THE EARLY GENTRYS
Movement and Fate
A summary of the movements of the three major branches of the early Gentry family is
provided in parallel time-lines in fifteen-year time increments ending in 1820. Their movement
from Central Virginia by families is outlined along with the fate of each of the second and
third-generation members of the family.
During the past year, on the pages of the Journal of Gentry Genealogy, we have published
comprehensive descriptions of much of what is known about the first three generations of the
Gentry Family in America. As one concentrates on each of the three major branches of the
family, it is easy to overlook what is going on in another branch of the family at any given time
in the life of the branch under study. The present article is designed to paint a broad-brush
picture of activities that took place simultaneously at given periods of time in the lives of
Joseph-II, Samuel-II, and Nicholas-II Gentry and their immediate descendants.
For this purpose, we will consider the time period between 1700 and 1820, dividing the time
into fifteen-year increments, and in each time increment consider what was happening to
members of the three family branches. For this study, we will concentrate on the male members
of the family, thereby following the Gentry surname from one descendant to another.
1700 - 1715
During this increment of time, the Gentry family was living in Hanover County, Virginia. The
period opened with a single family unit consisting of Nicholas-I, the immigrant and his three
sons, Joseph-II, Samuel-II, and Nicholas-II living together in one household on Nicholas'
plantation in the vicinity of Totopotomoy Creek. [The suffix -I, -II, and -III will be used in
this article to denote the generation of the individual with respect to Nicholas-I
Nicholas-I's name appeared a number of times in the vestry records of St. Paul's Parish, up
until 1709, and thereafter disappeared from the records. From this, we have concluded that he
died in the period between 1709 and 1712, when the next Gentry reference appeared in the
Joseph-II's name appeared in the vestry records with Nicholas in processioning records for
1709, from which we deduce that he was probably working a portion of Nicholas' land on his
own account and living separately with his immediate family. We also deduce that he was of age
to hold land. When Joseph's name next appeared, in 1712, without Nicholas, we can assume,
that as the oldest son in the family, the family land was now in his name as far as vestry records
were concerned. Joseph's brothers, Samuel and Nicholas may or may not have still been living
on the family plantation by the end of the period in 1715. We will see in a moment that within
the next few years, both moved westward, but the exact time of their departure is not known.
James and John Gentry have been considered by many to be sons of Joseph-II, and David
Gentry a son of Samuel-II. This author now believes them to be children of Nicholas. In either
case, James, David and John were born during this time interval, as was also Joseph's son
[Editor's Note. In view of the change in assumed parentage of
James, David and John, sections of the manuscript relating to those family's movements have
been extensively relocated from their original listing with Joseph's, Samuel's and Nicholas'
families to separate listings of their own.]
1715 - 1730
With this time period, the six Gentry brothers and their descendants began to divide and go their
separate ways. Accordingly, we will consider each family branch separately.
St. Paul's Parish, Hanover County
Joseph appeared in St. Paul's Parish processioning records in 1716, 1719,
1720 and 1724, each time in the same precinct and with the same neighbors as at the time of his
original appearance with Nicholas. This clearly indicates that he remained on the family
plantation on Totopotomoy Creek. Joseph's son, Joseph-III, was probably born in about
Samuel moved from Totopotomoy Creek to the vicinity of Stone Horse Creek at the far
western boundary of St. Paul's Parish. He was assigned parish road duties in 1716 and was also
listed in 1719 vestry records.
Samuel was granted land in 1723 and 1724 along Beech Creek and on the north side of South
Anna River (which was in St. Martin's Parish) (see Fig. 1). This was close to, but separate from
the Stone Horse Creek processioning precinct in which he first settled.
Samuel's sons Nicholas-III, Joseph-III, Allen-III, Simon-III and probably daughter Ann were
Nicholas moved from Totopotomoy Creek to the same Stone Horse Creek processioning
precinct as his brother Samuel. Whether he moved with Samuel, or followed a few years later is
unknown, but both brothers were listed together in a 1719 order for road duty.
Nicholas' sons David-III, Robert-III and Nicholas-III born.
Editor's note. The original version of this document treated
James and John as sons of Joseph, and David as a son of Samuel-II. The author for some time
has believed that all three were sons of Nicholas-I and that the time has come to revise and
correct this document.]
James-II, David-II, and John-II Families
We can speculate that all three of the younger sons of Nicholas left home towards the end of
this time period and probably lived with either one or the other (or sequentially with both) of
their brothers, Samuel and Nicholas. David is believed to have married during the end of this
1730 - 1745
Joseph-II present in vestry records in 1731, 1732, 1735, 1739 and 1743.
Son William-III assigned road duty in 1732 and 1735. These are the only surviving records of
him. He may have died, but there are enough suggestions possibly relating him to a number of
otherwise unexplained Gentrys that it is strongly likely that he left the family homestead and
moved west, outside of St. Paul's Parish.
A 1743 order for road maintenance in St. Paul's Parish by Joseph "Sr" implies the existence of
a Joseph "Jr". He appears to be the only one of Joseph's sons who continued to live at home.
Samuel present in vestry records in 1731, 1735, 1739 and 1743 in a precinct separate from his
brother Nicholas, probably on the land granted to him earlier along Beech Creek.
Samuel and Nicholas served as surety for the estate of John Spradling (a possible
brother-in-law) in 1733.
Samuel received a grant in 1742 for land on Dirty Swamp in Louisa County (see Fig. 2) and is
assumed to have moved there with his family.
Samuel's son Nicholas (the Younger) married Mary Brooks, a sister of David-II's wife, Sarah
Brooks. Both men were given land by their father-in-law, Richard Brooks in 1743. The
simultaneous presence in Louisa County of this David and Nicholas and the David and Nicholas
who were sons of Nicholas-II, has led to a confusion between them that has progressed to the
point that it will probably never be eliminated.
Sons Richard-III, William-III, John-III and Samuel-III born.
Louisa - Hanover Counties, 1750
Nicholas present in vestry records in 1731, 1734 and 1735 in a St. Paul's processioning
precinct lying between Stone Horse Creek and Beech Creek.
Nicholas received a grant in 1736 for land on Dirty Swamp in future Louisa County and is
assumed to have moved there with his family, despite the fact that his name continued to appear
in St. Paul's processioning orders until 1769.
Sons Benajah-III, Moses-III and possibly Nathan-III were born, as were his four
James witnessed a deed in 1735 in St. Martin's Parish (the eastern boundary of which was
Stone Horse Creek), leading to the conclusion that when he left the family home he moved to the
vicinity of Stone Horse Creek, but outside St. Paul's Parish.
- James' sons James-III, George, John, David and William were born. Two more children
born in this period, Aaron and Diana may have been his.
David is assumed to have accompanied his father-in-law Richard Brooks when the latter
received a land grant in 1731 on Dirty Swamp in what later became Louisa County
David given 100 ac land on Dirty Swamp in 1743 by his father-in-law, Richard Brooks.
John appears in Louisa County records as a land owner in 1740, 1743 and
1745 - 1760
Joseph's name appears for the last time in vestry records in 1751, leading to the assumption
that he died within two or three years thereafter. However, it is possible that he continued to live
until at least 1765 but in an inactive and perhaps senile condition without any vestry
responsibilities. This possibility arises from the fact that Joseph-III is referred to in parish
records as Joseph "Jr" in 1764 and 1765.
Joseph-III included in same precinct as his brother James in 1759 vestry processioning order.
William-III presumed to be living in St. Martin's County and perhaps had died by the end of this
period. Several Gentry families subsequently found living in Louisa County are thought to be
Samuel and his entire family moved over a period of several years from Louisa County south
to Lunenburg Co (see Fig. 3). Nicholas-III was the first in 1747, Joseph-III in 1752, Allen-III and
Simon-III about 1755 to 1756. Simon moved back north by 1760 to Cumberland County (see
Fig. 3) where he was married and lived the rest of his life.
Nicholas' son Martin born.
- Nicholas gave land on Dirty Swamp to his sons David and Moses in 1757 and 1758. His
son Nicholas was given land on Gold Mine Creek in Louisa County in 1752 by Nicholas Jr's
father-in-law. As mentioned above, the confusion of these Davids and Nicholases with those of
Samuel-II appears to be irretrievable, but for the record, Nicholas-II ("Sr") married Jane (possibly
Barrett), not Mary Brooks, and his son Nicholas-III ("Jr") married Elizabeth Stringer. Similarly,
David the son of Nicholas-II married Mary Estes, whereas David the son of Samuel-II married
James returned to the family home and appears in vestry records for 1751, 1756 and 1759. He
was presumably occupying land of his own, separate from the family plantation, but in the same
area, namely between Totopotomoy Creek and the south fork of Crump Creek.
David sold his land in Louisa County in 1748 and moved to Lunenburg County along with
others of the Richard Brooks family, and probably continued to live with them for most of his
time in Lunenburg County.
David bought land on Flat Creek in 1757, perhaps as an investment, sold it in 1759 and
moved briefly to Johnston County, North Carolina. Because David returned to Lunenburg
County, his family presumably did not accompanied him to North Carolina and he may have
been simply prospecting for new land.
John-III appeared in a final Louisa County court record in 1747, then next
surfaced in Amelia County. There he was recorded in 1746, 1747, 1748 and 1751 in court and
tax records. (see Fig. 3).
Central Virginia, 1750
1760 - 1775
The British Crown established the Line of Demarcation in 1765, roughly along the line of the
Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. Colonists were prohibited from settling on land in the
Indian territories west of this line.
Joseph-III continued to live in the Totopotomoy Creek area, appearing in vestry records in
1763, 1764, 1765, 1767 and 1771.
The last of Samuel's property in Louisa County was sold in 1762. His son Richard may have
remained there until then before moving to Lunenburg County
- By about 1771, all of Samuel's family had left Lunenburg County, the last to go apparently
were Allen and Samuel-III.
Joseph, Nicholas, Richard and William moved from Lunenburg County to Surry County,
North Carolina appearing in records there beginning in 1771. Samuel joined them not long after.
William lived only a short time after his move, dying in 1773, presumably in a drowning
accident. His widow, Lucy, and family including son Claiborne, continued to live in the
Three sons of Nicholas, namely Nicholas Jr, Samuel and Richard, left the family and
struck out on their own, going on to what eventually became Spartanburg District, South
Caroline, rather than stopping in North Carolina.
Simon-III appeared in a variety of court records indicating he had remained in Cumberland
County, Virginia, after moving there in 1760.
Allen-III's movements during this time period are more uncertain. He visited Surry County
briefly with his brothers in 1772, then appears to have settled in Halifax County, Virginia, and
Caswell (later Person) County, North Carolina (see Fig. 4) in the next few years.
An elusive son of Samuel, John-III, died in Lunenburg County in about 1761, leaving an
orphan son, Joseph who was bound over for care to his grandfather, Samuel, but who apparently
then died in infancy.
Nicholas and his sons David, Nicholas Jr., Moses, Nathan and Martin were living in Louisa
County during this period and appear in a variety of tax and court records.
Robert moved from Louisa County to Albemarle County by 1761, in which year his
father-in-law Philip Joyner left property in the latter county to Robert's children.
Benajah moved from Louisa County to Albemarle County where he obtained a land grant in
1765. Benajah spent the rest of his life there.
James appears in a 1763 vestry record with Joseph-III, but in 1767 and 1771, the records show
James Gentry "heirs" or "dec'd" indicating his death probably about 1766. A Louisa County
record in 1767 refers to his estate in assigning tithables for road duty, and in 1768, James-III
Gentry appears in court in Louisa County as executor for his father's estate. This clearly
indicates that he owned land in both Louisa and Hanover Counties. It also suggests that
James-III was probably the oldest son of James-II. This son, who appears in no earlier records, is
believed to have spent his life up to that point in St. Martin's Parish.
David Gentry and William Gentry appear in vestry records for the first time in 1767 and 1771
in the same precinct as the estate of James-II. They are assumed to be the younger children of
James who accompanied their father back to eastern Hanover County when the latter returned in
An older son of James-II, George, appears in vestry records beginning in 1771 in the Stone
Horse Creek precinct, replacing his uncle Nicholas-II in the listing of property owners. As per
later testimony by George's son George Jr., the family was living in the area in 1765 and before.
A probable brother of George, Aaron Gentry, witnessed a deed for the sale of land in 1759, but
then disappears from history and probably died soon afterwards.
David's move from Lunenburg County to Johnston County, North Carolina in 1759, was not a
permanent move as Lunenburg court records and tax lists show his continued presence in
Lunenburg until the mid 1760's. David died about 1765.
David's widow, Sarah, and seven children moved to South Carolina where Sarah was granted
land along the Saluda River in 1766 (in what later became Edgefield District)(see Fig. 7).
David's oldest son Hezekiah visited Surry County North Carolina briefly with several of his
cousins but eventually moved to South Carolina to join the rest of the family.
John is mentioned very briefly in a reference in Augusta County in 1768,
just prior to the formation of Botetourt County from Augusta Co (see Fig. 3).
1775 - 1790
With the coming of the Revolution, the Line of Demarcation was no longer a bar to westward
expansion after 1776. This opened up a tide of migration beginning in the late 1770's led by
Daniel Boone and others, to unsettled lands that later became Kentucky and Tennessee.
A John Gentry, living probably along Locust Creek in Louisa County (see Fig. 2), and other
Gentrys in Louisa County marriage and tax records can best be explained speculatively as being
children of Joseph's son William-III. Lacking any firm evidence, we can only assume that he
lived in St. Martin's Parish after leaving St. Paul's Parish some time after 1735, and died before
tax records for the St. Martin's Parish and Trinity Parish areas became available after 1768.
Joseph-III is assumed to have died in 1786 in Hanover County when his widow, Susannah,
was assessed taxes in his stead. Land tax records for 1789, 1790 and later, assessing "Joseph
Gentry est[ate]" confirm this death. Joseph's son, Gaddis, served briefly with the militia.
Another son, Joseph Jr. moved from Virginia to Washington County (then of the state of North
Carolina, later a part of Tennessee). Gaddis continued to be listed in Hanover County tax records
throughout this period.
Fig 4. North Carolina Border Counties, 1770-1790
Samuel probably accompanied his son Allen to Caswell (Person) County, North Carolina as
there are fragmentary references to a Samuel in conjunction with Allen there. He probably died
about 1779. Allen appeared in 1777 Caswell County tax lists with Samuel and Allen's son,
Shadrack. In 1780 and 1784 he appeared again in Caswell County tax lists, with Shadrack.
Allen's son Meshack enlisted for service in the North Carolina militia from Caswell County and
served several short periods of duty during the war. Following the war he settled in Halifax
Samuel-III spent some time in Surry County, North Carolina and owned land there but
appears to have abandoned that land and moved to Spartanburg District South Carolina before
The other members of Samuel-II's family living in Surry County continued there throughout
this time period. William-III died unexpectedly of drowning. His widow, Lucy, remained in
Stokes County, North Carolina while his son Claiborne enlisted in the militia from Surry Co,
then volunteered for the Continental Army and served until after the Battle of Yorktown. After
the war ended, Claiborne moved to Tennessee and settled in Davidson (later Williamson) County
Nicholas' son, Nicholas Jr., left South Carolina in about 1777, stopped briefly in Sullivan
County in the future state of Tennessee, then accompanied one of the first contingents of settlers
to travel overland to the new settlement of Fort Nashboro in Davidson County. Nicholas was
killed by Indians on his farm in about 1782. His heirs were among a group of pioneer settlers
granted land by the North Carolina legislature in appreciation for their actions.
Nicholas' son, Richard, enlisted in the South Carolina militia and took part in the battles
of Kings Mountain and Cowpens. Discharged in North Carolina after the battle of Yorktown, he
eventually returned to Surry County to live.
Fig 5. Western North Carolina (Tennessee), 1790)
Nicholas moved from Louisa County to Albemarle Co, Virginia in about 1776, accompanied
by his sons David, Moses and Martin. Nicholas died in 1779, leaving a will in which he named
all of his children with the exception of two married, and apparently deceased, daughters where
Nicholas left bequests to his granddaughters.
David-III sold his land in Albemarle County in 1787 and moved to Madison County,
Kentucky. His son, Richard, was drafted for militia service in Albemarle County and served
several short periods of duty during the war. After the war, he moved in about 1786 to Clarke
County, then to Madison County, Kentucky where his father David joined him a year later.
Robert-III moved in about 1777 with most of his family from Albemarle County to
Washington County, North Carolina (later Jefferson County, Tennessee). Robert and his son
Charles appeared in the Washington County tax rolls in 1778. His son, Jesse, followed them
there soon after.
Nicholas-III continued to live in Louisa County until 1786 when he moved to Lincoln County,
(later Green Co, and still later Adair County) Kentucky. Nicholas was accompanied to Kentucky
by many of his eleven sons and eight daughters. One son, Nicholas-IV, died in Louisa County in
1787, possibly by suicide. Another son of Nicholas, David-IV, moved northward from Louisa
County to Caroline Co, probably with his wife's Whitlock family, and remained there for many
years before eventually moving south to Buncombe County, North Carolina.
Nathan-III died in 1784 in Louisa County His widow and family continued to live there for
Martin-III moved from Albemarle County in about 1787 to Madison County, Kentucky,
settling near his brother David and nephew, Richard.
The sons of James-II, already scattered in different locations at the beginning of this period of
time, scattered even more. The oldest, James Jr. was named in a marriage bond in 1778 in
Louisa County when he married for a second time, and his estate was taxed in St. Martin's Parish
from 1783 to 1791 [even though this was well after his death]. James sold his land
in Louisa Co in 1783 and moved to Guilford (later Rockingham) County, North Carolina (see
Fig. 4). James died there about 1786, leaving a will naming two daughters and a son Watson
who was living in Hanover County at the time. Watson followed his father to North Carolina by
James Sr.'s son George moved from Stone Horse Creek in Hanover County to Louisa County
in 1784. George's son, James, moved on to Albemarle County in 1785. His sons, James and
George Jr, both enlisted in military service from Hanover County during the war, James enlisting
for three years in the Continental Army, and George serving several brief periods of service in
James Sr.'s son John was listed in the 1782 state census with a family of eight in the western
part of Hanover County. He apparently moved shortly thereafter, for succeeding references, most
of them property and land tax assessments, placed him near his brother, David, in the eastern end
of the county near Totopotomoy Creek.
William Gentry, a probable grandson of James-II and possible son of Aaron, enlisted and
served from 1777 to 1780 in the Continental Army artillery as a private for three years.
St. Paul's Parish was no longer required to procession parish land after the Revolution. James
Sr.'s sons George, David and William appeared in final processioning records in 1779. David is
briefly mentioned in 1775 and 1784 parish records, and then appeared regularly in county
tithables and land tax records until his death in 1817.
James's son, William, is believed to have left Hanover County about 1780 and moved perhaps
briefly to Louisa County He is thought to be the William described in family traditions who
"sold his land along the Roanoke River for a bushel of Continental money which proved to be
worthless and then moved to the western part of North Carolina [read this as to
The family of David-II lived in South Carolina throughout all of this period of time, living in
Edgefield and Spartanburg Districts. Four sons of David, namely Cain, Elijah, John and Simon
served brief periods of militia service during the war, but none of them long enough to apply later
for veterans pensions or benefits. Elijah and his brother Elisha moved across the state line to
Georgia probably shortly before 1790.
A John Gentry left a will in Botetourt County, Virginia in 1779 in which his children were not
named. His widow, Mary, and John's sons (again unnamed) were left bequests in 1786 by Mary's
father, Hugh Green. It is uncertain whether the John writing the will was John-II or a son,
Hugh Gentry who was present in Washington County, North Carolina (later Tennessee) when
he signed a petition for statehood in 1784 is presumed to be a son of this John. Likewise, Joseph
Gentry, included in tax lists for Washington County in 1778 and 1787, is assumed to be a brother
of Hugh and a son of John-III.
- David Gentry, possibly a son of John-II, enlisted in the Virginia militia in the Revolutionary
War and was at the battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens, then served with North Carolina
militia forces for another year. We speculate that he may have settled in the Watauga Settlement
of eastern Tennessee (North Carolina at the time) following the war.
1790 - 1805
With the start of the Federal census, the identification of Gentry family members becomes much
easier, but 1790 census records for all of Virginia, Person County, North Carolina, and all of
Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee are missing. The census records for South Carolina exist but
were recorded in 1792 rather than 1790. The 1800 census records are missing for almost all of
Virginia (Louisa Co is an exception), and for all of Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Joseph-III's oldest son, Joseph Jr. had settled in Carter County, Tennessee, before 1784 and
was in tax lists in 1796. His family mostly settled permanently in the area. Joseph Sr.'s son,
Gaddis, and his widow Susanna continued to appear regularly in Hanover County tax
Records of the descendants of William-III are very limited and consist mostly of a few
marriages and census records, all in Louisa County, for the families of John Gentry, and the
widow Frances Gentry.
Four of Samuel's sons, Nicholas, Allen, Simon and Samuel died during this period. Simon
died in 1792 in Cumberland County, Virginia, leaving a will naming his wife and two daughters.
Both Nicholas and Samuel died about 1800, Nicholas in Surry County, North Carolina, and
Samuel in Spartanburg District, South Carolina. Allen died about 1802, perhaps in Person
County, North Carolina but his will was received for probate in the bordering county of Halifax
in Virginia. Allen's son, Meshack, moved from Halifax County to Surry County, North Carolina
about 1796. His other two sons Shadrack and Abednego appear to have remained in Person
County after Allen's death.
The sons of Nicholas-III all left Surry County after the latter's death. His son Allen moved to
Wilkes County, North Carolina, about 1802, while his younger sons, Arthur and John, moved to
Pendleton Dist., South Carolina about 1801. His son, Richard, following military service,
returned from South Carolina to Surry County and was married there about 1792. He left North
Caroline in about 1804, moving to Lincoln County, Kentucky, then Rockcastle County,
The sons of Samuel-III, Allen, Nicholas, Jeremiah and Samuel Jr., already living in
Spartanburg Dist., South Carolina, continued to live there after his death. They were in the 1800
Spartanburg District census, and are named in a Surry County deed in 1801, when they sold the
land still owned by Samuel in that county. Samuel Jr. moved shortly after 1800 to Ohio County,
Samuel's two other sons who were living in Surry County, Joseph-III and Richard-III,
continued to live there, but Richard's three oldest sons, Richard Jr., Nicholas, and Simon all left
the county shortly before or after 1800. Richard Jr. is thought to have eventually moved to
Pulaski County, Kentucky, Nicholas moved to Wilkes County then to Ashe County, North
Carolina, and Simon moved to Tennessee (eventually to Greene County).
- Nathaniel moved between 1800 and 1810 to Pulaski County, Kentucky.
Fig 6. Kentucky and Tennessee, 1800
(Shaded counties with documented presence of Gentrys)
Tennessee was admitted to the Union as a separate state in 1796. Robert-III and his sons
Charles, Jesse, Bartlett and Martin, appeared in a variety of records in Jefferson County,
beginning with the first days of statehood and before.
Nicholas-III died in 1803 in the newly-formed county of Adair in Kentucky. Before that time,
a number of his sons were present in the 1800 tax lists that have been published in lieu of the
1800 census: Blackston, Henry and Martin in Bullitt County, and Zachary in Green County
(along with his father Nicholas).
David-III and Martin-III were present in Madison County, Kentucky in the 1800 tax lists
along with Josiah and Bartlett, sons of Martin.
During this period, Benajah-III and Moses-III and some of their sons appeared in a number of
Albemarle County, Virginia records, especially in connection with road maintenance
- George-III moved from Louisa County to Albemarle County about 1796, leaving his son
George Jr. still living in Louisa County His son, Aaron, moved to Knox County, Tennessee
about 1804. George's son William obtained a land grant in Greenbrier County in 1802.
- James-II's son William may be the William who was buried with his wife in a Sullivan
County, Tennessee cemetery between 1791 and 1799. A presumed son of this William, Richard,
was married in Louisa County and then moved to Stokes County, North Carolina.
- Two of John of Hanover's sons, Patrick and William moved from Hanover County to
neighboring Henrico County about 1800.
The sons of David-II had varied fates during this time period. Elisha died in Clarke County,
Georgia in 1803. His brother, Elijah, was living in Georgia during most of this time period also.
Simon died in Edgefield Dist., South Carolina, between 1792 and 1800. Hezekiah, Allen Cain
and John were living in Edgefield and Abbeville Districts in 1790 and 1800. David Jr. was in
Pendleton Dist. at the time of the 1790 census then probably died before 1800.
Fig 7. Western South Carolina, 1790-1800
With bordering Georgia Counties
John of Botetourt County's son, Hugh, was listed in the 1800 tax list for Shelby County,
Kentucky that was published in lieu of the 1800 census. Hugh's presumed brother, John, was
living in Greene County, Tennessee, for much of this period of time before moving to Ohio in
about 1805. Their brother, Joseph is thought to have been living in Grainger County,
Tennessee. David, the Revolutionary War veteran (if a part of John-II's family?) moved to
Jackson County, Tennessee by 1801.
1805 - 1820
The 1810 census records are missing for Louisa County, Virginia, and for all of Georgia and
The 1820 census records are missing for the eastern 2/3rds of Tennessee, and for Franklin and
Twigg Counties, Georgia.
John of Louisa County, proposed son of William-III, and most of his family remained in
Louisa County throughout this period. With the exception of a Nicholas Gentry who moved to
Rockingham County, Virginia, and lived there until after 1860, all the others who have been
suggested as children or grandchildren of William-III lived for a time in Louisa County, then
disappeared from view.
Joseph-III's son, Gaddis, remained with his family in the Hanover County, Virginia, area.
Joseph's son, Joseph Jr. operated an iron ore mine in Carter County, Tennessee, until about 1805,
then moved to a new location in the county (which eventually became Johnson County,
Tennessee). Most of his family remained in the area permanently, but one son, Joseph Oliver,
moved in about 1811 to Green County, Kentucky.
Nicholas-III's son, Samuel Gentry the Younger, was living in Spartanburg District, during
most of this time period, but died in 1818. Most of his large family continued to live in
Spartanburg and Anderson Districts, South Carolina, for many years. Another son of Nicholas,
Richard, had moved to Rockcastle County, Kentucky, and is listed in the 1820 census for that
county. His sons Arthur and John were living in Pendleton District (which became Anderson
District), South Carolina. Son, Allen, was in Wilkes County, North Carolina.
Joseph-III died in Surry County, North Carolina in 1813, leaving a comprehensive will. His
widow, Agnes continued to live there for many years. Joseph's son, Samuel, moved from Surry
County, to Barren County, Kentucky in about 1807. Samuel died there in 1816. His large and
prolific family left many descendants in Ohio County, Kentucky and in Warrick and Spencer
Counties, Indiana. Joseph's son, Shelton, and grandsons Joseph Jr., and Robert continued to live
throughout this time period in Surry County
- Allen-III's son, Meshack, left Surry County, about 1819 and after a couple brief stops
elsewhere, settled in Monroe County, Tennessee. Meshack's brother, Abednego, joined Meshack
in Surry County in about 1807 coming from Person County, probably staying there after their
father's death until their mother had also died. Allen's third son, Shadrack, continued to live in
Richard-III died in Surry County in 1811, leaving small bequests to his wife and daughter.
Richard's youngest son, William, remained in Surry County, until shortly after his father's death,
then moved to Tennessee (location uncertain). Richard's son, Nicholas and family were in the
1810 Wilkes County and the 1820 Ashe County, census for North Carolina. His son, Simon, was
listed in Green County, Tennessee in an 1812 tax list. His son, Richard Jr., was probably the
Richard Gentry found in the 1810 Pulaski County, Kentucky, census.
William-III's son, Claiborne, was listed in 1811 in a tax list for Davidson County, Tennessee.
Two of the sons of Samuel-III, Nicholas and Jeremiah, were living in Spartanburg Dist.,
South Carolina and were present in the 1810 and 1820 censuses. His oldest son, Allen, is
believed to have left for Tennessee for possible land prospecting but his wife, Sally is assumed to
be in the 1810 census. The youngest son, Samuel Jr., is believed to be in the 1810 Ohio County,
Kentucky, census and the 1820, Spencer County, Indiana, census.
The family of Nathaniel-III was widely scattered during this time period. Nathaniel himself,
may have been the Nathaniel found in the 1810 Pulaski County, Kentucky census where he
probably died soon after. His widow, Elonder, and most of his family were in the 1820 census
for Gibson County, Indiana. His oldest son, Tyre, moved to Georgia, then Tennessee and
eventually to Arkansas. Isham (or Isom) moved before 1803 to Lincoln County, Kentucky, then
eventually to Platte County, Missouri.
David-III died about 1812 in Madison County, Kentucky. Many of the very large family of
David's son, Richard, remained in Madison County, Others moved on west to Missouri.
Robert-III died about 1811 in Jefferson County, Tennessee, naming his children in his will.
Robert's son, Charles, moved to Clark County, Kentucky, then to Jackson County, Tennessee,
where Bartlett also settled. The other sons remained in Eastern Tennessee.
Moses-III died in 1808 in Albemarle County His widow continued to live there for many
years after. Most of Moses' sons moved to Kentucky, but his sons David and Nicholas died at a
young age in Albemarle County
Of all the third-generation grandsons of Nicholas-I, Benajah was the last to die, continuing to
live in Albemarle County until his death in 1830.
George, the son of James-II, died in Albemarle County in 1810. His son, George Jr. moved
from Louisa County to Albemarle County to join the rest of the family in about 1817. His son,
Aaron, who had moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, remained there until his death in 1852.
- David, son of James-II, died in Hanover County in about 1817. Two sons James and
Henry, remained in Hanover County, two other sons, Basset and Matthew dropped from
Richard, proposed son of James' son, William, moved from Louisa County to Stokes County,
North Carolina. Also in North Carolina, in Rockingham County, was Watson, son of James
James' son, John, may have lived in Hanover County during this entire period--the records are
somewhat ambiguous as to whether he survived to be included in the 1820 census. His sons
scattered or died during this time period. Austin and George and probably Nicholas can be
assumed to have died, Patrick remained in Henrico County until his death in 1848 and William
died in that county in 1819. Only Charles and John Jr. remained in Hanover
The children of David and most of his grandchildren were still living in Edgefield, Abbeville and
Pendleton (Anderson) Districts in South Carolina, during this time interval. Shortly before 1820
and continuing after, there was a wave of migration of grandchildren and their families to
George, Mississippi and Alabama for the most part. A scattering of families moved to Tennessee
and Kentucky and a few went as far north as Indiana.
David-II's son, Allen Cain, is believed to have died shortly before 1810. David's son, John is
missing from the 1820 census and is believed to have died a short time before. His son, Elijah,
moved from Georgia to Mississippi and died there in 1818. Hezekiah was still living in 1820,
but died in Edgefield District, in 1824.
John of Botetourt County's sons, Hugh and Joseph, appeared in tax records in Franklin County,
Tennessee in 1812. A possible brother, James, was present in the 1810 census for Augusta
County, Virginia. A proposed brother, John, moved from Greene County, Tennessee, to Ohio
about 1805 and died before the 1810 census, being survived by his widow, Hannah Cox Gentry
and a number of children.
The above listings, which may be confusing to the casual reader, document an ever-widening
spread of Gentrys during the three generations that followed Nicholas, the Immigrant. With
frequent exceptions, we can say that the family developed in three different directions based upon
its descent from five of the six sons of Nicholas. In a broad sense, the first few generations that
descended from the oldest son, Joseph, and from James, remained in Virginia, close to the
original homestead of Nicholas-I. The generations that descended from Samuel and David,
moved south to Lunenburg County, Virginia, and then from there to North and South Carolina,
and from there, various branches continued on west, mostly to Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama,
Arkansas, and Mississippi, but with some moving especially to Indiana. The third branch, the
generations that descended from Nicholas-II, moved westward almost immediately, first into
Albemarle County, Virginia, and then on primarily to Kentucky and Missouri but with a very
significant fraction moving into Tennessee along with Samuel's descendants.
Revised June 2008, January 2014
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