James Gunn Jr 1765-1828 son of James Gunn, Sr. and Elizabeth (Garner?)
James Gunn, Jr. was born about 1765-1766 in the Nottoway Parish of Amelia County, Virginia. He was the son of James Gunn, Sr. and his first wife Elizabeth, whose surname is unproven, but at least one family researcher claims her surname was Garner. One possible son of James [Sr] and wife Elizabeth Garner Gunn, was Henry Garner Gunn, who carried the surname of his mother as his middle name.
James Gunn, Jr first appeared in the 1787 census as a property owner, with one slave over 16, 2 slaves under 16, and 2 horses. Assuming he was about 21 years old in 1787, we have determined his approximate birth year, as 1765/1766.
His father James Gunn, Sr., died in 1807 and his will mentioned James Gunn, Jr as follows: Item, I give and bequeath to my son James Gunn, all of mine, he has in possession to him and his heirs forever. As was the custom, most likely James Gunn, Jr. was given property when he married or came of age.
Between 1794-1800 James Gunn, Jr. married Elizabeth Irby Jordan. She was born about 1782 in Amelia County, Virginia. She was the daughter of J. Freeman Jordan and his wife Ann "Nancy" Cocke. Elizabeth's sister was Jane Jordan who married Griffin Gunn, the brother of James Gunn, Jr. This is another example of two Gunn brothers marrying two sisters. It is repeated many times in the Gunn family. The children of these Gunn brothers who married Jordan sisters were double first cousins, having no aunts or uncles by marriage, but related to them by blood kinship.
James Gunn, Jr. and Elizabeth Irby made their home in Brunswick County, Virginia. It was in Brunswick they raised their children. From tax records we know James Gunn, Jr owned hundreds of acres of property, most was likely given to him prior to his marriage by his father, James Gunn, Sr.
1800-1802 he was taxed on 957 1/2 and another parcel of 300 acres 1803 - James Gunn, Jr was taxed on 537 1/2 and 300 acres. He conveyed 400 acres to Thomas Vaughan. 1804-1807 he was taxed on 237 1/2 and 300 acres were conveyed to John Leach
In 1810 census - James Gunn had one male under 10 which was Freeman James Gunn, one male 26-45 which was James, Jr himself, and 1 female 26-45 which was his wife, Elizabeth Irby Jordan. James owned 17 slaves. It is possible that Burwell Gunn born in 1794, age 16, in 1810 is another son, who did not appear on the 1810 census.
Jan 18, 1813 - James and Elizabeth sold 151 acres to William Lambert. At this time Elizabeth was unable to relinquish her dower so 2 men were ordered to travel to her and witness her signature. Most likely, Elizabeth was pregnant. In three more transactions taking place in 1814, James sold more land to William Lambert and also to Thomas J. Lambert.
Sept 8, 1820 - James Gunn, Jr is indebted to Robert Haskins
In 1820, James, Jr. was living in the St. Andrew's Parish of Brunswick County, and according to the census there was 1 male under ten years old in the home. I believe this to be Henry Garner Gunn who was born 1815. There was 1 male 16-26 and this was Freeman James Gunn born abt 1800, who was single, and working for his father. Also listed was James Gunn, Jr as a male over 45. There were three females under 10 years old, and one we know, was Elizabeth Jordan Gunn who was born in 1818. Also listed were two females 16 to 26 and they did not appear in the 1810 census. The female age 26-45 was wife Elizabeth Jordan Gunn. Also listed were 8 agriculture workers, 3 slaves under 14 years old, 2 slaves aged 14-26 and 2 slaves over 45.
Nov 12, 1822 - James Gunn, Jr. was indebted to Jno. Rieves and John Maddux trustee, to sell and pay 170.60 plus Negroes Hannah, Ruella and her child, for 200 acres of land, and all interest conveyed by Freeman Jordan to James Gunn's wife, if debt is not paid
August 16, 1823 - James Gunn indebted to Jno Rives and William Aldridge for $261.70
September 10, 1823 - James Gunn sold his woman slave Hannah to Freeman James Gunn for $120 as payment to Freeman J. Gunn for his two years of service as overseer. Witness: Robert Vaughan and Benjamin Zackary.
The above is the last record found for James Gunn. I believe both he and his wife Elizabeth died shortly after this transfer to their son Freeman was made. James Gunn, Jr was about 58 years old in 1823, and his wife Elizabeth Jordan was about 43 years old. James Gunn, Jr did not appear in the 1830 Census of Virginia. It is unlikely as some have speculated, that he left Virginia, went to Georgia, and left his young children behind to be raised by relatives.
James Gunn, Jr. had been in financial trouble for many years. In 1800 he owned almost one thousand acres, but by 1814 had sold most of his holdings to members of the Lambert family. His son Freeman was 10 to 12 years old in the 1820 census, Henry Garner Gunn was about 4 or 5, and Elizabeth J, was only 2.
Because many records have been burned or destroyed in war and court house fires, it has been difficult to find definitive proof in extant records for the number of children born to James Gunn, Jr., and Elizabeth Irby Jordan. If James left a will, none has been found.
Their children were:
Freeman James Gunn - born 1808 - Circumstantial evidence through deeds establishes Freeman James Gunn as a child. Likewise, Freeman was likely named after his mother's father, J. Freeman Jordan. In 2006 DNA from his ggggrandson, Gordon Reynolds Gunn confirms the relationship.
Henry Garner Gunn born 1815 - we know from the 1820 census that James Gunn, Jr. had another male under 10 in the home. On October 24, 1834 Burwell Bassett Wilkes, Jr. and his wife Lucy, sold 28 acres of land in Brunswick County, to Henry G. Gunn for 42 dollars. Burwell Bassett Wilkes married second to Lucy Field in 1831. Wilkes would have been a 1st cousin of Henry Garner Gunn if he IS the son of James Gunn, Jr.
In Deed Book 31, 1836-1839 Henry Garner Gunn sold this land back to B.B. Wilkes. Because Henry's middle name is named in the second deed as Garner, and because his grandmother's surname is said to be Garner, along with the strong connection to the Burwell Wilkes family, it is more than likely Henry is an undocumented son of James and Elizabeth Irby Jordan Gunn.
Henry left Virginia and moved to Maury County, Tennessee where a number of the Wilke's family had moved. The Wilke's family raised race horses. Henry married Martha Jane Brooks in Maury County, Tennessee on March 6, 1841. They had five children, all born in Tennessee, the last child born in 1850. By 1860 Henry and Martha had moved to Williamson County, Texas. Their children were Mary b. 1838 who married Francis Floyd Lynch; William A. T. Gunn born 1843 and died 1867 in Williamson County, Texas (unmarried); a son, A.N.D. Gunn who was born and died the same day 9-24-1845; Martha A. H. Gunn born 1847 (lost track of); Susan Louisa Alice Gunn born May 1850 died May 1919 who married George Washington Hall. With no surviving male heirs, DNA can not disprove Henry Garner Gunn as a son.
Elizabeth Jordan Gunn - Elizabeth is the only documented child born to this couple. Elizabeth was born in 1818. She listed the names of her parents on her marriage license, as James and Elizabeth Gunn. She was the third wife of Frederick Lewis Abernathy. They were married in 1867 in Brunswick County, Virginia. After the death of her parents, circa 1823, Elizabeth went to live with her father's half sister. Elizabeth "Betsey" Gunn. Aunt Elizabeth was the widow of two wealthy Brunswick County men, Burwell Bassett Wilkes who died in 1817, and Phillip Claiborne who died in 1827. Aunt Elizabeth Gunn Wilkes Claiborne mentioned her niece, Elizabeth J. Gunn with an inheritance of $50 in her will. Elizabeth J. Gunn nursed her aunt until her death in 1846, and remained single herself until 1861 when she married the twice widowed Frederick Abernathy Lewis. After the death of Frederick Lewis, Elizabeth J. Gunn (Lewis) lived with Burwell Bassett Wilkes, Jr. and his family in Brunswick County, Va. She is likely buried in the Wilkes' cemetery, Charlie Hope. Elizabeth died in June 1892. She had no children.
Burwell Gunn - While there is no male DNA donor from his decendants [to date 1-2010], I suspect that Burwell Gunn, 1794-1855 is possibly the son of James and Elizabeth Irby Jordan. If Elizabeth Irby Jordan IS the mother of Burwell, then she was a very young 13-14 year old mother when he was born. Most other possibilities for his father, have been eliminated. Burwell is a Wilkes family name. James Gunn, Jr. whose most beloved silbing was, his sister Elizabeth who married Burwell Wilkes. It may be more than just a coincidence and plausible, that James would name a son Burwell. James Gunn, Jr.'s sister, Elizabeth Gunn Wilkes, raised at least one of her brother James' children after his death, - Elizabeth Jordan Gunn.