Robert Gee of Brunswick County, Virginia




The following material was compiled by Bobby Jay Wadsworth.

Robert GEE was born probably between 1700 and 1710 and was an early settler of Saint Andrews Parish, Brunswick County, in the colony of Virginia. Although created in 1720 from Prince George County (and later parts of Isle of Wight and Surry counties), Brunswick had no official county government until 1732.

Robert first appears in the Brunswick records in February 1734/35, when he and Thomas LLOYD were appointed to help construct a bridle way from Nicholas LANIER's house to the courthouse [Bwk court orders bk I, p 45]. He next appears as a subscribing witness to two documents dated October 1739 and August 1740. The first was a deed regarding the sale of land on Stoney Hill Run (now Indian Creek), and the second was the will of Henry KING, who devised his entire estate in Saint Andrews Parish to his son, Charles KING [Bwk deeds bk 1, p 466; bk 3, p 470].

An examination of the published records reveals that Nicholas LANIER, Thomas LLOYD and Charles KING settled early in the northeast corner of Brunswick County near the boundaries of Prince George and Surry (now Dinwiddie and Greensville) counties. This, then, is the area in which Robert GEE was living in the mid to late 1730s and is also where he first acquired land less than a decade later. In the intervening years, however, he apparently settled many miles further west in that part of Brunswick County now embraced in the county of Lunenburg.

Upon its creation in May 1746, Lunenburg County comprised a vast territory west of Brunswick and was designated the Cumberland Parish. This area later was divided into other parishes, including Antrim (now Halifax County) in 1752, Cornwall (now Charlotte County) in 1757, Saint James (now Mecklenburg County) in 1761 and numerous others.

That Robert lived in the Lunenburg area of Brunswick County is established by a March 1745 court order in which he and nine other men were assigned to help "clear the road from the north fork of Maherrin [sic] River into Cocke's road" [Bwk court orders bk III, p 19]. Not only does the North Meherrin River cut through the middle of what is now Lunenburg County, but also each of the other men including one James GEE appears on the 1749 Lunenburg tax list.

This same James GEE petitioned the Brunswick court in March 1745 to construct a road from "the most convenient place on the branches of Reedy Creek to the road that is cleared to Flatt Rock" [Bwk court orders bk III, p 19]. Again, both Reedy and Flat Rock creeks are located in present Lunenburg County. James' petition was rejected in May 1746 soon after the creation of Lunenburg County as the court acknowledged that the proposed road was no longer in Brunswick County.

The James GEE mentioned in these records is supposed to be the son of Charles2 and Bridget GEE of Surry and later Sussex counties, as at least six of their eight sons have been traced to Lunenburg County. Robert's association with James, together with his estimated date of birth, seem to point rather strongly to the theory that Robert was a brother to Charles2 GEE and the youngest son of Charles1 and Hannah GEE of Surry and Prince George counties.

A land patent dated January 1746 shows that Robert acquired 413 acres back in Saint Andrews Parish located on the south side of Sturgeon Creek and bounded by the lines of (Nicholas) LANIER, (Thomas) LLOYD, READ and HARWELL [VA land patents bk 28, p 58]. Robert likely was not living in Saint Andrews Parish at that time and does not appear again in the Brunswick records until he sold his patent to Nathaniel HARRISON in January 1748 [Bwk deeds bk 3, p 537].

In May 1747, however, Robert does appear in the records of Lunenburg County. At that time, the church wardens of Cumberland Parish were ordered "to bind out Philip GEE, son of Robert GEE, to Samuel WYNNE, it appearing to the court that his father is not able to provide for him and instruct him in Christian principles" [Lunenburg court orders bk 1, p 204]. Although Robert had other minor children in his household at that time, only Philip is known to have been bound out or otherwise removed from his care. This appears to indicate that the problem was not with the father but rather with the one child. No other records of Robert GEE or his children have been found in Lunenburg County after 1747.

Robert returned to Saint Andrews Parish sometime before 1748. Between March and June of that year, he appears several times as both a plaintiff and a defendant in the Brunswick court records. In one such suit, Philip GEE testified in his father's behalf and was ordered to receive 75 pounds of tobacco for his services [Bwk court orders bk III, pp 473]. This entry proves that the Robert GEE of Brunswick and Lunenburg counties was the same man.

In March 1749, Robert purchased 300 acres in Saint Andrews Parish from Roger REESE [Bwk deeds bk 3, p 551]. This new homestead acquired by REESE from Nicholas LANIER just two years earlier was located on the south side of Sturgeon Creek and adjoined lands of Nicholas LANIER, Charles KING and Henry SIMMONS. From this description, it seems clear that Robert settled very near his original patent.

Robert's neighbors in November 1758 included Nicholas LANIER, Charles KING, William BROWDER and Benjamin WHEELER [Bwk deeds bk 6, p 323]. WHEELER's land, as described in 1762, adjoined the lands of not only Nicholas LANIER and William BROWDER, but also Sackfield BREWER [Bwk deeds bk 7, p 66]. In July 1760, Robert GEE Jr. purchased 150 acres of land adjoining BREWER and KING. This deed was witnessed by William BROWDER, so Robert Jr.'s neighbors undoubtedly were Sackfield BREWER and Charles KING. In addition, Robert GEE, Robert GEE Jr. and Sawpeald (probably Sackfield) BREWER all appear as subscribing witnesses to a deed dated 24 October 1761 [Bwk deeds bk 7, p 37]. This GEE-BREWER connection proves to be an important factor later on.

In his will dated 1 July 1783 and proved 22 September 1783 Robert GEE mentions his wife, Elizabeth, and only three children Robert GEE (Jr.), Hannah JONES and Sarah BANKS [Bwk court orders bk XI, p 512]. Since it is known that Robert Sr. had at least one other son, Philip, it is very possible that he had even more children not named in his will. There is speculation that Robert also was the father of Henry GEE (the Revolutionary soldier of Halifax Co., VA) and John GEE (later of Orange Co., NC, and Lincoln Co., KY see below).

Robert GEE Jr. remained in Brunswick County and reared a large family. In his will dated 3 April 1814 and proved 24 April 1815 Robert names seven children, although apparently not in chronological order Elizabeth HOUSE, Sally WELLS, William GEE, Robert GEE (III), Bailey GEE and John GEE [Bwk wills bk 9, p 142]. Tax records prove that William was the oldest son, born about 1768, and was most likely the firstborn child. Based on the dates that John and Bailey first paid taxes in their own names, they were born about 1774 and about 1776, respectively. Another unnamed son supposedly Robert (III) first appears on the tax list in 1786, indicating that he was born about 1770. This son disappears from the records after 1790 and may be the identical Robert GEE (hereinafter RG) who shows up the following year in Orange Co., NC.

RG first appears in Orange County on the 1791 property tax list as a white male over 21 years of age. In March 1793, he served as bondsman and witness to the marriage of Silvanus BREWER and Mary EDWARDS. Four months later (3 August), Silvanus returned the favor as bondman and witness to RG's marriage to Nancy HATWOOD. Based on the close association between these two men, it is logical to suggest that they were approximately the same age. Additionally, it establishes a link to Brunswick Co., VA.

Silvanus BREWER was an orphan "about 7 years old" in September 1778 when his uncle entered, in his behalf, 150 acres of land on Little Cain Creek of Haw River [Orange land entries #682]. Thus, he was born about 1771 about the same time as the unnamed son of Robert GEE Jr. More important, Silvanus' uncle was Sackfield BREWER, the former neighbor and associate of Robert GEE Jr. of Brunswick Co., VA.

RG later removed to Lincoln Co., KY, where he first paid taxes in 1797. He appears on the Lincoln tax lists again in 1799, 1800, 1801, 1803, 1805 and 1806 then shows up in Casey County (cut from Lincoln County in 1807). Is it just a coincidence that he is absent from the Lincoln County records in 1802 the only year that Robert GEE (III) appears by name on the property tax list of Brunswick Co., VA?

RG was not the only GEE in Lincoln County, as he appears beside one John GEE on the 1797 tax list. This was the identical John GEE who purchased land in what is now the southeast corner of Orange Co., NC, in 1781 [Orange deeds bk 2, p 389] and paid taxes there as early as 1779. He and his wife, Constant, sold their land in September 1787 [Orange deeds bk 4, p 146] then moved to Kentucky soon thereafter. John last paid taxes in Casey County in 1814 and may have removed to Indiana.

It is interesting to note that John's land in Orange County was located just two miles south of a 200-acre tract purchased in 1763 by Philip GEE, no doubt the son of Robert GEE Sr. [Orange deeds bk E, p 135]. Philip moved to Granville Co., NC, before 1755 and was in Orange County by 1758. In September 1769, he and his wife, Rachel, sold their land to satisfy a debt [Orange deeds bk 3, p 186]. They then disappear from the records, and nothing more is known of them.

RG left Kentucky after 1811 and lived in Tennessee before moving to Missouri in the early 1820s. He died in Randolph County before May 1829, when his estate was admitted for probate [bk A, p 156].

Though he lived to be an old man, RG was recorded on only one federal census. However, the 1810 US census of Casey Co., KY, shows that he was born before 1765 too early to be Robert GEE (III). Considering the general unreliability of census data and based on the other evidence, it is very likely that RG was indeed the son of Robert GEE Jr. and a descendant of Charles1 and Hannah GEE. A thorough examination of existing records should yield additional information.

See information on Robert Gee by Bob Skinner.




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