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Descendants of Ephraim Beasley

Circa 1735 Virgnia to Frontier Illinois

The Beasleys (or Beazleys) were Virginians deeply rooted in the traditions of the Southern plantation system. According to the Federal census, in 1810 Ephraim Beazley of Essex County had 72 slaves. Also in 1810 in Spotsylvania County, Winnifred Beazley had 34, William Beazley eight, Henry Beazley five, and Ephraim Beazley fourteen slaves. These Spotsylvania County family members were all enumerated on the same page in the census, so we can assume they were also neighbors.

William Beazley, my fourth great-grandfather, did something quite unusual in his day. In his will he specified,

... it is my desire that the following children (who are children of my negro woman Nully) named [?], Job, Joel, Frederick, Elza, Moriah and Jane be kept and raised among my children until [?] at age the boys 21 and the girls 18 at which time they are to be emancipated.

We can only guess as to William's real motivations.

The following paragraphs about the Beasley clan were written by my grandfather, Johnson Tucker Beasley, whom I never knew. It is a record of his thoughts on the origins of his family. He was a bit of a family history buff and recorded quite a few names and dates that have been of help to me. He wrote:

The Beasley family circa 1898. Rear (L-R): Father Luther Beasley, Johnson, Mattie (the mother) holding Kitty, and Beulah. Front row: Felix, Frances, Ruth, and Guy. Taken in Lexington, Illinois.
Taken circa 1901, the Beasley children are (L-R) Felix, Frances, Ruth, John, Kitty, Guy, and Beulah.
Beasley family in 1914. (Rear L-R): Ruth, Felix, John, Frances, Guy, and Beulah. (Front row) Luther Sanford Beasley (father), Kitty, and Ruth Matella Claggett (mother).

"Probably the best and most accurate information I secured is from the records of Spotsylvania County, Va., which is adjacent to Culpepper County, Va., where my father was born. No doubt, we are of the same tribe of Beasleys."

It appears that these Beasleys may have been some of the leading citizens although my deductions are based entirely on the numerous deeds recorded in the County Courthouse, not only of land, but other goods and chattels, not to mention slaves.

Thanks to information provided by Kenneth Young and Lesley Carter, we've updated the Beasley family history with the latest information on Ephraim Beazley and his descendants, pushing what information we have back 115 years.

"The earliest record here is in 1759, when John Beasley of the Caroline Co. sold 100 acres of land to Charles Beasley. On May 5, 1760, Charles and his wife, Susanna, sold 100 acres to Charles Curtis of 35 Shillings. Charles Beasley, it seems, was active in buying and selling farms and in the next 25 years, many similar transactions are noted in the record. Two sons are also mentioned, Charles Beasley, Jr., and Henry Beasley."

"Ephraim Beasley first appears in the record April 6, 1761, as an overseer on the estate of Beverly Stanard. In 1763, he began buying land, and many transactions appear under his name, such as buying and selling farms, negro slaves, and tobacco. Evidently, Ephraim was the most affluent Beasley in this section."

"Little is known of my immediate Beasley family, but no doubt, more information is available in the records of Culpepper County, Va. Grandfather [Thomas Wesley] Beasley was a carpenter and farmer, and served with the famous regiment of Col. Mosby in the Civil War. Several books have been printed on Col. Mosby and his "guerilla band" who were feared and respected by the Northern Armies. The Beasley family home was located at Brandy Station, Va."

Arrival in Virginia

The Beasley or Beazley family first arrived in Virginia before 1735. They were prominent slave and plantation owners for several generations in Spotsylvania County.

In 1851, Thomas Beasley of Virginia married Ann Elizabeth Claggett, the daughter of Samuel Claggett III and Lucy Sanford, and a granddaughter of the Revolutionary War surgeon Dr. Samuel Claggett Jr. The Daughters of the American Revolution report that in Dr. Claggett served in the Revolutionary War "est 1777 Charles Co. MD, while student of medicine at Port Tobacco, MD, as surgeon's mate; settled in VA after RW [Revolutionary War]; dd [died] 4th Monday of March 1821."

Thomas Beasley and Ann Claggett's fourth child, Luther Sanford Beasley, was born six miles from Brandy Station in Culpeper, Virginia. According to the obituary of Ann Elizabeth Claggett, Thomas Beasley's wife, "Her husband died in Virginia in October 1897." She died one year later on Jan 24, 1898 in Lexington, Illinois. Why or how they were separated is unknown.

We have found evidence to support the thesis that Ephraim Beazley was Johnson's great-grandfather. However, no records have been found to substantiate the claim that Thomas Beasley fought with Col. Mosby's Confederate Army "guerilla band", the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry Partisan Rangers. They did fight at Brandy Station, so it is entirely possible that Thomas Beasley joined Mosby's Battalion while it was in the area.

There are a large number of Beasley's and an almost equally large number of ways to spell the name: Beezly, Beazly, Beezly, Beazley, etc. Both black and white people carry the surname, so perhaps the blacks were given the name of their white slaveowners at some point.

Beasley RootsWeb Email List

To subscribe, send a message to In the BODY of the message, enter the command "subscribe" (without the quotes). You will receive in response instructions on how to participate in the exchange of Beasley-related genealogy information.

Related Web Sites

Descendants of Ephraim Beazley

Beasley Family Association

Founding Florida Pioneers & Their Descendants
Descendants of William Beasley II of Lancasterhire England


Our thanks to cousins Kenneth Young, Lesley Carter , and Mac Crawford for their contributions to the record of the Beasleys or Beazleys. Kenneth, from Salt Lake, established a link back a generation for us that was a critical missing link. Lesley, close by Virginia in Maryland, has been a valuable hands-on researcher. Mac has hit the census and is looking up info on the families' whereabouts.