Bethea Family
 Genealogy Website

___ 1700  -  2010 ___





The Bethea Family Website
  has had a bunch of visits since May, 2000.

Special thanks to all our visitors and
those that have contributed information
 for this electronic book and website.





Bethea Family Memorial Church at Dothan Community, in Dillon County between Little Rock and Latta, S.C. (This was Pee Dee River country to the early settlers.) Harleesville, S.C. was the name on maps of that time, where Little Rock is situated today.The County of Dillon was renamed during 'reconstruction period' following the War Between the States.

(The building is used every two years for Bethea Reunions and special events like Bethea family weddings. The next scheduled reunion event is set for June, 2010.)




The Manning/ Bethea/ Parham Home
(Woodlawn House) near Dillon , SC  (built circa 1790)

Built by Sarah Rogers & Melea Manning
 (4th Generation descendant from English John Bethea)


* Click Here to See this  Reunion 2000 Booklet

* Click Here to See this  Reunion 2002 Booklet

* Click Here to See this  Reunion 2004 Booklet

* Click Here to See this  Reunion 2006 Booklet


Around the early 1800's the local Betheas between Sweatswamp and Buckswamp vicinities had been worshiping atHarleesville(now Little Rock, S.C.) in the Methodist Church shown above. Opportunities to homestead new lands in the West started to look attractive to younger Betheas by 1803, when the Louisiana Purchase opened up vast new territories West beyond the Mississippi River.

* Click Here to see the first known Bethea family document dated 1735, when      "English John"  Bethea had a British lawyer prepare a deed to transfer his 150 acre  plantation over to his younger son Tristram Bethea(2), in what is today Gates County, N.C. The consideration for the sale of the plantation was 100 barrels of tar and a lifetime right to build and keep his own residence on the plantation. This was 41 years BEFORE  The Declaration of Independence of the USA on July 4, 1776.

* Click Here for Map Location to Dillon SC.
* Bethea Family Properties about 1815 around Marion County, S.C. 
* Click Here for Map Location to Bethea Dothan Church
* Click Here for Pictures of Little Pee Dee River

* Click Here for Map Location and Picture of Sweat Swamp Cemetery


* Click Here for Map Location and Picture of Marker
Buck Swamp Cemetery


1st Generation of Bethea Family 
in North America 

English John Bethea 
Born 1684 in Europe

He crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship, when Protestant Huguenots were fleeing persecution in Europe, and traveled to the James River Virginia

Colony by sea at about the age of 16. He bought a plantation of 150 acres by his 40's, as recorded in a deed dated 1735. English John died after 1750  probably on the 150 acre plantation that he sold to his Son, Tristram Bethea,  in Gates County, North Carolina ( back then called  Nansemond and near the town of Suffolk, British American Virginia Colonial Plantations.)


This is a history of the descendants of an Englishman who crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Great Britain to Virginia about 1700. He was born in 1684 somewhere in France or England. The family name, Bethea, is more French derivative than English.  What is clearly known is that Betheas were protestant in their religious beliefs. About the time when English John was born around 1684, French King Louis XIV  REVOKED  the earlier Edict of Nantes, a freedom of worship proclamation by King Henry the Great,an earlier French King following the REFORMATION. This was when Martin Luther in 1519 nailed those theses to the door of the Wittenberg, Germany castle Catholic church door. The French government was opposed to protestantism, and widespread persecution and murders of French Protestants followed the revocation of the Nantes Edict.  Although there is NO official proof or records of Betheas fleeing France, we also have NO proof of other Bethea families living in England or Great Britain around 1700.  We do know that at least five ships full of French Protestants sailed from England to the James River area of the Virginia Colony in the year 1700. Most likely English John had been protected since his infancy by protestants who brought him to America on one of those five ships  (see following articles and documentation).




The French Protestant believers (called Huguenots by the French) left France to escape death after the revocation of the earlier Nantes Edict. The Feastday of St. Bartholomew, captured in the painting above is of a massacre in a French village, and the engraving demonstrates how protestant French citizens had to flee in small wooden boats across the English Channel from Brittany and Normandy to England. Such was probably the fate of the original John Bethea, and how he happened to be called "English John" accompanying fellow protestants settlers to a new life in America, where old Indian  lands (like the Manakin Town) were offered on the James River for homesteading  in Virginia. Some of the protestant settlers preferred locating on navigable waterfronts, instead of on the isolated and non-navigable upstream locations like Manakin Town, Va., so they went elsewhere in Virginia  and settled along Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound to the South, near the old community of  Suffolk, Va.


The grand Palace of Versailles, outside Paris, the government of France and the Sun King, Louis XIV, held their royal court.


From what is recorded in Harlee's Kinfolks History, we know that "English" John Bethea was a success in his entrepreneurial activities. By 1735, when John (1) was 51 years old, he had owned and been living on his own plantation. He made a deed from himself to Tristram, one of his two sons, transferring his 150 acre plantation situated in what later was to be known as North Carolina (Gates County) for the consideration of 100 barrels of tar and the right to have a home place on the land for as long as he lived.  So Tristram's children and the North Carolina Betheas expanded to the South in North Carolina along the Cape Fear River and raised their families. Meanwhile the other son  "Virginia John" (apparently called such because in those days, they really thought that they were all living in Virginia, in what was then a county called Nansemond to the West of what later would become Norfolk, Va. and their commercial and marketing village was a place called Suffolk, (British Colonial Plantation) well known to travelers of the late 1600s. The children of "Virginia John" (2) somehow all lived and married in the area around what is now Dillon County, South Carolina so either "Virginia John" himself settled in South Carolina, or all four of his children arrived there another way. The men were known as "Sweatswamp William" Bethea and "Buckswamp John" Bethea (3), due to their land being crossed by branch creeks called Sweatswamp and Buckswamp, the former flowing into the Little Pee Dee River, along which many Betheas resided by 1800.

   There are two books still in print, which shed a lot of information of these early Bethea families. One is called the "Ancestral Key to the Pee Dee", written by Mary Belle Manning Bethea and printed by the R. L. Bryan Company of Columbia, South Carolina. It was copyrighted in 1978 and it has been said that some copies are still available from the Librarian of the Dillon County Library in Latta, South Carolina (Near Buckswamp). Library of Congress Catalog Number 78-61789 applies to this history book. 


 The 2nd helpful Bethea History is contained in the pages of  "A History of Marion County, S.C." by W.W. Sellers  (from the earliest times to the present, 1901) copyright 1902-1996 by the Southern Historical Press, P.O. Box 1267,  375 West Broad Street, Greenville, S.C. 29602-1267. It may be that copies of this may be obtained direct from the publisher.  My copies were obtained through a friendly third person/ Bethea cousin with vast knowledge of Bethea historical matters and I am indebted to all of my Bethea, Rogers, Manning and dozens of more family names descended from the original Bethea  cousins whom have provided virtually all of the content of this website.

A Third book often referred to by Bethea researchers , " Harllee's Kinfolks, Vol. 3" by William Curry Harllee , contains an additional wealth of regional and biographical information on the Betheas and their relatives.  This volume is currently out of print. There are a few copies available from Higgingson  Book Company , 14 Derby Square , Post Office  Box 778 Salem, Massachusetts 01970. 

Heads of State during the time of English John Bethea and his children in North America


William (of Orange) III till 1702 &
Mary II till 1694.
King & Queen of Great Britain, etc.


Queen Anne of Great Britain,
Scotland etc. till 1714

George I (George Louis), 16601727, king of Great Britain and Ireland (171427)

George II (George Augustus), 16831760, king of Great Britain and Ireland (172760)

George III, King of Great Britain,
 etc. until 1776 - 1781 surrender


George Washington, First President

John Adams, Second President


Thomas Jefferson
Third President


James Madison, Fourth President


James Monroe, Fifth President

John Quincy Adams,
Sixth President


The Bethea family expanded and grew over the last three hundred years, first under the English King in the British American Colonies, and then as patriots in the Revolutionary Independence effort of the United States of America. Afterward the family members spread from coast to coast. Beginning with " English John  Bethea ", this is the story and pictures of his descendants. "ENGLISH" JOHN BETHEA  sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe and married the Widow lady Upton. He arrived somewhere along the coastline of Nansemond (later Norfolk), Virginia. That county is now extinct, but it lay between Chesapeake Bay to the North and the Albemarle Sound inlet to the South.  "English John" died sometime after 1750.

Virginia John Bethea(2) (b. before 1705 d. after 1779) He had four (4) children:

1) "Buckswamp" John Bethea  Settled Buck Swamp abt. 1756. Died 8-12-1821 The first marriage was to Lucy ________, and the second marriage was to Absala Parker born 1744 and married in 1765.
2) "Sweatswamp" William Bethea  Married Sara Goodman and had four sons.
3) Anna (Bethea) Rogers b. Sept 6. 1755 - d. abt 1845 m. Erasmus (Lot) Rogers b. Sept 12. 1755 in Suffolk, Nansemond Co, Va. They married on April 11, 1773  in Dillon County, S.C. and Anna died about 1845 at Dillon. We have a new bio on Lot Rogers. Click Here to read it.
4) Mary  (Bethea) Rogers m. 1st Elthered (DRED) Rogers 2nd William Stackhouse

All of these descendants of Virginia John Bethea settled around what is now Dillon County South Carolina until after the War of the American Revolution.  By 1800, when the United States of America was well established, and President Thomas Jefferson was purchasing new lands in the Western frontier, (The Louisiana Purchase)  some of the Bethea descendants set out by horse and wagon to Georgia, to Alabama, to Mississippi  and then crossing the great Mississippi River - to Arkansas, to Texas and beyond, seeking homestead lands in the new U.S. frontier.

Tristram Bethea (2) b. 1713 in Herford (Gates County) N.C) d. 1779
ettled on the family's 150 acre plantation in Gates County, N.C. He had NINE (9)

1) James Bethea3, d. before Feb. 1797 
Jesse Bethea33, b. before 1736 d. 1812 m. (2nd) Elizabeth Breeden (Thomas)  Marlboro Bethea Branch 
John Bethea3, d. 1799 in Gates County, N.C. 
William Bethea3 b. Mar. 1, 1744 in Gates County , N.C. Married Jerusha Brown Cape Fear Bethea's 
Elisha Bethea3 b. 1761 in Gates County , N.C. 
Mary Bethea3 d. after Oct. 30, 1792 in Gates County 
Elizabeth Bethea3
Ann Bethea3
Priscilla Bethea3


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Copyright  2010 by T. P. Bethea, Jr., Monroe, Louisiana
This is an electronic book publication - all rights reserved.


Claire Carlton Smith passed away in January due to complications from Diabetes.

T. P. Bethea, Jr.  will continue Carlton's family project, After a little time adjusting and letting the dust settle, TP would really like to get more generations listed, clean the site up a bit and make this the site Carlton would be proud as well as all Betheas.