Dixon Wives: Sarah Ann Daw

Sarah Ann Daw (or Dawe) was born sometime between 1705 and 1715, most likely in Beaufort County, North Carolina, to William Daw and his wife, Dinah.  William was the son of Captain Nicholas Daw and Lydia Windley, I’ll talk more about them in a separate post, and Dinah may have been a Prescott or an Etheridge, I’ve seen both.  Of course, she could have been a widow when she married William.  Such was common in those days.

An Aaron Prescott wrote his will, in which he mentions a daughter named Dinah, February 24, 1709 in Currituck Precinct of Albemarle County. The will wasn’t probated until March 24, 1719, so he obviously survived whatever illness that prompted him to write it.

John Prescott, Aaron’s father, had arrived in Virginia by March 11, 1653, transported there by a James Johnson to whom he was bound.  On that date, Johnson received 300 acres for transporting 6 persons (Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1800, page 241).  By April 5, 1664, John was being granted 400 acres of his own for the transport of 8 people (Cavaliers and Pioneers, page 514).  And on September 29 that same year, he and 5 others received 1,000 acres for transporting 20 people (Cavaliers and Pioneers, pages 513-14).  Aaron was his younger son.  The elder son, Moses, inherited all of John’s land in Virginia and died there June 19, 1724, in Norfolk County.

William and Dinah probably married in approximately 1700, either in North Carolina or Maryland.  William appears on A List of Jurymen In Beaufort and Hyde Precincts in 1723. Their daughter, Sarah, married John Dixon in about 1730.

John Dixon was born sometime between, say, 1705 and 1710, either in North Carolina or Virginia.  This John Dixon was not, I repeat NOT, the son of Walter Dixon, Sr. of Pitt County.  I’ve come to this conclusion, despite much misinformation posted all over the Internet, because I actually looked at the dates on their wills.  For more about that see my post A Problem of Wills.

John and Sarah witnessed the will of James Leigh April 4, 1738.  Sarah certainly had better handwriting.

Sarah Dixon is mentioned in her father’s will in 1744.  I think the year “one thousand seven hundred and forty five come one” is supposed to mean 1744.  It makes more sense with the probate date than 1746.

I have seen scans of this will and I have seen abstracts.  Some of the abstracts don’t seem to match the scans.  One such abstract appears in Grimes’ Abstracts of North Carolina Wills on page 95:

There’s another abstract in The North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 1, dated January 23, 1745, that agrees more with the scans:

As for the scans, the better of the two I got from Ancestry during the free probate and will access weekend they had a little while ago.  Now, of course, you’d have to pay for the privilege.  Which sucks, because there are still a few other wills I’d like to see.  The other scan you can access for free at North Carolina State Archives MARS – Basic Search.  Type in “William Dawe” and “All” then click “Search.”  You’ll be able to read the actual will with the help of a free DJVU viewer browser plugin.  Both scans are extremely difficult to read.  The handwriting is atrocious, Sarah obviously did not learn to write from her father, and the ink has faded and/or bled through in many places.  However, you can make out enough to know that it is not dated the twentieth of January.  I would guess the twenty-fifth, or “the five and twentieth Day of January.”  This is what I can make out (I’ve created paragraphs for easier reading, and, as you cans see, it could use some punctuation but I’ve tried to stay a true as possible to the original):

In the Name of God Amen. The five and twentieth day of January In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty five come one I William Dawe Planter at the head of Leighs Creek South Side of Pamplico River Beaufort County in the Province of North Carolina Being sick but of well and ? disposing mind and memory praised be to God for the same doth constitute ordain and make this my Will in manner and form following

and first I bequeath my soul to Almighty God my most Mercyfull Father hoping through the Merrits and Mediation of my Dear Redeemer to obtain pardon of my Sins and to be an Inheritor of his heavenly kingdom. And my body I commit to the Earth by Decent buriall at the Discretion of my wife and children.

and Secondly I appoint my Loving Wife Dinah Dawe my ? and sole Executive of this my Last will and testament.

To my Eldest son Nicholas Dawe I wish to bequeath one hundred acres of land ? by Oyster Swamp, his choice of one bed & bedding above stairs, a bay Mare with a star in her face, one gun both called his, my chest, all the cattle with his mark.

To my son William Daw one hundred acres of land on the West side of Durhams Creek, one bed & bedding above stairs next his Brother Nicholas bed & beding, one two year old horse & all the cattle with his mark.

… my Daughter Diana one oval table & one chest & one ? dish with all the cattle in her Mark.

To my son John Dawe the plantation where I now dwell my ? gun, and young mare, all the cattle in his Mark.

To my Daughter Borhya all cattle in her Mark.

To my Daughter Biah all the cattle in her Mark.

To the said daughters Borbiya & Biah Dawe I give the Negro wench to help ? being them use & for their use all …

This is where it gets really difficult.  Lots of faded and smeared ink.  From what I can make out, he gives use of the plantation he left John to his wife, Dinah, for her lifetime.  Although I can’t see it, the words “or widowhood” are probably tacked on.  Then he mentions “daughters who are married” Sarah Dixon (or, something -on, anyway) and Lydia (I don’t think this is Kee or Coe or Cob. It could be Roe, Rowe, or something else equally short).  It gets illegible again then “if demanded being they have had their portions”.


I Desire my sons Nicholas and William to assist their Mother and my Will in that all my just debts which ? ? at my ? be fully paid and satisfyed and this I Declare to be my Last will & testament [unreadable but probably “disannulling” or “disallowing”] and Revoking all heretofore made this being [illegible] In testimony I set my hand and seal [illegible]

The signatures are all faded, smeared, or bled through.  Including his.  Maybe it can be read better on microfilm.

So Sarah had seven siblings, three brothers and four sisters.  The children of William Dawe and Dinah, his wife were:

  • Nicholas Dawe – Married Abigail Wallis, daughter of William Wallis and Mary Shaw, before December 9, 1748, when she’s mentioned as Abigail Daw in her father’s will, of which Nicholas was Executor.
  • William Dawe (d. 1792, his will) – Married Mary Compton
  • Sarah Dawe – Married John Dixon
  • Lydia Dawe – May have married John Rowe, son of William Rowe and Mary Brough, as his second wife.
  • Diana Dawe
  • John Dawe – He may have been a child when his father died because while he appears on the 1764 tax list, he doesn’t in 1755.
  • Borhya(?) Dawe
  • Abiah Dawe

She and John, themselves, had six children (this number comes from the wills of John and Thomas Dixon and from Tax Lists), most, if not all, born before 1755.  All four sons certainly appear on the 1755 List of Taxables Beaufort County, NC, and were, thus, of or older than 16 years of age.  Only Chosewell and, possibly, Thomas were married.  The fact that Thomas is living with John Lee, combined with Sarah and John witnessing James Leigh’s will makes be wonder if there was a familial connection between the families.

The sons, at least, also appear in 1764 List of Taxables Beaufort County, NC.  I don’t know if the John Dixon listed is the father or the son.

Notice the proximity of John’s family to that of William Dixon in 1755, and to Benjamin Dixon in 1764.  William was the son of Walter Dixon, Sr. and Benjamin was either his son or his grandson.  I know of a Benjamin Dixon in the area in the 1790s.  He was, I think, the son of James Dixon, Sr. who was the son William Dixon.  In New Bern District Court Records, there are a series of depositions dated from July to September 1795 concerning the burning down of David Smithwick’s house by Shad Price, William Dixon, and James Dixon.  A Benjamin Dixon was among the deponents.  Anyway, this, and the fact that Chosewell Dixon’s grandson was named Roland, which was also the name of Walter’s youngest son, all point to some sort of relationship between the families.  I’ve noticed that on early posts on various message boards and genealogies, Walter Dixon, Sr. was given a birthdate of 1692.  Later, this was changed to 1682.  However, if the initial date was correct, then it is possible that my John, especially if he was born closer to 1705 than 1710, was the younger brother of Walter instead of his son.  It’s definitely something to think about.

The children I have for Sarah and John Dixon are:

  • Chosewell Dixon (d. 1816) – married a woman named Mary, maiden name unknown, son William and probably another son and I don’t know how many daughters.
  • Thomas Dixon (d. 1780) – According to his will, he had two daughters, Mary and Martha.  They were both under 18.
  • Elizabeth Dixon (Source:  Will of Thomas Dixon) – I don’t think she ever married.
  • Draper Dixon (Source:  1755 Tax List) – There seems to be some confusion over who he married.  Some genealogies say she was Elizabeth Mixon, some Prudence Mixon.  Both were daughters of William Mixon and Frances Bryan.  I don’t think it was either, but another sister, name unknown.  Something about the wording of William Mixon’s will and how he leaves things to both Elizabeth and Prudence and to Elijah Dixon, grandson, all in the same sentence.  According to my database, he died in October of 1778 in Camden District, South Carolina.
  • John Dixon, Jr.
  • Tabitha “Bitha” Dixon (Source:  Will of John Dixon) – She married a Cason Scott (b. 1741) that I think, but can’t prove, was the son of Cason Scott (b. 1715) and Averilla Horde.  Cason died January 5, 1816 in Santee District, South Carolina, and Tabitha November 10, 1824 in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.

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