Case Study: Was Elizabeth Gwinn Spear Given a Maternal Maiden Name? Part 2

Here we go with Part 2 of my quest to prove or disprove that Elizabeth Spear Dulworth’s middle name – Gwinn – was in honor of a maternal ancestress’s maiden name.

If you missed Part 1, here is Elizabeth’s pedigree chart, back several generations with mostly missing maternal names:

I’ve narrowed down the search locations to:

1. Maryland, as both the Crabtree and Spear families originated there. I already know from previous Maryland research that many settlers began in Baltimore County, but left records in surrounding counties, too, so I have my work cut out for me here.

2. Washington County, Virginia, where Abraham Crabtree served in the Revolutionary War

3. Kent County, Delaware, or anywhere in Delaware, which was the Steelman home before settling in Surry County, North Carolina

4. Surry County, North Carolina, in case there are land records, wills, etc. that might link the Gwinns to the Crabtree, Spear or Steelman families.

As part 1 closed, I shared a bit about Gwinn historical information from a couple of family histories online. However, while there was confirmation that Gwinns settled in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, there were no direct clues pointing me to any one spot that looked more likely than another.

We’ll see how this progresses, but it is possible that, like my Spurr case study last year, this will not have a positive resolution.

Step 1- Although I think it is less likely that the Gwinn tie, if it exists, will be found in Surry County, North Carolina, it is the start of my search simply because the census, land and probate records are digitized and viewable from home through FamilySearch.

However, results in Surry County are very, very frustrating. First, Joseph Guin left a will that was proved in 1815. A bit late for my family research, but he is the only Guin, Gwinn, Gwynn person I’ve found early in North Carolina and his will isn’t very helpful either.

It isn’t even worth transcribing, as it is short, names wife Nancy and, if she dies or remarries, all goes to his youngest son, Lewis Guin. The frustration came on because there is no Guin by any spelling in the Surry County 1810 or 1820 censuses, nor is the name found in land deeds even though Joseph Guin owned a mill!

More frustration was encountered when the wills of Jacob Speer Sr. and Jacob Speer Jr. were uncovered. Jacob Jr.’s death in 1795 preceded that of Jacob Sr. Jacob Jr. is said to be the son of Jacob Sr., but the only mention of Sr. in the latter’s will is that Jr. held a promissory note on Sr.

Jacob Sr. is not identified as senior in his will, proved in 1802. Annoyingly, he names wife Elizabeth and only two children, sons William and James, who appear to be the youngest of his brood.

I’ll share these wills soon in a post about Spear research. This Gwinn project has to be a multi-faceted attack.

Step 2 – Lewis Preston Summers History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786 is the county history for early Washington County. Although Abraham Crabtree’s name appears, there are no Gwinns at all.

Abraham Crabtree is listed on the left, two names after George Berry,  who was wounded. Part of my husband’s Riddle family, Isaac Riddle, is listed 4th on the left. Since they aren’t in ABC order, I wonder if they are listed in neighbor order? Abraham Crabtree appears on a 1782 list of tithables in Washington County, among other records:

Unfortunately, the tax lists produced no Gwinns of any spelling, nor was I successful in uncovering any Gwinns in the land records. Oh well, two more potential resources to cross off the list.

On the positive side, while researching another family in Augusta County, Virginia, from which Washington County was formed, I stumbled onto a boatload of Gwinns!

Lyman Chalkley’s 3 volume set, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, includes entries for Gwinn, Guinn and Guin family members ranging from a bond dated 21 February 1738/39 which included the name of John Gwinn in a May 1753 court order book to 1816. Other Gwinns include Robert, Joseph, John, Nell, Sally (wife of Robert), Thomas and wife Betsey Lockridge, David, Daniel, Samuel, James and William and Jane (wife of Robert.)

Maybe, just maybe there really is a connection to the Gwinn family through Abraham Crabtree’s wife, Mary (MNU). I definitely have more digging to do in August County, Virginia.





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