Issue B
May 2012
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Allen Cain Gentry

son of David and Sarah Brooks Gentry

Willard Gentry

The documented history of the children of David-II Gentry and their immediate descendants is a patchwork of frequently unconnected census records, relatively few deeds or court references, and some miscellaneous records such as tax lists, military records, marriage records, land lottery records, etc. Almost never do the records neatly connect one to another. More often if one wishes to follow the trail left by any one of these families, one must use logic and intuition to fill in major gaps in hard evidence. A number of years ago, this writer engaged in a rather length series of communications with members of the family of Allen Cain Gentry as we tried to help each other locate references and answer questions about this family. Recently, the occasion arose to review this family, and it was evident that taking a fresh look at the evidence after a gap in time would be helpful. We propose to fill some of the gaps in the record of the family of Allen Cain Gentry partly through additional evidence and partly by new hypotheses concerning family relationships.

A Proposed Outline of the Family of Allen Cain Gentry

Allen Cain Gentry
  – born about 1740, Hanover County (later Louisa County), Virginia
– married probably (1) in Lunenburg County, Virginia, in about 1762
 – married (2?) [Lydia or Lida?] "Liddy" Youngblood ( daughter of Peter and Susanna Youngblood) in South Carolina.
Cain died in Edgefield District, South Carolina, probably a year or two before 1810.
  Children of Allen Cain:
i John Gentry born about 1764, Lunenburg County, Virginia
ii Matthew Gentry born about 1765, Lunenburg County, Virginia
iii David Gentry born about 1767, Colleton County, South Carolina
iv William Gentry (speculation) born about 1770, Ninety-six District, South
v Cain Allen Gentry born about 1772, Ninety-Six District, South Carolina
vi Ruth Gentry born about 1774, Ninety-Six District, South Carolina
vii Sarah Gentry born about 1779, Ninety-Six District, South Carolina
viii Bartlett / Bartley "Bart / Bert" Gentry born about 1783, Edgefield District, South
ix Mary Gentry born about 1785, Edgefield District, South Carolina.
(Dates of birth for Allen Cain, John, William and Sarah are very tentative, other dates are within the margin of error of census reporting.)

Did Cain have One or Two Wives?
There is no question that Cain's wife, Liddy, was the daughter of Peter and Susanna Youngblood. The Youngblood family have established that Peter was the son of Peter Youngblood Sr. who immigrated from Germany to Maryland, and from there moved to Orange County, North Carolina. His son, Peter Jr., in time ended up in Edgefield District, South Carolina. [Note. South Carolina used the term "District" for its governmental sub-entities in place of "County" from 1783 until the adoption of the Constitution of 1868.] Our question is not about Liddy's marriage, rather it is about who and when Cain first married. His two oldest children, John and Matthew, were born while the entire extended family of Cain's father, David, was living in Lunenburg County, Virginia. The family moved from Virginia in 1766 after David's death, when Sarah Gentry obtained a grant of land in South Carolina. The size of the land grant implied that she had seven children with her, which would include Allen Cain. This move makes it very difficult to reconcile any meeting of Cain with Liddy before 1766. The resulting conclusion is that Cain must have had an initial wife whom he married in Virginia and who died after the family moved to South Carolina. He then met Liddy and she became the mother of his remaining children. When this occurred is pure guess work. The fact that their son, William, continued to live with his parents in 1790 and 1800 (see below), suggests that he may have had closer associations with Liddy being his natural mother than did the older children.

Edgefield District Census for 1790 and 1800
In our remarks concerning Cain, we must comment that the basic make-up of his family is a matter of uncertainty and controversy. This is aggravated by the census records for his family in 1790 and 1800 in Edgefield District, South Carolina In both years, Cain appears to have had married children with their spouses and with grandchildren living with him. The large number of individuals in the family household, especially in 1790 when the census provided no differentiation in age of females, has led many to propose additional children for him. We propose the composition of his family at the time of the 1790 census (which was actually conducted the following year in 1791) as the following, accounting for his 4-2-7 family pattern. The ages for the corresponding individuals as shown in the 1800 census are in the next column. This column includes two apparent grandchildren that were living with Cain in 1800 that had not been born at the time of the last census. The final column contains a partial listing from the Twiggs County, Georgia 1830 census for the family of a William Gentry. We will refer to this table again later when we discuss the possibility of this William being a son of Cain Gentry.

Table 1

  Edgefield, SC
1790 Census
Edgefield, SC Twiggs, GA
1800 1830
Name M(>16) M(<16) F Year Born Year Born
Cain Sr. 1     bef. 1755  
Spouse Liddy     1 – –  
Son Matthew 1     (1755-1774)  
Son David 1     (1755-1774)  
  Spouse Rachel     1 (1755-1774)  
  Daughter Eliza Ann     1 (1784-1790)  
Son William 1     1755-1774 1770-1780
Probable 2nd wife
– –
– – –
  Son William C.(?)   1   1784-1790 1780-1790
  Daughter – – – – – – 1784-1790 1800-1810
  Daughter – – – – – – 1784-1790 1800-1810
Daughter Ruth     1 1774-1784  
Daughter Sarah     1 1774-1784  
Son Bartlett   1   1774-1784  
Daughter Mary     1 1784-1790  
  Totals for 1790 4 2 7    
Dates in parentheses in 1800 are for families living independently of Cain Sr.

The chart above provides a logical explanation for the large family reported for Cain in 1790. Those who have suggested that he had a very large family of eleven children are surely wrong. We know that Cain's son John was not with the family because he is listed separately in the census. We speculate and propose that Cain Jr. was living in Georgia at the time and so did not participate in the South Carolina census. Assigning the name "Mary" to the youngest daughter is based upon an entry in the church records of Mt. Creek Baptist Church for February 1811, in what was then Pendleton District, South Carolina, in which John Gentry, Winyfred [sic] and Mary Gentry were received by letter. John can be easily explained as being the son of Cain. He continued to reside in Pendleton (which became Anderson) District throughout the rest of his life. Winifred can also be identified as John's daughter. John had a daughter, Mary, who was much too young (born about 1810) to be the Mary identified here. The proposal that the Mary that joined the church was the youngest sister of John and the extra female in his household in the 1810 census, makes excellent sense both in terms of her age at the time (about 26) and in terms of relationship to John.

Whether or not the same families were present with Cain in 1800 as in 1790 is a more complex question. John, Matthew and David were all living in separate households and were enumerated separately. The census records suggest that there was one additional family still living with Cain, which we propose to be the family of William Gentry. William had no further direct connection with Cain's family after this, moving to Jackson then Twiggs County, Georgia. We will discuss this proposal further in the description of William's family below. The relationship of the counties along the boundary of South Carolina and Georgia between 1790 and 1800 is shown in Map 1 where shaded counties represent counties containing Gentrys in 1800.

1800 Map
Map 1

Death of Cain Sr.
We have no direct evidence as to the date of death of Cain, Sr. All we can say is that following the 1800 census, almost the only references to a Cain Gentry in land records or census records can be ascribed to Cain Jr. There is no census record for either Cain in the 1810 census, but there are a number of deeds recorded in Edgefield District, that bear on this matter. A timeline of land references shows the following:

From this evidence we can deduce that shortly before 1808, Cain Sr. applied for a grant of land in Abbeville District perhaps in anticipation of leaving his Edgefield District property and moving north to fresh land. The survey for his grant application is dated 1810 and it is doubtful that any effort was made to consummate the application and pay the grant fee. The land which Cain Sr. already owned was on Stephen's (or Steven's) Creek in Edgefield District. This creek runs parallel to and not far distant from the Savannah River along a major portion of the southwestern edge of Edgefield District and originates in Abbeville District. Probably Cain's land was along the northern upper reaches of this creek, close to the Abbeville border. The fact that within two years four of the members of his family had sold their land suggests that Cain Sr. died in 1808 or early 1809, his property was divided among the children and they each felt free to leave for new surroundings.

Of the four brothers involved in these complex land sale relationships, only John appeared in the 1810 census. This was followed by a move by him in 1811 to Pendleton District. From other evidence we know that David left South Carolina to move to Georgia and never returned to South Carolina. Based on the birth of their children, Matthew continued to live in South Carolina and was in Pendleton District in 1820 and we can presume that he probably moved at the time he sold his property in Edgefield District.. Cain Jr. returned to Pendleton District by 1820 but was living in Georgia and Alabama before that. It seems obvious that the unregistered Gentry brothers who were still living in South Carolina were missed by the census in 1810 simply because they were on the move to new homes.

John Gentry

We will now look at each of Cain's children in turn with observations about their movements and activities as appropriate. We indicated at the beginning, that John and his family were not living with his parents at the time of the 1790 census, but had set up housekeeping on their own. John had not been married long at the time and had one daughter who had been born a year or two earlier. His wife's name is known to be Elizabeth, but her maiden name is not known. He spent his entire life in the vicinity, living in Edgefield District until 1810, then apparently moving in 1811 to Pendleton District. The latter district was divided in 1826 and John's home thereafter was in Anderson District. He died in April 1840 a few days after making a verbal will before witnesses by which he left everything to his wife, Elizabeth, with the exception of a bed and associated furniture to Elizabeth Ellen Wood (who is thought to be their youngest daughter). Elizabeth continued to live in Anderson District for a considerable time and was listed by herself in the 1840 census and listed with her daughter, Nancy Herron, in the 1850 census.

The composition of John's family is relatively straight forward. The names of John's children shown below, their dates of birth and spouses come from Mrs. Clem A. Kohl of Scottsdale, Arizona, who descends from Zachariah. We have modified dates, and consequently order of birth in some cases, to reconcile Mrs. Kohl's data with census data.

John Gentry
  – born about 1764, Lunenburg County, Virginia
  – married Elizabeth [Unknown]. She died in Anderson District, South Carolina at the beginning of 1851 or end of 1850 while living with her daughter, Nancy Herron.
  Children of John and Elizabeth (all born in Edgefield District, South Carolina)
i Winifred "Winny" Gentry born about 1789
ii Moody Gentry born about 1793; married Sarah "Sally" Arnold. Moody appeared in the Anderson District census lists for 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850. Moody was the administrator of his mother's estate in 1851.
iii Stacy Gentry born about 1795; married Robert B. McCarley.
iv Zachariah Gentry born 9 Dec 1799; married Susannah [Unknown]. Zachariah appeared in Anderson District census records for 1830, 1840, and 1850. Zachariah was a witness to his father's will.
v David Gentry born about 1801; married Elizabeth [Unknown]. David was in the 1830 Anderson District census, then moved to Perry County, Alabama, where he was listed in the 1840 and 1850 census.
vi Nancy Gentry born about 1803; married John Herron. Nancy and John remained in Anderson County. Nancy's mother, Elizabeth, was living with Nancy at the time of the 1850 census.
vii Martha "Patsy" Gentry born about 1807; married William Stell.
viii Mary Gentry born about 1810; married twice, second husband was John Polly.
ix Elizabeth Ellen Gentry born about 1811; married (2) John Roberts. This appears to be a daughter who lost her husband and was living with her parents at the time of her father's death.

Matthew Gentry

Matthew's age (ninety-five) as recorded in the 1860 census in Habersham County, Georgia, places him as next in order to John Gentry among Cain's children even though his brother, David, married significantly earlier. The 1860 census gives his place of birth as South Carolina, but in 1880, Matthew Jr. lists the birthplace as Virginia, which would be appropriate for his date of birth. Matthew sold a portion of the land which he owned in Edgefield District to his brother, David, in 1809, then a few months later, appears to have sold all the rest of his land to Joshua Key. There is no record of him in the 1810 census, but he was present in 1820 in Pendleton District. We presume that he started moving soon after his land sale and was not settled by 1810, thus was overlooked by census enumerators. We presume further that this move from Edgefield District was to Pendleton District along with his brother, John. He left Pendleton District (or Anderson District as it became in 1826) at some unknown date after 1820 and moved across the Savannah River to Franklin County, Georgia, where he spent many years. He was living there by 1828 when his daughter Elizabeth was married in the county and he participated as a Franklin County resident in the 1832 Georgia land lottery in which he was successful. Matthew and his family appeared in the 1830 and the 1840 census for Franklin County, but he is missing from the 1850 census. He reappeared in 1860, living with his youngest son, Andrew, in Habersham County, Georgia.

Matthew was involved in an unusual law suit. He was named the administrator of the estate of his father-in-law, Dudley Carter in 1804 on the death of Dudley's widow, Sarah, the original administratrix. Matthew's brothers, John and David, posted security bond for him. By 1806, he reported the final distribution of all of the estate with the caveat that Dudley's youngest son, John, had taken a horse and tackle as his share of the estate and left the state without taking anything else. This led to an unusual situation that resurfaced in 1832, when John Carter returned to South Carolina from Mississippi and filed suit in Anderson District court (residence of John Gentry at the time) asking for the remainder of what he felt should be coming to him from his father's estate. With Matthew no longer living in South Carolina, and David dead, John Gentry was left to deal with the case. There is lengthy testimony on file for the case but it was finally dismissed.

Matthew Gentry
  – born about 1765, Lunenburg County, Virginia
  – married Elizabeth Carter; died in Franklin County, Georgia, before 1850. Elizabeth was the daughter of Dudley and Sarah Carter and was probably a first cousin of Rachel Carter who married Matthew's brother, David.
  Children of Matthew and Elizabeth:
i Jeremiah Gentry born about 1800, Edgefield District, South Carolina; won draw in 1832 Georgia land lottery (residing Franklin County); moved to Cass County before 1850.
ii Matthew Gentry born about 1805, Edgefield District; won draw in 1832 Georgia land lottery (residing Franklin County); moved to Paulding County by 1850. In 1880 he was listed in the census for Polk County (formed from Paulding County) giving his patents' place of birth as South Carolina.
iii Lucy Gentry born about 1810, Edgefield District. She never married and in later years (1860 and 1870) she lived as a domestic in the home of Aaron Shirley (perhaps part of the same family as the Malinda Shirley who married Lucy's cousin, Seaborn).
iv Elizabeth Gentry born about 1812, Pendleton District, South Carolina (?); married 28 Dec 1828, Franklin County, Georgia to Richard Ramsay
v Son born 1810 to 1815, Pendleton District (?); with family through 1830 (Franklin County, Georgia).
vi Son born 1810 to 1815, Pendleton District (?); with family through 1830 (Franklin County, Georgia).
vii Thomas C. Gentry born about 1815, Pendleton District; married about 1840, Franklin County (?) to Nancy [Unknown]; moved to Paulding County before 1850. In 1880 he was in the census for Polk County (formed from Paulding County) listing his parents' birthplace as South Carolina.
viii Andrew Gentry born about 1820, Pendleton District; married Sarah [Unknown]

David Gentry

Seven of David's children were "deaf and dumb" to a sufficient extent that they were so noted in census and other records. These include the 1830 Oglethorpe County, Georgia, census in which five members were so designated; the 1840 Greene County, Georgia, census in which one member of Seaborn Gentry's family and three members of Rachel Gentry's family were so designated; and the 1850 Greene County census in which Seaborn, Tabitha, and Martha are named. The 1850 census includes a Mary Gentry the same age as Seaborn who is presumed to be a second wife. She is also listed as deaf and dumb. How severe their deafness was is not known, but at least in the case of Seaborn, in the 1850 census his occupation is given as factory worker, so his handicap did not prevent him from working. He was still working and still listed as deaf in 1880 when he was listed with his sister Eliza in the Greene County census. In addition to census records, Elizabeth Gentry, who was a successful drawer in the 1832 Georgia land lottery, is indicated in the lottery records as being deaf.

The composition of David's family is known from a somewhat unusual source. His son, David Jr., died in 1834 having never married. He left all of his property to his siblings, naming his brother Archibald to be executor. The estate settlement is included in the records of Muscogee County, Georgia, where David died. The names have been provided to the writer by Sandra Mottly, a descendant of Archibald. David Sr. predeceased his son. His death is not known precisely, but in a July 1832 court appearance in Anderson District, South Carollna, David's brother, John, made the comment, "David Gentry has long since departed this life". In the 1830 census listing in Oglethorpe County in which Rachel Gentry was listed as head of the household, there was a male member listed as born 1770 to 1780. We can speculate that this was her husband, David, who was incompetent or in serious ill health at the time. If so, it is reasonable to suppose that David died shortly later, perhaps in late 1830.

David's movements from South Carolina to Georgia are not well known. He, his wife and oldest daughter are thought to have been living with his father in Edgefield District in 1791, He was listed in the census separately with his family in 1800, but in 1810, like his brothers Matthew, Cain Jr, and Bartlett. is missing from the census though an Edgefield District deed is recorded in January 1810 in which he sold land. If this had been his regular residence it is easy to see why he might have been missed by the census enumerators. He is recorded again in 1812, selling more land and this may have completed his connection to Edgefield District. He was not in Pendleton District with his brothers in 1820. Instead, the next word we have of him was in 1821 in Franklin County, Georgia, when he bought land "near GENTRY's MILL, being where said Gentry now lives". Because the 1820 Franklin County census records were lost, we have no way of verifying David's presence there in 1820. David sold this land in 1823. His next destination must have been Oglethorpe County, Georgia. His oldest daughter, Eliza Ann, was married there in 1828, and this was the location of the family at the time of the 1830 census. Soon after David's death, the family fanned out in different directions across Georgia. In 1832, Archibald, who participated in that year's land lottery, was living in Greene County where his mother and the younger children settled. His next younger sister, Elizabeth, was living in Fayette County some distance west of Greene County when she won the same lottery and Seaborn was in neighboring Henry County when he also was a successful lottery drawer. Their brother, David Jr., must have moved at just about the same time to Muscogee County still farther west and south, along the Alabama border before his death there in 1834. By 1840, Archibald had moved to Troup County, also along the Alabama border but north of Muscogee. Finally, by 1850, Archibald had moved across the Alabama border into Chambers County. The other family members remained in Greene County and were there for both the 1840 and the 1850 census. Most of their marriage records are listed there.

David Gentry
  – born about 1767, Ninety-six District, South Carolina;
  – married Rachel Carter, daughter of Thomas and Rachel Pike Carter and was probably a first cousin of Elizabeth Carter who married David's brother, Matthew. She died in Greene County, Georgia, before 1850.
  – David died shortly before 1830, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.
  Children of David and Rachel:
i Eliza Ann Gentry born about 1791, Edgefield District, South Carolina; married 17 Dec 1828, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, to Levi Mays. Levi and Eliza were in the 1880 Greene County census with Eliza's brother, Seaborn, living with them. They were also in the 1870 census but Seaborn was missing.
ii Archibald Gentry born about 1794, Edgefield District; married about 1818, Pendleton County to Zerah Callahan. Archibald died 26 Jul 1854, Russell County, Alabama where he is buried (the cemetery is now a part of Lee County, Alabama). Archibald was living in Pendleton County in 1820; in Greene County, Georgia, in 1830; in Troup County, Georgia, in 1840; and in Chambers County, Alabama, in 1850.
iii Elizabeth Ann Gentry born about 1797, Edgefield District; married 1 May 1836, Greene County, Georgia to William Mays. Elizabeth was a successful drawer in the 1832 Georgia land lottery while living in Fayette County. She was noted as being deaf in the lottery records.
iv Judy Ann Gentry born about 1799, Edgefield District; married 26 Sep 1841, Greene County, Georgia to Samuel M. Cochran.
v Lavinia Ann Gentry born about 1806, Edgefield District; married – -?-- Tatum.
vi Barbara Ann Gentry born about 1808, Edgefield District; married William Kirbee.
viiSeaborn Gentry born about 1810, Edgefield District; married (1) 6 Aug 1839, Greene County, Georgia to Malinda Shirley. Seaborn was consistently reported in census records as being "deaf & dumb". [Note, 1850 census shows him age 40, born GA, but 1880 Greene County census has age 75, born SC.]
viii Mary Ann Gentry born about 1812, probably in Franklin County, Georgia. Mary was one of David's children identified as being deaf.
ix David Gentry born about 1814, probably in Franklin County. David died single,1834 in Muscogee County, Georgia. David was deaf and dumb and as such, while living in Oglethorpe County, participated in the 1827 Georgia land lottery with his sister, Tabitha. He successfully drew a lot in Muscogee County where he subsequently moved. David's estate was administered by his brother Archibald. He left everything to his brothers and sisters.
x Tabitha Ann Gentry born about 1816, probably in Franklin County. In 1827 while living in Oglethorpe County, Tabitha participated in the 1827 land lottery and successfully drew a lot in Lee County. She was living with her brother, Seaborn, in Greene County in 1850, listed as deaf and dumb, age 30.
xi William Gentry born about 1820, probably in Franklin County; married 17 Oct 1848, Greene County, Georgia to Mary Gilmer. He was a deaf and dumb carpenter, living with his wife in Greene County in 1850; in Montgomery County, Alabama in 1860; and in Muscogee County, Georgia, in 1870 and 1880.
xii Martha Ann Gentry born about 1825, probably in Greene County, Georgia. Martha was living with her brother, Seaborn, in Greene County in 1850, listed as a deaf mute, age 25.
xiii John D. Gentry born about 1828, probably in Oglethorpe County, Georgia married 25 Apr 1850, Greene County, to Nancy Copeland. John was in the 1860 census for Greene County; in 1870, his widow and family (youngest child age 5) were present but not John.

William Gentry

William has no direct documentary links to Cain Sr.'s family, but circumstantial evidence is strong that a William Gentry who lived for many years in Twiggs County, Georgia, was one of Cain's sons. The evidence begins with the coincidence of the Edgefield District census records of 1790 and 1800 and ends with the evidence of the 1830 census for Twiggs County. This has been displayed in Table 1 above. There is little doubt that the census records for Cain's family in both 1790 and 1800 included not only Cain but one or more parts of his extended family. In 1800, his sons John, Matthew and David were shown in separate census records, and his son Cain Jr. was almost certainly in Georgia at the time. The remainder of Cain Sr.'s household very strongly suggests the presence of a son, the son's wife, and three grandchildren. As we will see in a moment, we believe William was living in Georgia from 1802 onwards. Census records are not available for that state until 1820, and in fact the 1820 census for Twiggs County is one of two Georgia county records missing for that census. The first available census for Twiggs County is 1830, and the record for the older members of William Gentry's family in that census is shown in Table 1. With the exception of a probable second wife, the correspondence of family ages and sexes matches well with the 1800 census.

The saga of William in Georgia starts with the 1805 land lottery. Purchasers of lottery tickets for that lottery had to be residents of Georgia since at least 1802. William purchased a ticket while living in Oglethorpe County and was unsuccessful in his draw. He tried again in 1807 when a second lottery was held and this time he was successful. He was living in Clarke County by this time (listed in the 1807 tax lists with no land and no slaves, not listed 1802-1806). The lottery entitled him to 202 acres of land in the counties of Baldwin and Wilkinson. The records do not show the location of the lot assigned to William but it is significant to note that Twiggs County was organized from the original Wilkinson County following the lottery so we can logically conclude that this is how he wound up in Twiggs County. William's family continued to live in Twiggs County until long after his death which occurred some time between 1840 and 1850. His son, Pleasant, a school teacher, was living with Henry and Sarah Durdin (who were newly-married) in Twiggs County in 1850, and it is probable that Sarah was his sister and had married Henry the year before. Pleasant continued to live in the county at least to the time of the 1880 census, and in that year, he reported that his father had been born in South Carolina, and his mother (William's second wife) was born in Georgia. We feel that the evidence is strong that indeed William was a son of Cain Sr.

William Gentry
  – born about 1770, Ninety-six District, South Carolina; died in Twiggs County, Georgia before 1850.
– married probably twice, both wives Unknown
  Children of William:
i William C. Gentry (speculation) born about 1790, Edgefield District, South Carolina; presumed first spouse unknown; married (2) 1835, Talbot County, Georgia, to Nancy (Short) Hutcherson/Hutchison. William was a successful drawer in the 1832 Georgia land lottery while residing in Talbot County. Living with Nancy in Talbot County in 1860 and 1870.
ii / iii Two Daughters born 1790-1800, South Carolina
iv Pleasant Gentry born about 1808, Clarke County (?), Georgia. A wife Alethe is shown with Pleasant in the 1870 and 1880 Twiggs County, Georgia, census. In 1880, Pleasant gave his father's place of birth as South Carolina.
v / vi Two Sons born 1810-1820 (both present in 1830 and 1840 census)
vii Sarah Gentry born about 1820; married Henry Durdin about 1849. and continued to live in Twiggs County.
viii/ix Two Sons born 1820-1825 (one still present in 1840 census)
x / xi Two Daughters born 1825-1830 (one still present in 1840 census)

Cain Allen Gentry

Though born and raised in Edgefield District, South Carolina, between 1790 and 1802, Cain Jr.'s name appears a number of times in records in Jackson County, Georgia. In 1791, Cain and John Gentry (which John we are not sure as there are at least two possibilities) signed a mortgage note for 16,000 pounds of tobacco to be delivered across the river from South Carolina to Augusta, Georgia, on the Savannah River. Suit was brought in Jackson County court in 1801 for settlement of this note. Cain appears to have been living in Jackson County by that time but the John Gentry involved could not be found.
[Note. We suspect that the John who participated in this business venture was not Cain's brother. He remained in South Carolina during all that time, and one would think the Jackson County Court, even though in Georgia, would be able to locate John. Rather it may have been a cousin of Cain's who is believed to have lived in Georgia for a number of years at the turn of the century and then returned to Abbeville District, South Carolina, before 1810.]

Between 1797 and 1799, Cain's name appeared in Jackson County court records as a juror along with William and Elijah Gentry and he also purchased a horse and three cows at an estate sale. In 1801 he was accessible to the court for the suit mentioned above. By 1805 he filed for a grant of 550 acres in Jackson County and he seems to have been solidly established as a resident by that time. Cain's last link with Edgefield District, South Carolina was in 1809 when he sold one hundred acres of land in Edgefield District next to land owned by his brother, John. It is probable that this was land which had come to Cain as his share of his father's estate and was not land on which he had been living.

Cain's next movements are very much of a puzzle. He was not in the 1810 South Carolina census as would be expected if he was living in Georgia at the time. He appears to have moved next to Montgomery County, Alabama, as his son Youngblood was married there in 1818. For some unknown reason he took his entire family back to Pendleton District, South Carolina in 1820 where his brothers John, Matthew, and Bartlett were living and all four brothers were listed there in the census. We have no explanation for this apparent brief family reunion. Presumably Cain returned to Montgomery County soon after the census for his daughter Lida was married there in 1821, and his daughter Catherine was married there in 1825. Cain himself married a second time, in Montgomery County in 1825 and was present at the time of the 1830 census but we have no record thereafter. Cain's son, Youngblood, moved from Alabama to Itawamba County, Mississippi, before 1850, but the rest of the family stayed for some time in Alabama.

Cain Allen Gentry
  – born about 1772, Ninety-six District, South Carolina
– married (1) Edgefield District, South Carolina, to Judith (Dow?).
– married (2) 24 Jun 1825, Montgomery County, Alabama, to Dicey Harrison.
  Children of Cain and Judith:
i Catherine Gentry born about 1791, Edgefield District; married 3 Jul 1825, Montgomery County, Alabama, to Andrew McCool.
ii Elizabeth Gentry born about 1794, probably in Jackson County, Georgia
iii Youngblood Gentry born about 1799, probably in Jackson County, Georgia; married (1) 1 May 1818, Montgomery County, Alabama, to Elizabeth Tatum; said to have married (2) Rebecca Gilly. Youngblood moved to Fayette County, Alabama, by 1840 and then to Itawamba County, Mississippi, by 1850.
iv Lida Gentry born about 1804, probably in Jackson County, Georgia; married 3 Mar 1821, Montgomery County, Alabama, to Arthur Ayer.
v Isom (speculation) born about 1810; married about 1831, Fayette County, Alabama (?); present in the 1840 Fayette County census but no record thereafter.

Bartlett/Bartley Gentry

This youngest son of Cain Gentry Sr. had a rather checkered career. He was recorded with his parents in the 1790 and 1800 Edgefield District, South Carolina, census, but then like his older brothers, he is missing from any 1810 census. We presume that he went north to Pendleton District along with his older brothers soon after his father's presumed death (in about 1809). He married soon after moving to Pendleton District as his oldest child, Sanford (also "Sandford"), was born about 1812. A second child, Malissa, was born about 1814, but the 1820 Pendleton County census for his family shows no other children at that time.

Pendleton District was divided in 1826 and became two new districts, Pickens and Anderson. The Cain Gentry family members including Bartlett were all living in the Anderson District portion of Pendleton and continued to be recorded there. Bart (or Bert as he was sometimes known), lost his first wife, Isabel Willbanks some time after 1820 and remarried a widow, Phoebe, whose previous married name is not known. The 1830 Anderson County census in which Phoebe was present, suggests that she had four children by her first marriage living with her then, along with one new child by Bartlett. In the interval between his second marriage and 1830, Bart left his two older children, Sanford and Malissa, in the care of his older sister Ruth Willbanks Riley (see below). To this day, Malissa's family feel that she and Sanford were simply abandoned by their father. At some time after 1834 (when his youngest son was born), Bart and his new family left South Carolina and went west, ending up in Forsyth County, Georgia, in time for the 1850 census. The two older children remained in Anderson County with Ruth and Hezekiah Riley until they were old enough to live independently.

Bartlett/Bartley "Bart/Bert" Gentry
  – born about 1783, Edgefield District, South Carolina
 – married (1) Edgefield District, South Carolina, to Isabel (or Isabella) "Libbey" Willbanks, (daughter of Henry Willbanks)
– married (2) about 1826, Pendleton District, South Carolina, to Phoebe [Unknown].
  Children of Bartlett and Isabel:
i Sanford/Sandford V. Gentry born about 1812, Pendleton District, South Carolina; married Sarah [Unknown].
ii Malissa Gentry born about 1814, Pendleton District; married James B. Wilcox.
  Children of Bartlett and Phoebe:
iii Louisa Gentry born about 1828, Anderson (formerly Pendleton) District, South Carolina
iv Holland Gentry born about 1834, Anderson District.

Ruth Gentry

Ruth married Henry Willbanks, father of her sister-in-law, Libbey Gentry, after he lost his wife. She thereby became the step-mother-in-law of her brother, Bartlett. Henry died in 1818, and Ruth married a second time in 1822, this time to Hezekiah Riley. Hezekiah and Ruth lived in Anderson District, South Carolina, for many years. Hezekiah died in 1850 in Anderson District shortly after the census was taken leaving a will. Ruth died in 1860 and also left a will in which she included her nephew, Sanford Gentry, and her niece, Malissa, wife of James B. Wilcox. Ruth was given the care of Sanford and Malissa by her brother, Bartlett, after the death of his first wife. She and Hezekiah continued to serve as foster parents for them for the rest of her life.

We have attempted here to flesh out the sketchy details of Allen Cain Gentry and his family. In doing so, we have dealt with a number of questions about the family that have troubled genealogists for years. These include the question of when Cain Sr. died; whether he was married twice; the puzzling details of the large families recorded for him in 1790 and 1800; the question of why none of the family was recorded in any census in 1810, but four brothers were all listed together surprisingly in Pendleton District in 1820; the question of the relationship of the Ruth Riley with whom Bartlett Gentry left his two oldest children; and finally the relationship of a William Gentry who is proposed as a member of this family. We have not been able to answer all the questions, but logical conclusions have been proposed for those that have been answered.


South Carolina, Edgefield District Deeds
Carol Wells, "Edgefield County South Carolina Deed Books", Heritage Books, Bowie, MD 1997-9.
1798 Jun 9 Bk(16-152)
John Hancock to Thomas Hancock, for 100 pounds sterling, sold 221ac bounded on lands of Cain Gentry, John Hancock Jr., Simon Hancock, William Hancock.
/s/ John Hancock, Ann Hancock
Wit: George Hancock, Peter Hancock, ack 7 Dec 1798, rec 18 Dec 1798.
1809 Jan 25 Bk(29-438)
Mathew Jentry to David Jentry for $3060, deeds 220 ac adj
/s/ Mathew (x) Jentry
Wit: Dionysius Oliver, Cane (x) Jentry; Justice John Tarrance certifies relinq of dower rights by Elizabeth Gentry wife of Mathew Gentry, 21 Feb 1809; ack [no date]; rec 5 Jun 1809.
1809 May 31 Bk(29-435)
John Hancock Senr to Seaborn Oliver, for $1600, deeds 188 ac of waters of Stephens Creek adj lands of John Curore(?) [Corley?], John and Cain Gentry [Cain Jr.], and Thomas Hancock...
/s/ John Hancock Senr.
Wit: William Harden, Dionysius Oliver; ack 31 May 1809; rec 5 Jun 1809.
1809 Jun 6 Bk(29-475)
Mathew Gentry to Joshua Key for $60, all my claim by marriage to land formerly belonging to Dudley Carter, deceased, now to heirs of same, containing 150 ac adj lands of ... John Hancock ...
/s/ Mathew (x) Gentry
Wit: Samuel Quarles, John M. Roper; ack 29 Jun 1809; rec 29 Sep 1809.
1809 Sep 12 Bk(30-32)
Cain Gentry to Dionysius Oliver for $800 deeds 100 ac.
/s/ Cain (x) Gentry
Wit: [?], Oliver Junr, William C. Hardin, Justice John Tarrance certifies relinq of dower by Judith Jentry wife of Cain Jentry [Cain Jr.], 6 Dec 1809; ack [no date].
1810 Jan 6 Bk(30-77)
David Gentry to Frederick Phenix for $300, deeds 134 ac being a divident of the real estate of Major Thomas Carter deceased which was certified by Robert Lang D.S. to David Gentry.
/s/ David (x) Gentry
Wit: John Taylor[?], Henry Mathis; Justice John Tarrance certifies relinq of dower rights by Rachel Gentry wife of David Gentry (/s/ Rachel (x) Gentry); ack 6 Jan 1810; rec 26 Mar 1810.
1810 Oct 22 Bk(30-365)
John Gentry to John Grumbles, for $300 deeds 300 ac lying on Stevens Creek, joining on one side Thomas Carters land and Hancocks on the other.
/s/ John (x) Gentry
Wit: James Day, John Day; Justice John Tarrance certifies relinq of dower rights by Elizabeth Gentry wife of John Gentry [son of Cain Sr.], 17 Dec 1810 (/s/ Elizabeth (x) Gentry); ack 17 Dec 1810; rec 1 Jul 1811.
1812 Jan 29 Bk(31-89)
Seaborn Oliver Senr to Simon Hancock for $1200 deeds 388 ac on waters of Stephens Creek, bounded ... NE on Cain Gentrys land, Thomas Hancock.
/s/ Seaborn Oliver
Wit: Peter Hancock, Thomas Still; Mary Oliver wife of Seaborn Oliver relinq dower rights, 5 Feb 1812; ack 20 Feb 1812; rec 1 Apr 1812.
Plats for State Land Grants, 1784 - 1868
1810 Feb 28 Series: S213192; Volume: 0042, Page: 00236, Item: 002    Record 22 of 37 records
Gentry, Cain, Plat for 107 Acres on Hard Labour Creek, Abbeville District, Surveyed by Richard Edwards.

Georgia Maps
The maps below may be helpful in locating counties included in various Georgia lotteries and also the counties in which members of the Cain Gentry family were residing at that point in time.

Georgia, 1810
Map 2
Georgia, 1830
Map 3
Georgia, 1850
Map 4

Georgia Land Lotteries


Location Drawn


Lot Size

1805 Lottery (Men 21 years or older, residents of Georgia since May 1802)

202 1/2 ac
William Gentry (*) Oglethorpe (blank)    
Tyre Gentry Franklin (blank)    
Elijah Jentry Clarke (blank)    
Elisha Jentry Clarke (blank)    
Elisha Jentry Sr. Clarke (blank)    
James Jentry Clarke (prize)    
Martin Jentry Clarke (prize)    

1807 Lottery (Similar to 1805, drawing for land in Baldwin and Wilkinson counties)

202 1/2 ac
William Gentry (*)   (prize)    
Elijah Gentry Jackson (prize)    

1820 and 1821 Lotteries (Formation of Appling, Early, Gwinnett, Habersham)

250 ac
No Gentrys listed        

1827 Lottery (Formation of Carroll, Coweta, Troup, Muscogee, and Lee counties)

202 1/2 ac
Burgess Gentry Greene 2nd Lee  
Samuel Gentry Greene 20th Lee  
Samuel Gentry Greene 3rd Lee  
Robert Gentry   22nd Muscogee  
Elisha Gentry (soldier) Fayette 10th Troup  
D[avid] Gentery (deaf & dumb) Oglethorpe 10th Muscogee  
Tabitha Gentery (deaf & dumb) Oglethorpe 9th Lee  

1832 Land Lottery (Division of Cherokee Indian lands)

160 ac
John Gentry Carroll 12th 3rd (Murray)  
Elizabeth Gentry (*) (deaf) Fayette 12th 2nd (Gilmer)  
Jeremiah Gentry (*) Franklin 7th 2nd (Gilmer)  
Matthew Gentry (*) Franklin 27th 3rd (Murray)  
Mathew Gentry (*) Franklin 10th 4th (Murray)  
Archibald W. Gentry (*) Greene 11th 2nd (Gilmer)  
Ransom Gentry Henry 12th 2nd (Gilmer)  
Seaborn Gentry Henry 9th 4th (Murray)  
John Gentry Randolph 12th 2nd (Gilmer)  
William Gentry (*) Talbot 4th 2nd (Cherokee)  

(*) = Allen Cain Family

Georgia Marriages

Groom Bride Date County
Levi Mays Elizabeth Gentry 17 Dec 1828 Oglethorpe
Richard Ramsay Elizabeth Gentry 28 Dec 1828 Franklin
Wm Jentry Nancy Hutcherson 26 Nov 1835 Talbot
William Mays Elizabeth Gentry 1 May 1836 Greene
Seaborn Gentry Malinda Shirley 6 Aug 1839 Greene
Samuel Cochran Judith Gentry 26 Sep 1841 Greene
John D. Gentry Nancy Copeland 25 Apr 1850 Greene

Alabama Marriages

Groom Bride Date County
Cain Gentry Dicey Harrison 24 Jun 1825 Montgomery
Andrew McCool Catherine Gentry 3 Jul 1825 Montgomery
Youngblood Jentry Elizabeth Tatum 1 May 1818 Montgomery
Arthur Ayer Lida Gentry 3 Mar 1821 Montgomery

Revised 10/3/12 (removal of William Gentry as son of Matthew)
Revised 10/6/18 (David Gentry family)

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