Josiah Holly Tillett (Wescott Family)

Thomas is my 4th great grandfather, father of Lovie Davis Tillett and Josiah Holly Tillett. He was born about 1745 in Nags Head, North Carolina. Not much is known about him other than he was married to Mary Polly Johnson and died at sea. His Mother’s Bible states “Thomas R. Tillett left home Jan 20th, 1832 was lost at sea soon afterward”.

Josiah Holly Tillett, Sr. was born on April 18, 1829. He married Levina A. Baum/Harris on January 13, 1858, in Currituck County. Levina, born May 15, 1846, and died Dec. 8, 1880. She often went by the surname of Harris. Her father has been speculated as a Baum (possibly Jacob) and her mother was a Harris.

Levina generally went by Harris. By the time Josiah had married Levina in 1858 he already had two children by a previous relationship with Sarah Cooper. These two children were: Lucinda Jackson (who took her surname from her step-father, Pete Jackson) who was born April 8, 1852, and died May 1, 1900; and Thomas T. Tillett who was born June 23, 1857, and died April 27, 1893. It is believed that neither Lucinda nor Thomas T. ever married.

Josiah Holly Tillett, Sr. and Levina Baum/Harris had a dozen children. 

The 12 children were:

 1) Mary Etta Tillett 

 2) Esther Holly Tillett – b. Aug. 20, 1859 d. Apr. 20, 1899; married 1st John Willis Tillett, Sr.; married 2nd Jesse James Twiford, Sr.

 3) Tilmon L. Tillett – b. Sept. 14, 1862 d. Apr. 10, 1920; married Harriet Anne Baum

 4) Lovey Tillett – b. Nov. 25, 1864 d. Dec. 24, 1931; never married.

 5) Ella May Tillett – [see her photo & information here]

 6) Timothy O. Tillett – [see his photo & information here]

 7) Tedrick Tillett – b. June 2, 1870 d. Oct. 10, 1873

 8) Titus S. Tillett – b. Nov. 8, 1872 d. Mar. 8, 1931; married Laura A. Davis & Mary David Payne

 9) Theocanus Tillett -[see his photo & information here]

10) Almeda Tillett – [see her photo & information here]

11) Josiah Holly Tillett, Jr. – b. Dec. 10, 1879 d. Nov. 29, 1936; married 1st Mattie King in 1899, 2nd Nettie Virginia Fusedly (sp?) in 1904, 3rd Cottie Poole (Culpepper) Peterson between 1923-1930, and 4th Robanna (Fulcher) Beasley in 1935.

12) Arthur Perry Tillett (listed in census & other records as “Othuel” – b. Dec. 8, 1880 d. June 7, 1957; married Nellie White.


Pictures of his actual bible can be seen at

They lived in Nags Head Woods where their family lived for generations in and where their heritage traces back to the early 1700s. His grandfather received all of Nags Head Woods from sound to sea by a land grant from the Lord’s Proprietors of North Carolina. (from

Photo and information kindly submitted by Tammy Holton Jennings.

There are four Tillett Family Cemeteries in Nags Head Woods that bear the family names and dates.


Joe Holly was appointed assistant keeper of the Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head from l859 to l860; Joe Holly resigned to take care of the family and the homeplace in Nags Head Woods.  He died 15 September 1881.


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