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. 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.
- 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.
- 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 Poythress 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
Col. Thomas was the most prominent of the three “senior” Winns. He was a son of Richard Winn of Hanover County, Virginia. Hanover Richard’s wife by at least 1733 was Phoebe Wilkes Pledger Winn, the widow of Mr. Pledger. She was a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Wilkes. 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.
I first found Col. Thomas mentioned in 1743 as “Page’s overseer” in Hanover County. He appeared in Lunenburg records for the first time in a 1746 deed executed when he was still residing in Hanover.
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. In 1751, he was sworn as a justice of the Lunenburg county court with the honorific “gentleman.” In 1755, he was sworn a “Captain of Foot” of the Lunenburg militia. He was a wealthy landowner; by 1761, he had amassed over 3,500 acres. 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. In 1772, the Governor of Virginia appointed him county coroner. He was a vestryman of Cumberland Parish from 1766 through 1780.
His first wife’s identity is unproved. She is traditionally identified as Elizabeth Bannister, perhaps because she had children named Bannister and Elizabeth. 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.
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). 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. 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. 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. His wife was Jane Barnard.  He died intestate in Chatham in November 1801. He and Jane had five children.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. He had three children, one of whom was born after he died. John named Thomas Winn an executor and specifically identified him as his father.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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 
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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 See Note 6.
 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.
 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.
 Order Book 2: 446, Thomas Wynne, gent., was sworn as a justice of the county court.
 Id. at 400.
 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.
 Order Book 11: 86; id. at 84.
 Deed Book 12: 132, Thomas Winn’s bond as county coroner.
 Landon C. Bell, Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg County, Virginia, 1746-1816 Vestry Book (Richmond: The William Byrd Press, Inc., 1930).
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 FamilySearch.org film # 8628429, image #15, 1793 tax list for Chatham Co., GA included Bannister Winn.
 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.
 Id. Administrators’ bond for the estate of Bannister Winn by William Barnard and Jane Winn (sister of Barnard) dated 27 Nov 1801.
 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.
 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.
 William D. Lindsey, a thoughtful and thorough researcher who is descended from Thomas Jr., estimated his birth year and provided information about his wives.
 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.
 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.
 Laurens Co., SC Deed Book D: 319.
 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.
 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.
 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).
 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.
 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.
 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.
 Order Book 17: 134. Henrietta Maria/Marie Winn Bacon’s children were Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon.
 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.
 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.
 Will Book 4: 45a, inventory and appraisal of the estate of Washington Winn, dec’d.
 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.