Category Archives: Gatewood

John & Amy (MNU) Gatewood, Essex County, VA 1700s

John Gatewood is another of my husband’s immigrant ancestors, which are somewhat of a rarity in his family tree because many branches of the family lived out on the frontier where records are lacking. That makes it very difficult to get them back into the 1700s, never mind to an immigrant.

John Gatewood appears to be the immigrant patriarch of this family and was probably born in England c1650. He married Amy (MNU) who married (2) John Burnett, died 1717, and (3) Joseph Baker who died 1720 and left a will naming some of his Gatewood stepchildren.

First, we have the will of John Gatewood:

Will of John Gatewood, Proved 10 January 1706/07
Essex County, Virginia Deed Book 12: 328-329
Source: FamilySearch

The image is not great and it is difficult to read. Here are just the heirs and their legacies:

To my eldest son John Gatewood 100 acres that I formerly bought of Edwin Thacker lying on John Cheek’s

To my eldest daughter Frances Shackelford One shilling

Unto my son Richard Gatewood ‘the plantation, I now. live upon and all the land pertaining thereto

Unto my son Thomas Gatewood 150 .acres, part of land that I formerly bought of Capt. Richard. Haile, now deceased, being also part of 5000 acres Which did formerly belong unto Collo Thomas Goodrich, Mr. Henry Aubrey and. Maj George Morriceall, deceased

Unto my son Henry  Gatewood 75 acres beginning at a corner tree standing against Simon Copner’s house who is now deceased and running toward Joseph Billender’s land. Also one six year old. stear and one cow…and calf

Unto my daughter Anne Burnett 4000 pounds of tobacco and one bay mare with a blase in her face branded on the near buttock with this brand 3.

All the rest of my worldly estate, to be equally divided between my three younger children and my beloved wife Ame Gatewood, namely between my beloved wife and Sarah Gatewood and William Gatewood and Francis Gatewood.

My beloved wife Ame Gatewood and my son Richard Gatewood executrix and executor.

Signed John Gatewood
Wit: Joseph Baker, Thomas Wheeler

Next, we have the will of Joseph Baker, dated 20 September 1720 in Essex County and proved two months later on 15 November 1720:

Will of Joseph Baker, 1720
Essex County, Virginia Will Book 3: 220-223
Source: FamilySearch

Again, here are just the legatees:

Unto and for the only use of the upper Church of Southfarnham Parish one silver salver of five pounds sterling price to be purchased and delivered within two years after my decease.

Unto George Treble all the tobacco he oweth unto me.

Unto Thomas Boarn one half of the tobacco he now stands justly indebted unto me.

Unto Thoms Dix, the widow Olive and the widow Aires half the sums of tobacco that each standeth justly indebted to me.

Unto Peter Godfrey for his cares. and trouble of me all the medicines I have now sent for to England and my best saddle and bridle.

Unto John the son of Peter and Elizabeth Godfrey the sum of ten pounds sterling within twelve months, after the decease of my beloved wife Amy.

Unto Elizabeth Bradbourn the sum of two hundred pounds of tobacco the value to be paid unto her in goods.

Unto my sister Ann White twenty thousand pounds of tobacco to be shipt on the proper account and risque of her and her husband Richard White living in London. Unto my sister Anne and her husband Richard White all the moneys and effects they have in their hands of mine.

Unto my sister Elizabeth Hart twenty thousand pounds of tobacco.
My said sister Anne liveing in Cow Lane in West Smithfield, London, with Richard White a cloath maker and my sister Elizabeth liveing with him.

Unto my Godson Joseph Gatewood my Negro man called,Tom. to be delivered unto his guardian or trustees until he comes of age. Also my Negro girl Sue after my wife’s decease.

Unto Wm. Gatewood two cows and calves; my intent and meaning is Wm the son of John Gatewood deceased.

Unto John Farguson one gold ring of the value-and coat of twenty shillings.

Unto Henry Gatewood one new suit of drugt cloaths.

Unto James Gatewood my son in law, all the land and plantation I bought of Thomas Wheeler, yet so as he shall not debarr his mother from useing any part of the said land during her natural life.

Unto all the rest of my wife’s children not before mentioned, to each a gold ring of the value and cost of twenty shillings.

Unto Thomas Bell one half of the tobacco. he now justly standeth indebted unto me.

Unto Anthony North my best suit of wareing apparel’.

Unto my beloved wife all the rest of my estate.

William Allen receive and mark all the tobacco shipt home for the use of my sisters.

My beloved wife Amy and John Gatewood executors. In case my wife dies before my will is fulfilled, I appoint Mr  William Johnson an executor.

Joseph Baker
Wit: Pr. Godfrey, Anthony North, John Alt.

There are three observations to make about Joseph Baker. First, he was a very well-to-do man, given that his will mentions 40,200 pounds of tobacco in addition to bequesting unstated amounts that were owed to him by others.

Second, Joseph Baker had no surviving sons and perhaps didn’t have any children at all. The only possible clue to one daughter is Joseph’s mention of James Gatewood, my son-in-law. In the 1700s, that could also mean a stepson, although William Gatewood did not mention a son named James in his will. Could Amy have been early in a final pregnancy at the time William Gatewood died? I don’t know the answer to that. Or were many of the people who received legacies (mostly men) married to Joseph’s daughters and he had lots of them? I don’t have that answer either!

Third, why did John Farguson inherit a gold ring valued at 20 shillings? I think this John Farguson was the husband of Sarah Gatewood, as she is mentioned in Amy’s will, below.

Children of John and Amy (MNU) Gatewood, all of whom died after their father’s 1706 will was written:

1. John, born c1676
2. Frances, born c1678; married Henry? Shackelford, before 1706
3. Richard, born c1680
4. Thomas, born c1682
5. Henry, born c1684
6. Amy, born c1686; married John Burnett, before 1706
7. Sarah, born c1690; married John Ferguson, after her father wrote his will
8. William, born c1696; died before 20 March 1743/44, Essex County, Virginia; married Catherine Carter, c1717, probably Essex County
9. Francis (son), born c1698

Amy Baker left her own will, too, proved in 1744:

Will of Amy (MNU) (Gatewood) (Burnett) Baker
Essex County, Virginia Will Book 7: 335-337
Source: FamilySearch

In the Name of God Amen I Amy Baker of Essex County and Parish of South farnham 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 Mortal Life do make this my Last will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say First and Principally I Render my soul into the hands of Almighty god who have it hopeing to Receive Pardon & Forgivenes of all my sinds by ye merrits of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and to have a Joyfull Resurrection with The Just at the Last day my Body I committ to ye Ground to be Decently Buried at ye Discretion of my Executors hereafter named and as touching Such temporal Estate as it hath Pleased almighty God to bestow upon me I give and bequeath the same as followeth Vix.

Imprimis I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Amy Gatewood ye Daughter of my son James Gatewood one Negro Boy named Bristol and a a Negro Girl Named Frank Together with my Tract of Land Called north Hold to her and her heirs Lawfully begotten of her body forever also a feather bed and furniture also one Cow and Calf one Iron pott and a Sow and Pigg

Item I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Ann Gatewood the Daughter of my son James Gatewood one Negro woman Named Jenny and her Increase also a Nego Boy called will to her and her heirs Lawfully begottn of her Body forever

Item my will and Desire is that if Either of my said Two Grand Daughters aforesaid Should die and Leave no such Lawful Issue or die unmarried that then her part so dying to go to the Survivor and her heirs Lawfully begotten of her body forever

Item I give to my Grandson Benjamin Gatewood the son of my Son James Gatewood The Tract of Land that I now live on and a Negro Named Guy to him and his heirs Lawfully begotten of his Body forever

Item I give to my Grandson James Gatewood ye son of my son James Gatewood One Negro named (Essex?) and a Negro – Named Sarah to him and his heirs Lawfully begotten of his Body beforever

Item I give and bequeath all my Wearing cloaths to be Equally Divided Between my three Daughters Frances Arnold, Amy Scott and Sarah Farguson

Item I give to Katharine Gatewood the widow of my son William Gatewood one gold Ring of Twenty Shillings Price

Item I give my Grand Daughter Amy the Daughter of my son John –Gatewood one Gold Ring

Item my will and Desire is that all the Rest Residue and Remainder my Estate whatsoever that is not already Bequeathed or given away I give and Bequeath to Be Equally Divided Between my seven Children Viz. John Gatewood Thomas Gatewood Henry Gatewood James Gatewood. Frances Arnold Amy Scott and Sarah Farguson.

Lastly I constitute and appoint my Two Sons Thomas Gatewood and James Gatewood my Whole and Sole Executors to this my Last will and Testament Revoking Disanulling and making Void all former or other wills by the heretofore name and appointing this to be my Last will and Testament In manner and form aforesaid in Witness where I have herunto set my hand and Seal this fourth day of April anno—Dom one Thousand Seven hundred and forty four

Amy her(A)mark Baker Seal

Published and Delivered
In presence
Thomas Barker
Mary her(M)mark Anderson

Francis Gatewood, her son, and Richard Gatewood, another son, apparently survived their father, but predeceased their mother.

If you are a Gatewood descendant, the reference book to have on your bookshelf is John and Amy Gatewood and Their Descendants 1666-1986 by Carol J. Gothberg and published in 1987 by Gateway Press.

William Gatewood & Catherine Carter, Essex County, VA, 1700s

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
Source: FamilySearch

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.


  1. William, born c1718, probably Essex County, Virginia; died after 17 July 1769, when his father’s estate was settled and he received his inheritance.
  2. Elizabeth, born c1720; died c1755, both likely in Essex County, Virginia; married Henry Purkins, c1740, also probably in Essex County.
  3. 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.

Henry Purkins & Elizabeth Gatewood, Essex County, Virginia

As we have moved back in time with the Perkins family, the spelling of their surname has changed to Purkins.

Henry Purkins was born c1718, probably in South Farnham, Essex, Virginia, son of Henry Purkins and Cary Ferguson. He married Elizabeth Gatewood, c1740, and probably in Essex County, Virginia. (Note: Marriage records don’t begin in Essex County until 1814.) Elizabeth was the daughter of William Gatewood and Catherine Carter. Her father died in 1743 and called her Elizabeth Purkins in his will.

Henry married (2) Mary, c1758, probably also in Essex County, Virginia. There is some suspicion that her maiden name might be Dunn, as one of the executors of Henry’s will was a William Dunn.

He had children with both Elizabeth and Mary and it appears that his second set of children were all under legal age when Henry died in 1780.

Henry Purkins died after 2 June 1780, the day on which he wrote his will.

Will of Henry Purkins, 1780
Essex County, VA Will Book 13: 311-312
Source: FamilySearch

Will of Henry Purkins

In the name of God Amen, I Henry Purkins of Essex County being very sick & weak but of Perfect mind & memory, thanks be to god, Calling unto mind the Mortallity of my body, & knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make & ordain this my last will & testament that is to say, principally & first of all, I give & recommend my soul into the hand of almighty God that gave it & my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of my Exors: nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again, by the mighty Power of God.

And as touching such worldly estate wherewith, it has pleased god to bless me in this life I give [???] demise, & dispose of the same in the following manner.

First, I give & bequeath to my son Will: Purkins & to his heirs Lawfully begotten forever, the Land that he has now in his possession, land of by Luke Covington Provided he pays the money with Interest according to agreement. if not the land to return back into my estate again: it is my will & desire that my son Will. shou’d have no more of my lands, except that land I give him in Buckingham County. Also it is my will & desire that my son Henry Purkins shou’d have no land only what I have Given him, in Buckingham County. As to the rest of my Land, all that I have in possession or have any right to I give to my six youngest sons & to their heirs Lawfully begotten forever, but if any of them should die before they come to age or marry that then their parts to be equally divided between their surviving Brothers.

Item I give to my son Gideon Purkins my horse Folly to be sold by my Executors & the money put into the loan office.

Item I give to my daughter Cary Purkins one Cow & Calf at the death of my wife or at the day of Marriage.

Item I give to my son Youngdimmach Purkins one Cow & calf, at the death of my wife or when he is of age.

As to the rest of my personal estate I lend to my loving wife Mary Purkins during her life or widowhood, & after her decease or marriage to be equally divided between the children she had by me it is my will & desire that my Exors bring suit against George Wright’s Executors for the Negroes I Pawn’d to him forty five pounds, and also suit against John Burke for the Negroe Girl [???] & her Increase that I lent to my Daughter Mary Burke to wait upon her when she married the Sd Burk which negroes when recovered with the rest of my Negroes I have in possession to be equally divided between all my children at the death of my wife or at the day of her marriage. It is my will & desire that my wife Mary Purkins shou’d have the Use of my Land, Negroes & personal estate except Legacies during her Life or widowhood for the support of my young children.

And Lastly I appoint Flem. Ranson, Will. Purkins, Will. Dunn (B) to be my Exors of this my last will & testament, as witness my hand & seal this 2nd Day of June one Thousand seven hundred & eighty.

Signed Sealed Published & declared to be the above Henry )
Purkins Last Will & Testament – in the presence of us )

Thos Wood
Jacob Shearwood
Lucy Dunn

Children, with Elizabeth Gatewood:

1. William, born c1742; died after 2 June 1780
2. Henry, born c1745, probably Essex County, Virginia; died before 25 July 1803, Halifax County, Virginia; married (1) Unknown (2) Mary Ransone, c1780, possibly in Buckingham County, Virginia
3. Mary, born c1747; died after 2 June 1780; married John Burke

Children with Mary (MNU)(Note: Birth years are estimates):

4. Gideon, born c1768
5. Youngdimmach, born c1770
6. Cary, born c1772; married Thomas L. Dunn. there is a Cary Dunn enumerated in Essex County in 1850, born c1794. This might be the (unmarried?) daughter of Thomas and Cary. If it is Cary Purkins Dunn, then her age is off by about 20 years.

Next in the Purkins trip back in time is Henry Purkins who married Cary Ferguson.