Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2004 9:47 AM
To: Dr. Frank Oliver Clark
Subject: A polite disagreement regarding your immigrant Gill ancestors

Dear Frank,

 Thank you for your response.
 In looking at your research data at you make the following statement:
 "These three Gills were naturalized in 1705, under the names Joseph Guil, John Guil, and Stephen Guil.  From the naturalization, these three were definitely not English, and from the wording, they were probably French Huguenots."
 I would like to politely disagree with you and provide you my reasoning. While I am not a Gill descendant, I have studied colonial Henrico Co. genealogies for several years.
 Again, on your web page you cite Joseph Guil, John Guil, Stephen Guil among many other Huguenots listed as having been naturalized. Acordiong to the law which I cite later on, any foreigner could be naturalized after four years of residence in the English colony of Virginia. The names of the Huguenots you list on your website match those found on the Huguenot web site at: . The three named Guil individuals are definitely listed and there is almost no doubt but what they arrived in 1700, which would give them their four years of residency required for naturalization.
 However, as noted in an earlier email forwarded to you, I record your Gill ancestors in Henrico County as having arrived there circa 1686. This is long before the influx of 200 or so Huguenots who came to reside in Manakin, near Midlothian, Virginia in the year 1700.
 John Gill and his family members acquired land just west of present day Colonial Heights some 18 miles south of the Huguenot enclave that was first settled by the French Protestants in October of 1700.  So the arrival of your Gill family predated by 15 years the Huguenots group arrival in 1700. John Gill first patented land in 1704 under the surname GILL. His sons, still using the surname GILL, patented more land during the early to mid-1740's. It's unlikely that the Huguenot John Guil (cited above) would have purchased land under the name John Gill on 8 July 1704 ---  if he was not naturalized until 1705.
 While it was common for these Huguenots to anglicize their French names, in this case we appear to have recordable continuity that John Gill and his family members entered Henrico Co. circa 1686 under the surname Gill and began acquiring land over the next 50 years under the same surname of GILL.
 Colonial Virginia was an English enclave. This was certainly true along the margins of the James River in Virginia. The French as well as other Europeans were considered foreigners among the English, as were the Scots and Irish.  However, the English provided for these foreigners by enacting certain laws. An act styled "Concerning Denizations," giving encouragement to foreign settlers, was passed by the Colonial Assembly in March, 1657 [1658]. It provides that "all aliens and strangers who have inhabited the country [during] the space of four years, and have a firm resolution to make this country their place of residence, shall be free denisons of this colony." etc.
 However, I think it's really quite unlikely that a single Huguenot family came aboard an American bound English ship listed as carrying indentured servants. John Gill purchased 235 acres of land in 1704 and another 465 acres 20 years later. He probably had some money with him when he arrived because he and his sons apparently acquired rather substantial land holdings over time.
 The National Burial Index (NBI) for England and Wales shows a large distribution of the surname Gill from Durham and Northumberland Counties in northern England during the 1600s and 1700s. I have the 2-volume CD set at home. I've plotted the geographical distribution of a number of surnames and Gill was one of them. However, there also were Gills living and prospering in other areas of England, such as Manchester near Liverpool in Lancashire County in west central England. Below you see a commercial directory listing of GILLs living in or near Manchester during the early 1800s.
The Commercial Directory
For 1816–17 (Manchester, Lancashire County, England)
Name                    Occupation               Address                     Town
Gill,  John Gun Maker Masshouse-lane Birmingham
Gill, Alice Flour Dealers Horse market Warrington
Gill, Blashford Tailors and Habit Makers Hanging bridge Manchester
Gill, Edmund Boot and Shoe Makers Coney-st. York
Gill, Edward In the Neighbourhood Heeley Sheffield
Gill, Henry Curriers Swine-market Halifax
Gill, James Confectioners Market-place Bury
Gill, James Upholsterers & Carpet Dealers 8, Paradise-st. Liverpool
Gill, John Coal Dealer Old Wharf, Paradise-street Birmingham
Gill, John Glass and China Dealer 18, Bull-street Birmingham
Gill, John Locksmith Thorp-street Birmingham
Gill, John Sword Makers Masshouse-lane Birmingham
Gill, John Smiths Handbridge Chester
Gill, John Country Manufacturers Dewsbury Leeds
Gill, Jonas Attorney New-street Birmingham
Gill, Jonathan Woollen Cloth Manufacturers Park-lane Leeds
Gill, Jonathan Fustian Manufacturers Tyson's ct. Hebden bridge Manchester
Gill, Richard and Son Booksellers and Stationers Hillgate Stockport
Gill, Stephen In the Neighbourhood Heeley Sheffield
Gill, Thomas Liquor Merchants 14, Pall Mall Manchester
Gill, William Brass Founder Bristol-street Birmingham
Gill, William Boot and Shoe Makers Crown-street Halifax
 So while there is the remote possibility that some Huguenots did make it to the English colony in Virginia in very small groups, it's unlikely they were there in 1686 when your Gills arrived in Henrico.  The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in October, 1685, began a new persecution of the Huguenots, and hundreds of thousands of Huguenots fled France to other countries. Huguenot refugees flocked in great numbers to Shoreditch, a London Borough. Some of these fleeing Huguenots may have ventured as far as the English colonies, but for the most part they did not..

Why were the Manakin Huguenots so late in arriving at their haven of peace and religious freedom in America? After all, those who bought Manhattan Island for the equivalent of twenty-four dollars arrived in 1623. Those who settled in New Paltz, New York arrived in 1670, and the Charleston Huguenots arrived at that small but growing city in 1680. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes was registered on October 22, 1685, and it was followed by a horrendous holocaust, yet those who became known to history as the Manakin Huguenots on the James River in Virginia did not arrive until the summer of 1700. Why? To answer that question, we must look at Europe and the British Isles and consider the rapid and kaleidoscopic events taking place during those times.

The French refugees who made it to Manakin, Virginia came from all over France. Some had arrived in England some years before 1685 so that even heads of families, and even more children, had not been born in France.

I would invite your attention to the following web site which discusses the Huguenots travel to the upper James River in 1700.
The Journey to Manakin Town, Virginia, in 1700

The land these Huguenots settled extended very roughly along Robious Road, west of Old Gun Road, following the Huguenot Trail and Cosby Road, and bounded on the north by the James River near Midlothian, VA. See the map below which I've prepared. The Huguenots settled where the cross hairs mark the center of the Huguenot settlement area along the James River. This is about 18 or 19 miles north of where your Gill family ancestors settled just west of Colonial Heights.

In the year 1700 more than five hundred emigrants, at the head of whom was the Marquis de la Muce, were landed in Virginia by four successive debarkations. They appear to have settled at different points; a portion about Jamestown, some in Norfolk county, others in Surry, and two hundred or more at a spot some twenty miles below Richmond, on the south side of James river (now in Powhatan county), where ten thousand acres of land, which had been occupied by the extinct Manakin,n tribe of Indians, were given them.


It is known that there were numerous instances of individual settlement of French Huguenots in Virginia prior and subsequent to the influx of 1700. The names of Barraud, Bertrand s, Boisseaut t , Bowdoin u , Cazenove, Contesse, Cottrell v, Forloines, Flournoy w, Fuqua, Ghiselin, Jacquelin, Jouet x, Lacy, Mauzy, Michie, Micou, Moncure, Seay y, Trezevant z and others, have show up in the colonial era records. However, Gill or Guile is not one of them living in Virginia prior to 1700.

The areas of Virginia where the Huguenots were to be resettled is identified in this document from 1698:

It's interesting that on an official listing of all the French Protestant refugee (Huguenots) in Henrico County in the year 1714, there is no evidence of a Guil, Guile, or Gill.  See Below:

Neither is there any mention of the surname Guil, Guile or Gil in any of the baptisms recorded for the Huguenots at Manakin, VA


Additionally, if you visit another of my web pages (See below) you'll find land surveys for Henrico Co. Land owners. One of these is for John Gill's land patent west of Colonial Heights.
Use the FIND feature in your browser to find all the references to Gill in other land patents.
You also can obtain the original of this will in the old English hand writing at the online library of Virginia web site. They are nice for framing or putting on web pages, as I have done.
In reading this survey it appears to me that John Gill owned other adjoining property because the survey references another property line belonging to John Gill.

John Gill
TYPE: Patent - ref CF# VPB 12 p25-26

Date: 9 July 1724 frm Hugh Drysdale [Governor] to John Gill contract 50 Shill.

Ref: 465 acres NLINEorth side of Appomattock River in Henrico County loc -78896 32832 F127 L0 P255 -

Point A) Small Corner black Oak parting Stephen Gill and John Willson Senr Thence on the said Willsons Line E37S; 36 Poles; John Willson Senr -

Point B) a Corner Scrub black Oak Thence leaving Willsons Line E17S; 96 Poles; -

Point C) two Small Corner black Oaks Standing in Thomas Willsons Line Thence on his Line SxE; 74 Poles; Thomas Willson -

Point D) a Corner pine Thence leaving the Said Line S46W; 124 Poles; -

Point E) a Corner black Oak Standing in Benjamin Dison's Line Thence on his Line NxW; 113 poles; from Benjamin Dison's c. -

Point F) a Corner White Oak pine and Scrub black Oak line WxS; 184 Poles; -

Point G) a Corner White Oak of Disons Standing on the E Side of White Oak branch Thence crossing the Said branch survey line W13S; 17 Poles; cross White Oak Branch -

Point H) a Corner pine Standing on the W side of the Said Branch Thence up the Said Branch according to the Meanders 276 Poles; survey line ; 276 Poles; up White Oak Branch -

Point I) a Corner poplar Standing on the Said Branch Thence Crossing the said Branch survey line S80W; 52 Poles; cross White Oak Branch -

Point J) Corner black Oak Standing in John Perkinsons Line Thence on his Line WNW; 41 Poles; John Perkinson -

Point K) a Corner White Oak line Southwest 58 Poles; -

Point L) Corner White Oak Standing in Charles Cussins Line NxW; 38 Poles; Charles Cussins Line -

Point M) a Corner black Oak line Northwest 37 Poles; -

Point N) a Corner White Oak line Northeast 67 Poles; -

Point O) a Corner pine line NExE; 57 Poles; -

Point P) Several Corner Black Oaks line N; 170 Poles; -

Point Q) two Corner pines and a White Oak line NWxN; 52 Poles; -

Point R) a Corner black Oak line NxW; 10 Poles; -

Point S) a Corner black Oak of John Gills Standing in a Small Fork of Youl Branch Thence on Gills Line SExE .25 point East survey line SExE; 44 Poles; John Gill SExE.25pt East from Youls Branch -

Point T) a Corner White Oak line ExS; 16 Poles; -

Point U) a black Oak line NxE; 38 Poles; -

Point V) a Corner White Oak line E; 34 Poles; -

Point W) a Corner White Oak line ENE; 18 Poles; -

Point X) a White Oak Standing in Gills Line Thence leaving the said Line S42E; 60 Poles; -

Point Y) a Corner Hickrey line E12N; 55 Poles; -

Point Z) a Corner pine and Scrub black Oak line E27S; 14 Poles; -

Point AA) a Corner pine of the Said Gills Thence on his Lines line SxW; 64 Poles;said Gill -

Point AB) a Corner White Oak line Southheast 45 Poles; -

Point AC) a Corner pine line ESE; 88 Poles; -

Point AD) a Corner White Oak Standing on the E Side of White Oak branch line NExE; 61 Poles; from E side White Oak Branch -

Point AE) a Corner black Oak lc NExN; 52 Poles; end

THE HUGUENOTS - Who were they?

Harry Kollatz Jr.*

Richmond Magazine, April 2003

Silversmith Paul Revere, also known for his midnight ride, had them in his ancestry. Louis Comfort Tiffany, the designer of exquisite stained glass and a member of the famous jewelry family, was of their blood. Half of the U. S. presidents are in some way connected to them. And in the Richmond region, their names resonate in Virginia history, business and civic achievement: Agee, Chastain, Dejarnett, Duval, Dabney, Foushee, Fuqua, Jacquelin, La Prade, Maury, Moncure, Morrisette, Pickett, Rowlett, Sublet and Witt.

Submitted by and Copyright ©2004 Don Blankenship.

Return to Virginia Gill Page
Return to Gill State Selection Page
Return to Gill Home Page.