JOURNAL OF GENTRY GENEALOGY
Volume 3 Issue 8
August 2003
Home Page and Index

THE GENTRYS OF OLD BUNCOMBE COUNTY
NORTH CAROLINA


by
Willard Gentry

Abstract
John, Elias, Thomas and Jesse Gentry, sons of David and Elizabeth Whitlock Gentry of Caroline County, Virginia, settled in Western North Carolina beginning in 1808. A summary of the proposed make-up of their families is presented.

Introduction
Four of the sons of David Gentry, a fourth-generation Gentry, son of Nicholas-III, moved from Caroline County, Virginia, to "Old Buncombe County", North Carolina, (which included present Buncombe, Yancey and Madison Counties), and the nearby county of Cherokee. Content with their life in the mountains of Western North Carolina, these Gentrys did not migrate westward as did so many other Gentrys, but stayed very much in place. Despite this fact, there is little that is known about them. In particular, Elias Gentry and his family appear to have evaded the census enumerators successfully for almost thirty years, depriving us of family information that would be welcomed today. We will undertake to briefly summarize what is known of the four brothers and of their parents.

David Gentry


– Born abt. 1754, Louisa County, Virginia.
– Died, Buncombe County, North Carolina
– Married about 1777, Louisa County, to Elizabeth Whitlock (born abt. 1750)
  Children of David and Elizabeth:
i John Norment Gentry, born abt. 1783, Louisa County, Virginia.
ii Elias Gentry, born abt. 1785, probably in Caroline County. [Census records give conflicting evidence concerning ages of Thomas and Elias - their order of birth may have been reversed.]
iii Thomas Gentry, born abt. 1786, probably in Caroline County, Virginia
iv Jesse Gentry, born abt. 1787, Caroline County.
v (Daughter), born bef. 1790.
vi George Gentry (Speculation), born aft. 1794.
vii (Daughter), born aft. 1794.

A descendant of Nicholas the Immigrant through the line of Nicholas-II and Nicholas-III, David was the oldest of the children of Nicholas-III and his first wife, Elizabeth Stringer.

[An alternate description of this son of Nicholas given in "The Gentry Family in America", is one of the more glaring errors in this compendium, which for the most part tends to have information correctly more often than not for the descendants of Nicholas-II.]
David married Elizabeth Whitlock, daughter of John and Mary Whitlock, close neighbors and friends of the Nicholas Gentry family. (Elizabeth's brother William married David's sister, Mildred.) Of all the Gentrys that were living in central Virginia in the late 1700's, David was the only one to move to Caroline County, doing so with other members of the Whitlock family. This probably took place in 1783, when David Gentry and wife Elizabeth "of Caroline County" deeded 70 acres of land on Gold Mine Creek (in Louisa County), to David's father Nicholas<1>.

There are very few records of David's life in Caroline County. The special Virginia tax list of 1787 (frequently used as a substitute for the 1790 federal census which was lost) records him as liable for 1 poll and with no white males in the family between the ages of 16 and 21<2>. In 1789, a personal property tax list shows him as liable for one white poll and one black poll. The personal property tax list of 1799 includes David, still liable for one white and one black tithe as well as for one horse. David's son John N was present in the 1800 personal tax list (indicating a date of birth for John of 1783-1784). Land tax records for Caroline County from 1787 to 1800 show David being liable for 241 acres initially, and then by 1800, being liable for 199 acres as he disposed of part of his property<3>. A tax list for 1815 shows no Gentrys liable for tax.

The children of David and Elizabeth, in addition to the four North Carolina sons, are said to include Elizabeth, George, and Sarah. David's family is included in the 1810 Caroline County census with four sons and two daughters present. One son, Thomas, was missing from the census, and since he is known to have purchased land in North Carolina in 1808<11>, the assumption is that he was the missing son. Otherwise, the 1810 census supports the existence of three children of the age and sex indicated above, but their names are undocumented as far as this author is aware. In the 1820 Caroline County census, there are no Gentrys listed. We know from North Carolina records that David and Elizabeth's sons John, Thomas and Jesse were living there in 1820, and land records indicate that Elias was living there also, but as to the rest of the family there is no clue. There have been statements that there was a George Gentry in early Caroline County tax lists but this writer has not found them. There has also been a statement that there was a George Gentry in the 1850 Caroline census. This is false. David may very well have had a son named George, however, considering the prevalence of that name among his descendants. In the 1830 Caroline County census there is an Elizabeth Gentry listed, of the right age to be David's daughter but she is believed by this writer to be Elizabeth Kersey, widow of Robert Gentry whom she married in Louisa County in 1809, and not a part of David's family.

The absence of David and his wife from the 1820 census, and from the 1815 tax list suggests they moved from the county during the interval between 1810 and 1815. They eventually moved to Buncombe County, North Carolina, but we cannot necessarily surmise that they moved there from Caroline County immediately. They were also missing from the 1820 Buncombe County census. They may have been enroute at the time of the census, or they may simply have been missed - either in Virginia or in North Carolina - by the census enumerators as so often happened.

David and Elizabeth presumably died before 1830 for they are not found in that year's census in either Virginia or North Carolina, and their ages make their deaths quite probable. They were buried on the property of their son John (the latter's will contains a clause in which John asks to be buried "in the Burrying [sic] Ground on the Hill near the old Gentry House (where my father and mother was buried)."

1. John Norment Gentry

– Born abt. 1783, Louisa County, Virginia
– Died abt. 1849, Buncombe County, North Carolina
– Married abt. 1806, Caroline County, Virginia, to Sarah (Unknown).
  Children of John and Sarah:
i Elizabeth ("Betsy") Gentry, born abt. 1807, Caroline County, Virginia; married Absolem Buckner.
ii William S. Gentry, born 27 May 1811, Buncombe County, North Carolina, died 11 Sep 1864, Cherokee County, North Carolina; married Nancy Thompson (born 25 Apr 1809, Rowan County, North Carolina).
iii Lucinda ("Lucy") Gentry, born abt 1814, Buncombe County; married James Buckner.
iv John H. Gentry, born abt 1816, Buncombe County; married Sarah Ball.

John N. was named for Norment Dickens, the husband of his mother's sister, Molley Whitlock. Of all the Gentry brothers, John is the only one for whom there is a clear unequivocal record of his children. This is both because they are named clearly in his will<10a>, and because the census records provide virtually complete support<5>. The only census record lacking is for John's son, William S. Gentry, in 1850, and even he appears again in the 1860 census. Of the four children of John, William was the only one to leave Buncombe County, doing so in 1841 when he moved to Cherokee County, North Carolina. John N.'s son, John H. Gentry, and his two sons-in-law Absolem and James Buckner were named executors for the will of the senior John, and all were living in Buncombe County at the time of his death.

William deserves a few words of special comment. He moved from Buncombe to Cherokee County, North Carolina in 1841. In the North Carolina "Heritage" series of histories for various counties, William's family of nine children is listed in the two volumes on Cherokee County history, along with a number of biographies of his descendants<8>. There is no hint in any records as to the reason for the apparent rift between William and his father that resulted in him receiving only a horse for his share of John's estate<9a>. William's departure from Buncombe County may have been related. William met an untimely death during the Civil War.<7b,8>. In September 1864, he and two of his sons, John and Stephen, were "taken prisoner by rebel soldiers at their farm on Hanging Dog Creek [in Cherokee County]. They were taken to the Tomatia Community, tied to a mulberry tree and shot to death." They were buried in a common grave in Hanging Dog Baptist Church cemetery. This was a time of raids by Union bands of irregulars, as well as by Rebel groups, and we can surmise that William was known for his Union sympathies. He may possibly have harbored Union forces in his home, or his sons may even have taken part in some raids.

John N.'s children Elizabeth and John H. had large families, most of whom remained in their respective communities. John's family of a least ten children in many instances had census references in Buncombe and Madison County, North Carolina, up through 1880 when John and his wife Sarah were still alive. Elizabeth's descendants are described in several Buncombe County family biographies in the "Heritage" series of North Carolina county histories<7b>.

2. Elias Gentry

–Born about 1785, probably in Carolina County, Virginia.
–Died about 1868, probably in Madison County, North Carolina.
–Married Mary Ann Hunter (or Stanton?), apparently separated before 1840.
  Children of Elias and Mary Ann (all born in Buncombe County, North Carolina)
i Idemia / Idemie / Idemen (?) (also "Dimity"?) Gentry, date of birth very uncertain, perhaps born abt. 1815; said to have married, 1854 in Madison County, Albert Crane<12>
ii Sarah ("Sally") Gentry, born abt 1822; married 1836 in Yancey County, Wiley Gosnell<6a>.
iii George Gentry, born abt 1824, died 8 Jan 1864; married Nellie (/Elonder) Brooks.
iv William Gentry, born abt 1826; married in Yancey County, Jane Sams<7f>.

As mentioned above, census records are not consistent in giving the ages of Elias and Thomas. We have chosen to use the 1850 census as the basis for determining the age of the three younger Gentry brothers, as that is the only census in which they are represented at the same time. On this basis, Elias is proposed as being the second oldest of the four, followed in age by Thomas and then Jesse.

For some unknown reason, whether a deliberate evasion on the part of Elias, or just happen stance, he was not listed in the 1820 or 1830 census records for Buncombe County, although he is known to have been living there during that time. Most of the family appear to have lived in the communities Sodom Laurel (or Shelton Laurel) and Big Laurel which were originally part of Buncombe County, then became part of Yancey County when the latter county was formed, and finally became part of Madison County when this county in turn was created.

In some accounts, Elias's wife, Mary Ann's maiden name is given as Hunter. However, it is possible that she was a daughter of George Stanton. The latter is listed in the 1850 census with Mary (and her daughter Sarah Gosnell) living on one side of George, and Mary's son William living on the other side. George is said to have listed Sarah and Wiley Gosnell and their children (but not Mary) in his will, but perhaps this was only a neighborly gesture by an old man with no family.

By 1840, Elias' wife Mary Ann was listed in the Yancey County census along with two sons, but Elias was not present. In 1850, the two were living separately, she with their daughter Sally Gosnell in Yancey County, and Elias in Buncombe County. The lack of census records make the identification of the children of Elias difficult, in particular, the identity and age of Idemie (also spelt Idemen) Gentry. The 1850 census lists her with three children, and we do not know whether she was an unmarried mother, the widow of an unknown son of Elias, or having some other relationship. Her age as listed in the census (45) is particularly in doubt, and is not consistent with the ages of the children present in the household with her, and with the ages of other children of Elias. An age ten years younger (35) or even twenty years (25), would be more appropriate. It has been suggested that the "Dimity" Gentry who married Albert Crane in Madison County in 1854 was a variant for "Idemie". Albert was not listed in any 1860 North Carolina census records, so we have no verification of his wife's identity from this source.

George moved to Greene County, Tennessee prior to the 1860 census (in which county he is listed for that year). Military records show that he "died of disease" as a Union soldier in 1864. His son, Hiram, also died in service in 1864. His widow moved back to Madison County, and there exist two documents relating to the appointment of guardians (in 1868 and 1870) of the minor children of George<10a>. Sally married Wiley Gosnell and her family continued to live in Madison County for many years. Sally is said to have moved to Greenville, South Carolina, in old age, to live with her son George and died there<6a>. William and his wife Jane died before 1880, although Jane's mother, Mary Sams was still living at the time, residing with her grandson Jackson Gentry and shown in the 1880 census.

A Joseph Gentry who is in the 1850 Yancey County census, living not far from Mary Ann and her family, and who is also in the 1860 Buncombe County census, almost certainly was not a son of Elias. A biographical sketch in the "Madison County Heritage" series of North Carolina county histories gives Joseph's birthplace as Surry County<7a>. Robert Gentry of Surry County, had a son born 1825-1830, in the 1830 and 1840 census, but missing in 1850. It is very probable that Joseph was this son of Robert (and a grandson of Shelton Gentry). [Robert had a grandfather and a brother named Joseph, while this Joseph named his oldest son, Robert.]

3. Thomas Gentry

–Born abt 1786 [1850 census], probably in Caroline County, Virginia.
–Died 1868, Buncombe County, North Carolina<9d>.
–Married Velda / Veldia (Unknown).
  Children of Thomas and Velda (all born in Buncombe County).
i Rebecca Gentry, born abt 1818?.
ii Gahazi (?) Ransom (?) Gentry, born bef. 1820.
iii (Daughter), born bef. 1825.
iv Joseph R. Gentry, born abt 1827
v Mary A. Gentry, born abt 1829.
vi Hamaletha (?) Jane Gentry, born abt 1830.
vii Newton A. Gentry, born abt 1832.
viii George W. Gentry, born abt 1833.
ix (Son) (?), born abt 1835
x Nehemiah Gentry, born abt 1836.
xi Margaret L. Gentry, born abt 1838.

We have noted earlier that the 1850 and 1860 census records have conflicting stories to tell about the relative ages of Thomas and his brother Elias. On the other hand, these same census records provide us with a much more complete list of children for him than for the children of Elias and Jesse. This is due to the fact that so many of Thomas' children were living with him at the time of these two censuses, . But there are many questions regarding Thomas' children that are unresolved. Among these are:

  1. The ages of most of the younger children in the 1860 census do not correspond at all well with ages recorded in the 1840, 1850, and 1880 census lists;
  2. A son, age 0-5, in the 1840 census, appears to be a wrong-sex record for the youngest daughter, Margaret;
  3. Another son, age 5-10, in the 1840 census, may have been a son who died before 1850, or the boy may have had a different relationship to the family than that of son;
  4. The unusual name Gahazi found in the 1840 census appears to agree with a son of the same age present in the 1830 census, but Gahazi and his entire family is missing from the 1850 census, and his name appears nowhere else in census records for Gentrys in other counties or states. There is at least one Internet source that suggests the name Gahazi Ransom as the full name for this man, but there are only two Ransom Gentrys in 1850 census records, one in Alabama, and one in Mississippi, and neither one of these matches this individual. The conclusion is that Gahazi died after 1840 rather than moved to another location. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that there are several names in the 1860 records for Buncombe County that appear to be children of Gahazi, namely a daughter Mary who appears to have married William Barrett and appears to have a sister Margaret living with her; a son George with wife Ellen and one child in the 1860 census; and a widowed daughter-in-law, Mary, and infant daughter living with H. and Sally Ball.

Thomas appears to have been the first of the Gentry brothers to have moved from Virginia to Buncombe County, for his purchase of 150 acres of land in 1808 is the first record for their presence in North Carolina<11>. In the 1810 Caroline County census, there are only three of the four brothers represented, and the assumption is that Thomas was the one that was missing. It is true that Jesse Gentry was a witness for Thomas' purchase of land, but as a witness, he was free to return home and rejoin the rest of the family whereas Thomas was likely to be the one to permanently leave Virginia.

4. Jesse Gentry

–Born about 1787 in Caroline County, Virginia.
–Died 1858 in Buncombe County, North Carolina<10c>.
–Married Nancy Paine<7d>.
  Children of Jesse and Nancy (all born in Buncombe County, North Carolina) (order and identity of some children uncertain):
i Cynthia Gentry, (said to be born 1816, died 1852); married Buncombe County, to William Davis<7d>.
ii James M. Gentry, born abt 1818; married 1857, Madison County, Mary Jevis<13>.
iii John P. Gentry, born abt 1819; married Jane (Unknown).
iv D. J. Gentry, born abt 1820, died bef 1860; married Sally (Unknown).
v Jane Gentry (speculation), born abt 1822; married Jesse Wilson<6b>.
vi Perminter M. ("P.M.") Gentry, born abt 1825; died bef 1880; married Margaret Ann Hunter. [For spelling of "Perminter" see refr. 8e]
vii Orra Gentry, born abt 1827.
viii (Daughter), born abt 1830. [This daughter, unlisted in the 1840 census, may be the same as daughter Mary, below.]
ix Mary (Polly) Gentry, born abt 1831.
x (Daughter), born bef 1835, died before 1840?
xi (Daughter). born aft 1835; died before 1840?.

The sons of Jesse Gentry can be reliably identified through their places of residence at the time of census records, and even though they are not identified by name in any census family grouping, they fit well with the census records for 1820, 1830, and 1840. Moreover, at the time of the settlement of Jesse's estate in 1858, they appear as purchasers of items of household and farm inventory items<9c>. The ages, and thus the relative order, of the older children of Jesse are a tangled mess with very little consistency between various census records ranging from 1820 to 1860. The order presented above, is the author's best guess at correlating these records.

The daughters of Jesse are more uncertain as to name. Only Orra and Mary are identified as living with Jesse in the 1850 census. The other daughters, whose ages can be estimated from 1820 to 1840 census records, are either speculative as to identity, or completely unknown as to name or ultimate fate. Of help in the identification of Cynthia and Jane, are biographies of local families in Buncombe and Madison Counties North Carolina, in which ancestors who married a Gentry bride are cited<6,7>. Cynthia is identified in this manner as a daughter of Jesse, along with a report of her year of birth and of death. The same biography gives us the maiden name of Jesse's wife, Nancy. Jane is identified in Wilson family biographies as having married Jesse Wilson between about 1835 and 1837, and as such, is probably one of the daughters of Jesse who was present in the 1830 census but not in 1840. Jane's presence in the 1850 census (age 30) with her husband and children fits this profile, with the exception of her age which should be one or two years younger if she was not present in the 1820 census.

We have no explanation of why daughter Orra, whose age appears to fit the age of one of Jesse's daughters in the 1830 census (born 1825-1830), was not with the family in 1840. The other daughter listed in 1830 as born 1825-1830 and missing from the 1840 census may have referred to daughter Mary. If she was born in 1830, she could have been listed as born 1825 - 1830 in 1830 and as born 1830 - 1835 in 1840.
 

References

1. Louisa County, Virginia, Deed Books
1783 Aug 11 Book(H-322)
  David Gentry and wife Elizabeth of Caroline County, deed 70 acres on Gold Mine Creek to Nicholas Gentry of Louisa County.
 
2. Netti Schreiner-Yantis, Florene Love, "The Personal Property Tax Lists for the Year 1787 for Caroline County, Virginia", Genealogical Books in Print, Springfield, VA, 1987. (Alternate title: "The 1787 Census of Virginia")
  Gentry, David Col (1) & (2) Last & First Name of each tithable male
  Self Col (3) Charged with Tax
  0
0
2
0
2
Col (4) White males above 16 and under 21
Col (5) Blacks above 16
Col (6) Blacks under 16
Col (7) Horses, mares, colts & mules
Col (8) Cattle

3. "Caroline County, Virginia Land Tax Lists, 1787-1799", T.L.C. Genealogy, Miami Beach, FL, 1991. (Entries in Caroline Land Book B for David Gentry)

  1787 - 1788 241ac, 12 ac trfd to Stephen Crank in 1789
  1789 -1797 229 ac, 30 ac trfd to John Eubank, 1798
  1798 -1799 199 ac

4. 1810 Federal Census, Caroline County, Virginia

Page   Born:
/ Sex
1800-
  1810
1794-
  1800
1784-
  1794
1765-
  1784
Bef
1765
129David Gentry M
F
0
0
1
1
3
1
0
0
1
1

5. Summary of North Carolina Census Records, 1820-1860

Name 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
 
1. John N. Gentry
Buncombe
1775-1794
Buncombe
1770-1780
Buncombe
1770-1780
d. abt 1849  
 
 – sp. Sarah
1775-1794 1770-1780 1770-1780 [Buncombe]
age 70
---
 
 – dau. Elizabeth
1804-1815 (m. Absolem
Buckner)
  [Buncombe]
age 42
 
 
 – son William S
1810-1820 1810-1815 [Buncombe]
1810-1820
--- [Cherokee]
age 49
 
 – dau Lucinda
1810-1820 1810-1815 (m. James
Buckner)
[Buncombe]
age 36
 
 
 – son John H.
1810-1820 1815-1820 [Buncombe]
1810-1820
[Buncombe]
age 34
[Buncombe]
age 49
 
Name 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
 
2. Elias Gentry
      Buncombe
age 66
[Madison]
age 75
 
 – sp. Mary Ann
    Yancey
1790-1800
[Yancey]
age 60
---
 
 – dau Idemie
      [Yancey]
age 45
(m. Albert Crane?)
 
 – son George
  (m. Nellie
Brooks)
1820-1825 [Yancey]
age 26
[Greene, TN]
age 37
 
 – dau Sarah
  (m. Wiley Gosnell)   [Yancey]
age 25
[Madison]
age 40
 
 – son William
    1820-1825 [Yancey]
age 25
[Madison]
age 36
 
Name 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
 
3. Thomas Gentry
Buncombe
1775-1794
Buncombe
1780-1790
Buncombe
1780-1790
Buncombe
age 64
Buncombe
age 79
 – sp. Velda 1794-1804 1790-1800 1790-1800 age 53  
 – dau Rebecca 1810-1820 1815-1820 --- ---  
 
 – son Gahazi (sp?)
    --sp ?
    --dau Mary?
    --son George?
    --(son)?
    --dau Margaret?

[m. Barrett?]
(m. Ellen)
(m. Mary)

1815-1820





[Buncombe]
[1810-1820]
[1810-1820]
[1830-1835]
[1835-1840]
[1835-1840]
[1835-1840]
---





[Buncombe]
---
---
---
[age 26]
[widow Mary?]
[age 19]
 – dau ?   1820-1825 1820-1825 ---  
 – son Joseph R.   1825-1830 1820-1825 age 23 age 33
 – dau Mary A   1825-1830 1825-1830 age 21 age 28
 
 – dau Hamaletha Jane
  1825-1830 1825-1830 age 20 "Jane H"
age 25
 – son Newton A     1830-1835 age 18 age 23
 – son George W     1830-1835 age 16 age 21
 – son ?     1830-1835 ---  
 – son Nehemiah     1835-1840 --- age 17
 – son ? (Wrong sex entry for Margaret?) 1835-1840 ---  
 – dau Margaret L.       age 12 age 14
 
Name 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860
 
4. Jesse Gentry
Buncombe
1775-1794
Buncombe
1780-1790
Buncombe
1780-1790
Buncombe
age 63
(d. 1858)
 – sp Nancy 1775-1794 1790-1800 1790-1800 age 59 ---
 – dau Cynthia 1810-1820 1815-1820 (m. William Davis)    
 – son James M 1810-1820 1815-1820 1810-1820 age 31 ---
 
 – son John P
1810-1820 1815-1820 [Buncombe]
1820-1825
[Buncombe]
age 30
[Madison]
age 40
 
 – son D. J.
1810-1820 1820-1825 [Buncombe]
1820-1825
[Buncombe]
age 29
[Buncombe]
age 37
 
 – dau Jane
  1820-1825 (m. Jesse Wilson) [Buncombe]
age 30
 
 
 – son P. M.
  1820-1825 1820-1825 [Buncombe]
age 25
[Buncombe]
age 35
 – dau Orra   1820-1825 --- age 23 ---
 – dau ?   1825-1830 ---    
 – dau Mary     1830-1835 age 19 ---
 – dau ?     1830-1835 ---  
 – dau ?     1835-1840 ---  

6. "The Heritage of Old Buncombe County Vol I", The Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society, Asheville, NC 1981 [Includes present counties of Buncombe, Haywood, Madison, and Yancey]
Excerpts from individual family histories:
(a) p.213, "The Gosnell Family of Madison County"

"Wiley Gosnell married Sarah Gentry (1825-19--), daughter of Elias and Mary Ann Hunter Gentry c. 1836 in Yancey County. Their children were Mary (b.1837), Elias (b.1839), Joshua (b.1841), James (b.1845), Lucinda (b.1847), Peter (b.1849), Sarah (b.1853), Elizabeth (b.1855), John (b.1847), Ninevah (b.1858), George (b.1861). ... Wiley was buried in Sodom Laurel, Sarah lived with son George at time of death and was buried in Springwood Cemetery in Greenville, SC."
(b) p.367, "The Wilson Family"
"The Wilson family came to Buncombe County about 1830. Jess Wilson (1807-?) married Jane Gentry and moved near what is now Leicester, NC from northern Georgia about 1835."

ibid. Vol II, 1987
(c) p.81, "William and Judith (Gillespie) Arrington"
"William and Judith Arrington built a cabin on their land and became the parents of twelve children, all born on west Bull Creek, Buncombe (now Madison) Co.
[11th child] Robert Wilson Arrington (born abt 1838) married Sallie Gentry.

7. "Madison County Heritage, North Carolina Vol I", Madison County Heritage Book Committee, 1994
(a) p.101, Joseph Gentry

Born in Surry Co, NC abt 1798. First trace in Madison Co. in 1850 census for Shelton Laurel. At that time married to Martha Horton. Moved to Buncombe Co. during the Civil War.

ibid. Vol II
(b) p.69, "Absolem Buckner and Elizabeth (Betsy) Gentry"
Absolem (1800-1879) was first Buckner to settle in Big Pine section of Madison Co. Family resided in the Ivy section of what was then Buncombe Co. in approx 1826. Absolem married Elizabeth "Betsy" Gentry (1807-1880s), dau of John N and Sally Gentry.... [lived] on Gentry Branch off the Barnardsville Highway in northern Buncombe Co. Had at least 7 children, oldest was Rebecca (b.1830). All of Absolem and Betsy's children were born in the Big Ivy area and all probably attended Flat Creek Baptist church (which Absolem joined in 1847).
Sally's [sic] parents, John N and Betsy [reversal of names?] also lived in that area and were probably buried there in a family owned plot where John N's parents are buried. John H born 3/2/1816, married Sarah (Sallie) Ball in 1836. John N's son William moved to Cherokee Co. in 1852 [1841]. During the war William and his family tried to remain loyal to the Union. Confederate soldiers learned of this support ... tied to a tree and shot and buried in a common grave in Hanging Dog Baptist Church cemetery. Absolem and Betsy moved from Flat Creek Church in 1856, to Big Pine section of Madison Co. where Absolem assisted in the starting of the North Fork Baptist Church.
(c) p.100, William (Joe Billy) Davis
Most of the Davises living on the Big Laurel and Grapevine communities of Madison Co. are descended from William Davis (b. abt 1813, Cocker Co., TN). He came to the Big Ivy area of Buncombe Co. where he married Cynthia Gentry, whose father had come from Caroline Co., VA.
(d) p.101
Cynthia Gentry (1816-1852) was the daughter of Jesse and Nancy Paine Gentry.
(e) p.122, William Jesse Gentry and Mary Rector
Born 10/12/1854 in Ivy section of Buncombe Co. Parents were Perminter Gentry and Margaret Anna Hunter. Perminter's father may have been Jesse Gentry as Perminter is reported several times in the settling of Jesse's estate in 1858. In 1860 Buncombe Co. census Perminter is listed as household 24 with family [see record]. Anna and Perminter were married abt 1845. Found in 1870 census. By 1880, Perminter had died and Anna was head of household. He enlisted in 60th If (C.S.A.), then in 3rd NC M.D. If (Union), Co C at Knoxville, TN.
(f) p.320
Jane Sams (1826- ) married William Gentry. Her parents were Gabriel and "Ollie" [Mary] Sams who made their home on Sodom Laurel in Buncombe (later Yancey and presently in Madison) County, NC. Gabriel was a magistrate in Sodom.

8. Alice D. White, Nell A. White, editors, "The Heritage of Cherokee County, North Carolina Vol II", Cherokee Historical Museum, 1990
p..184, Biography of William Alexander Gentry

"William Gentry, b. 27 May 1811, Buncombe Co. along shores of Big Ivy Creek, d. 11 Sep 1864. Son of John N. and Sarah Gentry. Children include [9 listed]...

"On 11 Sep 1864, William S. Gentry and two of his sons, John N and Stephen M, were taken prisoner by rebel soldiers at their farm on Hanging Dog Creek. They were taken to the Tomatia Community, tied to a mulberry tree and shot to death.
William S. and Nancy are buried in Hanging Dog Cemetery.
Nancy Thompson was a native of Roane Co., TN, born in Rowan Co., NC, 25 Apr 1809. William and Nancy moved from Buncombe Co. to Cherokee Co. in 1841."


9. Wills and Estate Records, Buncombe County

a. Will Docket July Term 1850 The last will and testament of John N. Gentry
State of North Carolina, Buncombe County

I, John N. Gentry of the county and state aforesaid viewing the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death and to avoid the many difficulties which arise from the neglect of men not preparing in health for difficulties after death to their families in the distribution of their worldly affairs or substance and believing it to be my duty in as much as I am sorely afflicted in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory thank be to God, do this the second day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty nine make and deliver this to be my last will and testament in the following manner.

I bequeath my soul to god who gave it being and my body to the dust to be interred in the Burrying (sp) Ground on the Hill near the old Gentry House (where my father and mother was buried) in a plain and decent manner. It is my will and desire that all my just debts should be paid first out of my estate. It is further my will and desire that my beloved wife, Sarah Gentry shall keep and enjoy all my estate both personal and real, and as to my personal property to dispose of as she chooses, But to have free privileges on the land during her natural life. It is further my will (after the death of my wife) that my son John H. Gentry have all my land (two hundred and twenty five acres in all) to have as his own and to dispose of as he chooses. It is my will after the death of my wife that all the personal property, shall be equally divided between my son John H. Gentry and my daughters Lucy Buckner wife of James Buckner and Elizabeth Buckner wife of Absolem Buckner, and as to my son William Gentry I leave to him a certain brown mare which he has already in possession. It is my will and desire that my executors hereinafter mentioned shall carry out my desires according to my will and divide my property and estate accordingly. It is my will and I wish it distinctly understood that after the death of my wife, I want my son John H. Gentry to have all my land as aforesaid and the personal property to be disposed of as above directed. It further my will and desire that my children be kind and obliging to their mother during her lifetime and endeavor to be friendly towards each other and all other persons in this world and above all prepare to meet each other in heaven, which is my last and greatest desire. I herb (sp) nominate constitute and appoint my son and sons in law my executors namely John H. Gentry, James Buckner and Absolem Buckner, and I wish them to execute the same according to my will.

In testimony where of I have hereunto signed sealed and published this to be my last will and testament.
In presence R.V. Blackstock and Joshua Roberts.

Estate Records (Files of loose papers in State Archives)
b. Bond given by R. V. Blackstock as administrator of estate of John N. Gentry, 5 Jul 1850.
c. Bond dated 12 Oct 1858 by John] H. Bell as administrator for estate of Jesse Gentry, deceased. Folder contains many misc slips of paper and court judgments for accounts and debts due by Jesse. Sale of estate includes buyers: D. J. Gentry, J. P. Gentry, P. M. Gentry, James Gentry, M. E. Gentry, J. M. Gentry, N. Gentry.
Jesse's widow given one year's supply of provisions. [Jesse still alive as of Aug 1858.] [Jesse appears to have had financial problems during his final years judging from the number of claims for payment of debts.]
d. Bond given by Jos R. Gentry and G. W. Gentry for J. R. Gentry as administrator of estate of Thomas Gentry deceased, dated 4 May 1868.
 
10. Madison County Records
Guardian Bonds
a. Bond dated 26 May 1868 by As. McKew, A. G. Tweed, and D. E. Freeman: James McKew to serve as guardian for N. W. Gentry, Garison H. Gentry, Mariah Gentry, G.C. Gentry, and David C. Gentry, minor children and orphans of George Gentry, deceased. [Son of Elias, d. 1864 in Union service, see also 1860 Greene, TN census.]

New bond dated 11 Sep 1870 appointing N. A. Baird as guardian for Nicholas W. Gentry, Marion Gentry, George Caudler Gentry, Garrison H. Gentry, and David C. Gentry.

Estate Records
b. "I do hereby certify that I have waived my right as the Administrator of P.M. Gentry deceased until John Gentry, to be the Administrator of P.M. Gentry deceased this the 28 day of Nov 1885.
Signed M. A. Gentry (her mark)
Witness W. J. Gentry

[P.M. = Perminter (son of Jesse); M.A. = Margaret Ann (P.M.'s wife); W.J. = William Jesse (son of P.M.); John = son of Jesse].

11. Selected Buncombe County Deed Book Records
(Abstracted from microfilm copies of original deed books, NC State Archives)
1808 Feb 28 Book(12-5)
  Indenture made [this date] between James Buckner and Thomas Gentry, both of North Carolina; for $150 James Buckner sells a tract of land in Alkins Branch waters of Big Ivy containing 150 ac.
Signed: James (mark) Buckner
Witness: Jesse Gentry, James (mark) Avery
Rec'd 17 Mar 1820.
1817 Nov 26 Book(11-1)
  For 50/- for every hundred acres, John Gentry granted a tract of land containing 50 ac in Buncombe Co., Grant #2302.
1820 May 22 Book(12-474)
  Thomas Gentry signs indenture with Jesse Cole, both of Buncombe Co.; for $150, sells 150 ac in Atkins branch waters of Big Ivy.
Signed: Thomas Gentry
Witness: Jesse Roberts, Jarvis Bell
Rec'd 2 Aug 1821.
 

12. Further Buncombe County Deed Book Records
(From Grantor and Grantee Indexes, 1794-1868, NC State Archives)

Date Bk-Page Grantor Grantee Description
1820 May 22 24-377 Thomas Gentry Jesse Cole 150 ac Big Ivy
1820 Sep 30 13-356 James Sams Elias Gentry 50 ac
1827 Apr 14 24-382 Jesse Cole John N Gentry 150 ac Big Ivy
1827 Jul 20 22-160 Robert Roberts Jesse Gentry Atkins Branch
1828 Feb 28 24-384 James Buckner John N Gentry 40 ac Big Ivy
1829 May 25 16-12 Daniel Ball Thomas Gentry 160 ac Flat Creek
1830 Dec 4 16-283 State of NC John Gentry 60 ac Big Ivy
1836 May 12 21-8 John Casada Thomas Gentry 150 ac Flat Creek
1843 Feb 27 22-487 Thomas Gentry James R Roberts 320 ac Flat Creek
1846 Feb 26 23-317 Sheriff, Buncombe Co. Thomas Gentry 150 ac
1846 Jun 30 23-344 Noah Morgan et al Thomas Gentry 322 ac Flat Creek
1847 Feb 1 49-340 Thos Gentry et al Thos B. Dula 162 ac Flat Creek
1867 Jan 15 109-428 Thos P Gentry et al Geo W Gentry 66 ac Flat Creek

13. Winston A. Riddle, "Madison County North Carolina Marriages, 1851-1869", Old Fort, NC, 1997. From Madison Co. Marriage Register

Date Groom Bride
1854 Jun 11 Albert Crane Dimity Gentry
1857 Aug 2 James M Gentry Mary Jevis
1859 Mar 25 R. P. Gentry Elizabeth Boon
1862 Jul 20 Wilson Arrington Sarah Gentry

8/27/2003

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