JOURNAL OF GENTRY
GENEALOGY
Volume 3 Issue 1
January 2003
Home Page and Index

THE SONS OF SAMUEL-II GENTRY


Part 5. William Gentry and Son Claiborne


by
Willard Gentry

Abstract
William Gentry and his son Claiborne are added to the list of comprehensive descriptions of descendants of Samuel-II Gentry provided by the current series of articles. Errors in the "Gentry Family in America" references to William are corrected.

Introduction
Information on William Gentry of Lunenburg County, Virginia, and Surry County, North Carolina is a subject of much confusion. This undoubtedly is due to a combination of misunderstanding and perhaps a mixup in data sources in the description of William's family in "The Gentry Family in America" (GFA)<1>, Richard Gentry's classic history of the Gentrys. This article will untangle these mixups and supplement GFA's description of William's family with information about William himself that was not readily accessible by GFA's compiler.

William Gentry in Virginia
William first appears on the pages of history in 1750 in the tax lists of Lunenburg County, when he was included as a tithable individual in the household of David Gentry<2a>. He is listed among the tithables of Lunenburg County again in 1752, when he was listed as a separate individual, this time in a tax district with Nicholas Gentry rather than with David<2b>. Unfortunately, Landon Bell, who abstracted the early Lunenburg tax lists in the cited reference, chose to include only a few select years of the original tax documents, and the lists for the years between 1752 and 1764 are not available — it is uncertain whether they have been lost, misplaced or destroyed. Thus, there are no further tax records of the Gentrys during a particularly critical period of their time in Lunenburg County.

The two tax citations both raise questions and answer them. Since the age for white males to be tithable in Virginia at the time was sixteen, we know that as of 1750, William was at least sixteen. David Gentry, with whom William was listed in 1750, was included in the 1749 listing, without any reference to William. If William was living with David in 1749, he apparently had not reached the age of sixteen in that year, so his date of birth was late 1733 or early 1734. If William was not with David at the time, all we can say is that he was born before 1734.

The question raised by these citations is one of relationship. We know that Nicholas-III Gentry of Lunenburg County was a son of Samuel-II Gentry, who in turn was a son of the immigrant Nicholas-I Gentry. David is believed to have been a younger brother of Samuel. The question relating to William is the following. Was William a son of David, or was he a nephew of David and a younger brother of Nicholas Gentry? There is no clear-cut, black-and-white answer to this question but we believe that the weight of evidence points strongly to the latter. It is likely he left the rest of the family who were still living in Louisa County at the time, and joined his brother and David, the two Gentry families who were the first to move to Lunenburg County. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that although William was living with David in 1750, in 1752 he had moved to a new tax district (which was not very far away), and was living adjacent to Nicholas Gentry (probably on the latter's property).

Following William's early appearance in the tax records, he began appearing in Lunenburg County land records in 1760<3a>, when he purchased fifty acres of land along the Meherrin River not far from where he had been living with Nicholas. William's oldest child, Claiborne, was born at about this time, and it is understandable that he might want to have a home of his own rather than sharing his older brother's plantation. William sold this land in 1763 to another brother, Allen Gentry<3b>. There is no further reference in the Virginia records of William either buying or selling land. In his later years, William took on carpentry jobs, and he may have preferred building houses, barns and such to farming and possibly continued to live with Allen.

Where was William during the period between 1752 and 1760? Interestingly, a similar question can be asked about all of the Gentrys with the exception of Nicholas and Joseph who were the only ones to hold title to land for a number of years after 1752. David came to Lunenburg County along with Nicholas in 1748 when the county was first separated from Brunswick County. Despite the fact that there should have been land available for him to buy, it seems probable that until 1757 when he bought land of his own, David occupied part of the land which bordered on Joseph Gentry's property, and was owned by his father-in-law Richard Brooks and his brothers-in-law Elisha Brooks and Richard Brooks Jr. Since William was living in the same area as Nicholas in 1752, we can guess he was living with his brother Nicholas or at least in a neighboring house until his 1760 purchase of land. Allen Gentry (and their father Samuel-II) seem to have lived with Allen's brother Joseph until 1755 when Allen in turn bought land of his own. Other brothers, Simon and John, were probably living with Joseph until they left the county and died respectively. Richard may have continued to occupy the family's property in Louisa County after most of the family left and then perhaps joined Nicholas in Lunenburg County, and never took land of his own. Another brother, Samuel, likewise never owned land in Virginia, but was most closely associated with David. The youngest of the presumed brothers, Nathaniel, never appeared in any Virginia records but eventually was a neighbor of Samuel in South Carolina. It is probable that he lived with Samuel during his later years in Lunenburg County. In summary, the Lunenburg land records reveal very little about the movements of the Gentrys other than Nicholas and Joseph, and in later years, Allen.

William appears in the Lunenburg County court records in a variety of roles, beginning in 1752 when he was a defendant in an unspecified case that was dismissed without judgment<4a>. In 1759, William's wife, Lucy, was identified with William in a joint suit as plaintiffs in a case which they won<4b>. William served on a jury in three separate cases in the May 1760 session of the court and again in the October 1761 session<4d,4h>. During the period between 1759 and 1762, William appeared in a number of other court cases: as both a plaintiff and a defendant in debt proceedings; providing bail for David; and as a defendant in other unidentified actions. William's last appearance in these court cases was in 1762, so we do not know what happened to him after he sold his land in 1763.

William Gentry in North Carolina
The next reference to William is found almost ten years later in the records of the Moravian settlement at Salem, North Carolina<5>. He was hired by them to build a bridge across Muddy Creek on the road between Salem and Shallow Ford, the main point of crossing for the Yadkin River. The initial agreement was dated 29 June 1772 and he was to have the bridge completed by November 1st. He apparently made good on his commitment since on November 30th the records show that William had been paid for the job but was also asked to extend the bridge on the western end which he agreed to do.

We next find William's widow, Lucy, posting bond in 1773 for the administration of his estate, At the November 1774 and February 1775 quarterly court sessions, Lucy presented inventories of William's estate. In GFA<1>, William's daughter, Lucy, recalls that her father was drowned crossing the Yadkin River before his children had all grown. The circumstances of William's efforts at bridge building tend to support his daughter's story, although the dates 1783 and 1785 given in GFA for this drowning, are very much in error and are in fact much closer to the date of death of the James Gentry who was the nominal subject of the GFA historical sketch. It appears that William came to grief in one of his expeditions from his home (which was probably with Joseph Gentry on the west side of the Yadkin River) to his bridge site east of the river. This probably took place early in the year 1773, perhaps on the occasion of a spring flood.

We have the same problem in North Carolina as we did in Virginia of identifying where William (and his family after his death) was living since he was not a land owner of record in Surry County. Because of the location of land owned by William's brother, Joseph, on the west bank of the Yadkin River, William was probably living with him. This possibility is reinforced by a notation in the settlement of William's estate in which Joseph Gentry received "1 head of swine at large" and miscellaneous other property. After William's death, his widow and their children appear to have remained in the same general area, but on the east side of the Yadkin River in the vicinity of Muddy Creek. A record of land entry along Muddy Creek in 1787 makes reference to land bordering "widow Gentry"<6>. In addition land records for Lucy's son Claiborne, and two of her sons-in-law, Matthew Markland and Joshua Hill, refer to property along the same creek<7>.

Stokes Co., NC
Fig. 1 Stokes County, 1789, showing Moravian settlement,
"Wachovia" and location of Joseph and Claiborne Gentry homesteads
(map © A. P. Pruitt, 1987)

We have alluded several times above, to the story of William's family that is found in GFA. This article on family #219, is meant to be about a James Gentry who moved from Virginia to Guilford County, North Carolina, was married to a wife by the name of Sarah Ann Claiborne, and who drowned in the Yadkin River in 1783. This introduction to James is followed by a listing of children, all of whom are believed to be children of William Gentry rather than James Gentry. The latter had indeed moved from Virginia to Guilford County, and his wife's name was Sarah. From there on, however, GFA compiler Richard Gentry, has seriously intertwined the two families resulting in a very garbled account of what should have been a description of William Gentry.

Prior to this description, Richard Gentry did indeed mention William, but supplied him with the wrong father. GFA does not distinguish between the David Gentrys who were sons of Nicholas-I Gentry and Nicholas-II Gentry, and does not in fact acknowledge the existence of the former. In describing the David who was a son of Nicholas-II, GFA (#4, p.37), lists a William Gentry who was identified as the son of a first wife whose name was not known. This is the same William we are describing in our present article, who was in fact associated with the David who was a son of Nicholas-I rather than his nephew David.

The James Gentry referred to in GFA's article has been discussed previously in this journal (vol 1, #10 and #12), and identified therein as James-III or James Jr.. He was born about 1732 in Hanover County, Virginia, moved to Guilford County, North Carolina, in about 1783, and died there (presumably of old age) in 1785 or 1786 leaving a will identifying his wife Sarah and his three children Watson, Nancy, and "Mimey". With the exception of these elements of James' history that are included in family #219, the rest applies to William Gentry.

James Gentry's wife was named Sarah, but there is no knowledge of a middle name, and the listed maiden name for that wife is instead believed to apply to William's wife Lucy. The naming of William and Lucy's first child, Claiborne, suggests that Lucy was a part of this family which was prominent in Virginia history. We have no specific information on Lucy's parents, but there were Claiborne family members living in southern Lunenburg County during the 1750's when Lucy was married, so the possibility that this was Lucy's maiden name is certainly very plausible. This is reinforced by the naming of her first-born son.

William Gentry's Children


While we cannot tie William's children specifically to him, the fact that Claiborne continued to live for many years in the vicinity where William had died argues strongly that he was indeed a son of William. We will discuss this son in more detail below. The fact that two of the girls listed in family #219 as daughters, were married in Surry County in the 1780's argue for the probability that these two, along with Claiborne were indeed a family group that belong together. By extensions we can conclude that the rest of the listed family also belonged to William. We can piece together here, a brief description of the daughters by combining the GFA family recollections with the few public documents relating to them.
  1. Fannie (Frances), said to have been born 26 Dec 1782, and married to a Martin Green. According to GFA, this couple moved to Harrison County, Kentucky, where Fannie lived to age 93. Census and tax records show no Martin Green remaining in North Carolina in the period from 1790 onward, but there was a Martin Green who was living in Madison County, Kentucky in 1800.
  2. Sarah, said to have married John Ball who moved to Kentucky and then to Missouri before the Civil War. The census records show a John Ball present in Rowan County, just to the south of Stokes County, in 1790, then a John Ball in Harrison County, Kentucky, and another in Madison County, Kentucky in 1800. It appears that he was not related to the John Ball who married Lucy Gentry, the daughter of Shadrack Gentry of Surry County in 1831.
  3. Lucy, her mother's namesake, is named in a Surry County marriage bond dated 21 Apr 1787, as the bride of Matthew Markland Jr<8a>. It is Lucy's memories of her family that provided Richard Gentry with most of the material for the GFA family description. She moved to Madison County, Kentucky in 1804 and died there in 1807. The Markland family shows apparently four children in the 1790 census, so it is probable that this was a second marriage for Matthew<9>. Matthew and his father appear frequently in the Stokes County records from 1790 to 1800, living in the vicinity of Muddy Creek.
  4. Elsie is undoubtedly the "Alce" Gentry named in a Surry County marriage bond dated 21 Apr 1787, between Elsie and Samuel Seward<8a>. She is said to have moved to the vicinity of Cincinnati, Ohio within a few years after her marriage. While Samuel Seward was in the 1790 Stokes County census, and was in the 1790 tax list in the same district as Matthew Markland, he does not appear in any of the subsequent tax lists, nor was he present in the 1800 census.
  5. Mary is named in the GFA family as marrying a Wright or a Hill. We can speculate that this daughter of William was the Elizabeth Gentry who married Joshua Hill and is named in a Stokes County marriage bond dated 4 Dec 790<8b>. The timing for this marriage is right, and the only Gentrys known to be in Stokes County (which was created from Surry County in 1789) at that time were the William Gentry family. According to GFA, this daughter moved to Lexington, Kentucky. Joshua Hill appeared in the Stokes County tax lists in the same district as Matthew Markland beginning in 1791.

Census records for Stokes County in 1790<9> list two Gentrys, Claiborne (with apparently 3 children), and the widow Lucy Gentry (with 1 daughter still at home - presumably Elizabeth or Mary, whatever her right name may be). In addition the families of Elsie and Samuel Seward and of Lucy and Matthew Markland Jr are listed. The elder Lucy Gentry's name is found in no more records, and she must have died between 1790 and 1800, as there is no evidence she was living with one of her daughters at the time of the 1800 census.

Claiborne (or Claybourn) Gentry in North Carolina
The most definitive reference to Claiborne ( his name is spelled in a variety of ways in the records: Clayborne, Claybourn, Claibourne, etc.) is the record of his application for a Revolutionary War pension<14> in 1833 in Davidson County, Tennessee. This application established his military record during the war, and also the fact that he was living in Surry County, North Carolina at the time of his enlistment. His service included both brief militia actions against North Carolina Loyalists or Tories, and also service in the Continental Army for at least two years until the end of the war.

Following the war, Claiborne received a grant in 1789 for 150 acres of land in the part of Surry County that later became Stokes County. This tract of land was close to the same Muddy Creek that his father had bridged, and the boundary between Stokes County and Rowan County<7>. Claiborne apparently occupied this land beginning in 1785, as he was taxed for the land as shown by Surry County tax lists from 1785 to 1789<10a>. After Stokes County was formed in 1789, Claiborne appeared in tax lists for that county from 1790 through 1797<10b>. In November 1794, Claiborne and his wife Anne sold this land on Muddy Creek, although it continued to be listed under Claiborne's name in the tax lists until 1796.

One other source of references concerning Claiborne were less complimentary to him. During his earlier post-war years, Claiborne appears to have gotten into trouble with the law, as he was taken into justice by county court action in 1785, and on a state warrant in 1789<11>. We have no information as to the circumstances of these warrants.

Claiborne appears in the 1800 Stokes County census with apparently 6 children<15>. The census indicates that he was older than his wife, but the age shown for Claiborne (born before 1755) does not match his later pension application statements, and is clearly in error. So any apparent indication of a younger wife is meaningless. His sister, Lucy Markland, appeared in the same 1800 census, also with six children. This is the last record we have of Claiborne in North Carolina.

Claiborne Gentry in Tennessee (Minor corrections added, 5/21/2009)
We next find Claiborne in January 1803 in Davidson County, Tennessee, when he was assigned to jury duty in the county court<12>. This implies that he arrived in Davidson County a significant interval before the jury assignment so perhaps came in late 1801 or early 1802. Besides his jury service, in 1803 Claiborne was included in a work gang charged with the maintenance of a road terminating at the junction of White's Creek and Dry Fork which was located about five miles northwest of the site of Fort Nashboro. Claiborne arrived in the area while it was still very much a hotbed of Indian unrest and attacks resulting in a great deal of loss of life on both sides. The previous Gentry family living in the area had been the family of his cousin, Nicholas Gentry, who himself was killed by Indians in 1782 and who lost two sons the same way. This family had left Davidson County in 1800, so the two Gentry families did not quite overlap which helps in identifying later Gentrys with Claiborne.

Claiborne spent most of the rest of his life in Davidson County. The next reference to him was included in an 1811 tax list along with a John Gentry<13>. John's name appears just once more in the records. Presumably it was this same John Gentry who witnessed a bill of sale in 1812 for the sale of a negro slave. Claiborne's name is mentioned again in court records for 1818, 1823 and 1824 in connection with the settlement of estates<14>. The final reference, other than census records was in 1833 when he applied in court in Davidson County for a Revolutionary War pension authorized by Act of Congress in 1832 which authorized a pension of full pay for life for veterans with two years or more of qualified service<14>. Claiborne gave his age as about 72 at the time of application which would place his date of birth as 1761. The records show that he was credited with two years of service as a private in the North Carolina line. A widow's pension was not authorized by Congress until 1843. There is no later reference to a widow claiming a share of Claiborne's pension so we have no way of knowing whether his wife, Anne, was still living at the time, or whether he had remarried.

Claiborne Gentry's Children


There is nothing in the public record that has been found to specifically identify Claiborne's children although we would hope that there are descendants who could provide information. We can make hypotheses about possible children in addition to the son John proposed above, by an examination of census records. By combining census records for 1790 and 1800, we can speculate that Claiborne probably had one son and two daughters born before 1790, a third daughter born in 1790 and a second son born between 1790 and 1800. In the 1820 census, a possible fourth daughter or a granddaughter was living with Claiborne and his wife, both of the latter two listed as being born before 1775<16a>.

It is probable that Claiborne's older son was named John and was the John Gentry that was taxed with Claiborne in Davidson County in 1811. The son's age could have been anywhere between 21 and 27 at the time, so he was certainly old enough to be liable for a poll tax, and in addition, old enough to have been married either just before or just after that time. The only other Gentrys that had been in the Davidson neighborhood in years prior to that were the descendants of Nicholas Gentry whom we have mentioned above. While Nicholas had a son named John, he had been killed by Indians long before that time. None of Nicholas' remaining sons had a son named John who was of the right age to be liable for taxes in 1811, and in fact there is no evidence that any of that family were still in Davidson County after 1800.

In 1830, Claiborne was living in a very mixed household<16b>. His age was given as 60 to 70 which translates to a birth between 1760 and 1770 (which is appropriate). There are two older women shown in the household, one born before 1760 thus older than Claiborne. Another woman was born between 1780 and 1790 which was a younger age than for the wife shown in 1820. The one woman appears to have been too old to the wife of the 1820 census and the other woman appears to be too young. Does this indicate a second marriage to one of these women, is it simply an example of the uncertainties of census ages, or are neither of the two women a wife of Claiborne? In 1830, besides the two older women, it appears that Claiborne was living with a son and daughter-in-law (or a daughter and son-in-law), a young grandson, and a 20 to 25-year-old female whose relationship is unclear. To further complicate matters, Claiborne was listed in Carroll County, Tennessee, rather than in Davidson County, even though two years later he appeared in Davidson County Court to claim a soldier's pension. Yet there is no other Claiborne Gentry of whom we are aware that matches this one in age. We have no explanation for this.

This was the last census record for Claiborne, and considering his age, we can readily surmise that he died between 1833, the date of his pension application, and 1840. A Jonathan Gentry living in Carroll County in 1840 was not a part of Claiborne's family, rather was a son of Elijah Gentry of Rutherford County, Tennessee. In 1840, in the Davidson County census there was a John T. Gentry whose age and family correspond well with the young family with whom Claiborne was living in 1830<16c>. This second John could not have been a younger son of Claiborne. Knowing nothing about John T. Gentry, the author has speculated that he might have been a grandson of Claiborne and a son of the older John, born in perhaps 1809 or 1810 when we know the first John was certainly of marriageable age.

Where this family moved to after 1840 is not known, as they were not listed in Davidson County in 1850, nor was the name John T. Gentry found in any other Tennessee county in that year. To carry this speculation to the limit, we can wonder whether a Mary A. Haggatt, age 36, living in Davidson County in 1850 with two Gentry children aged 6 and 10, was the widow of John T. Gentry. This seems like a morbid repetition of widows but was certainly a possibility in the times and places where they lived.

Returning to the identification of children of Claiborne, Davidson County marriage records show a Polly Gentry married George Murphy on 13 May 1808 and a Sally Gentry married Thomas Stogner on 13 Feb 1809<16>. These were both probably daughters of Claiborne, two of the three that were born between 1784 and 1790. A third marriage, by another Polly Gentry to William Roach on 18 Sep 1816 cannot be so easily explained. With a duplication of name with the first Polly, she was surely not a daughter of Claiborne. Nor does this seem to be a case of a second marriage for Polly unless for some reason she resumed her maiden name after the first marriage. The second Polly does not appear to be old enough to have been a granddaughter of Claiborne (as for example, a daughter of John). Perhaps a more likely answer was that she was a daughter-in-law whose husband had died (again using John, or John's brother as an example) and she was marrying again.

A clue as to another possible daughter is provided by a document included in the microfilm records of Claiborne's pension application. This is a record of an inquiry by a Mrs. W. B. McGee asking for verification from the Bureau of Pensions that an Elizabeth Gentry McGee, born 1787, was a daughter of Claiborne. The response to Mrs. McGee was that there was no such evidence in the file. Mrs. McGee obviously had some information leading her to ask this question. Whether her information was correct or not is an unanswered question.

Conclusion
It is the author's hope that this article will help to clarify the details of William Gentry's life and family. It is also our hope that descendants of Claiborne Gentry will make available to the public the names of any of his sons or daughters that have been identified so that we may more completely appreciate this interesting Gentry family.

References

1. Richard Gentry, "The Gentry Family of America" (GFA), The Grafton Press, New York, NY, 1909, p. 263-4:
"219. JAMES GENTRY, of Guilford Co., N.C.
Born in Virginia about 1735; he settled in Guilford Co., N.C. His wife is said to have been Sarah Ann Claiborne. In one of the old deed books of Hanover Co., Va., preserved from fire, is the record of a deed to land in Hanover Co., Va., made by James Gentry and Sarah, his wife, of Guilford Co., North Carolina, dated 1783. He was drowned in the Yadkin river about 1783.
CHILDREN:
1. Elsie, born about 1765, died in 1849; married Samuel Seward and moved to the vicinity of Cincinnati, Ohio, about 1790...
2. Claiborne Gentry, born in 1761. He acquired land from the state in Old Surry Co., N.C. in 1779. He was allowed a pension on his application, executed Feb. 8, 1833, at which time he stated he was a resident of Davidson Co., Tenn., and was seventy-two years of age. He stated that he resided in Terry [(sic) - Surry] Co., N.C., at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, when he enlisted and served in Captain Martin's Company, Col. Armstrong's Regiment of North Carolina troops, for four months. He enlisted the following August and served four months in Capt. William T. Lewis' Company and was in the battle of Shallow Ford, Yadkin River. He later served nine months in Capt. Henry Smith's Company, Col. Armstrong's Regiment, following which he enlisted, served to the end of the war in Capt. Sharp's Company of the 23rd N.C. Regiment and was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.
3. Sarah, married John Ball, a wealthy man and a large slave owner. He moved to Missouri from Kentucky before the Civil War.
4. Lucy, married Mathew Markland, in North Carolina in 1786, and lived on his farm for about eighteen years. It was situated in Guilford [sic] Co. N.C. on the Yadkin River, near the mouth of Muddy Creek, and near the town of Clemmonstown, N.C. Her father was drowned in trying to cross the Yadkin River; this occurred before his children were all grown and must have been about 1785. She moved with her husband to Madison Co., KY., in 1804 and lived four miles west of Richmond where she died in 1807, and was buried at the Old Green's Chapel Meeting House...
5. Mary, married either a Wright or a Hill and lived in Lexington, Ky.
6. Fannie, born Dec. 26, 1762; married Martin Green, who was born Sept. 22, 1762. He lived in Harrison Co., Ky., not very far from Paris, Ky....Fannie Gentry Green died in Kentucky at 93 years of age."
 
2. Landon C. Bell, "Sunlight on the Southside, Lists of Tithes, Lunenburg County, Virginia, 1748-1783", Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1974. ["Southside" was the term used for that part of Virginia south of the James River.] This book does not report all of the existing tax list records, many of which duplicate each other from year to year. Instead, specific years were chosen such as 1752 when Halifax County was formed out of Lunenburg County.
  [1748 - 1751: All of Lunenburg County as then constituted]
1748 p.60 Hugh Lawson District ["Between Hounds Crk and Meherrin"]
      Nicklas Jentrey 1 tithe
1749 p.102 Hugh Lawson District ["being on the north side of the Meherrin River]
      Nickles Gentrey 1 tithe, 6 "heads & scalps"
      David Gentry,
Robert Brooks
2 tithes, 12 "heads & scalps"
    [Landowners were charged additional tax if they did not demonstrate a minimum number (per set acres of land) of crow heads and squirrel or wolf scalps as evidence of pest control.]
1750 p.158 List of Richd. Witton
      Nicholas Gentry 1 tithe
      David Gentry,
Wm. Gentry
2 tithes
1751 p.164 [no Gentrys]  
1752 p.180 List by Lyddall Bacon [Halifax County separated, 1752]
      Nicholas Gentry 1 tithe
      William Gentry 1 tithe
  p.210 List by Richd. Witton
      David Gentry 1 tithe
 
3. Lunenburg County, Virginia, Deed Books
(a) 1760 Jul 12 Book(6-342)
  Francis Ray of Johnston Co NC to William Gentry of Lunenburg Co VA, for 25 pounds, sold 50 acres, adj. Andrews' Rock...Wit: William (A) Allen, Allen (A) Gentry, David (D) Gentry. Signed: Francis ( ) Ray. Recorded 3 Feb 1761.
(b) 1760 Jul 12 Book(6-343)
  Francis Ray of Johnston Co NC to John Brooks of Lunenburg Co VA for 50 pounds, sold 197 acres, adj. Wm Allen's spring branch down Meherring River...mouth of Crooked Creek...Wit: William (A) Allin, William (W) Gentry, David (D) Gentry. Recorded 3 Feb 1761.
(c) 1762 Oct 5 Book(7-398)
  Joseph Simkins to James Cooper...adj. lands of French Haggard being part of R. Tallafas grant of 5 Sep 1749...Wit: William Gentry, John (B) Brooks, David (D) Gentry.
(d) 1763 Dec 8 Book(9-337)
  William Gentry to Allen Gentry, both of Lunenburg Co, for 40 pounds, sold 50 acres, beg. at William Andres rock on north side of Merrin River at mouth of John Brock's (Brooks?) spring branch, up the branch to the mouth of another branch to line of Roger Atkerson (Atkinson) to old line and along old line to the head of a branch thence down the branch to the river. Recorded 8 Dec 1763.
 
4. Lunenburg County, Virginia, Order Books
(a) 1752 Jul Court Book 2 1/2A (1752-1753), p.73
  Henry Embry Plt vs William Gentry, Deft. Suit dismissed.
(b) 1759 Jul Court Book 6 (1759-1761), p.95B
  William Gentry & Lucy his wife, Plt vs Henry Cox, Deft. Deft ordered to pay debt and costs.
(c) 1759 Dec Court Book 6, p.126B
  William Chandler, Plt vs William Gentry, Deft. Suit ordered to trial.
(d) 1760 May Court Book 6
  (p.98A)       William Gentry served on jury
(p.99A)       (ditto)
(p.100B)     (ditto)
(e) 1761 Feb Court Book 6, p.218A
  Indenture between Francis Ray and William Gentry with a memorandum of "livery and seisen" and receipt thereof endorsed, proved by witnesses and ordered to be recorded.
(f) 1761 Jun Court Book 7 (1761=1762), p.65A
  Richard Hanson & Michael (?) Hawkins, Plt, vs David Gentry, Deft. Plt came by his attorney, but Deft came not but makes default whereupon conditional judgment by the court against Deft and his bail William Gentry is confirmed. Deft ordered to pay debt plus interest.
(g) 1761 Aug Court Book 7, p.103B
  James Crowder, Plt vs William Gentry in debt. Suit ordered dismissed.
(h) 1762 Apr Court Book 8 (1762), p.8B
  Richard Hannan vs William Gentry, Deft in debt. Suit dismissed at the Deft's cost.
(i) 1762 Jun Court Book 8, p.35B
  John Hobson & Jonathan Petterson vs William Gentry. Suit dismissed.
(j) 1762 Jul Court Book 8, p.65A
  Petition of William Gentry against William Chisolm for a debt ordered to be dismissed.
(k) 1762 Dec Court Book 8, p.144B
  John Hix executor of Henry Cockerham deceased vs Joseph Simpkin, Allen Gentry & William Gentry. The Deft Gentrys not appearing, makes default the conditional order against the said Defts and Richard Witton Sheriff of the said county. Judgment is confirmed against the said Defts. The said Deft Simpkins also comes not but makes default. Judgment for the Plt for payment and costs.

5. Adelaide L. Fries, "Records of the Moravians in North Carolina", Raleigh, NC, 1925, Vol II (1752-1775); Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., Raleigh, NC, 1925.

p. 682: Diary of Salem Congregation, 1772, June 29:
"The Grosse Helfer Conferenz met, and in the evening the Congregational Council; in both we discussed the necessity of building a bridge over Muddy Creek [midway between the Yadkin R. and Winston-Salem] on the new road to the Shallow Ford [near present day Huntsville], as otherwise trade with Salem will be much hindered. After full consideration, the Brethren who are members of Council and tax-payers took charge of the matter, and agreed to employ a Mr. Gentry, a carpenter, who is to build the bridge for 20 pounds Proc. ["Proclamation Money" was a term used both for the currency issued by the North Carolina Colony, and also for the rate of exchange for the money--p.628-633]. Brn. Herbst, George Schmid, and Triebel, having visited the place and having talked with the carpenter, made an agreement with Mr. Gentry, the Brn. Bagge, Meyer and Muschbach also being present. Mr. Gentry agrees to have the bridge built by Nov. 1st; it to be fifteen feet high, and of the stipulated length."

p.701: Extracts from the Minutes of the Aufscher Collegium, 1772, June 26:
"William Gentry, on the Yadkin, offers to build a bridge over Muddy Creek, on the Shallow Ford Road, for 20 pounds; all expense for food, hauling and labor included, and to finish it before winter. He will guarantee it for four years against floods, and if it is carried away will rebuild it without pay. The offer is fair, if he can and will make it good. George Schmidt, as road-master, shall look into the matter, be present when the contract is signed, and collect the money."

p.708: Extracts cont'd, 1772, Nov 30:
"The bridge over the Muddy Creek on the Shallow Ford road is finished, and William Gentry has been paid the 20 pounds for his work, through the Store. The neighbors had given us reason to hope that they would build the part of the bridge from the farther side of the creek to firm land, but they now refuse to do this, so the committee of Brethren who made the other contract with Gentry have arranged with him to finish the work for 10 shillings and a gallon of whiskey."

 
6a. Surry County, North Carolina, Land Entries
A. B. Pruitt, "Abstracts of Land Entries, Surry Co, NC 1784-1795", 1988
  "An entry is a claim made to the appointed "entry taker" by the "enterer" for vacant or unclaimed land which was technically the property of the State. The enterer described the land..number of acres, nearby waterways, and neighboring land holders. If there were no problems, the entry taker issued a warrant to the county surveyor to survey the land. The warrant and survey may also describe the land and give additional land marks not mentioned in the original entry. The warrant and completed survey were sent to the Secretary of State. A grant or patent was then issued, and the person receiving the grant usually had about twelve months (later extended to 2 years) to register the grant in the county."
1787 Feb 22 entry #234
  Warrant issd. John Woolfsberger enters 100 ac waters of Muddy Cr; border: widow Gentry and Moravian line.
 
6b. Stokes County, North Carolina, Land Entries
A. B. Pruitt, "Abstracts of Land Entries, Stokes Co, NC 1790-1798", 1987
1794 Dec 2 Deed Book p.102, entry #408
  Warrant granted: Isaac Douthit enters 100 ac in Stokes Co. on waters of Muddy Cr; border: Clayburn Gentry, Samuel Stewart & "wachovia" tract.
 
7a. Surry County, North Carolina Deed Books
1789   Bk(E-3)
  State Grant for 150 acres to Clabourn Gentry, "...beginning at the intersection of Moravin [Moravia] and Rowan County line, west, then east to Moravin line then south to beginning."
  Note. At the time of this grant, Rowan County included the present counties of Davie and Davidson, and bordered Surry County and Stokes County on the south. The town of Clemmons, cited by Lucy Gentry in GFA, is not more than 1 ½ miles from the Yadkin River and the boundary between what was then Surry County and Rowan County. From the evidence of the tax lists cited below, Claiborne occupied the land beginning in 1785 or earlier, but apparently did not have enough money to pay the 75 shilling fee for it until the date above.
 
7b. Stokes County, North Carolina, Deeds
Mrs. W. O. Absher, "Stokes County, North Carolina Deed Abstracts, Book 2 (1793-1797)", 1976
[Note, Book 1 (1789-1793) contains no Gentrys]
1794 Nov 16 Bk(2-235)
  Clabon Gentry & wife Anne to Isaac Douthit £30 gold currency, 150 ac waters Muddy Cr adj intersection Moravian & Rowan County lines.
Signed Clabon (X) Gentry, Anne (X) Gentry
wit: Thomas Cooper, Henry Boyer
  [Note. In the same year, Matthew Markland Jr. bought 168 ac of land on a branch of Muddy Creek, and Joshua Hill was cited as an adjoining land owner in another deed for land on a branch of Muddy Creek.]
 
8a. Surry County, North Carolina, Marriage Bonds
Date Groom Bride Bondsman/Witness
1787 21 Apr Matthew Markland Jr Lucy Gentry Matthew Markland
1789 22 Oct Samuel Seward Alce [Elsie?] Gentry Jonathan Thompson
1790 4 Dec Henry Krouse Edney Stubblefield Claibourn Gentry
         
 
8b. Stokes County, North Carolina, Marriage Bonds
1790 6 Nov Joshua Hill Elizabeth Gentry John Giles
/w/ Jo Williams

9. 1790 North Carolina, Census - Surry County
  M(>16) M(0-16)  F  
  Gentry, Claburn
Gentry, Lucy
Markland, Mathew Jr
Seward, Samuel
1
0
1
1
1
0
3
1
3
2
2
1
 
 
10a. Surry County, North Carolina, Tax Lists
Abstracted by the author from original documents in North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC
  Taxed For  
Year District Acres Polls Comments
Undated Capt. Lanier (Listing for 1771 or 1772? - resembles 1770 format)
    Joseph Gentry
Shelton Gentry
Billey Gentry
  1
1
1
[listed together with "William" crossed out]
    Samuel Gentry   1  
 
Undated Capt Martin (Listing for 1784, based on format of questions?)
    Gentry, Clayburn
Markland, Matthew
150
166
1
1
Joseph Gentry in same district
    Note. Joseph Gentry owned land at that time not many miles away on the west bank of the Yadkin River, thus might logically be included in the same tax enumeration district as Claiborne.
1785 Capt. Mosley  
    Claiborn Gentry 150 1 Joseph Gentry in same district
1786 Capt Mosley  
    Claiborn Gentry 150 1 Joseph Gentry in same district
1787 Capt Mosby (Mosley?)  
    Gentry, Claiborne 150   Plus 130 ac "niece's orphans"
1788 Capt Colvard  
    Claborne Gentry 150 1 Joseph Gentry in same district
1789 Capt Colvard  
    Claybourne Gentry 150 1 Joseph Gentry in same district
 
10b. Stokes County, North Carolina, Tax Lists (County split from Surry County in 1789)
Iris Moseley Harvey, "Stokes County, North Carolina, Tax Lists", 1999 Privately published and bound in separate volumes for each year, each district arranged alphabetically. Lists compiled from loose tax sheets and bound volumes.
1790 p.4 Gentry, Claybourn 150 1 Matthew Markland Jr.&Sr., Samuel Seward in same district
1791 Capt Glen  
  p.24 Gentry, Claybourne 150 1 Joshua Hill & Matthew Markland in Capt Shous' District
1792 Capt Glen  
  p.27 Gentry, Claybourne 100 1 Joshua Hill & Matthew Markland in Capt Shouses District
1793 Capt Glenn  
  p.31 Gentry, Claibourne 100 1 Joshua Hill & Matthew Markland in Capt. Markland's District
1794 Capt Glenn  
  p.5 Gentry Claybourne 100 1 Joshua Hill & Matthew Markland Jr in Capt Markland's District
1796 Capt Glen  
  p.18 Gentry, Claybourn 145 1  
1797 Capt Glen  
  p.32 Gentry, Claybourn [--] 1  
 
11. Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions Docket Minute References, Surry Co. NC
Mrs. W. O. Absher and Mrs. Robert K. Hayes, "Surry County, North Carolina, Court Minute Abstracts", Vol I (1768-1785) and Vol II(1786-1789)
Claybourne Gentry
1786 Aug 19 Bk(II-15) Taken to justice
1789 Aug 14 Bk(II-78) Taken to justice on state warrant
   
 
12. Davidson County, Tennessee, Court Records
Carol Wells, "Davidson County, Tennessee County Court Minutes, 1799-1803", Heritage Books, 1990
1803 Jan 13 Claibourn Gentry served as juror.
1803 Apr 11 Claibourn Gentry served as juror.
1803 Jan 15 Minutes Book p.407 [Wells, p.158]
  Ordered that Christopher Stump oversee Road from Christopher Stumps to Dry fork of Whites Creek with following hands work theron under your direction...[10 men incldg Claborn Gentry].
 
13. Davidson County, Tennessee, Miscellaneous Records
a. Byron and Barbara Sistler, "Index to Early Tennessee Tax Lists", Evanston, IL, 1977
  Davidson County
  Gentry, Claiborn
Gentry, John
1811
1811
 
b. Mary Sue Smith, Davidson County, Tennessee, Deed Book H, 1809-1821", Heritage Books, Bowie, MD, 2000
1812 Aug 24 Deed Book(H-102) [p.35] — Bill of Sale
  I, Richard D. Harman, have sold to William Homes a certain negro girl slave named Mary, aged eighteen. /s/ Richard D. Harman
Test: Lewis Earthman, John Gentry; recorded 23 Nov 1812.
 
c. Helen C. & Timothy R. Marsh, "Davidson County Tennessee Wills & Inventories, Volume Two (1816-1830)", Southern Historical Press, Greenville, SC, 1990
1818 Aug 24 Book(u-276) [Marsh p.47]
  Inventory of estate of Joshua White, deceased, of Davidson County.
Several items listed, including a bond against Kinchen T. Wilkinson, a judgement against Claybourn G. Gentry, one bond on Thomas Murrey, one on J.R. White and Wilson White, admrs. July Term 1818.
1823 Jun 16 Book(8-203) [p.118]
  Inventory of estate of Frederick Stump, deceased:
Negroes, shares in the Nashville Bank. Persons named, to wit. ... Clayborne Gentry ...[many others]. Several items listed. Signed by Philip Shute, one of the executors, Apr Term 1823
1824 Mar 22 Book(8-343) [p.138]
  Additional inventory of estate of Frederick Stump, deceased
Several items listed. Persons listed, to wit, ... Claiborne Gentry ...
Signed by Philip Shute, executor. Apr Term 1824, recorded 7 Jun 1824.

14. Revolutionary War Pension Applications, File S3391, National Archives, Washington DC: Claiborn Gentrey, of Davidson Co. TN
Credited with 2 years service as a private in NC line.
Appeared in Davidson County Court of Pleas and Quarterly Sessions, Tennessee, 8 Feb 1833, age about 72 years, to testify as to military service:

"I commenced service, in the county of Surrey in the State of North Carolina, somewhere about the 10th day of Oct. I do not recollect the year but know it was in the beginning of the Revolutionary war as a volunteer in a company commanded by Capt. Martin, which at that time was attached to no regiment, but subject to the orders of Colonel Armstrong who resided in the same County - we marched as aforesaid, to the town of Wilmington same State, where we remained three months and then we marched back, under the command of the same officers, to Richmond in the same County [Surry] from whence we started - where we remained but a few days and were then discharged - The tories becoming very troublesome, in August the succeeding year, it becoming necessary from that circumstance, I volunteered again, in the same County & State, in a Company commanded by Capt. William T. Lewis, Obadiah Martin, brother of my former Capt, being Lieutenant. The said Company was not a part of any regiment, but was raised in order to resist the tories, who, at that time, were committing depredations - Under the command of those officers, we marched through various parts of North Carolina, wherever we Could hear the tories were collected, during which time the battle of Shallowford took place [October 1780], in which I was engaged, on the waters of the Yadkin River, until having served about 4 months, we were discharged, in Roan [sic – Rowan] County, at Salisbury - About a year after my last discharge, at Salisbury & in the same County & State, I entered the continental service, as volunteer under Capt. Sharp, in his company, the 22nd or 23rd regiment, (The commander of which I do not recollect now,) the whole belonging to the army commanded by GenL Sumpter – Under the command of those officers we marched from thence to Cheraw Hills [British garrison post in South Carolina] & from thence to the fourholds in South Carolina - We remained there several months, & then marched back to North Carolina, to a place called Ramsowers mill, [Ramsours Mill – site of an earlier important battle between Patriots and Tories, near Charlotte, NC] on the waters of the Yadkin River, where we remained, two or three months. - From this time I was in the continental service until the end of the Revolutionary war, - the particular incidents that occurred during which time, I do not recollect distinctly enough to state on my oath, they having escaped my recollection. I have no documentary evidence, having lost all of my discharges, &c-

"I hereby relinquish every claim to a pension or an annuity except the present, & declare that my name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State - In relation to my character I refer to William Lytle, Isaac [Earthman?], James Marshall, Henry Bonar, & GenL Andrew Jackson, president of the U.S. whom I have known, upwards of 20 years"

David Cloyd, a clergyman residing in Davidson County, and Henry Bonar, a resident of the same, testified as to Claiborne's character and age. Thomas Douglas, also a resident of Davidson County testified further as to Claiborne's service:

"Whilst in my youth, I became acquainted, with Claiborne Gentrey who has sworn to & subscribed the above declaration, in Surrey County North Carolina, that I lived many years a near neighbor to him in said County & State, previous to the commencement of the Revolutionary war - I recollect when said Gentrey commenced service in a single company commanded by Capt. Martin - when said Gentrey first commenced service it was in October, I do not recollect the year but know that it was soon after the commencement of hostilities in North Carolina - During the various manueverings [sic] that took place between the whigs & tories, I had frequent interviews with said Gentrey although I was in a different company, being commanded by Capt Lanier-the said companies were not united together, or at that time attached to any army, being destined to act against the tories - After being in service about twelve months, I was taken prisoner by the tories, & was in their Custody at the time the battle of Shallowford took place. Said Gentrey was in that battle, & was one of those who rescued me from the tories - in that battle the whigs were victorious - I have no certain recollection about the time said Gentrey served but I believe his statement in that & every other respect to be true - Having been acquainted with said Gentrey ever since my youth I can confidently assert that he is a man of veracity, & that he is about seventy two years of age."

15. Federal Census for 1800, 1820, 1830, and 1840

1800 Federal Census, Surry County, North Carolina
Page   Born:
/ Sex
1790- 
 1800
1784- 
 1790
1774- 
 1784
1755- 
 1774
Bef
1755
 
609 Gentry, Claburn
   (Anne)
M
F
1
0
1
3
0
1
0
1
1
0
 
606 Markland, Matthew
   (Lucy)
M
F
1
0
1
3
0
1
0
1
1
0
 
 
1820 Federal Census, Davidson County, Tennessee
Page  Born:
/ Sex
1810- 
 1820
1804- 
 1810
1802- 
 1804
1794- 
 1804
1775- 
 1794
Bef.
1775
88 Claiburn Jentry
   (Anne)
M
F
0
0
0
1
0
 
0
0
0
0
1
1

1830 Federal Census, Carroll County, TN
Page   Born:
/Sex
1825- 
 1830
1820- 
 1825
1815- 
 1820
1810- 
 1815
1800- 
 1810
1790- 
 1800
1780- 
 1790
 
Older
210 Claibourne Gentry M
F
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
1
60-70
70-80
 
1840 Federal Census, Davidson County, TN
Page  Born:
/Sex
1835- 
 1840
1830- 
 1835
1825- 
 1830
1820- 
 1825
1810- 
 1820
1800- 
 1810
1790- 
 1800
 
Older
371 John T. Gentry M
F
0
1
1
1
1
2
0
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
 
16. Davidson County, Tennessee, Marriages
Edythe Rucker Whitley, "Marriages of Davidson County, Tennessee, 1789-1847", Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD, 1981
  1808 May 13 Marriage Book(1-87)    [Whitley, p.20]
Murphy, George to Polly Gentry
  1809 Feb 13 Book(1-99)    [p.23]
  Stogner, Thomas to Sally Gentry
  1816 Sep 28 Book(1-176)    [p.41]
Roach, William to Polly Gentry

1/23/2003    (Minor revisions, 5/21/2009)

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