Updated March 13, 2016
Nansemond County was named for the Nansemond Indians, who lived in the area in the early seventeenth century. The word Nansemond means fishing point or angle. When first established in 1637, the county was known as Upper Norfolk, but the name Nansemond was adopted in 1646. The county seat was Suffolk. Nansemond is one of the Commonwealth's Burned Records Counties. County court records were destroyed in three separate fires, the earliest of which consumed the house of the court clerk in April 1734 (where the records were kept at that time), and the last on 7 February 1866. A few fee books have been found in the records of Sussex County.
Chuckatuck Parish, aft 1643-1737
East Parish, 1646-1744
Lower Parish, 1646-1737; 1744
Lower Suffolk Parish, aft 1744
South Parish, 1646-1744
Suffolk Parish, 1737
Upper Parish, 1646-aft 1744
Upper Suffolk Parish, aft 1744
West Parish, 1646-bef 1737
George GILLIAM was transported to Virginia in 1638.
10 Nov 1638
Leift. John Upton, 1500 acs., 100 adj. Ambrose Bennetts land, 500 acs. Of which lies on the other side of the branch opposite against the aforesaid land, running e. into the woods, beg. At an Indian path which goeth over the head of that branch &c. Due for trans of 30 persons: . . . George GILLIN
Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume 1, page 99
Assuming that George was an adult, then he was born about 1618 or earlier. He owned lands Nansemond counties. He is mentioned in several bounds as early as 1647.
In 1667 George is mentioned in the Will of Robert Braswell of Isle of Wight where he is appointed guardian of Robert's children along with Richard Izzard.
George receives a patent in Nansemond in 1674. The same year an Alice Gwillin is transported by a Nansemond resident, Henry Plumpton. It is possible that Alice is a near relative of George.
Later a George is mentioned in the Will of John Lear, dated 1695. It is not likely that this George is the George of the patent of 1638 as he would be approaching 90 years old. It should be noted that John Lear's daughter, Martha, married first Col. William Cole whose descendant married the GILLIAMs of Hanover. Martha Lear Cole married second Lewis Burwell. The name Burwell appears in association with the GILLIAMs of Albemarle Parish.
The George GILLIAM of Upper Parish, Nansemond mentioned in the bounds of Humphrey Griffin in 1717 is likely the George mentioned in the Will of John Lear.
Due to the conditions of the records of Nansemond, little is known about George GILLIAM and his descendants. It should be noted that a George GILLIAMs leaves a Will in Chowan County, NC, dated 22 Sep 1746 which mentions children: Isaac, Samuel and George.
George Guilliams of Chowan County, NC
22 Sep 1746
April Court, 1747.
Sons: Isaac (“my manner plantation”), Samuell, George
Executor: Samuell Guilliams (son).
Witnesses: William Hughes, Junr., George Guilliams, Samuell Guilliams.
Clerk of the Court: Henry Delon.
Later, the Gilliams of New Kent County settle in the Chuckatuck area of Nansemond County.
2 Mar 1898
The marriage of Miss Emma Eugenia GILLIAM to Mr. Thomas A. Barbee, which took place on Wednesday afternoon, March 2, 1898, at 2:30 o’clock, was the crowning event of a happy courtship. While the affair was arranged and carried out in a quiet manner, the ceremony was performed and the joyful congratulations given and received with true-hearted earnestness and pleasure. Promptly at the appointed hour the happy couple preceded by Messrs. L. W. Caulk and H. J. Bowen, the ushers for the occasion, marched into the cozy parlor of the bride elect, where Rev. W. W. Staley, DD, was awaiting to make the twain one.
The nuptial rites having been concluded, the assembled guests lavishly bestowed congratulations and best wishes amid the ringing laughter and pleasant chat of the bride's many girl friends, as well as the friends of the groom. A few moments the entire party entered horse drawn carriages and drove to the Norfolk and Carolina railroad depot (Atlantic Coast Line) where, amid a perfect shower of rice and many au revojrs, the newly-made man and wife boarded the 317 train for an extended tour through Florida.
Although Jacksonville is the objective point, they will visit St. Augustine, Tallahassee and Tampa before returning.
The bride is a daughter of Captain T. Q. GILLIAM of Crittenden, Va., stylish, pretty and very popular, while the groom is a native of Durham, NC. and a popular telegrapher in the employ of the Norfolk and Western railroad, with which company he as been engaged for the past six years.
While the presents received by the young couple were both numerous and costly, the crowning gift came from the Norfolk and Western in the form of free transportation to the points mentioned above and return, and for which Mr. Barbee justly feels proud, as it is a token of the high esteem which his employers have for him.
The bride was dressed in a gray travelling suit, with hat and gloves to match, and carried a prayer book in her hand, while the groom wore the conventional black. During the performance of the ceremony Miss Florence Harvey presided at the piano, skillfully rendering wedding march Valenti.
Among the ladies present from a distance were Miss Francis Kline, of Winchester, Va., Miss Stella Trawner, of Richmond, Va. Miss Maggie Nunnelly, of Pulaski, Va., and Miss Ida Winner, of Crittenden, VA.
The HERALD extends congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple and wishes them a long and prosperous married life.
Suffolk Herald, 2 Mar 1898
[Miss Emma Eugenia Gilliam is the daughter of Thomas Quincy Gilliam and Susan Frances Shackleford.]
24 Aug 1940
Wreck Kills T A Barbee - Retired Capitalist Dies Instantly When Van Strikes Car.
Suffolk, Aug. 24 - Thomas Alonzo Barbee, 72, retired capitalist and owner of much valuable real estate in Suffolk, was instantly killed this morning at 7:30 o'clock, at Kings Fork and Route 460, when the car in which Mr. Barbee alone was in collision with a big moving van, owned by Phillip Greenberg Motor Express of Danville, VA. Driven by Edward Harris, age 30, Negro.
Mr. Barbee, according to the investigators of the accident, State Trooper H. S. Hubbard and County Sheriff Frank Culpeper, drove out from a side road onto the highway almost in front of the motor express which was headed towards Suffolk.
The Barbee car was turned over and Mr. Barbee was crushed under his own car. The motor express ran into a peanut field, in trying to avoid the crash. Harris was placed under arrest on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, and was later released on bail.
Mr. Barbee with a group of friends, had been following fox hunters around Chuckatuck, and had turned off the main highway to come through to the Windsor highway by a side road.
He was the son of the late H. H. and Anne Elizabeth Barbee and was born in Durham, N. C. in 1868. He was retired from active business a number of years ago, and owned large holdings of valuable business property.
Surviving his are his wife, Mrs. Emma Eugenia GILLIAM Barbee, who is an invalid;
a sister, Mrs. Florence Herndon, of Durham, N. C.; two brothers, R. E. Barbee of Staunton, VA and A. L. Barbee of St. Paul’s.
Active pallbearers were: Nephews of the deceased: S. Q. Bunkley, M. P. GILLIAM, E. S. GILLIAM, A. Barbee GILLIAM, R. C. GILLIAM, O. S. Herndon. Q. B. GILLIAM, F. J. Herndon. Burial was at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Suffolk, VA.
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Sunday August 25, 1940
Patents, Bounds and Headrights
3 Feb 1647
Toby Smith to Leonard Guinns, of Nansemund, Planter, the above tract of land Feb. 3 1647, Signed Toby Smith, and acknowledged before Toby Smith Clk, Ct. in said country Witnesses George GWILLUM & Robert Gibson.
Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume I, 201
3 Feb 1647
Toby Smith to Leonard Guinns, planter, the above tract of land, (3 Feb 1647)
signed Toby Smith and acknowledged before Toby Smith, Clk. Ct. in said country. Witnesses George GWILLUM & Robert Gibson
Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume I, 174
29 Sep 1674
Hen. Plumpton, 500 acs.
At a place formerly called now (or new) Plumpton Parke, near the place called Keepers Lodge, adj. Mr. Lear; by Bare Quarter. over the white marsh &c. Trans. Of 10 pers: Jno. Heath, Richd. Gardner, Wm. Dyer, Geo. Williams, Dva(?) Druit, Mary Creeke, Richd. Ozborne, Alice GWILLIN, Step. Gaile, Sym. Preachett.
Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume II, 156
24 Feb 1675
Mr. George GWILLINS 300 acs. 24 Feb 1675
Part of 400 acs. Granted to James Cannaday & found to escheat by inquisition under John Lear, deputy esch’r, &c.
Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume II, 171
24 Jan 1717, Upper Parish
Humphrey Griffin, 275 acs. 24 Jan 1717
(N.L.) Alexander Reddick; his own Land; William Thomson, & John Brinley on head of the Mossey Sw; up Peters’ branch; to Peter Eason’s corner, on George GWILLIAM’S line, 30 shill
Cavaliers and Pioneers, Volume III, 200
Wills, Estates and Inventories
21 Nov 1695
Will of John Lear of Nansemond
To widow Pitt, my sister, besides what she owes me £5
To poor widow Perdue of Isle of Wight County, 500 lbs of tobacco a year as long as she lives
All wearing apparel at my house which was belonging to my wife and daughter, I give to my daughter Martha Burwell and daughter Elizabeth Lear, widow of my dec'd son Thomas Lear
To granddaughter Elizabeth Lear, all that tract I leased of Col. Jacob Powell, now in possession of Capt. Robert Randell, lying on Warwicksquick Bay, 50 acres, to her and heirs of her body, and if she dies to John George, and in default of this to my grandson John Lear
To Charles Coreinge, all my land in Surry, 330 acres I was about to sell to William Brown, & negroes
To John George, negroes to use on the land he has until land give by Col. George comes in his possession
Clothes to James Montgomrie
All rest of my estate here, in England or in Caroline to be shared equally: 1/3 to grandson John Lear, second 1/3 to two granddaughters Elizabeth and Martha, children of my only son Thomas Lear, decd.
The third and last part to my daughter Martha Burwell and the children she had by Col. Cole and the land I bought of George Guilliam, adjoining plantation where John Mack Williams did live, 350 acres.
Son in law Lewis Burwell and my good friend Capt. Thomas Godwin, executors.
Wit: William Cofield, Jno. Lowe, Elizabeth Bridger, and Ann Feild
Probated at a court for Nansemond 12 Dec 1695
[Note connection of Burwell and GILLIAM]
Virginia Magazine of History, Volume 11, pages 30-31 from North Carolina Wills, Volume 18, page 1.
- Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers: A Calendar of Virginia Land Grants, 1623-1800. Vol. 1:1-7. Richmond, VA: Dietz Printing Co.
- Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Sunday August 25, 1940
- Suffolk Herald, 2 Mar 1898
- Virginia Magazine of History, Volume 11, pages 30-31 from North Carolina Wills, Volume 18, page 1.