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Jul 2002 Rev 5
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We have most recently been studying the Dutch founding and English continuation in NY. The Dutch phase introduces the Dutch Reformed Church and pilgrims not unlike those coming here to New England. Some were from similar religious strands from Denmark and other European countries. This did not differ strongly from long held Baptist traditions. We have not studied that to any significant depth. We have identified a Jan Helm's(SP) at Bethlehem Parish, near Albany, in the Dutch colony who came there immediately from Holland but before then, from Denmark. A number of Helm' were found to have been in Dutch Reformed Church, records. This is reported later.

Philadelphia was a Baptist center 1693-1710 and the first Baptist Association was formed in Philadelphia in 1707, embracing churches from VA to MA.  By 1710, 30 Baptist congregations had emerged, and by 1740 there were 60.  The Great Awakening in the 1700's, and the southerly growth and movement led to formation of the Ketochten Association in VA 1765.  The official (Anglican) churches tended to be along the coast.  By 1760, the Baptists had 400 churches in VA, NC, and SC; the Lutherans had 200, and the German Reform had 150, mostly in the western fringes of the colonies.  The Helms supported High Hill Baptist church in NC was one of those.  According to one History of the Colonies, The Baptist Colonists first arrived in numbers in the 1650's, and this accelerated in the "2nd Colonization" (1680-1740).  Welsh and English Baptists emigrated to Jersey and PA in 1680-1740.  The more open policies of Penn allowed this.  We do not know how long, or even if, our people were in NJ/PA, etc.  We also do not know what group(s) they belong to. Later generations were what is called Primitive Baptists.  Thomas Aaron Helms was a minister in that church in Alabama.  According to Gerald Helms, the first church built in the Waxhaw area in NC was a Presbyterian church.  George and Tilman donated land for the High Hill Primitive Baptist Church in Union Co., NC. Rev Jacob Helms, son of George Helms, Sr. was a preacher there.  That church stemmed from a Welsh founded, High Hill Baptist Church in SC, which itself stemmed from the Iron Hill Baptist church in Delaware, itself coming out of the Pennypack church.

HELMS With the Welsh in SC

According to family tradition, George and Tilman Helms gave the land for the original High Hill Church located off old US 601 north of Monroe. Their arrival in NC is set at about 1749.

From an article in the Charlotte Observer of 11 Sep 1971, the origins of the church are discussed. The High Hill church began as early as 1774, but was not formally organized until 1784. "The group traces its beginnings to a Baptist Church from Wales that moved, Pastor and all, to Delaware and set in motion a chain of church foundations." [Jacob Helms, son of George Helms, was a minister in High Hill Baptist Church in NC.]

From, "A History of the Baptist Church in South Carolina", In 1738, thirty of the Welsh settlers constituted a Baptist Church, at first called Pee Dee, but later called Welsh Neck. The group to which these Pennsylvania Welsh belonged had begun its organized religious life in 1701 as they were leaving Wales. They planted their church on the Welsh tract in Pennsylvania (later Delaware) and of this body, the Welsh Neck church was an arm. ... the members had been dismissed before coming to SC. Minutes show ... [surnames] Morgan, James, Evan, Miles, Harry, Rowel, Barrow, Money, Wilds,Jenkins, et al. [but no Helms]." First meeting house constructed in 1744.

The Raeburns Creek Church, 1767, has a note as follows: Phillip Sherrill had a survey on Big Branch and Schoolhouse Branch of Helms Creek of Raeburns Creek in 1768. [Later data says that a Helms conducted the survey. Gerald Helm's book states that Tilman and Jonathan Helms are listed on several NC deeds as "chainers", eg. surveyors ] It is known that George Helms was a surveyor, and that he was associated with the Falkenburgs (Married a daughter) who were also surveyors and who did come to SC from near Strasburg , Va. where they had land on the Great Wagon Road South through Western Virginia.

These dates fit well with the idea that "our" Helms may have been in SC ca: 1767 for survey work. If they had a residence or a camp on the creek during this work, it may explain the name "Helms Creek". Returning to NC ca: 1774, they may have helped the establishment of the High Hill Church. Nothing firm about all of this, but the names and dates are interesting. Source of information: William E. Helms, of South Carolina. However, now that we have looked more closely at the SC Hellums, we now think the Helms mentioned here were actually the Hellums.

Our most recent finding is that the creek was Hellums Creek. See the map in part 7, "Other Helm/Helms" subsection, South Carolina Hellums

Thus, it is likely that the surveyor was a Hellums rather than a North Carolina Helms. Although, we are looking into the idea that both of these groups stemmed from the same origin. We are hoping for a DNA test of the Hellums to compare with our NC HELMS DNA data

Some thought would need to be given to the possibility that the Helms stemmed from one of the German Baptist groups which are described here, click here to view the homepage of the Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists in a new window. However, besides being intermarried with several German families in NC, there is presently no known connection of the North Carolina Helms with Germany. The settlement in or near Hackettstown, NJ has been found to have been mostly Presbyterian, and at least one William Helms was a member of the Presbyterian church there.

However, recently a Thomas Helms has been found in a Mennonite (German Baptist) community in Hackettstown, Hunterdon County, NJ, 1755-1772. It is said that he came there from NC and is likely the Thomas Helms who was neighbor of the Helms brothers in North Carolina. This is discussed more fully in Parts One and Two, above. While Thomas was referred to in records about the Mennonite community, We do not know that he was a German Baptist. The Helms in North Carolina were what is called "Primitive Baptists", Hackettstown was founded by a Presbyterian named Hackett. But Mennonite settlement(s) were known to have been in the area.

War Records

At this time, war records have not been focused on, because Tilman, George, and Jonathan apparently did not serve in either "the Revolution or the French and Indian wars.  However, see the Placque in the introduction showing George Helms and his son-in-law listed. The French & Indian War which started in 1754 after they left PA.; they were about 60 years old and their sons too young during the Revolutionary war.  Nevertheless, it is possible that these wars and especially Indian fighting did affect their predecessors, and some contemporaries.  There was considerable fighting in NC.  One Thomas Helm from the VA Helm family was killed at Guilford Court House, in NC.  Tilman and George Helms and George's son, John, were involved with the "Regulators" in NC.  The Regulators were those who frequently complained to the King about the running of the Colony.  George's son John (Blackhead) may have been involved in fighting against Loyalists in Western NC and Tenn.  He may have also helped burn the County court house where it is believed there was incriminating evidence against George.  Recently, Warren Helms has found some information which indicates that there was a Tilman Helme in Capt. Dawkins Company in the Loyalist Militia in SC in 1782.  This could not have been the original Tilman Helms of Anson County, NC,  but might have been his son, Tilman Jr.  Tilman Jr. would have been about 19 years old then.  Some of those listed in the SC Loyalist forces were apparently from NC.  This is being evaluated.

The Tilghmans, Craigs, and Smiths were significantly involved in both wars.  The Tilghmans had divided loyalties, however, in both wars.  Since Moses was listed as a "chainer", as was Tilman and others, and since Moses went to Bedford County, VA to work on roads there and since those roads were in the Southerly path of the Helms trek South, I think the NC Helms brothers could have been involved in the logistics of the Welsh movement South in the 1700's, possibly "riding shotgun", so to speak.  According to William Helms of SC, a Helms was surveyor of a SC Church property.  I found a historical marker at Warrenton, VA on one "Old Carolina Road" for trade through VA from Frederick, MD to Georgia through the Carolinas.  Sections of the road still exist, and cross the Carolinas.  Sections of the road also still exist, and cross the remainder of Braddock's Road, near Lucketts, VA.  It had been labeled "Rogues Alley" because of bandits. It went through Salisbury, NC which was a "Hub City" for Wagon Roads in several directions in the 1700's.  Leonard Helm was a surveyor and an "Overseer" of road building and maintenance in VA.  He used indentured servants to do that.  See Conkwright.

An isolated Helm's war incident was  a George Helm who was ships carpenter aboard the ship USS Maine  which was blown up in 1898, initiating the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.  Fortunately, George did survive that blast.   We are curious as to which US Helm family  George belonged to.   Anyone having additional information should let us know.


Somehow, we need to account for the long delay between the supposed NJ marriages of the NC Helms brothers and the coming of children, 8-12 years later.  I think the supposed marriage dates are wrong and assumed by someone to have been in PA/NJ prior to the trip South.  Perhaps early Helms chroniclers leaned too heavily on Bates papers.

Other References

I do not have confirmation of the Mass. Colony Helmes mentioned in The RI Connection above, as Helmes.  These may be obtainable from the following references; however, not as Helmes but in Elmes, etc:

   Passengers on the Mayflower in 1620, by Nathaniel Bradstreet,
         Shurtoff Genealogical Pub. Co,  Baltimore., MD.

   History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, by Wm. Bradford

The 1623 "Divisions of the Land" in Plymouth Colony. by Gov. William Bradford gives the names of all the heads of household residing at Plymouth in 1623, coming from the Mayflower in 1620, and the Fortune in 1621.  My wife, Nancy Ford's ancestor, Widow Martha Foord was on the Fortune and gave birth upon landing to a daughter, Martha Nov. 21, 1721, the Father, William Foord, having died in England in 1721.  Sons William and John were on the voyage, one born in England and one in Holland.  She was allotted one goat but no land, logical for the new born.

A book, Americans from Wales, by Edward Greg Hartman, Ph.D.. has a long section on Welsh Baptists.  He says, "Of the Baptist churches founded by the Welsh immigrants, the best known was unquestionably historic Pennypek Church, mother church of the Baptist Denomination in the middle colonies".  It dates from 1683 when a group of Welsh arrived from Llanddewi, Radnorshire, and settled in Lower Dublin TWP (now the 23rd ward of northeast Philadelphia).  The Pennypek church was founded in 1688.  From it, the Iron Hill Church near Newark, DE was started in 1703, the Brandywine church in 1715, and the Philadelphia First Baptist Church in 1746.  In all, seven Baptist Churches were founded in the Philadelphia area, plus the Piscataway and Salem churches in NJ. John Helme/Holme was associated with that church.  The Philadelphia Baptist Association was formed in 1707.  The Iron Hill church itself became the mother church of eight new churches in DE and PA as well as being credited as the source of the SC Welsh Neck Baptist Church in a Welsh settlement in SC, which numbered some 500 people.  The Iron Hill group had an interesting history as a "Church-emigrant" where an organized group from Pembrokeshire and Caermarthenshire came at one time in 1701.  Initially, they settled at Lower Dublin with the Welsh in Pennypek, but later moved to Iron Hill in the Delaware Welsh Tract, Pencader Hundred, where William Penn had granted 30,000 acres to three Welshmen, David Evans, Wm. Davies, and Wm. Willis in 1701.

The Pencader Welsh Presbyterian Church had a parallel role as the center of Presbyterianism in America which extended into the South as well.  For our purposes here, the Presbyterian church which Moses Helm founded in Bedford County, VA, and the Waxhaw Church which was in SC close to the Helms brothers in NC, were probably traceable to that source.  The Craigs, coming originally from Scotland, were also Presbyterian.  My idea is that Tilman Helms' wife was probably Presbyterian.  We have Rev. George Craig in the same rough time frame in the Philadelphia area as the migrating Helms, plus a Rev. Craighead in NC.
A gravestone of a Christopher Helm (1684-1771) has been found at Baskin Ridge Presbyterian Church in Somerset Co., NJ, about 20 miles NW from Piscataway the site of the Moses Helm deed from Mathias Smock in 1740.

Dr. Hartman shows that the Welsh also promoted the Anglican Church.  Welsh Anglicans were in Philadelphia as early as 1695.  The Welsh Anglicans were about as numerous as the Welsh Baptists, and followed the same pattern of aggressively extending their faith.  They assisted in founding Christ's Church in Philadelphia and numerous others. They also converted many Quakers. In fact, the High Hills Church in SC was initially founded as a multi-faith center, but was later a Baptist Church.

Moses Helms wife was Sarah Jamison.  I have checked the Colonial pre-1790 census and found Thomas Jamison in Baltimore in 1703 and David Jameson in NY (Dockyard) in 1703.  Gerald's book had on page 28 placed Moses as entering at both Philadelphia and Baltimore in 1738.  The Piscataway, NJ deed places Moses there for certain in 1740.  Samuel K. Helm's book indicates Moses first child Elizabeth was born in 1739.  It would have been feasible for Moses to have run into the NY David Jameson family or the Baltimore, Thomas Jamison family, with the NY encounter being the most logical.  There was a Thomas Jameson in SC in 1756, but that is beyond the date of interest.  A Wm. Jamison was also in Charlestown, Middlesex County, MA in 1688, Walter Jamison was in Northumberland Co, VA in 1758, and Alex. Jamison was in Stafford County, VA in 1768.  Walter and Alex, could be of interest with regards Moses, who was also in VA.  Also, William Jameson is supposed to have been the name of Sarah Jameson's father.  In any case, this does not lead to the NC Helms main line, although, as some have mentioned, Moses' children's' names have parallels to those of the NC Helms brothers.  Gerald Helms thinks that Moses was married to his wife in England before immigrating.  Bob Law thinks Moses came here from Tyrone County, Ireland.



At the Library of Congress, I had found a full shelf of Barbados references and was able to expand our knowledge about Barbados itself as well as the Helme and Helms families there.  I need to work on this more but the books, (Chiefly, "Barbados and America" by D. L. Kent), listed a land sale of Major Thomas Helme in 1683, Census information on a Captain Thomas Helmes in 1715, and the following information:

I have a map showing one Helmes lot in St. James Parish near Holetown, and descriptions of other lots.  The Maj. Thomas lands exchanged with Sir Timothy Thornhill in St. Peters Parish near Speightstown "Little Bristol" are not shown.

The Helm(e)(es)(s) name was listed in 7 Wills:

1651 - Thomas, Witness 1670-Major Thomas, Witness
1672 - Thomas, Witness
1679 - William , Witness (X, his mark)
1681 - Barraby
1683 - James, Witness
1694 - Will of Sarah Helme, widow of Maj. Thomas Helme, witnessed by grandson, Duton Helme.

No listing of any Helm(e)(es)(s) wills for the 1701-1725 time period.  I presume that the Thomases we know about were the sons and/or grandsons of an original Major Thomas Helme, and/or a Lt. John Helme, presumably of Goosnargh, Lancashire, England; but, that would be an assumption.  More recently, Susan Grimshaw has possibly traced the origin of the Barbados Helmes to the family of Robert Helme of Gillingham, Dorcester County, England.  She has also "connected" Helme of Gillingham, Dorcester County, England, and the Dorset group with those from Lancashire.  That research is currently ongoing.

Barbados Baptismal Records show:

Date, Child, Parents

1717, Edward, Benjamin & Christian Helms
1717, Thomas, John & Anne Helms
1730, Mary, Wm. & Mary Helms

All of these were listed as Helms.  The parents would have been born about 1700, or before.

All of this considerably expands the list of "Helme/Helms" in Barbados.  There were 3 distinct spellings which may or may not be significant.  There are a number of Thomases to be sorted out, then there is Barraby (Barraly in Sarah's will), James, Duton, Benjamin, William and John.

I presume that the John is the one who came here with a Thomas.  Just where the child Thomas (1717) of John and Anne comes in, remains to be seen.  Also who was the John there in 1717? - and Wm. in 1730?

The William could be the Captain William of the F & I War from NJ, or a William who might be related to the NC Helms brothers - or possibly the William at Rockhill, near Quakertown, PA, in the 1790 census.

There was an interesting Book "Barbados and America" by D. L. Kent. It lists another reference "Memoirs of the First Settlement of the Island of Barbados", by Wm. Duke, which lists 758 settlers having over 10 acres.  No Helme or Helms were listed as original settlers.  Quoting Kent: "This Island is inhabited by all sorts, with English, French, Dutch, Scots, Irish, Spaniards, and Negroes.  Civil strife in England brought successive waves of emigrants: discontented Scots under the Stuarts, Cromwell's opponents, Protestants, following the bloody Monmouth reprisals, indentured servants, vagrants, rogues, idle persons, and various sorts of opportunists".  These brought the population to over 20,000 (another source had said 61,000, counting the slaves) where it remained until 1700.

Migration to the mainland began in the earliest times and continued up until the Revolution.  The first Colonists to MD left England on the Dove 1633 arrived at St. Clements Island on the Potomac via Barbados.  According to Chandler: "from 1660-1667 some 10,000 people left Barbados, (mainly in the landless class, initially) and four to five thousand more from 1668-1672 (mainly in the planter class), and, in 1678-82, 2000 more planters".  The hurricane and the Bridgetown fire in 1666 may have contributed to this exodus.  There was an Act of Parliament to bring in more servants in 1696 which resulted in 2000 immigrants.  These were expected to go to the mainland (to "Pensilvania, Carelena and northern Colonies")... where the weather is more temperate, after their indentures.  The decay of the sugar trade after 1730 brought many of the planters to South Carolina.

In 1655, Quaker Friends came to Barbados from England, and in 1671 George Fox organized a "Society" there.  In the early 1700's, there were Meeting Houses at Bridgetown, Speight's Town (Little Bristol), The Spring, The Thickets, Pumpkin Hill, and Heathcote's Bay.  The Migration of Quakers later are abstracted in "Quaker Arrivals at Philadelphia 1682-1750" by A. C. Myers. Speigh's Town was the site of some Maj. Thomas Helme land, sold to Thornhill.

M. P. Thompson said: " There was constant trade in early times with Barbados..." in one week in 1692, there were 4 ships from Barbados at Portsmouth, NH, with cargoes of rum, sugar, salt, and English goods - it is interesting that tobacco was not in the list.  I think it highly likely that the mainland Helms were into this trade.  There was Rouse land near Holetown, as well as Dun, and Dyer lands, all names associated with the RI Christopher Helme family. Dunns and Dyers were sea captains in RI/MA.

Kent says that a small colony sprang up in NJ at New Barbados Neck in Bergen County, Capt. William Standiford patented a 15,000 acre tract, now called New Barbados, in 1668.  Standiford lands were shown on a 1708 Barbados map in St. Andrews and All Saints Parish.  There is no such Parish, it is a junction of several.

R. L. Bowen is quoted as saying that "The connection between Barbados and RI was extremely close.  Many had brothers or kinsmen among the settlers at Barbados and there was constant migration of families between the two places."  RI exported timber, pipe staves, salt fish, cheese, horses, etc. and imported sugar, and molasses, which were made into New England rum.  Pa and VA also had trade with Barbados. Intermarriage and business relations between families residing in Barbados and in the colonies was common.   Kent says the Barbados imprint was deepest in the Carolinas.  The Cape Fear settlement is well known - see "Colonial Records of North Carolina."  That settlement broke up in 1667, the people going to Albemarle and Nansemond Co. in VA, along with people from New England.  The Port Royal settlement in 1670 moved to the Charleston, SC site, in 1680. That province was divided into the same seven parishes as was Barbados.  A driver for the exit of planters from Barbados was that the government of the Restoration of Chas.-II,  questioned the planters land titles in Barbados from the Commonwealth period.

Colonial trade was theoretically stopped by Continental association Act in 1774, but it really did not.  Trade centers continued at: Annapolis, Boston, Norfolk, New London, NY, Annapolis, Boston, Norfolk, New London, NY, New Port, Philadelphia, Portsmouth-NH, Williamsburg, and CapeFear and several districts in VA.

In 1874, J. C. Hotten compiled a list of the early families of the Continental colonies coming from Barbados. That list was augmented by the 1715 Barbados Census which is included in Kent's book, from which the above Helms entries were largely drawn.

Many of the records in Barbados were lost in hurricanes, neglect and deterioration.  The 1715 census had been saved in England.

Passenger lists of Barbados immigrants and emigrants are available in "A Bibliography of Ship Passenger Lists 1538-1825", by H. Lancour and R. J. Wolfe, for which there is a supplement that is available at the Dept of Archives in Barbados.

Kent lists the following Barbados Genealogy Resources:

Dept. of Archives Registration Office Lazaretto Building. Coleridge St. Black Rock Bridgetown St. Michael  St. Michael Barbados

Barbados Public Library Barbados Museum and Historical Coleridge St. Society Bridgetown St. Ann's Garrison St. Michael St. Michael Barbados

Kent indicates that an important Bibliographic Finding Aid is "A Guide to Source Materials for the Study of Barbados History 1627- 1834", by J. S. Chandler. Kent also mentions other references.  That settles the issue of Barbados Genealogical sources.

The Post Office told me that they do not use a Zip or similar postal mail system.

I sent an inquiry to the Archives and received a note showing two Helme wills, and an address of John Medford who is available to do work there.  The wills were ordered through Mr. Medford, together with initiation of a search for other Helm (etc) records there.  A preliminary report and copies of the two wills have been received, new information includes a finding that a Major John Helme also held 200 acres there.

We have completed study of the Barbados information gathered at the Library of Congress, and the latest information from John Medford, and Susan (Helm) Grimshaw.  This paper concerns additional general historical information as well as an analysis of three land transactions there in October and November, 1683 among several people but mainly between Maj. Thomas Helme and Sir Timothy Thornhill.

Helmes land holding in St. James Parish was also discovered on a map showing land holders which was published in 1708.  It is not presently known which Helmes owned that plot; however, it was mentioned in Sarah Helme's will; so, I conclude that it was the original Helme homestead.  However, I conclude that there were several Helme land holdings there. Click here  to view, in a new window, of a map showing two of the land locations.  John Helme had 200 acres which has not been located, as discussed elsewhere in this website.  Presumably, he is the Maj. John Helme who was on the 1679 ships passenger list shared by John Helme.


A set of Three land sales involving Maj. Thomas Helme were described in the Barbados papers studied at the Library of Congress. The sales were as follows: 

Sold By
Bought by
10/1683 Not given Speigh's Town St. Peter Maj. Thos Helme Sir Timothy Thornhill
11/1683,71 Not given . St. Peter Sir Thornhill Maj. Thomas Helme
10/1683 Four Hills . St. Andrews . Group, incl. George Hurst, Maj. Thomas, May. Thornhill
Site 3 was apparently a three way exchange of property in about 1 month's time in Barbados. No monetary considerations were given.  The sales included provisions for handling slaves, who were listed in separate document, not in the record. Based on the date of this, the will of Maj. Thomas Helme, proved in 1681 raises an issue about the above land exchanges by Maj. Thomas in 1683. Of course, the sale could be recorded latter than it occurred.  The reference to Sarah's having land from her son Col. Thomas' estate raises another question.  Was it from his estate meaning land holdings, or a behest.  There is no will for a Col. Thomas.  Maj. Thomas' will shows a son Thomas.  Then, we have Thomas and John Helme as Ship passenger in 1675/1679.  John is no problem, but keeping the Thomases straight is a problem.  Medford thinks that the Col. rank could have been posthumously awarded.
Site 4. The Original Homeplace of Major Thomas and Sarah HELME in St. James Parish
Site 4 is the Helme land holding in St. James Parish, shown on the land holders map of 1708, probably the land mentioned by Maj. Thomas Helme's widow, Sarah, in 1794.  The relationships among the Helmes found in Barbados are not presently known.  Presumably the original Maj. Thomas was the eldest, then a son, Maj. Thomas, later a Colonel additionally, there was a Wm. and another Thomas and a Maj. John.  There were those of a third generation indicated in marriage and birth records.  There were three spellings so there may have been more than one basic Helme family there.  The location of this site is at the lower end of the island as shown on the above referenced map.
The male children of Maj. Thomas and Sarah were: Thomas, John, Barraby (Barraly in the copied will).  The females were: Mary (Chatterbuckle) and Sarah (Eginton). Grand children mentioned were: Dutton, and Elizabeth (Chester), Elza (Eginton), Dorothy (Butler), and Sarah (Butler), spelled Boteler, probably English husbands. Sarah's cousin, Sarah Lewis, was mentioned in Sarah's will. Sarah Helme's name might have been Lewis, but only if her cousin was single.  George Hurst's land holding in all Saints Par. was also shown on the 1708 Land Holders map.  He is also in the Ships Passenger list.

Additional general information follows:

A. Church Implications

One source said that the island had a strong Anglican involvement (but also others, such as the Quakers and even Jews which were reported to have gone to RI and being important in the economic development there).   And, the Helms births reported earlier were in Anglican church records; so, we cannot tell whether the Helme's were Anglican or not.  As with other colonies, only the Anglican records were afforded sanction.

Leaving Barbados and going to New Barbados, (Piscataway, NJ), and being tied in with RI suggests that they were separatists, at least and possibly dissidents, such as Baptists.  Whether this came from their participation in the English civil wars and had to get out or whether they just got into that at Barbados.  They were obviously into the militia according to Medford.

Many military people were listed in the documents cited, a lot of them were deceased!  There was a line of forts and batteries along the Western coast, and the Helms properties were conveniently close to some of the forts.  The Eastern coast was wave battered and rock strewn.  I had previously thought that identification with the military was not compatible with the Baptist faith, but recent reading places them and the Presbyterians heavily into the English civil wars, which might also account for their being in Barbados in the first place.  It probably does place them outside the Moravian and the Quakers.  Both Quakers and Moravian missions were there, and the current references say that there were a lot of Quakers in Barbados.  It has been found that there were some Catholics in Barbados, and that there was friction between them and others.  I have no details on that, except that the Speigh's Town (New Bristol) area is supposed to have been where they were located as was some of Thomas Helme's land.  The ancient Helmes and many others in Lancashire have been shown to have been Catholic, by Susan Grimshaw.  It is not known how that may have influenced the Helms who went to NC. Likely they would have hidden their Catholic faith if they had, been Catholic.  The situation for the Catholics was the same in the "Royal" Colonies as it had been in Britain.  The situation for Catholics in Maryland is a special case.  Open warfare did occur.  Although, the Calverts were Catholic, themselves, they were forced to enforce the adverse British rules on the Catholics here.  There were Helmes in near proximity to the Catholic colony in St. Mary's County, MD.  In fact, they were here during the periods of fighting.  Nothing is known about the effects on them here, nor on the German Palatines, though screened in England, did have Catholics among them.  Preslar was one of those forced to renounce his Catholic faith or be shipped back to Germany.  It appears that he did sign the loyalty oath.  A major provision of the oath, besides mandating Anglican worship, was to swear not to fight against the King.  Some think that many such people were reluctant to go against that oath, and did sit out the Revolution.  There were fights between Catholics and Anglicans in Barbados, of which we know nothing.

B. Additional Sources:

1. New England Historical and Genealogical Register, in which it was said that there were Barbados connections for dozens of New England, VA and SC families.  They wondered if many people who could not follow the genealogical trail back to England might not gain clues on that in Barbados.  Those Islands were often but stepping stones for emigrants bound for New England, often they became prolonged abiding places.  Our families were branches of the same stock as those of that Island and the references in wills, deeds, and powers of attorney to the people of Barbados, are of frequent occurrence among our old families' papers.  Fortunately, we think we know where the Helms involved there went to in the colonies.  I am just now returning to Christopher's kin in RI as a case.  The idea expressed was to have people coming and going, trading, etc.  There was land of Claypoole there near Gun Hill, a signaling prominence.  Even George Washington was there once.  RI was a commercial center with sea-going trade being important, and, apparently, Barbados was the most important colonial trading partner.  I have looked at the other Caribbean Islands but none had the potential of Barbados.  Jamaica was four times as big but was not English initially.  St. Christopher is about the same size as Barbados but was not English initially.  St. Christopher (Present day St. Kitts), was settled in 1633.  It was the "Mother Colony" of the West Indies and had very early English and French settlements.  Major battles were fought at Brimstone Hill, the largest fort in the Caribbean (8000 French troops attacked it in 1782).  French Huguenots were exiled there and later severely tormented there.  To view a map of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) in a new window click here.

2. Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.  It said: "In the years 1660-1667 some 10,000 people, mainly landless freemen and small farmers, left Barbados, followed in 1668 to 1672 by 4000 to 5000 people, mainly the planter class, and in 1678-1682 by another 2000 planters."  This interchange went into reverse as well, where, for instance, Resolved White of the Mayflower appeared in Barbados in 1657.  (The Helmes who were listed on Ships lists were probably in the 1678-82 set [the Thomases and John], but some family members may have been left there, then.  There was one listing of a Thomas Helme there in the 1715 census.)  John Medford said that there was no record of Helmes there after that.  One concludes that the grandchildren must have emigrated to America, with their parents.

3. Quaker Arrivals at Philadelphia 1682-1750, Abstracted by A. C. Myers.

4. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography provides some comments by J. Claypoole in 1682 about the possibilities of trade with Barbados- he described it as a"bridge" for the Quakers..., "next to England itself it was a unifying center for American Quakerism".  Land of a Claypoole was shown on the 1708 map, mentioned earlier.

5. The Early records of the Town of Providence, and Naragansett Historical register talk about the trade with Barbados and quote, "It is a well known fact that many of our earliest settlers came from England this way, and that many of them stayed there a while before coming to Rhode Island".

6. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Archives, provide an account of Capt. Wm. Standford's (Standiford) grant and purchase of The New Barbados site in 1668.

7. The Virginia Magazine of history and Biography, and the Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia describe the large and active trade, the intermarriage and business relations with Barbados, and the movement of people from Barbados to the Colonies.

8. The Colonial Records of North Carolina indicate the deep imprint of Barbados on the history of Cape Fear, and in time Albemarle and Nasemond Co in VA.  I intend to search the possibility that my mother's Lavenders may have been in that move.  A Lavene has been identified in Barbados.

9. South Carolina as a Royal Province 1719-1776, and the South Carolina Historical Society, indicate that "The Barbadian element exercised an appreciable influence upon the society in South Carolina... " where The biographical references cite several dozen early families of SC from Barbados.

10. Pennsylvania and Virginia Gazettes have articles which describe Barbadian trade.

11. The Original lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants; Religious Exiles; Political Rebels; Serving Men Sold for Terms of Years; Apprenticed; Children Stolen; Maidens Pressed; and Others who went from Great Britain to the American Plantations 1600-1700, by John C. Hotten, 1874 includes a large part of the Barbados Census 1679/80 and D. L. Kent added the 1715 Census.

12. Records at Barbados- D. L. Kent details the records which are available at the Department of Archives. This includes records of Churches for some years, Deeds, wills, Powers of Attorneys, and rate books, among other things. Sources of available maps are listed in D. L. Kent's Barbados and America

13. The homepage of the Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists is Use your browser back button to return to this page.

Identified English Resources

The Public record Office (PRO), Kew, near London, has much Barbados information. The most direct portion is in the following classes:

C.O. 1 Colonial Office Papers, C.O. 5 America and West Indies, Original Documents, C.O. 28 Barbados original Correspondence with the Board of Trade, C.O. 30 Barbados Entry Books, C.O. 31 Barbados, Proceedings of Council and Assembly, plus other summary papers and books which Dent also lists.  Perhaps a contact should be made at the PRO.  We need a local researcher, probably.  I also have other guides and references for searches in England.  It was said that Barraby Helme returned to England.  We could search for him there in both Goosnargh, Lancashire County and Long Sutton, Lincolnshire County, and other known places where Helmes had lived, such as London and Gillingham, Dorset County.  Such a search should be for any Helme/Helms spelling, specifically looking for the NC Helms brothers, Tilman, George, and Jonathan and their parents such as William, James, Isaac, or Thomas.  We could follow-up on searches associated with the Isaac Helms found at Dublin for Gerald Helms by the Hiberian Research Company.

Most recently that search has been aided by work now ongoing by an English group headed by Susan (Helm) Grimshaw, herself a descendant of Helmes of England.  A number of English records are being examined.  No conclusions have been reached.  Some of the places associated with the early Helmes in Lancashire were visited by the writer and his wife, Nancy, along with Susan Grimshaw.  There were also short visits to the Records Office at Preston, Eng. and the PRO at Kew, near London.  Records for a number of English Counties have been searched for timely Helmes.  It has been found necessary to broaden the search to other spellings as there were many other spellings used for Helms in England, Elme, Elam, Hellam, and many others.  No comprehensive understanding of all of that has been established.  A major problem or issue has been the fact that many were open and hidden Catholics, and the genealogical data is sparsely available.  In some cases multiple records prevail (Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant).  This considerably complicates our searches, since it was illegal to be other than Anglican in the important period for our searches.  There were Helmes who were martyrs to their faith, people who lost lands, money, and titles.  The recusant rolls of those who refused to worship as Anglicans and fine lists are a source of important Helme family information.  It may be that religious considerations may be the reason for Helmes emigration from England.  If so, and if it has a Catholic flavor, and if the NC Helms stem from that source, the Helms genealogical source material is seriously flawed.  In fact, as we have found with the Preslars, who gave up their Catholic faith under duress by the English, the German Immigrants of our times may have had similar problems.

Barbados Marriages having Related Family Names

The Barbados marriages having related family names are: Mrs. Ann Tilman who married David Carmichael in 1716.  I searched the Pre Colonial GRS disk and did not find either David or Ann (Tilman) Carmichael.  Although, there were Camichaels in Frederick and Queen Ann Counties, MD; Caswell and Surry Counties in NC; Morris County, NJ; 96 district and Orangeburg District in SC; and Halifax County, VA, in the 1772-1779 time period.  That could mean Halifax County, VA, in the 1772-1779 time period.  That could mean that David and Ann probably lived out their lives in Barbados, but just as easily could have gone unreported since the earliest census was 75 years later in 1790.  I had wondered if they had brought children to the Colonies, especially any first marriage Tilman children.  The 15 year old girl listed with Ann in Barbados is a prime example.  This leaves open the possibility that a Helms could have married one of Ann's Tilman children, if there were any.  My focus on this is on Ann's previous Tilman marriage.  We should look for other Tilmans in Barbados passenger lists, and the 1715 census.  If she married a Helms there the family riddle might be solved, thereby.

The other Barbados Marriage of related names was Sarah Jamison who married Thomas Fowler in 1722 in Barbados. I found Thomas Fowlers in the following Colonies:

Norfolk, MA 1677
Rockingham, NH 1776
Burlington, NJ 1774
Washington County, RI 1782 (at N. Kingston)

I did not find any Sarah (Jamison) Fowlers.  These are too early or too late.  These dates would likely be mostly of later generations, anyway.  There is the tendency of the English to use a name over and over in subsequent generations which was the reason to search for Thomas here.  There were lots of Wm. and other Fowlers throughout the Colonies.

This leaves open the possibility that Sarah (Jamison) Fowler was the wife of Moses Helms in a second marriage (after 1722).  That would appear to have been unlikely because of probable difference in ages, but feasible.  (Of course we also have Moses married in England and leaving from Belfast, Ireland in other sources.)

Anyway, it looks like the Thomas Fowlers were in New England primarily.  The one at N. Kingston might correlate with the Baptist Helmes there.

I had been amazed at the number of widows in Barbados listings, it must not have been too healthy there.  The possibility of Mrs. Ann Tilman having children before her marriage to David is a possibility with more potential.  A girl in a first Tilman marriage could have married a Helms in Barbados, or earlier.  Maybe her Tilman never made it to Barbados.  There were Tilmans as well as Tilghmans in Colonial PA.  Maybe there is a little "wiggle room" in the Tilman rather than Tilghman spelling.

I will keep the possibility of a Helms-Tilman marriage, in about 1690-1700 in Barbados, in mind.  --- maybe one of our Thomases, or a John or William.  The marriage lists I had found was a small list considering that there were at least 20,000 or more English there, for decades.



Children Mentioned in the wills:

Major Thomas Helme - 1681

Children: prob. abt 1640+/-
1. John
2. Mary
3. Barraby
4. Sarah (Chester)
5. Thomas
Mentions son-in -law Wm. Chester
Mentions wife Sarah.  There was a Barraby sig. in a 1681 document.

Sarah Helme - 1694

Children: prob. abt 1640
1. Col. Thomas Helme (deceased) if the land mentioned is a behest
2. Mary (Chatterbuckle) Capt. Tobias Chatterbuckle
3. Sarah (Eginton) Lt. Col. John Edinton
Mentions a cousin, Sarah Lewis.

Grand Children Mentioned: (by Sarah only)
Dutton Helmes
Eliz. (Chester) William Chester
Dorothy (Butler) James Boeteler
Sarah (Butler) ___ Boeteler

Chatterbuck (St. Peters Par. near Speight's Town), and Butler l and (St. Thomas Parish near Gun Hill signal prominence, and near the Claypoole land ) was shown on the 1708 map, but not Edington or Chester.

Other Barbados Marriages having Helms like spellings:
Wm. Hallim, 1663,1698
Mary Helme, 1683
Jane Helme, 1689
Wm. Helme, 1683
Mary Hallum, 1683
Jane Hallom,
Mary Hellis, 1734
Samuel Hallum, 1743 (There were Samuels in Christopher Helme's progeny in RI.)

Some of these may be the same people with different spellings.  Note also, Parents in the Birth records, given earlier.  However some of these spellings were present in the Colonies.  There was a Hallam TWP in PA, but no Helms like spelled people have been found there.  Websters Unabridged Dictionary lists halm, same as helm or haulm, straw; also, helma AS or helm, rudder; and helm ME helme or helmem, AS helma or helmian, helmet.

In addition to Helms like spellings, there were numerous Holmes (George, Thomas, James, and Jonathan) found in Barbados records at the Library of Congress.  There were George, Thomas, and Jonathan Helms in NC in about 1760.  There was a timely Jonathan Holmes in Salem Co, NJ. John Medford indicates that Barbados passenger records exist only for 1779, which is not sufficient.  There were also Craggs and Creaghs listed.  Both spellings are found in the Colonies.  At issue would be the possible family of Rachel Craig, wife of Tilman Helms.

I studied the list of rebels exiled in connection with the Monmouth Rebellion, the persons charged with transporting them, and their masters in Barbados.  No Helms like name was on the list.  Many of the prisoners were Scots, who settled in the section of Barbados known as Scot Land, on the East side of the island, where they lived apart from others, and were relatively poor.  They were known as "red legs" because their legs did not tan under their kilts.

Possibly totally unrelated to Barbados, Sands Helme of the RI Christopher Helme died in Surinam which is on the coast of South America.  It is not know how extensive the Helmes involvement with the Caribbean area was.

Preliminary Summary

This work puts substance under the possible roots of John and Thomas Helme, coming from Barbados in 1675-1679.  It does not give sufficient specific clues of their English roots nor does it give direction as to their settlement in the Colonies.  They were thoroughly military in Barbados.  Taking the limited available ship passenger lists, their settlement appears to be in the north east, rather than to the Carolinas or Virginia; although, the passenger lists only account for a fraction of the migrating Barbados people.

We have had two reports from John Medford's work.  Previously, he had suggested searching additional church records for other marriages and births, membership, etc.  So far. no information as to burial sites has been provided. Recently, data on monumental inscriptions in the West Indies is becoming available and is being worked on. St. Christopher (Kitts) was settled by both French and English.

A specific issue is the "Return to England of Barraby Helme".  Susan Grimshaw has shown that many of the Lancashire Helme children were educated in France.  So maybe Barraby went to France for schooling and surfaced someplace else out of our present view.

That may say that the original Maj. Thomas Helme came to Barbados with a family.  I have some information that a Sarah Helme was in Barbados prior to the coming of Major Thomas.  It clear that the Barbados Helmes were of English origin, and came in a military function.  Just how they relate to the events in Britain is not presently known.  For instance, were they exiled there?  They were not listed in the list of rebels of the Monmouth rebellion, nor the transporting authorities.  I reviewed those lists very carefully.  They retained officer ranks in the militia through several generations, so I would think they stood well with English authorities; although, the governing group changed several times during their times there.  I think that having another fellow officer as the originator of New Barbados, NJ and specifically Piscataway, NJ would be strong indication that they would have headed for New Barbados when they came here.  Having Moses Helm (Hellin) own a lot there is also compelling.  Then, having Moses go to the Bethlehem, PA area and having the NC Helms brothers supposedly come from there in the late 1740's is also compelling.  The possible involvement of Helms with the establishment of the Colonial Frontier Fort system in PA, in the early 1740's is also attractive, we need more on that.  Harrisburg is the focus of my search for that.  I have also toured the areas involved, and have reviewed a report on the establishment of those forts.  No Helms have been found connected with that, so far.  It will take a review of several years of legislative history to make out the enabling items on the roads.  I did review a couple of years but did not find the ones involved.

In PA, we need to find more evidence of the NC Helms brothers family being in Bucks County and/or NJ in the early 1740's or Bethlehem in the late 1740's.  So far, the Darby data is the only significant thing we have (which is not Bucks County data).   However, it has been found that the Gloucester County, NJ court records were burned in 1745, destroying some possibly important Helms records.  Also, Gerald Helms has reminded us that the use of the Isreal first name only occurs in the Captain Israel (alias Helm) Swedish line in PA/NJ, and in the North Carolina Helms line.  By now, we have a good collection of other Helm/Helms lines without finding Israel being used.

We also have the opinion of Dr. Peter Craig, based on over 15 years of research in the Delaware river area, that the NC Helms Brothers family will not be found in the PA/DEL River area, and, especially, that they did not come from the Swede Capt. Israel Akeson (alias, Helm); however, this has to be questioned as incomplete, in view of the burning of the court house records of the most appropriate county, Glouchester, in 1745.  A work-around is needed to see if we can find additional information there before 1745.  Dr. Craig has leaned towards a middle colony entrance and path.  The discoveries in Barbados, and especially the background material, do indicate that many Barbadians did go directly to the Carolinas and to Virginia.  The contrary evidence is the Ship Passenger listings for Helms going from Barbados to more northerly ports.  Ships passenger lists for Barbados exist for 1679, only.  So that evidence is not robust.  Also, I have recently re-discovered a reference to Thomas Helms in Ann Arundel County, MD in 1708.  That would be near Annapolis.  A re-visit to Annapolis may be needed.  The discussion about Nasemond County, VA, Albemarle County, NC and SC colonies leads me to want to trace my mother's French Huguenot Lavender family in those transitions.  Benjamin Lavender, Sr. has been listed in NC and SC, from where Benjamin Lavender, Jr. went to Barbour County, AL.  One family story is that Benjamin, Sr.'s to Barbour County, AL.  One family story is that Benjamin, Sr.'s wife's body was transported to VA, by the authorities.  The French may not have had a connection with Barbados, but rather with other Caribbean Islands.  St. Christopher (Kitts) was settled by both French and English.  Our Lavender line has not been traced prior to Benjamin, Sr.  Other Lavender lines exist, but have not been successfully joined.


Rev 8, Nov 2008 added first paragraph in introduction.