Jeremiah HEATH of Craven County (1793-1867)

by | Oct 2, 2016 | 2 comments

I began collecting data about my fifth great-grandfather Jeremiah Heath around 20 years ago. Sadly, I did not do a great job of documenting my sources for where I obtained data, but still, I have so much about him in my notes that I think I should post it here and invite anyone who might have been responsible for this data to comment below.

Jeremiah Heath organized the Core Creek Free Will Baptist Church at Cove City, NC in 1865, two years before his death in 1867.

A memorial Grave Stone for Jeremiah Heath and his wife Holland Jones is located in the Heath Cemetery N. of HWY 70, near the South intersection of Heath Swamp Loop Road and N.C. HWY 41, on the McCoy farm, at GPS Latitude N35:09.633 and Longitude W077:19.810.

The actual grave site for Jeremiah Heath and his wife Holland Jones is located at Asbury, Craven Co NC at GPS Coordinates N35:12.524 and W077:17.278. GPS accuracy is within 18 feet.

Their graves are marked by a single white marble stone approx 10 inches wide and approx 28 inches high, in an abandoned cemetery, overgrown with brush and trees. The stone marker was donated and placed at their graves by Lathan Riggs, Farmer, and Dick Davis, Past Mayor of Cove City, both deceased. There are several graves in the cemetery without grave markers. Directions; From Cove City N. C. proceed S. on Old Hwy 70 approx 2 miles, turn left, onto N.C. State Road 1232 and proceed to Asbury and turn left onto a gated farm road at N35:12.462 and W077:16.760, proceed approx one half mile and stop at the first wooded area left of the farm road. Walk South along the woods edge to a corner, turn right, cross ditch, and follow woods edge approx 100 yards West to the crest of a low hill at N35:12.509 and W077:17.278. Graves are located approximately 80 feet into the woods. Thanks to L.C. Conway, Davis Road, Asbury, N.C. for assisting with locating the graves.

Jeremiah recorded some his family records in his personal copy of the “Baptist Articles of Faith”, printed in Newbern, 1837. The initial entries were written by Jeremiah, including the birth record of himself and his wife Holland, the births of all eight of their children. He wrote this about the death of his wife Holland Heath. “My wife departed this life the 15 day of November 1841 aged 44 years and three months and one day. She a loss to me that time can never repair. Jeremiah Heath” . Under Jeremiah’s signature is Chole E. Heath.

Jeremiahs son William T. Heath recorded the death of his father in his fathers Baptist Articles of Faith Book.

In 1807, Jeremiah Heath joined the Free Will Baptist Conference. At that time, there were 800 members. He became a FWB minister in 1823. He was a minister in the Free Will Baptist Church for 43 years. In 1839, Jeremiah made a motion to the FWB Convention that all FWB ministers should confess their loyalty to the principals and practices of the conference. He lost the vote and so he struck his name from the church roll. (N. C. Disciples of Christ by Charles Grossfield Ware).

In 1841, the Craven County School District No. 05, lists as being on the school committee William Heritage, Samuel Parson, and Jeremiah Heath. On the list of children attending school in this district, between the ages of 5 and under 20, are the following six Heath children: Zilphy, William, Rigdon, Cloe E., Tarcy, Holland Ann. (Ref. Microfilm C.028.90039).

Jeremiah is said to have traveled in the Western “countries”, or states. From letters written by his brother, Rigdon, and his nephew, Needham Jones, we know that he traveled to Georgia at least once to visit his mother, and that he mentioned plans to visit family members in Texas. Family tradition says that he told the story that when he crossed the mountains “they were so high he could wash his hands in the clouds”. Another family tradition says that Jeremiah bought a new set of clothes to go to Georgia to visit his mother but never got to go because the civil war broke out.

1850 Census of Craven Co. NC; Jeremiah, age 54, is living in Household 942, with Son Rigdon age 27, Dau Chole Elizabeth age 23, Dau Terecy age 20, Dau Holland age 18 and Robert White, aged 22. His wealth is listed at $500 and profession as surveyor. A wife is not listed.

Jeremiah was left guardian to the William Scott McCoy children after they were left orphans in 1860. (It is possible that William Scott McCoy’s wife, Macy Jones, was sister to Jeremiah’s wife, Holland Jones. This would explain why Jeremiah was appointed their guardian). Some of McCoy children lived with friends and relatives until after the Civil War. The younger children lived with Jeremiah, including Alexander McCoy who was captured in Union uniform at Beech Grove and tried as a traitor in Kinston. When the war was over, family tradition says that one of the former slaves gathered up the children that were left and took them back to the home place. The home place is where Paul McCoy lives today.

During the Civil War, Jeremiah appears to have been a Unionist. In October of 1863, he obtained a permit to pass through the lines into Newbern. The pass states that “The bearer Mr. J. Heath & son Rigdon have permission to go to Newbern & return. Both are loyal men to the U. S.” The pass is signed by P. J. Claassen Col. Col. Peter Claassen was in the 132nd NY Army. The following day, on Oct. 14, 1863, Jeremiah took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

Jeremiah Heath Obituaries

Obituary extracted from the Early History of the Free Will Baptists

Elder Heath, son of Rigdon Heath, was born the 4th of Oct 1793. At the age of 15, he was induced to try to procure and education, which he did by going to school three months, and working three months. By this means he obtained a common education. At the age of 24 years, he married Holland Jones, and they both united with the Free Will Baptist church at Stoney Branch, Craven County. He commenced to preach the gospel at the age of 31 years. He traveled and preached considerably and made a large circle of friends. He lived on Core Creek, Craven County. He preached his last sermon the first Sunday of February 1867, and on the 22nd of said month, he yielded his spirit to the God who gave it. He bore his afflictions with Christian fortitude. Just before he died, he said that he thanked God that he was going to a better world than this, where his troubles would be all over. He requested his Son William to tell all his brother preachers farewell, that he hoped to meet them in heaven. Thus died the good man full of years with heaven in his view.

Obituary located in the Heath Family Papers, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina

Obituary of Jeremiah Heath written by George Harrison, a fellow Elder in the Free Baptist Church: “Elder Jeremiah Heath was the son of Rigdon Heath and Elizabeth Heath. He was born the 4th of October in the year of 1793. His father died when he was but six years old. His mother was married the second time to Elisha Hall (when he was seven years old). He (Elisha) was a good and kind father in law (This was an old term used by the author. Actually Elisha was Jeremiah’s step father). Elder Heath at the age of 15 was advised by his step father and of his friends to procure an education which he did by working 3 months for the privilege of going to school 3 months. By this means he obtained a Common education. At the age of 24 he married Hollon Jones the daughter of Thomas Jones. His wife was of a good family of good standing and character. He and his wife united with the Free Will Baptist Church at Stony Branch, Craven County. At the age of 28 he was received by Elder Jesse Heath and baptized by him. At the age of 31 he commenced to preach the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was true to attend his appointment. He traveled and preached considerable during his life. He never ceased to blow the Gospel trumpet. He made a large circle of friends and many followers of the Lamb of God. Edmond Heath, a member of the Free Will Baptist Church, says he is eleven years his senior and has known Elder Heath from boyhood until his death, that he was a pious youth from boyhood up to the time of his uniting with the Church. He was a man that ruled well in his house. In the Churches he had the care of and was greatly respected in his neighborhood. He was the father of eight children, all survived him except his eldest daughter. They were all members of the Free Will Baptist Church. The writer of this heard Elder Heath relate the dying hours of his eldest daughter in the last sermon he ever heard him preach. He stated hear his words were “Sweet rivers of redeeming love lie just before mine eyes”. He preached his last sermon the first Sunday in February 1867 and on the 22nd of the same month he yielded up his spirit to the God who gave it. He bore his afflictions with Christian fortitude and patience and said in his last hours he thanked his God that he was going to a better world than this where his troubles would be over. He requested his son William to tell all his brother preachers fare well. He hoped they would meet him in Heaven. Thus died the good man full of years and a blessed hope beyond the grave.”
The following note was attached to the above hand written obituary; “To: Mr. Gary Barefoot, Re: Obituary of Elder Jeremiah Heath, Cove City, N.C. The obituary you have was found in a Bible which formerly belonged to the late Rev. George Harrison who was an active minister at the time of the death of Elder Heath, and may have served on the committee to write the Item. This appears to be the original from which the one printed in the Harrison and Barfield History was written. Carol Hansley, 1973”.

Craven County Heritage Book: Several records recounting the life events of Jeremiah Heath are published in the Craven County Heritage Book.

Deed Records for Jeremiah Heath

#2037 Nov. 2, 1833, 100 acres in Craven County on the South Side of Core Creek and both sides of Great Branch joining Heath’s Line and Simmon’s Line.

#140 May 19, 1836, 75 acres Craven County, North Side of Bachelor’s Creek and East Side of Beaver Dam Branch near mouth of B D Branch joining Blackledge’s Patent.

#252, Oct. 27, 1840, 100 acres Craven County near head of Core Creek and South Side of said creek between the little laurel swamp and the head of Core Creek adjoining lines of Samuel S. Biddle and Richard White.

#344, Jan. 2, 1845, 80 acres Craven County South Side Neuse River adjoining lines of Turner on South Side of Core Creek and adjoining lines of Allen’s Patent Fonville’s Patent on the West Side of Dias Branch.

#345, Jan. 2, 1845, 20 acres Craven County, South Side Neuse River on Moseley’s Creek adjoining lines of Marmaduke Moye DEC. and lines of Blackledge patent and Loften.

#617, Dec. 30, 1857, 200 acres Craven County, South Side Neuse River, Southwest Side Core Creek, adjoining own line.

Will of Jeremiah Heath

Craven County Records, Book D, Page 444.
“I, Jeremiah Heath, of the State of North Carolina and County of Craven, being in sound mind and sound memory, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form following. First I appoint my son William T. Heath or his successors my Executors to this my last will and Testament. First item and bequeath and give to my son William T. Heath all my estate both real and personally and all moneys due to said estate to him and his heirs and assigns forever that can be collected under the following restrictions that is to say, my said son William T. Heath, him, his heirs and assigns is to settle all claims or debts that may come against my said estate according to and my desire is that my said Executor Settle Furnifold Avery Estate in the best way he can so as to save the land for my daughter Holland’s two sons. Witness and hand and seal this 27th day of December, 1866.” Witnesses: Timothy McCoy and Augustus McCoy

Estate Papers for Jeremiah Heath

Located in the Heath Family Papers, ECU Joyner Library, Greenville, NC
Transcriber’s note: The misspelled words in the estate records are written as originally scribed.
“Sold out of the Estate of Jermiah Heath, 2080.00, Two Thousand and Eighty dollars.
William T. Heath, Execr.
Sold of the Estate of Jeremiah Heath.
One Horse Bridle an saddle at one hundred dollars in 1867.
Sold to G Pem 15 hed of hogs at 60 dollars in 1867.
Collected in Jones County twenty dollars.
Collected in Lenor county 20 dollars.
Sold tew hundred acres of land in Dover Percosen to P C Heath and brothers at 80 dollars in 1875.
Sold Olev Daughety 1 buket at 10 dollars in 1867.
One hors bridel an caddel to Ely Perry at one hundred dollars in 1867.
Paid six dollars court at Trenton in a suit against the Estate in 1867 (this line was marked thru).
Sold to Mattew Tisdel 18 head of hogs at (ten) seventy dollars in 1867 (the ten was marked thru).
Collected in Jones county twenty dollars.
Collected in Lenor County twenty three dollars.”

From N.C. State Archives:

Estate Papers, Recorded in Book of Settlements Folio 305, filed Jan. 3, 1882
(William T. Heath, Jeremiah’s son, administered Jeremiah’s Estate.)
Amount received from Said Estate:
April 1867 Watch sold to Olive Daugherty $10.00
April 1867 Horse Bridle & Saddle 100.00
April 1867 18 Head of hogs 70.00
June 1867 From clerk Sup. Court of Jones Co. 20.00
April 15 1874 From clerk Sup. Court of Lenoir Co. 23.00
Sept 9 1878 From sale of Land belonging to Estate 81.00
Total $304.00

Amount disbursed By ? Allowed $30.40
Amt. paid my Atty 13.00
Amt paid Clerk Bryan 3.00
Amt paid carpenter 4.00
Expenses to Jones 6.00
Expenses to Lenoir 6.00
Expenses in collections &c 37.60
Total $80.00

Amount for Distribution $224.00

Claims paid
April 8 1867 Amount paid Eli Perry $100.00
April 8 1867 Amount paid Miles Hawkins 7.50
June 1868 Amount paid H. A. Avery 50.00
June 1868 Amount paid Frederick Jones 4.00
July 1867 Amount paid Daniel Harrison 10.00
April 1867 Amount paid Alx Taylor 1.50
Jan 1870 Amount paid James Bryan 8.00
Jan 1869 Amount paid H. T. Richardson 8.00
May 1867 Amount paid Olive Daugherty 25.00
April 10 1871 Amount paid Fred Mclevy 176.00
Taxes from 66 40.00
Total $430.00

Amounts Unpaid: Daniel Harrison $116.45, S. W. Chadwick 219.15, Olive Daugherty 132.19, Mary A. Heath 164.40, W. T. Heath 175.00, Wm. Fife 50.00, Edmund Heath 75.00, Edward Rhem 600.00 Total $1532.19

Total amount of claims to be paid prorata $1962.19 with $224.00 .
Sworn and subscribed to by William T. Heath, audited found correct and ordered to be recorded and filed this 14 day of Sept 1878.

“North Carolina, Craven County, Henry Daugherty maketh oath that he posted up copies of within notice at the court house in Newbern and at Tuscarora and Core Creek on the 20th of March. H. P. Daugherty, sworn to and subscribed before me this 6th day of June A. D. 1867 by W. Charlton, J. P.”

“NOTICE. The subscriber having on the 11th day of March 1867 qualified according to law on the estate of Jeremiah Heath dec’d hereby gives general notice to all creditors of said estate to present their claims duly authenticated within the time limited by law for that purpose otherwise this notice will be pleaded in bar of recovery. Debtors to the said estate will also please to make payment immediately. March 16, 1867. Wm. T. Heath, Executor”
Recorded in Book B of Account Pages 51 & 52. Filed Sept 14, 1878.

Amount on hand $224.00 January 11, 1881
Amount paid by D. Harrison, S. W. Chadwick, M. A. Heath, Olive Daugherty, and Probate Court $57.50, leaving a balance of $166.50
Balance of claims unpaid by Wm. A. Cox, Geo. West, Robt Jarman, Becon Islar, Lot Williams, Frank Thomas, Lewis Mercer, Jno Anden, Shadrach Loften, Geo. Charlton, Carmon Moore, Ed Arnold, M. C. Bogey, Furny Timmons, John A. Averitt in Jones County for a total of $293.00.
Balance in estate $477.00
Sworn subscribed by William T. Heath, audited and ordered to be recorded and filed this 11th day of Jan. 1881 E. W. Carpenter P.J.
Recorded Jan. 11 1881, Recorded in Book b. of accts Folio 215.

W. T. Heath Exr of Jeremiah Heath in account final:
Jan. 3, 1882 To amt of property received $430.00
By amt paid out as per reports filed 841.00
By exp of this report 2.00
Total 843.00
– 430.00
Balance due Exr $413.00
Signed William T. Heath. Sworn subscribed audited found correct & ordered to be recorded & filed. E. W. Carpenter J. P.


The grave Site of Jeremiah and wife Holland is located at N Latitude 35;12.524 and W. Longitude 077;17.278 in an abandoned cemetery overgrown with trees and brush West of NC State Road 1232 at Asbury, Craven Co. NC

Burial: Asbury, Craven Co., NC
Census: 1850, Listed as a surveyor, age 54. Robert White, aged 22, also lived with him and was listed as a farmer who can not read. There was no wife listed living with Jeremiah.
Occupation: FWB Minister; Surveyor & Farmer.


This is a letter from N. G. Jones who is believed to be Jeremiah and Holland Jones Heath’s nephew. This letter is in the “Heath Papers” of Jeremiah Heath kept at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.

Georgia, Randolph Co.
Dec. 17th 1846
Dear Uncle, I inform you that we are all well and I hope these lines may find you and family enjoying the same blessing of life.
I will now inform you that grandmother desires very much for you to cum to se her won time more and if you will I will give you all that is Cuming to me and mother from that state and I want you to cum with out delay for we all want to see you all very bad. I think if you wuld cum you wuld like the country well enough to move heir. I hav tried to collect my mony through Ridgon Griffins hands and he has acted so badly about it I have dissided that he shal not have nothing to do with it. I had ruther giv it to you than enny won else if you will cum. And granmother is so desirous to see you and want you cum without delay. Granfarther and granmother and mother is all living with me. Uncle Rigdon Heath is about three days ride from us and ant Winniford Griffin is won days ride. Thay hav all bin heir this fall and thay were well and there familes were well. Uncle Ridgon is living in Pike, Ant Winniford in Baker. I hear you can get land a few miles from me in the Alabam state at won dollar per acre and have your own time to pay for it. That is price and I think you wuld do well to cum to it and then you wuld be able to buy land for all of your children. Granfarther were taken down with …. palsy. He was struck all won side of him intirely. He was taken last July …a year ago but he has got consierble beter than he was but he can’t get about but little now. Ant Zelfia Hall is living at the old place in Wilknson Co. that granfarther lived at when you cum out. She has two children mared (married). Won of them has three children and the other won has two, and my wife has two, one sun and daughter. If you can’t cum let sum of your suns cum and if none of you can cum you must write to us as soone as possible. If you plese and let us know how you all are and all the rest of the connection? at large. I remain your effecttionately neffue untill Deth. N. G. Jones


  1. Lonne Heath

    Yes, I recognize that entire writeup. I have shared this information which I research and documented with many of my husband’s family. I am always glad to help other descendants of Jeremiah Heath.

  2. Lexine Davis

    He is my Great, Great, Great Granddaddy and i have his original Baptist Articles of Faith printed in New Bern NC 1837 in my procession under lock and key for protection.


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