Epharilla Thorp / Thorpe / Tharp

Wife of John James Goodman

Epharilla Thorpe may have been a younger sister or niece of Capt. Francis Thorp / Thorpe, of Bedford Co., VA, who was a close neighbor of John and Joseph Richardson and the Fuqua and Callaway families of that County. His name is spelled both ways in various VA Land grants, but the references to other landmarks and neighbors confirm that this is the same person.

On Dec. 26, 1762; Francis Thorp married Elizabeth Callaway. James Callaway, Surety.

The first VA land grant record is to Francis Thorpe, 14 July, 1769 “on the head branches of Goose Creek”. This may be as far as due west of Bedford City, about where US221/460 crosses Goose Creek. However, since Goose Creek meanders a good distance through south Bedford Co., until it joins the Roanoke River near the Bedford / Amherst County lines near Leesville, and many other minor streams join it as it meanders, this reference could be to any of those confluences, including those referenced in the John & Joseph Richardson grants, also on Goose Creek. The later VA Land grants to Francis Thorp / Thorpe are all on Buffalo Creek, which flows south from southwest Lynchburg, to where it joins the Big Otter River.

Francis Thorp was named first Sheriff of Campbell Co when it was split off from Bedford in 1781. He died before April 08, 1790 in Campbell Co., VA.

In “Deeds of Amherst Co 1761-1807 and Albemarle Co. 1748-1763″, is found reference to:” Capt. Francis Thorp, late of New London, Bedford Co.”. New London is today located on the southernmost outskirts of Lynchburg, VA, just off US 460. About 2 miles west of New London, and 1/4 mi w of Buffalo Creek, on US 460, is the Callaway Steptoe Cemetery.

In Virginia Colonial Militia, 1651-1776, Certificates, we find:

  • Name: Wm. Thorp. Comment: native of Virginia, Sergeant. 1755-1762 in the late French war. Certificate signed by Chas. Scott, Brig.-Genl., that he was then regularly discharged. Court Name: Bedford Court Date: Dec 1779
  • Name: John Thorp. Comment: deceased, regular soldier under Genl. Forbes in 1758, and then departed this life. Wm. Thorp, a native of Virginia and heir-at-law of John Thorp, deceased. Court Name: Bedford Court Date: Jan 1780
  • Name: Thos. Thorp. Comment: Corporal in the late French war, 1759-1762. Court Name: Bedford Court Date: Jan 1780

Francis, William and Thomas Thorp were still living in 1780, and John Thorp was deceased. According to other Thorp / Tharp researchers, these were brothers, sons of Thomas Thorp of Essex Co., VA, and they had brothers James and Dodson Thorp. Some researchers have Thomas b 1716, and John b. 1718, as sons by 1st wife Florinda Goode, William b. 1734, and James b. 1735, by unknown and much younger 2nd wife, and Francis b. 1742, and Dodson b. 1743, by unknown 3rd wife. Others have all of these as sons of Thomas Thorp and Florinda Goode.

Robert Hope Goodman’s 1873 letter to daughter Florrie (Florence) states: “My grandfather James Goodman being a young man of adventurous and roving disposition went up into Bedford County – it was then a frontier County and there married a Miss Thorpe daughter of a Widow lady and Scotch by birth who was a noble patriotic woman and stood so high with the Whigs in the Revolutionary War in that part of the Country.”. As their eldest son, John Goodman, was b. Oct 31, 1772, it may be presumed that they married in 1771 or early 1772, and that Epharilla’s father was dead before they married. So, if Epharilla was about 18, and b. ca 1754, only Thomas, John, William or James could possibly have been her father, as Frances and Dodson were supposedly born ca 1742 or later. Therefore, of the Thorps known to be in Bedford Co. at that time, and of an appropriate age to be father of Epharilla Thorp, and given the description in Robert Hope Goodman’s letter, it appears that John Thorp, dec’d, would be the most likely match.

See also the Bedford County, VA abstracts on this site, which contains many references in land transactions and marriage bonds, that firmly establish the close proximity and relationships between these families in Bedford Co.


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