James Cheek
of Orange County, NC

James Cheek, son of Robert CHEEK & Ann COCKE, was born Aug. 16, 1762 in Brunswick Co., VA, and died Sept. 1834 in Orange Co., NC. He married Martha "Patty" Estridge (Estes), daughter of Thomas ESTRIDGE (ESTES) & Elizabeth BURROUGHS (BURRIS), on Sept. 6, 1783, in Orange Co., NC. She was born bet. 1765-1775 and died after 1829 in Orange Co., NC.

Children of James Cheek & Martha "Patty" Estridge (Estes):

  1. +James Cheek, Jr., b. abt. 1785, Orange Co., NC, possibly the James B. CHEEK who d. 1840-1850, Person Co., NC; may have m. (1) Janie BAKER, Apr. 18, 1807, Orange Co., NC; may have m. (2) Mary "Polly" HOBBS, daughter of William & Esther HOBBS, Feb. 15, 1809, Orange Co., NC.
  2. Unknown Daughter, b. 1784-1790.
  3. Martha "Patsy" Cheek, b. abt. 1790, Orange Co., NC; d. 1820-1830, Orange Co., NC; m. John CARR, Aug. 14, 1810, Orange Co., NC (b. Feb. 13, 1781; d. 1860-1870), bondsman Paul KINNION; bur. John Carr Cemetery, Orange Grove Road, Orange Co., NC. Children: Thomas Estridge Carr, John Wesley Carr (1814), Susan Carr (1816), Anderson Beaufort Carr (1819).
  4. +Abi Cheek, b. abt. 1793, Orange Co., NC; d. 1870-1880, Alleghany Co., NC; m. William ANDREWS, Jr., son of William ANDREWS & Mary LLOYD(?), Aug. 29, 1810, Orange Co., NC (b. 1792; d. 1870); bur. William Andrews Cemetery, Rd. 1428, Alleghany Co., NC.
  5. +Anderson Cheek, b. abt. 1796, Orange Co., NC; d. July 4, 1868, Wake Co., NC; m. Temperance "Tempy" WILLIAMS, Aug. 30, 1819, Orange Co., NC (b. Dec. 20, 1800; d. June 17, 1887); bur. Anderson Cheek Cemetery, East Durham, NC.
  6. +Robert Cheek, b. June 6, 1799, Orange Co., NC; d. Jan. 23, 1885, Chatham Co., NC; m. (1) Martha Ann SYKES, daughter of John F. SYKES & Frances CATES, Nov. 24, 1824, Orange Co., NC (b. 1800-1810; d. abt. 1840); m. (2) Rebecca WHITLOCK, May 28, 1841, Orange Co., NC (b. abt. 1809; d. Feb. 8, 1889); bur. Hope Methodist Church Cemetery, Bonlee, Chatham Co., NC.
  7. +John Cheek, b. abt. 1800, Orange Co., NC; d. 1848 in Orange Co., NC; m. Jane "Jincy" WILLIAMS, Oct. 31, 1818, Orange Co., NC (b. abt. 1800; d. 1861); bur. Glenn-Cheek Cemetery, Durham, NC.
  8. +Burroughs (Burris) Cheek, b. Aug. 9, 1801, Orange Co., NC; d. Feb. 14, 1874, Orange Co., NC; m. Sarah BENTON, daughter of Augustin BENTON & Bethia TAYLOR, Nov. 22, 1825, Orange Co., NC (b. abt. 1804; d. aft. 1880); bur. Lebanon United Methodist Church Cemetery, Orange Co., NC.
  9. Susan Cheek, b. abt. 1805, Orange Co., NC; d. aft. 1880, Orange Co., NC; m. Richard SYKES, son of John F. SYKES & Frances CATES, Nov. 22, 1825, Orange Co., NC (b. abt. 1800; d. 1870-1880), bondsman B. CHEEK. Children: Burris Sykes (c.1824), William Sykes (c.1830), John Sykes (c.1834), Sarah Sykes (c. 1838), Nancy Sykes (c.1843), John Sykes (c.1843), George Sykes (c.1844).
  10. +Willis Cheek, b. abt. 1805, Orange Co., NC; d. aft. 1880, probably in Orange Co., NC; m. Martha WILLIAMS, Nov. 17, 1827, Orange Co., NC (b. abt. 1812; d. aft. 1880).
  11. Nancy Cheek, b. abt. 1810, Orange Co., NC; d. aft. 1880, probably in Orange Co., NC; m. Frederick WILLIAMS, Sept. 24, 1828, Orange Co., NC (b. abt. 1808; d. aft. 1880), with bondsman Robert CHEEK. Children: Lydia Williams (c.1834), Thomas Williams (c.1837), James Williams (c.1839), Nancy Williams (c.1843), Elizabeth Williams (c.1846), Susan Williams (c.1848), Julia Williams (c.1851), David Williams (c.1853), Mariah Williams (c.1856), John Williams (c.1857).


James Cheek was born Aug. 16,1762, in Brunswick County, VA, according to his Revolutionary War pension application.  His family moved to Bute County, NC, when he was an infant or young child, then to Orange County, NC, when he was 10 years old.  James states that he served two 3-month tours of duty in the Revolutionary War during the summer of 1781 and the winter of 1782-1783.  He was engaged in guarding the town of Hillsborough and "was in the battle at 'Kirks' in said County, between the Whigs & Tories".  The Battle of "Kirk's Lane" or "Kirk's Farm" occurred on Sept. 12, 1781, when a force of Tories (British Loyalists) on their way to the town of Hillsborough attacked a group of Whigs (Patriots) encamped at Kirk's Farm on Cane Creek.  A larger group of Loyaltists raided Hillsborough, which was then the seat of North Carolina's government, and took 200 patriots prisoner.

Tax records show that James Cheek obtained 100 acres of land from his father, Robert Cheek, in 1787-1788.  This fact is also documented by a lawsuit that went to trial in Orange County in 1823 between John McKerral and Stanford Cheek, concerning land formerly owned by Robert Cheek, Sr., and distributed to his sons James Cheek and Robert Cheek, Jr., during his lifetime.  The case reveals that Robert Cheek, Sr., never executed a deed to record these transactions with his sons, a fact which clouded the title to the land many years later.  (NC Archives No. CR.07.325.136, "Civil Actions Concerning Land," 1823 folder).  Click here for more about the McKerral v. Cheek lawsuit.

James Cheek is also mentioned in court documents concerning a case of assault and battery brought by his sister-in-law Jane Cheek (wife of Richard Cheek) against their brother-in-law Charles Jones.  Jane claimed that Charles Jones attacked her while she was gathering persimmons and beat her unconscious with a sassafras stick.  It's not clear whether the incident really occurred or Jane and Richard made it up to disparage Jones.  The family was apparently embroiled in a rather bitter dispute at the time, perhaps over Robert Cheek, Sr.'s remaining land.  At trial, the court heard testimony from Richard's brothers James Cheek and Robert Cheek, James' son John, and Robert's wife Patsy.  (NC Archives CR 073.326.1, Orange Co., NC Criminal Action Papers, undated folder.)  Click here for more info about the strange incident.  Hints of a possible dispute in the family can be read between the lines of the McKerral v. Cheek lawsuit (discussed above).  Robert Cheek, Sr., had nine children, but only James and John received any part of his land; Richard, the youngest son, and Elizabeth, the youngest daughter (wife of Charles Jones) may have been rather desperate to establish themselves.

The above Orange County court records, previously unknown, were discovered in the North Carolina Archives by Larry Cates in October 2000 and April 2001.

James Cheek married Martha "Patty" ESTES or ESTRIDGE on Sept. 5, 1783, in Orange County, NC.  James had 11 children based on census records.  His wife appears to have died between 1820-1830.  James Cheek died in Sept. 1834 according to a death notice published in the Raleigh Register on Sept. 23, 1834.  (Carrie L. Broughton, Marriage and Death Notices in the Raleigh Register & North Carolina State Gazette (Gen. Pub. Co., 1992), p.331.)  He did not leave a will.

Although James Cheek and many of his friends and relatives fought for American independence, his father-in-law, Thomas ESTES (also spelled Eastridge or Estridge), was an active Tory (Loyalist).  In 1782 Thomas Estes/Estridge was captured and sentenced to hang for treason.  Despite political differences, a large number of his friends and neighbors signed a petition to the Governor to spare his life, and he was granted a pardon on condition that he join the North Carolina militia for one year.  He did so but was killed in action before the year was up.

Thomas Estes had a brother, Moses Estes, who fought in the Revolution on the American side and died without issue.  According to this family tree posted by Jim Estes, Thomas Estes' son Burroughs or Burris Estes filed a petition for Moses Estes' bounty land in 1819 and was awarded 640 acres which he later claimed in Henry Co., TN.  In 1829, Thomas Estes' daughters (Burroughs' sisters), along with two uncles and a cousin, brought an (unsuccessful) lawsuit in Henry Co., TN, for their share of the 640 acres as heirs of Moses Estes.  The petition proves that Martha Cheek, the wife of James Cheek, and Susannah Cheek, the widow of John Cheek, were daughters of Thomas Estes.  Specifically, the petition alleges "that a certain Moses ESTES, who has long since deceased without issue leaving four brothers, to wit, Thomas ESTES, who was the senior of the said brothers, who is also now deceased leaving four heirs, to wit, Burris ESTES together with three sisters, namely, Martha CHEEK, the wife of your Petitioner James CHEEK formerly Martha ESTES, and Susannah CHEEK, the relict &c of John CHEEK deceased, and formerly Susannah ESTES, who is also one of your petitioners and Elizabeth PITMAN the wife of Josiah PITMAN, your petitioner, who was formerly Elizabeth ESTES…"  The court denied the petition.  (Henry Co., TN, Court Minutes, March 4, 1829.)

Note (and correction to prior postings): As Martha was still alive in 1829, her husband James Cheek cannot be the same James Cheek who married Margaret BAILEY on May 1, 1792, in Orange Co., NC.

Researchers sometimes confuse James Cheek (b. 1762) with his 2nd cousin, James Cheek, who was a son Richard Cheek of Beaufort County, NC.  James, the son of Richard, was born abt. 1730-1735 and lived in Orange County, NC, from about 1759 to the early 1770's.  He and his family moved to South Carolina prior to the Revolutionary War.


Aug. 26, 1779. Orange Co., NC. James CHEEK was a chain carrier for Joseph BARNETT on a New Hope Creek survey. (NC Land Grant 547, Book 49, p.55.)

Sept. 5, 1783. Orange Co., NC. James CHEEK & Patty ESTRIDGE posted a marriage bond; bondsman: Wm. MCCAULEY; witness: Jesse BENTON.  [Note: her family's name is spelled both ESTES and ESTRIDGE in various records.]

1786 Tax List. Orange Co., NC, St. Thomas's Dist.
• Robert CHEEK (300 acres, 1 poll)
• James CHEEK (1 poll)
• Maston CHEEK (1 poll)
1787 Tax List. Orange Co., NC, St. Thomas's Dist.
• Robert CHEEK (300 acres, 1 poll)
• James CHEEK (1 poll)
• Mastin CHEEK (1 poll)
1788 Tax List. Orange Co., NC, St. Thomas's Dist.
• Robert CHEEK (200 acres, 1 poll)
• James CHEEK (100 acres, 1 poll)
• Mastin CHEEK (1 poll)

Note: from the above tax lists, it appears that Robert Cheek gave 100 acres of land to James Cheek between 1787 and 1788.

Aug. 1, 1789. Orange Co., NC, James CHEEK witnessed a deed from John BUCKNER and wife Mary to George REEVES, for land on Terrell's Creek of Haw River. (Orange Co., NC, Deed Book 4, p.208.)

1790 Tax List, Orange Co., NC, St. Thomas's Dist.:
• Robt. CHEEK (200 acres, no polls)
• James CHEEK (100 acres, 1 white poll)
• Mastin CHEEK (1 white poll)

Note: the 1790 Census of Orange Co., NC, has not survived, so the tax list is the best substitute.

Feb. 29, 1792. Orange Co., NC. James CHEEK purchased 18 acres on the waters of New Hope Creek from James MITCHELL for £20, adj. said CHEEK & Robert CHEEK. (Orange DB 4, p.599).

1792 Tax List. Orange Co., NC, St. Thomas's Dist.
• Robert CHEEK (200 acres, 1 poll)
• James CHEEK (118 acres, 1 poll)
• Hartwell CHEEK (1 poll)

Note: It appears James was in possession of the 100 acres he had received from his father in 1787-1788, plus the 18 acres he purchased from James MITCHELL in 1792 (i.e., 118 acres total).

May 1, 1792. Orange Co., NC. James CHEEK & Margaret BAILEY posted a marriage bond; wit: Abner Benton BRUCE.

1794 Tax List. Orange Co., NC, St. Thomas's Dist.
• Robert CHEEK (200 acres, 1 poll)
• James CHEEK (118 acres, 1 poll)

Aug. 10, 1797. Orange Co., NC. James CHEEK granted 29 acres in Orange County on the waters of New Hope Creek adj. George LONG, James MITCHELL, John MITCHELL, Robert CHEEK & his own land. Entered Nov. 29, 1796. (Orange DB 7, p.475; NC Archives Land Office Warrants & Plats, Folder No., Entry No. 291, Grant No. 1269, Book 93, p.250.)

Nov. 30, 1797. Warren Co., NC. James CHEEK, Willee ESTRIDGE & Burrage ESTRIDGE were bondsmen for the estate of Moses ESTES in Warren Co., NC. [Note: Moses ESTES was James CHEEK's brother-in-law.]

1800 Census, Orange Co., NC, p.552: JAMES CHEEK
Data Analysis
2 w/m under 10 b.1790-1800 = Anderson (c.1796), Robert (c.1799)
1 w/m 10-15 b.1784-1790 = James Jr. (c.1785)
1 w/m 26-45 b.1755-1774 = James (1762)
2 w/f under 10 b.1790-1800 = Martha (c.1790), Abi (c.1793)
1 w/f 10-15 b.1784-1790 = Unknown daughter?
1 w/f 26-45 b.1755-1774 = Wife
1 slave  

Jan. 18, 1806. Orange Co., NC. Jas. CHEEK was bondsman for the marriage of Charles JONES & Elizabeth CHEEK.

1810 Census, Orange Co., NC, p.113: JAMES CHEEK
Data Analysis
3 w/m under 10 b.1800-1810 = John (c.1800), Burroughs (1801), Willis (c.1805)
1 w/m 10-15 b.1795-1800 = probably Robert (c.1799)
1 w/m over 45 b. bef. 1765 = James (1762)
1 w/f under 10 b.1800-1810 = Susan (c.1805)
2 w/f 16-25 b.1785-1794 = Martha (c.1790), Abi (c.1793)
1 w/f 26-45 b.1765-1784 = Wife
No slaves  

Note: James Cheek Jr. was married by 1810 and is listed separately on p.113 of the census. One of his brothers, probably Anderson Cheek, appears to have been living with him based on the ages of the household residents.

1816 Tax List, Orange Co., NC: James CHEEK, New Hope, 171 acres, value $427. (NCGSJ, 5:117, May 1979.)

1820 Census, Orange Co., NC, p.332: JAMES CHEEK
Data Analysis
1 w/m 10-15 b.1805-1810 = Willis (c.1805)
1 w/m 18-25 b.1795-1802 = Robert (c.1799)
1 w/m over 45 b. bef. 1775 = James (1762)
1 w/f 10-15 b.1805-1810 = Nancy (c.1810)
2 w/f 16-25 b.1795-1804 = Susan (c.1805)
1 w/f over 45 b. bef. 1775 = Wife
No slaves  

Note: Anderson, John, and Burroughs were married by 1820 and are listed separately in the census. Daughters Martha (m. John CARR) & Abi (m. William ANDREWS) also married prior to 1820.

Aug. 7, 1820. Orange Co., NC. William KIRKLAND, plaintiff, vs. James CHEEK, defendant, a tract of land on New Hope supposed to contain 200 acres adj. Robert CHEEK & others, the property of James CHEEK, sold to satisfy certain monies in writ; sold at auction in Hillsborough on Feb. 1, 1818, to William KIRKLAND for $20; adj. Robert CHEEK, Sr., dividing line of Robert & James CHEEK, corner of Robert CHEEK, Jr., DAVIS, & New Hope corner of BROWN, containing 184 ½ acres. (Orange DB 18, p.304.)

Mar. 4, 1829. Henry Co., TN. Martha (ESTES) CHEEK, the wife of James CHEEK and daughter of Thomas ESTES, was a party to a lawsuit against Martha's brother Burris ESTES for a share of 640 acres of Revolutionary War bounty land which Burris Estes had obtained as an heir of their deceased uncle Moses Estes. The other petitioners included Susannah's sisters Susannah CHEEK (widow of John Cheek) and Elizabeth PITMAN (wife of Josiah PITMAN), their uncles Elisha ESTES and Aaron ESTES, and a cousin, James ESTES, the son of their uncle James ESTES, deceased. (Henry Co., TN, Court Minutes.)

1830 Census: James Cheek is not listed. He may have been living with his son Anderson Cheek, whose household in the 1830 census includes a white male age 80-89 (Orange Co., NC, census, p.285).

June 17, 1833. James CHEEK was awarded a pension for service during the Revolutionary War. The 1835 Federal Pension List for North Carolina shows JAMES CHEEK of Orange County, Private, Cavalry and Infantry, NC Militia, $22.50 annual allowance, $55.25 amount received, pension started June 17, 1833, age 72.

Sept. 1834. A notice of James CHEEK's death appeared in the Raleigh Register on Sept. 23, 1834. (Source: Carrie L. Broughton, Marriage and Death Notices in the Raleigh Register & North Carolina State Gazette Gen. Pub. Co., 1992), p.331.)