and have come to the conclusion that the top one is Thomas Ewing.

To me, Thomas Ewing, and his siblings fit the stereotype of the westward-bound pioneer.  Hollywood and Novels have contributed to American Mythology that portrays pioneers as hardy people seeking their fortunes in the plains, high desert, mountains, or pacific coast through the new opportunities afforded by new lands, settlements, industries, and even gold to be found out west.  Images come to mind of buckboard wagons, Prairie Schooners, and Conestoga wagons carrying family belongings and perhaps one or two passengers who could not walk.  The threat of Indian attack was tempered by the always-available protection of the U.S. Cavalry.  

Reality was a bit different.  In fact even back in American Colonial times these same style wagons brought German (who invented them) and Scots-Irish settlers south throughout the Appalachian Mountain chain, and into Georgia (for the record, the Cherokee and Creek lands being opened for settlers in Georgia would have been considered "west" to the original inhabitants of the 13 colonies), and then later into all the areas made available through the Louisiana Purchase.  East of the Mississippi River, Native American lands were taken away by treaty or by force and opened up for settlement.  It was in the nature of the Scots-Irish families to always be looking for land opportunities, and the Germans right behind them.  The Scots-Irish were typically not the greatest farmers, would usually pick high-country land that had plenty of water sources (like that found in their home country) for fear of drought, and would typically pass by land in low-lying areas. The Germans would typically pick the low-lying lands that were more fertile but had fewer water sources.  The Scots-Irish historically were not great at creating their own fertility by using lime and other resources to fertilize their land, and so often wore out their land and needed to move on.  The Germans and other people groups moved in where the Scots-Irish moved out and fertilized the land with lime and using livestock in manageable ways. The Scots-Irish would many times seem like land speculators because of the manner they moved around, but the result was that the Scots-Irish have their fingerprint all over the nation.  

However, it would be years before Thomas, his siblings, and his offspring would move west.  Cherokee lands would have to open up first after the infamous "Trail of Tears" episode in American History.  A great Civil War would have to first be decided resulting in the south having a great number of resources destroyed. Land would have to open up in previously unorganized territories in Texas and Oklahoma, and rumors had to make their way back east of Silver and Gold being found in various places out west, but especially in California.

The first Georgian in our line in a family of westward pioneers:  Thomas may not be known for much, but he was the first true Georgian in our line.  He was born in 1807 to William Ewing and his wife Hannah (Whaley), only about six or so years after William settled in Jackson County near Marbury Creek, a northern branch of the Apalachee River.  He had one older brother named Green Berry, also born in Jackson County Georgia in 1802, perhaps on the original property on Beech Creek.  In fact, Thomas (sometimes called "Uncle Tommy") was only one of ten siblings, all of which were born in either Jackson, Newton, or Walton counties, but later in life were scattered westward as far as the Pacific coast.

We know little of Thomas until 1829, when he married a preacher's daughter Elizabeth Pattillo, seventh of eighteen children of Rev. Samuel Pattillo, a Methodist minister in Georgia for over 40 years (Samuel had 9 children by first wife Francis "Fanny" Hall Pattillo, and 9 more by second wife Martha Bailey. 

The Antebellum Period:  Generally considered to be the time after the War of 1812 but before the civil war, the Antebellum Period brings to mind big southern plantations with lots of slaves, women walking around in colorful pastel hoop skirts and men with names like Beauregard in white Colonel Sanders suits.   Truth be told, the south had proportionally little of this, with only a few moderate plantations scattered about in Georgia, and our family had almost none of it, particularly slaves.  But this image seems to be sealed in the "Gone With The Wind" mythology of the old south.   Thomas did have a single "house servant" which on the 1860 census was listed as a slave.  The best we can tell from the reports of Thomas' grandson John Tyler Ewing (my great-great-grandfather), her role seemed to be that of a domestic, cooking and cleaning.  He had no field hands unless migrant workers came around.  


Thomas and Elizabeth married Sept. 8 1829 in nearby Walton County, perhaps helping his mother Hannah to raise Hannah Ewing, the youngest sister of Thomas (and clearly named after her mother), yet in the 1830 Census he is listed as having no children at that time.  In the 1832 Gold Lottery, he drew Lot 468, 21st District, 3rd Section, now 40 acres in between present-day western Paulding County and eastern Polk County (apparently never claiming it), and was then listed in 1832 as a resident of Newton County GA., McCuller's Militia District (9th district), lot 306 (next to his brother Thompson in lot 305).  He sold the southeast corner of this land in in 1832 to Cory Wood, keeping the rest for a while. But by 1840 they moved to Gwinnett County GA and appeared in every census after that through 1880.  Besides the Newton County property Thomas owned two other farms in his life, one in Harbins Militia District of northeastern Gwinnett County near Ewing's Chapel, and the other in Sugar Hill District near Rest Haven GA (slightly northeast of Buford)  The value of his properties in the time before and after the Civil War ranged from $250-400 ($8000-13000 in today's money), so he was not that prosperous. 

Siblings and Sons who fought in Civil War: ......

We have much information on his son Samuel Jones Ewing and his service in the 35th Georgia Infantry as detailed on his own page. 


We have no information on whether his younger siblings Joseph, Isaac, or Charles served in even a militia capacity.  Joseph and Isaac were born in 1812 and 1816 respectively and would have been 48 and 44, quite old for regulars, but possibly called to action in area militias as Sherman's army came through.  Charles would have been a more appropriate age, being born in 1824 and 36 at the start of the war.  But we have no evidence at this time on either of the three.  However, Jones Henderson Ewing (b 1821) actually enlisted as a private in the "Regimental Return" in Feb 10, 1864 at the age of 43, like a militia reserve, but was never called into action and was discharged October 1864.  This was during the time that Sherman left Chattanooga and in September 1864 took possession of Atlanta.  However, several the sons of these siblings, Thomas's nephews, served in various units of the Confederacy during the war.  

"Go West Young Man"

Families of Scots-Irish ancestry have historically been somewhat restless, always looking for the better opportunities, and the notion of finding cheap land and possibly even gold began to pull parts of this family west.  

The oldest sibling, Green Berry Ewing was in Cobb County by the 1840s, Paulding County by the 1850s.  Courthouse records for both counties burned, and hence we don't have a clear record of him afterwards, but many descendants ended up in Alabama and westward.

Thomas sold his Gwinnett County land in 1881/82 to son Charles Dilmus.  Not long after, Thomas' sons Thomas Wesley and Charles Dilmus caught the bug to move west, removing themselves from Gwinnett County Georgia between 1885-1890, initially settling in the area of Falls County Texas, then to the area of Cleveland County Oklahoma.  Thomas Wesley was the most ambitious of them all, settling in Drumright Oklahoma during the time of a large oil strike, and living there until between 1900 and 1909, before his first wife Zephie passed away in 1925 in Drumright (so we must assume a divorce between 1900 and 1909), and then moving to Long Beach California where he married Elizabeth Robertson before 1910, and eventually died in 1931 and buried at Rosedale Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

Eventually, Thomas followed his son's west, removing his membership (his "letter") from Alcova Baptist Church in Gwinnett County in 1887.  He moved to Lexington OK where he died in 1892.  We can only speculate on his reasoning for moving to Oklahoma. He certainly still had family all around Gwinnett and Paulding County.  The only historical events that might have been a motivator was the rumor of Indian lands being opened up in western Oklahoma, but at 70 years old one would doubt that he'd want to be a farmer.  In fact, not only can I not find any record of him owning land in Oklahoma, I can't find a record of him living or dying there either.  However, his wife Elizabeth Pattillo is said to have died Sept 25, 1895 (age 86) at Tribbey, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma.  The Old Moral cemetery in Tribbey has a number of unmarked graves and damaged/destroyed headstones from that period, one with a "Herman Ewing son of J.E. and V.S Ewing" (possibly Jason Elonzo, son of Charles Dilmus?).  


Thomas Ewing
b: 25 Dec 1807, Jackson Co GA.
m: 8 Sep 1829, Walton Co. GA
d: 11 Nov 1892, Oklahoma

m: Elizabeth Patillo
b: 25 May 1809, Walton Co. GA
d: 24 Sep 1895, Oklahoma

Martha J. Ewing
b: 1831

W. Frances Ewing
b: 1833

Julian Ewing
b: 1835

Samuel Jones Ewing (CW)
b: 25 May 1839, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 10 Feb 1917, Gwinnett Co. GA

George W. Ewing
b: 1841, Gwinnett Co. GA

Nancy Ewing
b: 1843, Gwinnett Co. GA

Matilda Ewing
b: 8 Dec 1845, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 5 Nov 1914, Gwinnett Co. GA

Thomas Wesley Ewing
b: 14 Nov 1849, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 4 Mar 1931, Long Beach, Los Angeles Co. CA

Charles Dilmus Ewing
b: 8 Aug 1851, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 24 Nov 1928, Lexington, Cleveland Co. OK


Birth: 25 Dec 1807, Jackson Co. GA - Fife, Margaret Ewing, EWING in Early America (Fife, Margaret Ewing , Jun 1995), Part II,Chapter II, page 469.

Marriage: 1829 - Georgia Marriages, 1699-1944 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.
1850 Census: Farmer, farm value $300.  United States Government, Census Record or Soundex, Harbins(478) District, DW 457, Fam 457, Page 161.
1860 Census: Harbins (478) District, Chinkapin P. O., page 703.  Name spelled "Uins". Farm  value $250.00.  Property Value $300.00.
1870 Census: Lawrenceville P. O., DW 1238, Fam 1240, page 172.  Farmer, farm value $400.00.
1880 Census: Sugar Hill (550) District, DW 272 Fam 286, page 28. Farmer. Youngest son Charles, wife Mollie, and three grandchildren living in household.
Death: 11 Nov 1892, Oklahoma - All indications are that he died in Oklahoma. There is also a story that he died on the way back to Georgia from Oklahoma, but no validation of that story has been found. Also Elizabeth believed to have died on the date cited near Tribby, Oklahoma.

He was a farmer.  He lived most of his produtive life in Gwinnett Co., Georgia.  He owned two farms in Gwinnett Co., 108 acres LL 298, 7th Dist and 125 Acres LL 249, 5th Dist  and sold both to his youngest son , Charles Dilmus. It appears the land transfer to his son was 3/21/1881 and 11/25/1882,  respectively.
He was a member of Alcova Baptist Church, Gwinnett Co., GA.  He was dismissed by letter in 1877.

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