Jacob Anthony (1 May 1745 – 1835)

Where Jacob Anthony came from, and exactly when he arrived in Orange County, North Carolina is unknown.  He was certainly there by the 1779 tax list for Orange County, when he is the only Anthony listed.  The next earlier tax list in 1755, more than twenty years earlier, had no Anthonys.  We know he must have been in the area by about 1776, since it was about that time that he married a woman whose family was already living in Orange County.   Although that marriage date is unknown, his second child was born in late 1777 or early 1778, suggesting that the marriage probably took place around 1775.   He could have come from any of the more northern colonies, or emigrated directly from the Palatinate.  All we know for certain is that he arrived in Orange County alone, unmarried, and aged about 30.

Orange County had been formed in 1752, covering an area of more than six present-day counties, at a time when there were just a few hundred settlers in the area.  Land was plentiful and relatively cheaply granted by the Carolina Proprietors, and by 1767 it had become the most populous county in North Carolina with about 16,000 residents.  Unfortunately, nearly all its records prior to 1779 were lost during the Revolution, though many court records still exist.

Settlement on Stinking Creek

Jacob Anthony’s original purchase of land is among those lost deeds, but his land is referenced in other records.  A North Carolina grant dated 30 September 1779 to Frederick Kimrow [Kimbro?] for 200 acres on Stinking Creek is described as bordering Henry Eustace McCulloch, John Spoon, and Jacob Anthony.1  A few years later, on 13 December 1782, when 270 acres belonging to McCulloch, a Loyalist, were confiscated and sold to James Williams, that land was also described as bordering Jacob Anthony.  Another North Carolina grant, dated 5 June 1784, to the same James Williams for 220 acres on Stinking Quarter Creek adjoining Peter Welton, Jacob Anthony, and McCulloch also refers to the same Jacob Anthony land.2 When James Williams sold those adjoining tracts on Stinking Quarter Creek on 9 October 1786, the land was described as bordering “Jacob Antony’s field”.3

Stinking Quarter Creek is a lengthy tributary of the Alamance Creek of the Haw River, running westerly across what is now central Alamance County and into Guilford County.  The western reaches of the creek were in Guilford County when it was created in 1770, and the eastern part of the creek fell into Alamance County at its creation in 1849.   Jacob Anthony’s land was located in what became Alamance County, a few miles east of the Guilford County line, and not far from the farm of Michael Holt on which the famous battle of Alamance was fought in 1771.  The Alamance Creek and Stinking Quarter Creek area of old Orange County, near the present town of Burlington, was settled almost exclusively by German Lutheran and Reformed families, beginning in the 1750s.

On 22 February 1788 Jacob Councilman sold to “Jacob Antony” of Orange County, for 105 pounds, 230 acres bordering John Albright, Moser, and Fogelman.4 As Jacob Antony of Orange County, he then sold 100 acres of this land, for 40 pounds, to Malachi Fogelman on 28 March 1791, describing it as cornering with “Fogelman’s old land” and “Albright’s corner.” 5 The deed was signed by Jacob Anthony in what appears to be a German hand.

I have not looked at Orange County deed books after 1800, but I found no record of his acquiring the original land on Stinking Creek, nor any record of its disposition.  The land mentioned in his will was apparently the balance of the land he purchased in 1788 from Councilman.

Jacob Anthony is mentioned once more in pre‑1800 records of Orange County.  The 27 February 1793 will of Philip Snoterly, proved November 1793, named his “trusty friends Peter Foust and Jacob Anthony” as executors.6

Unrelated Anthonys in the area

There are other Anthonys mentioned in the Orange County records, the first being a sale by a John Anthony of 300 acres to Henry Eustace McCulloch on 14 May 1765.  Although this coincidence is tempting, it does appear to be merely a coincidence.  McCulloch was by far the largest landowner in central North Carolina.  John Anthony (who died in 1786) and his sons John, Jonathan, Elijah, William and Joseph lived in that part of Orange that became Caswell County, and appear to have been English rather than German.  A James Anthony, possibly related to John, was appointed to a road jury to lay out a road from the Caswell County line on 26 February 1790.  Perhaps the same James Anthony was witness to a deed on 7 August 1795 and again on 7 August 1798.7 He was apparently the James Anthony who died 1799 in Guilford County leaving sons Jonathan and Obediah.8 Both families appear to be unrelated to Jacob Anthony, other than being located in the same general area of North Carolina.  I suspect some of the Orange County marriage records refer to members of all three of these Anthony families.

He Marries Mary Magdalena Shofner

Jacob Anthony married Mary Magdalena Shofner, daughter of Michael Shofner.  Michael Shofner’s will, dated 27 September 1810, mentions his four sons but only one daughter, Magdalena, and calls Jacob Anthony his “well beloved son in law”.  ((Orange County, NC Will Book D p342.)) The will named Jacob Anthony and Mallica (sic) Fogelman as executors.  All of the people mentioned in the will are buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran church a couple miles west of the Anthony land.9 Among the gravestones, written in German, is an old one for “Molly Anthony wife of Jacob Anthony” who died 23 March 1827 “aged 70 years.”  Although her father’s will calls her Magdelena,  she was apparently “Mary Magdalena” which explains the “Molly”.  Jacob Anthony and his wife “Mary Magdalene” were recorded as baptismal sponsors in the records of the Stoner Lutheran Church in Alamance County in 1806.10

E. M. Anthony’s Letter

A letter written by Ephraim M. Anthony (1836‑1908), a son of Adam Anthony and grandson of Jacob Anthony, on 30 July 1902 to Thomas Shofner, and published in the Shoffner Family History, confirms the marriage and lists some of the children.  ((Shoffner Family History, Margaret Shoffner DeMoss (privately published, 1971), p39.))

My grandmother was Magdalena Shofner, married to my grandfather Jacob Anthony in North Carolina.  She was a full sister to Martin and Peter Shofner.  The children were Henry Anthony, Jacob Anthony, Nicholas Anthony, Adam Anthony, and Paul Anthony.  Henry Anthony remained in North Carolina, Jacob settled in Lincoln County, Tennessee; Nicholas lived on a large farm where Chris Shofner now lives.  Adam Anthony lived on a big farm on which brother Peter S. Anthony now lives.  Paul Anthony lived in Nordaway County, Mo.  In my grandfather’s family there were five sisters who remained in North Carolina.

Jacob Anthony’s Will

Jacob Anthony’s will, dated 31 July 1828 and proved May 1835 in Orange County, North Carolina, states “I was born the first day of May 1745”.11 He gave “to my daughter Mary Moser my plantation where I now live on containing 145 acres…subject to the following condition, to wit, by my daughter Mary Moser paying to each of my other twelve children, them or their heirs, the sum of fifty dollars apiece, paying the first payment within one year after my death to my eldest son Jacob, then each in succession according to seniority annually until the whole of my twelve children receive the sum of fifty dollars apiece.” He appointed his son Henry Anthony and Adam Wrightsel executors.  He further stated he wished his household and stock to be “sold and divided equally amongst my thirteen children.”  The will was signed by Jacob Anthony with his mark, with A. W. Albright the only witness.  I found no further reference to the administration of the estate.

Children are Uncertain

The children of Jacob Anthony and Magdalena Shofner are not entirely certain.  His will speaks of thirteen living children but names only three.  The abovementioned letter by his grandson mentions only five sons and five unnamed daughters.  The Shofner history identifies one of the five daughters as “Magdalena”, but it lists a total of seven sons (adding a George and a Peter).12 To confuse matters more, in 1950 a Mrs. Glenn P. McPherson supplied the author of a Bedford County, Tennessee book with a list of eleven children of Jacob Anthony and Magdalena Shofner, along with their spouses.13 She listed only three sons: Henry, Adam, and Nicholas but gave the names of eight daughters: Dorothy, Margaret, Sallie, Betsy, Eve, Katie, Mary, and Barbara – omitting her evidence in each case.

It seems clear from the census records that Jacob Anthony had five or six sons.  By 1790 he was the only Anthony in Orange County, so that subsequent Anthonys in the area are likely to be his children.  The lack of an 1800 census record for Jacob is a problem, but we can work around it.  Henry and Jacob Jr., the eldest sons, were maintaining separate households by 1800, so the remaining sons (save perhaps Nicholas) were presumably living with Jacob.  By 1810 Jacob Jr. and Nicholas were already in Tennessee, Henry Anthony still maintaining a separate household in Orange County, and Jacob had one male under 10 and two males 10-16 in his own household.  That totals six apparent sons. Who were the three younger sons?  By 1820 two were out of the household. Of these two, we can identify only Adam Anthony, who had married in 1819 and had his own household in 1820.  The other was probably Powell Anthony, not found in 1820 but present in 1830 and 1840 and the right age to have been the second male aged 10-16 in 1810.  The sixth son is unknown – he would have been the male aged under 10 in 1810, and aged 16-18 in 182014, but no candidates appear later in either North Carolina or Tennessee.  There are two possibilities:  He may have died young, or this “son” may actually have been his grandson Young Anthony.  Note that Young Anthony was in Orange County to marry about 1823, and was living there as late as 1840.  The fact that Ephraim M. Anthony mentioned only the other five sons support either possibility.

If there were six sons, the other seven children living in 1828 must have been daughters – possibly eight daughters if that sixth son died before 1828.  Under the assumption that all the Anthony females married in Orange County were his daughters, we can tentatively identify five of them.  The remaining three children, all evidently daughters, are unidentified.

Ten of the Thirteen Children:

  1. Jacob Anthony Jr. (ca 1775 – 1830s?) was called “my eldest son” in Jacob Anthony’s will.  He was evidently the Jacob Anthony enumerated just over the line in Guilford County in the 1800 census, he and his wife both 16-26 and a young son under 10.  He apparently went to Tennessee quite early, as a Jacob Anthony and a Nicholas Anthony appeared on the 1812 tax list of Bedford County, Tennessee.  The 1820 Bedford census is incomplete, but he is probably the same Jacob Anthony who appeared in the Franklin County, Tennessee (adjacent to Bedford) census of 1830 aged 50‑60.  He was not located in 1840, and I presume he died in the 1830s.  His widow was evidently Barbara Low.  A “Mrs. Barbara Antony” was in the 1840 Franklin County census with a household matching that of the1830 census.  On 25 February 1845 the heirs of Samuel Low, one of whom was Barbary Anthony, sold land on Thompson’s Creek in Bedford County to John Anthony.15 Jacob and Barbara appear to have had four daughters in the 1830 census, but only one son.  The son was evidently the John Anthony to whom the land was sold.
  2. Henry Anthony (c1777 ‑ 20 June 1862), an executor of Jacob Anthony’s will, stayed in North Carolina, appearing in the 1800 through 1840 censuses in Orange County.  He was clearly married shortly before 1800, as that census shows him and his wife, both aged 16-26, with one son under ten.  That son is missing from the 1810 census household.  Alamance County was formed from that part of Orange in 1849, and he appears in the 1850 Alamance census with his age given as 73 and birthplace as North Carolina.  His wife in that census was named Mary (age 68).  She was Mary Garrett according to the St. Paul’s records.  The 1860 census shows Henry (age 83) and Mary (age 78) still in Alamance County.  Henry’s will was proved in Alamance County in 1862. 16 He is buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where his gravestone says he died 20 June 1862 at the age of 84.  His wife “Mary Ann Anthony, wife of Henry Anthony” is buried next to him with a death date of 5 June 1864 “aged 78 yrs.”  From census records they appear to have had two sons and one daughter.  The sons seem to be: Daniel Anthony (28 November 1812 – 24 June 1883)  who is buried with his wife Barbara Albright (3 December 1814 – 8 November 1879) at St. Paul’s;  William Anthony (30 Jan 1816 – ?) living next door to Henry in 1850 but listed as “Jacoban”, and Barland Anthony (c1814) also living next door to Henry in 1850.
  3. Nicholas Anthony (c1780 ‑ 1859)    See separate page.
  4. Margaret Anthony (18 March 1783 – August 1855).  She married Frederick Moser about 1799, according to descendants.  She was Moser’s second wife, and had several children by him.  In the 1820 census, they are four households away from Jacob Anthony.  Her husband died in 1839, and she appears as head of household in Alamance County in 1850, age 65.  She is buried at St. Paul’s, with her stone giving her birth and death dates and her name as “Margaret, wife of Frederick Moser.”  Among their many children was an Anthony Moser who was perhaps named for her family surname.  Powell Anthony was bondsman for the marriage of Turley, one of her daughters.
  5. Adam Anthony (c1795 ‑ 1878) was born about 1795 according to the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses of Bedford County when he was listed with a wife named Sally (born c1797 in NC).  He is the only child of Magdalena Shofner Anthony whose descendants are listed in the  Shofner family book.   According to that book his wife was Sarah Mitchell (1797‑1884), buried with him in the Shofner Chapel, whom Adam married about 1819. 17 However, a marriage bond in Orange County, North Carolina shows the marriage of Adam Anthony to Sally Sharp on 24 April 1819.18 Adam appears to have stayed in North Carolina through the 1820 Orange County census, and then moved to Tennessee.  He first appears in Bedford County in the 1830 census.  Adam died in Bedford County, Tennessee in 1878.  There are several records of the settlement of his estate that identify his children.19 Both he and Sarah are buried in the Shofner Lutheran Chapel graveyard there.  Records of his estate and family records identify seven children as:  Lottie Ann Anthony (c1820‑1862),  John Anthony (c1822‑aft1881) who married Tabitha Short, Polly Anthony (1825‑1887), Wilson Anthony (c1827‑1861) who married Rachel Karr, Anderson Anthony (26 Feb 1830‑30 Apr 1892) who married Mariah Poe, Daniel Anthony (c1832‑1872) who married Sarah Thacker, Ephraim M. Anthony (c1837‑1908) who married Sarah Kimbro, Ellen Riddle,and Annie Morton, Peter Sharp Anthony (c1840‑1911) who married Sallie Riddle, and Margaret Jane Anthony (c1843‑?).
  6. Powell Anthony (c1799 – aft1840)  He is mentioned as a son of Jacob Anthony, his name given as “Paul Anthony”, in the Shoffner book as “b cir. 1799, lived in Nordaway (sic) County, Missouri.”20 I found no census record for a Paul Anthony anywhere in Missouri for 1830/40/50.  However, he is listed as “Powell Anthony” in the 1830 and 1840 censuses of Orange County, with his age given as 30-40 in 1830 and 40-50 in 1840.  That makes him too old to have been the male 16-18 in his father’s 1820 household, though I could not find Powell Anthony in a separate household in 1820.  As Paul Anthony, he was bondsman for a marriage in Orange County in 1831.21 As “Powel Anthony”, he was executor of the will of Letty Neece dated 12 December 1832.22 I did not find him after 1840.  As an intriguing coincidence, I note that a Powell Kimbrough, a neighbor of Jacob Anthony and brother-in-law of Frederick Moser, died in 1795.23 Could this son have been named for him?
  7. Barbara Anthony (? – ?) was surely another daughter.  She married David Holt, a near neighbor, by bond dated 3 August 1817 in Orange County.
  8. Elizabeth Anthony (c1790? – ?) is surely another daughter.  She married Henry Thomas, another near neighbor, by bond dated 29 February 1808 in Orange County.  In the 1820 census they are three households away from Jacob Anthony, both aged 26-45.
  9. Eve Anthony (c1790? – ?) was another daughter.  A marriage bond for her marriage to Daniel Sharp, son of neighbor Sebastian Sharp, was dated 28 February 1812 in Orange County, with Henry Anthony the bondsman.  They were in Orange County censuses through 1840, but not found thereafter. At least three of their sons, Anderson, William, and Daniel Jr. were in Clinton County, Missouri by the 1850 census.
  10. Mary Anthony (c1799 – 1840s?) is mentioned in Jacob Anthony’s will as his youngest daughter Mary Moser.  According to Moser researchers, she was the wife of Henry Moser, nephew of the Frederick Moser who married Margaret Anthony.  She is not mentioned in the Shofner book, but was given as the wife of Henry Moser by Mrs. McPherson.  There is no marriage bond in Orange County for their marriage.  She was apparently the daughter aged 16-26 in her father’s 1820 household, and the female aged 30-40 in Henry Moser’s 1830 household, with one female child aged 5-10.  In 1840 Henry Moser has a female aged 40-50 and no children.  The 1850 census record for Henry Moser in Alamance County shows Henry (age 50) with two Mary Mosers in his household (the first aged 35 and the second aged 44).  Neither of these are old enough to be Mary Anthony, and one of them was evidently a second wife who was also named Mary.  Henry Moser (4 August 1798 – 17 May 1852) is buried at St. Paul’s with a wife named Mary Graves.  When Mary Anthony died is uncertain.

    Possible Children:

    There were presumably three other children, but we have a total of six candidates according to two secondary sources.   The only daughter mentioned in the Shofner family book was “Magdalena Anthony to Tenn. 1820”; no further mention was made and no evidence was given.24 Jacob Anthony’s 1820 census household included a female aged 16-26, but that was presumably Mary Moser.  I don’t see any evidence that there was such a daughter.   The Shofner book also lists two additional sons: “George Anthony b cir. 1801, lived in East Tennessee” and “Peter Anthony b cir. 1803, lived in West Tennessee”.25 No supporting evidence was given for either claim.

    Mrs. McPherson omitted all three of these and added three daughters, with no evidence provided:  Dorothy Anthony who married John Ingold,  Sallie Anthony who married Daniel Thomas, and Katie Anthony who married Thomas Steele.26

    Finally, there is a gravestone at St. Paul’s for a Jacob Anthony who died 31 December 1833 aged 20 years.  He was evidently a grandson of Jacob Anthony, but whose son he was is unknown.  He does not seem to appear in the 1820 or 1830 census households of any of the Anthony children.


  1. Land Grant Records of North Carolina, Volume I, Orange County, 1752-1885, Elizabeth Bailey.  John Spoon, the adjoining landowner, was a son-in-law of George Freidrich Fogleman. []
  2. Orange County, NC Deed Book 3, p113. []
  3. Orange County, NC Deed Book 4, p397. []
  4. Orange County, NC Deed Book 4, p174. []
  5. Orange County, NC Deed Book 4, p468. []
  6. Orange County, NC Will Book B p255. []
  7. Orange County, NC Deed Book 4, p452. []
  8. Guilford County Will Book A, p2. []
  9. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church existed in some form as early as 1770 but was not renamed St. Paul’s until 1839 when a new building was built.  The church is located near Stinking Quarter Creek in Alamance County, about 4-5 miles east of the Guilford County line.  These gravestones are nearly all written in German. []
  10. Translation by Rev. D. I. Offman, from a correspondent in Alamance.  Stoners was a Reformed church which had split from the St. Paul’s congregation. []
  11. Orange County, NC Will Book  I, p38. []
  12. DeMoss, p40.  The book provides no evidence for the children. []
  13. Bedford County, Tennessee, Bible Records, Volume I, Helen Crawford Marsh (Reprint by Southern Historical Press, 1985), p44. []
  14. This census had a column for males aged 16-18 and another for males aged 16-26.  The instructions to the Marshals were to count males ages 16-18 in both columns:  ”It will be necessary to remember, that the numbers in the columns of free white males between 16 and 18 … will be repeated in the column of those between 16-26.”  The objective was to identify males reaching prime military age.  Jacob Anthony’s census record shows one in each column, thus presumably a single person. []
  15. Bedford County Deed Book TT, p407 []
  16. Alamance County Will Book 1, p198 []
  17. DeMoss, p39. []
  18. It is possible he married earlier.  The 1820 census shows him with a male aged 5-10 in the household, who does not appear in later records of his family. []
  19. Bedford County Deed Book TTT, p37, p233, p418 for instance. []
  20. DeMoss, p40. []
  21. He was bondsman for the marriage of William Steele and Turley Moser (his niece, daughter of Frederick Moser and Margaret Anthony) on 26 December 1831. []
  22. Orange County, NC Will Book F, p21. []
  23. Orange County Court Minutes 1787-1795, p102. []
  24. DeMoss, p40 []
  25. Ibid. []
  26. Bedford County, Tennessee, Bible Records, Volume I, Helen Crawford Marsh (Reprint by Southern Historical Press, 1985), p44. []