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
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 )
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.