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THOMAS RICHEY
North Carolina and Tennessee
1761-1814

Thomas Richey was born June 20, 1761 on the American Frontier, possibly in Rowan County, North Carolina. His father is believed to be William Richey, who was married to Margaret.

Thomas is first identified in Court and Tax Records in Washington County, TN. William and his brother, John Richey had numerous North Carolina Revolutionary War Grants in the Jonesborough area, on the Great Wagon Road and the Limestone River. They first moved to this area during the Revolutionary War in 1777.

Thomas is believed to have served as a Sgt., 7th Class, under Capt. Thomas Posey,7th Virginia Regiment, commanded by Col. Alexander McClenachan. The 7th Virginia regiment was raised by the fourth Virginia Convention in December, 1775. It was taken into Continental service in February, 1776. Further research is necessary in this area.

Thomas Richey was appointed Constable of Washington County, Tennessee in the Room of William Moore, 1782.

Thomas Richey is listed in Washington County Tax Records with William Richey in 1777. Thomas was listed in the first rolls of Greene County in 1783. Early East Tennessee Taxpayers by the East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications lists: Washington County, TN. Tax Lists, 1787, Thomas Richey 1 white pole, no land listed. William Richey, 555 acres, Andrew Richey, 1 white pole, no land listed. Andrew is believed to be Thomas's brother. Andrew was married to Phebe Hughes.

The History of Blount County, pg. 29, records one significant Grand Jury on which William Richey, Thomas Richey and George Hays (Thomas's brother in law). and William Trimble (also Thomas's brother in law) served. It was the trial of Obonphohego, a Creek Indian, who was accused of killing an early settler, John Ish.

Rowan County Court Records show a deed recorded on March 10, 1801 in Blount Co. and witnessed by Andrew Richey. The records the sale of 270 acres of land bordering the Holston River, sold by John Johnston, Michael Montgomery, Amos Edwards and Jusius (sp?) Danforth to Thomas Richey. Thomas Richey purchased the land for $275.00. The property bordered that of his brother in law, Archibald Trimble. James Lacky was the attorney who handled the transaction.

Thomas Richey was among those forcibly moved off his land in Blount County by order of the Federal Government in 1798. Box 1, Tennessee State Archives, carries the lists of those persons who obtained passports to enter the Cherokee Country in 1798. Passports were issued so that property owners could take care of their crops and homes. Thomas Richey appears on the listing as published in The History of Blount County; pg. 190.

Thomas Richey was married four times. His first marriage was to Rebecca Kennedy. They were married 6 Feb., 1783. They had three children: William, John and Mary. Thomas's second marriage was to Rosanna Trimble. They were married 9 Oct., 1793 in Knox County, TN. Capt. John Trimble was their bondsman. Thomas and Rosanna's children are listed as:

Susannah Woods, Alexander and Robert Trimble Richey. Thomas's third marriage was to Jenney Greenaway, 13 Feb., 1800. Capt. John Trimble was their bondsman. Jenney died within one year of their marriage. Thomas's third marriage was to Elizabeth Brittain. They were married in Robertson County and had four daughters. Their daughter's names were: Elizabeth, Tennessee, Sarah K. and Rebecca.

My fourth great grandfather was Robert Trimble Richey, son of Thomas Richey and Rosanna Trimble. Thomas is mentioned several times in the "Recollections of Michael Wood's Trimble", who wrote: "I was born in a blockhouse at the headwaters of French Broad River, January 12, 1788. The Cherokee Indians continued hostile. To suppress them, in 1791, Col. Sevier crossed over the mountains with a regiment of men. My father (John Trimble) raised a company of 62 men, of whom his two sons, Archibald (m. Mary Cowan) and Robert (Hannah Moffit) and son-in-law, Thomas Richey were of that number, and joined him in pursuit of the Indians. They burned several towns and eight miles below where Knoxville now stands, they had a battle. They routed the Indians and built a stockade, which they called Campbell's Station. On the North side of Holston River, near it's junction with the Tennessee, they built another stockade and two blockhouses, which they called Fort Loudon. Four miles further up the Tennessee River, there was an Indian Town called Coyatee, and eighteen miles further up the river, there was another Indian town called Nica-Old-Fields. Each of these towns contained about 300 houses and they were considered the strongholds of the Cherokee Nations."

"Col. Sevier had not sufficient force to attack them, and returned East of the Mountains to increase his army. While he was gone, my father took his two sons, Archibald and Robert, and son-in-law, Thomas Richey and his nephew, James Cosby, and five other men - 10 in all, and went with them in the night down the Holston River to it's junction with the Tennessee, and in the forks of these two rivers, he made a tomahawk improvement. Cozby was the surveyor, and made the survey by moonlight. On this improvement, he built a blockhouse, in which he left 6 men to guard it, and with the other 4 men, he returned home. Then, putting the family in canoes, he moved us all down the French Board and Holston Rivers to the new blockhouse."

Thomas Richey was a member of the Knox City Militia, Territory West of the Ohio, under Capt. John Trimble, Brown's Regiment. Andrew Richey was also a member of the militia.

We move forward to the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson called for troops to fight in the Creek Wars. Enlisted Men, War of 1812, shows Thomas Richey, who was then 51 years of age, volunteering as a Corporal under Col. Jno. Brown, with his former brother-in-law and life-long friend, Capt. John Trimble, of the East Tennessee Mtd. Gunmen. Also listed in the regiment was his 16 year old son, Robert Trimble Richey. There is a pension file no. WC 2595, filed by his widow, Elizabeth Brittain Richey, who was 70 years of age at the time of filing. Thomas and Robert's participation in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend was verified by a park ranger/ historian at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in June of this year.

Thomas Richey is listed as having died on April 12, 1814 at Fort Williams, which was a garrison fort at that time. The original site of Fort Williams is situated in what is now in the vicinity of Coosa County, Alabama. The park ranger stated that after the battle, the dead and wounded were transported from the battle site back to Fort Williams. A total of 87 men were buried at Fort Williams over the next several weeks. The site of Fort Williams is now under Lay Lake in Coosa County. He states it is approximately 57 miles north of the battle site. When Lay Lake was planned, the gravestones and the memorial to the Soldiers who died were moved to another site near the town of Sylacuaga, Ala., about 13.2 miles off of U.S. Highway 280. He believes the bodies of the men were left in the ground at the original buriel site when the Lake was filled. The site is marked on maps as "Indian War of 1812". The new burial site is on private property. The park ranger states that the memorial has been seriously vandalized and inasmuch as the National Park does not have jurisdiction over the land, they cannot maintain it. Thomas Richey's name is on one of the headstones. His son Robert returned home to Giles County when he was mustered out in May of 1814. His biography is also a part of the Giles County Genealogy Web page.



Submitted by Janet Piccola