James Winn, Son of Daniel of Lunenburg: Lost but now Found? Probably …

REVISED TO INCORPORATE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY A DESCENDANT

I recently stumbled across online images of a Winn family Bible I had not seen before.[1] The Bible is from the family of James Winn, son of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg County, Virginia. James’s wife was Mary Ann Winn, daughter of John and Ann Stone Winn, also of Lunenburg. I wrote about James and Mary Ann briefly in Part IV of the recent Lunenburg Winn series.

What stands out about James in that article is his Revolutionary War service. He enlisted in February 1776 for two years in Capt. James Johnson’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment, as did his brothers Elisha and William Winn.[2] He is shown on a Revolutionary War roll as a Sergeant in May 1777.[3] His individual service record lists him in Capt. Billey Haley Avery’s company of the 6th Virginia Regiment from August 1777 through January 1778. He was discharged in February 1778 at Valley Forge.[4] That catches most people’s attention, as well it should. And because today is November 11, I hereby send best wishes and gratitude to all veterans, including my husband Gary, a Vietnam vet, and (posthumously) to James Winn, a many-greats uncle of mine.

Back to the Winns: my article goes on to say that James probably left Lunenburg because there doesn’t seem to be a will or estate administration for him there. I added that I did not know where he went. In short, I just flat lost James and Mary Ann.

So … have we found James, son of Daniel, in this family Bible record? As a black plastic “Magic 8 Ball”[5] might say, “all signs point to ‘yes.’ ” For starters, the first members of the family recorded in the Bible are named James and Mary Ann Winn. The Bible says he was born in 1757. I had estimated that Daniel’s son James was born in 1757-1758, so the Bible’s birth year is spot on.

Also, several descendants of this family have been accepted by the D.A.R. on the basis of the Revolutionary War service of James Winn, son of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg. In short, there is every reason to accept that the James and Mary Ann Winn in the Bible record are the same people as James and Mary Ann Winn of Lunenburg.

But wait, there’s more … one descendant of James posted a comment on the original version of this article. She says the line has been Y-DNA tested and is well-established as part of the genetic family of Daniel Winn of Lunenburg. This blog has turned out to be a great way to meet nice cousins, and she is another one who is also a great researcher.

There is an “in memory of” marker for a James F. Winn in the Oakwood Cemetery in Martinsville, the county seat of Henry County, Virginia. Here it is:

Please note that the marker is fairly modern, perhaps mid 20th-century. The cemetery wasn’t founded until 1883, sixty-eight years after James died, so it is virtually certain that he was not buried there.[6]

A minor nitpick: the many Lunenburg records for James Winn, son of Daniel, never included a middle initial. The same is true for his military service records, which have his first and last names only, with no middle initial. There is no evidence of a middle name or initial in the Bible, either … he is simply James Winn. Nevertheless, the marker includes a middle initial, and most Ancestry trees identify him as “James Francis Winn.” Of course, people routinely include middle names for 18th-century men without any basis in the records, so this isn’t s a big surprise.

OK, back to the Bible. It was printed in 1833, roughly two decades after James and Mary Ann died. The family entries are in two parts.  First, there is a list of gifts of the Bible from one Winn family member to the next – i.e., the Bible’s ownership provenance. Four pages headed “Family Register” follow. Those pages record names, dates of birth, and some marriages for family members. I was reeling after reading both, and didn’t feel as though I had a handle on this family until I did a fair amount of additional research. May you have better luck.

Here, sans commentary, is a verbatim transcription of the family information. It begins with the provenance of the Bible and continues with the four pages of “Family Register” entries.

“This my fathers family Bible. I will to my niece Susie Winn Shute after my death it is to be hers. [Signed] Mary A. Thompson. April 30, 1895.”

“I give this Bible to my cousin Walter S. Winn & if he ________ [indecipherable] _______ William Winn. [Signed] Susie W. Shute.”

“I give this Bible to John T. Winn Jr. with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. Walter S. Winn, June 5th1920.”

“I give this Bible to William Edward Winn with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. Jan. 28, 1962, Charlotte, NC, John T. Winn Jr.”

“I give this Bible to Thomas Edward Winn with the request that it be kept in the Winn family. April 26, 2003, Charlotte, NC.”

Here is the first page headed “FAMILY REGISTER.” In the original Bible, the names are shown in two columns on each page. I couldn’t make that format work here. Sorry. It would be easier reading.

Column 1

James Winn was born April 14th 1757

Mary Ann was born 14th December 1759

Olive Winn was born January 28th 1779

Crecy Winn was born November 29th 1780

Archelaus Winn was born November 17th 1784

Younger Winn was born April 12th 1786

Frances Winn was born October 15th 1787

Coleman Winn was born June 30th 1789

Elizabeth Ann Winn was born June 15th 1791

Column 2

James Winn and Mary Ann Winn were married on the 15th of May 1778

Jerusha James Winn was born March 7th 1793

James Sibley Winn was born January 1st 1795

Arlysha Scott Winn and Clearecy Harloe Winn twin sisters were born February 4th 1797

Whitehead Washington Winn was born February 22nd 1799

Clarecy Harloe Winn died Sept 6th 1802

Mary Ann Winn the wife of James Winn died August 13th 1813

End of first page of the register. Here is the second page, also titled FAMILY REGISTER …

Column 1

James Winn died June 14th 1815

Mary Ann Winn his wife died August 13th 1813

Susanna Winn died Dec 16th 1864.

Archelaus W. Winn died April 13th 1868

Column 2

Calma C. Winn wife of Rev. G. W. Winn died Aug 4th 1893.

George Washington Winn died April 8, 1895

Livin A. Winn died May 16th 1892

Louisa Yourman? Winn died June 25th 1894

Mary Ann Winn Thompson died Oct 29 1905, the last of the old family

End of the second page. Here is the third page of the Family Register …

Column 1

Archelaus W. Winn was born Nov. 17th 1784

Susanna Ballanfant was born January 23rd 1789

Ebenezer P. Winn was born Aug 17th 1809

James Winn was b. June 26th 1812

John B. Winn Sept. 2nd 1814

Joseph B. Winn Dec. 6 1816

George W. Winn b. Jul 5th 1819

Mary Ann Winn Nov. 23, 1821

Column 2

Louisa Y. Winn 28 Apr 1824

Levin A. Winn 22 Mar 1826

William Alexander Winn Aug 29th 182? 1828?

Franklin L. P. Winn 20 May 1831

Mary Elizabeth Hoskins was b. 21 Dec 1837

F. L. P. Winn and M. E. Hoskins were married 1855

End of the third page of the register. Here is the fourth and final page …

Column 1

Joseph B. Winn died Jan 9th 1828

John B. Winn died Oct 23rd 1855

Ebenezer P. Winn d. 12 Jul 1863

John A. Thompson died Oct 21 1866

William A. Winn d. 12 Dec 1866

Silas D. Thompson d. Nov 8th 1882

Column 2

John Thompson Winn d. July 12, 1932, Bedford Co., TN, son of F.L.P. and M.E. Winn was born Mar 23, 1856.

Walter Salt? Winn son of Livin A. Winn and Marth A. Winn was b. July 2 1864

Emma Ellen Maxwell Winn wife of W. S. Winn was born Oct. 5, 1871

John A. Thompson and Mary A. Winn was married Aug 10th 1852

S.? D. Thompson and Mary A. Thompson m. Dec 13th 1870

E. L. Winn son of J. T. Winn Sr. was born Feb 16 1882

And that’s all of the family information in the Bible. If the spirit moves, I will prepare and post a conventional descendant chart for clarity, along with some additional information from census and other records.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] The Bible is online at the Library of Virginia at this link.

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

[3] Online at FamilySearch.org, 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 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 at this link.

[4] See Valley Forge Muster Roll Project here.

[5] Mattel still manufactures the Magic 8 Ball.

[6] Here is a link to the Find-a-Grave site for Oakwood Cemetery.

QUERY: (1) WHO WAS JOHN WINN d. AMELIA COUNTY 1781 and (2) WAS HE RELATED TO THE LUNENBURG WINNS?

— ANONYMOUS

Hooray! A query via email …

Answer #1: the circumstantial evidence is that Lt. Col. John Winn of Amelia County, Virginia (hereafter “Col. John”)[1] was a son of Richard Winn of Hanover County. Richard’s wife and perhaps John’s mother was Phebe, widow of a Mr. Pledger.

Answer #2: Yes, Amelia John was related to the Winn families of Lunenburg County.

Well. I suppose an explanation and some evidence is in order. Alternatively, we could avoid a lot of footnotes if readers would just accept my version of the facts as readily as people accept unsourced family trees on Ancestry.

No?

I thought not.

For Answer #1, we need to look at records involving Richard Winn of Hanover County. They establish that (1) Richard married Phebe ___ Pledger,[2] (2) he owned land in Amelia County, (3) he didn’t live in Amelia but paid taxes on some enslaved people there, and (4) Col. John subsequently acquired Richard’s tract and the enslaved people, evidently via inheritance.

(1) A 1733 Hanover County lease and release proves Richard Winn’s wife was Phebe, the widow of a Mr. Pledger.[3] We don’t know when Richard and Phebe married, so we can’t be certain that Phebe was the mother of Richard’s children.

(2) In 1744, Richard Winn of Hanover County bought 388 acres in Amelia County in the fork below the Little Nottoway River and Lazaritta Creek.[4] Richard had tithable (taxable) people on that tract in at least 1746, 1748, and 1749, even though he didn’t live in Amelia.[5] In 1749, John Wilke or Wilkes, perhaps Richard’s overseer, was one of his taxables. The two other taxable people with Wilkes were enslaved persons named Harry and Flowrey? The latter name is difficult to read on the film. Turns out it is “Flora,” perhaps pronounced “Flory,” see item (3).

(3) In 1751, the Amelia tax list includes an entry for John (rather than Richard) Winn, with taxables Joseph Wilkes, Harry, Flora, and Jean. Col. John Winn had apparently acquired the tract along with the enslaved people from Richard. There is no Amelia deed for any such purchase. That raises the inference that Col. John acquired the tract and enslaved people via inheritance. Records in Hanover are largely lost, so there is probably no will to be found there.

However, there is other evidence linking Col. John to Hanover. His eldest son Richard Winn[6]  was a Revolutionary War soldier whose widow Jane Pincham Winn applied for a pension for his service. Her application file includes the information that Richard’s father was Col. John Winn (identified by that title) who was born in Hanover County, Virginia.[7]

Other facts for the record … Col. John married Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr., in 1754.[8] John was probably born in the early 1720s and died in January 1781.[9] Col. John’s sister Susanna Winn married John Irby (Susanna Irby Winn’s brother) in 1757.[10] Are we dizzy yet? John and Susannah Winn Irby had children named Charles, Lucey, and John. Another sister, Phebe Winn, was the wife of Michael Holland.[11] The Winns and Irbys of Amelia County played a significant role in proving the Amelia-Lunenburg Winn family connection.

Which brings is to Answer #2, Col. John’s relationship to the Lunenburg Winn families.

The Winn DNA project results table does not include a group identified as descendants of Col. John Winn of Amelia. However, there is a group  designated “Richard Winn … m. Phebe Pledger, Hanover Co. VA.” If you accept that Col. John was a son of Richard of Hanover  with wife Phebe, then the Y-DNA evidence will convince you that Col. John shared a common Winn ancestor with Col. Thomas Winn, Daniel Winn, and John Winn (wife Ann Stone), all of Lunenburg.

Of course, Y-DNA doesn’t identify the nature of their relationships. However, there is compelling circumstantial paper evidence that Col. John of Amelia and Col. Thomas of Lunenburg were brothers. The evidence that Daniel Winn of Lunenberg was another brother is also convincing. I identify five people as children of Richard and (perhaps) Phebe Pledger Winn of Hanover, not necessarily in birth order:

Col. John Winn of Amelia (wife Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr.)

Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg (two wives, possibly Miss Bannister and perhaps Sarah Bacon)

Susanna Winn of Amelia (husband John Irby, son of Charles Irby Sr.)

Phebe Winn of Amelia (husband Michael Holland)

Daniel Winn of Lunenburg (wife Sarah, possibly Sarah Tench)

The key to the family relationship between Col. John and  Col. Thomas is Thomas’s Lunenburg will.[12]

Most importantly, Thomas named John Winn of Amelia (expressly described as “of Amelia”) an executor along with his wife Sarah, son William, and Lyddal Bacon. IMO, that is sufficient evidence standing alone that Col. Thomas and Col. John were siblings. The most loved, trusted, and capable members of the testator’s family were usually designated executors. Further, an out-of-county executor was not the norm, because he would necessarily have to travel to administer the estate. Col. Thomas surely named John of Amelia executor out of affection without any expectation that he would perform estate administration duties.

The witnesses to Col. Thomas’s will, who are traditionally also close family members, provide additional evidence that he and Col. John were siblings. Here are the people who witnessed Col. Thomas’s will:

… Members of the Amelia County Irby family, including Susannah Irby, Charles Irby, and Lucy Irby. Susannah was Susannah Winn Irby, proved sister of Col. John. Charles and Lucy Irby were Susannah’s children.[13] Keep in mind that the Irbys had to make a trip across the Nottoway to witness Col. Thomas’s will. One had to witness the will when and where the testator executed it.

… the Winn witnesses were John Winn Jr. and John Winn. As you know if you follow this blog, Lunenburg was awash with Winns named John. That means my opinion is ripe for second-guessing. Because Col. John Winn of Amelia was named executor, I believe that he and his son John Jr. were witnesses.[14]

I have saved the low-hanging (read: easy) fruit for last. Namely, whether Daniel Winn was also a sibling of Col. John, Col. Thomas, Susanna Winn Irby, and Phebe Winn Holland. I will refrain from reciting the many connections between Col. Thomas and Daniel in the Lunenburg deed records. Instead, I offer the following two items.

Naomi Giles Chadwick’s book, Winn – Daniel and His 9 Sons, states without any citation to county records that Col. Thomas testified in a deposition that Joseph Winn, son of Daniel, was his nephew. I haven’t found that deposition. If true, then Daniel Winn and Col. Thomas Winn were brothers.

There is one more will “factoid.” Joseph Winn and Elisha Winn, sons of Daniel Winn, witnessed Col. John Winn’s Amelia County will. All of the other witnesses (with the possible exception of Giles Nance) were Col. John’s close relatives. And, of course, Joseph and Elisha made the trip across the Nottoway to witness their Uncle John’s will.

With that, I’ll move on. More Winns are tugging at my sleeve.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] John Winn was commissioned a Lt. Col. in the Amelia County militia on 23 May 1771. Lloyd Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988). My Air Force Academy graduate husband tells me that a Lieutenant Colonel is addressed as Colonel. I am doing that in this article.

[2] I am glossing over Phebe Winn’s maiden name in order to avoid a sidetrack into lengthy proof. I believe she was née Wilkes.

[3] Rosalie Edith Davis, Hanover County, Virginia Court Records 1733-1735: Deeds, Wills and Inventories (1979) 13-14, lease and release from Richard Winn and wife Phebe of Hanover to John Winn, 517 acres with a plantation on Chickahominy Swamp.

[4] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 2: 82-83, lease and release from Stith Hardaway to Richard Winn of Hanover, 388 acres. The tract was then in Amelia but is now in Nottoway County, about 6 miles north of Effing Creek/Falls Creek/Hounds Creek where the Lunenburg Winns lived.

[5] FHL Film #1,902,616 has Amelia County tax lists including those for 1746, 1748, 1749, and 1751. Two of the tax lists identify his property as “Richard Winn list” or “Richard Wyn’s Quarter,” which means the taxpayer didn’t reside in the county.

[6] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 15: 6, deed dated 24 Sep 1778 from John Winn of Amelia to his son Richard of same, for love and affection, 400 acres on the south side of John Winn’s mill pond, part of the tract belonging to the late Col. Irby adjacent John Winn and Charles Irby.

[7] Virgil D. White, Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files Vol. 4 (Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1992). Revolutionary War pension application No. W.6558 by Jane Pincham Winn, widow of Richard Winn, Virginia Line. View it here.. If it is correct that Col. John Winn was born in Hanover rather than a predecessor county, then he was born during or after 1721. Hanover was established in 1721 from part of New Kent County.

[8] My notes indicate that, years ago, Ann Avery Hunter somewhere (!?!) cited the accession number at the Virginia Archives for the marriage bond of John Winn and Susanna Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr. The bond was dated 4 Apr 1754. I cannot locate the accession number, nor can I recall where I found the reference. I nevertheless trust Ms. Hunter and my woefully incomplete notes on this fact.

[9] For Col. John’s birth date, see Note 7 saying that he was born in Hanover County. I estimated he was born after 1721 when Hanover was created but during the 1720s because he married in 1754, see Note 8. Colonial men (in my observation) typically married about age 25. His will was proved in January 1781, probably very soon after he died as was the norm. See Note 14.

[10] Amelia Co., VA Will Book 2X: 45, will of John Irby dated and proved in 1763. Executors wife Susannah Irby, “her brother John Winn,” and brother Charles Irby. Children Charles Irby, Lucey Irby, and John Irby. See also Kathleen Booth Williams, Marriages of Amelia County, Virginia 1735-1815 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978, originally published Alexandria, VA, 1961), John Irby and Susanna Wynne married 29 Jan 1757, surety John Wynn.

[11] Amelia Co., VA Deed Book 8: 314, deposition of John Nance re Michael Holland’s gift of enslaved people to his children Mary and Joseph. Nance testified that Michael Holland’s wife (unnamed) wanted the gift recorded and asked Nance to have her “brother Winn” take care of it. Nance’s testimony proves only that Mrs. Holland was née Winn. However, Susannah Irby, a proved sister of Col. John, also testified on the gift issue. Id. at 315. Finally, Mrs. Holland’s given name was Phebe. Amelia Deed Book 14: 1774 deed from Pheby Holland, widow of Michael Holland, and his son Joseph and wife Mary to Medkip Tomson of Amelia. That combination of facts convinced me that Phebe Holland was Col. John’s sister.

[12] Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org film #32,380, will of Thomas Winn dated 18 Sep 1779, proved 12 Apr 1781. Thomas named six of his eleven children in his will, see the  article about a chancery suit identifying all of his children.

[13] See Note 10.

[14] Col. John Winn had sons Richard, John, and Charles, and a daughter Jane Winn Epes. Amelia Co., VA Will Book 2: 360, will of Col. John Winn dated Mar 1780, proved Jan 1781. He named his wife Susanna (née Irby, daughter of Charles Irby Sr. and wife Susanna), sons Richard, John, and Charles, and daughter Jane Winn Epes. Executors were his wife, Truman Epes, and Charles Winn. Truman Epes was John’s son-in-law. Witnesses were Giles Nance, John Irby, William Gooch, Elisha Winn, Joseph Winn, and Jane Epes. I have long suspected that John Nance or Giles Nance married a Winn, but cannot prove it. John Irby’s wife was Susanna Winn Irby, sister of Col. John. William Gooch married Henrietta Maria Irby in Nov. 1769; Charles Irby testified that Henrietta was 21 and the daughter of Charles Irby Sr. Kathleen Booth Williams, Marriages of Amelia County, Virginia 1735-1815 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1978, originally published Alexandria, VA, 1961).

 

Part III of ?? How Many Times Was Col. Thomas Winn Married?

(OR MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT INTESTATE DESCENT & DISTRIBUTION)

My recent article about Col. Thomas Winn of Lunenburg County, Virginia (circa 1718 – 1781) may have been unclear about that question.[1] The answer: Thomas was married more than once. More importantly, Thomas had children by more than one wife. A Lunenburg chancery lawsuit concerning the estate of his son Washington Winn makes it abso-effing-lutely impossible to conclude otherwise. This might be important to some, because a legion of people claim Col. Thomas as an ancestor.

Perhaps the only way to set the record straight on this issue is by analyzing the chancery lawsuit orders. But first, let’s flesh out the bottom line …

Col. Thomas had seven children by his first wife (or wives).  Their mother is unproved but she is traditionally identified as Elizabeth Bannister.

  1. MOURNING
  2. ELIZABETH
  3. THOMAS
  4. RICHARD
  5. WILLIAM
  6. BANNISTER
  7. JOHN, who predeceased Col. Thomas

Col. Thomas Winn’s widow, who was at least his second wife, was named Sarah. Her maiden name is also unproved, although she is often identified as Sarah Bacon. Sarah and Thomas had four children who survived him:

  1. KETURAH
  2. HENRIETTA MARIA (or MARIE)
  3. EDMUND
  4. WASHINGTON

Proving these children is not easy. If you don’t wish to hear how the law of intestate descent and distribution in late 18th century Virginia treated siblings and half-siblings, or why a married woman was not allowed to appear as a party to a lawsuit on her own and how that matters in this case … and if you have no desire to dissect just the style of a lawsuit for family information, and also scrutinize the court’s distribution of estate assets for more family information … for heaven’s sake, people, quit reading NOW!! Otherwise, grab a cup of coffee or an adult beverage and pull up a chair. Anyone who makes it all the way to the end will receive a suitable reward to be announced later.

Before we start, it is important to know that Washington Winn, whose estate was the subject of the chancery lawsuit, was a son of Col. Thomas Winn. See Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org Film #32,380 (will of Thomas Winn proved 1781 named his underage son Washington Winn).

Some law and why it is important for figuring out Col. Thomas Winn’s family

First, the easy part: legal issues. This discussion is largely based on personal knowledge. I will spare you and myself citations to  Hening’s Statutes at Large. I will try to explain why this legal esoterica is important to identifying the family of Col. Thomas.

  • Coverture is “the condition or state of a married woman … [sometimes used] … to describe the legal disability which formerly existed from a state of coverture.” Black’s Law Dictionary, from a very ancient edition I acquired during law school. What it means is that a married woman had no legal rights of her own because she had no legal existence apart from her husband. Thus, a married woman could not be a party to a lawsuit on her own behalf. Her husband had to be a party to assert her rights and to receive her award, if any. On the other hand, when a lawsuit involved a married man, there was no need to include his wife as a party. She just.didn’t.matter, to mangle a famous Bill Murray line.

Why is coverture important to the family of Col. Thomas? Because understanding it proves that Elizabeth Winn and Mourning Hix were his daughters. It also tells us that Elizabeth’s husband was Joseph Winn, who was a son of Daniel Winn, not Col. Thomas. The chancery lawsuit is the only evidence of the identity of Joseph Winn’s wife that I have found.

  • Style of a case. “Style” refers to the title of a lawsuit, so to speak. For example, Marbury v. Madison. The style of the Winn chancery suit is not easy to decipher. That is because it is very, very long and the clerk of court wrote it differently in two separate court orders. He also made an error or two. But deciphering the style of the Lunenburg chancery case is essential to identifying members of this Winn family.
  • The law of intestate descent and distribution. “Intestate” as a noun means a person who died without a will. If a deceased person left a valid will, the estate is distributed according to provisions of the will. Period. If there is no valid will, then the decedent’s estate is distributed according to the applicable statute of intestate descent and distribution. Every state has such a statute (although I can’t speak for Louisiana, which is its own form of crazy). Here is what the chancery suit reflects about the Virginia law at the time:
    • If a person owning an estate died intestate without a wife or children, his estate was distributed to his siblings and a surviving parent. This is important because it tells us that Washington Winn had no wife or children and he died intestate. His estate would therefore be distributed  “according to the statute,” as the court said. Washington’s mother Sarah also received a “child’s share” of his personal property, although we aren’t concerned about that here. The important thing is that Washington’s estate distribution revealed the identities of the other children of Col. Thomas – and Washington’s relationship to each one. 
    • Half-sisters and half-brothers were called “siblings of the half-blood” by the Lunenburg court. By law, each received half as much of the distribution amount paid to a “sibling of the whole blood.” The amount distributed to each sibling thus tells us whether he or she was a half sibling or a full sibling. The court’s order proves that Washington had siblings of both the half-blood and the whole blood. His siblings of the whole blood had the same mother as Washington, namely Sarah, Col. Thomas’s widow. His siblings of the half-blood had a different mother than Washington. Thus, Col. Thomas necessarily had a wife (or wives) before he married Sarah, by whom he had children who survived him.
    • If a sibling (claimant) of an intestate has died, his share was divided among his children, if any. If he had no children, then his share went to his surviving siblings.

The lawsuit

At this point, we have no alternative except to dive into the court’s orders in the lawsuit. These were difficult for me to grasp, and I like to think I have had some decent experience in the law. I nevertheless had to read the orders several times before I began to comprehend them. That also makes them difficult for me to explain, so the explanation may induce “MEGO” (“my eyes glazed over”). If so, I understand and sympathize.

The court clerk recorded two slightly different versions of the style of the suit. See Lunenburg Order Book 17 at 134 (order of 12 Nov 1796) and at 292-293 (order of 10 Nov 1797) (FamilySearch.org, Lunenburg Order Books 1796 – 1805, Film #32,410, image 113 and image 192 et seq.)

Here is the style in the 1796 order. The silly colors make it easier to discuss each group.

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, decd, 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 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.

And here is the style in the 1797 order.

Mourning Hix, wife of John Hix, dec’d, Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife, Thomas Winn, Richard Winn [William Winn’s name omitted here] & Bannister Winn, Children and Coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d, Harrison Winn, Beasley Heart & Elizabeth his wife, and John Winn, children and legal representatives of John Winn, dec’d, who was son of the last mentioned Thomas Winn, Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon & Thomas Winn Bacon, by Edmund P. Bacon their next friend, William Winn [William is moved here from the first group] & John Hardys children by Alexander Winn, Gent., their next friend

 Complainants in Chancery,

v. 

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

 Defendants.

Might be time for a refill on that adult beverage.

Let’s start with the parties listed in red. They are described as “children and coheirs of Thomas Winn, dec’d.” Thomas is Col. Thomas. An early Winn researcher transcribed “COHEIRS” as “COUSINS.” This is an understandable mistake because the handwriting is small and cramped, but it will drive you nuts if you try to make sense of the relationships among all the parties on that basis. I stared closely at the original in the Lunenburg courthouse. It is “coheirs,” I promise, not “cousins.”

First, notice the four men separated by commas at the end of the red group: Thomas (Jr.), Richard, William and Bannister. They are obviously children of Col. Thomas because that is how they are expressly described. Because men had legal rights of their own, there was no need to name their wives as parties.

Now consider coverture, and notice “John Hix and Mourning his wife” in the first order in the red “children and coheirs” group. John Hix was obviously not Col. Thomas Winn’s child, so Mourning must be his daughter. Her husband John had to be named as a party, though, because … Mourning had no legal existence or rights apart from him.

Also, we already knew from Lunenburg Winns: Part I  that John Hix was Col. Thomas’s son-in-law and Mourning was a daughter. That’s how Col. Thomas identified the couple in his will. See Lunenburg Will Book 3: 75, FamilySearch.org Film #32,380 (will of Thomas Winn proved 1781, naming his son-in-law John Hix and wife Mourning Hix). John had died by the second order, making Mourning a single woman. She was therefore no longer subject to a married woman’s legal disability of coverture and could be named as a party in her own right, as “Mourning Hix, wife of John Hix, dec’d.”

The remaining names in the red group are Joseph Winn and Elizabeth his wife. They are confusing because they are both Winns. Consider coverture again. If Joseph had been a son of Thomas Winn and was asserting rights to his brother Washington’s estate, his wife Elizabeth wouldn’t be named. Thus, Elizabeth, not Joseph, was a child of Col. Thomas. Joseph was her husband — who had to be joined as a party to the lawsuit because she had no legal rights except through him.

The only hiccup in the red group list is William, who migrated locations in the style from the first order to the second. He is included in the red group in the first record, but the clerk forgot him for a while in the second order … and stuck his name in between the blue group and the magenta group. I can sympathize with the clerk. All those names, and think how tedious all that copying must have been.

The red group proves these six children of Col. Thomas:

  1. Mourning Winn, wife/widow of John Hix
  2. Elizabeth Winn, wife of Joseph Winn
  3. Thomas Winn
  4. Richard Winn
  5. William Winn
  6. Bannister Winn

The next group, shown in green, is identified as “children and legal representatives of John Winn, dec’d, who was the son of … Thomas Winn, dec’d” (still Col. Thomas). We already know from Part I  that Col. Thomas had a son John who predeceased his father. John died in 1768 leaving a will naming his children Harrison, Betty (a nickname for Elizabeth), and an unborn child. See Lunenburg Will Book 2: 326 (will of John Winn of Lunenburg dated and proved in 1768, naming children Harrison, Betty, and a child “wife Susannah is now big with,” and appointing his father Thomas as one of his executors).

This lawsuit nicely identifies for us the name of Betty/Elizabeth’s husband, Beasley Heart, and the name of the unborn child. Not surprisingly, John’s afterborn son was also named John.

This adds another name to the list of children of Col. Thomas:

  1. John Winn (who had children Harrison, Elizabeth [“Betty”] married Beasley Heart, and John).

Moving on to the blue group. The differences in the two versions of the style are not significant. The only substantive error the clerk made in the first version is that the Bacon children’s guardian should be Edmund P. Bacon, not Edward.

Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddal Bacon, and Thomas Winn Bacon, infants, by Edward P. Bacon their guardian, in the first version, or

Susanna Bacon, Sarah Bacon, Lyddall Bacon & Thomas Winn Bacon, by Edmund P. Bacon their next friend.

These children, like Harrison Winn, Elizabeth Heart, and John Winn in the green group, were grandchildren of Col. Thomas. Because their surname was Bacon, they were obviously the children of a daughter of Col. Thomas who married (presumably) Edmund Bacon. She was dead by the time the lawsuit was filed, or she and her husband would have appeared in the “red” group and their children would not have been named.

The magenta group poses the same situation. A daughter of Col. Thomas married John Hardy and has died, leaving children. Had she been alive, she had John Hardy would have been listed in the “red” group and the names of their children omitted. Here is how they are identified in the two versions of the style:

Keturah Hardy, Armstead Hardy, Sally Hardy, Edmund Hardy, and Jeane Hardy, by Alexander Winn, Gentleman, their next friend, in the first version,

or

 John Hardys children by Alexander Winn, Gent., their next friend.

FYI, Alexander Winn was just the legal representative of the Hardy children, not their guardian or a parent. He was a justice of the Lunenburg court, making him a good choice to be the Hardy children’s advocate.

Here are the eighth and ninth children of Col. Thomas: 

  1. _________ Winn Bacon, wife of Edmund P. Bacon
  2. _________ Winn Hardy, wife of John Hardy

And here are the remaining two children of the eleven who survived Col. Thomas:

  1. Washington Winn, the deceased son whose estate is the subject of the lawsuit; and
  2. Edmund Winn, administrator of Washington’s estate.

The last four (children #8 through #11) are identified in Col. Thomas’s will. He named his daughters Keturah and Henrietta Maria, not yet married when he wrote the will, and his sons Edmund and Washington.

We are down to two remaining questions: (1) which daughter married a Bacon and which married John Hardy; and (2) which of the children were Washington’s siblings of the whole blood, and which were Washington’s siblings of the half blood?

The order book muddies the answers to the first question. In the first order, I believe the clerk reversed the daughters’ surnames and entered this: “children of representatives of Keturah Bacon and Henrietta Hardy, deceased …” In the second order, the clerk entered, “to the children of Keturah Bacon, dec’d…” and “to the children of Keturah Hardy, dec’d,” erroneously using the same given name twice.

Both orders are probably wrong. In the original order book, someone struck out the Bacon entry “Keturah” in the second order and penciled in “Henrietta.” I believe the person who defaced the order book was correct … Henrietta Maria was the mother of the Bacon children and Keturah was the mother of the Hardy children. But I cannot find the evidence and I’m not certain! Can anyone help me out on that issue?

The last remaining question is the easiest. The second order details the amounts to be distributed to each party. It says this:

To Mourning Hix of the half blood £48.14.10

To Joseph Winn of the half blood ditto (recall Joseph was the husband of Elizabeth and therefore received her share)

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, £48.14.10

The court doesn’t expressly describe John Winn, dec’d, son of Col. Thomas, as Washington’s sibling of the half blood, but the amount of the distribution (the same as the other half-siblings) proves it.

Tying a neat bow around the status of each sibling (ignoring the question of which daughter married a Bacon vs. a Hardy), the court record says:

To the children of Keturah [Keturah is struck out in pencil and “Henrietta” written in] 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 

The court doesn’t expressly state Edmund’s status as Washington’s sibling of the whole blood, but the amount of his distribution again proves the relationship.

In the final analysis, here is what the chancery case proves regarding the children of Col. Thomas:

Seven children were Washington’s siblings of the half blood and were children of Col. Thomas’s wife (or wives) prior to Sarah:

  1. MOURNING
  2. ELIZABETH
  3. THOMAS
  4. RICHARD
  5. WILLIAM
  6. BANNISTER
  7. JOHN

The siblings of the whole blood, who were children of Washington’s mother Sarah, were:

  1. KETURAH
  2. HENRIETTA MARIA (or MARIE)
  3. EDMUND
  4. WASHINGTON

Did anyone make it this far without experiencing MEGO? If so, are we clear, Col. Jessup? Answer (I hope): “Crystal.”

If not, I’m going to have to ask someone else to give it the ol’ college try. I’m tuckered out.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] I say that my prior article (Part I of ???) may have been unclear because a friend emailed to me a link to a website that cited this blog as a source. In fact, the website cited that specific article, which was primarily about Col. Thomas Winn. Among other things, the article identified his eleven children and their probable mothers. But the person citing my article as a source totally botched that family. Since that may have been caused by my lack of clarity, I figured I’d better try to explain it better.

Lunenburg Winns, Part II of ? – Daniel Winn

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 Poythress 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.[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.[60] I found no will or estate administration for him and don’t know where he moved. HOWEVER, serendipity intervened: I accidentally stumbled over him in family Bible images posted online. The Bible doesn’t establish where he moved after he left Lunenburg, but it does provide great information about his family. See the article about James here.

  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 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[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 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.