Volume 1 Issue 12
December 2001
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Potential Families
Four William Gentrys of Hanover County, Virginia

Willard Gentry

(1) Four Gentrys are briefly considered as potential sources of the "orphan" Gentry families that appear in early Louisa, Hanover, and Henrico County, Virginia, records. One, James-II was a second generation Gentry; two, Wiliam-III and Joseph-III were third-generation Gentrys; the fourth, John Gentry, is uncertain as to generation but in any case moved to Augusta County, Virginia, and can effectively be ignored.
(2) Records of an apparent four different William Gentrys who were presumably born in Hanover County, Virginia, before the Revolutionary War have been studied in detail. Based on these comparisons, proposed relationships are suggested for these Williams to known descendants of Nicholas Gentry, the Immigrant. In addition, a family tradition concerning the father of Richard Gentry of Stokes County, North Carolina, has been used to relate at William Gentry who died in Sullivan County, Tennessee, to the Virginia Williams.

Throughout this year, the Journal of Gentry Genealogy has covered at considerable depth, what little is known about the immigrant Gentrys, Samuel-I and Nicholas-I and the early descendants of Nicholas. By the end of the eighteenth century, most of these descendants had left Virginia and moved south to North and South Carolina or west to Kentucky and Tennessee. This includes all of the descendants of Samuel-II, and almost all of the descendants of Nicholas-II. For those that remained in the Hanover- Henrico-Louisa Counties area of Virginia, clear, unambiguous evidence of their exact relationship to each other and to Nicholas-I Gentry is lacking in most cases. The goal of the present set of articles is to gather together in a single location, what little evidence on some of these "left-over" Gentrys is available and to suggest possible relationships based on that evidence.

A. Summary of the Problem
A large part of the difficulty in relating these "orphan" Gentrys to other Gentrys lies in the few records that are available today relating to the pre-Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary period of Virginia, especially in Hanover County. We have discussed this before at length in this journal and includes:

For the present, we have a number of references that show the presence of a dozen or more Gentrys centered in the Hanover, Virginia, area, but which do not clearly indicate how they are related. For most of these, we hope during the course of these articles to suggest plausible sets of relationships that we believe to be probable, but certainly not provable. Sadly, not even this is possible for a few of these "orphans".

To offset the problems above, there are only a limited number of Gentry family members to whom these "orphans" can be related. All of the members of the families of Samuel-II and David-II left the Hanover and Louisa County, Virginia area and did not return. Of the family members of Nicholas-II, most moved north to Caroline County, west to Albemarle County, or on to Kentucky and Tennessee. The exceptions that remained in the Louisa-Hanover County area were the widow of his son Nathan, and possibly the widow and family of Nicholas-II's grandson, Nicholas-IV (son of Nicholas-III).

We are left, basically, with four possible individuals to whom the various "orphans" may be related: James-II, Joseph-III, John of Botetourt County, and possibly the William-III, son of Joseph-II, who disappeared from all St. Paul's Parish records in 1735. We will review these individual prospects briefly and then go on from there.

B. Potential Ancestors of Third and Fourth Generation Gentrys
1.   James-II Gentry
The reader is referred to issue number 10 of this Journal for information on James. Briefly, it appears that James left his father's home at an early age, before there was any occasion to appear in the St. Paul's Parish vestry records, and moved to the western end of Hanover County. Whether James took over the land left by Nicholas-II Gentry when the latter moved to Louisa County in 1736, or settled outside the borders of St. Paul's Parish where parish records have not survived, is an unresolved question. In any event he did not return to the eastern end of St. Paul's Parish until 1751 at about the time Joseph-II died. Thereafter, James' name appeared in successive processioning reports along with Joseph Jr. in a precinct along the south fork of Crump's Creek [a tributary of the Pamunkey River next in order westward from Totopotomoy Creek]. This continued after James' death, whereupon his property in that end of the parish was listed as belonging to "James Gentry heirs". In the previous issue, reference was made to the fact that James also owned a substantial amount of land in Louisa County at the time of his death, and perhaps land elsewhere.

James' legacy to his family was one of children as well as material assets. John Reed's article last month on George Gentry argued convincingly that George was probably a son of James Sr. Issue number 10 of the Journal, on the family of Joseph-II, proposed a number of other children. Very briefly these were:

a)   James Gentry Jr

  --   Born about 1732 in Hanover County, Virginia; married (1) Unknown; married (2) Sarah Jones Dickerson (a widow) (Louisa County marriage bond dated 15 Jan 1778)<15>, died 1786 in Caswell County, North Carolina.
Children of James and first wife:
i Watson Gentry, born 1761, married about 1780 to Theodosia Poindexter, died 1845 in Williamson County, Tennessee.
ii Nancy Gentry, married John Sharp (marriage bond in Louisa County dated 1 Jul 1781)<15>.
iii Mimey Gentry, married Thomas Gardner.
James was the executor of James Sr.'s estate and probably his oldest son. He is never mentioned in the St. Paul's Parish records, and appeared to have lived in western Hanover and/or Louisa Counties until he moved to Guilford County, North Carolina in about 1783. James' three known children were named in his will<1a>.
b)   George Gentry
  --  Born about 1735 in Hanover County, married Elizabeth (maiden name unknown), died 1810 in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Children of George and Elizabeth, all born in Hanover County(see JGG, issue 11):
i James Gentry, born 1757; married Mary Hicks about 1782 probably in Hanover County, died 22 Jun 1851 in Albemarle County.
ii Nancy Gentry, married 13 Jun 1791 in Louisa County to Edward Walton.
iii George Gentry, born about 1765, died 28 Oct 1855 in Albemarle County.
iv William Gentry, presumed to have married 24 Apr 1787 in Louisa County to Elizabeth Kersey.
v Frances Gentry, married 8 Oct 1788 in Louisa County to Nathaniel Tate.
vi Austin Gentry, died 1814 in Madison County, Kentucky.
vii Elizabeth ("Betsey") Gentry, married 27 Feb 1797 in Albemarle County to Edward Ballard.
viii Martha ("Patsey") Gentry, married (1) 1 Jul 1799 in Albemarle County to Hezekiah Wood; married (2) to Gehugh (Jehu/John) Walton.
ix Aaron Gentry, born about 1771; married (1) 18 Nov 1801 in Orange County to Polly Ogg; married (2) 13 Jan 1803 in Orange County to Peggy Ogg; died 2 Aug 1852 in Knox County, Kentucky.
x Christopher Gentry, born about 1773; married (1) 13 Jul 1804 in Albemarle County to Juriah Woods; married (2) 2 Aug 1810 in Albemarle County to Sarah Dunn; died 1822 in Albemarle County.
George is assumed to have spent all his early life in the vicinity of Stone Horse Creek in western St. Paul's Parish. He first appeared in processioning records in 1771 when his name replaced that of Nicholas Gentry, presumably occupying the same land where his father James may have also lived. George moved on to Louisa and Albemarle Counties and is discussed at considerable length in issue #11 of this Journal. With the exception of his son William, all of his children can be accounted for in Virginia records.
c)   Aaron Gentry (Speculation)
  --  Born approximately 1737 in Hanover County.
Children of Aaron (Speculation)
i George Gentry born about 1750, Hanover County; died early adulthood
ii William Gentry [We insert this as a place marker for one of the Williams described in more detail below.]
iii Mary Gentry born about 1755 to 1760. We propose this speculative child of Aaron as the orphan girl bound to Lewis Hancock in Henrico County in 1761.
In issue #10 of this Journal, we briefly mentioned an Aaron Gentry who was witness to a deed in Hanover County in 1759<1b>. This proposed son of James-II will be discussed in more detail in a future article of this journsl.
d)   Diana Gentry (Speculation)
  --  Born approximately 1739 in Hanover County.
In the same previous article, we also speculated that the Diana Gentry who was married to George Cawthon by the Rev. William Douglas (and duly recorded in his register)<1c>, was also a sibling of George and thus again a daughter of James Sr. The ultimate fate of Diana has not been followed, but it is known that Cawthon family members lived alongside the Gentrys in the Stone Horse precinct and also settled in Goochland County, next door to Hanover County.
e)   John Gentry
  --  Born approximately 1740 in Hanover County.
Identified in these journals as "John of Hanover County", he and his family are discussed at some length in a following Gentry Journal article.
f)   David Gentry
  --  Born about 1742 in Hanover County, died about 1814 in Hanover County.
Children of David, all born in Hanover County:
i James Gentry, born about 1772, married Mary (?), maiden name unknown; died before 1830?
ii Henry D Gentry., born about 1775; married 1 Jan 1808 in Henrico County to Martha (Patsy) Timberlake, died about 1851 in Hanover County.
iii Matthew Gentry, born about 1780.
iv Bassett Gentry, born about 1785.
v Elizabeth Gentry
vi Nancy Gentry
vii Susanna (/Sarah) Gentry
viii Daughter, showing in 1810 census but otherwise not identified.
David was presumably one of the younger children of James Sr. He appeared in the St. Paul's Parish processioning records beginning in 1767, after the death of his father. We can speculate that he was living with his father during the earlier processioning records for James that began in 1751. By the time that James' estate was being settled, David had moved onto land of his own. David's name appears in subsequent land tax and personal property tax records in Hanover County where he continued to live until his death about 1817. The children named above were included in a distribution of David's estate for purposes of land tax in 1817<2>. A fourth daughter, unnamed, appears to be included in the 1810 Hanover County census (all four daughters born between 1784 and 1794)<19a>. David's sons James and Henry D. appear in Hanover County census records beginning in 1810. While we have not conducted any research as yet on the fate of these two sons, it appears that James died before 1830 but his wife (Mary? and family) and Henry D. were included in the 1830 Hanover County census. David's sons Matthew and Bassett can be accounted for in Hanover County in 1810, but Matthew disappeared after that, while a Bassett Gentry, who may have been the same Bassett, is found in the 1820 census for King and Queen County.
g)   William Gentry
  For completeness in this listing of children of James Sr., we include a William Gentry, one of those whom are discussed at some length below.

2.    John Gentry Sr.
A John Gentry who first appeared in Virginia records in Louisa County in 1740 then moved to Amelia County, Virginia, was clearly a member of a different family than two younger John Gentrys who remained in Central Virginia. We will be describing the latter two in coming journal issues and have informally named them John of Louisa County and John of Hanover County. The older John, or possibly a son John is frequently referred to as John of Botetourt County. As earlier described in issue #10 of this Journal, John first appeared in Louisa County records in 1740 as a land-owner (or tenant?). Thereafter his name appears in a few scattered Louisa County references until 1747. This was followed by a period from 1746 to 1751 when he appeared in tax lists and court road orders in Amelia County. The next reference that presumably applies to this John was not until 1758 in Augusta County. Much remains to be learned of him but suffice it to say for the moment that it is unlikely that any of the Hanover and Louisa County "orphans" descended from him. [Note added Dec. 2013: John is described in more detail in a journal article for 2011, Issue (D)]

3.    William-III Gentry
William was the oldest of the third generation Gentrys. Mentioned briefly in the St. Paul's Parish records in connection with assignment to road maintenance duty in 1732 and 1735 (we have previously speculated that William may have been born sometime between 1705 and 1710), William disappeared thereafter from the pages of history, and no further known records relating to him have been found. We cannot discount the fact that he may have moved west like James Sr, and not been included in succeeding parish records. There is the possibility that he had children who survived him, and will delve further into this possibility in following articles. As for William himself, it appears certain that he did not survive past the 1760's when Hanover and Louisa County records began to show evidence of the presence of various Gentry family members.

4.    Joseph-III Gentry
This son of Joseph-II, by all indications, lived his entire life in Hanover County, presumably in the vicinity of Totopotomoy Creek. He was referred to as "Joseph Jr." in St. Paul's Parish records, and as "Joseph Sr. in Hanover County tax records. Land tax records (see Journal issue #10 for details) indicate that Joseph died about 1786, and was survived by a widow Susanna. She continued to appear in tax records until at least 18000. In the state enumeration of 1782, Joseph was listed with 5 members in his family. His proposed children are briefly summarized below.

a)   Joseph-IV Gentry (Joseph Gentry Jr.)

  --  Born about 1748 in Hanover County; married about 1775 in Hanover County to Winifred Oliver; died 22 Sep 1835 in Carter County (later Johnson County), Tennessee.
Children proposed for Joseph and Winifred:
i John Gentry, born about 1777; lived in Johnson County, Tennessee.
ii William Gentry, born about 1780; lived in Carter County, Tennessee, and Washington County, Virginia.
iii Joseph Oliver Gentry, born about 1784; lived in Green County, Kentucky.
iv Benjamin Gentry, born about 1786; lived in Johnson County, Tennessee.
v David Gentry, born about 1792; lived in Johnson County, Tennessee.
vi DeLethea Gentry (dau), born about 1795.
  Personal property tax records for Hanover County refer to a Joseph Sr and a Joseph Jr, some of which are in combined listings. The continued presence of a Joseph Gentry in personal property tax lists until 1795 suggests that some Joseph other than this Joseph Jr. was being assessed taxes in the later years<3a>. The Joseph Gentry in the earlier tax lists is believed to be the same Joseph Gentry who signed a deed for land in Carter County in 1784, was listed in a 1787 tax list in Washington County, North Carolina (in what later became Tennessee but at the time was a part of North Carolina) and who appeared in 1796 and 1798 tax lists for Carter County, Tennessee<4,5>. It is possible that this Joseph continued to be taxed for land he owned in Virginia after 1790, but it is more likely that a different Joseph Gentry was being taxed.
b)   Benjamin C. W. Gentry
  -- Born before 1755; married 7 Feb 1778, Hanover County, to Catherine Page<16>.
Possible children of Benjamin:
i Nicholas Gentry, present in Hanover tax lists from 1792 to 1805, then disappeared.
ii Benjamin Gentry Jr., born about 1765 to 1775; married Eleanor ?; present in Hanover County tax lists, 1792-1805; moved to King and Queen County where he is found in the 1810 and 1820 census.
We propose Benjamin as an added son of Joseph-III, based partly upon the early marriage record. In addition, the Hanover County tax records include Gentrys such as Nicholas and an apparently younger Benjamin that can best be explained as sons of the older Benjamin.
c)   Gaddis/Geddes Gentry (GFA #244)<6>
  --  Born about 1765 in Hanover County; married 29 Mar 1786 in Hanover County to Martha ("Patsy") Thatcher; died 29 Jul 1726 in Hanover County.
Children of Gaddis and Martha as listed in GFA:
i Robert Gentry (GFA #245) (GFA gives data for Robert, taken from a family bible, but it is not at all certain that the Robert recorded in that bible is for Gaddis' son, as data in the 1810 Hanover County census conflicts.)
ii William Gentry, born about 1793.
iii Daughter (unnamed in GFA), born about 1798.
iv Temple Gentry, born about 1801; moved to Louisa County then Sevier County, Arkansas.
v Hobson/Hopson Gentry, born about 1804; married Jane (maiden name unknown); moved to Sevier County, Arkansas.
vi Turner Gentry, born about 1806.
vii Maria Gentry, born about 1808.
viii Lucy Gentry, born about 1810.
The records pertaining to Gaddis consist mostly of tax lists and Hanover census records. Gaddis was in the 1810 and 1820 census. Gaddis was naturally missing from the 1830 census, however, his widow Martha was present in that year. Martha filed for Revolutionary War pension benefits for her husband in Hanover County Court in 1843, her testimony providing evidence both of Gaddis' war service and also of their marriage in 1786<7a>. Tax records indicate that Gaddis lived in close proximity to Joseph's widow, Susanna for many years.

C.    Consideration of "Orphan" Gentrys - The William Gentrys
[Editor's Note. Some readers may not be interested in reading through the detailed listing of facts and conclusions that follow below. You may prefer to skip down to the conclusions resulting from an analysis of these facts, and we provide an opportunity for you to do so. For the reader especially interested in the reasoning applied to the Gentrys discussed below, a complete record of the basis for our conclusions follows.]

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In Journal issue #10, all of the Gentrys who appeared in the St. Paul's Parish records were accounted for with proposed relationships with the exception of a William Gentry who appeared in processioning records in 1771 and 1779. In our efforts to relate Gentrys of uncertain relationship to one of the Gentrys listed above, we will start with a review of several Williams who appear in various early records, all of whom presumably were born in Hanover County before the Revolutionary War. As a temporary means of identification, these Williams are numbered William-1 to William-4.:

William-1 (of St. Paul's Parish)
Fact: Listed in 1771 and 1779 in the processioning report for precinct 14 of St. Paul's Parish along with Joseph Gentry and "James Gentry's heirs"<8>.
  William-1 was an adult, able to hold land in his own name, thus he must have been born before 1750 and probably three to five years before that. His absence from the immediately preceding processioning reports in 1767 does not necessarily imply he was still a minor then, for he may have been living with a father or brother at that time. Further references in Hanover County to a William Gentry do not appear to match this William.
William-2 (War Veteran)
Fact: Testimony by a William Gentry in Hanover County in 1818 and 1820, claimed pension benefits for service in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War<7b, 9>. He was credited with 3 years of service beginning with volunteering from Hanover County in 1777 for service as a private in Company 9 of the 1st Virginia and Maryland Regiment of Artillery, and ending with his discharge at Hillsborough, North Carolina in 1780. William testified in 1820 that he was 66 years of age at the time of his court appearance [August, born 1753-1754] and had six children: Spencer, Thomas, Howard, Theodorick, Andrew, and Mary, ages 16 and under. He was a carpenter by trade, unable to work orprovide for his family and with virtually no possessions.
  William-2 could not have been the same as William-1, both because of differences in age, and also because William-2 was away in Army service at the time of the 1779 St. Paul's processioning.
Fact: Census records for 1810 in Hanover County show for a William Gentry, born before 1765, a family with wife, a male (nephew?) born before 1800 and two sons born 1800 - 1810. He had no slaves.
A listing in 1820 in King William County for a "Frances Gentry" is consistent with the same family with the exception of the absence of a husband.
The 1830 census for King William County lists a William Gentry who was born between 1750 and 1760, with a wife, five sons, and one daughter.<19e>.
  These census records all are consistent with the family of William-2 as described in his testimony, both in ages and sexes. The absence of William in 1820, may possibly be explained by the fact that he was at that time in Hanover County, testifying as to his military service.
Fact: A 1782 state census for Hanover County lists a William Gentry in Winston Geddes' district with one member in his household<10>. This same district included David Gentry and Joseph Gentry.
  The fact that this William appears to have been a single man suggests that it was William-2 and that he was living in the general vicinity of David and Joseph in Hanover County.
Fact: Personal property tax records for a William Gentry in Hanover County show him in 1782 not owing poll tax (perhaps a carry-over from his status as a Continental soldier), but tithable from 1783 to 1787, from 1790 to 1803, and from 1805-1812. In none of these years did he have any slaves, but except for the period of 1805-1812 he was taxed for a horse. In 1790 to 1792, William was also taxed for one additional tithable adult in his household, the identity of whom was not indicated<3b>.
Fact: A 1799 personal property tax list for Hanover County lists a William Gentry liable for tax for himself and one horse<11b>. The date recorded by the tax enumerator for this listing was 10 days after a similar tax listing for David Gentry and his oldest son James.
  It is probable that these records of personal property taxation were for William-2. William's occupation as a carpenter in 1818-1820 is consistent with the lack of need for a horse. The additional adult present 1790 to 1793 may have been a brother. The 1799 record indicates that William was probably living in the same general vicinity as David. The 1782 tax list was the first of any Hanover County lists of which we have a record, thus we would have no earlier record for William even though he may have been liable for tax after he reached age 21 in 1775. During the years 1777 to 1780, he was in military service and consequently not liable for tax. If living with his father before the time of his enlistment, William would not have appeared in any parish processioning records.
William-3 (of Hanover/Henrico Counties)
Fact: Land tax records for Hanover County indicate that a William Gentry bought 6 acres of land in 1794, apparently in the same general vicinity as David Gentry, John Gentry, and the land held by Joseph Gentry's estate<12>. William bought an additional 39 acres of land in 1795. An 1800 land tax listing shows a William Gentry taxed for 39 acres of land in Hanover County<11b>.
  The timing of the purchase of land in 1794 does not appear to correspond to the contemporaneous personal property listing for William-2. Further, the purchase of land by a man who was a carpenter by trade would be unusual. The conclusion is that William-2 and William-3 were two separate individuals.
Fact: An 1801 personal property tax list for Henrico County lists a William Gentry as a titheable living with a James Currie who was taxed for 9 adult slaves and 2 horses<11b>. There is a second listing some three months later for a William Gentry as the person responsible for taxes who was taxed for 1 adult slave and 1 horse.
  The two Williams in the 1801 Henrico County list are difficult to resolve and may be the same or two separate individuals. We do not know the name of William's first wife and James Currie in the earlier listing may have been William's father-in-law; or William may simply have been a hired overseer on Currie's plantation. The listing three months later may have been a third William different from William-2 and William-3; or he may have left the Currie plantation in the interim and settled on his own land by then. In either case the tax for land in Hanover County in 1800 and the tax for personal property in Henrico County in 1801 suggests the fact that William moved from one county to the other in that time interval. The fact that the first William was titheable indicates that he must have been born before 1785 and presumably the same is true for the second listing although he is not specifically identified as titheable there.
Fact: GFA reports that William Gentry (#193, p.248) who died in 1819 in Henrico County, left a will that named six living children: William, Mary, George, Thomas, Austin, and David and an unborn child of his widow Rebecca<13>. The will mentions two distinct tracts of land belonging to William as well as a number of slaves.
Fact: William Gentry married Rebecca Phillips in Henrico County, date of marriage bond: 3 Jul 1816.
A marriage bond dated 9 Nov 1819 records the marriage of Mrs. Rebecca Gentry, widow of William Gentry, to Henry Easley<17>.
Fact: Federal census records for Henrico County for 1810 show a William Gentry, born 1765-1784 with 5 sons, 1 daughter and 4 slaves<19c>. The two oldest sons were born by 1794 and appeared individually in the 1820 census, but the remainder of the family is missing.
  The 1810 census record is undoubtedly for the William described in GFA, and the date of birth indicated in the census (1765-1784) clearly shows that William-3 was younger than either William-1 or William-2. The ages of William's children suggest he was married first in about 1790, and thus his birth was probably very close to 1765. His marriage to Rebecca was his second. Her remarriage is entirely consistent with the other facts known about William. William's older children were married by the time he died, but the younger ones presumably continued to live briefly with their step-mother.
William-4 (of Tennessee)
Hearsay: GFA #194 (p.249) relates the story told by a daughter of Richard Gentry, of Stokes County, North Carolina, that her grandfather was a William Gentry who: "lived on the Roanoke River, in Lunenburg Co., Va., and [who] sold his land for a bushel of Continental money, which proved to be worthless. He had five or six children, most of whom settled in the western part of North Carolina."
There are probably elements of both fact and fiction in this family story. The eventual location for William as western North Carolina applies equally to the area that eventually became Tennessee. While the Roanoke River does not run through Lunenburg County, nor are there any records for this Gentry being in that county at the time, William could indeed have owned land on the Roanoke, perhaps in Halifax County. The comment about Continental money if strictly interpreted would limit the date to 1777, but perhaps the statement was only a flowery way of saying William lost money when he sold his land.
Fact: A William Gentry and wife were buried in Sullivan County, Tennessee at Crumley Cemetery (established in 1791). Only the first two digits of the dates on the headstones can be distinguished, namely "died Jan. 28, 17--"<14>
  Given the date of establishment of the cemetery, William and his wife must have been buried between 1791 and 1799. Sullivan County, one of the first to be established in Tennessee, was at the time of William's death a part of North Carolina. Accordingly, this unknown William could possibly be the same as Richard Gentry's father.
Fact: Two "young men", William Gentry and John Gentry were killed by Indians in 1788 as they were accompanying a boatload of settlers down the Tennessee River <18>. In addition to these two unidentified Gentrys, an Ayers Gentry is found in the 1800 Jefferson County tax list<4>.
  The two young Gentrys were of an age and in a location such that they could easily have been sons of William-4. Moreover these names are compatible with the proposed family of William. The possibility of Ayers also being a son is suggested by the fact that Richard Gentry, a potential brother of Ayers, named one of his sons, Joel Ayers Gentry. If we estimate the age of the two young brothers as between say 17 and 22, their dates of birth would have been between 1765 and 1770. If so, their father is likely to have been born at least as early as between 1740 and 1745, and perhaps a couple years earlier.
Fact: A Richard Gentry's marriage to Rebecca Barnett in Louisa County is recorded by a marriage bond dated 19 Apr 1796. Richard and Rebecca were married by the Rev. John Lasley<15>
Fact: Richard Gentry is listed in the 1800 Louisa County census (born 1755-1774) with his wife Rebecca, a son and daughter, and another male born 1774-1794<19b>.
Fact: Numerous references establish the fact that Richard and Rebecca Gentry moved from Louisa County to Stokes County, North Carolina shortly after 1800 (along with John Lasley), where Richard was a farmer and saddle maker. While missing from the 1810 census, he is included in the 1820 and succeeding Stokes County census records with 10 of his children.
Fact: The marriage of a Milley Gentry to Thomas Baker in Louisa County is recorded in a marriage bond dated 10 Feb 1791. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. John Lasley<15>.
  The fact that John Lasley married both Richard and Milley suggests that the latter two were brother and sister. The dates of marriage are consistent with the possibility that Milley was roughly 21 at the time of marriage, and thus born about 1770. Family bible records indicate that Richard was born in 1773. This proposal suggests that Milley was a sister of Richard.
Fact: A George Gentry is found in the 1820 census for Halifax County, born before 1775, and with seven children, five of whom are listed as being born after 1804, and two of whom could have been born between 1800 and 1804<19b>.
  One wonders whether this Gentry family which does not appear earlier, nor later, in any Halifax County records, could have been the unidentified male present in the household of Richard Gentry in the 1800 Louisa County census. If so, it is possible that he was a younger brother of Richard. Given the number and ages of his children, George must have married very shortly after the 1800 census.
William-5 (of Henrico County)
Fact: In the 1801 personal property tax lists for Henrico County, there are two separate listings for William Gentry, one in which he was a titheable in the household of a James Currie. The other listing, some three months later, was for a William who was taxed for 1 adult slave, and 1 horse<11b>.
  The records are inconclusive as to whether these were two Williams or whether they were for one individual who was listed in the tax records on two different occasions (and perhaps in two different locations). The fact that they were titheable indicates that one or both were born before 1785.
Fact: Henrico County marriage records list a marriage bond dated 26 Jun 1813 for the marriage of William Gentry Jr. to Sarah Miller with William Gentry [Sr.] serving as surety.<17>.
Fact: The 1810 Henrico County census includes a William Gentry listed as born 1765 to 1784. His two older sons were born 1784 to 1794. The 1820 Henrico County census does not include the original William (who had died in 1819), but listed a William Gentry born before 1775, a spouse born 1775 - 1794, and no children<19d>.
  It seems apparent that the William Gentry Jr. who was married in 1813 was one of the older sons of William Sr. in the 1810 census. The William in the 1820 census was presumably this same William Jr. but the age appears to be recorded in error. He was surely the son, William, named in the will of William Gentry Sr. This younger William is almost certainly too young to have been the William taxed in 1801. We cannot account for the two Williams in the tax list other than proposing they were the same individual.

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D.    Resolution of Different William Gentry References
William-1 and William-4    >    William Gentry (of Louisa County)
Based just upon age, we can speculate that William-1 (of St. Paul's Parish) and the proposed William-4 (of Tennessee) were the same person, born before 1750 and definitely older than either William-2 or William-3. We propose the following family for him:

  --  Son of James-II Gentry., born about 1745 in Hanover County, Virginia; died 1791-1799 in Sullivan County, Tennessee.
Children of William, all born in Hanover County, Virginia:
i William, born about 1765; killed 1787 in Tennessee by Indians.
ii John, born about 1767; killed 1787 in Tennessee by Indians.
iii Ayers, born about 1769, moved to Tennessee.
iv Milley, born about 1770, married 1791 in Louisa County to Thomas Baker.
v Richard, born 1773, married 1796 to Rebecca Barnett; died 14 May 1831, Stokes County, North Carolina.
vi George, born about 1775, married about 1801, living in Halifax County, Virginia in 1820.

To tie the stories concerning William-4 with the known facts of William-1 being in St. Paul's Parish between 1771 and 1779, requires a leap of faith. The following scenario is proposed as a possible explanation:

William-2 (War Veteran)   >   William Gentry (of Hanover and King William County)(GFA #259)

  --  Son of Aaron Gentry (speculation), born about 1754 in Hanover County, Virginia, died after 1830, probably in King William County, Virginia; married Frances (maiden name unknown). Veteran of 3 years service as a private in an artillery battalion in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
  Children of William and Frances, all born in Hanover County, Virginia:
i (Possible son, born about 1800, died before 1820.) (Present in 1810 census but not thereafter.)
ii Spencer born about 1804.
iii Thomas born about 1807.
iv Howard born about 1810.
v Theodorik born about 1812.
vi Andrew born about 1814.
vii Mary born about 1819.

This William is a very interesting case. In order of age (born about 1754), he is second oldest of the Williams born in Hanover County. The following facts appear to apply to him:

William-3 and William-5   >   William Gentry (of Henrico County)(GFA#193)

  --  Son of John Gentry of Hanover County, born about 1768 in Hanover County, Virginia, died 1819 in Henrico County, Virginia. Married (2) 3 Jul 1816, Henrico County, Rebecca Phillips.   (Rebecca married Henry Easley, 9 Nov 1919, after William's death).
  Children of William and first wife (not necessarily in the correct order)
i William born about 1792; married 25 Jun 1813 in Henrico County to Sarah Miller.
ii George born about 1794, married 4 Aug 1818 in Henrico County to Lucy Phillips.
iii Mary (Polly) born 25 Jan 1796, married 7 Dec 1814 in Henrico County to Thornton Lipscomb, died 16 Nov 1863.
iv Thomas born about 1802
v David born about 1805.
vi Austin born Jul 1809, married (1) 10 May 1830 to Sarah Winn Brown, married (2) Jan 1840 to Martha Ann Butler, died May 1867 in Richmond, Virginia.
  Child of William and Rebecca:
vii Edward (Speculation), unborn at the time of William's will in 1818; married 24 Dec 1846 in Henrico County to Sarah Gentry?,

Born between 1765 and 1770, this William was definitely younger than the two we have discussed so far. The fact that he was raised in Hanover County before moving to Henrico County limits the choices of potential fathers. The Hanover County state enumeration of 1782 included five Gentrys: David, Joseph, and William in St. Paul's Parish; John and Watson in St. Martin's Parish<10>. The William Gentry in St. Paul's Parish had only one individual in his family and undoubtedly was the Revolutionary War veteran. Watson, son of James Gentry Jr, moved shortly afterwards to North Carolina so we can also eliminate him. Of the remaining four, only John could have included William-3 in his family. This John was one of two John Gentrys living roughly contemporaneously in Louisa and Hanover Counties and was probably a son of James-II. He will be discussed in more detail in the next issue of this Journal.

William appears to have first bought land in 1794 in Hanover County, most of which he still owned in 1800. Previous to this he was probably living with his parents. The tax records for Hanover and Henrico Counties after 1800 suggest that this William moved in about 1800 to Henrico County. We can speculate that this move was to or with his hypothetical father-in-law, James Currie, with whom he lived for a short time. Not long after the move, he left Currie's plantation and settled on his own land. At the time of his death, it was apparent that William owned land in more than one location and was prosperous in both slaves and land.

William of Gloucester County, New Jersey
Before leaving our discussion of William Gentrys, it is worthwhile mentioning one other William Gentry who served in the Revolutionary War and lived contemporaneously with the three Williams above. His name is included in GFA as #255 (p.252). The service records for New Jersey soldiers who served in the war include William Gentry of Gloucester County, who served as a private in the third battalion of the Gloucester County militia. This William appears in later New Jersey records including tax and census records and is thought to be the son of a John Gentry of Gloucester County, the latter born about 1730. There is no logical way of tying this John Gentry with the family of Nicholas-I Gentry, thus there is a strong probability that these Gentrys were part of one of those very rare families who were not related to Nicholas.    [Note added Dec. 2013:   This family is described in detail in a journal article published in 2012, issue (A).]

In reviewing in detail some of the Gentrys who lived in Louisa, Hanover, and Henrico Counties in the late 18th century, we have proposed relationships for three definite William Gentrys, linking them with Joseph-II Gentry and James-II Gentry. In addition, Milley, Richard and George Gentry have been proposed as children of one of these William Gentrys. Finally, a William Gentry and wife, and three proposed sons, William Jr, John, and Ayers, all living in Tennessee, are proposed to relate to the above Virginia Gentrys. Coming articles in the Gentry Journal will pursue further the problem of identifying additional Gentrys whose relationships are not known.


1. "Journal of Gentry Genealogy" (JGG)
  a) vol 1, #10, refr. 15. (James Gentry will) For a further discussion of this James, an article by Denny Ellerman in "Gentry Family Gazette & Genealogy Exchange", vol viii, p.136-144 (Oct 1992) provides valuable information.
  b) vol 1, #10, refr. 16. (Aaron Gentry as a witness)
  c) vol 1, #10, refr. 17. (Marriage of Diana Gentry)

2.  Denny Ellerman, "David Gentry of Hanover County", "Gentry Family Gazette & Genealogy Exchange", vol. viii, p.6-7 (Sep 1991), published by Richard H. Gentry:
"The land tax records of 1817 indicate the transfer of [David's] 397 acres to what are indicated as his heirs, and these same individuals are taxed for an increased number of acres following 1814. The 1817 land tax record shows the following distribution of David Gentry's land with the following annotation 'conveyed from estate of David Gentry:'
    Acres Devisee
  77 James Gentry, Jr.
  77.5 Henry D. Gentry
  77.5 Bassett Gentry
  123 Elizabeth, Nancy and Susanna Gentry
  60 Matthew Gentry
  The total amount conveyed is 415 acres, 18 more than what had been taxed previously. [Ellerman continues with further discussion of tax records and their implications. Denny has accessed directly tax lists for years beyond the dates included in the tax list compilations below.]

3. William Ronald Cocke III, "Hanover County Taxpayers, St. Paul's Parish, 1782-1815", Columbia, VA, 1956. Unless another individual indicated, also taxed for 1 adult (himself). Columns are for (1) slaves >16 years of age;  (2) horses, mules;  (3) cattle.
(a) Joseph Gentry Jr? 1783   0 0 3
    (Sr or Jr?) 1784   0 0 0
  1785-86   0 1 3
  1788-95   0 1 --
(b) William Gentry 1782 no poll tax 0 1 1
  1783-87   0 1 1
  1790 + 1 adult 0 1 --
  1791-92 (ditto) 0 1 2
  1793-1803   0 1 --
  1805-12   0 0 --

4. Pollyanna Creekmore, "Early East Tennessee Taxpayers", Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC, 1980
  p.133 Jefferson Co., 1800
  Ayers Gentry 0 ac 1 white poll 0 black polls
  p.145 Carter Co., 1796
  Joseph Gentry 100 ac 1 white poll 0 black polls
5. Byron and Barbara Sistler, "Index to Early Tennessee Tax Lists", Evanston, IL, 1977
  Carter Co. Gentry Joseph 1796
  Gentry Joseph 1798

6. Richard Gentry, "The Gentry Family in America", The Grafton Press, New York, 1909. (Referred to herein as GFA)
7. Revolutionary War Pension Applications, National Archives microfilm
(a) File W7512: Gaddis GENTRY, widow Patsey, of Hanover Co. VA
  Credited with 6 months service as a private in VA militia.
  Martha (or Patsey) Gentry, appeared in Hanover County court, VA, on 17 May 1843 to apply for widow's pension rights. Presented copy of marriage bond certified by clerk of Hanover County clerk, dated 7 July 1843. Original bond dated 24 Mar 1786 . Martha/Patsy stated she had been a resident of Hanover Co. for 77 years. She had married Gaddis Gentry, 29 Mar 1786. George Gentry, Sr. [the war veteran son of George of Stone Horse Creek] appeared in Albemarle County court, VA, 12 Jul 1843 to testify that he personally knew Gaddis Gentry and knew of the circumstances of 2 months of Gaddis' service that did not duplicate other service for which other witnesses had testified.
(b) File S39566: William Gentry
  Credited with 3 years service as a soldier in the 1st VA Regt of the Continental Army. Discharged at Hillsborough, NC some time after Gate's defeat.
  Applied for pension 11 May 1818. On 23 Aug 1820, William Gentry, age 66, resident of Hanover Co., VA appeared again in Hanover County Court to testify to his service and that he was a carpenter by trade with no real or personal belongings (except clothes and bedding). He was unable to pursue his occupation. He had a wife and six children:
  Spencer 16
  Thomas 13
  Howard 10
  Theodorick   8
  Andrew   6
  Mary   3
  The family was unable to support themselves and were asking for assistance from his country.
8. C. G. Chamberlayne, "The Vestry Book of St. Paul's Parish, Hanover County, Va, 1706-1786", publ by The Library Board [of Virginia], Richmond, 1940, reprinted 1973.
  (p.464) 1767      David Gentry and Joseph Gentry, along with "James Gentry Heirs" in processioning order for precinct 21.
  (p.487) 1771      William Gentry included with Joseph Gentry and "James Gentry Heirs" in processioning order for precinct 14.
  (p.555) 1779      William Gentry included with Joseph Gentry and "James Gentry Heirs" in processioning order for precinct 14.
9. W. T. R. Saffell, "Records of the Revolutionary War", Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1969.
  Virginia and Maryland Regiment of Artillery, 30 Nov 1776 to April 1782
  Commanding - Col. Charles Harrison
  p.252 William Gentry: [Roster taken for] Company 9 at Valley Forge, 8 Jun 1778
    "Matross [enlisted] for 3 years      apptd 12 Nov 1777.

10. "U.S. Census of 1790", publ by Bureau of Census
Substituted state enumerations for earlier years for destroyed VA county census records.
  Hanover Co. (1782) List of Winston Geddes
  p. 29 David Gentry 8 "white souls" 18 "blacks"
  p. 29 Joseph Gentry 50
  p. 29 William Gentry 11
  Capt. Owen Dabney District
 p.28 John Gentry 80
 p.28 Watson Gentry 46

11. Binn's Genealogy, LLC <>
  Website contains online images of 1790 and 1800 VA taxlists published as a substitute for the 1790 and 1800 Federal Census.
        [Headings generally: ( - ) Person responsible for tax
  (1)   # Titheable males [or names of titheables]
  (2)   Black males >16
  (3)   Blacks >12 and <18
  (4)   Horses, mules, etc.]
(a) "1790 Lists"
  Type Year Page Date Responsible (1) (2) (3) (4)
  Hanover County
  Personal A 1789 08 26 Mar William   1 1 1
(b) "1800 Lists"
  Hanover County
  Personal B 1799 07 22 Apr William   1 -- -- 1
  Land B 1800 10   William   39 ac
  Henrico County   Responsible Titheable (2) (3) (4)
  Personal B 1801 03 30 May James Currie William Gentry 9 1 2
  Personal B 1801 07 28 Aug William Gentry   1 -- 1

12.  Ruth and Sam Sparacio, "Hanover County, Virginia, Land Tax Books", The Antietam Press, McLean, VA, 1997, Book 3 (1793-1796)
    William Gentry   St. Paul's Parish  
  1794 bought land 6 ac  
  1795   6     
  1795 bought addl 39     
  1796   6     
  1795   39     

13.  GFA, p. 248-249, William Gentry, #193:
"His will, which is of record in Will Book No. 5 [of Henrico County], at Richmond, VA is dated March 11, 1818, and was probated July 5, 1819, makes bequests and reads as follows:
To sons William and George and daughter Polly Lipscomb, I have given all I have intended they shall have, except when the child of which my wife [Rebecca] is now pregnant shall be born and become of lawful age, a division is to take place among the children hereafter named. They are to receive $100 each and no more. To sons Thomas and Austin, I give my tract of land on Horse Pen Branch, and one negro each and $300 each, when they become of age. And to my son David, I give 30 acres of land on which I live, one negro boy Ned, and $400 when he shall become of age; and to the child of which my wife is pregnant, when he becomes of age, 30 acres of land on which I live, and negro girl Louise and $400. To my wife Rebecca, I give negroes Alice and Paul, with privilege of my mansion and other houses, and remaining part of my lands during widowhood. And at the coming of age of unborn child, what remains to be divided between Thomas, Austin, David and unborn child.      /Signed William Gentry/"
14.  Karen L. Sherman, "Sullivan County, Tennessee, Cemeteries", Heritage Books, 1991.
  p.43 Crumley Cemetery (still in use) [established 1791]
  Gentry, William and wife died Jan 28, 17--.
15.  Kathleen Booth Williams, "Marriages of Louisa County 1766-1815", C. J. Carrier Co., 1977 (compiled from Louisa County Marriage Register which starts 1766)
  1778 Jan 15 James Gentry Sarah Dickerson William Poindexter, surety
1781 Jul 2 John Sharp Nancy Gentry
dau. of James Gentry
Micajah Sims, surety
/wit/ Thomas Higgason
1791 Feb 10 Thomas Baker Milley Gentry John Smith, surety
  (m. 11 Feb 1791 by Rev. John Lasley)
1796 Apr 19 Richard Gentry Rebecca Barnett
dau of William Barnett
Nathaniel Harris, surety
/wit/ Allen Foster
  (m. by Rev. John Lasley) /wit/Judith Foster

16.  Jordan R. et. al, "Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850", on-line at as "Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850", Provo, UT; The Generations Network, Inc., 1999.
  Hanover Co.
 1778 Feb 7 Benjamin C.W. Gentry Catherine Page  

17. Michael E. Pollock, "Marriage Bonds of Henrico County, Virginia 1782- 1853", Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1984.
  1813 Jun 26 Gentry, William Jr. Sarah Miller Watson Patmon, att to age
William Gentry, surety
Watson Patmon, surety
1816 Jul 3 Gentry, William Rebeccah Phillips Larkin Phillips, surety
1818 Aug 4 Gentry, George
w/consent of father
William Gentry
Lucy Phillips
w/consent of father
Larkin Phillips
Robert Gentry, wit to consent
Thomas Gentry, wit to consent
Larkin Phillips, surety
1819 Nov 9 Easley, Henry Mrs. Rebecca Gentry
widow of William Gentry
No surety

18.  J.G.M. Ramsey, "The Annals of Tennessee to the end of the Eighteenth Century", p.507ff.
 "This year [1788] was signalized by an adventure of Col. James Brown, a Revolutionary officer in the North Carolina line, who was now emigrating to Cumberland, to enter into possession with him to the distant wilderness, his family . . .five other young men, viz.  . . .John Gentry, Wm. Gentry. . . [The boat was boarded by Indians and the occupants taken to the Indian settlement of Nickajack, where most of them were killed. The youngest son of Col. Brown survived after much argument among the Indians, and later related the story of the massacre.]"

19. Virginia Federal Census Records:
  Sex/Age 0-10 10-16 16-18 16-26 26-45  >45   
(a) 1810 Hanover County
  David Gentry M 0 0   0 1 1 (30 slaves)
    F 0 0   4 0 0  
(b) William-4 Family
  1800 Louisa County
  Richard Gentry M 1 0   1 1 0  
    F 2 0   1 0 0  
  1820 Halifax County
  George Gentry M 3 1 0 1 0 1 (0 slaves)
    F 1 0   1 0 1  
(c) 1810 Henrico County
  (William-3) Gentry M 3 0   2 1 0 (4 slaves)
    F 0 1   0 1 0  
(d) 1820 Henrico County
  (William-5) Gentry M 0 0 0 0 0 1 (1 slave)
    F 0 0   0 1 0  
(e) William-2 Family
  1810 Hanover County
  (William-2) Gentry M 2 2   0 0 1 (0 slaves)
    F 0 0   1 0 0  
  1820 King William County
  Frances Gentry M 2 2 0 0 0 0 (1 slave)
    F 1 0   0 1 0  
  1830 King William County
  Sex/Age 0-5 5-10 10-15 15-20 20-30 30-40 40-50 Older
  William Gentry M 0 0 1 2 2 0 0 70-80
    F 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0

(Substantial revisions - June 2008, December 2013)

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