Person:James Gay (12)

James Gay, of the Little Calfpasture and Cowpasture, Augusta County
b.Est. 1719-1723
d.Bef. 19 November 1776 Augusta County, Virginia
m. Bef. 1715
  1. John Gay, of the Little Calfpasture of Augusta CountyAbt 1715 - Abt 1776
  2. James Gay, of the Little Calfpasture and Cowpasture, Augusta CountyEst 1719-1723 - Bef 1776
  3. William Gay, of the Little Calfpasture of Augusta CountyABT 1720 - Bef 1755
  4. Robert Gay, of the Calfpasture, Augusta County, VAest 1722 - bef 1762
  5. Samuel Gay, of the Little Calfpasture, Augusta Countybef 1729 - 1799
  6. Eleanor Gay1740 - 1825
  • HJames Gay, of the Little Calfpasture and Cowpasture, Augusta CountyEst 1719-1723 - Bef 1776
  • WJean WarwickABT 1721 - 1758
m. ABT 1740
  1. John GayABT 1743 -
  2. Agnes Gay1745 - 1804
  3. Jane Warwick Gay1750 - 1845
  4. Capt. James Gay, Jr.1758 - 1840
  • HJames Gay, of the Little Calfpasture and Cowpasture, Augusta CountyEst 1719-1723 - Bef 1776
  • WJean Kirkpatrickest 1743 -
m. est. 1762
  1. Martha GayAFT 1762 -
  2. Robert Gay1768 - 1834
  3. Samuel Gayabt 1774 - abt 1851
Facts and Events
Name James Gay, of the Little Calfpasture and Cowpasture, Augusta County
Gender Male
Birth? Est. 1719-1723
Alt Birth? ABT 1733 Ireland
Marriage ABT 1740 prob. Augusta County, Virginiato Jean Warwick
Marriage est. 1762 to Jean Kirkpatrick
Death? Bef. 19 November 1776 Augusta County, Virginia

James Gay was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia


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Advisory on the Gay Family of Augusta County

Caution! There are many errors in research of the Gay family of Augusta County, Virginia. It is highly suggested that the following source be consulted before any changes are made to this family.

Gay Families of Augusta and Rockbridge Counties, Virginia Author(s): Robert H. Montgomery Source: The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Apr., 1951), pp. 195-215 Published by: Virginia Historical Society

Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA

James Gay acquired land in the "Little Calfpasture" area of Augusta County, Virginia, by about 1747. James Gay name is listed on a petition of about 1749 for a local road to be built, along with James Gay, William Gay, and William Elliott. (Source: The Surname Gay website of John B. Robb,

Acquisition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 516.--14th June, 1762. Samuel ( ) Gay, of Anson County, North Carolina, and Jean ( ) to James Gay, £70, 354 acres on Little River of Calfpasture in Beverley's patent. Cor. William Elliott; cor. William Gay. Teste: Samuel Crockett, Alex. Hamilton, Jno. Stinson. Proved by witnesses. [Note: Samuel was a brother of James Gay].

Disposition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 241.--19th April, 1763. James Gay to David Martin, £116.10, 354 acres on Little River of Calf Pasture; corner William Elliot's land; corner Wm. Gay; same purchased by said James from Samuel Gay, who purchased from William Beverley.

Will of James Gay

  • Page 434.--23d September, 1776. James Gay's will--To wife, Jean; to son, John, 5 shillings; to son, James, land adjoining John in the Cowpasture; to son, Robert, land testator lives on; to son, Samuel, tract on Mill Creek in Cowpasture; to daughter, Agness; to daughter, Jean; to daughter, Mary; to daughter, Marthew. Executors, wife Jean Gay and Robert Dunlap. Teste: James Elliot, John Dunlap. 19th November, 1776, proved by the witnesses. Executors qualify.

Records of James Gay in Augusta County, VA

From Chalkley’s Augusta County Records:

  • Vol. 1 - 6th March, 1754. Thomas and Andrew Lewis entered 400 on Bratton's Run, in Calfpasture, which runs through that place of Dunlops, where he last lived; 100 on Little River, between McCutchan and Clendenning's old place; 200 joining south side McCutchan's land below William Smith's; 200 on a branch of ye Great River of Calfpasture near a mile northwest of Samuel Fincher; 200 joining Thomas Gay's land in Cowpasture; 200 on ye Glady land at ye Sulphur Mine, south side Warm Spring Mountain Gap; 100 at foot of Warm Spring Mountain, about two miles from said Spring; 200 joining survey at Warm Springs and down the branch; 200 about two miles from Warm Springs; 200 in Cowpasture, side of Warm Spring Mounain, near James Gay's. Robert McClenachan.

Information on James Gay


James Gay, who died in 1776, acquired 149 acres in the Little Calfpasture,, corner John Gay, corner William Elliott, from William Beverley, by deed dated November 27, 1747 (Chalkley, II, 162). In 1749 he was a petitioner with other inhabitants of Little River in the Calf Pasture for a road frim William Gay's to Robert McCutcheon's Mill, thence to Robert Campbell's; the petitioners were William Elliott, Thomas Fulton, John Meek, John Gay, William Gay, Thomas Meek, James Gay, John Fulton and James Stenson [Stevenson] (id., I, 435). In a deed to William Gay of 490 acres in Col. Beverley's part of the Calfpasture on both sides of Little River, dated February 27, 1749-[50] two corners were Samuel Gay and James Stevenson (Augusta Deeds 2:486). So by 1749 we find James, John, William, and Samuel Gay in the Little Calfpasture. Some years earlier Henry and Robert had acquired titles in the Big Calfpasture. We know (see tit. Two William Gays) that John and William were brothers.

All four of the Little Calfpasture Gays may have been brothers. For reasons stated elsewhere I think that Henry was not a brother of them; Robert may have been. James Gay was a constable in 1750. He acquired land in the Cowpasture by I755, but if I read the interview with his daughter Jane aright, he himself lived in the Calfpasture until his death. The land he acquired from Samuel in 1762 appears to have been sold to David Martin the following year (id. III, 388, 398), and I find no record of his acquiring any land in the Calfpasture other than the I49 acres mentioned above and that he leased March 2I, I759, to John Warwick for three years (id., III, p. 353). I feel sure, however, that he had other land.

In Chalkley and elsewhere there are various items showing James as a witness, a petitioner, a bound in a Cowpasture survey, a litigant, possibly a 1758 soldier (Hening, Statutes at Large . . . of Virginia, VII, p. I98), a surety, an appraiser, holder of a hemp certificate (Morton, Rockbridge, 46I), a highway surveyor, etc. These items identify him with others by the name of Gay and with other Calfpasture families (Chalkley, passim, and the references above).

1776, September 23. Will of James Gay, proved November I9, 1776. Wife Jean, son John 5 s., son James, land adjoining John in the Cow- pasture. Son Robert, land testator lives on. Son Samuel, tract on Mill Creek in Cowpasture. Daughters, Agnes, Jean, Mary, Marthew. Excrs: Wife Jean Gay and Robert Dunlap. Teste: James Elliott, John Dunlap (Chalkley, III, 144). On March Ii, I777, the estate of James Gay was appraised by Alexander Hamilton, John Dunlap, James Crockett (id., III, I 46).

1780, June 24. Will of Jane Gay of Rockbridge, proved November 7, 1780. Son, Robert Gay. Daughter, Martha Gay. Son, Samuel Gay. Books equally among children, Robert, Martha & Samuel Gay, and if daughter should die before she comes of age, gowns, &c. equally between Jane Steven- son and Jane Wilson. My sisters Hannah and Mary. My hat to Lottie Wilson. I allow my children to live with Jean and John Gay but if they leave them before they come of age they must be allowed out of my estate sufficient for their maintenance & schooling. Executors: John Gay, Esq. and Robert Dunlap. Wit: John Dunlap and James Elliott. Signed Jean Gay (mark). Proved November 7, 1780 (Will Boox i: ioI).

Among the Draper Mss. at the State Historical Library, Madison, Wis- consin, is an account of an interview by John D. Shane with Jane Gay Stevenson of Woodford County, Kentucky, much of which is quoted in 37 Kentucky State Society Register, pp. 310, et seq. From this we learn that Jane, who was born November I 5, 1750, was daughter of James Gay of the Calf Pastures and his wife who was killed by the Indians when Jane was eight years old.

From Shane's interview with James Stevenson, a nephew of Jane Gay Stevenson, we learn that old Mr. Gay [James of the Calfpasture] and old Mr. Stevenson, uncle Sammy's father [Uncle Sammy married Jane] married sisters and Uncle Sam and Aunt Jane were cousins.

From the above we may infer that James Gay was married twice, once to a woman killed in I758 who was the mother of all his children except those named as the children of the second wife in the will of the second wife, Jane Gay, supra, and, second to Jane whose will is abstracted above. Going to the Warrick [Warwick] family, we find, according to Morton, Rockbridge, p. 540, that Jane Warrick, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Dunlap) Warrick married James Gay and that Martha, her sister, married John Stevenson.

There seems no doubt that the will of Jane Gay, abstracted above, is the will of the second wife of James Gay of the Calfpasture. The lists of chil- dren in her will and his are consistent; each appointed Robert Dunlap as an executor and to each will, John Dunlap and James Elliott were witnesses. I have not identified the second wife. There may be a clue in her mention of sisters Hannah and Mary and perhaps in the names chosen for her children, Robert, Martha, Samuel.

In 1745 and I746 9I separate tracts in the upper basin of the James River above the mouth ofthe Cowpasture covering about 27,000 acres, were sur- veyed for a syndicate which included Thomas and Andrew Lewis. This "Lewis Land Grant" covered land in the present Virginia counties of Bath, Alleghany and Highland, the principal streams being Cowpasture River, Bullpasture River and Jackson River. The Bullpasture joins the Cowpasture near the boundary between Highland and Bath, and it is as the Cowpasture that it flows southerly through Bath. Jackson's River also flows southerly through Bath. The two rivers join near Clifton Forge and there assume the name of James ( in Colonial times Fluvanna). 'The Cowpasture river in I 743 was better known as Clover Creek, and until I 760 the Bullpasture was generally called Newfoundland Creek." (Oren F. Morton, Annals of Bath County, Va., Staunton, Virginia, I9I7, Chapters II and III.)

Among the early purchasers for whom surveys were made was Robert Abercrombie with 425 acres on Cromby's Run of the Cowpasture. Crom- by's Run, we are told by Morton, is now Thompson's Creek, which flows easterly through the middle of Bath past the Windy Cove church into the Cowpasture, picking up the waters of a stream called Gay's Run en route. Abercrombie sold and patent issued to James Gay, 1760. On September I-2, I773, James Gay and Jane, his wife of Augusta, to John Gay of same, 336 acres on a branch of the Cowpasture River known as Cromby's Run. Bound James Gay. Witnesses: John Dunlap, Robert Dunlap, James Elliott. Ack. November i9, 1776 (Augusta Deeds 21:349). This was a deed from a father and a stepmother to the oldest son and explains why John got only 5 s. in his father's will.

This gave John 336 acres of the Abercrombie 425. By the will of Septem- ber 23, 1I776, James Gay gave his son James land adjoining John in the Cowpasture. This will was proved November i 9, 1776, the same day that the above deed was acknowledged. By whom was it acknowledged? The will is reported above. The witnesses to the will were the same as were the witnesses to the deed

May 14, I 782, John Gay and Sarah, his wife, and James Gay, his brother, all of Augusta, conveyed the 425 acres of Henry Rockey, which land was made to the said John and James Gay "by their last will" (sic). The wit- nesses were John Dickinson, Hugh Hicklin, James Erwin, and John Smith. Deed proved June 2I, 179I (Augusta Deed 27:141).

From the above and the authorities below we make the following inferences:

James' Gay, born in Ireland (Shane interview with Jane Stevenson, ubisupra), probably brother of John, William (d. I755), Samuel of the Little Calfpasture, perhaps of Eleanor Gay Kinkead; perhaps of Robert and probably not of Henry, was married twice. He died in 1776. Children of James' Gay and Jane (Jean) Warwick (who was killed by Indians in I758 or I759):

(I) John2 (James'), b. 1740. He went with his brothers-in-law Samuel Stevenson and Alexander Dunlap to Woodford County, Ky. and was one of the founders of Pisgah, 1784. It is said that he retumed to Virginia before his death. His wife was Sarah Lockridge, b. March I754, dau. of Robert. He was, I think, the John Gay who in I773 was road surveyor from the Cow Pasture River to Liard Bells. I also believe that he was the John Guy listed by Capt. John Poage as a tithable in I782, which would place him on the Greenbrier at that time, perhaps temporarily between trips to Kentucky. The Poage list also included James Guy, Alexander Dunlap, Levi Moore and Jacob Warrick. The children of John2 bom between 177I and 1799 are listed in Railey, 157; see also the Pisgah Meeting, 37 Kentucky State Historical Society Register, 284 et seq.

(2) James2 (Jamesl) is placed second in this list because that is the order in his father's will. Railey, however, says that James was born about 1758, which would make him the youngest of his mother's children, and explain why his father did not provide for him in 1773 when he deeded a farm to the elder brother, John. James2 (Jamesl) was, I believe, an ensign in the Revolution. He was later known as Capt. James Gay of Mound Hill, Clark Co., Kentucky. It was said that he was in the party led by Samuel Stevenson from Greenbrier to Lexington, Ky., when it arrived Oct. 27, 1779. He was a signer of the "citizens compact" which began the political organi- zation of Lexington, January 25, 1780. On May 14, 1782, he joined with his brother, John, in a deed to Cowpasture land, and again on June 21, 1791. I think he was the James Guy who appears on the Poage list, Supra. Apparently his Revolutionary service was at Clover Lick in what is now Pocahontas County, West Virginia. The officers of his company are named as Capt. Andrew Lockridge, Lieut. Wm. Kinhead, Ensign James Gay. It is said that he married three times (i) Sarah Patton, dau. of Matthew Patton, (2) Elizabeth Dunlap, bo. 1762, dau. of John and Ann (Clark) Dunlap, and (3) Mary Kirtley Bames, nee Kirtley. I have not attempted to list his children; some information about them will be found in the section "Miscellaneous Notices" Refer- ences: Chalkley, I, 265, I44; III, 592; II, 467; Augusta Deeds 27:I41; Morton Alle- ghany Co., Dayton, Va., 1923, p. 2I6; Charles R. Staples, History of Pioneer Lexing- ton (Kentucky), Lexington, 1934, p. iI; Morton, Rockbridge, 483, 486; 37 Kentucky State Historical Society Register, 3o8; Railey, 148-9; Waddell, 250; Gwathmey shows a James Gay as an ensign; as a member of Capt. Kinkead's Co., Augusta, and on the militia pension list, I833, Clark Co., Kentucky. For Matthew Patton's will dated May 2, I803, proved June 6, I803, see Clark Co., Kentucky, records in Mrs. Harry Kennett McAdams, Kentucky Pioneer and Court Records, Lexington (Kentucky), 1929. The testator did not mention James Gay or a daughter Martha or any children of them, omissions consistent with an early death of Martha without issue living in I804.

(3) Agness2 (James'), first of his daughters to be named in her father's will, prob ably born between 1740 and before 25 September 1745 (Jane was born that year) but Morton, Rockbridge (p. 486) says she was bom 1745. It is said that she married, 1768, Alexander Dunlap, b. 1743. (For a list of her children and an account of Col. Alexander Dunlap see Railey, pp. 150 et seq.; see also an article on Colonel Alexander Dunlap, by John Goodwin Hemdon, 54 Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 321.) On August io, I773 Alexander Dunlap and Agness his wife conveyed ioo acres on Dunlap Creek, a branch of the James, to James Robinson (Botetourt Deeds in Summers, Southwest Virginia, p. 549). Alexander Dunlap was at Pisgah, Ken- tucky, in 1784, when he built a house. His wife Agness (Gay) Dunlap died there in 1804, and is there buried (Report of Pisgah Meeting, 37 Kentucky State Historical Society Register, 314, 320). Railey, basing his account on information fumished by Boutwell Dunlap, says that Alexander Dunlap was bom October 1743 in Augusta, son of Capt. Alexander and Ann (McFarland) Dunlap of the Pastures. He built a house on the Greenbrier on what is now Pocahontas Co., West Virginia, which was known as Clover Lick Fort. He sold to his cousin Major Jacob Warwick and settled in Woodford Co. and was a founder of Pisgah Church and also the Academy. Both Alexander Dunlap and Jacob Warrick appear on the Poage list, Supra. After death of his wife he moved to Ohio. Nine children of Alexander Dunlap and Agness (Gay) Dunlap are listed (Railey, I5i).

(4) Jane2 (James'), the second daughter named in the will of her father, was born Nov. I5, 1750 in Augusta Co., Virginia, and lived in the Calfpasture in her youth. She married Samuel Stevenson, b. 1742, son of John and Martha Warwick, and therefore her first cousin, 1771, moved to the Greenbrier in 1775, went to Ken- tucky and was one of the first white women in Lexington where she arrived in Oct. 1779. Samuel Stevenson and Jane (Gay) Stevenson had ten children, born between 1772 and I79I (List with names of spouses in 37 Kentucky State Historical Society Register, 314). Jane died Feb. 8, I845, aged 95. Her will was dated March i7, i841, probated May I845 (Woodford (Kentucky) Wills, M-412). The Shane interview with Jane Stevenson is in the Draper MSS.

(5) Mary2 (James'). No information except the will.

Children of Jamesl Gay and his second wife, Jane, the testatrix of June 24, 1780, above, were:

(6) Robert2 (Jamesl), oldest child of James and his second wife, was of course bom after 1758 (date of the death of the first wife) and was therefore an infant at the time of his father's death and perhaps at the time of his mother's death. He was given the land his father lived on, very likely in the Calfpasture. His mother 'left" him and the other children to live with Jean and John Gay. This sounds to me like Jane, widow of Johnl and her son, Major John Gay, whom she appointed the executor of the will. T}he Jane of the family of Jamesl was in 1780 Jane Stevenson and lived in Kentucky. I believe that this Robert was the founder of the family in what is now Pocahontas County, West Virginia. If so, he mamed Hannah Moore, daughter of Levi and had sons Samuel, George, John, Andrew, Robert and James and daughters Jennie, Sallie and Agnes. Morton, Rockbridge, p. 486, gives 1793 as the date of the marriage. Price has an account of this family, including a sketch of the third son, John, bom I804. Robert2 Gay died May 22, I834; his wife Hannah, Aug. I5, 1859. Robert Gay was a justice in 1812 in Bath County, Virginia; Pocahontas was not established until 1823 (Morton, Bath, p. 137).

(7) Martha2 (James') was not of age in I780 when her mother's will was made. I have no further information about her.

(8) Samuel2 (Jamesl). Youngest child, I believe, of Jamesl. He was given a tract on Mill Creek in the Cowpasture. A Samuel Gay married Margaret Mustoe in I799. She was daughter of Anthony Mustoe. See his will, dated I812 (Chalkley, II, 200; see also Morton, Bath, p. 199). No further information.

Footnote to above: Since writing the above, I have examined certified copies of the will of John Gay and his appraisement, also photostatic copies of the return of Rockbridge County Personal Property, 1782, and Capt. James Bratton's return for the same year of Augusta County Personal Property. The lists of the slaves afford confirmation of several inferences above. In the will, Johnl Gray gave to his wife Jean, slaves Dinah, Bob, Sam; to Agnes, Peter; to Mary, Darke; to John, Moses; to Jean, Rachel; and to Elizabeth, Andrew and Jack. The appraisement shows him the owner of a Negro woman and child, "old Jean," and the following named in the will: Bob, Sam, Moses, Rachel, Andrew and Jack. In I782 we find John Gay, Esq., the owner of seven slaves, Jack, Dinah, Moses, Andrew, Sam, Dinah, Anne. We also find Humphrey Montgomery as owner of Rachel - presumably the slave given to Jean, which would become his property upon marriage. Next to Humphrey on the Bratton list is John Willson with a slave "name Darke" or something similar. Is this the "Darke" that Mary got and does this mean she married John Willson? It will be noted that Darke is not listed in the appraisement.

Caution! There are many errors in research of the Gay family of Augusta County, Virginia. It is highly suggested that the following source be consulted before any changes are made to this family.

Gay Families of Augusta and Rockbridge Counties, Virginia Author(s): Robert H. Montgomery Source: The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Apr., 1951), pp. 195-215 Published by: Virginia Historical Society