Lunenburg Winns, Part II of ???

I considered retitling this series “Tangled Roots and Branches.” That would merit a D-minus for originality, since probably 25% of all family histories use some version of that metaphor. We’ll stick to the uninspiring “Part II” instead.

Part I identified three Lunenburg Winn patriarchs. It discussed one of them, Col. Thomas, and a persistent myth concerning the Lunenburg Winns.[1] Here is a brief recap.

Col. Thomas Winn and Daniel Winn of Lunenburg were two of the Winn patriarchs of Lunenburg. They were brothers. Their father was Richard Winn of Hanover County, whose wife was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger. The third patriarch, John Winn of Lunenburg, was genetically related to Col. Thomas and Daniel. Putting it another way, the three men shared an unknown male Winn ancestor. I haven’t figured out their precise relationship – they are presumably cousins of some stripe. None of the three men were descended from or genetically related to Speaker Robert Wynne and his wife Mary Sloman Eppes Wynne of Charles City/Prince George Counties. Y-DNA testing establishes that descendants of the Lunenburg Winns do not match descendants of Speaker Robert.

Col. Thomas (born circa 1718, died in 1781) was a wealthy landowner who lived a high-profile public life in Lunenburg. He was married at least twice. First, perhaps, to Elizabeth Bannister then, probably, to Sarah Bacon, who survived him.

Col. Thomas had eleven surviving children, seven by his first wife and four by Sarah. They were (birth order unknown) (1) Bannister, (2) Elizabeth, (3) Thomas Jr., (4) Richard, (5) William, (6) John, and (7) Mourning (by his first wife), and (8) Henrietta Maria/Marie, (9) Edmund, (10), Ketturah, and (11) Washington (by Sarah).

Moving on to new territory, here is …

Patriarch #2: Daniel Winn, born circa 1720, died in 1799

Daniel first appeared in county records witnessing a 1744 Surry County deed.[2] That date establishes he was born by at least 1723, placing him in the same generation as Col. Thomas. The first two Lunenburg county records concerning Daniel were 1752 and 1754 deeds executed when he resided in Prince George County.[3]

Daniel was a Lieutenant in the Lunenburg militia.[4] Like his brother Col. Thomas, he was a wealthy landowner. By 1763, he had acquired about 2,000 acres in Lunenburg.[5] He built a grist mill on Great Hounds Creek at “the main falls” which he and his son Joseph sold in 1780.[6]

The military service of some of his sons may be Daniel’s greatest claim to fame. Six of his nine sons were Revolutionary War soldiers.[7] Three of them – Elisha, William and James Winn  – enlisted in February 1776 in the same company in the 6th Virginia Regiment. At minimum, the three were in the battles of Trenton in December 1776 and Princeton in January 1777, and probably others as well.[8] James and Elisha were discharged in February 1778 while at Valley Forge.[9] Three other brothers – Joseph, John, and Galanus Winn – fought at the 1779 Battle of Stono Ferry near Charleston, South Carolina in the militia company commanded by Joseph.[10]

Daniel’s will did not name a wife, who evidently predeceased him. She may have been Sarah Tench, daughter of Henry Tench.[11] As of 1768, Daniel’s wife was definitely named Sarah.[12]

Daniel distributed considerable wealth to his children. The only child named in his will was Joseph, who inherited Daniel’s remaining estate. Six of his other nine children are proved by gift deeds. Most of the deeds recite that the consideration was “natural love, goodwill, and affection” for the grantee, who is usually specifically identified as Daniel’s son or daughter. The identities of Daniel’s sons are also indicated by their appearances as tithables (i.e., taxable people) on his personal property tax lists.

Here are Daniel’s children. Their birth years are estimates, except for Galanus, whose birth date is proved by his Revolutionary War pension application. I have listed the sons in the order they appeared as Daniel’s tithable on a tax list, a reasonable proxy for birth order.

  1. Marticia/Martisha Winn was probably born between 1741 and 1746. Her husband Cornelius Crenshaw (son of Joseph) was from an Amelia County family. The Amelia Crenshaws lived in the same tax district where Richard Winn’s Amelia County property was taxed (he lived in Hanover).[13] The Winn and Crenshaw families likely knew each other well before any of them arrived in Lunenburg.

Marticia was the first of Daniel’s children proved by a gift deed reciting “natural love and affection.”[14] She and Cornelius had five children.[15] After he died, Marticia married James Jennings on 18 Dec 1787.[16]They had six children, including five having names of her brothers.[17]

  1. Thomas Winn was probably born by 1744.[18] He is proved as Daniel’s son by a 1765 gift of 300 acres on Little Hounds Creek.[19] He last appeared on a Lunenburg tax list in 1788. He may be the Thomas Winn with a wife named Joyce who sold a tract on Little Hounds Creek that year. Orsamus Winn, another son of Daniel, witnessed the conveyance.[20] I found no Lunenburg will or estate administration for Thomas, suggesting he moved away. I hope someone reading this knows where he went and will post a comment.

Naomi Giles Chadwick’s book, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons, confuses Daniel’s son Thomas with Col. Thomas. Ms. Chadwick cites the book Lost Links to identify Thomas Winn, son of Daniel, as the same man as his uncle Col. Thomas.[21] The mistake is obvious because Daniel’s son Thomas continued appearing on Lunenburg tax lists after Col. Thomas died in 1781. It’s the old “same name confusion” error. We’ve all done it. If you have not, you just haven’t been doing genealogy long enough.

  1. Joseph Winn was born about 1746-1748 and died in Lunenburg in 1800.[22] His wife was Elizabeth Winn, a daughter of Col. Thomas. Joseph identified nine children in his will.[23] For the most part, Joseph stayed out of the records. He was a Justice of the County Court. His service as a Captain in the Revolutionary War is proved by the pension applications of his brothers Elisha and Galanus Winn, plus applications by Richard Bacon[24] and Henry Cook.[25] Joseph’s militia company was in the 1779 Battle of Stono Ferry, South Carolina, near Charleston. I am not aware of other engagements.
  2. John Winn was born about 1747-1748.[26] I found no conveyance to him from Daniel reciting love and affection or identifying him as a son. However, Daniel and his wife Sarah conveyed 300 acres to some John Winn in July 1768.[27] The grantee was probably Daniel’s son John because Joseph and Thomas Jr., sons of Daniel, witnessed the deed, and the acreage was the same as gifts to Thomas Jr. and Elisha. John was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. He served in the militia company commanded by his brother Joseph that was at the Battle of Stono Ferry.[28]

There were a plethora of John Winns in Lunenburg.[29] I am frankly not certain I have correctly sorted them all out. However, I believe that Daniel’s son John Winn died in 1821, leaving a will naming his wife Susannah, two sons, a daughter, and two grandsons.[30]

  1. Elisha Winn was born between 1749 and 1753, based on his appearance in Daniel’s tithable list.[31] Daniel is proved as his father by a gift of 300 acres in 1781.[32] His wife was Lucy, probably Lucy Elliot.[33]

The only significant source of information about Elisha is his Revolutionary War pension application.[34] He enlisted as a private from Lunenburg in February 1776 in Capt. James Johnson’s company, which later became Capt. Billey Haley Avery’s company, in the 6th Virginia Brigade. His brothers James and William also enlisted in Johnson’s company at that time. Elisha was discharged in February 1778 at, as he called it, “Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.”[35] His first petition for government financial assistance was rejected. In it, he stated that “while in the Service of his Country he contracted a disease in his eyes which he believes was brought on from cold during the Cold Winter of 1777 while encamped at Valley Forge.”

He served another tour in a Lunenburg militia company commanded by his brother Joseph as a substitute for his brother James. The company fought at the 1779 Battle of Stono Ferry, just east of Charleston, South Carolina.

Elisha and Lucy were still in Lunenburg in 1812, when they sold a tract on Big Hounds Creek.[36] Elisha (I don’t know whether Lucy was alive then) was still in Lunenburg in 1814, when he witnessed a conveyance by his brother John.[37] Elisha moved to Madison County, Alabama soon thereafter. He applied for a pension in Madison County in April 1818, stating among other things that he had lived there for about four years. He also swore to facts establishing he was indigent, a requirement under the pension act at that time.[38]

Elisha died in Madison County, Alabama in 1821. His estate file does not identify his children. “Bass F. Winn” of Lunenburg is the only child of Elisha I have proved, thanks to a power of attorney Bass gave regarding his father’s estate.[39] Elisha’s estate file establishes that he left no will but had six heirs.[40] The 1810 federal census for Lunenburg lists Elisha with five women in his household, presumably Lucy and four daughters. If anyone knows their identities, I would love to hear about them.

  1. Alexander Winn was born between 1753 and 1756, based on his appearance on Daniel’s tithable lists. He died in 1828. He is proved as Daniel’s son by a 1776 deed for 325 acres on Hounds Creek reciting the customary “natural love and affection.”[41] His first wife was Elizabeth _____, maiden name unproved. Based on Alexander’s will, they had thirteen children.[42] Their first son was named Lyddal Winn, perhaps prompting speculation that Elizabeth’s maiden name was Bacon.[43]

Alexander married as his second wife Jane (“Jincy”) Stone, widow of Richard Stone, in July 1816. The couple had a prenuptial contract, an unusual practice in the early 19th century. Jane had a large personal estate which she apparently wished to dispose of as she saw fit. Absent such an agreement, she had no legal right to control her own property after she married. She was a daughter of John Winn, the third Lunenburg patriarch, and his wife Ann Stone.[44]

  1. William Winn was also born during 1753-1756.[45] He is proved by both his appearance on Daniel’s tithable list and a 1777 deed in which Daniel conveyed to him 585 acres on both sides of Hounds Creek.[46]He likely sold 300 acres of that tract in 1781: Daniel’s sons Joseph and Alexander witnessed the deed.[47]

William was another Revolutionary War soldier from Daniel’s family.[48] He enlisted in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment in February 1776 along with his brothers Elisha and James. William, a Sergeant, served through May 1777.

By 1783-1784, William was no longer taxed in Lunenburg. I found no estate administration for him and don’t know where he moved. I’m hoping someone who reads this has some evidence and will share it in a comment.

  1. Orsamus Winn was born during 1754 – 1756 and died in 1820 in Lunenburg.[49] His wife’s name was Frances, probably Jeter.[50] Daniel gave Orsamus 605 acres on Falls and Hounds Creek in 1781 in a deed identifying Orsamus as his son.[51] I didn’t find any interesting details about his life in the records.  His will named seven children,[52] and an eighth child is proved by a power of attorney from a son in Tennessee.[53]
  2. James Winn was born in 1757-1758.[54] I found no gift deed from Daniel to James. He is nonetheless a proved son because (1) he was on Daniel’s tithable lists and (2) a Revolutionary War pension application by a proved son of Daniel identified James as his brother. He enlisted in February 1776 for two years in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment.[55] He is shown on a Revolutionary War roll as a Sergeant in May 1777.[56] His individual service record lists him in Capt. Billey Haley Avery’s company, 6th Virginia Regiment, from August 1777 through January 1778. He was discharged in February 1778 at Valley Forge.[57] So far as I know, he never filed a pension application.[58]

He may be and probably is the James Winn who married Mary Ann Winn, a daughter of John and Ann Stone Winn, the third Lunenburg patriarch.[59] James had a hard time managing money. More bluntly, James Winn, husband of John and Ann Stone Winn’s daughter Mary Ann, seemed financially irresponsible.[60] I have found no record for him in Lunenburg after the 1820 census.

  1. Galanus Winn was born 2 Feb 1760 in Lunenburg and died 15 May 1839 in Madison County, Alabama. He married Rebecca Lester, daughter of Andrew Lester, in Brunswick County in January 1783.[61] He was the youngest of Daniel’s sons to serve in the Revolutionary War, enlisting in February 1779.[62] He served as a substitute for his brother James as a private in the militia company commanded by his brother Joseph. That company was in the Battle of Stono Ferry. One of his tours was in a “volunteer horse company” – a cavalry unit. He testified in his application that the captain of the company hurt his own horse’s back, appropriated Galanus’s horse, then discharged him. That is surely a unique way to obtain a discharge.

Galanus moved from Lunenburg to Laurens County, South Carolina by 1788. Rebecca apparently died there between 1810 and 1812. He moved to Madison County, Alabama about 1827. He applied for a Revolutionary War pension there in October 1832. One Huntsville newspaper carried an obituary for him with the headline “Another Revolutionary Soldier Gone.”[63] The Madison County court ordered a final distribution of his estate on March 15, 1841, naming three sons and four daughters.[64] Deed and probate records prove another son who predeceased Galanus in Laurens County.[65]

And that’s it for Daniel Winn, the second Lunenburg patriarch. Whew! The third, Lunenburg John Winn, is up next.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] See Part I  here.

[2] Surry Co., VA Deed Book 4: 226, deed dated 13 Jun 1774 witnessed by Daniel Winn, Daniel Carter, and Joseph Carter. That location may have convinced some researchers to place Daniel in Speaker Robert Wynne’s line, some of whom appeared in Surry. Daniel also lived in Prince George, another location for members of Speaker Robert’s family. Note: unless expressly stated otherwise, all citations in this article are from Lunenburg deed, probate, tax, and court records.

[3] Deed Book 3: 226, deed dated 4 Nov 1752 from Samuel Wynne of Lunenburg to Daniel Wynne of Prince George Co., 100 acres on the south side of Hounds Creek. Deed witnessed by Thomas Winn, undoubtedly Col. Thomas. See also Deed Book 3: 501, deed dated 15 Mar 1754 from Charles Irby of Amelia County and Stephen Evans of Lunenburg to Daniel Wynne of Prince George, 400 acres in Lunenburg on Falls Creek. Witnessed by Lyddal Bacon, Thomas Winn (Col. Thomas again), and Richard Stone.

[4] Order Book 11: 86, entry of 11 Jul 1765.

[5] Daniel acquired 100 acres on Hounds Creek from Samuel Wynne in 1752 (Deed Book 3: 226), 400 acres on Falls Creek from Irby and Evans in 1754 (Deed Book 3: 501), and 1,497 acres from Col. Thomas in 1762. See also Deed Book 7: 232, deed dated 8 Apr 1762 from Thomas Winn to Daniel Winn, 1,497 acres on Little Hounds and Great Hounds Creek. Witnessed by John Winn, John Winn, and John Winn.

[6] Order Book 4: 60, entry of 2 Dec 1755, petition of Daniel Wynne to build a water grist mill at the main falls of Great Hounds Creek. Deed Book 14: 169, deed dated 22 Jan 1780 from Daniel and Joseph Winn to William Hardy and Lyddal Bacon, 14 acres with the mill adjacent the Mill Pond.

[7] For evidence of the Revolutionary War service of each man, see the individual discussions in numbered paragraphs.

[8] You can find information about the 6th Virginia Regiment here and here. In addition to being among the units at Valley Forge, the Virginia 6th was also at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and the famous crossing of the Delaware River.

[9] People who were on military rosters while at Valley Forge can be found  here.  I searched on the 6th Virginia Regiment for the name “Winn.” Elisha and James both turned up. The individual service record for each man says that he was discharged in February 1778. Gen. Washington’s army encamped at Valley Forge in December 1777.

[10] See information about Stono Ferry  here. Galanus Winn’s pension application says that he was at Stono with his brother Joseph’s company.

[11] Will Book 3: 85, will of Henry Tench dated 1777 and proved 1784. The will names his daughters Sarah Winn and Ann Tench. If it is correct that Col. Thomas’s wife Sarah was née Bacon, then the only “available” Lunenburg male Winn with a wife named Sarah in 1777 was Daniel Winn. Some researchers give her maiden name as Finch. Original Lunenburg tax, probate, and deed records are somewhat ambiguous, but most indicate Tench is correct. That opinion is based on my viewing of various original records at the Lunenburg courthouse.

[12] Deed Book 11: 183, 1768 deed from Daniel Winn and wife Sarah to John Winn, all of Lunenburg, 300 acres on Falls Cr. Witnessed by Thomas Winn (Col. Thomas), Joseph Winn (Daniel’s son), and Thomas Winn Jr. (also Daniel’s son). Sarah’s mark was a “V,” perhaps prompting some Winn researchers to identify her as “Sarah V. Winn,” “Sarah Vee Winn,” or even “Sarah Virginia Winn.” The odds that any of those middle names/initials are correct are de minimis.

[13] Joseph Crenshaw’s property (with tithables Cornelius Crenshaw, Gideon Crenshaw, and William Crenshaw, presumably his sons) and the tract owned by Richard Winn of Hanover were on the Amelia County list of “tithes below Deep Creek” in 1746.

[14] Deed Book 6: 404, gift deed dated 6 Apr 1761 from Daniel Wynne “for natural love and affection for daughter Martashi, wife of Cornelous Cranshaw,” an enslaved person. Daughters frequently received a gift when they married. If that was the case here, then Marticia was probably born between 1741 and 1746, assuming she married at age 15-20.

[15] Will Book 3: 241, will of Cornelius Crenshaw dated 28 Dec 1785, proved 9 Feb 1786, naming his wife Martisha and sons Daniel, Nathan, Pleasant, Cornelius, and Fortune Crenshaw.

[16] A Roster of Revolutionary Ancestors of the Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution Vol. II (Evansville, IN: Unigraphic, 1976) 385.

[17] Id. Children of James Jennings and Martisha Winn Crenshaw Jennings were Joseph, Thomas, Alexander, William, Elisha, and Erasmus. Marticia had brothers by each of those names except for Erasmus.

[18] Thomas Winn Jr. appeared on the 1764 tax list on the 300 acres his father Daniel gave to him. Men were tithable then at 16, suggesting that Thomas was born by 1748. However, it was unusual for a man to give land to an underage son, so I based the estimate for his birth year on the 1765 gift deed.

[19] Deed Book 10: 148, gift deed dated 11 Apr 1765 from Daniel Winn to his son Thomas Winn “Jr.” (Col. Thomas was “Senior”) for love and affection and 5 shillings, 300 acres on both sides of Little Hounds Cr.

[20] Deed Book 15: 213, deed dated 12 Apr 1788 from Thomas Winn to William Hatchett, both of Lunenburg, 371 acres on both sides of Little Hounds Creek. Witnesses were John Walker, Orsamus Winn, and James Trotter. The gift deed from Daniel to Thomas stated it was for 300 acres, which is the amount Thomas was taxed on in 1788. The increase in acreage may have been due to a new survey made when Thomas conveyed the tract.

[21] Naomi Giles Chadwick, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons 6, citing Elisabeth Wheeler Frances and Ethel Silvey Moore, Lost Links,  (Nashville: Mcquiddy Printing Co., 1945).

[22] I estimated Joseph’s birth year based on his appearance as a tithable in Daniel’s tax list in 1764. Naomi Chadwick says he was born about 1755, but that is way too late to have been at least 16 and taxable in 1764. There is no earlier personal property tax list on which Daniel appeared. All the 1764 tax list tells us is that Joseph must have been born by 1748. He was a Captain of a militia company in 1779. He was probably more than thirty to have that rank.

[23] Will Book 5: 20, will of Joseph Winn dated and proved in 1800. He gave his wife Elizabeth a “plantation called his father’s old place on Great Hounds Creek.” He made bequests directly to eight children and left a bequest in trust to his executors for the support of his son Benjamin, “but not liable for payment of any of [Benjamin’s] debts.” Joseph’s children were Daniel, Joseph Jr., Bannister, Sarah (“Sally”) B., Kitturah, Minor, Mourning, Elizabeth, and Benjamin Winn, the ne’er-do-well son who is my ancestor.

[24] Revolutionary War pension application of Richard Bacon (S.16625) proves Joseph Winn was a Captain in the revolution. See John Frederick Dorman, Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications, Volume 3 (Washington, D.C.: 1959) 73-76.

[25] Id., Volume 22, application of Henry Cook (S.3181) dated 5 Sep 1832, Williamson Co., TN. Cook declared he served in the company of Capt. Joseph Wynn and Lt. John Wynn in the regiment of Col. David Mason and Lt. Col. Lewis Burwell.

[26] John first appeared as one of Daniel’s tithables in 1764, so he was at least sixteen by then. There isn’t an extant tithable list for the few years prior to 1764, which would have allowed a better estimate of John’s birth year. The next best age “indicator” is the 1768 deed to John from Daniel and Sarah. Men often received or purchased land soon after they came of age.

[27] Deed Book 11: 183, deed dated 23 Jul 1768 from Daniel Winn and wife Sarah to John Winn, all of Lunenburg, 300 acres on Fall’s Cr. Sarah’s mark was “V,” which may be why some Winn researchers identify her as “Sarah Vee Winn.” Col. Thomas Winn, Joseph Winn, and Thomas Winn Jr. witnessed the deed.

[28] Lt. John Winn’s service in his brother’s Lunenburg militia company that participated in the Battle of Stono Ferry is proved by Henry Cook’s pension application, see Note 25.

[29] E.g., Deed Book 7: 232, deed dated 8 Apr 1762 from Thomas Winn to Daniel Winn witnessed by John Winn, John Winn, and John Winn.

[30] Will Book 8: 170, will of John Winn Sr. dated 29 Apr 1819 and proved 10 Sep 1821. John named his wife Susanna, sons John and James, daughter Priscilla, and grandsons James S. Brown and Paschall B. Brown. The grandsons were children of his daughter Susan Winn and her husband William Brown who married in Lunenburg  in 1797.

[31] See Deed Book 12: 249, Elisha Winn witnessed a deed dated Nov. 1775. He was therefore born by 1754.

[32] Deed Book 13: 376, deed dated 8 Feb 1781 from Daniel Winn to his son Elisha Winn, both of Lunenburg, 300 acres for love and affection.

[33] I have located deeds in which Elisha’s wife Lucy relinquished dower, but I cannot find my source for her maiden name. Unfortunately, I did a lot of my Lunenburg research when I did not know what I was doing and often failed to record my sources.

[34] Here is a link to Will Graves’s excellent transcription of Elisha’s pension application.

[35] See Elisha’s service record here. The muster rolls don’t state his location, although the Valley Forge roster project includes his company (Capt. Avery’s) and his regiment (the Virginia 6th). Elisha’s pension application states that he was discharged at Valley Forge in February 1778.

[36] Deed Book 22: 214.

[37] Deed Book 23: 337.

[38] Elisha’s estate was valued at $780 in 1821. $700 of the total was attributable to two enslaved persons. The remaining $80 was attributable to a saddle, saddle bags, bridle, horse, mortar and pestle, ax, curry comb, skillet, and Dutch oven. FHL Film #5087877, image #93 et seq. Madison County, Alabama Estate case file, Winn, Elisha, 1821, Case No. 1086.

[39] Deed Book 25: 462, power of attorney dated 9 Oct 1822 from Bass F. Winn to Edmund Hardy, both of Lunenburg, concerning the estate of his father Elisha Winn, who died in Madison County.

[40] Madison County Probate Record Book 2: 211, 1822 court order to sell enslaved persons in Elisha’s estate because they could not be divided among six “legatees,” sic, heirs. Film #5176365, image #220 of 1767.

[41] Deed Book 12: 523, deed dated 23 Oct 1776 from Daniel Winn to Alexander Winn for natural love and affection and 5 shillings, 325 acres on the heads of Hounds Cr. adjacent Thomas Winn, “carpenter” (son of Col. Thomas) and Daniel’s son Thomas Jr. Daniel gave Alexander an additional 46 acres in 1777. Deed Book 13: 37, deed dated 30 Jul 1777 from Daniel Winn to his son Alexander, 46 acres on the head branches of Hounds Cr. adjacent another tract conveyed by Daniel to Alexander.

[42] Will Book 9: 223, will of Alexander Winn dated 1 Dec 1825 and proved 14 Jan 1828. Sell entire estate and divide among children Lyddall Winn, Daniel M. Winn, Hinchy Winn, William Winn, Alexander Winn Jr., Jonathan P. Winn, Joseph E. Winn, Asa B. Winn, Frances G. Pyles, Rebecca M. Jackson, Eliza R. Snead, Pamela B. Oliver, and Sally B. Morgan.

[43] Men named Lyddal Bacon abounded in Lunenburg. E.g., Will Book 2: 428, will of Lyddal Bacon dated and proved in 1775 naming, among others, a son Lyddal Bacon (Jr.). I have a Lunenburg ancestor named Lyddal Bacon Estes.

[44] Deed Book 24: 234, marriage contract dated 5 Jul 1816 between Alexander Winn and Jane Stone, Edmund Winn as trustee of Jane’s personal property.

[45] Daniel’s son William is first shown as a tithable on Daniel’s list in 1772, so he was born by 1756. He was not listed as a tithable in 1769, establishing he was born after 1753.

[46] Deed Book 13: 29, deed dated 23 Apr 1777 from Daniel Winn to William Winn for natural love and affection and £ 60,  585 acres on both sides of Hounds Creek.

[47] Deed Book 13: 387, deed dated Jan. 1781 from William Winn to Isaac Medly, 300 acres on Hounds Creek witnessed by Joseph and Alexander Winn. No dower release mentioned.

[48] The National Archives and Records Administration’s service file for William can be viewed  here.

[49] Orsamus Winn was listed as one of Daniel Winn’s tithables in the 1772 Lunenburg tax list but was not shown on the 1769 list. He thus reached taxable age (16) during 1770 – 1772.

[50] I cannot find my source for Frances Winn’s maiden name. Orsamus Winn’s will proved her given name was Frances. She also left a will in Lunenburg, something one doesn’t often see in the 19th century. My notes indicate her maiden name was Frances Jeter, although I failed to record a source. Two Jeter men witnessed her will, which is circumstantial evidence of her maiden name.

[51] Deed Book 13: 376, deed dated 12 Apr 1781 from Daniel Winn to his son Orsamus Winn, both of Lunenburg, 605 acres on branches of Falls and Hounds Creeks adjacent Thomas Winn and Robert Crenshaw.

[52] Will Book 8: 120, will of Orsamus Winn of Lunenburg dated 13 Jul 1819, proved 13 Nov 1820. Children Booker Winn, Edmund P. Winn, Eliza Elliott Winn, Mariah Hughes?, Janet (or Jean/Jane) Snead,  Frances P. Toon, and Lewellyn F. Winn.

[53] Deed Book 25: 424, deed dated 27 Jun 1822 from Munford Winn of Sumner Co., TN to Edmund Winn of Lunenburg, power of attorney in the estate of his father Orsamus Winn, dec’d.

[54] James Winn first appeared as a tithable in Daniel’s list in 1774. He was not on the 1772 tax list, so he probably reached age 16 in 1773 or 1774.

[55] James Winn’s military muster rolls at the National Archives can be viewed  at this link.,

[56] United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783: May 1777 muster roll, Sergeant James Winn and Corporal Elisha Winn in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment. Available online  here.

Id., Capt. Billy Haley Averys Company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, January 1778, Sergeant James Winn and Corporal Elisha Winn. NARA Series M246, Roll 103, online  here.

[57] See Valley Forge Muster Roll Project here.

[58] Lack of a pension application could mean that a soldier didn’t live long enough to file under the 1832 act, or he was unable to prove that he was indigent, a requirement of prior pension acts.

[59] Deed Book 22: 15, deed dated 24 Oct 1808, James Winn to Alexander Winn, all rights of James’s wife Mary Ann in the estates of John Winn, dec’d, and Ann Winn, dec’d, her mother. James is indebted to Alexander Winn as administrator of the estate of Peter Winn, dec’d, and the “conveyance” was security for the debt. Lyddal Winn (son of Alexander) was a witness.

[60] Id. See also Deed Book 21: 188, deed of trust from James Winn Sr. and trustee Lyddal Winn to Thomas Townsend, all of Lunenburg, trust secured by seven enslaved persons, livestock, most of James Winn’s estate. Witnesses Peter Lefflett, A. Winn, Alexander Winn Jr.; Deed Book 22: 8, pursuant to deed of trust to Lyddal Winn, trustee for Thomas Townsend, James Winn consents to sale by Townsend of an enslaved person to Alexander Winn, who has conveyed her to Samuel Vaughan for $100. Witnesses Richard Winn, Alexander Winn Jr.

[61] John Vogt and T. William Kethley, Jr., Brunswick County Marriages, 1750 – 1853 (Athens, GA:  Iberian Publishing Co., 1988).

[62] Here is Galanus’s original pension application file at the National Archives. And here is Will Graves’s excellent transcription, which is much   easier on the eyes.

[63] The Democrat, Huntsville, AL, issue of 1 Jun 1839, page 3, col. 6, Vol. XXV, No. 185. Headline: “Another Revolutionary Soldier gone.” “DIED – On the 15th ultimo, at his residence near Lowevillle, Madison county, Ala., Mr. Gallenus Winn, aged 79 years. He was a Revolutionary Soldier, and drew a Pension for the last seven or eight years, and a native of Lunenburg county, Va. He entered the army in his seventeenth year and served three tours. For the last eight or ten years he has suffered much from a stroke of the palsy, which rendered him almost entirely helpless. In early life he emigrated to South Carolina, and from there to this county, where he has resided for the last eleven or twelve years.”

[64] Distributees of Galanus Winn’s estate were Andrew Winn, the heirs of Alexander Winn, Edmund Winn, Patsy Dendy (widow of William Dendy), Charles Todd and wife Elizabeth Winn Todd, John B. Finlay and wife Rebecca Winn Finlay, and the heirs of Sally Winn. Madison Co. Probate Record 9: 438, 15 Mar 1841.

[65] Laurens Co., SC Deed Book K: 243, 10 Mar 1803 conveyance by Alexander Winn, part of a tract sold by Galanus Winn “to his son Daniel Winn;” Laurens Co. Will Book D-1: 368, letters of administration granted to Galanus Winn on the estate of Daniel Winn, 25 Mar 1817.

Lunenburg Winns: Part I of ???

This is another case of “my hair’s on fire,” pronounced mah har’s on far. I decided to write an article sorting out three Winn families of Lunenburg County, Virginia. I should have been warned off by a 1762 deed from Thomas Winn to Daniel Winn witnessed by John Winn, John Winn, and John Winn.[1] There were no designations identifying the witnesses, e.g., “Senior,” “Junior,” or “John Winn of Amelia County.” <Insert demented laughter here>

Red flags notwithstanding, I plowed ahead. One objective was to provide sufficient information for you to track any of these Winns if you wish — or perhaps have an Aha! moment when you spot a possible ancestor. A second objective was to spotlight a persistent error about these families.

The subjects

The subjects are three Winns who were born in the first quarter of the 18th century and died in the last quarter in Lunenburg.[2] Y-DNA establishes they were genetic relatives.[3] Here they are:[4]

  • Thomas Winn, the grantor in that baffling 1762 deed. Let’s call him Col. Thomas because he was a Lunenburg militia colonel.
  • Daniel Winn, the grantee in the 1762 deed. Daniel, bless his heart, has a reasonably unique name and doesn’t require a nickname to distinguish him from other men having the same name. Daniel and Col. Thomas were brothers.[5]
  • John Winn of Lunenburg, as opposed to John Winn of Amelia. Amelia John was a brother of Col. Thomas and Daniel. Lunenburg John was not their brother, although Y-DNA testing proves a genetic relationship. The three patriarchs are also connected in many Lunenburg records. Lunenburg John is surely at least a distant cousin of Daniel and Col. Thomas, although I can’t figure out the family relationship.

This begins by briefly discussing each patriarch and  identifying their children. That is also where it ends, because the three men had thirty-one children among them. Information about grandchildren is therefore limited, so far. In fact, I now find this article is so long that I must break it up into two and perhaps three or more parts….

… this Part I, about the persistent Winn error and Col. Thomas Winn.

… Part II about Daniel Winn and Lunenburg John Winn.

… additional articles with further detail about children and grandchildren.

First, a persistent error about these families

There is a mountain of disinformation on the web about the three senior Lunenburg Winns. Literally thousands of trees at Ancestry attach at least one of the three men to the line of Robert and Mary Sloman Eppes Wynne of Charles City and Prince George Counties, Virginia. Y-DNA testing has conclusively proved that cannot be correct. Descendants of Robert and Mary Wynne’s line do not match descendants of Col. Thomas, Daniel, or Lunenburg John.

Robert Wynne was an interesting character. He was the Speaker of the Virginia “Long Parliament” and a grandson of a mayor of Canterbury. He owned land in Kent. His grandparents died of the plague. One can understand why Winn descendants of the Lunenburg families might be happy to identify him as an ancestor, especially since Daniel Winn once lived in Prince George.

The mistake was understandable, at least until Y-DNA disproved it. The records of Charles City and Prince George are incomplete. There are also ambiguities in surviving records and Wynne wills. Furthermore, identifying the actual family of origin of Col. Thomas and Daniel involves analyzing a vast quantity of county records and connecting a multitude of dots. And I still haven’t identified the family of origin of Lunenburg John Winn, although Y-DNA also proves he was not from Speaker Wynne’s line.

Making him even more attractive as an ancestor, Speaker Robert’s line has a link to a fabulous historical figure familiar even to schoolchildren. Here’s the connection. A woman named Anne Stith married Robert Bolling as his second wife. Robert Bolling’s first wife, Jane Rolfe, was the granddaughter of Pocahontas. Anne Stith Bolling’s sister was Agnes Stith Wynne, wife of Speaker Robert’s son Thomas Wynne.

Speaker Robert’s line was fun for reasons besides the research. Among other things, descendants of the Robert Bolling-Anne Stith marriage include a lovely woman who was once my younger son’s partner. When she introduced herself as a Bolling and said her family was from Virginia, I said, oh, hell, I know the Virginia Bollings! My son rolled his eyes and asked how on earth that could be. Every genealogist who has done research in the Virginia Southside during the 17th and 18th centuries, I explained, knows the Bollings on account of Pocahontas. Failing to spot them would be akin to reading the Old Testament without noticing God.

OK, enough about the Speaker Robert error. Let’s get on to the Lunenburg patriarchs.

Patriarch #1: Col. Thomas Winn, born circa 1718, died in 1781[6]

Col. Thomas was the most prominent of the three “senior” Winns. He was a son of Richard Winn of Hanover County, Virginia.[7] Hanover Richard’s wife by at least 1733 was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger Winn, the widow of Mr. Pledger.[8] She was a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Wilkes.[9] I don’t know whether Col. Thomas was Phoebe’s child or the son of an earlier wife, or whether Hanover Richard even had a marriage prior to Phoebe.[10]

I first found Col. Thomas mentioned in 1743 as “Page’s overseer” in Hanover County.[11] He appeared in Lunenburg records for the first time in a 1746 deed executed when he was still residing in Hanover.[12]

He lived a high-profile public life in Lunenburg. He was a surveyor of a road in his area and was appointed to take tax lists, both positions of trust in the community.[13] In 1751, he was sworn as a justice of the Lunenburg county court with the honorific “gentleman.”[14] In 1755, he was sworn a “Captain of Foot” of the Lunenburg militia.[15] He was a wealthy landowner; by 1761, he had amassed over 3,500 acres.[16] In 1765, a commission appointed him Colonel and he was recommended by the Governor as a “fit person to be added to the Commission of the Peace” for Lunenburg.[17] In 1772, the Governor of Virginia appointed him county coroner.[18] He was a vestryman of Cumberland Parish from 1766 through 1780.[19]

His first wife’s identity is unproved. She is traditionally identified as Elizabeth Bannister, perhaps because she had children named Bannister and Elizabeth.[20] Col. Thomas’s widow Sarah is usually identified as Sarah Bacon. In yet another case of combining two different people into one, many internet trees identify Col. Thomas’s wife as “Elizabeth Sarah” or “Sarah Elizabeth.” A Lunenburg chancery suit proves beyond dispute that Col. Thomas had children by more than one wife, however. And his widow appeared in Lunenburg records simply as “Sarah Winn” with no middle name. I haven’t seen proof of her maiden name, although there is circumstantial evidence for Bacon.[21]

Sarah (Bacon?) Winn was apparently a strong woman. She outlived three of her four known children, a terribly cruel fate. She was guardian and presumably caretaker for her dying son Washington. She executed an agreement with her surviving son Edmund Winn and a John Winn Jr. (perhaps a son of Daniel Winn).[22] Edmund promised to build a house for John Jr. on the land where Edmund and Sarah lived. As a result of prior transactions, John Jr. would own the land after Sarah’s death. The agreement provided that neither Sarah nor Edmund would prevent John Jr. from using the tract. Edmund, however, stipulated that he was bound only for his own conduct, not the conduct of his mother.

Col. Thomas had seven surviving children by (perhaps) Elizabeth Bannister and four by his widow Sarah (probably) Bacon. All eleven are identified in a chancery court suit concerning the estate of his youngest son, Washington Winn.[23] In addition to Col. Thomas’s children, the suit establishes the married names of some of the women, the identities of some grandchildren, and relationships among the eleven children.[24] It also proves that Col. Thomas had at least two wives. Here are his children.

Children by Col. Thomas’s first wife, birth order uncertain:

Bannister Winn was probably born between 1753 and 1756 based on his appearances as a tithable on Col. Thomas’s personal property tax lists. Bannister was in Chatham County, Georgia by at least 1793, when he was on a tax list there.[25] His wife was Jane Barnard. [26] He died intestate in Chatham in November 1801.[27] He and Jane had five children.[28]

Elizabeth Winn married her first cousin Joseph Winn, a son of Daniel Winn. Joseph was a Captain in the Revolutionary War. He died in 1800, leaving a will naming Elizabeth and nine children.[29] If you are descended from Joseph and Elizabeth, you are a “double” Winn – descended from both Col. Thomas (Elizabeth’s father) and Daniel (Joseph’s father). You are also a lock for admission to the D.A.R. or S.A.R. if that is your thing, assuming you can prove Joseph was your ancestor. Proving that he was a Revolutionary War vet is a piece of cake.

Thomas Winn (Jr.) was born about 1748.[30] He died in Abbeville County, South Carolina in early 1797. His first wife was Philadelphia MNU, identified in family oral tradition as a cousin. His will mentions his brothers Bannister and William, as well as his half-brother Washington Winn, so there is no doubt that Thomas Winn of Abbeville was a son of Col. Thomas.[31] Thomas Jr.’s second wife was Lettice Martin Carter McFarland, who had been widowed twice. They married about 1786 in Abbeville. Thomas Jr.’s will named nine children, seven by his first wife and two by Lettice.[32]

Richard Winn. I am not certain when Richard was born or where he migrated. He was still alive in 1796 when the Lunenburg Court issued its order in the chancery court suit concerning his half-brother Washington Winn’s estate. I don’t even know whether he left Lunenburg. He may be the Richard Winn whose fairly small estate was probated there in 1807, although I doubt it.[33] Some Winn researchers believe the Richard Winn who married Sarah Hall in Mecklenburg County in 1775 was the son of Col. Thomas. That’s possible, I am just not aware of compelling evidence one way or the other. Alternatively, he may be the Richard Winn who was a surveyor in Laurens and Craven Counties, South Carolina in 1767. Surveyor was a position of trust (e.g., George Washington), which sounds like Col. Thomas’s family. Richard also witnessed a deed in 1772 as Captain Richard Winn — ditto. He obtained a land grant in Laurens in 1785 and sold it the same year.[34] I didn’t find a Richard Winn in either Laurens or Craven in a census. I would love to hear from someone who has evidence about Col. Thomas’s son Richard.

William Winn was probably born during 1749-1753 based on his appearance as a tithable of Col. Thomas. His wife was probably named Elizabeth (nickname Betty), maiden name unknown. They were married by April 1779, when she appeared in two deeds relinquishing her dower interest.[35] They may have moved to Abbeville, South Carolina with his brother Thomas Jr. Some William Winn is listed in the 1790 Abbeville census with a large family and a number of enslaved persons.[36]  I have no further information on William and would appreciate hearing from someone who does.

John Winn, who predeceased his father, died in 1768. He fought in the French and Indian War.[37] He had three children, one of whom was born after he died.[38] John named Thomas Winn an executor and specifically identified him as his father.

Mourning Winn married John Hix and remained in Lunenburg. As is often the case with 18th-century women, the records reveal little about her.[39] John Hix named their twelve children in his will.[40]

Children by Col. Thomas’s widow Sarah:

Henrietta Maria Winn, wife of Edmund P. Bacon. They had four children. She died before November 1796, when the Lunenburg court issued an order in the chancery suit case that proved her siblings, half-siblings, and children.[41]

Edmund Winn was born about 1765. Like his father, he was a justice of the Lunenburg County court. A cross-stitch sampler preserved by the family says he married Elizabeth H. Cousins in 1789. The sampler also names six children born during 1791 through 1812.[42] In 1818, he married Sarah A. Winn Snead, a widow. She was probably a daughter of James Winn, granddaughter of John Winn, and great-granddaughter of Daniel. I think. Incredibly, he left no will. His estate included 36 enslaved persons and was valued at $13,100. The record of his estate sale in November 1847 required four pages in a will book. His widow Sally A. Winn was the major purchaser.

Washington Winn was born between 1773 and 1777; he died between June 1793 and January 1794.[43] The chancery suit concerning his estate proves he was unmarried and childless at his death, despite claims to the contrary in some family trees. His estate was appraised at £ 324.10.6. in February 1794.[44] That amount did not include the value of land Washington inherited. One can understand why there was a lawsuit over his estate. With those sums at stake, his executor and heirs would undoubtedly have preferred a court-ordered distribution, especially considering that Washington’s mother, the headstrong Sarah Winn, was a party.

Keturah Winn, wife of John Hardy. They had five children. She also died before the Lunenburg chancery court order, which proved the names of her children [45]

And that is all I have for now on Col. Thomas, unless we get lucky and someone provides more information. Up next: Daniel Winn, brother of Col. Thomas.

See you on down the road. Soon, I hope.

Robin

[1] Deed Book 7: 232, deed from Thomas Winn to Daniel Winn conveying 1,497 acres on Little Hounds Cr. and Great Hounds Cr., part of 2,959 acres granted to Thomas Winn in 1761. Witnesses were three men named John Winn. Unless expressly noted otherwise, all citations in this article are to Lunenburg deed, will, tax, and court records.

[2] So far as I know, birth years have not been proved for any of the three Winn patriarchs. They died within an 18-year span of each other (1781 through 1799). All three had grown children and grandchildren when they died. Only one had minor children, and they were by a second wife.

[3] Y-DNA testing of descendants of the patriarchs (Col. Thomas Winn, Daniel Winn, and Lunenburg John Winn) establish that they shared a common Winn ancestor, see this article.

[4] This ignores a rogue named Samuel Wynne, see an article about him here. He is probably a relative of Col. Thomas, Daniel, and Lunenburg John. However, there seems to be no Y-DNA evidence on the issue.

[5] A book about Daniel Winn’s family says that Col. Thomas referred to Joseph, a son of Daniel, as his “nephew” in a deposition. Naomi Giles Chadwick, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons (Riverside, CA: 1976) xiii. Ms. Chadwick did not provide a source (!!@#%!!&!) and I haven’t found the deposition she referenced. There is also good circumstantial evidence that Col. Thomas and Daniel were brothers.

[6] There doesn’t seem to be evidence of Col. Thomas’s exact birth year. The St. Paul’s Parish (Hanover Co.) vestry book has an entry for 3 Mar 1743 mentioning Thomas Winn, “Page’s Overseer,” in a processioning order. C. G. Chamberlayne, The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Virginia 1706-1786 (Richmond: Division of Purchase and Printing, 1940). It was not uncommon for young men from well-to-do families to get OJT as another wealthy family’s overseer. A reasonable guess is that Col. Thomas was about 25 at the time, thus born circa 1718.

[7] This fact has a convoluted evidentiary trail. The short story: there is excellent circumstantial evidence that Col. Thomas and John Winn of Amelia County were brothers. Solid circumstantial evidence also establishes that Amelia John was a son of Richard Winn of Hanover Co., whose wife was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger Winn. It follows that Col. Thomas was also a son of Richard Winn of Hanover. See a discussion in this article.

[8] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979). Court Records at 13-14 and 16-18 record two fascinating Winn conveyances. In a lease and release dated 19-20 Jan. 1733, Richard Winn and his wife Phebe of St. Paul’s Parish conveyed to John Winn a 517-acre plantation on Chickahominy Sw. “purchased by said Phebe in her widowhood by name of Phebe Pledger.” On January 31 and February 1, 1733, John Winn of St. Paul’s Parish reconveyed the same tract to Richard; his wife Elizabeth released dower. A second John Winn witnessed the transaction. I don’t know the purpose of the land exchange.

[9] Id. at 148-149, agreement dated 6 Aug 1734 between Joseph Wilks of Blissland Parish, New Kent Co. and Richard Winn. Richard agreed to identify land (part of Richard’s tract) for Joseph and wife Elizabeth to live on; Richard also promised to build all necessary buildings and lend enslaved persons to Joseph. John Winn and John Winn (!!!) witnessed Joseph’s bond.

[10] I suspect Hanover Richard Winn did have a wife prior to Phebe. That is pure speculation based solely on the fact that the name Phebe doesn’t appear even once that I have found in the Lunenburg Winn family, which recycled given names ad nauseum.

[11] See Note 6.

[12] Deed Book 1: 71, deed from Samuel Wynne of Brunswick to Thomas Wynne of St. Paul’s Parish in Hanover, 150 acres in what was then Brunswick and is now Lunenburg. John Winn, John Stone, and Richard Stone witnessed the deed. The tract was on what is possibly the most well-known creek in Southside Virginia genealogy. In a fine example of irony, it is now called “Modest Creek.” It’s original uncensored name was “F*cking Creek.” See the article linked in Note 4.

[13] Order Book 1: 397, Thomas Winn appointed surveyor of the road from Nottoway across Modest Cr.; OB 13: 67, he was appointed to take tax lists.

[14] Order Book 2: 446, Thomas Wynne, gent., was sworn as a justice of the county court.

[15] Id. at 400.

[16] Deed Book 1: 71, 1746 deed from Samuel Wynne to Thomas Wynne, 150 acres; 1747 patent, 425 acres (can’t find citation, but it can be found in  Cavaliers and Pioneers Vol. 5); Deed Book 7: 231, referencing 1761 patent for 2,959 acres by Thomas Winn.

[17] Order Book 11: 86; id. at 84.

[18] Deed Book 12: 132, Thomas Winn’s bond as county coroner.

[19] Landon C. Bell, Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg County, Virginia, 1746-1816 Vestry Book (Richmond: The William Byrd Press, Inc., 1930).

[20] My friend and distant cousin William D. Lindsey exhaustively researched the Bannister family. He says he found no evidence that Col. Thomas’s first wife was Elizabeth Bannister, although he didn’t disprove that possibility.

[21] Sarah Winn named a son Edmund/Edmond. That was a frequent given name in the Bacon family. John Bacon of Lunenburg definitely had a daughter Sarah. Will Book 1: 258. In 1759, John Bacon’s daughter Sarah chose her own guardian, which meant she was born between 1738 and 1745. She was still single in May 1760, so her children would have been born between 1761 and 1779, when Col. Thomas wrote his will. Her son Edmund was born about 1765; her youngest son Washington was born between 1772 and 1777. Sarah Bacon thus “fits” to be the same woman as Sarah Winn, wife of Col. Thomas.

[22] Deed Book 25: 82, agreement dated 16 Jan 1820 between Edmund Winn and John Winn Jr.; Sarah Winn also signed. See also Lunenburg Deed Book 24: 386, deed from two children of Bannister Winn to John Winn Jr. confirming a prior deed to John Winn Jr. for Bannister’s remainder interest in the tract after Sarah’s life estate ended.

[23] Order Book 17: 134. This is one of the best pieces of genealogical evidence I’ve ever seen, even though the court’s order has two errors. First, it incorrectly named Edmund P. Bacon as Edward P. Bacon. Second, it switched the married surnames of Col. Thomas and Sarah’s daughters Keturah and Henrietta Maria. The court identified Keturah as Keturah Bacon and Henrietta as Henrietta Hardy. The reverse was correct. Keturah Winn was married to John Hardy; Henrietta Winn was married to Edmund P. Bacon.

[24] Among other things, the suit proves that Joseph Winn’s wife Elizabeth was a daughter of Col. Thomas. Since a married women had no legal existence of her own, her husband had to be a named party to any lawsuit. The suit also proves which children were Sarah’s and which were children of a prior wife. Under the Virginia law of intestate descent and distribution, the siblings of “the whole blood” received a full share of their brother Washington Winn’s estate. Siblings of “the half blood,” who had a different mother than Washington, received a half share. Washington, an unmarried minor, died intestate.

[25] FamilySearch.org film # 8628429, image #15, 1793 tax list for Chatham Co., GA included Bannister Winn.

[26] FamilySearch.org film # 5765260, image #1011 et seq. Bannister died intestate and I found no distribution of property to his heirs, although he owned both land and enslaved persons. He was described as “late of Chatham County, planter.” His estate file establishes that his wife was Jane Barnard Winn.

[27] Id. Administrators’ bond for the estate of Bannister Winn by William Barnard and Jane Winn (sister of Barnard) dated 27 Nov 1801.

[28] Bannister’s son Barnard Winn died single in 1806, see id., image #1022, Chatham Co., GA, 1806 estate file containing the will of Bernard Winn naming his sister Jane Williams; Lunenburg Deed Book 22: 12, deed dated 10 Nov 1807 from Bannister’s widow Jane Winn and children Jane Winn Webb Williams (wife of David Davis Williams), Rebecca Winn Williams (wife of John F. Williams), and minors Thomas Winn and Charlotte Winn. Charlotte subsequently married a Mr. Piles/Pyles, see Deed Book 24: 386, deed from Thomas Winn and Charlotte Winn Piles, children of Bannister Winn, confirming the deed which had been executed when they were minors.

[29] Will Book 5: 20, will of Joseph Winn dated 28 Mar 1800, proved 12 Jun 1800. Wife Elizabeth, children Daniel, Joseph, Bannister, Sarah B. Winn, Kitturah Winn, Minor Winn, Mourning Winn Gunn, Elizabeth Winn Brown, and Benjamin Winn, the ne’er-do-well son who was my ancestor.

[30] William D. Lindsey, a thoughtful and thorough researcher who is descended from Thomas Jr., estimated his birth year and provided information about his wives.

[31] Abbeville Co., SC Will Book 1: 173, will of Thomas Winn dated 31 Oct 1796, proved 28 Mar 1797. Wife Lettice. Two younger children Lettice and Robert, the latter under age. Sons Abner, Elemuel, Thomas, Elisha (money due from brother Washington Winn’s estate in Lunenburg), and Richard Winn. Daughters Sarah and Elizabeth Winn. Mentions money “in the hands of” his brothers William Winn and Bannister Winn.

[32] Id.

[33] Will Book 6: 233, inventory and appraisal of the estate of Richard Winn, dec’d, dated 23 Dec 1807. Estate included one enslaved person. There was only one bed and one saddle, a man’s. It is a good bet Richard was single.

[34] Laurens Co., SC Deed Book D: 319.

[35] Deed Book 13: 219, deed dated 28 Apr 1779 from William Winn and wife Elizabeth to Thomas Winn the elder, both of Lunenburg, conveying tracts of 400 acres and 167.5 acres; Deed Book 13: 265, deed dated 14 Oct 1779 from William Winn and wife Betty to Minor Wilkes, 200 acres.

[36] 1790 federal census, Abbeville Co., SC, William Winn, 1-4-7. One male > 45, b. by 1745, 4 males < 16, and 7 females. Six enslaved persons.

[37] Thomas Winn proved that John Winn enlisted and served his time, and that Harrison Winn was his son and heir, for a bounty land application for service in the French and Indian War. Lloyd Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore:  Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988).

[38] Will Book 2: 326, will of John Winn dated Mar 1768, proved May 1768. John named his wife, children Harrison and Betty, and child “wife Susannah is now big with.” Executors father Thomas Winn and Joseph Winn.

[39] Col. Thomas Winn’s will named his son-in-law John Hix and John’s wife Mourning. Will Book 3: 75, will of Thomas Winn dated 18 Apr 1779, proved 12 Apr 1781.

[40] Will Book 4: 149a, will of John Hix dated 19 Feb 1795, proved 8 Dec 1796. Children Elizabeth Hawkins, Aggy Gee, Sally Gee, Martha Blankenship, Susanna Hix, Thomas Hix, Nancy Bevill, William Hix, James Hix, Nathaniel Hix, John Hix, and Frances Haggard.

[41] Order Book 17: 134. Henrietta Maria/Marie Winn Bacon’s children were Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon.

[42] The sampler identifies Edmund and Elizabeth’s children as Ketturah W. Winn, Henrietta M. W. Winn, Frances E. Winn, Thomas W. Winn, Edmund C. Winn, and Harriett H. Winn.

[43] Several records establish ranges for Washington Winn’s birth and death dates. He chose his mother Sarah as his guardian on Oct 1791, which meant he was born by 1777. Order Book 16: 194. He was still a minor and alive in June 1793, when Sarah produced an account of his estate in her role as his guardian. Id. at 295. He was thus born after 1772 but by 1777. He had died by January 9, 1794, when the court granted his brother Edmund administration of his estate. Id. at 348.

[44] Will Book 4: 45a, inventory and appraisal of the estate of Washington Winn, dec’d.

[45] Children of Keturah Winn Hardy and John Hardy were Keturah Hardy, Armstead/Armistead Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy, and Jeane Hardy. Order Book 17: 134.

A Winn Story: Henrietta Winn Robertson of Sumner Co., TN

Time for a quick detour from the Rankin families of Frederick, VA and southwestern PA …

One of the nice things about family history and DNA tests is that you  meet a lot of nice people. Many of them are relatives, do good research, and are happy to share information and great family stories.

My distant Winn cousin Terri Works of Jackson, California emailed just such a story. Terri is descended from Daniel Winn of Lunenburg County, Virginia, who died there about 1799. Her ancestors are Orsamus Winn, one of Daniel’s nine sons, and Orsamus’s son Woodson Winn. Her Winn line includes a great-great-great-aunt Henrietta Winn, born in 1832 in Sumner County, TN. Henrietta and her brothers Richard and William Winn were children of Woodson Winn and his wife Jane Wilkes.

Here is Terri’s story about Henrietta.

In October 1848, when she was 16, Henrietta Winn married William T. Robertson in Sumner County. He is the bad guy in this story.

Henrietta’s father Woodson died in 1852, leaving his estate in equal shares to all his children. Henrietta sued her brothers Richard and William Winn, executors of Woodson’s estate, AND her husband, for her share. Since she had no standing in a court of law as a married woman, a male friend sued in her behalf. In the pleadings, William Robertson is described as “clever but improvident.” The suit ended in her favor: the court ordered that she was to receive her share of her father’s estate free from any liabilities of her present or any future husband. The brothers, however, claimed that they didn’t have the money in hand but had plans to pay her.

In September 1853, Henrietta sued her husband William Robertson for divorce. Here are some excerpts from her suit (unclear words or phrases are noted):

“She would further show, that they have two children. The oldest named Isaac is about three years old and the other named Edward is about twelve months old….

… she was on a visit to her sister and while there, the [defendant William Robertson] took the child to his mother against her wish and request. Shortly after he carried the child to an examination (? word is unclear) in the neighborhood and while there became intoxicated and on his …(transcript unclear) … drunk, the child in some way had his thigh broke; and the defendant rode up to a (???) … in the road, with the child before him, with its leg dangling about and the child suffering the most excruciating pain. The [defendant], being too drunk to feel or appreciate the [pain] of this child. A physician was called in and the conduct of the defendant was most shameful while the broke limb was being set…..

… since the settlement of the property upon her (from her father’s estate) he has done any thing in his power to aggravate her and render her unhappy. …..(the following is struck out: He accused her of having taken medicine to produce an abortion) and also accused her of a (lack) of chastity and of being too intimate with her brother-in-law. He has also cursed her and used the most insulting languages to her -….the [defendant] has taken the oldest child and refuses to give it up…he also has a bed and clothing given to her by her father which he refuses to give up.

The court granted Henrietta’s divorce from William Robertson in October 1853. She had also sought custody of the children, asked to have her maiden name restored, and requested the names of her two sons be changed to Winn. You’ve got to admire that kind of courage and determination in an era when women had so few rights.

Henrietta won the divorce battle. Unfortunately, she lost the war concerning her two children: the 1860 census shows her son Isaac F. Roberson [sic], age 10, in the household of his father, W. T. Roberson. William then had a new wife named Mary, two small children with the surname Roberson, and two older children with the surname Mungall, presumably Mary’s by an earlier marriage. There was no sign of Edward, who had apparently died.

 There is nevertheless a modestly happy ending. Henrietta married G. S. Barnett, a neighbor who gave a deposition in the lawsuits against Richard Winn concerning Woodson’s estate.  Henrietta and Mr. Barnett went on to have two daughters. Henrietta most likely died between 1868 and 1870, probably in Montgomery County, Tennessee.

Note: all of the research is Terri’s. She found the information about Henrietta’s suit to obtain her inheritance and the divorce proceedings among the records in the Sumner County archives in Gallatin, Tennessee. Thanks again to Terri for the research and for sharing the story!

Virginia Winn Series Part 7: Portrait of Mrs. John Winn of Hanover County

My friend and cousin Sandra Wynne Irwin sent to me an image of this wonderful oil painting.

She’s absolutely charming, isn’t she, despite the poor quality of this reproduction?

The Smithsonian catalog identifies her as Mrs. John Winn of Hanover County, Virginia. The portrait was painted during 1735–1740. The artist reportedly lived in Hanover at one time during that period (more on that below). Thus, this lovely woman’s husband was almost certainly one of the two John Winns who appeared in two 1733 Hanover County deeds. If you’ve forgotten the two frustrating John Winns in those deeds, check out Part 6 of this Winn series.

The conventional wisdom is that Mrs. Winn’s maiden name was Mary Pledger, per the Middlesex Theory (see also Part 6). That’s what you will consistently find online, although there are still a few holdouts who believe that Mary Pledger married John Winn of Amelia County as his first wife. He was a son of Richard and Phoebe Winn of Hanover County: Richard, according to the Middlesex Theory, was John Winn’s brother.

None of the trees I have looked at offer any evidence that Mary Pledger married John Winn. So far as I know, the only evidence is the fact that she witnessed those two John Winn/Richard Winn deeds in Hanover. That’s good, so far as it goes, but … is that all we’ve got?

Undeterred by my inability to uncover conventional evidence, I have been deep-diving into an odd combination of sources, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum Catalog, an old issue of The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, and a compiled family history writen in 1932 titled Ancestors and Descendants of John Quarles Winn and His Wife Mary Liscome Jarvis. All in an effort to find proof of Mrs. Winn’s identity. No luck, but it was fun looking, so I’m sharing the deep dive.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum Catalog says this  in relevant part about the painting

“Portrait of Mrs. John Winn of Jassamine Lawn, Hanover County, Virginia, (painting).

Artist:                     Charles Bridges, active circa 1735-1740, painter.

Dates:                      Circa 1738.

Medium:                Oil on canvas

Dimenensions:  49 x 40 (inches)

Subject:                  Portrait female – Winn, John, Mrs. (Mary Pledger) – full length

Owner:                    Anonymous Collection

Provenance:       Formerly in the collect of the family of Mrs. John Winn; Girard Burwell Lambert, Millwood, VA until 1948; Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Christopher, Millwood, VA, 1948; Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, NY Sale (Sept. 18, 1976), lot 279; Anonymous Collection; Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, NY Sale 4999 (Jan. 1983), lot 182; Craig & Tarlton, Raleigh, North Carolina until Nov. 5, 1985; Christie’s, New York, NY Sale Raleigh-6034 (Nov. 5-6, 1985), lot 261

Remarks:            Mary was the second wife of John Winn (baptised Jan. 20, 1707-died ca. 1789), a substantial landowner and planter in Virginia. Mary and John married in 1738 and lived on his Hanover County plantation “Jessamine Lawn.” They had five children, the eldest of whom was born ca. 1749. This portrait of Mary Winn is believed to be her wedding portrait painted in 1738. In 1738, the artist Charles Bridges also lived in Hanover County, Virginia. The painting descended through the family to Girard Burwell Lambert, “Carter Hall,” Millwood, Virginia, the great-great-great-grandson of the sitter. Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Christopher acquired the painting in 1948 when they purchased “Carter Hall.” The painting was listed as attributed to Charles Bridges in both the 1983 Sotheby Parke Bernet sale catalog and in the 1985 Christie’s sale catalog. IAP files contain additional information supporting Charles Bridges as the artist of the portrait.

References:      Sotheby Parke Bernet, Sale 499 (Jan. 27, 1983), lot 182;m Christie’s, Sale Raleigh-6034 (Nov. 5-6, 1985), lot 261; Winn, B. Meredith, Jr., 2011

The information offered in “remarks” obviously echoes the Middlesex Theory, identifying Mary, the subject of the portrait, as nèe Pledger, and as the second wife of John Winn of Hanover (see, again, Part 6).

“References” shows the Smithsonian’s sources. They include B. (Bernard) Meredith Winn Jr., who provided information to the Smithsonian in (apparently) 2011. Mr. Winn is presumably a descendant of John and Mary Winn of Hanover, or is surely from a related line. If he has taken a YDNA test, he is probably a decent match for the lines of Col. Thomas Winn and Daniel Winn of Lunenburg, John Winn of Amelia, and Minor Winn of Fauquier. I do wish he would upgrade his test to “Big Y” so all of his distant cousins, myself included, could pinpoint the location in the U.K. from which the Winns migrated. I especially wish he would share any evidence he might have about the Hanover Winns circa 1730–1789, because he might have something besides the Christ Church parish register and those three darn Hanover deeds. Perhaps he has a family Bible, or at least a family oral tradition.

I don’t have the nerve to track down someone who is probably about my age (i.e., old and increasingly cranky) and ask him to produce some proof about the identity of his ancestress. Even the most hardcore genealogist has her limits.

Please just keep in mind that what the Smithsonian Catalog says isn’t evidence of Mary Winn’s maiden name.

There is another Winn compiled family history which deems the identity of Mrs. John Winn unproved. Otherwise, it shares the Middlesex Theory, tracing John Winn’s ancestry to Richard and Sarah Winn of Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County. For that view, see Ancestors and Descendants of John Quarles Winn and His Wife Mary Liscome Jarvis (Baltimore: Lord Baltimore Press, 1932). The authors were David Watson Winn (1857-1926) and Elizabeth Jarvis Winn (1891-1965). Note that both of these authors were a century closer to these Winns than we are, and they had considerable documentary evidence.

The Jarvin/Winn book doesn’t identify the maiden name of Mary Winn, wife of John Winn of Jessamine Lawn, Hanover County.

The entire book can be downloaded here. Do read the Foreword, which talks about their remarkable sources. At one time, they apparently had an opinion written by John Marshall, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. See, e.g., Marbury v. Madison, a famous case I had to brief about 10 times in law school.

Finally, there is an interesting article about Mrs. John Winn’s portrait and the artist in a 1952 issue of The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography[1]. It offers no opinion on Mrs. Winn’s identity, which is understandable: the article is primarily about the artist, Charles Bridges. Here is a link to the article.

It is a lonnnnggg read. It has reproductions of a number of paintings by the artist, mostly members of the Byrd family, which are fun. Here, edited somewhat, is what The Virginia Magazine has to say about the portrait of Mrs. John Winn. It also echoes the Middlesex Theory, except it does not identify Mrs. Winn as Mary Pledger, probably because the source for the family information was the Jarvis/Winn compiled history.

“Mrs. John Winn

Subject: The portrait is said to represent Mary, second wife of John Winn, of “Jessamine Lawn,” Hanover County. He was baptized Jan. 20, 1705, died c. 1789. The date of their marriage is unknown, but they had five children, the eldest born in 1749 or earlier. (See Ancestors and Descendants of John Quarles Winn, Ed. D. W. Winn, Baltimore, 1932).

The identification may perhaps be correct, although there seem to be no documents supporting it. If correct, the subject may have been painted as early as 1740, before her marriage, since she appears as a young woman in her early twenties and it is not certain that she had any children before 1740.

Description: The subject is a pleasing young woman shown standing full-front against a dark background beside a table on which her right hand rests … [t]he picture has been largely repainted, so that the costume does not show Bridges’ technique, but the tilt of the head and the rendition of the features so much resemble the painting of the heads of the young women of the Byrd family so as to make the attribution of this portrait to Bridges seem at least possible.

Owner: Mr. Frank E. Christopher, Carter Hall, Millwood, Va. The portrait was acquired before 1938 by Mr. Gerard B. Lambert who then owned Carter Hall, and was sold with the residence to Mr. Christopher in 1948. Its earlier provenance is not recorded.”

The author of the Virginia Magazine history was writing in the early 1950s, so the “Owner” information is clearly out of date.

In any event, I hoped you enjoyed a break from the usual post at this blog! Can’t beat a fabulous oil painting …

And that does it for me with the Winns, unless I recover sufficiently to elaborate on some of the Lunenburg or Amelia Winns, a crowd that doesn’t require so many speculative theories!!!

* * * * * * * * * *

[1] Henry Wilder Foote, “Charles Bridges: “Sergeant-Painter of Virginia” 1735-1740,” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 60, no. 1 (1952), at 3-55. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4245816.

Virginia Winns Part 6: Competing Theories About the Hanover Winns

There is a lot of speculation about the Winn family of Hanover County, Virginia on the web. You can find it on trees posted at Ancestry.com, at the Winn DNA Project website, and Winn message boards. I get a perverse kick out of this, because there is very little that the few extant Hanover records (and records from counties between Hanover and the coast) actually prove about the Hanover Winn family in the first half of the 18th century.

In fact, a mere three deeds contain a good bit of what we can actually prove about the early Hanover Winns. Here they are:

  1. 3 January 1733, John Winn of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover Co., carpenter, to Benjamin Hawkins, same, for 2,000 lbs. tobacco and £15 current money, 140 acres grantor purchased from Richard Leak of Hanover. Witnesses were Richard Winn, Phebe Winn, and John Winn.[1]
  2. 19-20 January 1733, deeds of lease and release from Richard Winn and his wife Phebe of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover, to John Winn of the same, £82 for 517 acres with plantation on Chickahominy Swamp in Hanover purchased by said Phebe in her widowhood by name of Phebe Pledger from John Hogg of New Kent. Witnesses were John Winn, Ann Wheeler, and Mary Pledger.[2]
  3. 31 Jan – 1 Feb 1733, deeds of lease and release from John Winn of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover, to Richard Winn of the same, £100 for 517-acre plantation on Chickahominy Swamp in Hanover purchased by Phebe Pledger from John Hogg of New Kent. Richard and Phebe Winn sold to John Winn 19-20 Jan. last. Elizabeth Winn, wife of John, relinquished dower. Witnesses were John Winn, Ann Wheeler and Mary Pledger.[3]

OK, what do these three deeds tell us?

  • the three Winn men (Richard, John, and John Winn) who appeared in these deeds were undoubtedly family.
  • all three men were of legal age by 1733, so they were all born by 1712.
  • the first John Winn, grantor in deed #1, may have been unmarried in 1733 because relinquishment of dower wasn’t mentioned.
  • the second John Winn, grantor in deed #3, had a wife named Elizabeth.
  • Richard Winn’s wife was Phoebe, and she was previously married to a Mr. Pledger.
  • the witness to two of the deeds, Mary Pledger, was surely related to Phoebe in some fashion.

We can consider these matters proved by these deeds, except perhaps for the question whether John Winn, the grantor in deed #1, was married.

With this information in our arsenal, let’s get down to brass tacks: where did these Hanover Winns live before they came to Hanover?

There are two competing theories among Winn family history researchers about the origins of the Hanover Winns. Please keep in mind that both theories are speculative, which is why we are calling them “theories.” If a statement in the remainer of this article has documentary proof, the statement has a footnote containing a citation to a source. If there is not a citation to a source, then the statement is speculative. Following the principle of “belt AND suspenders” (meaning you can never have too many safeguards), I will put FACTS in regular typeface, like this. I will put speculation in italics.

As a wise distant cousin likes to say: family history without proof is fiction. PERIOD. If you claim you were descended from President George Washington, that’s fine. But please be aware that Washington had no children with his wife Martha Dandridge Custis, so your DAR application will be a bit tricky.

Here are the competing speculative Winn theories …

The Gloucester Theory.

The Abingdon Parish Register of Gloucester County records the baptism of Richard Winn, son of John Winn and his wife Elizabeth, in 1704.[4] The Gloucester Theory (this is speculation!) is that the Richard born in 1704 was the same man as the Richard Winn of Hanover County who married Phoebe Wilkes Pledger some time before 1733. According to the Gloucester theory, Richard’s parents John and Elizabeth Winn were the grantors in deed #3, above. John, the elder of the two John Winns in the three deeds, died in Hanover without leaving any record. That is believable, because Hanover probate records prior to 1785 are virtually nonexistent. The younger John Winn, who was the grantor in deed #1 and the witness in deeds #2 and #3, was Richard’s brother. John’s birth wasn’t recorded in the Abingdon Parish register for any one of several plausible reasons.

The Gloucester Theory can’t account for the gap in the records between 1704 and 1733, instead pointing to the state of the Gloucester records and the burned counties between Gloucester and Hanover. The Gloucester Theory would chart the early Gloucester/Hanover Winn family like this:

1 John Winn and wife Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) lived in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County around the turn of the century. They moved to Hanover County some time before 1733.

2 Richard Winn was baptized in 1704 in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester. He married Phoebe Wilkes Pledger, widow of a Mr. Pledger.

2 John Winn’s birth year is unknown, although he was definitely born by 1712. He was in Hanover county, unmarried by 1733.

As a practical matter, the Gloucester Theory starts with known facts – the Abingdon Parish registry and the Hanover deeds – and simply weaves a plausible story to explain the provable facts. But it is nonetheless speculative. Absent a family Bible or other compelling evidence, it may be impossible to prove this theory. The Gloucester courthouse has burned three times, most recently in 1864. Colonial records for Hanover County are also sparse, and that’s putting it mildly. Records for King & Queen, New Kent, and King William counties (located between Gloucester and Hanover), where the family of John and Elizabeth Winn might have lived in the three decade gap between 1704 and 1733 – assuming the Gloucester Theory is correct – are similarly difficult.[6]

The Middlesex Theory

We don’t have to go far for this theory: just to the north of Gloucester County, across the Piankatank River, to Middlesex County. Christ Church Parish, which had the same boundaries as the county, has these entries for six children of Richard and Sarah Winn:

  1. Mary Winn born 16 Xember 1696-97.
  2. Sarah Winn born 17 January 1698-99
  3. Richard Win, son of Richd and Sarah Win, baptized 28 Sept 1701.
  4. Elizabeth Winn, dau of Richard and Sarah Winn, baptized 18 Apr 1703.
  5. John Winn, son of Richard Win and wife Sarah, baptized 20 Jan 1705.
  6. Jane Winn, dau of Richard and Sarah Winn, baptized 15 Feb 1707.

The Middlesex Theory (this is speculation!) is that the Richard Winn (b. 1701) and John Winn (b. 1704-05) in Middlesex are the same men as the grantors/grantees in Hanover deeds #2 and #3, above. The Middlesex Theory doesn’t account further for Richard, the father of those six children. The last entry I found for Richard in Middlesex (which has quite extensive colonial records) was in 1710, when he served on a jury, so he probably left Middlesex after that.[7] The Middlesex Theory doesn’t attempt to explain the gap between 1710 and 1733. The theory just postulates that Richard and Sarah Winn’s sons Richard and John migrated to Hanover County by 1733. Richard married Phoebe Wilkes Pledger some time before 1733. Also some time before 1733, John Winn married Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). Elizabeth died, and then John married as wife #2 Mary Pledger, who witnessed deeds #2 and #3.

The Middlesex Theory would produce this chart:

1 Richard Winn and wife Sarah ______ who lived in Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County, in the late 1690s.

2 Richard Winn b. 1701 m. Phoebe Wilkes Pledger before 1733.

2 John Winn b. 1705 m. #1 Elizabeth LNU before 1733 and m. #2 Mary Pledger after 1733.

There is one glaring problem with the Middlesex Theory that I wish someone could explain satisfactorily. Who is the second John Winn who witnessed deeds #2 and #3? If you’re going to weave a credible story, you really need to account for all the players.

The Middlesex Theory says that Richard (grantor in deed #2) was born in 1701, and John (with wife Elizabeth, grantor in deed #3) was born in 1705. That would make Richard and John about 32 and 28, respectively, when they executed those 1733 deeds. Neither one of them was old enough in 1733 to have a son John who was able to write, much less witness a deed. There is nothing speculative about that: the second John Winn was unquestionably also of legal age.

The options are narrowing, aren’t they? The second John Winn was definitely not a son of either Richard and Phoebe or John and Elizabeth. The second John Winn wasn’t the father of Richard m. Phoebe and John m. Elizabeth & Mary, since the Middlesex theory identifies a Richard as the father of Richard and John father. But the second John was clearly family.

Cousin seems to be the last remaining reasonable possibility. Oh, boy … where did he come from? And where did he go? There was only one Winn family in the Christ Church Parish register and in Middlesex County. Somebody out there has to have some idea.

Which of the two theories is your pet? The vast majority of Winn researchers have adopted the Middlesex Theory. In fact, I can no longer find anyone with a tree posted on Ancestry.com who still claims descent from John and Elizabeth of Abingdon Parish, but my search skills stink. There were a few around on the web at one time. I suppose they have all been shouted down by the Middlesex Theory advocates.

In that regard, some Winn researchers state the Middlesex Theory as fact. This ought to merit the genealogical equivalent of the death penalty, or at least permanent loss of credibility.

Unfortunately, YDNA doesn’t help, if you look closely at the DNA results. There are (as nearly as I can tell) two participants in the Winn Family DNA Project who claim descent from Middlesex Winns. The others who are their matches apparently claim only provable ancestry (and good for them!), but not back to Middlesex. What is the proof of those claiming descent from Richard and Sarah of Middlesex? Gee, it would be nice to know, wouldn’t it?

In my own family tree software, my Winn line ends with Richard and Phoebe Wilkes Pledger Winn of Hanover. The Gloucester Theory seems to me to weave a better story in terms of reconciling all the known facts. But … it’s still just speculation. Call me prissy and old-fashioned. Guilty!

I’m hoping somebody who reads this will post a comment with more evidence one way or another.

At least one compiled family history (Jarvis-Winn) has more to say on the Hanover family. It was written by a pair of descendants of John Winn of Hanover County. The authors were both born in the 1800s, and the evidence they compiled appears to have been substantial. I’ll get to that in the next post on the Winns, in which I’ll share a picture of a fabulous oil painting sent to me by my friend and cousin Sandra Wynne Irwin.

* * * * * * *

[1] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979), at 19.

[2] Id. at 13-14.

[3] Id. at 16-18.

[4] Robert W. Robins, The Register of Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County, VA 1677-1780 (Arlington, VA: Honforn House, 1981).

[5] Here is a link to part 2, a link to part 3, a link to part 4, and a link to part 5. Whew! If you click on all of those, you will have opened a bunch of tabs. <grin>

[6] New Kent county deed books begin in 1865. King & Queen County deed books begin in 1864. The King William County clerk’s office burned in 1885 and most records were destroyed. This is where family lines go to become unprovable.

[7] Ruth and Sam Sparacio, Middlesex County, Virginia Order Book 1708 – 1710 (McLean, VA: The Antient Press, 1998), abstract of Order Book 4: 290.

Virginia Winns Part 5: Richard and Phoebe Winn of Hanover County

The issues in this post are either uncontroversial or I just don’t know the answer. This is a humbling thing to admit, but good for the soul. Let’s jump to the bottom line(s). Whatever evidence is available follows this list, if you like that kind of thing.

  1. Phoebe Pledger, a widow, definitely married Richard Winn of Hanover County before early 1733. The conventional wisdom says that Richard moved to either Amelia County or Caroline County, or he may have stayed in Hanover. The answer is uncertain.
  2. Phoebe was almost certainly a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Wilkes of New Kent and Hanover counties.
  3. The identity of Phoebe’s husband before she married Richard Winn, Mr. Pledger, is tougher. Some researchers believe her husband was Joseph Pledger of Abingdon Parish, Gloucester Co. The slender Pledger evidence is interesting but inconclusive.
  4. Was Phoebe the mother of all Richard’s children, or did he have a prior wife? If there is evidence of an earlier wife, I haven’t found it. For a discussion of the siblings – Col. Thomas Winn and Daniel Winn of Lunenburg, and Phoebe Winn Holland, John Winn, and Susanna Winn Irby of Amelia, as well as (perhaps) Samuel Winn the scoundrel, see Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.

Now on to the proof … or lack thereof.

Phoebe Pledger, widow, married Richard Winn by 1733.

This one is a piece of cake. Here’s the evidence that Phoebe was married to a Mr. Pledger and that she subsequently married Richard Winn. It’s as solid as proof can get, especially in a burned county like Hanover where surviving 18th-century records are scarce as hen’s teeth.

On 19 and 20 Jan 1733, Richard Winn and his wife Phebe of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover, executed deeds of lease and release to John Winn, also of Hanover, £ 82 for 517 acres with plantation on Chickahominy Swamp in Hanover, purchased from John Hogg of New Kent by Phebe in her widowhood by the name Phebe Pledger. Witnessed by John Winn, Ann Wheeler, and Mary Pledger.[1]

For future reference, note that there are two John Winns in this deed – the grantee and a witness. Also a witness Mary Pledger.

Did Richard and Phoebe Pledger Winn stay in Hanover? Or did they move to Amelia or Caroline county?

The odds are virtually nil that Richard moved to Amelia County. In a deed identifying him as Richard Winn “of Hanover,” he bought some land in Amelia County in 1744.[2] He never lived on it, because his tithables continued to appear in the Amelia County tax lists with the designation “Richard Winn’s list” or “Richard Winn’s Quarter.” “List” and “Quarter” both mean that Richard owned land and had tithables living on the property, although he didn’t reside there himself.[3] Instead, Richard’s son John began appearing on the tax list with Richard’s enslaved persons in 1751.[4] Richard probably died before that date, but not in Amelia. There is no will for him there. He never appeared in an Amelia court order book, served on a jury, or did anything constituting evidence that he was present in Amelia County. The Amelia colonial records are virtually intact. If Richard had lived there, we would not have been able to miss him.

As of November 1744, Richard Winn still lived in Hanover.[5] After that, he did not appear in the St. Paul’s Parish vestry book, which is the primary extant source for that county during the 1740s and 1750s. That suggests that Richard either died or relocated after 1744.

Some Richard Winn was in Caroline County in person by 14 Mar 1745/46, when he acknowledged a deed there.[6] A Richard Winn (the same or a different man? I don’t know) had acquired land in Caroline in 1735; a Minor Winn also appeared in the Caroline records that year.[7] I haven’t yet waded through all the Caroline order books, a tedious business, so I don’t have a good feel for the Caroline Winns.

The Richard Winn who lived in Caroline died there in 1748.[8] His will was witnessed by a Robert Durrett, and Richard Mauldin provided security for the executor. There don’t seem to be any connections between the Durrett, Mauldin and Winn families in Hanover County, but the Hanover records are so sparse that doesn’t prove much. Those two men may have been family, though. Has anyone found any Durrett/Mauldin/Winn connections anywhere? If so, that might be significant evidence about Richard Winn of Caroline.

Richard of Caroline had a son Benjamin, the only child identified by the Caroline records.[9] If Richard of Caroline is the same man as Richard of Hanover, then we could add Benjamin to Richard and Phoebe’s list of probable and possible children. Perhaps someone who reads this has some evidence whether Richard of Hanover is the same man as Richard of Caroline — and will let the rest of us know. I’m still uncertain.

Who were Phebe Pledger Winn’s Parents?

A Hanover agreement is the only evidence of Phoebe’s parents I have found. Here it is:

Court record of 6 Aug 1734, agreement between Joseph Wilks of Blissland Parish, New Kent, planter, to Richard Winn of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover, planter, £11.8.3 “in consideration of said Richard Winn finding him what land he shall have occasion to work during his natural life (and the life of Elizabeth his wife), which land shall be a part of the tract of land where … said Richard Winn now lives and shall build upon said land all the necessary buildings fit and convenient for him and also in consideration of the said Richard lending to said Joseph ……. slaves ……..etc.” Witnesses: John Bowles, Robert Mosby, John Winn. Proved 7 Nov 1734 by Jno Bowles and John Winn. Joseph Wilks gave £200 bond to perform his obligations, bond witnesed by John Bowles, John Winn, Robert Mosby, and John Winn.[10]

There may be several ways to interpret that agreement. I take it as indicating that Joseph Wilkes was old, Richard and Phoebe were taking care of him and his wife Elizabeth, and the Wilkes were Phoebe’s parents. Other Winn researchers see this agreement as evidence that Joseph Wilkes wife Elizabeth was Richard’s mother, who married Joseph Wilkes after her Winn husband died. Maybe so, although I disagree. The principle of Occam’s Razor suggests that the more complicated explanation is less likely than the more simple one.

The Amelia tax records establish another Wilkes-Winn connection, a plus for Occam’s Razor. Joseph Wilkes and John Wilkes were tithables on the Amelia property of Richard Winn and Richard’s son John at different times, possibly in a capacity as property overseer.[11] I don’t know how they were related to Phoebe, although I imagine they were related in some fashion. John Pledger married Patience Crenshaw, another family with several Winn connections.

I hope by now your interest has been piqued by the fact that there were two men named John Winn who were of legal age in Hanover County in 1733-34. See the 1733 deeds of lease and release (a John Winn party and a John Winn witness) and the Winn-Wilkes agreement (two witnesses named John Winn).[12] Who were the two John Winns? Let’s talk about them in the next Winn post in this series, when we will look at some records for various Winns in Goochland, Henrico, Middlesex, and Gloucester.

Who Was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger’s Husband before Richard Winn?

I don’t know. Some researchers think he was the Joseph Pledger who appeared in the vestry book Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County, when the birth of his daughter Mary was recorded in 1719.[13]

That could be. Susanna Winn Irby, probably Phoebe’s youngest child, was born between 1730 and 1740. It’s possible that Phoebe was also a mother of a child born in 1719. What do you think?

I have scoured records of counties between the York and Rappahanock Rivers for the late 1600s and early 1700s looking for Pledgers – any Pledgers. Here are ALL the records I have found prior to the time a Philip Pledger began regularly appearing in Amelia records:[14]

  • 26 Apr 1708 deed for land in York County, John Keene of New Kent to Hon. Daniell Park, witnessed by George Keeling, John Eaton, and Joseph Pledger. Joseph also witnessed Keene’s performance bond.[15]
  • 19 Nov 1708 processioning report in the St. Paul’s Parish vestry book, Hanover County: “The lands of Daniel Parke Esqr, Henry Chiles Gent … being made one precinct … Overseers … made this return on the back of yee Ordr, viz. November 19th 1708, … fully Executed … there were prest [sic, present] every of the within mention’d Persons, except Colo Parke; who was represented by Joseph Pledger. Vestry book at 163, Chamberlayne at 209.
  • 18 Oct 1719: Mary Pledger, daughter of Joseph Pledger (wife not named) was baptized in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County, on 18 Oct 1719.
  • 19 and 20 Jan 1733, Mary Pledger witnessed the deeds of release between John Winn and Richard Winn.

The Joseph Pledger who witnessed Daniel Parke’s deed in New Kent (where grantor lived) was surely the same man as the Joseph Pledger who represented Col. Parke at the processioning of Parke’s land in Hanover. Is he the same man as Mary Pledger’s father, who lived in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester? Is this one or two Joseph Pledgers in these three records during 1708 – 1719? It’s a fairly limited geographic area, so my gut hunch is that these records were all the same man. Was he Phoebe’s husband? I don’t know.

How about Mary, Joseph’s daughter, born in 1719 … was she the same woman as the Mary Pledger who witnessed the 1733 Hanover deeds conveying Phoebe Pledger Winn’s former land? She would have been only 14 at the time, too young to prove a deed in court. Do we have one or two Mary Pledgers in these limited records? The Mary Pledger who witnessed the deeds was surely related in some fashion to Phoebe.

Many online trees and websites claim that a Mary Pledger married one of the two John Winns of Hanover County. One John Winn in the Goochland/Henrico/Hanover area did have a wife named Mary (more on them later). Somebody out there must have some evidence – something beyond a bare, unsourced claim – about a Mary Pledger marriage to John Winn, right? I’m still looking.

Was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger Winn the Mother of All Richard Winn’s Children?

I don’t know that, either! She was undoubtedly at least the mother of Susannah Winn Irby, born during the 1730s, and Phoebe Winn Holland. Was she also the mother of Col. Thomas, Daniel, and John Winn of Amelia? None of them named a daughter Phoebe, although Daniel, in all fairness, had only one daughter (Marticia). Was Phoebe the mother of Samuel Winn the Scoundrel and Benjamin Winn of Caroline County? I don’t know. If Phoebe was the mother of the Mary Pledger born in Abingdon Parish in 1719, then all of her Winn children were born after 1720. And that’s about all I can say for sure without speculating.

See you on down the road …

* * * * * * * * * * 

[1] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979), court records at 13-14, deeds of lease and release from Richard and Phebe Winn to John Winn.

[2] Amelia County Deed Book 2: 82-83, 15 Nov 1744 deed of lease and release from Stith Hardaway to Richard Winn of Hanover County, 388A in fork below Little Nottoway River and Lazaritta Creek adjacent Epes line.

[3] Family History Library Film 1,902,616, Amelia County tax list for 1746: Richard Winn “list,” 2 slaves, 2 tithes (so the enslaved persons were the only tithables); Amelia county tax list for 1748, Richard Wyns “Quarter,” the rest unreadable; 1749 tax list, Richard Winn’s list, John Wilkes, Harry, and Flowrey(?), 3 tithes (so there is presumably the overseer, John Wilkes, and 2 enslaved persons); 1750, Richard Winn’s list (adjacent Philip Pledger on the tax list), tithables Harry, Florey, Jenny, 3 tithes (enslaved persons only); 1751 tax list for John Winn, 5 tithes, listed with Joseph Wilks, Harry, Flora and Jean. The fact that the same enslaved persons appeared on Richard Winn’s list in 1750 and with John Winn’s in 1751 is powerful evidence that John Winn was a son of Richard.

[4] Id.

[5] See note 2.

[6] John Frederick Dorman, Caroline County, Virginia Order Book 1740-1746, Part Three, 1744 – 1746, (Washington, D.C.: 1973), abstract of Order Book 1744-46: 577, 14 Mar 1745/46, Richard Winn acknowledged his deed to his son Benjamin Winn.

[7] John Frederick Dorman, Caroline County, Virginia Order Book 1732-1740, Part Two, 1734/35-1737 (Washington, D.C.: 1966), abstract of Order Book 1732-40 at 300, 13 Jun 1735, Minor Winn was a defendant in a lawsuit (which means he resided in the county); at 316, John Martin and wife Rachel acknolwedged deeds of lease and release to Richard Winn, 14 Nov 1735 (Richard need not have been living there).

[8] John Frederick Dorman, Caroline County, Virginia Order Book 1746-1754, Part One, 1746/47-1748 (Washington, D.C.: 1968), abstract of Order Book 1746-54: 123, entry of 9 Dec 1748, will of Richard Winn presented by Benjamin Winn, executor, proved by Richard Mauldin who swore he saw Robert Durrett witness the will. Bond by Benjamin Winn, Richard Mauldin was his security. Based solely on the Amelia County tax lists, 1748 might be a bit too early: Richard of Hanover may have still been alive in 1750, when he was taxed in Amelia County. Had the Amelia County tax assessor known that Richard had died, the tithables would have been designated as Richard Winn’s estate.

[9] See note 6.

[10] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979), abstract of court record of 6 Aug 1734 at pp. 148-49, agreement between Joseph Wilkes of New Kent and Richard Winn of Hanover.

[11] See note 3.

[12] See notes 2 and 9.

[13] Vestry Book of Petsworth Parish, Glouchester County, Virginia 1677 – 1793, transcribed by C. G. Chamberlayne, Richmond, VA, 1933, entry of 18 Oct 1719: Mary, daughter of Joseph Pledger, was baptized.

[14] See, e.g., Amelia County Deed Book 2: 183, deed dated 18 Jul 1745 from John Ellis to Philip Pledger, for love and affection for Philip who married his daughter Nanny Ellis adjacent Irby. Recall that John Ellis was the father of Sarah Ellis Winn, the unfortunate wife of Samuel Winn the Scoundrel.

[15] Mary Marshall Brewer, York County, Virginia Land Records 1694 – 1713 (Lewes, Delaware: Colonial Roots, 2006), abstract of York Co. Deeds and Bonds 2: 282.

Virginia Winns Part 4: Samuel Winn, Scoundrel, and a Famous Creek

We are all, dear readers, related to so-called “black sheep.” Every family tree has some criminals, KKK members, people who deserted their children, and just plain ol’ ne’er-do-wells among its branches. When you find a compiled genealogy extolling the inherited family virtues of thrift and hard work, all of them wealthy and hugely respected in the community, judges and war heroes as far as the eye can see – these abound in published family histories, believe it or not – you know you’re reading fiction. Or, at best, half-truths. In my own direct lines, there is John Allen Rankin, a Civil War deserter, and a ne’er-do-well named Benjamin Winn, a grandson of both Daniel Winn and Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg County, Virginia.[1]

Benjamin stayed out of the records, leaving no proof of his character other than his father Joseph’s will. The will provided for Benjamin’s support, but made sure that Benjamin’s bequest was subject to neither his debts nor his control.[2] I actually like Benjamin, who married a strong and resourceful woman (Lucretia Andrews) and who probably did not set out to disappoint his father.

On the other hand, Samuel Winn of Lunenburg/Amelia left plenty of evidence that he was a worthless scoundrel – at best. And he probably belongs on the Winn tree we’ve been discussing.

Let’s recap. The prior three articles in this Winn series (read them at this link, and this link, and this one)  concluded that  Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg County, Daniel Winn of Lunenburg, John Winn of Amelia, Phoebe Winn Holland of Amelia, and Susanna Winn Irby of Amelia were siblings. Further, those five were sons and daughters of Richard Winn of Hanover County. We haven’t established yet that Richard’s wife was Phoebe (probably née Wilkes) Pledger Winn, but we will address that shortly.

Samuel Winn may be another sibling of those five Winns. Lunenburg land records establish a definite connection between Samuel and at least Col. Thomas and Daniel Winn. First, in 1740, Samuel patented 150 acres which were then in Brunswick, and later fell in Lunenburg after the latter county was created.[3] Samuel’s tract was on the south side of perhaps the most famous creek in Virginia genealogical research. This requires a slight digression, during which we will attempt fruitlessly to tap dance around a common obscene gerund.

Winn researchers on message boards sometimes refer to this watercourse as “Tucking Creek.” This artless dodge so clearly calls to mind the actual creek name that it seems a waste of time. Even better, some cartographer with a well-developed sense of irony renamed it “Modest Creek” at some point. It appears by that name on current maps. The original deed books, modesty not yet in vogue, just call a spade a spade and identify it as “F_cking Creek.” (I’ve omitted one letter, also an artless dodge, hoping to avoid complaints.)

Wouldn’t you love to know how the creek got its name? Was it shaded and full of algae-covered rocks, making people likely to slip when crossing it? Once home, did the victim explain his soaking clothes by saying “I slipped and fell into that effing creek again!” Or perhaps a couple was caught in flagrante delicto down by the creek? There is surely a good story there.

Back to Samuel. He next appeared in 1746, selling his Modest Creek patent to Thomas Wynne of St. Paul’s Parish in Hanover.[4] That, as you know, is Col. Thomas. In 1752, Samuel sold Daniel Winn of Prince George Co. 100 acres on Hounds Creek.[5] He is Col. Thomas’s brother. Sales of land among family members were so common that they are generally deemed evidence of a familial relationship. These two deeds, however, are the only evidence I have found that Samuel was related to Col. Thomas and Daniel, other than the fact that Samuel’s eldest son was named Richard Winn (suggesting, in turn, that Samuel’s father was named Richard in accord with the Anglo naming tradition). Pretty thin stuff.

Lunenburg court records provide the first hint that Samuel wasn’t a model citizen. In 1748, a Lunenburg grand jury indicted him for a crime, probably assault.[6] The order book for the same court session also mentioned a civil suit against Samuel for trespass and assault.[7] In all fairness to Samuel, he was ultimately fined just a token 5 shillings in the criminal case and the civil suit was dismissed.

Nevertheless, I’ll bet no one reading this has ever been indicted by a grand jury for assault, even an obviously minor one.

A number of Lunenburg suits against Samuel sought to collect money. The July 1750 order book alone records three attachments against Samuel’s personal estate. In all three cases, the court records say Samuel “absconded,” meaning he had already gotten the hell out of Dodge when the sheriff came to collect on the judgment.[8] “Absconded” probably also means he took with him property subject to attachment. There are more such records, but I quit taking notes on them, having already gotten the picture.

Samuel’s financial irresponsibility extended to support for his family, which he probably abandoned. In February 1756, the Lunenburg court ordered the church wardens of Cumberland Parish to bind out Ann, Sarah, Richard, and William Wynne, Samuel’s children.[9]

A few months later, in September 1756, Samuel Winn’s wife Sarah tried to sue him in Lunenburg. The court order book (I looked at the original) doesn’t specify the nature of the complaint, which was dismissed “for reasons appearing.”[10] If Sarah and Samuel were still married, she had no legal standing to sue anyone in her own behalf. Divorces were notoriously difficult for colonial women to obtain, except for impotence (not possible here). I haven’t a clue what this was all about, or how Sarah managed to get a case far enough for a dismissal. Curious. It’s clear, though, that Sarah had no use for Samuel.

Earlier Amelia County records provide a good reason. The Amelia County order book for April 1750 has this entry:

For examination of Samuel Wynne, committed for rape on the body of Mary Wynne, his daughter … Prisoner brought to bar on arraignment and pled not guilty. Mary Wynne, the prosecution and witness for the King, was called, but failed to appear. She had entered bond with John Ellis for £50 that she would appear and give evidence. No other evidence appearing, the prisoner was discharged.[11]

It is just barely possible that the Samuel Wynne who was accused of raping his daughter in Amelia was not the same man as Samuel Wynne of Lunenburg who abandoned his children. Note that the Lunenburg court didn’t name a Mary in the list of Samuel’s children six years after this rape charge (which might just mean that Mary wasn’t living in Lunenburg, or she was already of legal age by 1756).

What are the odds, though, that there was a worthless Samuel Winn with wife Sarah in both Amelia and Lunenburg counties? Amelia records establish that the mother of the non-appearing witness Mary Wynne was named Sarah. John Ellis of Amelia County, the man who provided security on Mary’s court appearance bond, definitely had a daughter Sarah who married a Winn. And Sarah Ellis Winn’s husband didn’t provide for her, which is consistent with the Samuel we’ve come to know. Here is the evidence: John Ellis’s 1762 will included a provision for his “son Richard Ellis to provide proper support and maintenance for my daughter Sarah Winn.”[12]

There is probably more information about this sad family in the Lunenburg and/or Amelia County records. But I was fed up with Samuel, and decided to move on to some fun issues. Getting the Lunenburg/Winn family further back in time definitely qualifies. Next, we will finally look at the Hanover Winn records in Part 5 of this Winn series.

* * * * * * * * * *

[1] Benjamin was a son of Joseph Winn (who was a son of Daniel) and Elizabeth Winn, a daughter of Col. Thomas. See the prior articles in this series discussing Lunenburg Order Book 17: 134. For an article about John Allen Rankin, the Civil War deserter, see this link.

[2] Joseph’s will took care of Benjamin’s support, but provided that Benjamin’s legacy would not service his debts or be within his control. Lunenburg Will Book 5: 20-22, will of Joseph Winn dated 28 Mar 1800 proved 12 Jun 1800, bequeathing “to executors for support of son Benjamin Winn, 2 negroes but not liable for payment of any of his debts, and after son’s death … [enslaved persons] to be divided equally among son’s children by present wife Creasy [sic, Lucretia] Winn when they are 21 or marry; at wife’s death, property lent her by this will divided between eight children Minor Winn, Daniel Winn, Jos Winn, Bannister Winn, Mourning Gunn, Elizabeth Brown, Sarah B. Winn, and children of Benjamin Winn by his wife Cressey.”

[3] Dennis Ray Hudgins, Cavaliers and Pioneers Volume IV: 1732 – 1741 (Richmond: Virginia Genealogical Society, 1994), Volume 4: 238, abstract of Virginia Patent Book 18: 905, Samuel Wynne patented 150 acres in Brunswick (now Lunenburg) on the south side of F_cking Cr. adjacent Read/Reed, 1 Dec 1740.

[4] Original of Lunenburg Deed Book 1: 71, deed of 8 Apr 1746 from Samuel Winn of Brunswick to Thomas Wynne of Hanover, 150 acres in Brunswick adjacent Read. Witnesses John Winn, John Stone, Richard Stone.

[5] Original of DB 3: 226, 4 Nov 1752 deed from Samuel Winn of Lunenburg sold Daniel Winn of Prince George 100 acres on the south side of Hounds Cr., David Stokes, Hampton Wade, and Thomas Winn, witnesses.

[6] June Banks Evans, Lunenburg County, Virginia Order Book 1, 1746-1749 (New Orleans: Bryn Ffyliaid Publications,1999), abstract of Order Book 1: 425, May 1748, grand jury returned an indictment against Samuel Wynne, venire facias to issue for him to appear at the next court to answer the King’s indictment.

[7] Id. at 428. Ebenezer Shearman v. Samuel Wynne, action in trespass/assault was continued until the next court.

[8] Id. at 300-302. The Order Book states that Hampton Wade obtained a judgment against Samuel for £16.15.8. The sheriff attached sundry goods and chattels and sold them at public auction to collect that debt. Second, Drury Allen obtained a judgment for £2.5.6, plus 40 lbs tobacco, and also obtained an attachment. Third, William Dobbins obtained an attachment for a judgment of £13.9.9.

[9] Original of Lunenburg Order Book 4: 82.

[10] Id. at 204, entry of 9 Sep 1756, Sarah Wynne, complainant, v. Samuel Wynne, defendant in chancery, dism’d.

[11] Gibson J. McConnaughey, Amelia County Virginia Court Order Book 2, 1746-1751 (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1997), abstract of Order Book 2: 159.

[12] Gibson J. McConnaughey, Will Book 2X Amelia County, Virginia Wills 1761-1771 (Amelia: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1979), abstract of Will Book 2X: 21, will of John Ellis of Nottoway Parish executed and proved in 1762.

Virginia Winns, Part 3: Col. Thomas of Lunenburg, John of Amelia, and Richard of Hanover

This series of Winn articles is about identifying the family relationships among several Virginia Winn families whose descendants are genetically related. We started with Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg, looking at his will in the last post on this website. The will provides a partial list of his children along with good clues about his extended family. Col. Thomas named as an executor “John Winn of Amelia County” (hereafter, “Amelia John”). Witnesses to the will included Charles Irby, John Winn, Jr., Charles Winn, Susannah Irby, Lucy Irby, and John Winn.

Those witnesses were almost certainly part of Col. Thomas’s extended family. So … how were they related to him? Amelia John’s will, probated in early 1781, provides clues. Amelia John named his wife Susannah, daughters Susanna Winn and Jane Epes, and sons Richard, John and Charles Winn. Executors were his wife Susanna Winn, Truman (possibly Freeman?) Epes and Charles Winn.[1] Witnesses included Giles Nance, John Irby, Elisha Winn, Joseph Winn, Jane Epes, and William Gooch.

Amelia John and his son John Jr. were the only John Winns of legal age in Amelia County when Col. Thomas wrote his will in 1779. They must have been the executor and witnesses in Col. Thomas’s will.

We will have to delve further to establish the relationships among this crowd, though. In Amelia John’s will, two witnesses stand out: Elisha and Joseph Winn. They were from Lunenburg County and they were the sons of Daniel Winn. They were the only Elisha and Joseph Winn of legal age in the Virginia Southside at that time.[2] The “family as witnesses” rule suggests that Elisha and Joseph – who lived on the other side of the Nottoway River from Amelia John – were Amelia John’s close family. Standing alone, Amelia John’s will and Col. Thomas’s will constitute powerful evidence that both Col. Thomas Winn (who named Amelia John his executor) and Daniel Winn (two of whose sons witnessed Amelia John’s will) were connected in a close family relationship to Amelia John Winn.

A reasonable hypothesis is that Col. Thomas, Amelia John and Daniel were brothers. Charles A. Winn Jr.’s book A Family History of the Wynns agrees, at least in part.[3] Mr. Winn concluded that Col. Thomas and Amelia John were brothers. He also believed that Daniel was from the line of Robert Wynne of Charles City County, which has since been disproved by Y-DNA testing. In contrast, Naomi Giles Chadwick’s book about Daniel Winn’s family asserts that Col. Thomas was Daniel’s only proved brother. Ms Chadwick says the relationship is established by a Lunenburg deposition.[4]

The records offer additional information about the family connections among Col. Thomas, Amelia John, and Daniel Winn:

  • The Revolutionary War pension application of a Richard Winn, who enlisted in Amelia County, identifies Amelia John as his father. Richard testified that he was born in Hanover County, VA and later moved to Amelia.[5]
  • Thomas moved to Lunenburg from Hanover County.[6] Of the three (Amelia John, Col. Thomas, and Daniel), evidently only Daniel did not live in Hanover. He came to Lunenburg from Prince George.[7]
  • An Amelia County deposition in 1764 by John Nance established that Michael Holland’s wife was neé Winn.[8] An earlier deed proves Michael Holland’s wife’s given name was Phebe, making her Phebe Winn Holland.[9] She was from the same generation as John Winn.[10]
  • The Winn, Holland, Irby and Nance families, plus a Philip Pledger, owned land and lived near each other in Amelia County on the south side of the Little Nottoway River. [11]
  • The 1763 will of John Irby of Amelia County identifies his children Charles and Lucy, proves his wife Susanna was John Winn’s sister.[12]

In light of these records, let’s go back to the question posed earlier: who were the witnesses and executor to the will of Col. Thomas of Lunenburg, namely, Charles Irby, John Winn, Jr., Charles Winn, Susannah Irby, Lucy Irby, and John Winn?[13]

  • The witness Susanna Irby was Amelia John’s sister, Susanna Winn Irby, wife of John Irby;
  • The witnesses Charles Irby and Lucy Irby were children of John and Susanna Winn Irby; and
  • John Winn the witness was the same man as Amelia John Winn, and John Winn Jr. was Amelia John’s son.

To summarize the evidence thus far, Amelia John Winn, Susanna Winn Irby, and Phebe Winn Holland, all of Amelia County, are proved as siblings. Col. Thomas Winn and Daniel Winn are also established as their siblings by the evidence provided by their wills.

On to the next question … who were the parents of Amelia John et al.? The answer, as many Winn researchers agree, is Richard and Phebe Wilkes Pledger Winn of Hanover County. If you don’t want to take that on faith, as I didn’t, here’s the evidence.

  • Begin with a 1744 conveyance of 388 acres in the “fork below the Little Nottoway River and Lazaritta Creek” (Lazaretto on current maps) to Richard Winn of Hanover County.[14] Call him “Hanover Richard.” A Richard Winn who began appearing in the Hanover County records in 1733 is almost certainly the same man.[15]
  • The 1746 Amelia County tax list included “Richard Winn’s list,” a designation meaning Richard did not live in Amelia. He was taxed on two enslaved persons, but no white tithes.[16] Richard Winn of Hanover, who acquired a tract on Lazaretto Creek in 1744, is surely the same man as the Richard Winn on the 1746 tax list who did not reside in Amelia.
  • The 1749 tax list includes “Richd: Winns list, John Wilke” (or Wilkes, perhaps?) with enslaved tithes Harry and Flowery?[17] The film for that year was very hard to read. John Wilke, or Wilkes, may have been Richard Winn’s overseer.
  • The 1750 tax list includes “Richd Winn’s List, Harry, Florey, Jeany,” a total of three tithes.[18] No overseer appears in Richard’s list this time, just enslaved persons.
  • The 1751 tax list has this entry: John Winn, Joseph Wilks, Harry, Flora, Jean.[19] Again, this is undoubtedly the same man as Amelia John. That tax list is conclusive evidence, in my view, that John Winn acquired the slaves of Richard Winn, almost certainly through inheritance. There is no deed, bill of sale or other record that I have found in Amelia County recording the transfer of those tithables from Richard to John.
  • In 1753, Amelia John’s tithable list expands to include David Webb, Caty, Hanover, Harry, Nan, Laney, Dennis, Philis, Flora, Jean and Venus, for twelve tithes total (including John). Note that the number of enslaved persons listed with Amelia John jumped considerably between 1751 and 1753. I found no deed of purchase for them in the Amelia deed records. That unexplained increase raises the inference that Richard died in the interim, and John acquired ownership of more of Richard’s slaves (including some who were previously living elsewhere, presumably Hanover).

In short, the Amelia County evidence raises an inference that Hanover Richard (who probably died about 1752) was Amelia John’s father.

A Family History cites Charles Hughes Hamlin, identified as a “professional genealogist of Richmond.” Anyone who has done any research in Virginia has heard of Mr. Hamlin. Charles Winn quotes Mr. Hamlin as follows: “[w]hen Prima Facie proof is known to have been destroyed and therefore unavailable then substantial circumstantial or secondary type evidence is both legally and genealogically admissible and acceptable.” Mr. Hamlin was off base legally, since circumstantial evidence is always admissible in court if it is otherwise proper, whether or not direct evidence has been destroyed – but we get his genealogical drift. Since the Hanover probate records are burned, the Amelia County tax lists are the only available evidence that Amelia John was an heir of Hanover Richard Winn.

If it is correct that Hanover Richard Winn was the father of Amelia John Winn, then Hanover Richard would also be the father of Phebe Winn Holland, Susanna Winn Irby, Col. Thomas of Lunenburg, and Daniel Winn.

Next up: the Hanover County Winns.

* * * * * * * * * *

[1] Gibson J. McConnaughey, Deed Book 2, Amelia County, Virginia Deeds 1742-1747 (Amelia, VA: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1982), abstract of WB 2: 360. I haven’t seen the original, but suspect that the abstractor incorrectly named Freeman Epes as Truman.

[2] Elisha and Joseph Winn are both proved sons of Daniel. E.g., Lunenburg Deed Book 13: 376, gift deed dated 8 Feb 1781 from Daniel Winn to son Elisha Winn, for love and affection, 300 acres; Lunenburg Will Book 4: 264, will of Daniel Winn leaving residue of estate after payment of debts to his son Joseph. I’m not going to attempt providing sources for my statement that Elisha and Joseph were the only related men of legal age by those names in the Virginia Southside in the 1780s. I’ve been all over that area looking at county records concerning Winns ad nauseam, ad infinitum, and I’m just going to rest that assertion on my research experience.

[3] Charles Arthur Wynn, Jr., A Family History of the Wynns (Winn, Wynne) of Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia (Decorah, IA: Amundsen, 1991)

[4] Naomi Giles Chadwick, Winn – Daniel and His Nine Sons (Riverside, CA: 1976). At page xiii, Ms. Chadwick says, “Thomas Wynne, the Elder (there were many) was the only known brother of Daniel … for he spoke of Daniel’s son Joseph as his nephew in a deposition (Thomas’s daughter was the wife of Joseph).” Ms. Chadwick provided no citation to any record. I haven’t found that deposition, but I haven’t yet been through all the Lunenburg court minutes.

[5] Virgil White, Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files (Waynesboro, TN: The National Historical Publishing County, 1991).

[6] Proof that Col. Thomas Winn moved from Hanover to Lunenburg is provided by a deed dated 8 Apr 1746, see Lunenburg Deed Book 1: 71 (original viewed by the author at the Lunenburg courthouse), deed from Samuel Wynne of Brunswick Co. to Thomas Wynne of St. Paul’s Parish in Hanover, 150A on what is now Modest Cr. in Lunenburg.

[7] Lunenburg County Deed Book 3: 226, Samuel Winn of Lunenburg to Daniel Winn of Prince George Co., 100 acres in Lunenburg, witnessed inter alia by Thomas Winn. Original deed viewed by the author at the Lunenburg courthouse in 2004.

[8] Gibson Jefferson McConnaughey, Deed Book 7 and Deed Book 8 Amelia County, Virginia Deeds 1759-1765 (Amelia, VA: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1990), abstract of DB 8: 314. One interesting aspect of that deposition is that it was given by John Nance, who names his son Giles Nance, one of the witnesses to Amelia John’s will. I haven’t attempted to analyze the Winn-Nance connection, but the facts that (1) Giles witnessed Amelia John’s will and (2) the Nance family was privy to the discussion of valuable gifts by Michael Holland, a Winn in-law, to his children, certainly suggest that there was a family connection of some sort.

[9] Gibson J. McConnaughey, Deed Book 5 and Deed Book 6, Amelia County, Virginia Deeds 1753-1759 (Amelia, VA: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1989), abstract of Amelia Co, Deed Book 5: 309.

[10] Phebe Winn Holland’s son Joseph Holland was a tithable in 1763 (white males were taxable at age 16 in Virginia from 1706 through 1777), so Joseph was born by at least 1747. That puts Phebe’s probable birth date in the 1720s. FHL Film #1,902,616, 1763 tax list for Nottoway Parish, listing Phoebe Holland with tithable Joseph Holland. Joseph is proved as a son of Phebe by an Amelia County deed dated 26 Feb 1767, Joseph Holland of Nottoway Parish to Charles Irby, same, acreage in a fork of the Nottoway River, part of which Philip Pledger conveyed to John Nance in 1759; Phebe, the mother of Joseph Holland, released dower. Amelia Co. Deed Book 9: 105.

[11] Gibson Jefferson McConnaughey, Amelia County, Virginia Deed Books 12, 13 & 14 (Deeds 1773-1778) (Amelia, VA: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1992), abstract of DB 14: 64, deed dated Feb 1774 from Pheby Holland, widow of Michael Holland, dec’d, and his son Joseph Holland, heir-at-law (and Mary his wife), to Medkip Tomson of Amelia, £100 for 100 acres on the south side of Little Nottoway adjacent Col. Winn and Crenshaw, the Horse Branch, lines of Irby, Sneed, Richard Tomson and Wm. Crenshaw, witnessed by James Crenshaw, Keturah Holland, and Robert Sharp Sneed.; Gibson Jefferson McConnaughey, Deed Books 9, 10 and 11, Amelia County, Virginia Deeds 1766-1773 (Amelia, VA: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1990), abstract of DB 9: 105, deed dated Feb 1774 from Pheby Holland, widow of Michael Holland, dec’d, and his son Joseph Holland, heir-at-law (and Mary his wife), to Medkip Tomson of Amelia, £100 for 100 acres on the south side of Little Nottoway adjacent Col. Winn and Crenshaw, the Horse Branch, lines of Irby, Sneed, Richard Tomson and Wm. Crenshaw. Witnesses were James Crenshaw, Keturah Holland, and Robert Sharp Sneed.

[12] Amelia County Will Book 2X: 45, will of John Irby dated 28 Jan 1763, proved 27 Oct 1763. Witnesses included Henrietta Maria Irby. Will named wife Susannah Irby, her brother John Winn, and testator’s brother Charles Irby. Children Charles, Lucey and John Irby, all under age 21. Susanna and John only married in 1757, so all three children were less than five years old. See Kathleen Booth Williams, Marriages of Amelia County, Virginia 173-1815 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978, originally published Alexandria, VA, 1961), marriage bond for John Irby and Susanna Wynne, surety John Winn, dated 29 Jan 1757.

[13] A Family History incorrectly identified the two Winn witnesses to Col. Thomas’s well. Specifically, the book identified the witness John Winn as a son of Col. Thomas, and the witness John Winn Jr. as John’s son (Col. Thomas’s grandson). Furthermore, John Winn Jr., son of John (Sr.), was born after his father died in 1768. See prior article discussing the 1768 will of John Winn, son of Col. Thomas, and the lawsuit in chancery establishing that John had an afterborn son named John. Thus, neither Col. Thomas’s son John, nor Col. Thomas’s grandson John Jr., could conceivably have witnessed the 1779 will of Col. Thomas: John was dead, and John Jr. couldn’t have been more than eleven.

[14] Gibson J. McConnaughey, Deed Book 2, Amelia County, Virginia Deeds 1742-1747 (Amelia, VA: Mid-South Publishing Co., 1982), abstract of Deed Book 2: 82.

[15] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979), abstract of court minutes (p. 19) of 2 Jan 1733, deed from John Winn of St. Pauls Parish, Hanover Co., carpenter, to Benjamin Hawkins, 140 acres purchased by said Winn of Richard Leak. John signs. Witnesses Richard Winn, Phebe (X) Winn, John Winn.

[16] Family History Library Film #1,902,616.

[17] Id.

[18] Id.

[19] Id. That should be five tithes, but it looked like a “4” on the film.

Virginia Winns, Part 2: Colonel Thomas Winn of Lunenburg

This article continues the saga of five genetically related Winn families of eighteenth century Virginia: (1) Col Thomas Winn of Lunenburg, b. circa 1720, d. 1781,[1] (2) Daniel Winn of Lunenburg, d. 1799, (3) Minor Winn Sr. of Fauquier Co., d. 1778, (4) John Winn of Lunenburg, d. 1795, and (5) Richard Winn of Middlesex.[2] Thanks to Y-DNA test results (see the prior article at this website), it is certain that the descendants of these five men share a common Winn Ancestor. It is also certain that they are not genetically related to Robert Wynne d. 1668 in Charles City County, despite a long-standing belief held by many Winn researchers that Robert was the progenitor of many Southside Winns.

The Winn Family DNA project (the “Project”) published the relevant Y-DNA results for those families. The “News” tab at the Project also purports to identify immigrant Winn ancestors for this line and says they descend from a Puleston line in Wales. The Project provides no sources. I didn’t spot any participants in the Project who identified their last known ancestor as one the immigrants or the Puleston line.[3] So … what is the basis for the Project’s claims? Hmmm … when you join the website, you are asked to provide a GEDCOM. Perhaps those GEDCOMS are the basis for some of the claims about immigrants and Welsh ancestry? Ergh. Quoting a friend, “family history without sources is fiction.” While DNA obviously isn’t fiction, drawing conclusions about ancestry without providing some kind of evidence undermines one’s credibility.

Notwithstanding the Project’s claims, I’m going to assume that the published Winn Y-DNA results prove nothing more and nothing less than what it says in the boldface summary in the first paragraph, above. Let’s address the relationship among those five men the old-fashioned way, beginning with Col. Thomas. He was a fairly wealthy man who lived a high profile life in Lunenburg: he was a Colonel in the county militia, vestryman of Cumberland Parish, and justice of the county court.[4] While we are searching for his family of origin, we will also look at his children and grandchildren. For more detail, and citations to county and other records, please check out the footnotes.

Here’s the bottom line: Col. Thomas is almost certainly a son of Richard and Phoebe Wilkes Pledger Winn of Hanover County. That is what the DNA Project claims, as well. Further, John Winn of Amelia County (wife Susannah Irby), Phoebe Winn Holland of Amelia (husband Michael Holland), and Susannah Winn Irby of Amelia (husband Charles Irby) were Col. Thomas’s siblings. Daniel Winn of Lunenburg is surely also their sibling. A rogue named Samuel Winn may be another sibling.

I wish this were a simple analysis proved by a few records. It is not. In fact, it will probably take several posts to cover the evidence. The records establish a compelling web of family relationships among several Winn families and their extended family “cluster” in three Virginia counties. They also provide a great deal of information about this family. So hang on to your hats …

Here are some basic records concerning Col. Thomas: (1) the 1768 will of his son John, who predeceased his father; (2) Col. Thomas’s 1779 will; and (3) a 1795 lawsuit in Lunenburg over the estate of Col. Thomas’s son Washington Winn.

First, the will of Col. Thomas’s son John was dated March 28 and proved May 12, 1768 in Lunenburg.[5] John’s will named his wife Susannah and his children Harrison, Betty and an unborn child. John named as his executors Thomas Winn (specifically identified by the testator as his father) and Joseph Winn, no relationship stated. Although the identity of John’s children is not critical, the timing of John’s death will (eventually) be important to this narrative. Col. Thomas’s son John obviously died in 1768.

Second, the will of Col. Thomas, dated Sept. 18, 1779 and proved April 12, 1781. Col. Thomas named these beneficiaries:[6]

  1. Son-in-law John Hix and his wife Mourning Winn Hix;
  2. Daughter Henrietta Maria Winn;
  3. Son Bannister Winn;
  4. Son Edmund Winn, who was less than twenty years old in Sept. 1779;
  5. Son Washington Winn, who was also less than twenty; and
  6. Col. Thomas’s wife Sarah.

His estate was substantial. The 1782 real property tax list for Lunenburg shows his estate was taxed on 1,400 acres.[7] The will devised twenty-four enslaved persons, although the inventory of his estate names eighteen.[8]

Here’s the best part: Col. Thomas named as executors his wife Sarah, William Winn (a son), Lyddal Bacon, and John Winn of Amelia Co. The witnesses were Christopher Dawson, Charles Irby, John Winn, Jr., Charles Winn, Susannah Irby, Lucy Irby, and John Winn.[9] The executor and witnesses whose names are in boldface are a key to identifying Col. Thomas’s family.

Meanwhile, the list of beneficiaries raises at least two issues: (1) whether Col. Thomas named all his children (he did not) and (2) whether Sarah, his widow, was his first wife (she was not). The rest of his children, and the fact that Col. Thomas had more than one wife, are proved in a lawsuit in Lunenburg over the estate of his son Washington, who died in late 1793 or early 1794.[10]

Despite assertions to the contrary in a compiled Winn family history, Washington was still less than twenty-one when he died, he was unmarried, and he left no will.[11] Washington’s estate reimbursed his mother Sarah in 1794 for expenses for doctors and for his coffin, expenses she incurred in her capacity as his guardian.[12] Thanks to his inheritance from his father, Washington had a personal property estate valued at £ 324.[13] Since he died without a will, his estate was divided according to the Virginia law of intestate distribution. A lawsuit ensued, which is a very happy circumstance for family history researchers two centuries later.

I am going to reproduce below the court’s distribution order dated Nov. 10, 1797, including the style of the case.[14] It is the most important evidence I have found regarding Col. Thomas’s family. Also, an abstract incorrectly transcribed the word “coheirs” in the style of the case as “cousins,” a great example of how one word can make a world of difference in family history research!

I grouped the parties in the style of the case by typeface and color to help keep them straight in the long list of complainants. The people in the first group – in red – are children of Col. Thomas except for two men who married two of his daughters, including (1) Joseph Winn who married Elizabeth Winn and (2) John Hix, who married Mourning Winn. Elizabeth and Mourning were daughters of Col. Thomas. Joseph Winn and John Hix had to be included as named parties because a married woman had no legal existence whatsoever apart from her husband, so that she could not be a party to a lawsuit on her own behalf.

The second group – shown in blue italics – names the three grandchildren of Col. Thomas through his dead son John, two of whom were named in John’s will (Harrison and Elizabeth “Betty” Winn Heart). See the discussion of the 1768 will, above. Note that we now know John’s afterborn child was named for his father.

The third group –  in black italics – identifies some more of Col. Thomas’s grandchildren, the children of his daughter Henrietta Maria Winn Bacon.[15]

Finally, the fourth group of people – green regular typeface – also names some of Col. Thomas’s grandchildren, the children of his daughter Keturah Winn Hardy.

Please note that a lawsuit concerning an estate of a person who died without a will must, as a matter of law, name all the heirs at law (meaning all the heirs under the law of intestate descent and distribution). This one lovely lawsuit therefore conclusively proves all of Col. Thomas’s heirs, i.e., his wife, his children or – if a child predeceased him – the children of the dead child (i.e., grandchildren). You can’t beat that in family history research absent a family Bible.

Here is the style of the lawsuit and order of distribution. Quote:

John Hix and Mourning his wife, Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Winn, Richard Winn, William Winn and Banister Winn, Children and Coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d, and Harrison Winn, Beasley Heart and Elizabeth his wife, and John Winn, children and legal representatives of John Winn, dec’d, who was the son of the last mentioned Thomas Winn, dec’d, and Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon, infants, by Edward [sic, Edmund] P. Bacon their guardian and Keturah Hardy, Armstead Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy, and Jeane Hardy, by Alexander Winn, Gentleman, their next friend,

 Complainants in Chancery,

v. 

Edmund Winn, administrator of Washington Winn, dec’d, and Sarah Winn,

Defendants.”

End of quote. We now know all the heirs – but which ones were Sarah’s children, and which were children of an earlier wife or wives? Fortunately the order specified how much money was to be distributed to each party. That tells us which were Sarah’s children (parties “of the whole blood,” i.e., Washington Winn’s siblings), and which were the children of Col. Thomas’s earlier wife or wives (parties “of the half blood”). The court was required to make that distinction because the Virginia law of intestate distribution provided that half siblings received only half as much as siblings of the whole blood. Here is the language of the payment ordered by the court, with my comments in italics:

“To Sarah Winn, complainant [sic, Sarah, Col. Thomas’s widow, was a defendant, not a complainant ], £97.9.8

To Mourning Hix of the half blood £61.14.10 [her husband John Hix had died by then][16]

To Joseph Winn of the half blood ditto [in right of his wife Elizabeth, a daughter of Col. Thomas]

To Thomas Winn of the half blood ditto

To Richard Winn of the half blood ditto

To William Winn of the half blood ditto

To Bannister Winn of the half blood ditto

To Harrison Winn, Beasly Hart & Elizabeth his wife and John Winn, heirs of John Winn, dec’d, son of Thomas Winn, dec’d, ditto amount above. The order doesn’t say so, but the amount clearly makes John Winn a sibling of Washington of the the half blood.

To the children of Keturah [Keturah’s name is struck out in pencil and “Henrietta” is written in the order book, presumably by a researcher; Henrietta is correct] Bacon, dec’d, Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon, Thomas Winn Bacon, of the whole blood, £123.9.8

To the children of Keturah Hardy, dec’d, Keturah Hardy, Ann Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy & Jeane Hardy of the whole blood, £123.9.8

To Edmund Winn his part £123.9.8.” Edmund, who was a defendant in his capacity as administrator of Washington’s estate, was clearly a sibling of the whole blood based on the amount he received.

Back to our original issue, i.e., the extended family of Col. Thomas. Take heart: we will get there eventually.

In that regard, there is one thing in the will that should catch our attention. One of the most solid bets in genealogy is that witnesses to a will will and/or executors are close family most of the time. Thus, we need to discover the family relationship among Col. Thomas and his executor John Winn of Amelia Co., and witnesses Charles Irby, John Winn, Jr., Charles Winn, Susannah Irby, Lucy Irby, and John Winn. The fact that Col. Thomas appointed as an executor someone from a county across the Nottoway River – John Winn, to whom I will refer as “Amelia John” – gives him special importance.

Well, this is already too much for this installment. I will open the next article with Amelia John’s will. See you then, I hope!

Footnotes:

[1] The “circa 1720” date of birth for Col. Thomas is based on when he appeared in certain records. So far as I have found, his first appearance was in a St. Paul’s Parish vestry book entry dated 3 Mar 1743, It identified Thomas as “Page’s Overseer,” see The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Virginia 1706-1786, C. G. Chamberlayne, 1940. The overseer position was frequently a sort of “training” position among wealthy families; it suggests that he was in his early to mid-twenties. His next appearance in the records was as a grantee in a deed dated 8 Apr 1746. See Lunenburg Deed Book 1: 71 (original viewed by the author at the Lunenburg courthouse), deed from Samuel Wynne of Brunswick Co. to Thomas Wynne of St. Paul’s Parish in Hanover, 150A, witnessed by John Winn, John Stone and Richard Stone. The land Samuel conveyed was on F*cking Creek, subsequently renamed “Modest Creek” in a fit of incredibly ironic cartography. In any event, Col. Thomas was born no later than 1725. His birth year was probably somewhere between 1715 and 1725, hence “circa” 1720 as a plus-or-minus estimate. He reached his public “peak” about 1765, when he became a militia Colonel, was a county court justice, and became a parish Vestryman. See note 4. He would have been about 45.

[2] The death years for four of the five men are based on the year each one’s will was probated. I have found no basis to estimate a death date for Richard Winn of Middlesex.

[3] Id. The only evidence cited in the “news” summary at the link in the prior footnote is the Christ Church Parish register, which is not without its problems. I’ll address those, or try to, in another article in this series.

[4] Lloyd Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988), Thomas Wynne took the oath as Colonel in the Lunenburg militia on 14 Jun 1765; Lunenburg County, Virginia, Order Book No. 12, 1766-1769 (Miami Beach: TLC Genealogy, 2002), abstract of Order Book 12: 67, entry of 11 Jun 1767, Thomas Winn, Justice, was present at county court; Landon C. Bell, Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg County, Virginia, 1746-1816, Vestry Book (Richmond: William Byrd Press, 1930), Thomas Winn was a vestryman from 1766 through 1780.

[5] June Banks Evans, Lunenburg County Virginia Will Book 2 1762-1778 (New Orleans: Bryn Ffyliaid Publications, 1999), abstract of Will Book 2: 326, the will of John Winn, son of Thomas.

[6] Original of Will Book 3: 75, viewed by the author at the Lunenburg courthouse.

[7] June Banks Evans, Lunenburg County, Virginia Land Taxes 1782 – 1787 (New Orleans: Bryn Ffyliaid Publications, 1990).

[8] Original of Lunenburg Will Book 3:75, 82.

[9] Id. at 75.

[10] Original of Lunenburg Order Book 16: 348, viewed by the author at the Lunenburg courthouse, court order of 9 Jan 1794 granting administration of the estate of Washington Winn to Edmund Winn.

[11] Charles Arthur Wynn, Jr., A Family History of the Wynns (Winn, Wynne) of Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia (Decorah, IA: Amundsen, 1991) incorrectly asserts that Washington was married and that he had a will. Washington did not have a will: (1) none can be found among the relatively intact Lunenburg probate records, (2) his estate had an administrator (rather than an executor), and (3) the court divided Washington’s estate according to the law of intestate descent and distribution – which only applies in the absence of a valid will. Further, it is certain that Washington had no wife who survived him, or his mother Sarah would not have been Washington’s guardian when he died and Washington’s widow would have been one of the distributees of his estate. Distribution to a surviving parent is a standard provision in most laws of intestate distribution. In fact, had both of Washington’s parents been alive, they would (if the VA law at that time was like current TX law) have been entitled to the whole estate and his siblings would have received nothing.

[12] June Banks Evans, Lunenburg County, Virginia Guardian Accounts 1791-1810 (New Orleans: Bryn Ffyliaid Publications, 1995). Washington would not have had a guardian had he been of full legal age.

[13] June Banks Evans, Lunenburg County Virginia Will Book 4 1791-1799 (New Orleans: Bryn Ffyliaid Publications,1991), abstract of WB 4: 45a, inventory and appraisal of the estate of Washington Winn, dec’d.

[14] Original of Order Book 17: 292, 293, viewed by the author at the Lunenburg courthouse.

[15] The style of the case incorrectly names the guardian of the Bacon children as Edward P. Bacon. I have a Bacon ancestor, also a Lunenburg resident, so I’ve scrubbed the Lunenburg records on the Bacons. In fact, I looked through the original deed grantor-grantee index, as well as the individual deed book indices for a number of years, trying to find an Edward P. Bacon. The Bacon children’s guardian was undoubtedly Edmund Parkes Bacon, who is all over the Lunenburg records at the turn of the century.

[16] Lunenburg Will Book 4: 149A, original viewed by author at Lunenburg courthouse, will of John Hix dated 19 Feb 1795, proved 8 Dec 1796. The will names wife Mourning and children.

 

Virginia Winns Part 1: YDNA and Some Colonial Virginia Winn Families

Y-DNA continues to be an amazing boon to family history researchers, and some of the Winn (Wynne/Winne/Wynn) families of colonial Virginia are no exception. This article summarizes Y-DNA results for a few Virginia Winn lines:

  • Daniel Winn (b. by 1723, d. 1799) of Lunenburg County, Virginia, whose wife may have been Sarah Tench.[1] Call him Daniel Winn, because there is no one else with that given name in this article with whom we might confuse him. He had 10 children, nine sons and one daughter.
  • Thomas Winn (b. abt. 1715, d. 1781), also of Lunenburg County. He had children by at least two wives, according to a 1797 chancery lawsuit there.[2] Let’s call him “Col. Thomas,” his militia rank, because that is how Winn researchers usually refer to him.[3]
  • John Winn (d. 1795),[4] also of Lunenburg. The conventional wisdom is that his wife was Anne Stone, although I haven’t found conclusive proof of his wife’s identity. Call him “John Winn d. 1795.”
  • Minor Winn Sr. of Fauquier County, VA. No nickname is needed, let’s just call him Minor Winn.
  • Richard Winn of Middlesex County, VA, whose childrens’ births were recorded in the register of Christ Church Parish in the 1690s and first decade of the 1700s. Call him “Richard of Middlesex.”
  • Robert Wynne (d. 1687) of Charles City County, VA, who was the Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses during the “Long Parliament” of 1664-1674. His grandfather was a Mayor of Canterbury, Kent, England. Call him “Speaker Robert.” No wonder that many, many Winn family trees on the web and at Ancestry.com claim him as an ancestor.

To begin with, this article summarizes the Y-DNA results for descendants of these men. After that, we will take a big leap from science into old-fashioned county records to see what we can conclude (if anything) about the relationships among them.

I have taken Y-DNA results from a public post (there is no personal information) at the Winn Surname DNA Project. Here is the chart of DNA results at the project website.

Here, briefly, is what the chart tells us (assuming I have read it correctly).

  1. The modal allele (marker) values for 9 test participants descended from Daniel Winn are a perfect 67-marker match with the following: (1) the only test participant descended from Col. Thomas; (2) the modal values for the six participants descended from Minor Winn; and (3) the modal values for the four participants descended from Richard of Middlesex. We can conclude with considerable confidence that the descendants of Daniel Winn, Col. Thomas, Minor Winn, and Richard of Middlesex share a common Winn ancestor. 
  2. The modal values for the two test participants descended from John Winn d. 1795 are a 67-marker match, genetic distance = 1 (only one mismatching marker), from the descendants of the four men listed above. It is safe to say that John Winn d. 1795 is also a very close genetic relative of Daniel, Col. Thomas, Minor and Richard of Middlesex.
  3. I must put this in red boldface type: the Y-DNA profile of descendants of Speaker Robert conclusively establish that he was NOT a genetic relative of Daniel, Col. Thomas, Minor, Richard of Middlesex, or John d. 1795.

One caveat, which calls for upper case: THE ANCESTRY OF THE DESCENDANTS IS SELF-REPORTED. For example, it is possible that the descendants of Richard of Middlesex have made an unproved (and possibly unprovable) leap of faith from their last conclusively proved Winn ancestor back in time to Richard of Middlesex. More on that later.

As for Speaker Robert being a different line than the other Winn families: this is a BIG DEAL FINDING from the Winn DNA project. Many (apparently most) Winn researchers continue to believe that Speaker Robert was the progenitor of numerous Winn families in the Virginia Southside in the 18th century, including some of the Lunenburg Winns.[5] In fact, all of the family trees I have found online show Daniel and/or Col. Thomas as descendants of Speaker Robert (if the tree identifies their ancestry at all).[6] I am sure there must be some researchers out there who have gotten the clear message from the Winn DNA Project about these relationships, but I haven’t run across their trees yet.

DNA doesn’t lie. Speaker Robert is simply not the ancestor of any of the other Winns in our list of five.

That’s all well and good, but where do we go from there? The other five Winns in our list are obviously closely related, but how?

For this, we have to do it the old-fashioned way: paper genealogy. This won’t be easy, so we’ll have to take it one at a time. Because this will undoubtedly be long-winded and difficult, I will wait to tackle it until the next article.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas, y’all, and Happy New Year!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

[1] Daniel’s birth date (born by 1723) is based on his first appearance in the records, as a witness to a Surry Co.,VA deed dated 13 Jun 1744; I’m assuming he was of full legal age as a witness. Surry Co. Deed Book 8: 831. Daniel’s death date is based on the probate date of his Lunenburg will, dated 23 Apr 1789 and proved 14 Feb 1799, abstracted by June Banks Evans, Lunenburg County Virginia Will Book 4 1791-1799 (New Orleans: Bryn Ffyliaid Publications,1991).

[2] Lunenburg Order Book 17: 292, 293, viewed by the author at the Lunenburg courthouse in March 2004. See also FHL Film #32,410.

[3] The death date for Col. Thomas is based on the probate date of his will, dated 18 Sep 1779 and proved 12 Apr 1781. See the original of Lunenburg Will Book 3:75 (viewed by the author at the Lunenburg courthouse in March 2008). His birth date is based on his first appearance in the records in Hanover County in the vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, a procession order of 3 Mar 1743 listing Thomas Winn as “Page’s Overseer.” C. G. Chamberlain, The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Virginia 1706-1786 (1940).

[4] Will of John Winn dated 17 Aug 1793, proved 12 Feb 1795, Lunenburg Will Book 4:83b-84, viewed by the author at the Lunenburg Courthouse in March 2004.

[5] See, e.g., http://files.usgwarchives.net/va/charlescity/wills/w5000001.txt.

[6] See, e.g., http://www.thefourwinns.net/winn.html.