Laughinghouse Mythology

by | Oct 30, 2020 | 1 comment

It’s time for some myth-busting.  There are a couple of persistent ones that surround this family. 

“Thomas Laughinghouse came to America about 1750…”

The first comes down to us via Henry T. King’s Sketches of Pitt County:

Sketches of Pitt County: A Brief History of the County, 1704-1910 by Henry T. King, p. 259

There are several problems with this statement:  “…Thomas Laughinghouse came to America about 1750 he left his brothers engaged in the wholesale grain business in Liverpool.”  First, Thomas Laughinghouse was already here 29 Aug 1741.  On that date, he witnessed a deed between Andrew Laughinghouse, brick layer, and John McKeel (Beaufort County Deed Book 2, p. 407).  Andrew had purchased this 100 acres “lying back of the north side of Pamplico River” from John Bean 2 December 1738 (Beaufort County Deed Book 2, p. 292).  Second, Thomas purchased 100 acres of his own 12 March 1744 from William Martin (Beaufort County Deed Book 2, p. 426).  The land in question was situate on the north side of “Pamptico River in the fork of Broad Creek Beaver dam.”  This deed states his occupation as brick layer. 

Andrew the Elder

The first record I’ve found for Andrew Lathinghouse comes from Richmond County, Virginia.  On 6 Jun 1717, Mrs. Eliza Seale sued Andrew for nonpayment of debt (Virginia County Abstracts, Volume 17 by Beverley Fleet, p. 61).  

By 1 Mar 1717/8, he was in Chowan Precinct, North Carolina.  On this date, he was contracted by Joanna, widow of Thomas Peterson, to build a brick chimney among other sundry “works & labours.”  He charged her £10 sterling.  In Jul 1719, he sued her and her new husband, Paul Palmer, for nonpayment.  This case was, eventually, dismissed in Mar 1723 (North Carolina Higher Court Minutes, 1709-1723).  Andrew had to pay costs.  

Thomas Laughinghouse, but not Andrew, is listed on the Beaufort County Tax List for 1755, and only with one white poll, meaning he was the only male in the household of or over the age of 16.  Perhaps he died between 1741 and 1755.

Andrew Lathinghouse, Jr.

There was more than one Andrew Laughinghouse.  According to the Journal of North Carolina Genealogy, Volume 18-19 by William Perry Johnson, p. 2811, administration on the estate Andrew Lathinghouse, Jr. was granted James Calef in 1740.

Patience Smith, wife of Thomas Laughinghouse, Sr.

Around 1769, a shipwreck occurred along the treacherous shoals of the North Carolina coast. The only survivors of the vessel were a small boy and his small body servant. That child was Andrew, who along with his slave, was taken in by the family of Thomas and Patience Smith Laughinghouse of Beaufort County, North Carolina. 

Coming North: Martha Laughinghouse Wieker” by Nina Card, Ohio’s Yesterdays Blog, 3 Sep 2011

But, Patience was not the name of Thomas’s wife.  For service in the Continental Line, he was issued a warrant for land in Tennessee 17 December 1807 (Tennessee Genealogical Records: Records of Settlers from State and County Archives by Edythe Johns Rucker Whitley, page 52).  His heirs sold this to John Gray Blount in Feb 1808.  They were:  Andrew Laughinghouse, Richard Laughinghouse, John Laughinghouse, Thomas Laughinghouse, John Crummer and Esther Crummer.

What does that have to do with Patience, you ask?  Well, on 24 Aug 1802, Esther Crummy’s mother made out a deed of gift.  She gave her “what I possess after my decease…Cattle, Hoggs, Bed Clothing, Household furniture and what not” for love and affection for “better maintenance and livelihood” (Beaufort County Deed Book 2-3, page 594).  The grantor was Susannah Laughinghouse.

So who married Patience Smith?

Henry Crofton of the Said precinct [Beaufort] gent…on or about the Sixteen day of April 1734 in St. thomas Parish and precinct aforesaid did as a Justice of the peace Join Andrew Lathinghouse and Patience Smith together in the holy state of Matrimony….

The Church of England in North Carolina: Documents, 1699-1741 by Robert J. Cain, Editor p. 364

That’s right!  Andrew Lathinghouse married Patience Smith.  But which Andrew?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Crofton broke the law when he performed the ceremony.  The parish of St. Thomas had a minister in residence, John Garzia.  It was illegal for a lay person to officiate if that was the case.  Crofton owed Garzia £2.5 and another £2.5 to the parish.  He also married other couples.  Garzia sued Crofton and a summons issued for Andrew and Patience.  They failed to appear and a warrant went out for them 30 Jun 1736 (see here).

Was Andrew Laughinghouse, III a Laughinghouse?

When questioning the boy (who must have been well off because he traveled with a servant) neither he nor his servant, due to their young ages, could tell the Laughinghouse family what Andrew’s last name was. Andrew was raised as one of the family and adopted the Laughinghouse surname as his own.

Coming North: Martha Laughinghouse Wieker” by Nina Card, Ohio’s Yesterdays Blog, 3 Sep 2011

I think he was the natural, legitimate child of Thomas and Susannah.  I cannot prove this, however.  It is entirely possible he was the son of Andrew, Jr. and Patience.  Thomas and Susannah may have adopted him after his father’s death in 1740.  But I don’t think so.  Not only was Thomas the only taxable Laughinghouse in 1755, but also in 1762 (Pitt County Tax List, 1762).  Thus, no other male in the family was born in or before 1746.  

1 Comment

  1. Carrol Mick

    I love your breakdown. I have documentation that Nancy Laughinghouse daughter of Richard Ripley Laughinghouse tried to marry Josiah Richards a free african about 1820 but then she married Amond Joyner/Joiner. She did have a bastardy bond against Josiah Richards for giving birth to a child out of wedlock, he was in Craven County at the time. The child was Ajax Laughinghouse mulatto. This is where some of the African American side of the Laughinghouse family is descended from in Pitt County, NC.


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