About Samuel Gentry
A Patriot of the American Revolution for NORTH CAROLINA. DAR Ancestor #: A044157
JOURNAL OF GENTRY GENEALOGY
Volume 2 Issue 8
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SAMUEL GENTRY OF SURRY COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
by Willard Gentry
Adapted from an article published in
"Gentry Family Gazette & Genealogy Exchange"
This document has been revised and adapted from an article that was first published in GFG&GE, vol 8, p.116-130 (Oct 1992) in an attempt to assemble all the North Carolina references concerning Samuel Gentry, son of Joseph-III Gentry.
This article has been prompted by the continuing and frequent comments and inquiries relative to Samuel, the founder of the extensive extended family of Gentrys who settled in Warrick County and Spencer County, Indiana. Changes from and additions to the original reflect information which has become available since the time of first publication. The original article was prompted in turn by a communication and an extensive series of census extracts by Charles David Gentry in the "Gentry Family Gazette & Genealogy Exchange", vol. vii, p. 182-204 (Dec 1889). Both the original and the current article concentrate specifically on the North Carolina references to Samuel and his family. Kentucky and Indiana references to the family are almost exclusively marriage and census records.
There were two Samuel Gentrys that appeared at one time or another in the records of Surry County, North Carolina during the period from 1771 to 1817, and it is important to keep them separate in reading the various land and tax records of the county. As an aid to identification, I will refer to them at times with a suffix indicating their generation relative to Nicholas Gentry, the immigrant, and identify them when necessary as follows:
* Samuel-III Son of Samuel-II and brother of Joseph-III, Nicholas-III, William-III and Richard-III, all residing simultaneously for varying lengths of time in Surry County. Samuel-III had a son, also named Samuel, but it will not be necessary for us to identify him further.
* Samuel-IV Son of Joseph-III.
-- (#225 in GFA <1>), born abt. 1748 in Louisa County, Virginia, died between Feb and May, 1816 in Barren County., Kentucky.
-- Married (1) about 1772, Surry County, North Carolina, possibly to a daughter of Matthew Brooks (Nancy Brooks? -- see below), died probably 1786.
-- Married (2) in Surry County, North Carolina to Sarah Brock (marriage bond dated 24 May 1787 <2>), died before 1810.
-- Married (3) in Barren County, Kentucky to Sarah Melton.
Children of Samuel and his first wife (all born in Surry County, North Carolina)
i Matthew (#227 in GFA <1>), born abt. 1774, said to have died 21 Sep 1870 in Warrick County., Indiana.
ii Joseph (#228 in GFA <1>), said to be born 4 Jan 1776, said to have died 1856 in Ohio County, Kentucky; married Rhoda Thomas, Ohio County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated 8 Jan 1801)<4>.
iii James (#226 in GFA <1>), said to be born 15 Jun 1778, said to have died 5 Jun 1840 in Spencer County, Indiana; married Elizabeth Hornbeck, in Ohio County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated 21 Jul 1803)<4>.
iv Agnes born 1780; died 4 Jan 1852 <5> in Warrick County, Indiana, married John Sherman Phillips in Surry County, North Carolina, (marriage bond dated 28 Jan 1799)<2>.
v Nancy born abt. 1785; married William Anderson, Barren County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated Nov 1809 <4>). There are a number of references in the genealogy literature suggesting that William Anderson was part Indian.
vi William, married (1) Unknown; his probable second wife is said to have been Mary (Polly) Whittinghill. Cemetery records in Lynnville, Warrick County, Indiana for a William presumed to be this William indicate that he was born 4 Jan 1786 in North Carolina and died 13 May 1845 in Indiana. His wife, Mary, was born 17 Feb 1786 in Virginia and died 11 Feb 1849<5>.
Children of Samuel and Sarah Brock Gentry (all born in Surry County, North Carolina)
vii George born abt. 1788, said to have died 5 Aug 1875 in Warrick County, Indiana; married Jenny Howser (Hauser), Barren County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated 15 May 1810)<3>.
viii Shelton born abt. 1790, died in Warrick County, Indiana leaving a will signed 30 Oct 1833 and received for probate 10 Nov 1833; married Sarah Seaton, Barren County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated 14 Jun 1814 <3>).
ix Sarah (Sally) born abt. 1792; married Nicholas Tunnel, Barren County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated 29 Mar 1811)<3>.
x Thomas born abt. 1794, said to have died 13 May 1845 in Warrick County, Indiana; married Kitty Allen, Barren County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated 20 Feb 1814)<3>.
xi Susannah born abt. 1796; married Thomas Brown, Barren County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated 2 Feb 1815)<3>..
xii Arthur (Artha) born abt. 1797, died aft. 1850 in Warrick County, Indiana; married (1) Sarah O'Neal, Barren County, Kentucky (marriage bond dated 26 Jan 1817 <3>); said to have married (2) Hannah Wallace, Feb 1847, Warrick County, Indiana<4>.
xiii Elizabeth born abt. 1800; apparently unmarried and living with her father at the time of his death in 1816; married _____ Johnston, Barren County, Kentucky
Ancestry and Marriages of Samuel
As indicated above, the Samuel Gentry whom we are discussing, was a fourth generation descendant of Nicholas, the immigrant, through Nicholas' second son, Samuel-II, and the elder Samuel's son Joseph [see Journal of Gentry Genealogy, vol 2, #7 for a comprehensive review of Joseph].
Samuel-IV was the oldest son of Joseph and Agnes Gentry, born about 1748, before his parents moved from Louisa County to Lunenburg County, Virginia. Samuel left Virginia with his father in about 1766, moving to what was then Rowan County, North Carolina, from which Surry County was divided in 1771. He lived there until he moved to Barren County, Kentucky in about 1807.
Samuel's first marriage was in about 1772. We don't know the name of this wife, but can speculate that she probably was a daughter of Matthew Brooks who was a brother-in-law of Joseph and a close neighbor of Joseph and Samuel in 1772. [Matthew was undoubtedly part of the same Brooks family that lived with the Gentrys in Louisa and Lunenburg Counties, Virginia, and descended from Richard Brooks. This family has been discussed in somewhat more detail in volume 2, issue #6 of the Gentry Journal. Richard Brooks was the father of Sarah Brooks, wife of Joseph's brother David, and Mary Brooks, wife of another brother Nicholas. This would have made Matthew a brother-in-law of Joseph, twice over.] The use of the name Matthew for Samuel's oldest son, and for at least three grandsons, suggests this hypothesis. Given the fact that one daughter of Samuel and his first wife, and at least four of their granddaughters were named Nancy, it is possible that Samuel's wife was Nancy Brooks.
Samuel's second wife was Sarah Brock, for whom a marriage bond is recorded in the Surry County records on May 24th, 1787. Since the date of birth of Samuel's fourth son William was 1786, William's mother may have died in childbirth or very shortly thereafter, and Samuel wasted no time in remarrying (as was very common in those days). The description for Samuel Gentry in "The Gentry Family in America" (published in 1909 by Richard Gentry, abbreviated here as GFA) does not name Samuel's second wife but implies that she had two children by a previous marriage -- Nicholas and Washington. At least one of these could fit with 1790 census data <14>, but there is no other information available about a previous marriage and family for Sarah. Her date of death is not known, but she does not appear in the 1810 census record in Barren County, Kentucky with her husband Samuel, so presumably died between then and 1800 when she was included in the Surry County, North Carolina census<14>.
Samuel married for a third time after moving from Surry County, North Carolina, to Barren County, Kentucky. This was to Sarah or Sally Melton. She survived Samuel and is mentioned both in Samuel's will which was probated in May 1816 <13>, and in a Barren County marriage bond dated 26 Jan 1817 in which she gives consent for Samuel's son Arthur to marry Sarah O'Neal<3>. She is probably the Sarah Gentry listed in the 1820 census records for Monroe County, Kentucky (which split from Barren County in 1820), and was apparently living with Samuel's son Thomas and his wife <14>.
Land Records Pertaining to Joseph, Samuel, and Matthew Gentry
The records of land purchases and sales in Surry County are better than many other parts of North Carolina, but are by no means complete. Like all deeds written in that time, the land descriptions are by "metes and bounds", going for example, from "a red oak" to a "meander of the stream" to a neighbor's corner, then "back to the beginning", and related to the watercourses in the county, so any exact identification of locations from the deed alone is impossible. There are some apparent deed transactions that are missing from the records, and the formal recording of deeds was occasionally accomplished well after the actual transaction -- sometimes as much as nine or ten years later when it became necessary to document the original purchase of land in order to sell it at the later date.
The first record for the sale or purchase of land for a Samuel Gentry in Surry County was in 1774, when Joseph Gentry bought 331 acres of land on the Yadkin River that was a part of the "Granville Tract" <6a>, and then turned around and sold 50 acres of it to Samuel <6b>. This transaction has sometimes been explained as being between Joseph and his brother, Samuel-III, but the deed and tax history for this particular piece of land almost certainly identifies it as one between father and son. Although the purchase of the land was dated 1774, records of the County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, authorizing Joseph to operate a ferry across the Yadkin River in 1772, and setting rates to be charged users, suggest that he must have been living on the land at the earlier date.
[The two deeds mentioned above use the term "south side of the Yadkin River" for the location. That was not a true geographical direction but rather described a broad area corresponding to present Yadkin County, lying to the south and west of the river, in other words the right bank of the river facing downstream. The "north side of the Yadkin", conversely referred to the left bank of the river, or present Surry and Forsyth Counties.] A historical map of land settlements of the portion of Surry County that is now Yadkin County shows Joseph's purchase of land as being just west of what became known as Matthew Brooks Ferry on the border with Forsyth County<11>. Joseph sold 181 acres of his share of the land to Matthew Brooks in 1775 <6c>, and thereafter the latter operated the ferry. The approximate location of this land and of land holdings of other Gentrys is shown on the map of old Surry County in Figure 1.
Fig. 1 Surry County, with location of property of Joseph Gentry's family
Joseph and Samuel jointly sold 110 acres of the Yadkin River Land in 1789 to John Ridings (Joseph's son-in-law) <6d>, and Joseph and Agnes sold 40 acres at the same time to Matthew Brooks, adjoining land he had bought earlier<6e>. These sales accounted for all of the land Joseph purchased originally along the Yadkin River. Well before this, Joseph (with his son Shelton) had left this area and had moved to the northern part of Surry County, along Big Fish branch of the Fisher River, but various members of Joseph's family, including perhaps John Ridings, probably continued to live along the Yadkin River after Joseph left.
In 1782, Samuel purchased 200 acres on Forbush Creek <7b>. It is likely that he moved from the Yadkin River property to Forbush Creek at this time, even though he did not join his father in selling the former until several years later. He bought an additional 50 acres of land adjoining the Forbush Creek property in 1803 <7b>.
Meanwhile Samuel and Joseph, applied for and were given state grants in 1787 for 100 acres and 150 acres respectively, of adjoining land on the east side of Fisher's River (also called Fish River), on the north side of the Yadkin River in present-day Surry County <8>. This grant application by Samuel was presumably on behalf of Joseph and was apparently never used by Samuel.
In 1802, Samuel bought land in still a different part of Surry County, when a deed was recorded for the purchase of 100 acres on Dills Creek (which runs easterly into the Yadkin River in the northeast corner of Yadkin County) <9b>. Three years earlier, in 1799, Samuel Gentry and Matthew Gentry (Samuel's son), witnessed a deed for the sale of land neighboring on Samuel's new purchase <9b>, so the 1802 deed may be another example of late recording of a move that actually took place at an earlier time. Perhaps this land was farmed by Samuel's son, Matthew, and possibly other sons, for Matthew bought 100 acres adjoining his father's land in this same area in 1804 <9d>.
In 1805 Matthew sold his Dills Creek land <9e> and we can assume he left Surry County at that time and moved to Ohio County, Kentucky, joining his brothers Joseph and James who were living there as early as 1799 (and had married wives there in 1801 and 1803). The 1810 census <14> recorded the presence of these three families as well as their brother William in Ohio County. Two years later in 1807, Samuel sold his land on Dills Creek also <9c> and left Surry County, moving to Barren County, Kentucky, where he died in 1816.
There are unusually complete records in Surry County of tax listings that were compiled annually as a basis for assessing property and head taxes. The first lists were established by the Colonial government, and date from 1771, the year that Surry County was organized.
There was a gap between 1775 and 1781 (during the Revolutionary War). Then in 1784, the North Carolina General Assembly established new procedures for these tax records, and rather than having an enumerator visit the various land holdings, times and places were published each year for each county. Citizens were required to report there in person to attest to their property holdings and the number of tithable individuals in their households (the age for headtax liability was raised from 16 to 21 at that time).
The State Archives files in Raleigh, North Carolina, contain the original records for most of the Surry County tax lists between 1781 and 1850. Most of them never microfilmed, and some are in very poor condition. Even though records exist for a large number of those years, it does not mean that individual settlers were included in those documents each year, as some years' lists are incomplete, and in other cases the compilations did not include everyone. As a consequence, we have gaps in the record for Samuel Gentry, but still a large number of records including his name <12>.
The first reference that appears to apply to Samuel-IV is a list that is included in a group of some 20-odd lists for which there is no date available, and which are filed together in a separate folder at the State Archives. The list in question records Joseph Gentry with Shelton and "Billey" as adjacent listings and with Samuel Gentry listed not far after. The name "William" was crossed out on the line containing Samuel's name. Including "Billey" in the list suggests that it was for 1771 or 1772, before the death of Joseph's brother, William-III, and that William was living with Joseph at the time.. All four names are listed as being liable for a head tax.
The dated lists have Samuel liable for head tax along with Joseph and Shelton in 1774, then after the gap for the Revolutionary War, Samuel is listed almost continuously beginning in 1782 until 1806. The first listings were for land on Fisher's River (perhaps the land for which Samuel received a grant in 1787) and a branch of the Yadkin River (presumably the land that Samuel had bought from Joseph in 1774). The land Samuel owned on Forbush Creek and Dills Creek was not specifically identified (except as "branches of Yadkin R.") but the total amount of Samuel's assessed land increased from 200 acres in 1784 to 350 acres in 1806. The amounts of land do not always correspond very well with the acres of land for which Samuel had a formal deed, for example the land on the Yadkin River in one place is listed at 120 acres, at another place as 100 acres, and when Joseph and Samuel sold the land in 1789, it was identified as being 110 acres. It appears probable that beneficial use of the land by an occupant, such as Samuel, was more important for tax purposes, than the formal identification of the land as being partly owned by Joseph and partly owned by Samuel.
Matthew Gentry was listed for the first time in 1795 (when he first reached age 21?), in an undated list that may have been for 1796, and again in 1799, 1800, and 1801 as a tithable individual but without any land. In 1802, 1804, and 1805, Matthew was listed with 100 acres of land, presumably on Dills Creek. After 1805 he no longer appeared in any tax lists.
A Samuel who is assumed to be Samuel-III is listed in the tax lists in 1771, 1772 and 1774 in the same district as Richard Gentry and Nicholas Gentry. (The 1774 tax lists includes Samuel-IV in a separate tax district along with Joseph and Shelton Gentry.) Samuel-III was apparently taxed in 1781 for 600 acres and in 1782 for 400 acres on Fox Knob (a promontory in the northwest quarter of Yadkin County). In 1784, we have two references to land on Fox Knob owned by Samuel Gentry. The grant to Samuel by the state was not recorded until 1792, although tax records show Samuel farming the land as early as 1782. This land was owned by Samuel-III, and was eventually sold in 1801 by the heirs of Samuel-III after his death <10>.
[One set of tax lists for 1782, summarized by Mrs. Robert Taylor <12b>, is not on file in the State Archives, and is very curious. This list includes 4 South Carolina Gentrys -- Robert, Hezekiah, Runnel, and Nathaniel. None of them are listed as owning land, their property being only their horses. Perhaps they came to Surry County to look over possibilities for acquiring land there, but then decided not to. None of the four appears in any Surry County records thereafter, and all four, plus Samuel-III, returned to South Carolina and are found in the 1790 census records there. The year 1782, being the end of the Revolutionary War, may have marked a time of land rush when the state of North Carolina opened up for filing, land that had been confiscated during the war or taken over in the case of former owners dying without heirs. The apparent filing for state grants by Samuel-III on Fox Knob at the same time may be a related action.]
Samuel Gentry in Barren County, Kentucky
We have very little information about Samuel's life in Kentucky. He apparently left North Carolina in about 1807, and was in Barren County, Kentucky before 1810 since he was included in the census in that county for that year. No wife was listed in his household, so the presumption is that his second wife, Sarah Brock, had died between 1800 and 1810, and he had not yet married his third wife, Sarah Melton. There is no marriage bond recorded for Samuel's marriage, but he is said to have married in 1811. All of the children of Samuel and Sarah Brock appear to have been married in Barren County according to marriage bonds recorded there: George (in 1810), Sally (in 1811), Thomas (in 1814), Shelton (also in 1814), Susannah (in 1815), and Arthur (or Artha as he was also called, in 1817).
Samuel left a will which was written in February; 1816, and received for probate in May of the same year <13>. It is obvious he died some time between those two dates. His will names his wife Sarah, daughter Elizabeth and his son Artha. While the will refers to other children, it does not name them. The will also makes reference to Samuel's share of his father's estate in North Carolina which had not been settled by the time of Samuel's death.
Children and Descendants
"The Gentry Family in America" record for Samuel Gentry, lists 5 children by a first marriage, namely: James, Mathew, Joseph, Agnes, and George; 3 children by a second marriage: Arthur, Thomas, and Shelton; and 1 child by a third marriage, namely Samuel (who had a son Allen). While the order of listing is wrong, it seems certain that all of the children named were a part of Samuel's family -- with the exception of the last. I believe Richard Gentry, in compiling his book, confused a Samuel Gentry who was in Spencer County, Indiana, census records from 1820 to 1850, with Samuel-IV's family. The 1850 Spencer County census shows this Samuel was living with his son Allen at the time and was born in South Carolina about 1785. He is believed to have been the youngest son of Samuel-III (and a first cousin of Samuel-IV), and probably the same Samuel who is listed in the 1800 census in Spartanburg District, South Carolina. Thereafter, this South Carolina Samuel and his son Allen, apparently joined his Gentry cousins in Ohio County, Kentucky (where he was listed in the 1810 census, and continued on with some of them to Spencer County, Indiana.
My proposals for the children of Samuel-IV (all of whom were born in Surry County), are summarized in the listing at the beginning of this article. The reconstruction of Samuel's family is based upon comparison of census records (especially those so conveniently gathered together in the article by Charles David Gentry in GFG&GE mentioned in the Introduction); and from marriage records for Kentucky and Indiana. Some of the dates of birth of Samuel's younger children are very roughly estimated, and consequently the order of the children in some instances is uncertain.
According to the 1820 census, in that year George and Arthur were living in Monroe County (which had just been created from Barren County), and Shelton had moved north to Ohio County, Kentucky, to join his brother Joseph. Sarah Gentry is listed in the Monroe County census along with what is apparently the family of Thomas (with a wife and young daughter). The author has not been able to learn what happened to Thomas' family during the time from 1820 until he is reported to have died in Warrick County in 1845. By 1830, all of Samuel's sons and daughters had left Monroe (Barren) County. The movements of the other members of his family are outlined in a chart of census references tabulated below, indicating the eventual location of the sons.
Joseph and James were the first to leave home, even before their father left North Carolina, winding up in Ohio County, Kentucky. They were joined by their brothers Matthew and William and by their sister Agnes Phillips, before 1810. Joseph and his family settled in Ohio County permanently. James was probably the first to leave Kentucky, and in about 1816 he moved across the Ohio River to Spencer County, where the town of Gentryville was named for him. James died in 1840 in Spencer County, but his family continued to live there after his death. Matthew, William and Agnes, moved to Warrick County, Indiana between 1818 and 1820. [A published history of Warrick County states "the first settlers of Owen County [sic, Township] were the Gentry and Phillips families".]
Samuel's younger sons, joined their step-brothers in settling permanently in Warrick County, Indiana, by 1830. Shelton moved briefly from Barren County, Kentucky, to Ohio County, before moving to Indiana. The other sons, namely George, Thomas and Artha (Arthur) remained in Barren County until after their homes became a part of Monroe County as a result of splitting Barren County in 1820. Thomas was probably living with his step-mother, Sarah, at the time of the 1820 census, the other two brothers are listed separately in that census and in Warrick County in 1830.
Surprisingly little is known about some of the families of these Gentry siblings. The children of Joseph, James, and Agnes, and most of those of Shelton have all been accounted for in family records. Arthur had only one son (George W.) and most of his daughters can be identified. The families of the other brothers (Matthew, William and Thomas) are very uncertain, not only their sons but especially the daughters. Indiana marriage records can account for a large fraction of both the sons and the daughters, but do not show to which family they belonged. This author would welcome information about these families from their descendants, particularly references from Indiana sources, to publish for the benefit of those who have frequently asked about the composition of these families.
Two William Gentry families, one the son of Samuel -IV, and the other the son of Matthew-V, have been difficult to distinguish in Indiana records since they differed in age by only about ten years and both had a wife named Mary. For the younger William, a positive identification can be made that his wife was Mary Hodges from the record of his marriage in Kentucky <4>. [Mary's mother is thought to have been Agnes Gentry, Samuel's sister, who married William Hodges and moved to Kentucky.] Mary was present in the 1850 Warrick County census, but William himself was missing and is presumed to have died. Based on census records, the older William appears to have had two wives, the first dying between 1820 and 1830. Since this William was in the Spencer County census in 1830, rather than in Warrick County as in 1820 and 1840, he may have moved briefly to the former county and married his second wife there before returning to Warrick County.
The descendants of Samuel-IV were unimaginative in the naming of their children. In the two generations representing Samuel's children and his grandchildren, there were four Matthews, four Josephs, four Samuels, five Jameses, four Sarahs and four Nancys, and three Thomases, three Agneses and three Elizabeths. This includes just those grandchildren that have been identified to date. Some of the unidentified grandchildren may well have inflated these numbers. It is not at all surprising that there have been a number of conflicting statements of relationships among this prolific clan.
The very prominent and prolific families of Gentrys that settled in Ohio County, Kentucky, and in Spencer and Warrick Counties, Indiana, can all be traced to one stalwart pioneer, namely Samuel-IV Gentry. We have attempted to gather together scattered references to this extended family with the goal of stimulating further clarification of their relationship.
1. Richard Gentry, "The Gentry Family in America", The Grafton Press, New York, 1909, p.267:
(a) #225. SAMUEL GENTRY of Surry Co., NC
"Born in Lunenburg Co., or perhaps back in Louisa Co. VA ... He lived in Surry Co. NC prior to 1809, about which time he moved to Kentucky where he died. He was a Baptist preacher and married three times ... All the eight sons of Samuel Gentry seem to have moved from North Carolina to Indiana and settled in Spencer and Warwick counties, between 1818 and 1825, except Joseph who settled in Ohio Co., KY."
(b) #226 JAMES GENTRY
Born about 1780; left his father's home in North Carolina before he was grown and found employment in Kentucky; married Elizabeth Hornbeck, in Mercer [Ohio] Co., Ky, in 1803. In 1816, he moved to Spencer Co., Ind., and settled near the present town of Gentryville, which was names for him. He was a man of great energy, good judgment and accumulated a large fortune. He at one time owned 5,000 acres of land in Spencer Co., Ind. He lived before the days of railroads in his country and markets were a long way off. From 1820 to 1830, Mr. Gentry loaded a large flat boat with farm products each winter, and sent it down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. In 1816 the parents of young Abraham Lincoln came from Kentucky and settled on a farm adjoining that of Mr. Gentry. The Lincolns were very poor farmers and consequently unsuccessful. Young Abraham was frequently employed as a farm hand by his neighbor, James Gentry; the rail splitting for which he has been noted was done for Mr. Gentry on his farm. In the year 1829 young Lincoln was employed as an oarsman on the flat boat, loaded with farm products and sent to New Orleans that year by Mr. Gentry, in charge of his sons Allen and Joseph. In 1830 the Lincolns moved from Indiana to Illinois and after breaking up their home and making a start, they spent the first night on their journey with their neighbor and friend James Gentry.
(c) #227 MATHEW GENTRY
Born about 1782; lived in Surry Co., N.C. and moved to Warwick Co., Ind., about 1822, where he settled and reared a large family.
(d) #228 JOSEPH GENTRY
Came from North Carolina as a youth with a party of surveyors and never returned; married Rhoda Thomas and settled in Ohio Co., Ky., where he became wealthy in lands and slaves. He was born in 1776 and died in 1855.
2. Extract of Marriage Bond Registers, Surry County, North Carolina
Groom Bride Bondsman / Witness
1787 May 24 Samuel Gentry Sarah Brock Robert Hooker
1799 Jan 28 John Phillips Agness Jintry Matthew Phillips
3. Martha Powell Reneau, "Marriage Records of Barren County, Kentucky, 1799-1849", 1984
Groom Bride Bondsman / Witness
p.100 1810 May 15 George Gentry Jinney Howser sur. Kinsey Tudor; consent Nicholas Houser, father
p.265 1811 Mar 23 Nicholas Tunnel Sally Gentry sur. George Gentry, consent Stephen Tunnel
(m. 29 Mar 1811)
p.101 1814 Feb 17 Thomas Gentry Kitty Allen sur. Nicholas Tunnel
(m. 20 Feb 1814)
p.101 1814 Jun 14 Shelton Gentry Sally Steaton sur. Peter Harris, consent Samuel Gentry, father, witness Athey Gentry
p.28 1815 Feb 1 Thomas Brown Susannah Gentry sur: James Brown; consent Samuel Gentry, father
p.100 1817 Jan 22 Atliah [Athey] Gentry Sarah O'Neal sur: George Gentry; consent Sary Gentry, mother; consent Henry Oneal, father
(m. 26 Jan 1817)
4. Joyce Leah Lindstrom, Communications to "Gentry Family Gazette & Genealogy Exchange"
(a) vol ix, p.57-59 (Aug 1993)
Provides summary information on the children of Samuel-IV Gentry and on Samuel's son Joseph-V Gentry and his children.
(b) vol ix, p.15-20 (Mar 1993)
This communication essentially repeats the information given in (a) above plus lists marriages in Warrick County, Indiana; in Barren County, Kentucky; and in Ohio County, Kentucky (without documentary references). Marriages listed that are not shown elsewhere include:
Ohio County, Kentucky
1801 Jan 8
1803 Jul 21
1816 Mar 18 Joseph Gentry & Rhoda Thomas, consent for Rhoda by Massy Thomas, dated 4 January 1801.
James Gentry & Elizabeth Hornbeck; consent for Elizabeth by parents, Abraham & Hannah Hornbeck.
William Gentry & Mary Hodges. Consent of William Hodges for daughter Mary and consent of Matthew Gentry for son William.
Barren County, Kentucky
1809 Nov Nancy Gentry to William Anderson
Warrick County, Indiana
1847 Feb 23 Atha Gentry & Hannah Wallace.
5. Cathie L. Meek, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, St. Paul, MO, private communication including extensive information pertaining to the family of John Sherman and Agnes (Gentry) Phillips.
Surry County, NC, Deed Books
6. Yadkin River Property
(a) 1774 May 21 Bk(A-91)
Deed for the sale of 331 acres of land to Joseph Gentry by Robert and Joseph Farbis...being on the south side of the Yadkin River and a part of a grant from Earl Granville to Edward Hughs of 1748. Witnessed: William Ridings, Samuel Gentry, John Wood.
(b) 1774 Aug 9 Bk(A-76)
Deed for the sale of 50 acres of land on the south side of the Yadkin River, to Samuel Gentry by Joseph Gentry, "being land that the said Joseph now has...beginning at a red oak on the bank of the south side of the Yadkin River running thence west...it being part of a tract of land granted by John Earl Granville to Edward Hughs...1748".
(c) 1775 Feb 15 Bk(A-182)
Deed for the sale of 181 acres of land to Matthew Brooks by Joseph Gentry. [This is a part of the land described above.]
(d) 1789 Apr 9 Bk(D-425)
Deed for the sale of 110 acres to John "Ridens" [Ridings] by Joseph and Samuel Gentry adjoining land already owned by John Ridings. The land description starts "...beginning at a red oak on the south side of the Yadkin River then west..." [see also reference 7b]. Witnessed: Sarah Gentry [Samuel's wife], Matthew Brooks, Andrew Speer [Joseph's son-in-law].
(e) 1789 (blank) Bk(I-325)
Deed for the sale of 40 acres to Matthew Brooks by Joseph and Agnes Gentry...on the Yadkin River at the mouth of Jacobson Branch. Witnessed: John Ridens, Zachariah Martin.
[These purchases and sales add up to the 381 acres of the Granville tract bought by Joseph in 1774.]
7. Forbush Creek Property
(a) 1782 Dec 19 Bk(B-225)
Deed for the sale of 200 acres to Samuel Gentry by David Green. The land is described as being at the beaver dam of "Forbis's" Creek [Forbush Creek].
(b) 1803 Feb 28 Bk(I-506)
Deed for the sale of 50 acres to Samuel Gentry by Henry Speer. The land is described as [on Forbis Creek] "...beginning at said Gentry's corner, then adjoining the Bird tract, to Bridgman's corner...".
(c) 1807 Mar 10 Bk(L-362)
Deed for the sale of 250 acres to Edward Meglemere by Samuel Gentry. A 200 acre portion was along Forbis [Forbush] Creek and the other 50 acres was land adjoining "200 acres known as the Bird tract, adjoining also Bridgman's corner".
8. Fisher River Property
1787 Nov 9 Bk(C-377)
Record of state grants of 150 acres to Joseph Gentry and 100 acres to Samuel Gentry. The land is described as being on the east side of "Fisher's" River.
9. Dill's Creek Property
(a) 1799 Mar 6 Bk(H-146)
Deed for the sale to Isaiah Coe by James Morphew of land "on the Cabbin branch [of Dill's Creek?] adjoining Levi Speer, the former line of Levin Savage". Witnessed by Samuel Gentry, Matthew Gentry.
(b) 1802 Dec 23 Bk(I-535)
Deed for the sale to Samuel Gentry of 100 acres by Levin Savage, the land being on Dill's Creek "...adjoining Isaac Uptegrove...being part of 200 acres granted Savin 6 Nov 1802". Witnessed by H. Speer, Levi Speer.
(c) 1807 Mar 10 Bk(L-359)
Deed for the sale by Samuel Gentry of 100 acres to Thomas Douglas, being land "adjoining Isaac Uptegrove,... [and] being part of a 200 acre tract granted to Levin Savage 6 Nov 1802".
(d) 1804 Jul 14 Bk(K-309)
Deed for the sale to Matthew Gentry of 100 acres by Isaac Uptegrove, the land being described as on Dill's Creek and "...variously to Levin Savage's line...".
(e) 1805 Nov 11 Bk(L-86)
Deed for the sale by Matthew Gentry of 100 acres to Isaiah Coe, land on Dill's Creek, adjoining...Levin Savage. Witnessed by Samuel Gentry, Timothy Coe
10. Fox Knob Property (Samuel-III)
(a) 1784 Jan 19 Bk(B-303)
A deed from Michael Henderson to Frederick Miller describes land (part of which was the grant recorded below) on the head waters of Deep Creek on "Fox Nobs" adjoining Samuel Gentry's land.
(b) 1784 Nov 3 Bk(C-113)
A state grant to Michael Henderson for what is apparently the land sold by him above, also mentions "a line agreed with Samuel Gentry, to top of Fox Nob".
(c) 1792 Dec 24 Bk(E-195)
A grant to Samuel Gentry from the state for 400 acres "on the head waters of Deep Creek on the north side of Fox Nob Mountain".
(d) 1801 Feb 16 Bk(I-147)
Deed for the sale to Humphrey Cockerham of 400 acres of land on Fox Nob mountain, by Allen Gentry, Nicholas Gentry, Jeremiah Gentry, and Samuel Gentry, joint heirs of Samuel Gentry, dec'd of the State of South Carolina".
11. Maps entitled "Surry County North Carolina Historical Documentation" (No. VI, 1977) and "Yadkin County North Carolina Historical Documentation" (No. VIII, date not given) published by The Custom House, Jamestown, NC. The maps show the location of original land grants and generally the first recorded owner of plots of land other than grants. The Surry County map makes the observation, "There was a ten shilling fee involved to obtain land, so many of the settlers simply staked or marked their claim, and lived on it. They would then try to accumulate enough money to pay for the land. Some took twenty years to do so." Surry County was the original home of Daniel Boone and a major center of early settlers. By 1752 there was already a road carved through the wilderness from the Dan River (Lunenburg County, Virginia) to Surry County, one branch of which paralleled the north bank of the Yadkin River, while the main road from the East crossed the Yadkin at Shallowford.
12. Surry County, NC, Tax Lists
(a) North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, vol 8 (1982), p.45:
Tax list turned in by William Spurgin for Rowan County (district covering area that was divided as Surry County in 1771) for 1765-1770 period includes:
Joseph Gentry and negro Ned
Samuel Gentry 2 taxables
1 taxable (Samuel-III?)
(b) Note. The tax records listed below for the most part are taken from the original documents in the State Archives in Raleigh, NC. Most of them have never been microfilmed, and a number of the records have badly decomposed. Records do not exist for every year, nor are individuals necessarily listed every year in the records that do exist. Also:
Mrs. Robert Taylor, "1782 Tax List of Surry County, North Carolina", Cimarron, Kansas, 1974. (This list has no counterpart among the original records in the State Archives.)
References to Samuel Gentry
Year District Acres Polls Other Gentrys in same district as Samuel
1771 1 (Samuel-III?)
1772 1 (Samuell-III?)
w/"Nicholus", Allen (3), Richard, "Mezhi" [Meshack]
[land near confluence of Deep Creek & Yadkin R. just north of Shallowford]
1772? Lanier 1 w/Joseph, and Shelton & Billey
1774 Armstrong 1 w/Joseph, and Shelton
1781 S. Martin 600 (3 horses, 6 cows) (Samuel-III?)
1781? Mosley w/Joseph, Shelton
50 ("Improv") (2 horses, 1/2 cow)
400 w/Richard, Hezekiah, Robert, Runnel, Nathaniel
(3 horses, 6 cows), (see also 14d below)
district including Fox Nob (Samuel-III?)
120 w/Richard, Nicholas
(5 horses, 5 cows) Fishers R.
branch of Yadkin R.
350 w/Nicholas, Richard, Artha
(3 horses, 5 cows)
1 w/Athey, Nichlis
branches of Yadkin R.
branches of Yadkin R.
branches of Yadkin R.
1785 Lewis 100 1 w/Richard
1788 Glenn 200 1 w/Arthy
1789 Glenn 200 1 w/Artha
1790 Glenn 200 w/Artha
1791 Scott 200 1 (1 black poll), w/Artha
1792 Scott 200 1 (1 black poll), w/Artha
1794 Scott 300 w/Artha
1795 Scott 300 1 (1 black poll), w/Artha
Matthew (0 acres, 1 poll)
1796? Scott 300 1 w/Artha
Matthew (0 acres, 1 poll)
1799 Scott 300 1 (1 black poll), w/Artha
Matthew (0 acres, 1 poll)
1800 Scott 300 2 w/Artha
Mathew (0 acres, 1 poll)
1801 Oglesby --- Matthew (0 acres, 1 poll),
1802 Witcher --- Matthew (100 acres, 1 poll)
1803 Parker 350 1 w/Artha
1804 Rafter 350 1 Mathew (100 acres, 1 poll)
1805 Rafter 350 1 Matthew (100 acres, 1 poll)
1806 Rafter 350 1 w/Artha
13. J. Estelle Stewart King, "Abstract of Early Kentucky Wills and Inventories", 1933, reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co. Baltimore, p.3 (Barren County)
1816 Feb 16 Bk A
Samuel Gentry. Will dated 16 Feb 1816, probated May Court 1816.
Wife: Sarah; Dau: Elizabeth; Son: Altha. Mentions other children but does not name them. Mention is made of his father's property in North Carolina. Exec: Gideon Mayfield, Benj. Adams; Witness: Nicholaus Hauser, John Ingram, Elizabeth Brown.
14. Census Records
A chart showing where Samuel and his children can be found in census records is shown below, and indicates their dispersal to Kentucky and to Indiana. Where the child was included in Samuel's family, the age is shown. Counties enclosed in parentheses indicate cases where the family can be found under the name of the widow, or the individual was living with a son.
1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850
Matthew (>16) Surry Ohio Warr. (Warr.) Warr. (Warr.)
Joseph (0-16) [Ohio] Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio Ohio
James (0-16) [Ohio] Ohio Spen. Spen. ---
Agnes (Yes) m.1799 Ohio Warr. Warr. Warr. Warr.
Nancy (Yes) (10-16) m.1809
William (0-16) (10-16) Ohio Warr. Spen. Warr. ??
George (0-16) (10-16) Barren Monroe Warr. Warr. ??
Shelton (0-16) (0-10) (16-26) Ohio Warr. ---
Sarah (0-10) (10-16) m.1811
Thomas (0-10) (10-16) Monroe?
Susanna (0-10) (10-16) m.1815
Artha (0-10) (10-16) Monroe Warr. Warr. Warr.
Elizabeth (0-10) (0-10)
Unident F (26-45)
Unident F. (10-16)
(Note. Warr. = Warrick County, Spen. = Spencer County, both Indiana. Barren, Ohio, and Monroe (split from Barren Co. in 1820) are in Kentucky. Joseph and James were in the 1799 tax list for Ohio Co.--there is no 1800 census record.)
© 2002, W.M. Gentry - All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part for non-commercial purposes provided that proper attribution (including author and journal name) is included.
Notes for Samuel Gentry:
Samuel and his father, Joseph, were Revolutionary Soldiers. The Gentry and Phillips families were neighbors of Abraham Lincoln's parents in Indiana and grew up with Abe. He first split rails for James Gentry, brother of Agnes, and for whom Gentryville, Indiana is named. -This information is taken from a letter written by Lowell Howell to Helen Howell Burkholder in 1969.
Samuel lived in Surry County, NC, prior to 1809, about which time he moved to Kentucky, where he died. He was a Baptist preacher and married three times. In 1802, Surry Co. records show that Samuel Gentry bought land from Levi Savage, 100 acres, on Dill's Creek, and in 1803, 50 acres from Henry Speer. The Surry Co. records also show land entries and purchases in the names of several of his sons. Arthur, Shelton and Mathew, each appear as land owners from 1792 to 1804. All the eight sons of Samuel Gentry seem to have moved from North Carolina to Indiana and settled in Spencer and Warwick Counties, between 1818 and 1825, except Joseph, who settled in Ohio Co., KY. These Gentrys have greatly increased in number in Warwick and Spencer Cos., IN - Taken from "The Gentry Family in
America, 1676-1909" by Richard Gentry.
Samuel Gentry was born in either Lunenburg or Louisa County, Virginia in about 1750. The NSDAR Patriot Index lists Samuel among those who provided patriotic service during the Revolutionary War. He lived in Surry County, North Carolina, prior to 1809 about which time he moved to Barren County, Kentucky. He was a Baptist preacher. Surry County records show that in 1802 Samuel bought land from Levi Savage on Dill’s Creek and in 1803 fifty acres from Henry Speer.
It is believed that Samuel was married several times. Only the record of his third marriage to Sarah Brock in Surry County, North Carolina, on 24 May 1787 has been found.
In the 1790 federal census for Surry County, North Carolina; there are eleven people in Samuel’s household. There are two males over 16 years of age and five males under age 16. There are also 3 white females and one slave.
The 1800 Census report for Surry County, there are 13 people in Samuel’s household; four boys and 3 girls under age 10, one boy and two girls age 10-16, one male over 45 and two females 26-45 years old.
By 1810 Samuel had moved to Barren County, Kentucky where the census roll showed seven people in his household. There were two males age 10 - 16, one between 16 - 26 and one over 45 years old. One female was less than 10 years old and two were between 10 - 16.
The Surry County land records also show land entries by several of his sons. Arthur, Shelton and Matthew each appear as land owners from 1792 - 1804. All of the eight sons of Samuel Gentry seem to have moved from North Carolina to Spencer or Warrick County, Indiana, between 1818 and 1825 except Joseph who settled in Ohio County, Kentucky.
His son James settled for awhile all along Rough Creek in Ohio County, Kentucky, to the mouth of Blackford Creek on the Ohio River. James was the big hog raiser of his day. He would examine the trees, ascertain where the best mast crop would be, and in due time, take possession and move in with his hogs. When his mast privileges began to be interfered with, he crossed the Ohio River in Indiana where few settlements had been made and where he had ample range. James Gentry settled and gave name to what is now thrifty village of Gentryville in Spencer County.
James is of particular interest in that he married Elizabeth, one of the daughters of Abraham Hornbook. Another of Abraham’s daughters, Hannah, married Ezekiel Powell. Thus the Powell and Bryan sides of the family were united at an early date, 1 July 1803.
Samuel Gentry died on 16 February 1816 in Barren County, Kentucky. He is buried in The Gentry Cemetery at Narrows, Kentucky.
SAMUEL GENTRY’s Will
Barren County, Kentucky, Will Book 1, p332
In the name of God amen I Samuel Gentry of Barren County and State of Kentucky being sick and weak of body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given to God, calling unto the mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say a touching such worldly estate where with it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.
First I give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Sarah Gentry, one good bed and furniture and her saddle to dispose of them at her death as she thinks proper. Also I give to my well beloved wife Sarah Gentry all of my estate, real and personal, during her lifetime or widowhood except such property as I shall otherwise bequeath. Also I give and bequeath unto my son Atha Gentry one sorrel horse likewise fifteen dollars for the use of getting him a saddle. Also I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth Gentry one good bed and furniture likewise one good second rate cow and as for my Negro woman named Juda she is to serve my wife Sarah Gentry during her widowhood and at the end of her widowhood the said Negro woman Juda shall be free so far as this that she shall go to live with any of my children that she pleases to live with and if she gets old and helpless it is my desire that then my son or daughter that she lives with shall maintain her during her lifetime. And as for my Negro boy Nick he is to serve my wife Sarah until next New Years Day and then after that he is to be hired out for twelve years from next New Years day and after that he is to be free. The executor is to see to his freedom according to law and his hire is to be equally divided among all my children. If there should be any of my father’s estate coming to me from North Carolina I want it to be equally divided among all my children and all the estate land and property left to my wife during her widowhood when she marry or at her death is to be sold and equally divided among all my children except my Negro woman Juda. I do hereby utterly disavow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testament, will, legacies, bequests and executors by me before named willed and bequeathed ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. Also I constitute Gideon Mayfield and Benjamin Osborne my sole executors of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this sixteenth of February one thousand eight hundred and sixteen.
Signed and sealed in the presence of Nicholas Towson, John Ingram and Elizabeth Brown
Samuel X Gentry MAST CROP: The nuts of the forest trees on the ground that served as food for swine Illustrated Atlas of Daviess Co., KY, reprinted by Unigraphics, Evansville, IN. Richard Gentry, The Gentry Family in America 1676-1909 (The Grafton Press, 1909, New York) pp267-268.
- Webmaster, Gene Powell; Author, John Powell
Children of Samuel Gentry and Sarah Brock are:
i. Joseph Gentry, born 05 Jan 1776 in NC; died 1855; married Rhoda Thomas 08 Jan 1801; born in Ohio Co., KY.
Notes for Joseph Gentry:
Came from North Carolina as a youth with a party of surveyors and never returned; settled in Ohio Co., KY, where he became wealthy in lands and slaves.
ii. James Gentry, born 15 Jun 1778 in Surry Co., NC; died 05 Jun 1840 in Gentryville, Spencer Co., IN; married Elizabeth Hornbeck 21 Jul 1803 in Mercer Co., KY; born Abt. 1786; died 01 Sep 1825.
Notes for James Gentry:
James left his father's home in North Carolina before he was grown and found employment in Kentucky. In 1816, he moved to Spencer Co., Ind., and settled near the present town of Gentryville, which was named for him. He was a man of great energy, good judgment and accumulated a large fortune.
He at one time owned 5,000 acres of land in Spencer Co., Ind. He lived before the days of railroads in his country and markets were a long way off. From 1820 to 1830, Mr. Gentry loaded a large flat boat with farm products each winter, and sent it down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. In 1816 the parents of young Abraham Lincoln came from Kentucky and settled on a farm adjoining that of Mr. Gentry. The Lincolns were very poor farmers and consequently unsuccessful. Young Abraham was
frequently employed as a farm hand by his neighbor, James Gnetry; the rail splitting for which he has been noted was done for Mr. Gentry on his farm. In the year 1829, young Lincoln was employed as an oarsman on the flat boat, loaded with farm products and sent to New Orleans that year by Mr.
Gentry, in charge of his sons Allen and Joseph. In 1830, the Lincolns moved from Indiana to Illinois and after breaking up their home and making a start, they spent the first night on their journey with their neighborand friend, James Gentry. - From "The Gentry Family in America" by Richard Gentry.
The "hand down" story of the Gentry family is that the Gentry family in the United States descended from two Gentry brothers who came over from England. They settled in the Carolinas - one family locating there whose descendents are the "Gentry Pony Show" people. The other family later went to Ohio and Kentucky.
I only know our line of Gentrys as recorded in the History of Warrick, Spencer and Perry Counties published in 1885. A James Gentry was known to have lived in North Carolina. A son, Hon. James Gentry Sr. was born on the Yadkin River in 1779. Nothing is definitely known of his ancestors, only that a Samuel Gentry whose heir settled in Gentryville, Indiana.
At the age of 17, James Gentry left home and went to Barren County, KY, where he followed farming and hunting, making the latter quite profitable. After some years he moved to Ohio Co., KY, where he married Elizabeth Hornback - the date of which is not known. From there he moved to Daviess Co., KY and in April 1818 located on a tract of land containing over 1,000 acres in Spencer Co., IN near the present site of Gentryville. He afterward purchased several hundred acres more of land surrounding him. He was remarkable for his energy and industry, and the interest which he took in the welfare of his neighbors in general. As early as 1827 he had a small business of selling goods at his farm. He bought out the businesses of Gideon W. Romine and Benjamin Romine in Gentryville. In 1824 he started a cotton gin which he conducted several years, receiving patronage from a radius of thirty miles. Considerable cotton was raised as it grew well on new land.
- From a letter, author unknown.
11 iii. Agnes Gentry, born 1780 in Surry County, North Carolina; died 04 Jan 1852 in Warrick County, Indiana; married John Sherman Phillips 28 Jan 1799 in Surry County, NC.
iv. Mathew Gentry, born 1782 in Surry County, NC.
Notes for Mathew Gentry:
Lived in Surry Co., NC, and moved to Warwick Co., IN, about 1822, where he
settled and reared a large family.
v. George Gentry, born Abt. 1782 in Surry Co., NC; married Jinney Howser.
vi. Nancy Gentry, born Abt. 1789 in Surry Co., NC.
vii. Sarah Gentry, born Abt. 1791 in Monroe, KY; died Bet. 1830 - 1835 in Kentucky.
viii. Shelton Gentry, born Abt. 1793 in Surry Co., NC.
ix. Thomas Gentry, born Abt. 1795 in Surry Co., NC.
x. Elizabeth Gentry
xi. Shelton Gentry, died Abt. 1830; married Sally Steaton.
Notes for Shelton Gentry:
Shelton was a Baptist preacher.
xii. Thomas Gentry, married Kitty Allen.
xiii. Sally Gentry, born Abt. 1791; married Nicholas Tunnel.
xiv. Susannah Gentry, born Abt. 1795; married Thomas Brown.
xv. Arthur Gentry, born Abt. 1797 in Surry County, NC; married Sarah O'Neal.
xvi. Samuel Gentry, born Abt. 1807 in Kentucky.
Samuel Gentry's Timeline
Surry County, North Carolina
Surry, North Carolina, United States
May 24, 1775
Surry County, North Carolina
May 24, 1775
Surry, North Caroline
January 5, 1776
Surry, North Carolina, United States
June 15, 1778
Surry, North Carolina, United States
Surry County, North Carolina
<Warrick County, Indiana>
Surry, North Carolina, United States