Thomas M. Appling (1 Jan. 1832-ca. 22 Aug. 1862)

Thomas M. Appling was the son of Austin Maurice (or Morris) Appling (b. ca. 1795), a farmer of Albemarle County, Virginia, and his wife, Janet (or Jennett) Johnson (d. 1874). The family lived in Warren, a town in southern Albemarle County, where Austin Appling also served as postmaster.

Thomas attended Hampden Sidney College in the class of 1849-50. He is listed as an “irregular student” in the catalog of 1850. (Hampden-Sydney College, Catalogue) “[B]y irregular students are meant such as do not pursue systematic courses of studies. It is by no means intended that any student shall be irregular as to moral conduct.” (Jefferson College, Laws, p.8) Colleges of the time would often restrict their enrollment to “regular” students, that is, those who took a pre-established list of courses in each class year (i.e., freshman, sophomore, etc.). The University of Virginia allowed any student to study as an “irregular” student–he (or his father) was allowed to choose his own mix of courses, rather than a set curriculum. (Cabell, Letter to Reid)

Thomas Appling then attended the University in session 27 (1850-1851), where he studied Modern Languages, Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry. It should be noted that Appling’s name is an addition to my Index of Students (2011); though he signed the official registry in the U.Va. Matriculation Books, his name was omitted from the printed Catalogues. (U.Va. Matriculation Books, 1850-1851; U.Va., Catalogue of the University, session of 1850-’51.)

In the 1850 U.S. Census, Thomas was living in his father’s household in Warren. In the 1860 U.S. Census, Thomas was listed at Buckingham Court House, District 1, Buckingham County, Virginia, with the occupation “Farmer.” He lived with his wife, Lucy Delancey Jones (b. ca. 1827). The couple had no children, but Thomas enslaved 10 people: two women in their forties, and eight children between the ages of 2 and 13.

Thomas M. Appling died in 1862, “At his residence at Buckingham Court-House … in the 30th year of his age.” (Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), 22 Aug. 1862) No cause of death was given. In 1870, Lucy Appling was living in Curdsville, Maysville Township, Buckingham County, with a family named Gibson. In 1880, Lucy is still living in Maysville Township, this time with her sister, Mrs. Virginia Hill. That is the last trace I can find of her.

[Note: Thomas M. Appling’s birthdate was found in the U.Va. Matriculation Books. His death month and year were found in the Richmond Daily Dispatch, on, a database provided to the public by the Library of Virginia. The day of his death was estimated from the date the obituary appeared.—JLC]


  • 1840-1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc.
  • U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
  • Cabell, William H., Letter to Col. Samuel McDowell Reid, Richmond, Va., 19 Jun. 1841, in “Glimpses of old college life (continued from p. 153),” William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, v.8, no. 4 (April 1900), p. 227.
  • “Died [Mr. Thos. M. Appling],” Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), 22 Aug. 1862, p. 2.
  • Hampden-Sydney College. Catalog of the officers and students of the literary and medical departments of Hampden Sidney College, for the year ending June 14, 1850. Richmond, VA, 1850.
  • Jefferson College. Laws of Jefferson College, Located in the Town of Washington, State of Mississippi. Natchez, 1820, p.8, in Sydnor, Charles M. The Development of Southern Sectionalism: 1819-1848. (History of the South, v. 5) Louisiana State University Press, 1968, p. 67.
  • Moon, Anna Mary. Sketches of the Moon and Barclay families: including the Harris, Moorman, Johnson, Appling Families. Chattanooga, TN, 1939.
  • University of Virginia. Catalogue of the University, session of 1850-’51. Richmond, Va., 1851. <;
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
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