Evidence that John Gill of Barnwell (Allendale) was the son of Thomas Gill of the Congarees

Please comment, especially if you have documented proof.  Shucks, even if you just "think" something different!


It has been a challenge to document connections for branches of the Richland Gills. The relevant records were in Sherman's path in South Carolina, said state being viewed as the primary cause and promoter of secession and the Civil War, and he took his vengeance accordingly.  Many relevant records were probably in the Orangeburgh Court House, burned by Sherman's blue coats during the Civil War in 1865.  We have amassed extant evidence to establish this connection, which at this point, we consider incontrovertible.  The reader must judge the evidence presented and decide if it is indeed sufficiently convincing.  Evidence has been amassed by tracing virtually every Gill no matter how seemingly remote, neighbors, relatives, and legal witnesses, including North Carolina, Virginia, and an eye to Georgia.  That said, it is still surprising to find Gill lines about which we have no information.  We have not yet begun to exhaust the resources that can be brought to bear on this issue.  Time spent in Charleston on the original records would be productive, especially since we now know the relevant time frame and locations.  In my opinion all of the Charleston records probably are not available at the SCDAH in Columbia.  Certainly one had to know precisely what to request at the SCDAH, and even then they often extract a different record.  Now we have a web accessable search engine, which has brought some new records to light.  Some of the SCDAH microfilm comes from the LDS collection, and much of it is of limited legibility.

Based on extant evidence, we can now substantiate the connection of John Gill of Barnwell as the son of Thomas Gill, the first born son of old James Gill, who settled in what is now Richland County, SC, c1749.  Some of the Mississippi clan also vie for this connection, and you must make your own judgment call.  It is my personal opinion (FOC), based on evidence quoted and referenced herein, that John of Barnwell was unequivocally, and beyond the shadow of a doubt, the son of Thomas Gill who in turn was the son of James Gill.  I will present the evidence, and you make  your own call.

We have gone through the three DAR applications on John Gill from SC and NC, supporting documentation present in the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., and the Mormon records in Salt Lake City.  Such searches are never exhaustive!  I think the Mormons may have copied everything, and it would take much longer than I have spent in their archives to locate it all.

Barnwell probate records state that John Gill of Barnwell was the father of Thomas Gill born c1780 died c(1838-40?) who fled South Carolina in 1822.  This same John Gill of Barnwell is the clear documented grandfather of Allen Jerry Gill.  These Gills resided in what is present day Allendale County, SC, with the early records (c1785-1916) appearing in Barnwell, SC.  The primary issue to be addressed here is the requirement to document proof of the father of John Gill of Barnwell.

Evidence that John Gill of Barnwell is the son of Thomas Gill

In my opinion this lineage is authenticated with six pivotal pieces of evidence:

1. John Gill was in Barnwell 27 April 1785 to locate the 50 acre plat survey (which he never claimed).

2. John Gill, son of Thomas Gill, is listed as residing in Orangeburgh Dist. when he sold land belonging to his father in the 1786 lease and release (deed)("Orangeburgh Dist. "South Part" became Winton Dist, then Barnwell Co., then Allendale Co.),  

3. Both civil witnesses to that deed are documented residents of that part of Orangeburgh Dist. that was called Winton, later to become Barnwell Co. (now Allendale),

4. William Buford, Justice of the Peace authenticating this deed, in which John Gill sold  land belonging to his father, Thomas Gill, was a Winton resident,

5. Francis Bassett, one of these two witnesses, was a near-abutting neighbor of John Gill, and he is documented as residing in Winton (Lower Three Runs, now Allendale Co.) before the date of this deed, and finally -

6. Andrea's "Winton" place name deed fragment shows John Gill, son of Thomas Gill, in Barnwell signing by his complex mark at an even earlier, albeit unknown, date, before circa mid-1785, probably after circa mid-1784.

The point of all of this, is that the John Gill who was son of Thomas Gill, and therefore grandson of James Gill of Richland County, was living in what is now Allendale Co. when he executed this deed of sale of his father's land.

In more detail, and with more circumstantial evidence:

1. Mr. Andrea refers to "The Three Contemporary John Gills" during the Revolutionary Era, of about the same age, two who signed their name, and one who signed by mark. One of these who signed his name, married Agnes Dick, and probate records exist on him through his widow's will (Richland Co.) in 1810. I believe he is the progenitor of the Mississippi branch. He may be the John Gill in Peyer im Hoff's revolutionary war company, although this may have been the John Gill of Barnwell. The second John Gill who signed his name was John Gill, Junior, son of Robert David Gill of Chester Co., who died in Chester Co. (see Fishing Creek, SC, Gills).

2. John Gill was residing in Winton (Barnwell) and sold land there before mid-1785, signing by mark (Mr. Andrea found this deed fragment, although we do not now have it.  It is presumably still in Charleston).

3. John Gill had a plat drawn up in Winton District on 27 April 1785 before he sold his father's land, but did not claim the land in this plat. He was in Winton to have the survey done and plat drawn up. In this epoch, the "Jr." implies only that an elder John Gill was residing somewhere, either John Gill born c1734 married to Mary Jackson and Agatha Murphy, or John Gill, Sr. of Fishing Creek, most certainly the former. "Junior" was not used at this time to mean that he was the son of a John Gill. I believe it is this latter assumption that is the origin of much confusion in these records.

4. Andrea's original argument that there was only one contemporary John Gill signing by mark, who resided in Winton (Barnwell) after the revolutionary war.  

5. One of the witnesses to the 1786 deed in which John Gill, son of Thomas, sells his land, Francis Bassett, was documented as residing in Winton before the 1786 deed which he witnessed. Francis Bassett had a plat drawn up for 378 acres on 4 April 1786, and was there to direct where the survey was to be done, in the spring, (SC State Land Grant Plats volume 11 page 35) and had his land grant formally approved on 20 Oct. 1786 (SC State Land Grant 378 acres Vol. 14 page 628), one month before the 24 Nov. 1786 deed. Francis Bassett was an immediate neighbor to John Gill in the extant Winton Dist. records c1787 still in Barnwell Court House. Francis Bassett is indexed 14 times in Holcomb's book on the Winton Minutes of County Court.

6. The other witness to this deed, (Rev.?) James Williams, resided on the Edisto River in Barnwell County. James Williams was given the 400 acre home place, plus tracts of 359, 261, 157 acres, livestock and furnishings by his father on 10 April 1802 (Barnwell Deeds D464, and 655 acres in 1826 (Barnwell Deeds Q56). James Williams is listed on Mills' 1825 Atlas, probably in present day Bamberg County, near Briar Creek which feeds the Edisto River.

7. William Buford, the Justice of the Peace "of Orangeburgh" was a Justice of the Peace in Winton. Wm. Buford is listed on page 1 of the Winton Court Minute Book as one of the "Judges appointed and qualified" to establish the Winton County Court. Same source top of page 2 lists him as attending Winton Court as "William Buford, J.P." He is indexed in Holcomb's reprint of the Winton Co., SC Minutes of County Court and Will Book 1 1785-1791a total of 69 times, appears in several extant legal records alongside Francis Bassett, and served on the jury involving Wallace's fraudulent deed involving land of John Gill, Francis Bassett, and McElwreath, all of whom lived adjacent in and near Lower Three Runs.

To restate the last three lines of evidence, each and every civil and legal witness to the 1786 deed was a resident of Winton District.  This deed was executed in Winton District, in that part which became Allendale County.

8. The Winton District Jackson deed (Book N-3 p447 Charleston) in 1769 places Thomas Gill in Winton in 1769.  In this deed, Richard Jackson signs over to John Gill born c1733 of Richland Co. who married to Mary Jackson, owned by Richard Jackson, that he had inherited.  This deed establishes a pre-revolutionary war connection between Richland Co. Gills and Winton, Barnwell (later Allendale).  This deed contains the lease and release in which Richard and Loranna Jackson, both of Winton District in Granville County deed Miles Jackson's land to John Gill born c1733.  This deed is witnessed by: Andrew Kersh (another neighbor in Winton), Th. Cramer, Mary Ann Cramer, & Thomas Gill before Thomas Young, J.P. for Winton.  This deed places Thomas Gill, father of John Gill, in Winton c1769, or born before c1748.  This Thomas Gill can be no other than the first born son of old James Gill (there was no other Thomas Gill in the state or area who was old enough to have appeared in this record), in Winton District in c1769, providing yet another link.  This Thomas Gill, in Winton District in 1769 was John's father.  There is no other possibility for this 1769 adult Thomas Gill.

9. Mr. Andrea, who was quite familiar (some might say legendary) with establishing genealogical connections in South Carolina, and the records, and totally disinterested, also reached the conclusion that this was the correct connection.  This conclusion went against the desires of Andrea's clients, who paid for his research.

10. Also intriguing, in the 1802 John Neilson Gill deed, John Jackson, son of elder John Jackson who was brother to Mary Jackson married to John Gill born c1733, was appointed by John Gill (along with neighbor Thomas Reiley) as guardian of John Gill's illegitimate son, John Neilson Gill.

11. Two documented sons of old James Gill resided in Barnwell and were immediate neighbors of John Gill: Valentine Gill and Richard Gill.  These were uncles of John Gill, and if my guesses are correct, half uncles.

12. Thomas Gill's wife, Hannah Gill, was in Orangeburgh Dist. South Part (Winton Dist.) in the 1790 census.

13. James Gill's (second?) wife, Hannah (Goodwyn?) Gill, was in Winton in 1790 and 1800 and died 1810-1820. That this is the same woman is evidenced by her using the same mark, and leaving land to a grandson of Valentine Gill. She hardly would have left land to Valentine's grandson unless she was close kin, my undocumented interpretation being Valentine's mother. It would have been illogical for her to do this if she were the widow of Thomas Gill, brother to Valentine. She instead would have given it to her own children. Therefore Hannah (Goodwyn?) Gill, if James Gill's only wife, may have lived to be close to 100. It is also possible, perhaps probable, that she was James Gill's second wife and mother only to Valentine and Richard, stepmother to John, and therefore younger than this.

If you have errors, corrections, further information, just comments, or for further information, on this family, contact "Frank O. Clark."  All comments are valued.  All proof is cherished!

Copyright ©1997-2013, Frank Oliver Clark, Ph.D., all rights reserved. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy. However, this document is copyrighted and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same.

Return to John Gill

Return to State Selection Page