I've been searching for this one for years. I heard or read somewhere, perhaps from you, that your ancestor, my great-great-great-uncle Joshua Allen Pendarvis studied medicine under the tutelage of this Dr. John May. I have studied Dr. May's ancestry and that of his 2 wives for years and haven't found a direct connection to the Pendarvises.
If Bethia Pendarvis was definitely born around 1797/1798 then she couldn't be either of the two widowed Elizabeth Pendarvises that were perhaps still living in 1850, as they would have both been older. Of course if her age was mistaken in the 1850 census then those are possibilities. Joshua Allen Pendarvis' father, Daniel, did seem to have had sisters of that age, so perhaps that is the case.
The name Bathiah/Bethia was used by the Gavin and Byrd families. In fact, David Gavin's father's sister was Bathiah Gavin born in 1799, but she was widowed by a Ratcliffe and living in MS in 1850. David Gavin claimed kin, by his mother Anna Hughes Gavin, to the John Pendarvis, who was the father of John Enoch, Lewis M, Mary, and Dorcas. Unless he was his own cousin, as so many of us are, then that doesn't help much.
One theory that I've been working on is that Bethia was not actually Bethia. Both the 1850 census and the 1860 census of Colleton county were copied from working copies. Both censuses have a few glaring errors of transcription. Clearly the 1860 census was copied by some one other than the census compiler because of the amount and degree of the errors. In the 1860 Colleton Co. census a Mathias Pendarvis, age 67, is living with Elizabeth Bowman Brownlee, and in the 1870 Colleton County census a Thomas Pendarvis, age 78, is living with William and Jane Clayton Cobia. I know its a stretch, but I propose that perhaps Bethia age 52 in 1850, Mathias age 67 in 1860, and Thomas age 78 in 1870 are all the same person. There are tons of age, gender and name errors found in all censuses. Otherwise all three are hard to place. Frederick had a son named Thomas who I can not identify in the 1850 census, though I know he was living per his and his siblings' petition to the General Assembly about John Parker's estate. Just maybe he was Thomas Mathias Pendarvis called Mathias informally and Thomas formally, and in the 1850 census his name and age were incorrectly transcribed (Bethia for Mathias, and 52 for 57). Just a thought.
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