Saturday, October 17, 2009

Surname Saturday: TOLLIVER

My children's paternal grandfather's paternal grandmother was the last in their family to be born with the TOLLIVER surname. The surname was often spelled "Toliver" and occasionally "Taliaferro."

There is a very famous Southern family with the surname TALIAFERRO which is pronounced "Tolliver." I have recently learned that my children's Tollivers are not related to the Taliaferros (DNA has proved this out), although there are many other families out there with the surname Tolliver that turn out to actually be descended from the Taliaferro family.

The earliest roots that can be traced are to a Mr. TOL(L)IVER (first name is unknown) who with his unknown wife, parented five sons and two daughters: William, Moses, Jesse, John, Charles, Lucy and Sarah/Nancy.

Stories and History:

Ahnentafel #288 - [--?--] TOL(L)IVER (1730? - 1774?) - This man is believed to have the given name William or John, based on the names of tax payers in Surry (later Wilkes) County, North Carolina in 1771 and 1772, and may have died in 1774 in that location. It is know that the father of the five sons and two daughters lived along the Rappahanock River in Prince William (now Fauquier) County, Virginia as early as 1756. The family then moved to the James River area about 30 miles from Richmond. In 1770, they removed to Surry (later Wilkes) County, North Carolina. This Tolliver patriarch is believed to have died there in 1774.

Ahnentafel #144 - Jesse TOLIVER (1756 - 1838) - Jesse was born along the Rappahanock River in Virginia. He served with two of his brothers, John and Moses, in the American Revolution, enlisting at five different times as a private, all under Captain William Lenoir, in different companies for North Carolina. He married Martha Frances "Frankey" STAMPER in 1782 and they had eleven children. After the war, he moved over the Blue Ridge Mountains with his mother and brothers and their families to the western part of what was then Wilkes County, North Carolina; later this became Ashe County, and later yet, Allegheny County. Jesse is recorded as owning two slaves in the 1800 Federal Census, but not on the 1790, 1810 or subsequent censuses. Much about what is known of Jesse comes from his Revolutionary War Veteran's Pension and the Widow's Pension that Frankey applied for. Apparently, both Jesse and Frankey were illiterate, but whenever they had a visitor who could read and write, they would have him write down all the family members' names and birth dates in the family Bible. Pages from this Bible were submitted with Frankey's Widow's Pension application.

Ahnentafel #72 - Starling TOLIVER (1806 - aft 1870) - married Mildred Ann "Milly" SPURLIN and had nine children.

Ahnentafel #36 - Jacob F. TOLIVER (1831 - 1898) - a Confederate Veteran of the Civil War. I wrote about him here in my Civil War Soldiers and Sailors series.

Ahnentafel #18 - Clark Pleasant - or Pleasant Clark - TOLLIVER (1861 - 1918) - I have written about him here.

Ahnentafel #9 - Margie Ethel TOLLIVER (1889 - 1971) - born in Nebraska, she came west with her parents to Colorado, where she met and married a widower, John Franklin MIDKIFF, Sr. They lived all over the West: California, Idaho, and Washington.

Ahnentafel #4 - John Franklin MIDKIFF, Jr. (1910 - 1957) - see the Surname Saturday: MIDKIFF post for more information on him.

Ahnentafel #2 - my children's paternal grandfather (living)

Ahnentafel #1 - my children's father (living)

More about the TOLLIVER family:

1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): TOLLIVER ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)

2. Posts about TOLLIVER ancestors and relatives on this blog

3. Some scanned TOLLIVER documents

5. Some scanned TOLLIVER photos

6. My TOLLIVER Virtual Cemetery on Find A Grave

7. The TOLLVER Family Website


My children's TOLLIVER immigration trail:

Prince William (now Fauquier) Co., VA > Surry (now Wilkes) Co., NC > Wilkes (now Allegheny) Co., NC > Madison Co., NE > Delta Co., CO > Montrose Co., CO > Mesa Co., CO > Custer Co., ID > Los Angeles and/or Butte Co., CA > Yakima Co., WA > Thurston Co., WA > Clark Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA


Unknown said...

Hi my great grandmother name was bertha toliver. Please contact me so I can find out if we are connected .

Miriam Robbins said...

Hi, Adrienne,

As of right now, I don't have any Berta Tolivers in my family tree. However, do you see any common locations between where your Tolivers lived and where my kids' dad's Tolivers lived? Are you African American? Because my kids' dad's Toliver ancestors did own slaves, and so it's possible there is a connection here.

Please let me know your answers. You can email me at

Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to hearing from you.

Unknown said...

Many of these names sound familiar to me especially Jesse Lucy and Namcy.. Please contact me via Facebook Caithy-Gentry Lasker. My family came from Morth Carolina

Unknown said...

My name is Kamara Toliver and I am from Kentucky. African American. My maternal grandfather was William Charles Toliver out of Ellkton, KY. I can be reached at

sistersnthecircle said...

I'm a Tolliver and family is NOT helping find out who I am. Does anyone know any free sites or leads. Spending time and energy does not matter. Great blog by the way.

Unknown said...

We are related to Lady Tolliver, up through to the Curnuttes. My grandma was Berdella Curnutte from West Virginia, her dad was Sherman Curnutte her mom was Mary Cox...

Deon Toliver said...

I am from Durant, MS as I am a Toliver. My grandmother's name was Florida Toliver, grandfather is Wilburn Toliver. I believe they came from Ebenezer, MS. There are plenty of Tolivers in Mississippi, found some in Oklahoma too.

Martha said...

I am directly related to Jesse and Starling and my family is from North Carolina. I was told that Jesse's parents were Charles and Ann (Kemp) Tolliver and Charles parents were John and Sara (Smith). John was born in 1656 and died in 1720. John's dad was Robert Taliaferro who received a large land grant on the Rappahannock River in VA. He was from Scotland and was married to either or both Katherine Dedman or Sara Grymes. Robert was in the US as early as 1638.
Please let me know if this information is wrong.