by Donna Moody

The beginning generations:

  1. Thomas Moody of Ireland and Guilford County, North Carolina
  2. Thomas L. Moody of Guilford County, North Carolina
  3. Isaac Newton Moody of Guilford County, NC, and Henry County, Tennessee, and
    Elijah W. Moody, brother of Isaac Newton Moody, also of Guilford County, NC, and Henry Co., TN

Our Moody line is Scotch-Irish descent from Derry, Northern Ireland. The area was a sparsely settled wilderness when Thomas Moody was first in Rowan County, NC, by 1756. This part of Rowan was cut off and Guilford County created from it and part of Orange County. He was most likely Presbyterian in religion. Although likely too old to serve in the militia in the War of Revolution, he would have been a Whig patriot like the McCuistons with whom he was so closely connected. Thomas Moody died before February 1784. Married at least twice, he left a widow Mary. Daughter Ann Moody McCuiston was also alive at that time. Alexander Moody, who lived with Ann and could have been a son of Thomas, preceded Thomas Moody in death.

Thomas Moody had a son, Thomas L. Moody, born about 1778 or 1780, based on census records. Sometime after his father's death, he was apprenticed to a blacksmith to learn that trade. He went to nearby Stokes County for a time, but most of his life was spent in Guilford County. He married Thankful McCuiston in 1803 and raised a family.

Although Leona McCuiston used the assumption in her book on the McCuiston families that Thankful McCuiston was a daughter of Moses and Elizabeth McCuiston, there is no proof that this is so. This assumption was accepted by Roy Moody's researcher, Ms. Wade, but there is ample evidence that she was not their daughter. Athough the daughters of Moses were not named in his will, they werre included in the division of his personal estate, and the known records of the sale of some of the personal estate of Moses do not include Thomas Moody or Thankful. While husbands legally signed for their wives in bills of sale of personal property, Elizabeth Mcuiston, the widow of Moses, was still alive and signed for herself. Other signers for daughters or themselves were: Joseph Davis (for an unidentified daughter of Moses), Levin Caulk (for wife Hannah), Thomas Rankin (for wife Martha), and Elizabeth Bruce (for herself as she was divorced). But there is no record of Thomas Moody or Thankful signing, and both Thomas L. and Thankful Moody were certainly living in Guilford County at this time.

Yet, it is known that Thankful Moody was a McCuiston. This leaves the possibility that she was a daughter of John and Dorcas McCuiston; however, there are no records to prove such. Leona McCuiston had very little on John and Dorcas after their marriage other than some hearsay on two possible children.

I don't know if Thomas served in the War of 1812, but closely associated McCuistons did, and they served at Norfolk, Virginia. After that time, Thomas becamed involved in land purchases and sales and was the one depended on by Thankful's people to help settle their estate matters. At least one son, Isaac Newton Moody, was in Henry County, Tennessee, by 1830. Thomas L. Moody was not on the 1830 census for Guilford County, NC, and he might have been on the move somewhere. Thankful McCuiston Moody died in 1830. Thomas was in Guilford County in 1841 when he witnessed Isabel McCuiston's will, but he died before 1844 when the will was probated.

The portion of the Moody-McCuiston story that follows covers the Ireland to Pennsylvania to North Carolina period.

This is the only Moody family in Guilford County, NC, in the earliest days.

Northern Ireland to America
ca 6 August 1735

The Moodys and McCuistons migrated to America about 6 August 1735, as a note found in the back of an old McCuiston book states "landed in America 6 Aug. 1735 at New Castle written September ye 14 1735 Robert mcCuiston." This was at Newcastle, Pennsylvania, which became Newcastle, Delaware when Delaware was formed. Until more is known, we would assume that Thomas Moody and his family came on or about the same time.

Roy Moody said that "a veritable host of McCuistion Families are interrelated with the Moodys going back several generations in Ireland."

Roy also said that, when England and Scotland conquered Ireland, they encouraged a great number of Scots and English to re-settle in Ireland, taking lands formerly Irish and even forcing many Irish to change surnames. It was probably during this era that our ancestors moved to Ireland.

It must be assumed that our Moody and McCuiston families in America settled in about the same location in Pennsylvania. The old Nottingham Presbyterian Church at Rising Sun, Maryland, was in Lancaster County, PA, when our ancestors left there and until the line between Maryland Pennsylvania changed in 1767. The McCuiston and possibly Moody families were in the Lancaster, PA, and/or Baltimore, MD, areas for up to about 20 years. They then started moving to the land grants in North Carolina.

The McCuistons and other families received original land grants from the Earl Granville, who owned many thousands of acres in North Carolinna.

Ireland and America

Thomas Moody, who was born at an unknown date, came from Newton..., County Aghadovey, Derry, in northern Ireland. Roy Moody believed that by the preponderance of the name Newton handed down for generations in our Moody family one may deduce they were named for the town of their ancestors. The last syllable of Newton... is undecipeherable.

Thomas Moody was married to his first wife, Jean, in Newton... of Aghadovey, County of Derry in Ireland. It is believed that Jean was the daughter of Benjamin McCuiston of the county of Derry. Thomas and Jean Moody had several children; the daughters were Ann (born 17 May 1732), Jean, Sarah, Elinor, and Mary Moody. Information from Thrift's Wills, Volume V, for Derry, gives Benjamin McCusten, Yoeman, Knockan, will proved 1766.

An Alexander McCuiston in Ireland died and left no lawful issue. "He left his estate to the children of Thomas Moody, at present in North Carolina, and the children of Hugh Fleming in Ireland. John Hutchison at the three Mariners at Wapping old stairs and Thomas Allen, linen draper in Lombard Street supposed to be left to be Executors to said McCuistion." The date of this old paper is not known but it was found among Mr. Lyon's (colonial governor) papers after his death and was supposed to have been taken by said Lyon from some of the British soldiers. How did the soldiers get hold of it?

There is no indication that Jean McCuiston Moody died in Ireland. It is as likely that she too came to America, but she might not have lived to come to North Carolina.

For the Lord Granville grants to our McCuiston kin, please refer to our McCuiston portion of this story or to copies of the McCuiston book.

Thomas Moody moved to the Guilford County area of North Carolina before 1756, when it was still Rowan County.

He may be the father of Alexander Moody as well as the daughters previously mentioned. It is not known yet where the children were born, Ireland or America. Ann Moody, his daughter, was born 17 May 1732, probably in Ireland, and married 15 September 1756 in Rowan County, NC, to Thomas McCuiston (son of James McCuiston Sr). The other daughters were supposed to be living in North Carolina, but who they married or where they lived is not now known. Alexander Moody I died in 1781, preceding Thomas Moody in death.End Note

Thomas Moody married a second time, although the marriage record has not been found. Many believed her to be Mary McCuiston, daughter of James McCuiston Sr, and Roy Moody (and I originally) assumed that she might be, based solely on the few known facts. First a McCuiston posted the bond or was named legally to handle matters in all transactions involving Thomas Moody's estate or his minor child, Thomas Moody (later identified as Thomas L. Moody). Second, nothing was known of a marriage of Mary, daughter of James McCuiston Sr. It is known that a Mary Moody was the widow of Thomas Moody, but was she a McCuiston? The answer is that we don't know, and it is wrong to state positively that she was a McCuiston. Perhaps someone will someday find proof of her identity.

Thomas Moody had a son Thomas Moody, who was perhaps also the son of Mary Moody.

Thomas Moody died in early 1784 or perhaps December 1783, for, on the third Monday, February 1784, Mary Moody, widow and relict, was appointed administrator of his estate with security bond paid by James McCuiston of __ pounds. Mary McCuiston, who is sometimes named as this widow, would have been age 44 when Thomas Moody died.

A Mary Moody married 22 November 1803 to Robert Rankin in Guilford County, and Thomas McCuiston was bondsman. If this Mary was the widow of Thomas Moody, then this was her second marriage. Were there children by her marriage to Rankin? I don't have any information on this yet.End Note

ALEXANDER MOODY, a possible son of Thomas Moody.

Alexander Moody's place and date of birth are not known. He might have been born in Ireland or America. The 1768 Rowan County, NC, tax list shows Alxr Moody just under Thos McCuston. (So I think he might have been 21 years old. -- DM)

August 1, 1774, in Guilford County, NC, Alexd Moody is surety on the marriage bond of Joseph Summars and Mary Jackson. (I don't have any indication that they were related in any way. -- DM)

In an October 25, 1774, will, probated November 1774, Alexander Moody and Thomas Close are executors to the will of Timothy McCall. (Guilford County Will Abstract A:0255)

May 26, 1778: Entered a 448 acre land grant from state of North Carolina. Surveyed 2 December 1778 by Joshua Smith, with Thomas McCuistion & Moses McClean, Certified Chain Carriers. Issued November 13, 1779, No. 152, Guilford County. Entry No 95, Book No. 33, page 154, Location on the waters of North Buffalo. The land grant boundaries were David Alison's (Wilson's) corner, Thomas McCuiston's line, William Dent's line, Thomas Close's line, Alexander Caldwell's line. He had Thomas McCuiston on the east and Thomas Close on the west.

We have copies of the recorded grant of 13 November 1779. The abstract of this grant is as follows:
"A Grant from the State of North Carolina to Alexander Moody, No. 154. . . . In consideration of the sum of fifty shillings for every hundred acres hereby granted paid into our Treasury by Alex. Moody . . . grant unto the said Alex. Moody a tract of land containing four hundred and forty eight acres . . . in our County of Guilford on the waters of North Buffalow. Mentions David Wilson's corner, Thomas McCuistion's line, William Dent's line, Alexander Caldwell's line . . . paying to us such sums yearly or otherwise as our general assembly may from time to time direct . . . we have made these our letters to be made patent . . . our great seal to be hereunto fixed, witness Richard Caswell, Esq. Our governor, captain, general and commander in chief at Kingston, the tenth day of Nov. in the fourth year of our independence, in the year of our Lord 1779. Recorded in the Secretary's office by His Excellency's Command. William Sheppard, D. Tres..?, R. J. Caswell, Jno. Franch, Treasurer."

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse was 17 March 1781 between General Greene for the Americans and General Cornwallis for the British. Many of the local militia were involved. The McCuiston book story states that Thomas McCuiston was there, and it would be reasonable to assume that Alexander Moody was in the fighting. (I believe that Alexander Moody died in the battle or soon after. -- DM)End Note

August 1781 Term of Court, Guilford Co., N. C., Alexander Moody, deceased, and he died within 3 months before, as the court convened every 3 months. See detail below.

August 1781 Term of Court, Cuilford Co. N. C., Thomas Flere (Flack) will proved in open court. His widow was Jean McCuiston Flack. (So he could have been in the battle, also. – DM)

Alexander Moody was married, wife's name not known. He had at least one child, a son, Nathaniel Moody.

Alexander Moody, deceased . . . August 1781 Term of Court, Guilford County, N. C. . . . Administrators of estate are Jonas Touchstone and James MacMurray. Bond paid by Thomas McCuistion and Francis McNairy, 500 pounds species.

18 Feb 1782, James McCuistion appointed guardian for Nathaniel Moody, orphan of Alexander Moody deceased. (Note his mother could still have been alive.)

18 Feb 1782, Alexander Moody deceased. . . . perishable estate. (That is, something had to be done with the part of his estate which might depreciate between the time the will is probated and the final settlement, such as standing or unharvested crops, livestock raised for sale, etc.)

Nathaniel inherited the land named in the NC grant to Alexander Moody (1). He sold it to Josiah Beall of Hancock County, Georgia, 24 November 1796 for the sum of one hundred pounds covenant money of the aforesaid state to him in hand paid before the ensealing and delivering of the indenture. It was recorded in August Court, 1805, Guilford County, NC.

Nathaniel left Guilford County and removed to Stokes County, where he remained the rest of his life. He was on the 1800 census for Stokes County and lived near Germanton. There are two Thomas Moody men in Stokes County, NC, in 1800, and Nathaniel Moody was there. Nathaniel Moody, son of Alexander, and one Thomas Moody lived fairly close to one another. The other Thomas Moody lived farther away.

Nathaniel Moody married in Stokes County and remained there. Skip to his son, Nathaniel Moody, who was apparently a wealthy man in 1850 in Stokes County. An iron ? Master with $10,000 property. This was way more than most people had on the census records I saw; so perhaps the enumerator made a mistake in writing it down. But I thought it interesting that he was so involved with an iron works.

I did not find any more connections between Nathaniel Moody's family and that of Thomas Moody.

Back to Guilford County, North Carolina

Aug Term 1794, p 267 -- Elizabeth Moody, orphan, aged thirteen years, be bound to Ann McCuiston, widow, until full age, to give her one feather bed, cow and spinning.

Guilford County Marriage Bond, 28 Jan 1801, Nancy Moody to Thomas McMichell, Aaron Jones, surety. Jonas Touchstone's will was probated 23 May 1815. Thos. Michael (same as Thomas McMichell?) was a witness to the will. Thomas McCuiston of Buffalo, executor. Samuel Hunter, excutor.

THOMAS L. MOODY (although referred to only as Thomas in the will):
Guilford County, NC, Will Abstract A:0337 Robert Scott, 24 Apr 1791, probated May 1791. Wife, Mary -- house and lot whereon I live in Martinsville, negro girl Patience also providing she doesn't re-marry within two years. Brother Thomas 150 acres in Rockingham County where he lives . . . Thomas Moody, 10 pounds, my saddle and bridle. (No information on Thomas Moody's relationship to Robert or Mary Scott is given.)End Note

Nov Term 1794, p. 279 -- Thomas Moody, son of Thomas Moody, be bound to John _____ (blot across the name) for a term of five years, to teach him the trade of blacksmith, to read write, and cypher as far as the rule of three, ten pounds and freedom dues.
Note: John McCuiston, son of Robert 1, was a blacksmith. John died before 1800.
Note: the "rule of three" was often specified in such apprenticeship cases. It meant "the method of finding the fourth term in a proportion when three terms are given". In 1800, a Thomas Moody is living in Stokes County, NC, (Census)

Guilford County Marriage Bond, 3 Nov 1802
Thomas Moody to Thankful McCuistion. Joseph McCuistion is surety. Thomas and Thankful Moody apparently remained in Guilford County.

1810 Census, Guilford County
Moody, Thomams 2 males under 10, 1 male 26-45; 1 female under 10, 1 female 26-45.

1815 Tax List
Thomas Moody, Center Grove Township, "one white poll", by Z. D. Brashear, Enumerator.

Thomas Moody was administrator for the estate of Robert McCuiston, deceased by November 1817. Administrator in 19 November 1821 -- Final settlement in April 1824. Heirs were William, Moses and Elizabeth McCuiston.

The last found on Thomas Moody was that he was a witness to the will of Isabelle McCuiston 8 September 1840, which was probated at the May term of Court, 1846, & Robert A. Moody proved that the witness, Thomas Moody, was deceased. So, Thomas Moody died 1841-1846 in North Carolina. (County Clerk wrote Robert F. Moody.)


Below is a list of the known & probable children of Thomas L. Moody, son of Thomas Moody.

Some observations:


End Note 1: The McCuiston, McQuiston, and McQuesten Families, 1620-1937 by Leona Bean McCuiston, Standard Press, 1937, Louisville, KY

End Note 2: Roy Moody was a descendant of Elijah W. Moody, son of Thomas, and, through his own efforts and the help of a professional researcher, made a study of the family of Elijah's ancestors and kin. I believe he and Donna consulted with each other during their studies. -- JFA

End Note 3: Donna's research did not reveal the ultimate source for this note. -- JFA

End Note 4: Since Donna's compostion of this study, YDNA tests done by Family Tree DNA have shown that Alexander Moody was indeed closely related to Thomas Moody. Based on all available evidence, the most probable relationship is father-son. -- JFA

End Note 5: Research by me, John Alexander, done while preparing the Alexander history, explored some of the NC Rankins of Anson, Mecklenberg, Lincoln, and Guilford Counties. Although the aim was to determine whether they were related to the Alexanders, the research also revealed that the Mary Moody who married Robert Rankin in Guilford Co., NC, was 71 in 1850. She was a widow living with her son Thomas Rankin, 34. She was about the same age as Thomas L. Moody and was most likely his sister, daughter of Thomas from Ireland and Mary. It is possible, but much less likely, that she was the daughter of Alexander Moody. -- JFA

  1. Marriage: Robert Rankin to Mary Modey, 22 Nov 1803, Bondsman Thos McCuistion, Witness J. Hamilton
  2. 1850 Fed Census, McNairy Co., TN, p. 6B

End Note 6: Another at the battle was Thomas Moody. General Nathaniel Greene wrote a letter stating that Thomas Moody had participated in the battle of Guilford Courthouse as an elderly man. "Minutes of the North Carolina House of Commons, North Carolina General Assembly, April 19, 1784 - June 03, 1784, Volume 19, Pages 489-716
Minutes of May 1, 1784, appear on page 534.
(Note: Donna approved adding this note, which we found on the internet after she did her original research. -- JFA)

End Note 7: In a discussion with Donna, she and I agreed that it is likely that Robert Scott was the second husband of Thomas Moody's widow Mary. We have no proof. -- JFA

End Note 8: Anna migrated to Hamilton Co., IN, and she also married Emsly Reynolds there after her first husband's death. Anna and Emsley were Quakers, and it is very probable that Thomas Clayton was a Quaker also. She had children with both men. -- JFA

End Note 9: One of the daughters of Thomas and Mary was almost certainly the Mary Moody who who married Robert Rankin in Guilford Co. (See End Note 5 above.) -- JFA

End Note 10: This is the designation used by Leona McCuiston in her genealogical history.

End Note 11: Based on information I can find from digital records, with no visits to NC archives, Joseph H. Dennis and Daniel Dennis appear to be brothers. -- JFA