Thomas Gunn 1700-1777 Hanover, New Kent, Henrico to Amelia County, Virginia
There has been much speculation about the origins of Thomas Gunn, all exerted without documentation, save a mention in a 1861 Bible record of a descendant from Mississippi. I know of no one who has seen a copy of this bible, though I repeatedly requested a copy from those who quote its contents.
Some ancestral trees begin with Nathaniel Gunn and his wife Sabrina Pope, which is an example of data mining at its worst. According to undocumented but published genealogies, Nathaniel and Sabrina had a son named Thomas Gunn who was christened in St. Olave's Church in Southwark, England on July 1, 1650. Nathaniel and Sabrina had other children, whose ancestry has NOT been traced. Their son, Thomas is said to have been a soldier during Bacon's Rebellion, who came to Virginia as an English soldier, and eventually settled there, marrying a woman named Virginia. Thomas supposedly had a son named Thomas born circa 1689 who married Sarah Boatwright. If the Nathaniel Gunn genealogy was correct, it means, Thomas would start his family, and purchase his first property in his mid thirties, and die at the age of 88. While possible, it simply isn't plausible, while the lineage remains unsupported by a total lack of documentation, other than the data mined birth in the records of St. Olave's Church.
Exhaustive searches have been done in the U.K, and stateside, to find a soldier, Thomas Gunn or any military mention of him. There is no extant record in Virginia, to support this legend of Thomas, living anywhere south of the James River (i.e. Petersburg). I am told that the Compendium of American Genealogy edited and published by Frederick A. Virkus, claimed Thomas was born in 1689 and settled near present day Petersburg, Virginia. A search of the book's contents, did not support the claim. There are a number of early genealogists who were paid to create genealogies for families and many were clear fabrications created for profit. I wish I could say different.
Thomas Gunn - Progenitor
I begin my Gunn line, with Thomas Gunn whose birth, most likely occurred about 1700. The birth of his first male child, William Gunn was recorded in New Kent County, Virginia on 07 March 1726/7 in the vestry records of St Peter's Church. I have examined the original parish records, and on the same page the birth is recorded, there is a child's drawing of a horse, and in a child's handwriting below a drawing, it reads, "My horse Nichodemus." The original St. Peter's vestry book is in the Archives of the State Library of Virginia in Richmond.
The colonial records of New Kent County were destroyed by a fire in 1787, which was set by John P. Posey, for which he was hung. Among the Virginia counties with records that were burned and/or lost in acts of war and court house fires are; King and Queen County records from 1654-1691, and King William County records from 1654 to 1702, Hanover County records from 1654 to 1728, Louisa County records from 1654 to 1728, and part of Caroline County from 1654 to 1720, and again New Kent County records from 1787 and 1864 were all lost to fire. These counties are all north of the James River.
Jan 15, 1723/4 Henry Atkinson of Hanover County patented 520 acres in Hanover County bordering Gunn's land. This deed indicates Thomas owned land prior to 1723. If born in 1700, he should own land and start his family, in his early 20's.
November 2, 1733 - John Lanford of Henrico County sold 130 acres in Henrico Parish to Thomas Gunn of St. Paul's Parish Hanover County. Thomas and Sarah's first three daughters married men who lived in Hanover and Henrico Counties. The first evidence found of Thomas living in Amelia was in 1744.
August 7, 1735 Lanford of Henrico County to Thomas Gunn of St. Paul's Parish of Hanover County sells 50 acres on a brook bounded by Horsepen Creek. (This land was in close proximity to land purchased by a John Gunn in 1720 along Horesepen Creek.)
August 7, 1735 John Lanford of Henrico sells 130 acres to Thomas Gunn of St. Paul's Parish, Hanover County.
December Court 1743 - Henrico County, Virginia. Thomas Gunn sells to William Kelly 180 acres. Sarah Gunn his wife relinquishes her dower right. (This is the 130 and 50 acres plots, Thomas purchased on August 7, 1735 from John Lanford)
Feb 15, 1744 - Amelia County, Virginia - Thomas Gunn purchases 198 acres in the fork of the Nottoway River near Reedy Branch from Edward Thweat and Katy his wife, who relinquished her dower.
March 6, 1745 - William Kelly sold 180 acres in Henrico County purchased from Thomas Gunn, to John Austin and Jaconias Randall.
Nov 14, 1745 - Amelia County, Virginia - Thomas Gunn sells to Samual Jordan, 198 acres in the fork of the Nottoway River near Reedy Branch, land purchased from Edward Thweat.
Thomas obviously owned other land beside the 198 acres mentioned previously, evidenced as follows:
October 21, 1751 - Henry Gains sells 158 acres to James Parrott, located in the fork of the Nottoway River, adjacent to the lines of Thomas Gunn and John Ellis.
Jan 28, 1755 - Thomas Gunn and Sarah his wife of Nottoway County sell to John Pace 50 acres in the fork of the Nottoway River, lying adjacent to lands of William Pace, John Ellis, and Thomas Gunn.
July 15, 1760 - Thomas Gunn of Lunenburg County Virginia purchases 333 acres on the north side of Little Creek, adjoining the land of Easter and Lewis.
April 22, 1761 - John Ellis to Richard Ellis, deed of gift. 638 acres on Horsepen Creek adjacent lines of Thomas Gunn, Alexander Bolling, William Pace, and Sam Thomas.
Feb 10, 1764 - William Pace to Benjamin Shelton - 100 acres in fork of Horsepen Creek and the Reedy Branch, adjacent to lines of Thomas Gunn, Richard Ellis, and daniel Shelton.
Nov 28, 1771 - Joseph Phillips to John Clardy - 100 acres in fork of Nottoway River, adjacent to the lines of Thomas Gunn, Richard Ellis, and Thom Williams.
Thomas Gunn purchased no land in Amelia County from its formation in 1735 until 1744. He owned property in Hanover County and some in Henrico County for a number of years, along with 333 acres in Lunenburg County.
One would think, that because Thomas Gunn, a James Gunn, and John Gunn, all owned property along Horsepen Creek, purchasing the property within a 10 year span of one another, that they would likely be related. DNA from the descendants of Thomas Gunn prove that he is not biologically related. James and John Gunn, however are related.
What is known, is that Thomas owned property in St. Paul's Parish in Hanover County, Virginia as early as 1723. His son William's birth is recorded in New Kent County in 1726/7, and by 1733 Thomas Gunn of St. Paul's Parish in Hanover County was purchasing property along Horsepen Creek in Henrico County. In 1744 Thomas moved his family to the fork of the Nottway River, near Reedy's branch, in Amelia County and remained in Amelia County until his death in 1777.
From William W. Hening's collection of the laws of Virginia during the French and Indian War, the House of Burgesses passed an act for the defense of the frontier of the colony on 14 September 1758. Thomas Gunn of Amelia County was listed in the militia.
Thomas and Sarah were the parents of eleven children who survived infancy. Their descendants are numerous, and spread throughout the United States and beyond. This web site was created in respect for them, and to document as much information about their lives, as extant records allow.
The exact dates of birth for his 11 children isn't known, but are estimates, based on the order in which they are mentioned in Thomas's 1777 Will, and the date of birth for his first son, William Gunn in 1725. His children were:
Rebecca Gunn b.c. 1721 who married Samuel Webb. Elizabeth Gunn b.c. 1722 who married Mr. Sharp, perhaps Richard Sharp. Sarah Gunn b.c. 1724 who married Robert Yaxley William Gunn b. March 7, 1725/6 who married Hannah White John Gunn b.c. 1728 who married Olive, perhaps Mary James Gunn, Sr. b.c. 1731 who married Elizabeth and second Joice Edith Gunn b.c. 1733 who married Edward Hogan Mary Jane Gunn b.c. 1734 who married Thomas Jeffress Daniel Gunn b.c. 1735 who married Elizbeth Yancey Thomas Gunn, Jr. b. 1738 who married Susannet Burnett, Sarah Davenport, Ann Worshame, Eleanor Halverson Elisha Gunn b.c 1740 who possibly married Elizabeth (Nance?)
My family history continues with James Gunn, Sr. the son of Thomas and Sarah Boatwright Gunn