~ Henry Gee of Prince George

©2009 Kathryn Gearhart (No portion of this web site may be reproduced, in any form, including Internet, electronic or print, in whole or in part.)

Revised 8/13/2010

Henry appears to have lived with his widowed mother or very near her until her death in 1728.  The custom of this period was in transition regarding inheritance.  The law of progenitor where the eldest son inherited the entire estate and younger sons were left to make it on their own was being modified.  As sons reached maturity, they set out to establish their own plantations, sometimes with assistance from the father.  It was the younger son who remained on the home plantation, caring for aging parents and eventually inheriting the home.  While it is clear that eldest son James inherited the bulk of the estate; his brothers seem to have gotten a start from their mother prior to her death.  Henry may well have been the younger son.  He seems to have been the last provided for by Hannah.  W. J. Fletcher, a descendent of Henry Gee, states that Robert was the youngest.

Henry lived in Prince George County on the 300 acres given him by Hannah which was the 100 acres purchased in 1713 from James Odium on the north side of Warwick Swamp, and the 200 acres purchased from John Mason in 1715 which was in Warwick Meadow.  Hannah was noted in the 1715 deed as living in Surry County.  It must be remembered that the county line between Surry and Prince George changed over the years and families tended to move back and forth without too much concern when they held land on both sides of the line.  The court house in what became Sussex County was very close to the Prince George County Line and much closer than the one along the James River at Merchant’s Hope.  The deed notes that Hannah Gee, of Martins Brandon Parish, Prince George County, widow, granted these two tracts to her son Henry, with the title to pass after her death.  James Gee and Charles Gee II witnessed the deed.  It was recorded on May 14, 1728, the day James testified she died.

In 1782 Henry’s widow, Rachel, sold 200 of these acres, three Negroes, stock, household furniture and other items to John H. Daniel and his wife Anna.  These 200 acres were next to the lands of Abraham Heath, William Bonner and John Daniel Jr.  In 1790 she gave a gift deed to her granddaughter, Mason Simmonds, of one Negro, furniture and other items.  On September 28, 1791 her grandson Allen Chapman sold William Bonner the 100 acres on which Rachel had lived.

In June, 1746 Henry, along with James Heath and Peter Jones, enlisted in the company of foot raised by Beverley Robinson for an expedition against Canada.  They served under George Clinton of New York.

Henry died in 1757 and Charles II, his brother, probated Henry’s will in February 1758 as his executor.  Charles had a bit of trouble with a few of his brother’s children.  In 1763, Charles, executor of Henry Gee, deceased, Charles Gee the younger, John Gee and Elizabeth Gee were sued by James Gee, Charles Chapman and his wife Sarah, and John Daniel and his wife Winnie.  John and Charles the younger had already left Virginia, as had John Daniel.  James soon followed.  The court ordered the slaves in dispute to be sold at auction and the proceeds to be divided between all the heirs, after …that money… be first subject to the payment of 99 pound, 2 shillings, 37 pence, ½ penny to the defendant, (Charles II), it appearing he is in advance that sum for the support of the said negroes and other expenses attending his administration of the estate…. It seems clear that there was some family friction between Charles II and a few of his nieces and nephews, but Charles the younger seems to have been particularly disappointing.


The Children of Henry Gee and Rachel

A record from the bible of Henry Gee notes these children and their birthdates:

Charles Gee born August 20, 1731

John Gee born July 12, 1736

Sarah Gee born May 24, 1740

James Gee born November 12, 1741

Rebeccah Gee born November 18, 1745

Charles Gee and Catherine Bond

Charles went to South Carolina by 1763, the date of the suit.  He left owing money.  In 1763 Hunnicutt and Company sued Charles Gee, Jr. debtor and his uncle Charles Gee, Sr., having stood bond for the debt, was held liable.  He was also held liable in another suit in 1763 by Tatum against, Charles Gee, Jr., bricklayer, …late of the Colony of Virginia….

From the colonial records of the state of Georgia for the period 1763-1766

In 1763 a Petition of Christopher Ring of Savannah Storekeeper and Peter Blyth of the same place Carpenter setting forth among other things that Charles Gee, late of Savannah, Bricklayer had withdrawn himself and Effects from this Province being indebted to the Petitioners as therein set forth and that nothing remained wherein the said Gee had any Interest except a Tract of Four hundred Acres of Land in St George’s Parish which had been ordered to and surveyed for him but his Majesty’s Grant had not passed for the same Therefore praying for a Grant of the said Land in their Names a Creditors of the said Gee, or such other Relief in the Premisses as to the Board should seem meet _

Read a Petition of George Ducker setting forth that he had been near five Years in the Province had had no Land granted him and was desirous to obtain Land for Cultivation having a Wife and two Children and two Negores Therefore praying for three hundred and fifty acres in St George’s Parish at a place called Rocky Creek, being part of a Tract before ordered Charles Gee who had left the Province without having taken out his Majesty’s Grant for the same.

Read a Petition of Thomas Graham setting forth that he had been nine months in the Province had had no Land granted him and was desirous to obtain Land having a Wife and two Children, Therefore praying for two hundred and fifty acres upon Rocky Creek being a Part of a Tract of Land lately ordered Charlles Gee on which Petitioner had Settled.

1764 The several Petitions of Thomas Graham, George Ducker and Christopher Ring and Peter Blyth touching Land heretofore ordered Charles Gee in St George’s Parish, Which Petitions were read on the sixth Day of December 1763, and Postponed for further Consideration were at this Board again read and considered And the Tract of four Hundred Acres heretofore ordered the said Gee was ordered to the Petitioners Christopher Ring and Peter Blyth the Creditors of the said Charles Gee And the Petitions of the said Thomas Graham and George Ducker were rejected.

Charles left George and went to South Carolina.  He is counted in 1766 in Prince Frederick Winwar parish register.  In 1770 he married the widow Catherine Bond in Georgetown.

Charles purchased 500 acres on the Sampit River in 1775 adjacent the land of William Alston.  The Alstons would later become related by marriage to the Northampton Gee family.  A 640 acre survey was done in March, 1785 for Charles Gee by Nathan Huggins.  This acreage was adjacent William Alston and John Daniel and clearly included or was adjacent to the 500 acres noted in 1775.  In June, 1786 the sale by William Burnet 742 acres on Peneroyal Creek and Sampit River in the Georgetown District, Craven County, which was originally a tract granted to John Daniell in 1734 and purchased by Charles Gee, then sold to William Burnet.  At one time Charles owned over 1,149 acres.  In 1785 he received 600 pound for the sale of the various parcels.

In 1791 is the record of a great tragedy. State vs Gee Spring Circuit, Georgetown Ditrict.

The prisoner, Gee, was indicted, under the Negro act, for the murder of a Negro boy, named Sawney, the property of Abraham Cohen, by shooting with a gun loaded with shot.  The jury, after the clearest evidence for the prosectution, brought him in guilty of willful murder; and being unable to pay the fine of 700 lbs. currency, imposed by the clause of that law, the court sentenced him, agreeably to the terms of the act, to seven years’ imprisonment, and to be kept at hard labour during that time…. Charles sued claiming that being an insolvent debtor; he fell under the provisions of an act passed in 1788 that should prevent his imprisonment.  The prosecutors, Pinkney and Ford, argued that he had paid one-half and should not be released as the debtors law was intended for imprisonment for debt, not for a penalty levied for willful mayhem.  They argued that imprisonment and hard labour were inflicted on him as punishments for the atrocity of the offence, which had deserved death.

Charles lost his appeal and evidently was sent to prison at hard labor.  There is no further record of him.

John M. Gee and Temperance

John M. married Temperance and they resided in Cumberland County, North Carolina.  In August, 1757 the muster roll of Captain Robert Stewart’s Company, Virginia Regiment notes John Gee, carpenter age 21 which places his birth as 1736.  John enlisted in Prince George County.  He was 5 feet 91/2 inches, of fair complexion, full faced, with short black hair.

In the records of Orange County, North Carolina:  This Day came Joseph Richison, before me, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace of the said County and made Oath that in the year 1763, Benjamin Philips caus’d a Writ to be served on said Richison, & immediately on serving said Writ, said Richardson compromised matters with Phillips, and paid him the debt and cost and took a discharge for the same, and in the year 1766, John Nunn Deputy Sheriff serv’d an execution on said Richison for the cost of the same Sute, and imprisoned his Body two weeks and made him pay six pounds nine shillings besides the Prison Fees and further saith not.

Sworn before me this 26th day of May 1768.

A true Copie

JOHN M. GEE

John served as a private in the 7th Orange County, North Carolina Militia in 1776 under Captain William Williams.

John and Temperance were the parents of John Henry, Eason, William J. and Lemuel Merril Gee.  Their son, John Henry went to South Carolina possibly to Charleston.  The 1790 census for Union County, South Carolina notes John Gee with one son over 16 and his wife.  John Henry died in Prince George Parish, South Carolina.  Eason died in 1797 in Pendleton County, South Carolina.  William J. and Lemuel Merril went to Georgia.

James Gee and Mary Walker

James Gee of the Wilmington District of North Carolina appears to have been a colorful character.  He was born in 1741 and died in 1804.  He was a patriot and historic Revolutionary figure in Fayetteville and was among the signers of the “Liberty Point Declaration” in 1775.  It seems he did not serve in the North Carolina Continental Line.  His only recorded service is in the Militia, Wilmington District, North Carolina.  Apparently he served with Nathaniel Greene and under Green he fought in South Carolina.

Some feel that a portion of the Jimmy Gee adventures rightly belong to Charles Gee IV son of Charles III of Halifax, North Carolina.  Charles IV was in South Carolina and is listed by Heitman as a member of Marion’s Men and a participant at the Battle of Eutaw Springs in South Carolina.  It is unclear which the best interpretation is.  Certainly one of them was the Gee referred to by Heitman as they were both at the Battle of Eutaw Springs.

In Garden’s Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War is the story that Fletcher feels is probably that of Jimmy Gee.

At the battle of Eutaw, when General Marion’s men were displaying in face of the enemy, Captain Gee, who commanded the front platoon, was shot down, and supposed to be mortally wounded.  The ball passed through the cock of a handsome hat that he had recently procured, tearing the crown very much, and in its progress, the head also.  He lay for a considerable time insensible; the greater part of the day had passed without a favorable symptom; when, suddenly reviving, his first inquiry was after his beaver, which being brought him, a friend, at the same time, lamenting the mangled state of the head, he exclaimed…O, never think of the head; time and the Doctor will put that to right’s’ but it grieves me to think, that the rascals have ruined my hat forever!

According to Fletcher, this tale is similar to one related by G. W. Lawrence in 1909 that Lawrence was told by his grandmother, Mary Gee, wife to Jimmy Gee.  She stated that Jimmy Gee was a member of Marion’s men in South Carolina early in the war.  He returned to Wilmington when the Tories began their destructive raids.  There he organized a company and during a skirmish on the Wilmington road he received a scalp wound.  According to Mary Gee’s story, Jimmy stated that time and the doctors would cure his head, but that he didn’t know where he would get another hat.  It is certainly conceivable that both Gees received head wounds on that day, however I think it more likely that, upon reading the extract from Garden one of the family incorporated it into family tradition, assuming that it was their patriot Gee.  According to the testiomony of James Kelly, born in 1760, who served with Marion, it was Charles Gee who received the head wound at Eutaw Springs. (Roster of South Carolina Partiots in the American Revolution Vol. II, K-Z by Bobby Gilmer Moss p. 523)

Jimmy owned several thousand acres around Fayetteville, as did his brother John.  The North Carolina Confederate women’s Home in Fayetteville occupied the Jimmy Gee home and graveyard.

James Gee married Mary Walker and they had nine children.

Charles 1772-1812 or 1816

John Walker 1777- pre. 1818

Henry 1782 –

William 1791

James Robert 1794-1859

David 1798-1868

Mary m Edmond Cook

Isabella m Benjamin Chapman

Rebecca m. Archibald McDuffie

Sarah Gee

Sarah married Charles Chapman and she died before 1791.  Allen Chapman was her son.

Winnifret Gee

Winnifret married John Daniel and he is noted in the Georgetown district as having purchased land in 1734, which he sold.

Elizabeth Gee

Elizabeth was still single in 1763.

The Grandchildren of Henry and Rachel Gee

The grandsons of Henry Gee migrated to Gadson County, Florida where they prospered and several held large numbers of slaves.  These Florida Gees fought for the Confederacy and a detailed account is given by Fletcher in The Gee Family.  Two will be noted here.

Major Bolivar Hopkins Gee was born in 1824 and lived in Georgia.  He fought at Gettysburg and Wilderness.  He was with Lee at Appomattox.

Dr. John Henry Gee was born in 1819.  He raised the 4th Florida Battalion that he commanded with Lt. Colonel McClelland as Major-at-Large.  In September, 1864 he was assigned command at Salisbury, North Carolina, which was a prisoner of war camp for Union Troops.  It was very difficult to get supplies and the prison was terribly overcrowded.  After the war he was tried and acquitted for conspiring with Jefferson Davis and others to mistreat prisoners.  It appears he did the best he could, under very bad conditions, to prevent the deaths of his prisoners.  In a time of great bitterness toward those in charge of the Southern prison camps, it is remarkable that he was not convicted. This speaks well of his attempts to preserve life during a time when the Confederacy was finding it difficult to feed and clothe their own army and citizens.

Advertisements