Sarah (Sallie) was born about 1761 (as per census records) the daughter of Samuel and Mary (Phillips) Thomas of Halifax, Vermont. Sarah had 6 siblings, an older sister Elizabeth (Betsy) younger sisters Hannah, Dorcas, Abigail (Nabby), and two brothers Gardner and Samuel all born in Rhode Island. They were a prolific family as Elizabeth had 10 children Sarah 9, Hannah 5, Dorcas 9, Gardner 8, Abigail 9 but none for Samuel as he died very young.
Sarah’s family lineage is well recorded on its own. On her grandfather’s side, the Thomas family goes back to a John Thomas, born about 1640 in Pembrokeshire County, Wales. Her grandmother’s side (Samuel’s mother) the Tripp family goes back to a Mr. Tripp, born about 1523 in England. There is even a Presidential connection as Warren G Harding 29th president, is a descendant of Sarah’s Great Grandfather, Job Tripp.
The Thomas brothers were devout Baptist, patriots and upstanding citizens in the community. They immigrated to Halifax, Vermont from Rhode Island sometime prior to the first town census (enumerated in 1771). Among Samuel’s holdings was lot #47 in the northeast part of Halifax known as “Thomas Hill”, which contained both a saw mill and a grist mill. In 1780, shortly after his wife Mary died, Samuel sold his mill property to his brother John (This is the transaction that Thomas McCargar witnessed). This would have been shortly after our Thomas finished his 8th Massachusetts Militia service and around the time that Sarah became pregnant with Mary (Mollie).
There were three Thomas brothers, Samuel, John and Benjamin in Halifax all devout Baptist, patriots and upstanding citizens in the community. They immigrated to Halifax, Vermont from Rhode Island sometime prior to the first town census (enumerated in 1771). Among Samuel’s holdings was lot #47 in the northeast part of Halifax known as “Thomas Hill”. This property contained both a saw mill and a grist mill. In 1780, shortly after his wife Mary’s death, Samuel sold his mill property to his brother John (A transaction that Thomas McCargar witnessed). This would have been shortly after Thomas McCargar returned to Halifax after finishing his nine month 8th Massachusetts Militia service and around the time that Sarah became pregnant with their first child Mary (Mollie).
According to a Halifax town clerk, there is nothing in their files documenting a marriage between Thomas and Sarah. However, as the Sarah’s family was Baptist and at that time the closest Baptist church was several miles away in Leyden, Massachusetts, perhaps the marriage took place there. Leyden no longer has a Baptist church, and according to the American Baptist Historical Society the church traditionally did not keep marriage records as part of church records, although a few ministers did keep a private log of marriages they preformed. It is very unlikely that we will ever find a marriage record for Thomas and Sarah.
Separation and Reunion
Sometime after the birth of their second child (Thomas Jr.) in 1783, Thomas Sr. left Vermont and moved to Fredrickton New York. We have no idea why Thomas decided to move, or why Sarah and the children didn’t go with him but she did stay behind in Halifax. Sarah’s unwillingness to leave her family may, in part, have been due to her mother’s death in March 1780, as Sarah may have assumed the family’s matriarchal duties to look after the household and siblings.
Sometime after 1784 and before 1790, Samuel Thomas and family moved from Halifax to the Whitehall area of New York, as a Samuel Thomas appears on the 1790 Whitehall census. It is likely that Sarah remained with her father and probably moved with him to New York. While we’re not sure if this is where Thomas and Sarah reunited (whether it happened as per family lore or some other way), but we do know they were back together by November 1790 since their son Robert was born in August 1791. Thomas and Sarah had five more children while they lived in New York (Garner in 1792, Hugh in 1795, Philander in 1796, Milo in 1798, and Barnabus in 1800).
According to the story dictated by Jonas J McCargar circa 1900, several years after Thomas and Sarah reunited they moved to Canada. The move would have been quite an undertaking with themselves, their 7 children, Mary her husband and 2 children and also accompanying them was a Miss Thomas (“a relative of General Thomas”). The Miss Thomas is a mystery as the Thomas brothers, Samuel, John, and Benjamin all had daughter but one of Sarah’s fathers 2 children from his second marriage is more than likely the best candidate. The General Thomas relative is also a mystery as the highest rank we can find in the Thomas family is Captain. The General designation is probably an embellishment of the rank over time, with years of oral retelling--this is a frequent phenomenon encountered in genealogical research. We know that there are several other inaccuracies in Jonas’s narrative (we now have a more extensive knowledge of McCargar history), but his overall story does match our present data.
After the move to Canada, Sarah bore Thomas one more child (Charlotte about 1802).
Sarah died on March 13, 1813 (as per a family source). We do know that she died after the 1810 South Gower census but before the 1813 census, so that date fits. We have no record of where she was buried. The Old Methodist Cemetery in Kemptville, where other early McCargars were buried, was opened in 1813, so she may have been one of the first buried there, or she may have been buried on the family farm (in Kemptville).
While we credit Thomas with being very prolific, Sarah herself was quite the mother. She gave birth to nine of Thomas's twelve (thirteen?) children (Mary, Thomas Jr., Robert, Garner, Hugh, Philander, Milo, Barnabus, and Charlotte), who subsequently produced sixty-nine of Thomas's eighty-three grandchildren. Unfortunately, Sarah only lived long enough to possibly witness the birth of twelve of her grandchildren.