Darius Jasper Echols

Birth 1779 in Halifax County, Virginia, USA
Death May 1866 in Habersham County, Georgia, USA

Birth 2 Apr 1747 in Caroline County, Virginia, USA
Death 18 Aug 1834 in Fannin County, Georgia, USA

Margaret Hannah BROWN
Birth 1751 in Prince George County, Virginia, USA
Death 1820 in Virginia, USA

Marriage 1 to Sarah Elizabeth BROWN
about 1802 Age: 23
Pendleton District, South Carolina, USA

Marriage 2 to Tabitha WHITWORTH
about 1810 Age: 31

Marriage 3 to Hannah THOMAS
15 Jan 1863 Age: 84
Habersham County, Georgia, USA

Much is discussed all over the Internet about Darius Echols.
I found these posts online somewhere that explains a lot of this mystery.

"Born on Wheels"

This section is dedicated to my cousins Randall W. Fields and his sister Charlotte (Fields) Carroll. Randall for all the days and hours he has spent researching our ancestors over the past few years and his endless patience with and encouragement to me as we built this page.

Charlotte for the title "Born on Wheels", taken from her phrase, "they were born on wheels" and her contribution of the family stories passed on to her by her mother, Gladys Thomas Fields.


The constant driving need for a better way of life for themselves and their children led our ancestors on an unwavering trail from Sampson County, NC where we have traced them back to at this point in time.

The family migrated south westward to Gwinnett County, GA on foot and/or wagon over a period of several years. From GA. they moved westward into AL. where they finally settled in or around the town of Jacksonville, AL where many of the Holder descendants still reside today. Many children were born along the way from North Carolina to Alabama, i.e. "Born on Wheels".


The shadow dancers---my name for them--- moving along before our time almost like faceless shadows dancing on a moon lit night only the outline can be seen not the details. Hopefully we will retrieve the details in our search.

Rabun County, GA – birthplace of William Russell "Bear" Thomas on December 7, 1860. This is the first documented location of the "elusive" Floyd Thomas, William Russell's father, who at that time was married to William's mother, Nancy (Ransom) Thomas.

According to an application William filed in 1908 in connection with the Guion Miller Roll, index #45095, states that Floyd as well as Nancy's family were living in Rabun County, GA near the town of Clayton in the year 1851. This application also states that Nancy was 1/4 Cherokee Indian.

William, who was a widower (Abie Stamay is listed as his first wife on the application) with 5 children (4 of these five children are listed on the application) in 1900, met and married Sarah E.F. Holder, daughter of Jabez Holder, on July 21, 1900 in Gadsden, AL.

The above mentioned application also states that Floyd was living in or near Jasper, TN in 1908 with his second wife and their children. Seems Nancy had been dead about 12 years at this time. Family folk lore has it that he owned a huge farm there. Probably purchased with the money he received during the time he rode with the James gang and the Younger brothers (family folk lore also, not documented).

William and Sarah, being farmers moved throughout AL, always looking for better land to farm. They had 11 children of their own, hence the phrase "Born on Wheels" once again an accurate description. Sarah was known as a "bee charmer", for those of you not familiar with this term; a bee charmer is someone who can handle bees and rob the honey from the hives without wearing protection and not getting stung in the process.

William supposedly had 21 children all total, that leaves 5 unaccounted for. Hopefully we will find them soon.


Nancy's maiden name; the first documentation on the Ransom's as of now is the application filed by William R. in 1908.

Here he states that his mother, Nancy was born in Buncombe County, NC just outside the Cherokee domain. Appears they migrated south east as did our ancestors, the Holders. Is it possible they could have travelled together?

This brings us to our present day family which is tremendous in number, many I don't even know about at this time, however we are aware that William and/or Sarah's descendants are spread from NC, where some of our cousins have returned to their roots, to as far west as California, Texas and Missouri and as far south as south Florida. We are and will be forever in search of family members, wherever they are.

Here I hope to bring to you all the surnames connected to my family via this site. Please feel free to contact us if you think you are connected.

March 29, 2000

Well, finally we have found the "elusive" Floyd Thomas, and what a colorful picture has been unveiled. Seems our Floyd Thomas did settle in TN. the town of Jasper in Marion County married to his very young 14 year old first cousin, Abie Haseltine Laney. It is said they had 9 children and Floyd sold shoes as far away as London, England. I guess Abie and the children worked the farm while he was away. Of course he was going by Newton F. Thomas by this time. Some even say he was loaded as for as money goes.

But, the colorful picture doesn't stop with Floyd, seems his grandmother, Hannah Thomas, was quite the rounder herself. The story goes that she had 9 children while unmarried.

Seems she lived next door to a certain Habersham County, GA. sheriff, Darius Echols, and his wife. I'm told, there is strong circumstantial evidence that some if not all Hannah's children were fathered by Sheriff Echols. If they weren't, they may all have had different fathers. So, now who are we?

We do know that Hannah and the Sheriff were charged and found guilty of adultery and fornication in 1855 at the age of 79 and 55. This is in the County records. Didn't seem to bother them any they kept right on doing what they wanted to do. Was this true love? Or just lust?

Hannah and Darius are on the 1860 census records living together and Echols wife was living in Alabama with her son in 1860. Of course, Hannah and Darius were eventually married in 1863 probably after the death of his wife, no record of her has been found after the census of 1860.

Let's not forget about Martin Riley, Hannah's son and Floyd's father also convicted of Fornication and Adultery with a Catherine Whitworth, nor forget that he was living with Idella Isabella O'Shield Collins, just before his death in 1889, and wrote out his will leaving everything to his children by her. The will was contested by his wife, Polly Ann Southerland, whom he married on December 29, 1844 and son-in-law, Pinkney Wood.

As for Nancy, Floyd's first wife, who was according to census records 19 yrs his senior. Well, we were beginning to believe that maybe there was never a marriage. Our family folklore has it that Floyd rode in from robbing trains, spent the night and boom, baby makes 3 or 2 in this case. But, thanks to Randall's persistence, a record of their marriage was found. Took some hard work on his part, seems Nancy was married prior to Floyd, to Andrew J. Fuller. At this point in time we know very little about the Fuller family.
Source: http://sherby.tripod.com/
NOTE: Both email addresses listed on that page return undeliverable. 

I am interested in a man named Darius Echols, who was sheriff and also Justice of the Peace at different times in Habersham County, Georgia.

Apparently Darius must have been quite the ladies' man. I have been told by one researcher that, in the early 1800's Darius paid the taxes in Franklin County, Georgia for a woman named Elizabeth Wisdom. One son of this Elizabeth Wisdom had his named legally changed to Echols in Forsyth County, Georgia. I have not researched this information and cannot verify the accuracy of it.

My ancestor is named Hannah Thomas. She is said to have been the widow of a Revolutionary Soldier on one land lottery. If this is true than she must have married a much older man. She was born about 1804 and if we assume that she married in 1820 she would have been 16 and the revolutionary soldier would have to be about 60. If this marriage did occur the man must have died shortly afterward because she is listed alone on all census and other records.

Hannah must have been quite a woman. With her headright land and land lottery lands she had quite a lot of acreage. Also she conducted all her own business and seemed to be a very independent woman. Darius was always close by however and they had a long-standing relationship.

Hannah's first three children were James Wiley Thomas born in 1822, Martin Riley Thomas born in 1823 and Clary born in about 1825. In an 1834 court record these children were referred to as illegitimate. Martin Riley Thomas was my great-great grandfather. In 1834, Darius Echols was named as Guardian of the illegitimates of Hannah Thomas.

Browning Thomas, a great grandson of Hannah Thomas through her son Darius Jasper Thomas, had a much older half brother who was born in 1896. During a visit in 1987, this older half brother told Browning that they were "really Echols, not Thomas’s" and that his search for Thomas’s would prove fruitless. At the time Browning became so angry that he quit researching for several years.

Hannah had drawn land "for minors" in 1827. She also drew land in 1832 as a widow of a revolutionary war soldier. As stated earlier Hannah was quite independent and managed her property and business affairs personally.

No marriage record prior to 1863 has ever been found for Hannah Thomas. Hannah gave birth to Sarah in 1828 followed by Elizabeth in 1830. Elizabeth married E. B. Beard September 13, 1849 in Habersham County, Georgia. They later moved to Jefferson County, Alabama. No death record has been found for Elizabeth but on the death certificate of her son it gives her maiden name as Elizabeth Echols.

These first five children, James Wiley, Martin, Clary, Sarah, and Elizabeth all bought lot number 43 in the 12th district of Habersham County, Georgia from a Fleming Bates for $300. Their guardian was Darius Echols, who signed the deed as Justice of the peace.

Hannah has not been found on the 1830 census. Either she was not interviewed or she was living in another household.

Hannah continued to have children. She had Melissa "Lissy" in 1834, then Darius Jasper in 1835, Newton Cleveland in 1837 and Thomas Benton in 1841.

The 1840 census (page 143) shows Hannah Thomas as head of household, living next door to Darius Echols. She has two males under 5 years of age (Darius Jasper and Newton Cleveland), two males 15 to 20 (James Wiley and Martin Riley), two females 5 to 10 (Elizabeth and Melissa) and two females 10 to 15 (Clary and Sarah).

Darius Echols and Hannah Thomas were charged with Fornication and Adultery (a married man living with a single woman) on 1 October 1855 and on Diverse other occasions before and after that date. Hannah pleaded guilty and was fined $10 and ordered to remain in jail until the fine was paid. Darius pleaded not guilty and was found guilty in court.

By 1860 Darius and Hannah were still living together and Darius' wife was living with her son in Alabama. By 1863 Darius' wife must have died because Darius and Hannah were finally married.

The last son of Hannah Thomas changed his name from Thomas Benton Thomas to Thomas Benton Echols in later life. It is not known how many of Hannah's children went by Echols. It is known that Elizabeth, born in 1830 and Thomas born about 1845 both went by Echols in later life.

The evidence is overwhelming that Darius was the father of most, if not all of Hannah's children. If Darius was not the father of all of her children then there is no way of knowing who the father was or if maybe they all had different fathers.

I would like any information I can get on Darius Echols.

Randall Fields
Source: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/ECHOLS/2001-07/0996150440


  1. Hi Terry. You and I share the same decendants. My father (Andrew Perry Echols) and your grandfather (Hollie) were brothers. I really appreciate all the info that you have published on our family. It was so interesting to read all about it. I was wondering if you had any thing on my grandmother-Harriet Missouri Roberts Echols. She passed away right after I was born so I don't know anything about her. My oldest sister said she was Cherokee (Full blooded or half) and came from White County. If you have anything would you please let me know? I really would appreciate it. Thank you so much. Joyce

    1. While doing some research today I came across a photo of a page from a book. The book was Elders of Banks County Georgia, not author given or publication information, from chapter three. What is says is

      "...Mrs Catherine Roberts a half-blooded Cherokee could speak the Cherokee language at the time of her death in 1925. She stated before her death that when the Tribes left they wanted to take her young son Benjamin with them but she declined the offer."

      Mary Catherine SUGGS married Benjamin Franklin ROBERTS Sr. They are the parents of Harriet Missouri ROBERTS Echols. So if Mary Catherine was half-blooded then Harriet would be quarter-blooded.

  2. Hey, small world. It only took 4 years of this blog being out that someone form my own side of the Echols line to contact me. I have Andrew and Harriet (thanks for her middle name I had been unsuccessful at find that) from birth to death and most things in between. I did not know she was from White County but she was definitely Cherokee. Velner FLETCHER Echols, my grandmother used to tell stories about dancing around the fires on the reservations. My aunt told them to me. I have some pictures of most of them including one of Andrew and Harriet ROBERTS Echols.

    Can you give me your genealogy? This is what I have for Andrew Jr and Bertha H SHUBERT. I don't have your name.

    Marriage in 1930 in Banks County, Georgia, USA

    Claudine ECHOLS (1931-????)
    Dorothy Sue ECHOLS (1933-????)
    Lois ECHOLS (1936-????)
    Loyd ECHOLS (1939-????)

    1. Hi Terry. I just found this. I was hoping that you would email me personally, but I will be happy to tell you what I can.
      Andrew Perry Echols,Jr. Born on August 4,1906 Died: October 12,1990 Married Bertha Helen (Shubert) Echols on December 8, 1929 She was born on November 9,1912 Died: June1,1998 they had 10 children. they are (1) Claudene Echols Herbert born on October 30,1930 She is 85 years old. (2) Dorothy Sue (Echols) Hill Born: January 3,1933 Died: Feb.15,2015 (3)Lois Virginia (Echols) Baggs Born:September 22,1935 Died: July 6,1995 (4) Lloyd Andrew Echols Born: August 17,1938 Died: July 8,2008 (5) Charles Douglas Echols Born: May 5, 1940 Died: February 21,1991 (6)David Lamar Echols Born: May 17,1943 (7) Travis Lee Echols Born: January 5,1946 Died: October 1,2002 (8) Joyce Rachel (Echols) Carter Born: July 27, 1948 (9)Randall Edwin (Called Jimmy) Echols Born: February 18, 1951 (10) Nancy Elizabeth (Echols) Ledford Born: April 19,1953
      If I can be of help to you in any way, please email me at: ccarter13@windstream.net You have been such a big help to me if finding out so many things about my ancestors. I really enjoyed reading everything and was very surprised by a lot of it.

    2. Hi Terry. i hope you got my last email.I don't have any pictures of my grandparents or great-grandparents so I would love to have a copy if you would send them to me. Also, any stories that you know would be very welcome, too. I am making a book for my grandchildren about our past and it would be fantastic if I could include something about them. Thanks. Joyce

    3. Sorry I have not been in touch with you, been taking a break from genealogy for a while. I will be working on my tree this weekend and will look at your posts and reply then.

      In the meantime, please feel free to post any information on the Echols line or any questions and I'll get them posted and try to get them answered.

  3. There is a John Thomas on the 1830 census of Habersham county that I think fits Hannah Thomas Echols family perfectly except for a male under 5. I had assumed that John would be her husband, but that doesn't fit with the court records. Maybe he is her brother?
    1830 Census Habersham Co., GA
    John Thomas 11101-11001
    1 Male 20-30 [John]
    1 male 10-15 [Joseph Riley]
    1 male 5-10 [Martin Riley]
    1 male under 5
    1 female 20-30 [Hannah]
    1 female 5-10 [Clary]
    1 female under 5 [Sarah]

  4. I have John attached to Hannah in my Ancestry.com tree but no one knows for sure if he is husband or brother. One problem with the names you have attached is Joseph Riley is disputed by multiple sources as a child of Hannah. We do now know that Darius Jasper THOMAS is indeed a child of Darius Jasper ECHOLS proved by DNA.

    We would need a descendent from each of the children attributed to Hannah to see if they are ECHOLS or THOMAS born. So far only one has supplied a DNA sample. Browning THOMAS, son of Allen Pearson THOMAS & Lena Mae STEPP - Allen is the son of Darius Jasper THOMAS & Hester Ann HALFORD, has supplied us with the only THOMAS DNA sample that I'm aware of.

  5. I have been searching for answers to my family background. Instead I keep running into more questions with no one that will or can give answers to. My father side is suppose to be Thomas. He never knew his dad. His mother seems to lead the same path and Hannah Thomas. Would love to find some answers.

  6. Give me some family details, as much as you know, and I'll see what I have already. The working "assumption" is all the THOMAS children of Hannah are indeed born ECHOLS and stem from Darius Jasper ECHOLS.

    1. My Dad is Stanley Thomas, his William Leroy Thomas. Jesse Manroe Thomas his Rueben Acheman Thomas his Martin Riley Thomas his William Thomas Mother Hannah Green. Most are buried in Jackson County Alabama

    2. Not sure if any of this is getting posted

    3. Your messages have been posted. I've been a bit busy lately and have fallen behind in my genealogy work. I'll post what I have when I get to my own home computer.

  7. I might have new stuff on this, just discovered this today

  8. Hi Larry. I would love to correspond with you. Email me at terry.echols@gmail.com

    Look forward to speaking with you.

  9. Hello. I am not an Echols but I am looking for information on a James Washington Echols born in 1861 to Lydia C Hendricks and John Thomas Echols. His brother was the police officer whom died in Van Alstyne in March of 1929 ( William larkin Echols) I am trying to currently research on Both William Larkin Echols Sr and james W. echols . if there is anything that you could tell me on either it would be greatly appreciated. Both were born in Mantua in collin county texas. if you wish to contact me leave a comment on either my blogs the Atkins or the Cemetery one. My email is lacey_coloraturasoprano@yahoo.com
    Thanks in advance.

  10. I,m not sure if my last comment posted or not. I am helping do research currently on William Larkin Echols ( jan 1862-March 1929) and Brother James Washington Echols whom were both born in 1861 and died in 1889. I am helping research a mainly Will echols the police officer whom was shot on duty , I am looking for secondary information on James washington echols as well. I do know from research that James died in 1889 and is mentioned in an article in the San angelo enterprise. if there is any information you can give me my email is lacey_coloraturasoprano@yahoo.com or feel free to leave a comment on one of my blogs. Thanks in advance.
    Lacey r.

  11. First of all, I have the THOMAS surname; my 3g-grandfather is John THOMAS, b. abt 1773 in Chester or Ninety-Six District, South Carolina, and who d. aft 1828, in Habersham County. My Y-DNA (FTDNA kit #132788) closely matches a descendant of William Thomas (1737-1797) and Johanna Linton, who came to Chester, SC from Virginia, but I haven't found where John connects to that line. I am descended through John THOMAS's son, William Madison THOMAS (1806-1876), who was b. in NC, m. Elizabeth Caroline FAIN in Habersham, and settled in Gilmer (now Fannin) county, Georgia.

    I have identified four solid autosomal DNA matches--clearly in my far paternal ancestral group--who are descendants of Hannah Thomas (~1800-1875) of Habersham county, the consort of Darius ECHOLS. However, I have noticed that all of those matches are descendants of her _eldest_ son, Joseph Riley THOMAS (1818-1902), who is also the only one of Hannah's children born in North Carolina. All of those were found through AncestryDNA, so I don't have chromosome/segment data.

    I am also on GEDmatch (kit #T829570), FWIW.
    David Thomas
    Sugar Land, Texas


In order to make this a truly user-interactive blog, I have set comments to require a login. This is done so we may interact with the posters. It makes no sense to allow posts on a blog as "anonymous" with no method of contacting the poster.