Tolleson Family of Pacolet
John Tolleson is the ancestor of Augustus Hilliard Kirby (pictured left). John Tolleson's daughter "Lovicey" or "Livice" (possibly a bad spelling of Louise), married Richard Kirby. Their son John Tolleson Kirby married Martha "Patsy" Peterson and they were the parents of Augustus H. Kirby.
The first major landowners around Pacolet were members of the Tolleson family. John Tolleson was issued several grants of land in 1784. By 1791 there were enough prospective customers for Tolleson to establish a tavern; he was licensed to sell spirituous liquors. Mills Atlas of 1824 locates his tavern on Tolleson Road, part of the stagecoach road from Spartanburg to Columbia. Tolleson maintained this section of the road. The tavern stood a few hundred feet from the corner of Church Street. John Tolleson also had a store which was used as a voting precinct for the area through 1816. As the community grew, it acquired a reputation as a drinking, cock fighting, boxing, and horse racing place which became known as "Buzzard's Roost."
The Kirbys were among the early settlers in the area and Richard Kirby gave an acre of land for the Pacolet Methodist Church. Stephen Kirby (his son) deeded an acre of land next to the church, probably for a cemetery. This land was part of the original grant to John Tolleson, who sold a large portion to Richard Kirby. At one point John Tolleson owned more than 8000 acres in this area.
John Tolleson's father may have been Erasmus, who was said to have lived to be 100 years old. His dates are given as 1670 to 1770, but that would mean he was 70 years old when John Tolleson was born. Other dates found for Erasmus Tolleson are 1720-1820. There is a marriage date in England: 1738. (There are records of an Erasmus Tolleson in England and records of a Rasmus Tolsson in Sweden).
John Tolleson was born probably in 1739, not known where. In the 1760s he was given land grants in Fairfield County. In 1773 he married Anna Muse (born c. 1752), daughter of Sophia Pope and James Muse. (The Muse and Pope families were from Virginia and lived near the Washington family in Westmoreland County. There is an abudance of material about these families on the internet, which I will research later.)
John Tolleson's children were Nancy (1775-1820), Lydia (1777-1820), John (b. 1779), LEVICEY (1781-June 1847), Anna (c. 1783), Muse (c. 1785-1824), Ely (c. 1787), Stephen (1789), and Ity (1791-1875). Levicey married Richard Kirby (b. 1773). One of the first settlers of the town of Spartanburg was Muse Tolleson. He owned a house or hotel, possibly the Palmetto House on the corner of Church and Main.
John Tolleson may have had a brother, Daniel Tolleson, in Union County. Pacolet was right on the county line and persons living in the two different counties could actually have lived quite near each other.
John Tolleson died 27 Mar 1821. He made his will on July 24, 1820, and it was proved Apr 10, 1821. His will named the following legatees: children of daughter Nancy Bryant, deceased, husband Reuben Bryant; daughter Lydia Sparks, wife of Josiah Sparks; son “Dum John” (a mute); daughter Livice Kirby, wife of Richard Kirby; children of Anny Gossett, wife of Major Gossett; son Muse; son Stephen; daughter Ity, wife of Berryman Quinn, and their son; son Ely. The balance of his estate was to be divided between his sons Muse and Stephen. Estate: His will was recorded May 30, 1821.
WILL: The full text of his will reads as follows: “Will of John Tolleson of the District of Spartanburg being far advanced in age but being of a sound mind ... To such of the children of my deceased daughter Nancy Briant as may be living at my death one hundred dollars each to be paid in property as they arrive at lawful age or may marry. To my daughter Lydia Sparks one Negro boy named Isaac. To my son Dum John Tolleson Five hundred Dollars to be paid to him at the pleasure of my Executors. To my daughter Levice Kirby one negro man Dick also $700 to be paid in property at my death. To such of the children of my daughter Anny Gossett may have living at my death, $100 each as they arrive at age or may marry. To my son Muse Tolleson one negro man Cooper & $700. To my son Ely Tolleson $500 to be paid in property at my death. To my son Stephen Tolleson one negro boy named Dazo and $700. To Berryman Quinn son of my daughter Ity Quinn $5 at my death to be paid in property exclusive of what I have given his mother & I never intend giving her any more. Sons Muse and Stephen the remainder.”
WILL: Exrs: Muse, Stephen, James Tolleson & Birdsong Tolleson also my friend Abner Benson, 24 July 1820. John Tolleson (LS), Wit: James Harrison, A. Lemaster. Prov. by James Harrison and Abraham Lemaster, 10 Apr 1821. (On 8 May Birdsong Tolleson took the oath as Executor.)
There is also this deed: July 17, 1809 JOHN TOLLESON, late merchant (Spartanburg) to JAMES TOLLESON for love and affection give a "yeallow" Negro wench BET and her child MALINDA and her future increase; if James dies without an heir, then slave goes to his brothers BIRDSONG and JOSEPH TOLLESON, equally divided. Witness Muse Tolleson. and D J Puckett. Signed JOHN TOLLESON. Witness oath July 17, 1809 Muse Tolleson to D J Puckett. Received Sept 11, 1809. (page 117)
There has been much confusion regarding the wife of John Tolleson. There are many family trees on the internet which give her as Amy DeHart and many which give her as Anna/Anny Muse. Tolleson researchers have come to the conclusion that "the preponderance of evidence" favors Anna Muse: (1) there is no documentary evidence supporting Amy DeHart, (2) John Tolleson had a son named Muse and a daughter named Anna, and most conclusively, (3) Thomas Muse swore in a deposition in 1819 that his sister Anna had married John Tolleson.
Here is interesting information from a family website which may or may not be true. It is not inconsistent with what is known about John Tolleson:
“In 1795, John and his wife Anna separated and he took up with a Peggy [or Polly] Smith and by her had many illegitimate children. Between 1817 and 1819, he deeded his land to his illegitimate sons. Anna found out about this and wanted to make sure that all of John’s property was preserved for her own children who were his only legitimate heirs. In 1819, Thomas Muse made a statement that his sister Anna was the wife of John Tolleson. In a deposition in 1821 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Anna complained about John’s drunkenness, physical abuse, and threatening her life. . . . We have John Tolleson’s response where he states that all his wife had brought into the marriage was an old slave and some furniture." John Tolleson did not leave anything to his illegitimate children in his will, but the Birdsong Tolleson and James Tolleson listed as executors must have been his illegitimate sons. There was a third illegitimate son, Joseph Berryman Tolleson. These three men are named in a deed by Richard Kirby as the younger sons of John Tolleson.
(In History of the Old Cheraws, p. 513, there is something about the hanging of John Tollison in 1809 in Union County. This is clearly not either John or his son, who were alive as late as 1820, but must be some relative.)