Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Harvey, Thomas, Jr.

by Mattie Erma E. Parker and Raymond A. Winslow, Jr., 1988; Revised by SLNC Government and Heritage Library, December 2022

6 Dec. 1692–20 Oct. 1729

Thomas Harvey, Jr., member of the Council and of the Assembly, and justice of the General Court, of the Admiralty Court, and of the Perquimans Precinct Court, was the son of Deputy Governor Thomas Harvey and his second wife, Sarah Laker Harvey, and presumably born at his parents' plantation in Perquimans Precinct. The family was descended from the Harveys of the Heath, Snitterfield Parish, Warwickshire, England. His father died when he was six, and a few years later he became the stepson of Christopher Gale, to whom his mother was married on 17 Jan. 1702.

Following in the footsteps of his father and stepfather, Harvey was active in public affairs throughout his adult life. Social position with the Albemarle aristocracy, family connections, and extensive property holdings naturally and rapidly brought Harvey public responsibilities extending to nearly every branch of government in precinct and province. In 1713, the year he came of age and entered into full possession of his father's large plantation on Harvey's Neck, he served as a juror in the General Court, and in October 1714, when he was not yet twenty-two, he was associate justice of the same court, a position that he held intermittently through 1726. He was sitting on the bench when indictments were presented against Edward Moseley and others in 1719 for seizing provincial records and against former governor George Burrington in 1726 for assaulting Governor Sir Richard Everard. The General Assembly made him a vestryman of Perquimans Parish in 1715.

In November 1719 and again in 1720 he was appointed by the Assembly to the commission for examining and settling the public accounts disordered since the Tuscarora War, a fiscal task requiring four years. Appointment to such a commission, usually composed of members of the lower house of the Assembly, indicates that he was a member of that body in 1719 and 1720, for which the journals have not survived. It is certain that Harvey was a member of the lower house in 1722 and 1723, which are among the few years of that period for which Assembly journals are extant. From March 1721 through March 1723 Harvey also was provost marshal, or sheriff, for the county of Albemarle.

By January 1724 Harvey was a member of the Council, on which he sat for the remainder of his life, serving under governors Burrington and Everard. In that capacity, he was ex officio member of the upper house of the Assembly. In order to improve the quality of justice administered in the precinct courts, Harvey and several other Council members were persuaded by the governor to accept appointments as justices of the peace for their precincts. Accordingly, Harvey served as justice of the Perquimans Precinct Court, as well as Council member, from about 1724 until his death. He also served as justice of the Admiralty Court at some period, but the dates are not known.

Throughout his career, Harvey seems to have been active in the militia of the colony. In the early 1720s he bore the title major, and in later years he was called colonel.

Harvey lived in Perquimans Precinct on the family plantation at Harvey's Neck. He also owned several other plantations and other valuable property. HE was also an enslaver and enslaved people to work his plantation(s). His wife was Elizabeth Cole, daughter of Samuel Cole or Coles. The couple had four sons: Thomas, John, Benjamin, and Miles.

Harvey died before his thirty-seventh birthday and was buried beside his father in the family graveyard on his home plantation. The cemetery has since been eroded away by Albemarle Sound, but in 1865 Harvey's gravestone, bearing the family arms, was moved to a cemetery farther from the sound, where presumably it still stands. At the time of Harvey's death his sons were small children, ranging in age from ten months to ten years. All lived to adulthood, but the oldest, Thomas, died unmarried before he was thirty. John, Benjamin, and Miles married and had children. John, like his father and grandfather, entered public life. He was a prominent leader in the early stages of the American Revolution, and his death in 1775 was widely regarded as a public loss.

Harvey's widow, Elizabeth, married Edward Salter of Beaufort Precinct. After Salter's death she married one Calldrom (or Caldoun). She died in 1761 and was buried on the Harvey plantation beside her first husband.


Robert J. Cain, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Minutes, 1724–1730 (1981) and Records of the Executive Council, 1664–1734 (1984).

J. Bryan Grimes, ed., Abstract of North Carolina Wills (1910) and North Carolina Wills and Inventories (1912).

J. R. B. Hathaway, North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, 3 vols. (1900–1903).

Perquimans County records (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

William S. Price, Jr., ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1702–1708 (1974) and 1709–1723 (1977).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 2, 3 (1886).

Ellen Good Winslow, History of Perquimans County (1931).

Raymond A. Winslow, Jr., "Harvey Cemetery and Exhibit," Perquimans County Historical Society Yearbook (1967).

Additional Resources:

Barefoot, Daniel W. Touring the Backroads of North Carolina's Upper Coast. John F. Blair, Publisher, 1995. 86. (accessed April 4, 2014).

Origin - location: