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Archiver > ECHOLS > 2001-07 > 0996150440


From: "Randall Fields" <>
Subject: Darius Echols of Habersham County, GA
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 08:27:20 -0400


I am interested in a man named Darius Echols, who was sheriff and also Justice of the Peace at different times in Habersham County, Georgia.

Apparently Darius must have been quite the ladies' man. I have been told by one researcher that, in the early 1800's Darius paid the taxes in Franklin County, Georgia for a woman named El;izabeth Wisdom. One son of this Elizabeth Wisdom had his named legally changed to Echols in Forsyth County, Georgia. I have not researched this information and can not verify the accuracy iof it.

My ancestor is named Hannah Thomas. She is said to have been the widow of a Revolutionary Soldier on one land lottery. If this is true than she must have married a much older man. She was born about 1804 and if we assume that she married in 1820 she would have been 16 and the revolutionary soldier would have to be about 60. If this marriage did occur the man must have died shortly afterward because she is listed alone on all census and other records.

Hannah must have been quite a woman. With her headright land and land lottery lands she had quite a lot of acreage. Also she conducted all her own business and seemed to be a very independent woman. Darius was always close by however and thay had along-standing relationship.

Hannah's first three children were James Wyly Thomas born in 1822, Martin Riley Thomas born in 1823 and Clary born in about 1825. In an 1834 court record these children were referred to as illegitimate. Martin Riley Thomas was my great-great grandfather. In 1834, Darius Echols was named as Guardian of the illegitimates of Hannah Thomas.

Browning Thomas, a great grandson of Hannah Thomas through her son Darius Jasper Thomas, had a much older half brother who was born in 1896. During a visit in 1987, this older half brother told Browning that they were "really Echols, not Thomases" and that his search for Thomases would prove fruitless. At the time Browning became so angry that he quit researching for several years.

Hannah had drawn land "for minors" in 1827. She also drew land in 1832 as a widow of a revolutionary war soldier. As stated earlier Hannah was quite independent and managed her property and business affairs personally.

No marriage record prior to 1863 has ever been found for Hannah Thomas. Hannah gave birth to Sarah in 1828 followed by Elizabeth in 1830. Elizabeth married E. B. Beard September 13, 1849 in Habersham County, Georgia. They later moved to Jefferson County, Alabama. No death record has been found for Elizabeth but on the death certificate of her son it gives her maiden name as Elizabeth Echols.

These first five children, James Wyly, Martin, Clary, Sarah, and Elizabeth all bought lot number 43 in the 12th district of Habersham County, Georgia from a Fleming Bates for $300. Their guardian was Darius Echols, who signed the deed as Justice of the peace.

Hannah has not been found on the 1830 census. Either she was not interviewed or she was living in another household.

Hannah continued to have children. She had Melissa "Lissy" in 1834, then Darius Jasper in 1835, Newton Cleveland in 1837 and Thomas Benton in 1841.

The 1840 census (page 143) shows Hannah Thomas as head of household, living next door to Darius Echols. She has two males under 5 years of age (Darius Jasper and Newton Cleveland), two males 15 to 20 (James Wyly and Martin Riley), two females 5 to 10 (Elizabeth and Melissa) and two females 10 to 15 (Clary and Sarah).

Darius Echols and Hannah Thomas were charged with Fornication and Adultery (a married man living with a single woman) on 1 October 1855 and on Diverse other occasions before and after that date. Hannah pleaded guilty and was fined $10 and ordered to remain in jail until the fine was paid. Darius pleaded not guilty and was found guilty in court.

By 1860 Darius and Hannah were still living together and Darius' wife was living with her son in Alabama. By 1863 Darius' wife must have died becuase Darius and Hannah were finally married.

The last son of Hannah Thomas changed his name from Thomas Benton Thomas to Thomas Benton Echols in later life. It is not known how many of Hannah's children went by Echols. It is known that Elizabeth, born in 1830 and Thomas born about 1845 both went by Echols in later life.

The evidence is overwhelming that Darius was the father of most, if not all of Hannah's children. If Darius was not the father of all of her children then there is no way of knowing who the father was or if maybe they all had different fathers.

I would like any information I can get on Darius Echols.

Randall Fields



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