The Controversy of the Dates

Someone has overwritten by hand Mr. Cupit's birth years of John Gill, I, (MS-1) from c1733 to c1754, and of John Gill, II, (MS) from c1754 to c1773. Apparently Mr. Cupit made this alteration, as what seem to be his last documents have the latter date typewritten. These hand overwritten changes are not in the copy of "Our Kin" in the library of the Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS (Mormon Library in Salt Lake City), on which copy it is stated "Gift Compiler Dec. 1958". Therefore these alterations were made after December 1958. The earlier dates permit assignment of John Gill, I, (MS-1) as a son of James Gill, while the latter dates require that he be associated one generation later. The latter assignment introduces more ambiguity into the assignment of the veritable zoo of John Gills in the Richland set. There are a few age clues in the records.

Evidence for the Earlier Dates

I. First, in addition to the statement that John Gill, MS, was born c1754, there are clues that he was born a generation before the overwritten date of 1773. Ellender Gill is stated as born c1790. If it is assumed that John Gill was at least 21 years of age at this time, this yields c(1790-21)=c1769 as an upper limit for his birth year (although that is very very close to 1773!), and for his father, John Gill, MS-1, an estimated upper limit of c1769-21 or c1748. Since Nelle and John Kyzer had one child in the 1812 passport record, this can again be used to estimate a birth year of 1812-(21+21+1) which is again c1769, which is insignificantly different from 1773!

II. There is an age clue in Mrs. Price's record. She states that John Gill died "at a ripe old age" in 1825 (actually 1828, the will was written in 1825 probated in 1828). If John Gill was born as late as 1773, he would have been only c55 when he died, which is the age of this writer which I decidedly do not consider a "ripe old age"! If, in fact, he was born c1754, he would have been c74 when he died, which does qualify for the "ripe old age" category (in the epoch being considered).

III. Yet another age clue is found in the record of John Gill's (MS), sister, Mary Gill who married John Bryan Hart. She was born c1758, he c1760, according to Mr. Cupit's earlier records, and the DAR applications, which dates support the earlier birth year for John Gill (MS-1). These too are overwritten by hand on Mr. Cupit's records which exhibit this alteration. However, there is extant documentation supporting the earlier date. John Hart appears in the 1810 census in Richland Co., SC at age greater than 45, which places his birth year as before 1765, consistent only with the earlier dates.  Census dates and ages are known to have been in error though.  John Gill, MS, could have been born much later than Mary, but the census supports the John Gill, father of Mary, as born c1733. I have conjectured that she was his Aunt and not his sister.  This is supported by the fact that her line definitely claims she was the daughter of Mary Jackson.  If she was born as late as 1762 she would have to be the daughter of Agatha Murphy.

IV. In "The Gill Family Papers", a work titled "A Genealogy of the Gill and Related Families" attributed to Mr. Cupit, and typed after the death of Mrs. Lucie Gill Willis (Lucie Gill Price Willis?) states John Gill removed to Mississippi as born c1773, and that Mary Gill married John Hart was born c1770. Mr. Cupit states that John Hart served in the Revolutionary War seven years in "Carolina" troops (NC or SC?)(p67). Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, so if this man served seven years, he must have enlisted c1776. He had to have been at least 16 years of age, probably closer to 21, so he was born before 1760, which is only consistent with the c1760 birth year.

V. There are a series of DAR applications under John Gill, II, MS. As an example, DAR application 678003, by Mrs. Marva Lee Kyzar Reeves of Bogue Chitto, MS, claims that John Gill, II, or Jr., or MS, was born 1754 in Richland Co., SC, and has one of Cupits documents in which a typed 1773 birth date is crossed out and replaced by a hand written 1754! (DAR supporting documents file) This is the inverse of the Louisiana papers of Cupit, and indicates that Cupit himself changed the dates, and that the clan in Bogue Chitto, MS, contested his assertion! The 1754 date probably is based on the im Hoff record, and the im Hoff record is very probably of the John Gill married to Agnes Dick.

Evidence for Later Dates

Suppose John Gill, II, was born c1773

I. There is an argument to support a younger John Gill, MS. His son, John Gill, III, not the first born, was born 2 June 1796, and would have been born when John Gill, MS was c23 years of age with the younger date. If the 1754 date obtains, he would have been 42 years of age at the birth of his second child.

II. The John Gill in Peyer im Hoff's company probably is the John Gill who married Agnes Dick. This may well be the father of John Gill, II, MS, and I have so conjectured. This is even consistent with one of Mr. Cupit's very early papers in which he refers to the son of John Gill, MS, born 1796, as John Gill, "IV." Agnes Dick's two known sons are James Gill and Hugh Gill, both born before 1810, and these are consistent with the Mississippi records of children of John Gill, MS-1.

Therefore, we have two plausible associations: 1. both of the early dates attested by the DAR records, or 2. John Gill, MS-1, is that John Gill who served under im Hoff and married Agnes Dick. In this case, there are four consecutive men named John Gill. John Gill, MS, could not have been the son of Thomas, as the witnesses and J.P. to the 1786 deed place John Gill son of Thomas as John Gill of Barnwell. The hybrid date mixture suggested at the beginning (option 3) is also perfectly plausible and fits the records.

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Copyright ©  1997, Dr. Frank Oliver Clark. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy. However, these documents are copyrighted by Dr. Frank O. Clark (or the authors to whom they are credited herein) and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same.