William Lomax and Ann Coxe

William Lomax is the great-great-great-grandfather of Rebecca Margaret Jones Hart, the great-grandfather of Lucien Hargrave Lomax. He was born in abut 1700 in England, married a widow, Ann Coxe [Donnelly], and came to America. There are many traditions about him but few are substantiated. There is a will for him, in Rockingham County, NC. The traditions follow, and the will. There is a also a list of documents concerning a William Lomax who is presumed to be our ancestor.

Joseph Lomax wrote the following in his book: “The tradition of this William Lomax, which I have learned, is this: He devoted several years to a theological education, preparing to enter the priesthood in the Church of England. When that education was completed, he became a deist, left the Church, bound himself to a carpenter and joiner in London, for a term of seven years. After the expiration of that term, he worked at his trade several years in London, and then came to America.

There was another tradition which was stated by one of his great-grand-daughters, whose father was acquainted with his widow: “Great-grand-father [William Lomax] was first sent to Oxford, and then to a divinity school. A parish was awarded him, and he preached one sermon; after which he seemed much troubled. When asked the cause of it, he answered that his Bible and his creed did not agree. After further consideration he took his Bible and laid it forcibly upon the table, and his prayer-book on top of it, bade a final adieu to the ministry, went to London and bound himself to a builder and architect." After serving seven years, he was sent to America to build a church—either on Lord Baltimore’s or Lord Raleigh’s grant. "He was honest at all events. If he had not been, he would not have given up a life of ease with the hope of a brilliant future, for which he was eminently fitted by education and talent, and taken upon himself one of hard labor—all for conscience sake."

At about 40 years of age he married Ann Donelly, a young Irish widow from Dublin. “As to great-grandmother having been the widow Donelly—I think we cannot be mistaken. Father remembered her very well—was at her house, and frequently told us stories concerning her. “The above are the facts as we have often heard father relate them.”

He was a fine scholar and a first-class mechanic. During his life in North Carolina, he worked at his trade part of the time, and the rest was spent teaching. His sons were large and strong men and remarkably active. "It is my impression that in becoming a deist he lost the associates of his youth, and sought escape from his native land and former friends in the wilds of the Colony of North Carolina. He brought with him a library of valuable books. His wife brought a like library from Dublin, and the two together made a rare and large family library, superior to any other in that part of the country in which they settled. His wife was born about A. D. 1720, and survived her husband many years. I have seen several of the books she brought, with the following writing on the fly-leaf, 'Ex Libris, Dr. John Coxe, Dublin, Ireland,' written in a very nice round hand. The advantages derived from their library were manifested in their descendants during several generations; who, generally, were well-read in history, geography and philosophy -- including farmers, mechanics and professional men.”

Will of Wiliam Lomax, Sr.
Guilford County, North Carolina, Will Book A, p. 212 (LDS film #0019059): “William Lomax” File #0215 “In the name of God Amen. Agust 4th 1772 -- I Wm. Lomax Carpenter of Guilford County North Carolina being very sick in body but of perfect mind memory therefore calling to mind the mortality of my body, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament -- First of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent manner at the discretion of my Executors and for such worldly estate I have I give devise and dispose of the same in manner and form following First it is my will and I do so order all my just debts and funeral charges be paid. Item--I give and bequeath to Ann my beloved wife the following goods, viz. that is to say one feather bed and furniture one pewter dish one pewter basin six plates one pot one frying pan and six spoons one cow and calf. Item--I give and bequeath to my son William one half of my working tools. Item--I give and bequeath to my daughter Ann S. Ferrington one heifer called Pretty. Item--I give and bequeath to my son Thomas one cow and calf and half my working tools. Item--I give and bequeath to my son Terrence one roan mare and colt and three pounds in money. I do will and ordain that my plantation be sold and ye rest of my estate and divided as follows to Ann my beloved wife one third, the two thirds between my son Robert Lomax and my son James Lomax and my daughter Elizabeth Lomax. And I do make and ordain my beloved wife Executor of this my last will and testament together with my son Thomas Lomax. Likewise, if my sons Robert and James will not live with their mother I do will and order that the Executors bind them to some trade till they arrive at the full age of twenty one years -- and I do hereby utterly disannul and revoke all former wills and testaments legacies and Executors by me in any ways before this named, confirming this to be last my will and testament ------- hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written. Signed sealed and declared by the said Wm. Lomax (Seal) Wm. Lomax as his last will and testament in person of us the subscribed Samuel McCracken Samuel Cowan her Elisabeth X -------- mark North Carolina, Guilford County -- Feby Court 1773 The within last will & Testament of Wm. Lomax deceased proved in open court by the oath of Samuel McCracken & Samuel Cowan two of the subscribing witnesses thereto & on motion ordered to be recorded. Test. Tho Henderson”

About his birth there is one speculation: "the baptism of William Lomax son of William of Rumworth, Deane Parish, Lancashire Co., 25 Nov 1703." His mother may have been Maria Hopwood. William and Maria married 30 Mar 1703. The son William apparently was the one who married Margaret Boardman at Deane, 7 Nov 1728. This is a possibility for our William Lomax, but nothing can be proven.