Elizabeth, wife of Edward Gatlin, would have been born within a few years either side of 1655. She and Edward probably married in about 1670, most likely in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Their only know child, John, was born sometime around 1675, possibly in Nansemond County, Virginia. Keep in mind, though, that no documentation, that I know about anyway, has surfaced proving that Edward Gatlin was ever in Virginia! Geographically speaking, I could be way off base, but I think my dates are close.
By about 1700, Edward and, presumably, Elizabeth were living in Bath County, North Carolina. All later evidence suggests that their home lay in what is now Pamlico County, somewhere close to what was then known as Powell’s Creek, later Farnifold Green’s Creek. There was a small creek in the area known as Gatlin’ Creek as early as 1716. Whether this is the same as modern Gatlin Creek I don’t know. It’s located between Dawson’s Creek and Wilkison’s Point.
Elizabeth was still alive as of 15 March 1726 when she and John qualified as Executrix and Executor of Edward’s will. In this will, he leaves her four horses, “one negro man named Joab during her naturall life,” two feather beds and their furniture, half his household goods, half his sheep, all of his cattle carrying his “proper mark,” and “Oliver Rustell my orphane boy.” She also received “halfe my plantation and my…house during her widdowhood.” On the day she remarries, if she does, the plantation and house are to revert to John entirely.
These are the facts of her life as I know them. But who was she? I have no idea! There are many theories floating around about her, but I don’t think any of them fit.
One thing I know with absolute certainty is that she was not the sister of Henry George. Henry George’s will was written 2 December 1711 and not only was his sister’s Gatlin husband dead at this point, he’d been that way long enough for her to remarry and give birth to a least one child. Edward Gatlin was still very much alive in 1711. In fact, I think that Ms. George, there is no proof that her first name was Elizabeth, married Edward’s brother, William.
Another popular theory is that she was the daughter of Hannah Kent and her first husband, John Smithwick. There is no evidence this person existed. John Smithwick’s will, dated 28 Aug 1696 and probated 6 Jan 1697 mentions one daughter by name, Sarah. The will is torn in places, so it is possible that another daughter is mentioned. In fact, we know there was a second daughter, Ann, the same Ann whose will was witnessed by Edward Gatling in 1711. In the will of Farnifold Green, Ann Smithwick is referred to as his “daughter in law”. There were other Elizabeth Smithwicks: John’s sister married Robert Warburton and his niece married Martin Griffin.
Ann’s half-sister, Elizabeth Green, is another possibility put forward in various genealogies. She at least did exist. Setting aside the fact that she could not have been born before 1697, there is unassailable evidence, in the form of land deeds and bible records, that she married Daniel Shine.
Much has been made of an association between Edward Gatlin and Hannah Kent Smithwick Green Linnington. I don’t really see it. From what I can piece together, the Gatlins and the Greens were neighbors during the Tuscarora War Era. This can account for much of the of the relationship demonstrated in the records. And McDuffie’s contention that Hannah Smithwick witnessed a bond involving Gatlins in 1696 is unsubstantiated by her source, Hathaway, Volume 1, page 613, which merely says she appeared and witnessed a bond.
Anyway, because of this supposed relationship, Hannah’s sister, Elizabeth Kent, has been suggested as the wife of Edward Gatlin. According to more conventional Gatlin chronologies, this would be a much better fit. but she just doesn’t work for me. She was born 1 June 1667 in Berkley Precinct, Albemarle County. This precinct is now Perquimans County. On 8 November 1683 “…Elizbeth Kent ye daughter of Thomas Kent & Ann his wife…” married William Charles, son of William and Abigail Charles. Their daughter, Jane, was born 1 October 1685. William wrote his will 7 April 1687. She may have been the Elizabeth Charles to marry John Long 11 August 1687 or the one to marry Samuel Nicholson 16 December 1688. I’ve also read somewhere, can’t remember where, that the wife of John Long’s brother, Giles, was an Elizabeth Charles. Giles died at some point before 12 February 1692 (Source: North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 3, Number 3, FamilySearch).
So, as you can see, I’m no closer to figuring out who she was. Any ideas? Refutations? Anything?
Let me begin by saying, first, that my Gatlin genealogy is not conventional. In my view, the ancestor of the Neuse River Gatlins, Edward, was born sometime in the early 1650s in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, son of John the Immigrant (born about 1615). He had at least one brother, William (born about 1640). It’s possible he had another brother named John, but I’m on the fence about that right now.
As you can see from the tree below, I believe that Edward’s son, John, was born in the early 1670s, thus, he and his wife, Elizabeth, probably married sometime around 1670 in Nansemond County, Virginia. I’m going to discuss Elizabeth and the various theories about her in another post.
Whenever and wherever he was born and whoever his father, Edward first appears in the records, that I can find, anyway, in 1701. Richard Collins “of Pamticoe in Bath County” wrote his will 23 September 1701. The inventory of his estate was taken 22 November of that same year, including an “Account of Debts” which lists a debt of 5 shillings owed to Edward Gantling for a pair of shoes (Roger Montague Records at East Carolina Roots). So, presumably, Edward and Elizabeth were living somewhere in Bath County before late September 1701. John was a grown man at this point, with a wife and a small son, Edward, born in about 1694, so whether he and his family were in Bath County at this early date is an open question.
Edward Ganeling laid 3 headrights (i.e. William Butcher, Henry Spring, and John Barnett) 8 October 1702 upon an entry made the previous 18 February (Beaufort County Deed Book 1, page 31).
On 29 February 1704 Edward Gatlin was among those in Pamlico to sign a petition for protection against Indians (Hatthaway, Volume 2, p. 194). Apparently, relations between the mighty Tuscarora and the local Bear River tribe were becoming, from the point of view of the colonists, a little too friendly for comfort.
Sometime in 1707, Farnifold Green was issued a grant of 640 acres of land “at green point in Powells creek in Neuse….” In the description is mentioned “Gatlins line” (Source: North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 1, page 164, #126). Does this refer to the 1702 warrant? I don’t know!
You can see the location of Powell’s Creek on John Lawson’s 1709 map (to left of the red mark on the image on the right). Not long after this, Powell’s Creek began being referred to as Farnifold Green’s Creek, or just Green’s Creek. The Broad Creek shown on this map is now called Smith’s Creek.
A search of The Early Settlers of Craven County at the New Bern Craven County Public Library website says something about petitions to hold Court in 1706 and 1709 in association with Edward. One of these, not sure which, is described in the July 1945 issue of The North Carolina Historical Review (Internet Archive, page 294).
The Colony of Carolina entered a dark time in 1711. In January Edward Hyde, a cousin of Queen Anne, was appointed Deputy-Governor of North Carolina, the first man to be appointed such of North Carolina alone. When he arrived in Virginia, he found his governorship in jeopardy. The former Deputy-Governor, Thomas Cary, and his adherents objected most strenuously to Hyde’s appointment. Hyde attempted to have Cary arrested in March, which prodded them into open revolt. Cary’s Rebellion wasn’t suppressed until July, when Thomas Cary fled to Virginia where he was arrested at the end of that month. But the dark time wasn’t over. An outbreak of yellow fever began to ravage the colony that summer, killing many and weakening North Carolina still further. Then, 22 September, the Tuscarora War broke out. In a letter written 26 October 1711, Farnifold Green says: “ye Indians they have killed abt 100 people and have taken prisoners about 20 or 30 we are force to help garison and watch and Gard day and night….”
Mr. Green wrote his will that same day. It begins:
In the Name of God Amen. I, Farnifold Green, in County of Bath & Province of No. Carolina, Planter, being of a Sound & perfect memory, but Seriously Considering ye Frailty & uncertain State of ye Life at all times, Especially Especially in ye dreadfull times of Almighty God’s Visitation by Sword & fier under which we tremble & to wch. do humbly submitt….
On 5 November 1711, Edward Gattling witnessed the will of Green’s stepdaughter, Ann Smithwick (her parents were John Smithwick who died in 1696, and Hannah Kent, who, then, married Green). The ink is faded in places and there is a tear in the document just where the first name would appear, put in court records, where he signs with large “G” mark, the name is plainly Edward.
At some point before Ann Smithwick’s will is proven in Court, there is a record in the minutes involving Captain William Handcock, Jr. and some sails and rigging. I can’t really tell what he’s talking about, but there’s something in there about Captain Richard Graves and Edward Gattling and an appraisal.
Following the harrowing massacre of the 22 of September, in desperation, the colonists of Neuse sent a Petition to Alexander Spotswood, Governor of Virginia, 12 February 1711/12:
That wheras [illegible] hath by ye pormition of allmighty god for our sins and disobedience bin a most horred massacre committed by ye Tuskarora Indians upon her majestys pore subjects in ye sd. provence of north Carrolina [crossed out] and we her majestys pore subjects who by gods provisions have survived are in Continuall Dread and Do Suffer….
Begging him, “with one voyse”, to “send to our [Relief?] Sum Considerable forse of men armes and ammunition….” Among the signers of this petition, second page, are Ed. Gattling and John Gattling. Between them is Titus Green, brother of Farnifold. The petition was read out to the Governor’s Council in Virginia 20 February.
On reading at this Board a petition of the Inhabitants of Neuse River in North Carolina…The Council taking the said petition into consideration are of Opinion that if the Treaty made with the Tuscaruro Indians take effect, The petitioners will be relieved without other assistance from this Government…in order to encourage the petitioners to defend themselves a Copy of the said Treaty be sent to the Commanders of the Garrisons in Neuse…
Help, when it came, haled from South Carolina in the person of John Barnwell and his militia company. You can read his Journal in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 6, Number 1, page 42 (Internet Archive). While he had some successes, it was despite, not because of, any aide North Carolina may have, or more often that not, have not provided him. Under a veil of acrimony, he and most of his force returned home. It didn’t take long for the North to send another delegation to Charlestown (June 1712), begging for more aide, under someone other than Barnwell. Along came James Moore in December. He finished what Barnwell started, again, without much help from North Carolina. To give the North Carolinians some credit, the militia companies did assemble, but it took so long for Moore and his troops to arrive that all the North’s militiamen accomplished was to consume all of the food raised for the allies.
Deputy-Governor Hyde died in a resurgence of the yellow fever epidemic 8 September 1712. His office was temporarily filled by Thomas Pollock. And, at about the same time the following year, 16 and 17 September 1713, an extremely violent hurricane made landfall not far to the north of Charleston in South Carolina, killing dozens. It was reported that a sloop in the Cape Fear region of North Carolina “…was drove three miles over marshes into the woods…” (here, page 4) by the storm. There was, also, severe damage in Currituck County, where several new inlets were created by the storm.
Farnifold Green’s plantation at Green’s Neck was attacked by the Tuscarora and their allies sometime in 1714. Green himself was killed in the attack as was one of his four sons. Another son was wounded.
Also in 1714, Edward Gattling was among those who received a pension for service during the war, another was Farnifold Green. He also paid taxes in Craven Precinct that year according to The Heritage Book of Craven County. I have not yet read this book, my source is Sharon Herrington. He was also taxed in 1715 (land), 1716 (land) and 1718 (land and poll) (Source: Early Settlers of Craven County). The war finally ended 11 February 1715.
Edward Gatling came into Court and acknowledged a deed whereby he conveyed 300 acres of Land to Thomas Plunket, 21 April 1716 (Craven County Deed Book 2, p. 633) in Craven Precinct. On that same day, his wife, Elizabeth, appeared before the Court and relinquished her right of dower. Plunket was issued a grant of 300 acres north of the Neuse River, on the head of Gattlin’s Creek 25 July (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 2, page 354, #608).
At a Council held at Sandy Point, Chowan Precinct, 31 July 1718 (Colonial Records of North Carolina, Volume 2, p. 309).
…the provost Marshal for the County of Albemarle is forthwith ordered to make an end of Impressing the hundred and fifty Bushell of Corne and other grain order’d last Council and see that its sent away directly to Captain Gatling at Nuse at the sd provost Marshal is hereby Impowered to Impress any proper Craft and persons to carry the sd corne to Nuese as afsd.
In 1719, Capt. Ed. Gatlin is listed on a “True List off Tythables and also ye Rent Roull” in Craven Precinct with 3 tithables (2 pounds, 5 shillings) and 250 acres (6 shillings, 3 pence). One of these tithables, I think, was his son John and the other, his grandson, young Edward who would, by now, have been 25. His other grandson, young John, therefore, was younger than 16, but, not, I think, by too much. I have his birth year in my notes as 1704. Also, on 31 October, Captain Gatlin recieved 5 shillings from Richard Graves for killing a panther.
An Edward Gatlin was issued a grant 30 March 1721 for 500 acres north of the Neuse (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 2, page 295, #491), beginning at Neach’s heirs corner tree on the north side of the river. I have not been able to find anything about Neach or his heirs. The description also mentions Farnifold Green’s corner.
The Provost Marshal of Bath County was ordered, 12 May 1722, to summon Captain Edward Gattlin, among others, “to appear in the Court of Common Pleas to be held at Edenton on Queen Annes Creek in July next to testify in the suit of John Fomvile administrator of Peter Fomville dec’d against Joseph Fulford.”
Edward’s son, John, sold some land in what was, then, Chowan Precinct, but would soon become Bertie, 22 June 1722:
I, John Gatlin, Son of Edward, of Nuse in the County of Bath, North Carolina, to John Edwards of Noratuck in Albemarle County, 258 acres of land lying in Noratuck on the South of Welche’s Creek, bounded by the land of Matthew Adams and Thomas Evans…Witnesses: Richard Swinson and Ann Swinson.
The Gatlin Family in America by Eva Loe McDuffie, page 5.
McDuffie’s source for this deed is supposed to be Bertie County Deed Book C, page 206, but I can’t find it there. There is, however, a record of this transaction in Chowan County Deed Book C-1, page 306-7. It leaves out the “Son of Edward” part, though. On 12 September, John granted a power of attorney to John Worley (Chowan County Deed Book C-1, page 308).
On 23 November 1723, Edward “Garling” appears as number 33 on the list of Jurymen of Craven Precinct (The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Volume 25, page 190) and Edward Gatling was among those ordered to be issued a “Commission of the Peace” in Craven Precinct 9 April 1724 (The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Volume 2, page 526). I sort of wonder if they’re talking about the grandson by now, though.
Edward wrote his will 3 January 1726 in which he mentions his wife and son, John.
In the name of god, Amen, I Edward Gatlin of Craven Precinct Do make this my Last will in manor following being of sound mind and perfect memory thanks be to god for the same. First I give & bequeath my soul to almighty god who gave it me & my body to the Earth to bee buried in Christian Buriall at the discretion of my Executor hereafter named, first it is my will and mind that my Lawfull debts be Paid, and for what worldly estate it hath pleased god to endow me with — I give and loan ? as followeth: Impremis I give to my Loving wife Elizabeth Gatlin two horses named Robin & Forester and I give her two maires Dinah & Clover. I likewise give her one negro man named Joab during her naturall life I give her two feather beds ? one ? middle one and the furniture to them. Likewise I give her one halfe of all my household goods & half my sheep & give her all my cattle that is of my own proper mark. I give to my wife Oliver Rustell my orphane boy–
Item: I give & bequeath to my Loving son John one negro man named Tom to be en? by him & his heirs forever. & I give him three mairs & colts & two horses and half my sheep and all my Cooper’s tooles two feather beds with all their furniture & ? great [either bord or bed] & the little one. & I give him one half of all my pans & pots and half of all my moveable estate to be enjoyed by him & his heirs forever.
& my ? Tarr Kills I order them to pay by debts and what ? of them to be equally divided betwixt by Wife and my son John. and I give & bequeath to my son John all my Land and housing & plantations to be enjoyed by him and his heirs for ever. Lastly I make my Loveing Wife Elizabeth and my son John Sole executors of this my Last will & testament by me made I give unto my wife Elizabeth halfe my plantation and my ? house during her widdowhood and on the day of her marriage afsd house and plantation to fall to my son John to be enjoyed by him and his heirs forever. & I do hereby Revoke & disanull all other will and testament by me made ? unto ? ? off my hand and seal–this third day of January and in the year of Christ seventeen hundred & Twenty Five and Six – 1725/6
Signed sealed and Edward Gatlin ? in ye presence of us
Peter ? Mary (her M mark) ? Calb Metcalf
He died before 15 March 1726 when his will was proven in Court on the oath of Caleb Metcalf.
Wills can be genealogical gold mines. From the will of Peter Reel, for example, we learn that he and his wife, Mary, had six children: Peter, James, Joshua, Elizabeth, Mary and the much overlooked Sarah. Also from the will, we know that none of the boys is of or over the age of 16 and none of the girls over the age of 12. The will is dated November 19, 1739. So the boys were born sometime after 1723 and the girls after 1727. And none of the girls were married. Elizabeth had yet to marry Edward Gatlin, and Mary was married to neither John Gatlin nor Simon Bright at this time.
In the name of God Amen this nineteenth day of november in the year of our Lord 1739 I Peter Reell of nues River in Craven County and province of north Carolina Planter being sick and weak in Body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to God therefore calling to mind the mortality of my Body and knowing that it is appointed unto all men once to Dye Do make and ordain this my Last will and testament. In the manner and form following that is to say principally and first of all I give and commend my soul unto God who gave it and my Body to the earth to be Buried in Christian Like and Decent manner at the Discretion of my Executors nothing Doubting but at the General resurection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God and as such worldy Estate as God hath been pleased to Bless me with in this Live I Give devise and Dispose as followeth.
Impremis. I Give and bequeath to pay my Debts when sold four pots, one Iron ? all the pewter, two feather Beds and furniture belonging to them, and all other Household Goods, one negro man named Adam and horse called Prince and one Gray horse running in the woods three old next Spring, one Gray mare called Bonny and four cows and calves and the use of the plantation I now live on to my Beloved wife Mary during her widowhood and the negro Adam during her widowhood. All this to my Beloved wife Mary.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Peter one negro boy called Harry, one Gray mare running in the woods, four cows and calves, one hundred acres of land at the ponds.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son James and my son Joshua one negro woman named Phillis and her Increase to James one mare called Jenny and four cows and calves and one hundred acres of land up the ? Bridge.
Item. I give and Bequeath unto my son Joshua one Bay mare called Pegg and four cows and calves and the plantation I now live on to my son Joshua at his mothers widowhood.
Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth and my daughter Mary one negro Girl named Abigal and to my Daughter Elizabeth one Bay yearling mare called Swallow and four cows and calves and one bay hourse that came of a mare called Bonny.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Mary one mare colt that came of a Gray mare called Bonny and four cows and calves.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Sarah one mare colt that came of a mare called Jenny and four cows and calves.
Item. I give all the rest of my cows and heifers to be equally divided between my wife Mary and all my children.
Item. I give all my He cattle to kill for meat to maintain my wife Mary and children.
Item. I desire my Land at Willkisons Point and one Sorrell horse called Fork to be sold and the money be disposed of for the schooling and education of all my Children.
Item. All my hogs and sheep I leave to my wife Mary.
Item. I desire that all my children may Live with my wife Mary while she lives or they come of age. I desire my sons may be for themselves at the age of sixteen and my daughters at twelve and leave my wife Mary and Simon Bright and Richard Evans of Bath County sole Executors of this my Last will and testament and to revoke and disanull all other former wills and testaments and Executors by me made ratifying and confirming this as my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seal the year and day above said signed sealed and publickly declared in presence of
I’ve found that FamilySearch also has land records for these counties: Bertie, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Edgecombe, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Washington. I’m sure there are others. As excited as I am about all of this, I find myself confused a lot of the time by the way they’re indexed.
I’m such a nerd, I know, but I am so very very happy that Beaufort County deed are finally available online. Just go to FamilySearch.org, be sure to login (if you don’t have an account, yet, don’t worry, it’s free), then do a Catalog Search for “United States, North Carolina, Beaufort.” Next, click “Index to real estate conveyances, 1696-1959; deeds & mortgages, 1700-1960.” First, are the Grantor/Grantee indexes, then the actual deed books. I just read the real will of Nicholas Daw in Deed Book 1, page 282. Did I tell you I’m excited! 🙂