As my husband’s family tree continues to blossom and grow in Virginia, I have to take a moment to repeat how thankful I am that all these ancestors in Essex County were thoughtful enough to leave a will and that the courthouse records were not lost to war or Mother Nature.
I have learned so much about his Virginia ancestors because of the Essex County records. I also have to thank cousin Eugene, who I haven’t mentioned for several days now, for beginning to work on this branch of the family tree way back in the 1940s when he traveled and interviewed the old timers about their parents and relatives. It certainly has created a terrific road map to seek out documentation of all these people.
Today’s subject is William Gatewood, father of Elizabeth Gatewood who married the Henry Purkins who died in 1780.
William Gatewood was born c1695, the son of John and Amy Gatewood of Essex County, Virginia. He married Catherine (Catey or Katey) Carter, c1717, probably also in Essex County.
Catherine was the daughter of Richard Carter and Mary Parr, who also lived in Essex County. She survived William and was the executrix of his will.Catherine died by November 1768 when the Essex County Court ordered that an inventory of her estate be taken.
Inventory of William’s estate showed a value of about £304.
Will of William Gatewood, 1744
Essex County, Virginia Will Book 7:84-88
In the Name of God Amen. I William Gatewood of the County Essex and parrish of Southfarnham being Sick and weak of Body but of perfect Sence and Memory thanks be given to Almighty God for the same and Calling to mind the uncertainty of this Transitory life do Make and Ordain this my last Will and Testament in Manner and form following that is to say first and principally I recommend my soul into ye hands of Almighty God who gave it hopeing to Receive perfect Remission & forgiveness of all my Sins by the merits of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and a Joyfull Resurrection with ye Just at ye Last Day, and my body to the Earth to be Decently Buried at ye Discretion of my Executors hereafter Name and as touching such Temporal Estate as it hath pleased Almighty God to Bestow upon me I give and Bequeath ye same in Manner and form following that is to Say.
Imprimis I give and Bequeath all my Land to my Son William Gatewood and to His heirs Lawfully Begotten of his Body and for want of Such Issue to said Land to Descend to my Daughter Katey Gatewood & Her heirs Lawfull Begotten and for want of such Lawfull Issue then to goe to my Daughter Elizabeth Purkins and Her Heirs Lawfull begotten for Ever
Item I give to my son William Gatewood my Negro Boy Frank Item I give to my Daughter Katey Gatewood my Negro Girl Alice
Item I Give to my Kinsman William Fletcher my Best Suit of Cloaths and a Young Horse Bridle and Saddle
Item I lend All the Rest Residue and Remainder of my Estate of what nature and Kind Soever it is to my Loving Wife Catharine Gatewood for and dureing her Natural life and After her Decease to Be Equally Divided Amongst my three Children William Elizabeth & Catey and their Heirs for Ever
Lastly I Constitute and appoint my Loving Wife Catherine Gatewood my whole and Sole Executrix of this my Last will and Testament Revoaking disannulling and makeing Void all former wills and Requests By me Heretofore made and appointing this to be my last Will and Testament in manner and form aforesaid As Wittness my hand & seal this 18th Day of September 1743
Signed William Gatewood.
Witnesses: Thomas Barker, William Flitcher.
Presented in court on 20 March 1743/1744 by Catherine Gatewood, proved by Thomas Barker and William Flitcher.
William Gatewood was a fairly young man when he died, only in his 40s. From his will, it is evident that William and Catey had only three children who lived to adulthood. Any children who died young are unknown and lost to time.
- William, born c1718, probably Essex County, Virginia; died after 17 July 1769, when his father’s estate was settled and he received his inheritance.
- Elizabeth, born c1720; died c1755, both likely in Essex County, Virginia; married Henry Purkins, c1740, also probably in Essex County.
- Catherine (Katey), born c1724; died after 14 September 1799, when she and her husband sold land to their son, thomas Wood, Jr.; unmarried when her father wrote his will in 1743 but married Thomas Woods before 16 July 1764. (Inventories of Catey and William, 1769Essex County, Virginia Will Book 12:366-368, Source: FamilySearch)
Catherine’s inventory of estate, with that of William’s estate settlement, was recorded on 17 July 1769.