Corrections to Harris Genealogies

Corrections to Published Harris Family Histories
Updated April 20, 2007

Corrections to
Captain Thomas Harris, 1586-1658 by W. Lee Harris, 1966

W. Lee Harris states, page 82:
"James GILLIAM (I) of Cumberland County, Virginia left a Will, naming his living children but not his wife. He left her a legacy but failed to mention her by name."

[Harris quotes the entire Will of James GILLIAM of Littleton Parish.]

Harris continues . . . (pages 85-86)
"The above Will of James GILLIAM (I) refers to four of his children on son and three daughters. He mentions only two by names, his son James (II) and daughter Sallie GILLIAM, from other sources, Bible records, we secure names of the children of above James (I)
Martha GILLIAM mar. Martin King, 1756
Phoebe GILLIAM, mar, Joseph Taylor, no date
James GILLIAM (II) mar. Frances Hopkins, 12-16-1772
Sallie GILLIAM, no record of marriage

[Daughter Judith married Joseph Taylor 30 Nov 1768, Cumberland County, James (II), son of James (I) married Susannah. The James GILLIAM that married Frances Hopkins was the son of John GILLIAM and Sarah Faris. Sarah GILLIAM married Thomas Wilkinson. See Cumberland Chancery File Judith Taylor vs Joseph Taylor.]

"The Will mentions four grandchildren, Robert GILLIAM, Charles M. GILLIAM, GILLIAM King, and Sarah Taylor. The last two are, of course, children of his daughters Martha King and
Phoebe Taylor. The first two, Robert and Charles M. GILLIAM puzzles the writer. Since James GILLIAM (II) is the only son mentioned, it would be logical to think they were his children. Now, James (II) was married December 16th 1772, and above Will was written September 28, 1774, so it is unlikely two sons would have been born by that date, unless they were twins. It would make them only one year old and it is not likely they would be willed a farm and slaves at that age. If this was second marriage of James (II) they would likely be teen aged. A statement in the Will discredits this. In the first paragraph where he gives his son James (II) 112 acres and three slaves but states, "if my son James (II) shall die without issue lawful of his body" etc. If the above Robert and Charles were children of James (II) he wouldn't likely have written that sentence. It becomes the opinion of the writer, without positive proof, that there must have been an older son, who was deceased at writing of the above Will, likely wife also.
[Sarah Taylor was the daughter of Judith GILLIAM and Joseph Taylor. Charles M. GILLIAM is the son of James II, see Will of James GILLIAM, Jr. Harris' logic is faulty since James (II) did not marry Frances Hopkins. It does appear that Robert is the son of a deceased son of James (I). In Cumberland, a John GILLIAM leaves an estate dated 22 Dec 1768. The administrator was a Patty Taylor, who appears to be the mother of Robert GILLIAM.]

"As a point of information, the writer has been informed by Taylor relatives, that above Joseph Taylor and wife Phoebe GILLIAM, were ancestors of
Robert and Alfred Taylor, who were both, at different times, governor of Tennessee. Bob a Democrat, Alf a Republican. It is well remembered, by old timers, their political debates, around the turn of the century.
[Robert Love Taylor and Alfred Alexander Taylor were the sons of Nathaniel Green Taylor and Emmaline Haynes. Nathaniel Green Taylor was the son of James Patton Taylor. James Patton Taylor was the son of Nathaniel Taylor. Nathaniel Taylor was the son of Andrew Taylor. It does not appears that Robert and Alfred Taylor are related to Joseph Taylor and Judith GILLIAM.]

"The above Will mentions 20 Negro slaves by names. There may have been more. Quite a large number indeed.

"James GILLIAM (II), was a son of James GILLIAM (I), County of Cumberland, Littleton Parish, in Virginia. He was married to
Frances Hopkins, a daughter of John Hopkins of Goochland County on December 16th 1772.
[Again, James GILLIAM (II) married Susannah. James GILLIAM, son of John GILLIAM and Sarah Faris, married Frances Hopkins.]

"James GILLIAM (II) and wife lived on land belonging to his father, which was later willed to him in his father's Will. This land adjoined his father's homesite and that of his brother-in-law, Joseph Taylor.
James (II) and Frances lived for many years there after the death of James (I) but later moved to Prince Edward County, in the Harris settlement on Vaughn Creek. They remained there until about 1810. In that year a group of neighbors of the Vaughn Creek section composed of GILLIAMs, Harrises; Meadors, Creaseys and others made a move to Tennessee.
[The above should read "James (II) and Susannah lived for many years there after the death of James (I) but late moved to Powhatan County. James GILLIAM who married Frances Hopkins moved to Vaughn Creek, Prince Edward and later Tennessee.]

"James GILLIAM (II) and his family, except his sons John and James (III), settled at or near the town of Westmoreland in the north east corner of
Sumner County Tennessee. Here the GILLIAMs resided until the death of James GILLIAM (II), on June 15th 1821.
[James GILLIAM, son of John GILLIAM and Sarah Faris, settled in Sumner County, not James GILLIAM (II) son of James GILLIAM (I). James GILLIAM (II) left a Will in Powhatan County dated 9 Nov 1809.]

"James GILLIAM (II) did serve in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War. He was sworn in service as Ensign on April 23rd 1781. His service record may be found in J. T. McAllister's Records, Section 260, page 198, also John H. Gwathney's Register of Virginians in the Revolution, page 308.
A number of his descendants are still living in this and other parts of Tennessee."
[The above service record is that of James GILLIAM (I); James GILLIAM (I) did not have direct descendants living in Tennessee at the time W. Lee Harris' work was published. James GILLIAM who married Frances Hopkins left descendants in Tennessee.]

"Harris continues by reciting the children of James GILLIAM (II) and wife, Frances.
[These children are the children of James GILLIAM, son of John GILLIAM and Sarah Faris, and Frances Hopkins, his wife, not the children of James GILLIAM (II).]

The Harris Family of Prince Edward County, Virginia by Eleanor Harris MacRae, Family Values Publications, Virginia Beach, VA.

MacRae begins her section on the GILLIAM Family with the following:
"To begin I will state that there are two separate GILLIAM families in the vicinity of southside Virginia. Some people call one GILLIAM family the Buckingham GILLIAMs and some of them pronounce their name Gillyam. The Prince Edward County GILLIAMs, the ones who married so often into the Harris family, begin in this county with James GILLIAM (1745-1821) who married Frances Hopkins of Goochland County, VA in 1772 (Douglas Register).

"In the book often referred to herein,
Captain Thomas Harris, Immigrant, by W. Lee Harris, there is a write-up on some GILLIAM family history which Mr. Lee Harris had a genealogist research for him. This research is considered erroneous by Gerald GILLIAM a recognized historian, professor, and staff member of the magazine, The Southsider, published by the Charlotte County Historical Society. In a letter to the writer he discusses this as follows:

. . . I have searched widely for the parents of James GILLIAM who married France Hopkins in Goochland County in 1772. This marriage was recorded by Rev. William Douglas in his marriage register which was published as the Douglas Register. It states "both of Goochland." Keep that statement in mind. . .

"W. Lee Harris claimed James GILLIAM of Cumberland was the father of James GILLIAM (married Frances Hopkins). I have proven that wrong. He did have a son James who was mentioned in his Will. There was a grandson Charles Manning GILLIAM also mentioned in James of Cumberland's Will. I traced the land taxes and personal property taxes to show that, that James the second moved from Cumberland to Powhatan and died. In his Will he mentions his son Charles M. GILLIAM. . .

"Back to James GILLIAM (married to Frances Hopkins) our ancestor. We know he married in Goochland in 1772. He also appears in Goochland tithables list (1779) with a slave Daphney, which his wife received from her father. They appeared in Powhatan 1782-1786 (Personal Property Tax) and in each entry paid tax on a slave named Daphney or like spelling. From 1788 to 1791, the name James appears in Amelia. James returns to Powhatan (1792-1794). On May 5 1795 James GILLIAM resided in Prince Edward. He remained there until 1816. AT tax time in 1817, the family had moved into Tennessee. This traces James GILLIAM (married Frances Hopkins) from Goochland to Tennessee.

"Now, who was the father of James GILLIAM (married Frances Hopkins)? I think his father was John GILLIAM of Goochland. John GILLIAM was in Goochland as early as 1759 based on the tithables lists. His son, James, was listed with him in the following years: 1766, 1767, 1768, (1769 gave number 8, but not individual names), and 1770. (Note: These lists are not a complete run.) When John appears in 1775, James is not in his household. We can establish that a James lived in Goochland for several years with his father, John.

"John GILLIAM of Goochland died in 1794 and left his son, James, a slave named Bristol. John's children were: (not in particular order) John, Jacob, James, William, Taylor, Sarah, Mary, Judith, Martha, Cecilia, Agnes and Susannah.

"James GILLIAM (married Frances Hopkins) of Prince Edward paid taxes on the following slaves:
1796 Patrick, Daphney, Pharaoh, (above 16) Jacob, Milly (ages 12-16)
1798 Patrick, Daphny, Phars, Jacob (above 16) Milly, Sam (ages 12-16)
1803 Patrick, Daphney, Phars, Jacob, Milly, Sampson(over 16) Brister, Peter (ages 12-16)
The slave left in 1794, Bristol, was called a boy. The age is right but the names lacks positive proof due to Bristol/Brister entries.

"James GILLIAM, in my estimation, is the son of John of Goochland. We have a statement by John that he had a son James. We have no statement by James of his father's name. Other evidence: James married in Goochland, he lived in Goochland (Daphney proves that), and he had a slave whose name is close to the name Bristol. By using nicknames, it is easy to corrupt Bristol into Brister. Also James of Prince Edward named on of his sons Taylor.

"I know this is circumstantial evidence but the connection is very close. I don't know if we will every make a 100% positive connection. I find this proof strong enough to claim the relationship.

"It took all this to say that I think I have the connection. I know that John GILLIAM of Goochland was married to Sarah Faris (Farris, Faries, Ferris) but don't know if she was a second wife. . . "

Signed: Gerry

MacRae then continues . . .
"In the above letter of Gerry GILLIAM listed the names of the children of John GILLIAM and his wife Sarah Faris of Goochland. The following research will be primarily about the children of James GILLIAM who was born in 1745 (Tax records of Goochland County, VA listed him as tithable in 1766 at age 21), died in Sumner County TN, 15 Jun 1821 (family records) married 16 Dec 1772 Frances Hopkins in Goochland Co. (Douglas Register). She was born ca 1754 and died 19 Jul 1823 in Sumner Co. Tenn. (DAR records).

"From Militia in Revolutionary War by McAlister (Sect 260, page 198) is a record of the service of James GILLIAM sworn into the military service as an ensign on 23rd April 1781. He moved from Prince Edward County, VA to Sumner County, TN with his family in 1816 with the exceptions of John, who followed them in 1818 and of James who remained in Virginia.
[In spite of the corrections to W. Lee Harris provided by Gerald GILLIAM, MacRae continues to incorrectly attribute the service record of James GILLIAM, son of James GILLIAM of Littleton Parish to James GILLIAM son of John GILLIAM and Sarah Faris, who married Frances Hopkins!]

"From the family Bible of Gideon Harris and Martha Taylor GILLIAM are listed the children of James GILLIAM and Frances Hopkins as named below. . ."

  • Harris, W. Lee. Captain Thomas Harris, 1586-1658, 1966.
  • MacRae, Eleanor Harris. The Harris Family of Prince Edward County, Virginia. Family Values Publications, Virginia Beach, VA.