Gill Family History—

Introduction and Sources

I have recorded the history of the Gill’s of Shelby County, KY as I understand it based on documents and records available in Shelby County and elsewhere. In addition to the recorded Wills and Marriage Bonds, the principle sources for this history are the following:

  1. Census Records of Shelby Co., KY for the years 1800 to 1860.
  2. Tax Records for Shelby Co., KY for the years 1792-1815; 1793, 1798 and 1810 are missing.
  3. Tax Records for Shelby Co., KY for the years 1830-1867; 1831-1834, 1838,1839 missing.
  4. Deed Index for Shelby Co., KY for the years 1792-1878, both Grantee and Grantor.
  5. Court Records of Shelby Co., KY for the years 1792-1913.

    These records are available on microfilm from the LDS library in Salt Lake City and may be ordered through the local Family History Center. In addition, there are three rolls of microfilm in the Shelby County Public Library (in a file cabinet in the Kentucky Room, second drawer from the bottom) that contain Gill genealogy material. I have reviewed only parts of two of them. One roll consists mainly of land transactions and other information relating to George W. Gill. A second, labeled Gill and Related Genealogical information submitted by Jane Gill Lawrence, contains copies of portions of three documents that have been used as source material for what follows. The three are:

  6. A Family Group Sheet providing details of the family of James Gill, Sr.
  7. A transcript of notes in an old famly bible, referred to as the Gill-Logan-Blakemore Bible listing births, deaths and marriages of several generations of Gills.
  8. A copy of pages from the book "Ear;y Settlers of Sangamon Co., IL" relating to Elizabeth (Gill) Bullard.

The third film also contains Gill family material by Jane Gill Lawrence, but I have not had an opportunity to review it.

In the material that follows, where the source seems to be important, I have indicated that source with a number in parenthesis following the material. For example, if a birthdate is taken from the Family Group Sheet, that date will be followed by "(6)".

The Gills of Shelby County, KY

James Gill, Sr. apparently arrived in Shelby County about 1796 when he is first listed in the tax records. The earliest deed recorded in his name shows that he bought 50 acres of land in 1797. [Shelby Co. Deed Book C-1, p116, dated October 16 1797(4).] Later records show additional land purchases on Jeptha and Beech Creeks.

James Gill, Sr. was born January 1 1745 (6,7). The Family Group Sheet gives the name of his wife as "Ann [?? -maybe Johnson]" but in his will his wife is listed as Nancy. It could be the same person since Ann is sometimes used as a short form of Nancy. One researcher has indicated that her name was Nancy Stokes. Perhaps, as someone has suggested, there were two wives. Ann’s birthdate is given as December 14 1745 (6).

James Gill, Sr. died February 10 1830 (6) and apparently Nancy died after James even though the family group sheet states that Ann died June 12 1820 (6). This would be consistant with the two wives suggestion. The Family Group Sheet indicates a possible VA birthplace for both James and Ann. In the 1810 census James is listed as over 45 with two females in the household- one between 16 and 26, one between 26 and 45. The 1820 census lists him as over 45 with two females in the house. One is between 26 and 45 and the other is over 45. The older one is presumedly Nancy. James Gill, Sr. left a Will recorded in Shelby Co. [Will Book 9, pp43]. In it he leaves Nancy the farm and all the livestock, with the stipulation that they go to his son, James, after the death of his wife. Other children are mentioned. The Will was written May 28 1821 with an amendment dated May 18 1826.

James and Ann/Nancy had the following children (James’ will): [If the Family Group sheet is correct about Ann, then all of the children are hers.]


1. Beeda Gill

Beeda or Beda or Beedy or Buda seems to have been born about 1776 according to the Census Records and tax records. He is first listed by name in the Shelby Co. census in 1830 at which time his age is given as 60-70. He is also listed in the 1840 census as 60-70. He is first listed in the tax records of 1797 as being over 21. He appears in the tax records off and on from 1797 until about 1809, then disappears for several years. By 1830 he is back and appears every year through 1845, then disappears completely before the 1846 tax list was recorded. Apparently he never owned land in Shelby Co. Since both of his marriages took place in Jefferson Co, it would be interesting to see if he is listed there in the earlier records. I suspect he died before 1850. The only other item that I have on him is that he was a witness at the marriage of George and Caty in 1800.

2. Katherine Gill Burnett - No additional information is available at this time.

3. George Gill

George Gill bought 100 acres of land in Shelby Co. in February 1807 (Deed Book G, p304). In the following years he purchased a large number of additional pieces of property. His will is recorded in Will Bk 10, p96 (1836) where his children are listed as: Johnson H., James L., Jeddiah W., George, Jr., Nancy, Sarah All and Elizabeth Logan. Additional information relating to George Gill’s estate is located in Appl Bk 10, p188, Sale Bk 10, p191, Settlement Bks 11,12,13, and 18, Division Bk 10, p191&216 and Guardian Bk 11,p49 [all Shelby Co. records]. George is listed in the 1810, 1820 and 1830 census of Shelby Co.

Children of George Gill and Catherine Bullard Gill

4. Thomas Gill

James Gill, Sr. left his son, Thomas, only one dollar when he died in 1830. Generally this indicates a disagreement between father and son, or that the father had already given his son all of his estate that he was intitled to receive. Thomas bought his first land in Shelby Co. on February 2 1807 [Deed Book H, p130]. By 1819, he probably owned over a 1000 acres. His last purchase seems to have been April 10 1819 [Deed Book P, p411], but he sold land in Shelby Co as late as 1824. His name disappears from the Shelby Co. tax records after 1809. I have found no other records related to his marriage or his family. The Family Group sheet indicates that he married Elizabeth Williamson on March 18 1801 in Shelby County.



5. Elizabeth (Betsy) Gill

Elizabeth Gill, daughter of James, Gill, Sr. and Ann/Nancy, was born October 30 1779 in Charleston, VA (now WVA) and married Reuben Bullard on July 30 1803 (6). Reuben was born December 22 1772 in Caroline Co. VA. They had eight children all born in Shelby Co (8).:




Nancy J.

These four died in Shelby Co between the ages of 15 and 25. When Betsy died on January 6 1835, Reuben and the other four children moved to Sangamon Co., IL near Springfield.

John, born February 10 1805 married Sarah S. Fallis on September 4 1834. They had 10 children, whose names are given in the book "Early Settlers of Sangamon Co., Ill".

Mary A., born September 25 1810, married Benjamin Fortune. His biography appears in the same book.

Sarah Agnes, born March 24 1814, married Jacob N. Fullinwider whose biography appears in the same book.

Wesley, born July 28 1816 and married Sarah A Foster March 23 1843. Sarah was born July 18 1824 in Montgomery Co., KY

The book, "Early Settlers of Sangamon Co., IL" by John Carroll Power, (Edward A. Wilson & Co., Springfield, Ill, 1876) is available at the Seattle Public Library and quite likely at other libraries that have a large genealogical reference collection. It can not be checked out of the Seattle Library, but if anyone is interested, I could go there and check selected portions and I think, within reason, they will let me copy a few pages. It is also available for purchase from Heritage Books, Inc., 1540-E Pointer Ridge Place, Bowie, MD 20716. The two volume set (Item #P582) is $51.50 plus shipping. Contact them at for more information. While on the subject of Heritage Books, another book of some interest is "History of Shelby County, Kentucky" by George Willis, Sr. (Item #W335), $24.50 plus tax. I have a copy but it does not contain much of interest as far as Gill genealogy is concerned except a couple of tax lists mentioning Gill.

6. James Gill, Jr

James Gill, Jr. first appears in the Shelby County tax records in 1808. He bought 280 acres of land in Shelby Co on April 4 1816 [Deed Bk N-1, page 222]. In July of 1821, James Gill, Sr, sold or gave to James, Jr. 250 acres of land [Deed Bk S, p 53]. Sarah (May) Gill died in 1821, and there are a string of recordings in the Shelby Co. Courthouse relating to the settlement of her estate and the care of her minor children. Sarah is mentioned in Book 5, p53 & p416, Book 6, p93 & p214, Book 7, p88 & p156, Book 8, p54, p133 & p248, and Book 9, p87. James, Jr. appears to have been appointed guardian of his minor children. The following children are mentioned in the Settlements:

Susannah, born about 1813

Nancy, born about 1814

Julia, born about 1817

Henry Harrison, born about 1815 [age indicated by 1850 Shelby Co. and 1870 Union Co. census]

I suspect that there may have been other children born before Susannah because of the 10 years between the marriage in 1803 and the birth of Susannah about 1813. However, the 1810 census does not show any small children in the house, so if there were others, I assume they died early. The 1803 date comes from the Family Group Sheet on microfilm at the Shelbyville library. The 1820 census lists James, Sr. and James, Jr. with James, Jr. having two males (one under 10 and one 26 to 45) and four females (two under 10, one 10 to 16 and one 16 to 25). The James Gill listed in the 1830 census is shown as having two males (15-20 and 40-50) and four females (two 15 to 20, one 20 to 30, and one 40 to 50). One other explanation for the gap between marriage and the birth of the first child is that they were actually not married until 1808 as the 8 has been misread as a 3 in the Family Group Sheet. One researcher has reported a Nelson County, KY marriage of James Gill to Saray May dau. of Gabriel May both over 21 yrs age married in 1808.

I have no record of the death of James Gill, Jr. There is a James Gill listed in the index of heads of household of Shelby Co. 1840 census, and a J. Gill listed in the 1850 census. Are these James, Jr.? There are deeds listed for James Gill as late as about 1850 and James appears in the tax records past 1847, but our James Gill, Jr. was not the only James Gill in Shelby Co. at that time, so it is hard to determine, without a detailed study of the deeds, just which one is which.


Susannah Gill

Susannah married Jeremiah Daniel on March 19 1832 in Shelby Co. KY. They moved to MO between June 1843 and 1845. She died in Buchanan Co., MO on May 21 1885. Jeremiah Daniel was born about 1810 in Shelby Co. to John and Mary (Polly) Briscoe Daniel. He died August 1 1850 in Buchanan Co., MO. This couple had the following children:

Samuel Harrison, born 1835 in KY, married Elizabeth Williams.

Mary Katherine, born 1837 in KY, married John Scott.

Sarah Elizabeth, born 1839 in KY, married Thomas Gibson.

Charles Thomas, born 1841 in KY.

Nancy Jane, born June 1843, Shelby Co., died 9 Feb 1917 in Lincoln Co. OK. Married John Pryor McDowell on March 27 1864.

Wyler Wayne, born 1845 in MO, married Carrie Campbell.

John Jeremiah, born 1847 in MO, married Sarrilda Long.

Mark H., born 1849 in MO, married Narcissa Caroline Arnold.

Nancy Gill

Nancy married Samuel Gilbert on January 1 1839 in Shelby Co. KY.

Julia Gill

Julia married William S. Gunn on December 6 1842 in Shelby Co.

Henry Harrison Gill

Henry married Sabina Malin on October 13 1842 in Shelby Co. Sabina’s father was Jacob Malin. H. H. and Sabina moved to Union Co, KY about 1868. As far as I can tell, H. H. is not listed by name in any Shelby Co. census before 1850. He was born after the 1810 census, he could be the one male under 10 listed with James, Jr. in the 1820 census, and is probably the male 15-20 listed in the 1830 census. I think I have found Henry Harrison Gill in the Shelby County census of 1850. Unfortunately, the enumerator for part of this census used only initials for everyone. Since his script is a bit difficult to read, everything is in doubt, but the information compares fairly well with the 1860 and 1870 census.

1850 census, Shelby Co. 1860 census, Shelby Co. 1870 census, Union Co.

H. Gill 36 M b. KY H. H Gill 46 H. H. Gill 55 M b. KY

S. Gill 36 F b. KY Sabrina Gill 44 Sabina Gill 55

S (?)Gill 6 F Lettia 16 Sarah 26

S Gill 5 F Susan M 15 Susan 25

? Gill 4 F --------- ---------

W Gill 2 M William H 11 William N. 21

J Gill 3/12 M James M. 10 James C. 20

George T. 8 George T. 18

Lrida (?) 6 Ella 16

John N. 2 John 12

Maggie 8

Henry Harrison Gill was listed as a cooper in 1850, a carpenter in 1860. The family lived in Simpsonville, western Shelby County, in 1860. He is listed in the Shelby County tax records consistantly from 1836 until 1868 when apparently he moved his family to Union County. He died sometime after the 1880 census, and apparently Sabina died between 1870 and 1880 because he is listed as a widower in 1880. When the 1880 census was taken, he was living with three of his children (Sue, William and James) in the Lindle District of Union County near present day Sturgis.


The 1850 census index of Shelby Co. also lists J Gill, G. Gill, W Gill and Pediah W. Gill. If you study the census records themselves, I believe you will conclude that Pediah W. is really Jediah W. Gill, the son of George Gill and Catherine Bullard. The 1870 Union Co. KY census also lists W. W. Gill (35), his wife Susan E. (36) and several children.

The 1850 Census Index of Kentucky lists a very large number of Gills including 4 Benjamin Gill families, a George and George W., a Harrison, a Harrison M and a Henry H. besides the H. Gill shown above. The Henry H. was in Barren Co. There are also about 13 James Gills, 2 Richard Gills, 3 Samuel Gills, a Washington Gill and several William Gills. It has been reported several places that there were at least two apparently unrelated Gill families living in Shelby County in the early days. In addition to the James Gill family, there was a different family living on six mile creek with given names of Benjamin, John W., Washington, Paulina and Samuel. There was also a Spencer Gill family nearby. Spencer Gill and Spencer Gill, Jr. show up in the Virginia records mentioned below.

Based on the assumption that James Gill, Sr. came from VA, maybe what is now WVA, I checked the early VA census (1782-1785). I found a John Gill in Halifax Co., Northumberland Co. and Chesterfield Co.; James Gill in Fairfax Co. and Chesterfield Co. Spencer Gill was from Richmond Co. Robert, Thomas, Joseph (Sr. and Jr.) Elizabeth, Edward, Francis and Stephen were from Chesterfield Co. Sarah, Taylor and William were from Northumberland Co. And Daniel and Jacob were from Halifax Co. Also, Joseph, Sr. and Joseph, Jr. apparently moved from Halifax Co after 1782 to Chesterfield Co. Michal Gill lived in Charlotte Co. in 1782. The book "Early Settlers of Sangamon Co., Ill." indicates that Elizabeth, daughter of James, Sr. was born in Charlestown, VA. A will, recorded in Berkeley County, VA,, dated September 1 1790 and proven September 21 1790 reads "I, John Randolph in Berkeley County in State of Virginia…Likewise it is my will and desire that my son William shall be put to his uncle James Gill until he comes of age to learn the coopers trade." A William Randolph is listed in the Shelby County tax records from 1796 until 1805 when he moved to Union County. LDS film 0163713, Berkeley County Index of Wills, Inventories, sale bills, etc provides a list of landowners for the years 1784-1984. In 1784 and 1785, James Gill is listed. I found no Gills in 1786, but I could have overlooked them because James Gill is listed in 1788. The tax records list two James Gills in 1789-1791. One is listed in 1792 and 1793, but the 1794 list has two James Gills.

A number of records document the existance of Gills in the early American Colonies. Alexander Gill, maybe the first Gill, arrived in Virginia in 1623 via the BONNY BESS. He is listed in the Muster of Inhabitants at Mulbuery Island (James Town) taken January 25 1624. A land grant was issued to a George Gill, November 20 1682 for 5000 acres in New Kent County, VA. The book, "Virginia Colonial Solders", by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck (Genealogical Publishing Co. Baltimore 1988) lists at least seven different soldiers with the surname Gill. The book "War of 1812, Virginia Bounty Land and Pension Applicants" by Pactrick G. Wardell (Heritage Books) lists nine applicants.


Additional research, in Union Co, is required to complete this part of the family history. Apparently none of the children were married when the family moved to Union Co. A close search of Union Co. records should turn up some marriage records for them. I only have information on a couple at this time. According to the 1870 Union Co census, the family lived near Caseyville, west of Sturgis.

The children of George Thomas Gill and Mary (Brown) Gill were:

The 1910 census records that George T. and Mary had a total of eight children, but that only the above three were alive at that time. Kathryn Gill named, in addition to the three, Thomas Sigler, Nannie, Georgella, Ardena and a boy that died before receiving a name. The 1900 Union County census lists, in addition to Lillian, Johnie born March 1891 and Herbert born April 1895.

Continueing the children of H. H. and Sabina Gill

Ella Gill

Ella was born aboout 1853 according to the 1870 Union Co census. She is not listed in the information given to me by Kathryn (Gill) Carney.

John Gill

John Gill was born about 1858 according to the 1870 Union Co census. He is not listed in Kathryn’s list of Aunts and Uncles.

Maggie Gill

Maggie is also not listed by Kathryn. The census of 1870 lists her as 8 years old meaning she was born about 1862.

Kathryn’s list includes two children not in the census of 1870-Logan and Tish. It is possible that Logan is really John and that Tish is really Ella or Maggie, but that seems to be streaching it a bit. I need to check a few other records to see if it will all sort out.

Bob Carney

Please contact Bob Carney with information on the Gills in these records.

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Copyright ©2000, Robert L. Carney.  All Rights Reserved.  These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy. However, this document is copyrighted and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same. Please send any errors, corrections, conjectures, updates, etc. to Dr. Frank O. Clark.