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 emelious   Emelius Fly - Virginia, North Carolina

   emelious4c. Emelius Fly 5 (John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

Emelius was probably born about 1774 in Northampton County.  In 1798, his name, Amelious Fly, was listed in the Personal Property Tax Lists of Southampton County, Virginia and this continued until 1805. [1]  His name has been variously spelled Emilius, Amelious, Emilus, Cornelius, Emetius, and Emelius. [2] In 1812, Emelius Fly was once again listed in the Personal Property Tax lists of Southampton.  This continued until 1820.   

Emelius was married sometime around 1800, but the identity of this wife is not known.  However, an Isle of Wight County will was signed and witnessed in 1803:

March 31, 1803.  Will of John Brown. Wife Temperance Brown and “all my children” Executor: Temperance Brown. Wit: George Lawrence, John Reynolds, Emetius Fly, Sally Fly  Prob. Dec. 5, 1803 [3]

Then in 1822, a Sally (her X mark) Fly witnessed a deed in Southampton County. The deed was a trust deed between Anthony Woodard and Edward Butts with a Mary Jones acting as security for Anthony Woodard.  The witnesses were Peter Edwards, Nathaniel Jones, and Sally Fly. [4] Sally was very likely Emelius’ first wife.  In 1822, there were no known Sally Flys of adult age in Southampton Virginia or Northampton North Carolina. In addition, she may have been a Sarah Boykin or perhaps a Sarah Brown.  One of Emelius’ sons was named William Boykin Fly.

It should be noted that John Dixon Fly, Emelius’ brother, and his wife Sarah Fly lived in the household of John Brown in Southampton County, Virginia in 1795 and in that same year filed suit against Brown.  This could be the same John Brown, but it is not known if Brown owned land in both counties.

Emelius' oldest son, John, was born about 1801.  This was made evident by an 1817 Personal Property Tax List in St. Luke’s Parish that had an Emelius Fly with 2 males over 16, Emelus and John (not named on Tax List).

In 1808, Emelius executed a bond to Fitchett and Bell. [5]  Then in 1809, Emelius was employed as an overseer by Stephen A. Hopkins of Surry County. It is not known if his place of employment was in Southampton or in Surry County.  In an 1819 Chancery Court case filed against Emelius by Fitchett and Bell, he stated that Hopkins did not pay his salary as overseer for 1809, but told him that he would provide Fitchett and Bell with payment.  Emelius claimed that he was cheated of his earnings since Fitchett and Bell received a judgement against Emelius’ property. Apparently Hopkins did not make any payments to Fitchett & Bell. Henry Felts and Samson Pope were security for Emelius in this case. The resolution of the disagreement was not included in the Chancery file.

In 1818, Emelius Fly sold his portion of his inheritance in Northampton County, perhaps to satisfy the demands of Fitchett and Bell.  This deed clearly identified Emelius Fly’s father.  A trip to the Northampton, North Carolina Courthouse would not have been particularly difficult for Emelius.  The counties shared the boundary between the two states.

March 14, 1818. Emelius Fly of Southampton Co., Virginia. sells to Colin W. Barnes for $33, 11 acres "which descended to Emelius from his father John Fly decd".
Wit: James Jackson, Sit Mason. 
Signed: Emelius Fly   Proven: Sept. Court 1818. Rec.: Feb. 10, 1819

The 1820 Federal Census shows Emelius Fly in Southampton County, Virginia with a household as follows:

1 male under 10, 1 male 10-16, 1 male 16-18, 1 male 16-26, 1 male over 45, 2 females under 10, 1 female 10-16, 2 females 16-26, and 1 female over 45. [7] 

Some time in the 1820s, Emelius moved back to Northampton Co. He may have had occasional financial problems as reflected in the following estate account from Northampton County:

Jan. 10, 1826. Estate of Turner Peebles lists an account on Emelius Fly among others for $3.  In additon-"the following notes and accounts are supposed to be doubtful & desperate Viz.--
1 note vs. Elisha & Emelius Fly due Dec. 31, 1824 for $14

1 note vs. Elisha Fly for $5 (no due date-FGF)

In the absence of banks, people borrowed regularly from each other, but Emelius had not paid this debt and it was regarded as unlikely to ever be paid.  The Elisha Fly mentioned was a nephew of Emelius and a son of Enoch Fly.

The date of the death of his first wife is not known, but she was probably the mother of most of his children.  On Dec. 6, 1829, he married his second wife, Nancy White in Northampton County.[9]  The 1830 Census lists Nancy Fly apparently living in a separate household from Emelius, but there were no white females listed in that same household.  There is no obvious explanation for this.

Emelius wrote his will on Oct. 30, 1831 and it was probated in Dec. 1831.

In the name of God amen.  I Emelius Fly being weak in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following:

First:  I lend unto my daughter Polly Friar the property of mine she has in possession for and during her natural life and at her death I give and bequeath the same to her surviving children to be equally divided between them share and share alike.  This before
mentioned property consists of two feather beds and furniture one loom six chairs two pots one table two dishes half dozen plates three tubs three pails and one spinning wheel.

Secondly:  My will and desire is that the whole of the residue of my property be sold and the money arising from such sale after paying my just debts be equally divided between my wife Nancy and my children herein named, John Fly, William Fly, Winefred Fly, Ann Fly, Eliza Hedgpeth,  Polley Friar and Nancy Fly to them and their heirs forever.

Thirdly and lastly: I constitute my son John Fly whole and sole executor to this my last will and testament.  In witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 30th day of Oct. 1831.  Signed sealed and acknowledged in the presence of Wm. H. Barnes.

Signed: Emelius Fly 

Emelius did not own any land at this time so the property referred to was personal property.  The estate sale occurred soon after:

Nov. 14, 1831. Sale of the estate of Emelius Fly:  Purchasers- James Hedgpeth, John Fly, Lucke _______?, Henry White, William Fly, Luke Jordan, John Barrett, John Gathwood. [11]

James Hedgpeth had married one of Emelius’ daughters and Henry White may have been a relative of Emelius second wife.


Emelius Fly Signature


Children of Emelius Fly and Sally (mnu) Fly

    john t4c.-i. John T. Fly 6 (Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

John, the oldest son was born about 1801, and was the executor of his father’s will. This John apparently settled in Hertford County and lived there for his entire life. John T. married Elizabeth Knight in Northampton Co. on Dec. 13, 1823. [12] 

The 1830 census shows John Fly of Hertford as a male between 20-30 with a female under 5, a female 5-10, and two females 20-30. [13] The records of Hertford County have unfortunately been thoroughly burned for this period, but some court records for the 1830s and 1840s have survived.  In 1836, John purchased a gray mare at the estate sale of Benjamin Copeland. [14]  Between 1843 and 1846, John T. Fly was a juror, sold some property to Richard Barnes, and was excused from jury duty. [15] 

In the 1850 Federal Census, John Fly, a farmer aged 47, was head of household with Mary Fly aged 38.  Lawrence was 17 and a laborer.  John J. Fly was 14 and a laborer.  Martha Fly was 23.  Isaac Fly was 13.  Mary Fly was 6.  George Fly was 7 and Eliza Fly was 3. [16]

The 1860 census listed John F. Fly as a 53 year old farmer with 38 year old May and the following younger people: GW (16), J.A. (13), Mary (12), and Sarah (11). [17]  Unless Elizabeth Knight was also called Mary Elizabeth Knight or May Elizabeth Knight, John has married a second wife named May or possibly Mary.  It is not clear who Eliza Fly was of the 1850 Census, but she may have been the child Mary Eliza Fly. John also farmed 37 acres of land according to the 1860 Agricultural Census records. [18]  He grew cotton, rice and corn and kept hogs.

John died after the 1860 Census.

   polly4c.-ii. Polly Fly 6 (Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

She was probably born about 1806.  Polly married John Frier in 1823 in Northampton County [23] and was left a particular legacy in her father’s will. A John Frier did appear in the Northampton County Land Tax lists from 1824 through 1829. [24]  After that, they are untraced.

eliza   4c.-iii. Eliza Fly 6 (Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

Eliza, born about 1810, married James Hedgpeth in Northampton County in 1830. [25]  She is untraced after that.

 william   4c.-iv. William Boykin Fly 6 (Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

This second son was born about 1812 in Virginia.  He left North Carolina and reportedly moved to Tennessee.  There he married Martha Jones about 1833.  She was born in NC about 1820 according to the 1850 Saline County, Illinois census [26] and died on March 14, 1879 in Galatia, Illinois.  Where they married is not known.  Family tradition states that Martha was Native American, but her tribal membership is unknown.

From Tennessee the couple went to Saline County, Illinois about 1843 or earlier. On August 1, 1844, William of Gallatin County, Illinois received a land grant in Saline County, Illinois for 36.15 acres.  The land grant is particularly interesting because it contained his full name, William Boykin Fly. [27]

William died there in 1848.  William and his wife were the parents of William Jones, Sarah A., Franklin C., and Henriette Fly. Martha Jones Fly then married William Mohundro on Nov. 28, 1850 in Saline Co., Il. [28]


William Boykin Fly

winefred   4c.-v. Winefred Fly 6 (Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

According to the 1850 census of Dyer County, Winefred was born in 1815. [33]  She moved west probably with her brother William.  In 1837 in Gibson Co., Tennessee, she married Minor C. Cole. [34]  By 1870, they were living in Gibson County, Tennessee

ann   4c.-vi. Ann Fly 6 (Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1) 

The fate of this daughter is not known.  She may have died young.

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The Children of Emelius Fly and Nancy White Fly

 nancy   4c.-vii. Nancy Fly 6 (Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1) 

She does not appear in any Northampton County records and is not traced here.

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Children of John T. Fly and Elizabeth Knight Fly

martha   4c.-i.-1. Martha Fly 7 (John 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

Martha was born most likely about 1827, but her fate is unknown after her appearance in the 1850 Census. 

   lawrence4c.-i.-2. Lawrence Fly 7 (John 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

Lawrence, born about 1833, probably died between 1850 and 1860.  He does not appear in any documents in North Carolina after the 1850 Census.

john j   4c.-i.-3. John J. Fly 7 (John 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

John J. Flythe was born about 1836 and served as a soldier in the Confederate Army.  After that he does not appear in the record and may have died during the war.

John J. Flythe, Priv., Co. O - 2 Reg't North Carolina Volunteers.
Appears on a Company Muster Roll ...... for Aug. 1 to 31, 1861.
When- Aug. 1, 1861

Where- Northampton
, N.C.

By whom - Emory A. Martin, Capt.
Period - 12 mos.
Present or absent – present

isaac   4c.-i.-4. Isaac Fly 7 (John 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

This son was born about 1837 in Hertford County.  He probably died between 1850 and 1860. [20]  There are no court records referring to him. 

george   4c.-i.-5. George W. Fly 7 (John 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

George W. Flythe was born some time in the mid-1840s.  Like his brother, he was a soldier in the Civil War. [21]  George W. Flythe does appear in the Hertford Census of 1870.  He was listed as a 23 year old farmer with 20 year old Julia Flythe and 3 month old Roberta. [22]

The identity of his probable wife, Julia is not known.  In addition, his daughter Roberta does not appear in any subsequent records. Some time between 1862 and 1871, George sold some land in Hertford County.  He is not traced after that.   

mary   4c.-i.-6. Mary Fly 7 (John 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

Mary Flythe was born about 1844 and does not appear in any surviving records after that.

joseph   4c.-i.-7. Joseph A. Fly 7 (John 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

Joseph Flythe was born about 1845, survived the Civil War, married, had children and died in 1927.

The 1880 Census showed Joseph A Flythe with the following household: Roxana (27), Martha L. (8), James T. (6), Sarah O. (4), Fleetwood D. (3), Lelie K. (8 mo.)

eliza   4c.-i.-8. Eliza Fly 7 (John 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

This daughter, born about 1847, is untraced.

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Children of William B. Fly and Martha Jones Fly

   henriete4c.-iv.-1. Henriette Fly 7 (William B. 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

Henrietta Fly, born about 1834, married James Jacob Mings, son of William Mings and Matilda Pearcy Mings, in Saline Co., Il on October 29, 1849. [29] 

   jones4c.-iv.-2. William Jones Fly 7 (William B. 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

The 1850 census shows him as a boy of 10 born in Tennessee in 1840.  He married Martha Harper in Saline County, Illinois on April 1, 1860. [30]

   sara4c.-iv.-3. Sarah A. Fly 7 (William B. 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

James W. Snead married Sarah Fly in Feb. 18, 1858 in Ill. [31]  She was born in Tennessee in 1842. 

franklin   4c.-iv.-4. Franklin C. Fly 7 (William B. 6, Emelius 5, John 4, John 3, Jeremiah 2, William 1)

He was born in Illinois in 1844 according to the 1850 Saline, Ill. Census.  He eventually moved to Kansas and married Sarah A. Bacon about 1864.  They had William Jones Flye and Mary Alice Fly, who married Harry W. Stockwell in 1894 in Missouri, son of James Miller Stockwell and Mary Elizabeth Bisbee. [32]

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emelius   Emelius Fly Descendant Tree

4c. Emelius Fly (ca. 1774 - 1831)
                m. Sarah (Sally)_________?, ca.1800

John T. Fly (ca.1801 - aft.1860)
                                m. Elizabeth Knight, 1823

  Martha Fly (ca.1827 - ?)
 Lawrence Fly (ca.1833 - ?)
 John J. Fly (ca.1836 - aft.1861)
 Isaac Fly (ca.1837 - ?)
 George W. Fly (1840 - aft.1870)
                                                m. Julia______?

 Mary Fly (1844 - ?)
 Joseph A. Fly (1845 - 1927)
                                                m. Roxana______?

 Eliza Fly (ca. 1847 - ?)
Polly Fly (ca. 1806 - ?)
                                m. John Frier, 1823

Eliza Fly (ca. 1810 - ?)
                                m. James Hedgepeth, 1830

William Boykin Fly (ca. 1812 - 1848)
                                m. Martha Jones, ca.1830

                                        4c.-iv.-1. Henriette Fly
(ca. 1834 - ?)
                                                m. James Jacob Ming, 1849

William Jones Fly (1840 - ?)
                                                m. Martha Harper, 1860

Sarah A. Fly (1842 - ?)
                                                m. James W. Snead, 1858

Franklin C. Fly (1844 - ?)
                                                m. Sarah A. Bacon, ca.1864

                        4c.-v. Winefred
Fly (ca.1815 - ?)
                                m. Minor Carrel Cole, 1837

                        4c.-vi. Ann Fly
(ca. 1818 - ?)
                m. Nancy White, 1829

Nancy Fly (ca. 1830 - ?)


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[1] Family History Library, Southampton County, Virginia Personal Property Tax List 1792-1806, Reel # 1905728 and Southampton County Virginia, Personal Property Tax List 1807-1821, Reel # 1905729
[2] Some recent records have indicated that he was Thomas Emelius Fly.  No court records or family traditions use the name Thomas.  For that reason, it is not used here.
[3] Isle of Wight County, Virginia,  WillBook #11, p. 788
[4] Brantley Family Association Web site, The Southampton Project, Southampton Co. Deed Book 318, p. 509
[5] LVirginia, Southampton County, Virginia, Chancery Case 1819-026
[6] Northampton Co., NC Deed Book # 20, p. 54
[7] National Archives US Federal Census 1820, Southampton County, Virginia
[8] Northampton Co., NC Records of Estates 1825-1833, p. 80
[9] Flythe, Rev. Norman, Letter of 1986
[10] NC Archives, Northampton Co., NC. Loose Estate Papers, Will Book #4, p. 85
[11] NC Archives, Northampton Co., NC. Loose Estate Papers
[12] Flythe, Rev. Norman Flythe, letter of 1986
[13] Ancestry, 1830 Federal Census, Hertford County, North Carolina
[14] Powell, David. Record of Accounts and Inventories of Hertford County, N.C. 1838-1840. Liberty Shield Press (Winton, NC, 2002), p.125
[15] Powell, David. Records and Remembrances of Hertford County North Carolina (a compendium) 1760, 1770, 1780, 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840… Liberty Shield Press (Winton, NC, 1997), p. 152, 161
[16] Ancestry, 1850 Federal Census, Hertford County, North Carolina
[17] Powell, David, 1860 Hertford County Census (all schedules), Liberty Shield Press (Winton, NC, 2001), p. 48
[18] Powell, David, 1860 Hertford County Census (all schedules), Liberty Shield Press (Winton, NC, 2001), p. 157
[19] National Archives, photocopy 1992
[20] He was not the Isaac Flythe who married Marganna Rae on Jan. 7, 1869.  This couple were freed slaves whose marriage appeared in the records of Northampton County.
[21] National Archives, photocopy 1992
[22] Powell, David, 1870 Hertford County Census, Liberty Shield Press (Winton, NC, 1996), p. 65
[23] Flythe Rev. Norman, letter of 1986
[24] Family History Library, Northampton County North Carolina List of Taxables 1823-1851, Reel # 1760481
[25] Flythe Rev. Norman, letter of 1986
[26] Ancestry,1850 Federal Census Illinois, Saline County
[27] Federal Bureau of Land Management, , Land Patents- Illinois
[28] Ancestry, Saline County Marriage Records
[29] Illinois Archives Web site; Saline County
[30] Ibid.
[31] Ancestry, Saline County Illinois Marriage Records
[32] Message Board Posting of Bonnie Parks, Stockwell GenForum Sept. 16, 2003
[33] Ancestry, 1850 Federal Census Dyer County, Tennessee
[34] Ancestry, Gibson County Tennessee State Marriages


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