Gilbert Hay Family

Gilbert Hay (1655-c1730) — immigrant to Charles City County

Gilbert Hay was one of 18 persons claimed as headrights by William Edmonds and John Williams in a 20 April 1682 patent for land in Charles City County.1 Oddly, he was claimed again as a headright by Roger Bryan in a 30 October 1686 patent for land downriver in Lower Norfolk County.2  Whether that was a different person with the identical name or the same person claimed twice is not known.

The only extant records for Charles City County of the period are a court order book covering 1687-1695 supplemented by a 1694-1700 court order book which was acquired by the Library of Virginia in 2016.  Gilbert Hay appears in those order books on several occasions.  He was apparently employed by a merchant named Charles Hay, who died in 1695 after leaving a letter of instruction to one Charles Anderson that the court accepted as his nuncupative will.3  In a clue to his origins, Charles Hay’s letter asks that the bulk of his goods be consigned to a firm of London merchants “for the use of Mr. John Hay of Inchnock neer Glasgow, John Browlie his heyres, and William Marshall merts [merchants].”  The letter ends with an instruction to Charles Anderson to “take my friend Gilbert Hay your assistant and lett him have for his paines.” On 16 September 1695 Gilbert Hay “aged fortie or thereabouts” testified that Charles Hay had given him the letter to deliver to Charles Anderson, and told him that “he and you are to take care of my affairs…4  Three other men added the testimony that a few days before his death Charles Hay had said that he wanted certain goods sold by Gilbert Hay and an accounting rendered to Charles Anderson.5   A year later, on 15 September 1696 Charles Anderson gave a power of attorney to Gilbert Hay to recover debts due to Charles Hay’s estate, referencing “ye will of ye sd Mr. Hay when he apoynts ye sd Gilbert my assistant.”6

Plantation in Charles City County adjacent to Adam Ivey family

Sometime previous to 1695 Gilbert Hay had acquired land in what became Prince George County, as his adjacent land is mentioned in a deed from Thomas and Mary Busby to Thomas Smith on 4 March 1694/5, in a deed witnessed by George Ivey. 7  The metes and bounds suggest that it was part of a 539-acre patent to the Busbys that included the southernmost part of what is now the James River National Wildlife Refuge, roughly 8-10 miles west of Chippoakes Creek, the border with Surry County. 8  Indeed, on 5 February 1699/1700 Thomas and Mary Busby sold 90 acres of that patent to Gilbert Hay, describing it as land currently under lease to George Ivey.9  The 1704 Quit Rents for Prince George County list Gilbert “Haye” with 200 acres, probably consisting of those two parcels.

Between 1692 and 1700, Gilbert Hay appeared as a witness, juryman, or estate appraiser on several occasions, notably as a witness to the 1696 will of his father-in-law Adam Ivey.10

The part of Charles City County south of the James was reformed as Prince George County in 1703.  Unfortunately, there are no records of any kind for the first few years of Prince George’s existence.  The earliest county records include only an order book for 1713-20 and a book of wills and deeds covering the period 1710-28.  No further records of significance survive until 1787, except for deeds and wills recorded in 1759-60.

Married to Susan Ivey

Fortunately, these records include the will of one Mary Wilkins dated 24 January 1708/9 and proved two years later, which was witnessed by Gilbert Hay, Susanna Hay, and “Suz. Hay Junr.”, the women signing by mark.11  His wife “Susanna” was apparently the “Susan Hays” named in the will of Elizabeth Ivey, widow of Adam Ivey.  Adam Ivey had died in early 1696 with Gilbert Hay one of the witnesses to his will, which mentioned only his wife and sons George, Adam, and Henry. 12  His widow’s will, dated 26 April 1718 and proved on 8 March 1720, gave “unto my daughter Susan Hays, a gold ring“.13  (Incidentally, the security for her son’s executorship was Edward Prince, who appears with Gilbert Hay in several subsequent records.)

Anther fortuitously preserved record is the will of a neighbor of the Iveys named James Jones, which was witnessed on 6 April 1719 by Gilbert Hay and Edward Prince.14  The witnesses were deposed on 9 June 1719 when Gilbert Hay stated that he was “aged sixty three years or thereabouts” and Edward Prince  stated that he was “aged 39 years or thereabouts”.15

Died sometime after 1728

Although he appears in a few early Surry County records, though never as a resident, Gilbert Hay resided in Prince George County, where he served on juries in 1714 and 1717 and was appointed to appraise property quite frequently between 1715 and 1722 according to the order book covering 1713-1720 and the records book covering 1710-1728.16 17  The same records show him witnessing deeds and wills or otherwise appearing in Prince George records through 1727, after which few records exist.   Notably, on 16 December 1723 he witnessed the sale of land in Prince George adjoining his own plantation by his brother-in-law Adam Ivey to Edward Prince.18

Since there is no mention of his death, nor any disposition of his lands, in the surviving deed book we assume he died after 1728, a period for which few records exist in Prince George County.  The only subsequent record is a court order book covering 1737-1740 that mentions a slave of Gilbert Hay, though it is possible that record referred to his son who lived in adjacent Surry County.  The last certain sighting of him was his witness to a deed between Prince George residents on 10 May 1728 recorded in Surry County. 19  He also witnessed a deed between two Prince George residents on 22 March 1715 for land on Three Creeks in Isle of Wight County.20  He may have had a second wife, as Gilbert Hay and Sarah Hay witnessed one of George Ivey’s sales in 1720.

He can be differentiated from the younger Gilbert Hay of Surry County records by the fact that the elder Gilbert was obviously literate and signed his name, while the younger Gilbert Hay signed by mark.

    1. Charles Hay (c1690 – ? )  Gilbert Hay Jr.’s 1758 will devised land in Sussex County to his “cousin” (typically meaning nephew) Gilbert Hay, son of Charles Hay.21  In 1715 Charles Hay of Martins Brandon parish of Prince George County made bond promising to pay Gilbert and Elizabeth Gordon, at their maturity, the £15 he owed to Gilbert Hay Sr.22  On 1 February 1733/4 Charles Hay of Martins Brandon parish of Prince George County bought from Nicholas Bush 100 acres in Surry County on the Cabbin Branch near the Prince George line.23   Ten years later on 29 December 1743, Charles Hay sold that 100 acres as a resident of Craven County, North Carolina.24   Charles Hay does not appear in the deed books of Craven County, but he may be the same Charles Hay who appears in the records of Duplin County.

      The births of three children to Charles and Sarah Hay are recorded in the Albemarle Parish register between 1735 and 1740.  They may have been their younger children since Gilbert Hay was not among them.  I presume they went to North Carolina with their father.  His wife may have been the “couzen Sarah Hays” mentioned in the 1729 will of John White.25

      1. Gilbert Hay (c1725? – ?)  He was devised 125 acres in Sussex County by the 1758 will of his uncle. He sold that 125 acres “where he now lives” adjacent to Richard Hay just six years later on 16 August 1764.26  He then disappeared from Sussex County records.

        It is possible, but by no means certain, that he was the same Gilbert Hay who was granted land in Craven County, South Carolina the same year.  After defaulting on a bond in Berkley County in 1768 he removed to British West Florida where he died about 1778. According to a descendant, he testified in court there that he was born in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1727. (Note also the possibility that this was rather the Gilbert Hay who settled in Halifax County in 1749.)

      2. William Hay (30 Mar 1735 – ?)
      3. Amy Hay (9 Oct 1737 – ?)
      4. Henry Hay (26 June 1740 – ?)
    2. Gilbert Hay (c1690? – 1758) Unlike the elder Gilbert Hay this man, presumably his son, used a signature mark. Gilbert Hay married, in Surry County, the widow of Thomas Griffis, who left a will dated 8 April 1726 and proved 21 September 1726 naming his widow Mary and minor children Thomas, Edward, John, Travis, Jane, Mary, and Elizabeth.27 By the time the inventory was presented just a month later on 19 October 1726, Mary Griffis had become Mary Hay.28 (She was evidently a Morris, as the will named a brother-in-law Travis Morris as co-executor.) As Mary Hay she bound out her son Edward Griffis in 1743.29 Thomas Griffis had bought a 450-acre parcel north of the Blackwater in 1717 that was bisected by the county line between Prince George and Surry.30 His will left the home plantation on the Surry County side of the line to his wife Mary, and that is where Gilbert Hay seems to have lived the remainder of his life.

      On 18 November 1734 Gilbert Hay of Surry County bought 650 acres on both sides of the Great Swamp in what became Sussex County from Richard Moore.31  It was very nearly on the Isle of Wight (later Southampton) County border according to an adjacent 1747 grant to Richard Bland.32 He sold 200 acres of this tract a year later to Gilbert Prince and another 200 acres in 1750 to William Tomlinson.33 The remaining 250 acres were devised in his will of 1758 to his nephew  and a stepson.  Surry records indicate that Gilbert Hay continued to live north of the Blackwater on the land of Thomas Griffis.

      His will, dated 14 April 1758 and proved four days later, left legacies to numerous relatives.34 Part of his Sussex County land was left to “my cousin Gilbert Hay, son of Charles Hay” and other legacies were left to “my brother Richard Hay” and to “my sister Ruth Solomon wife of William Solomon.” The other half of his Sussex County land was left to son-in-law (stepson) John Griffis. Other legacies were left to Edward Griffis and Thomas, son of Edward Griffis; Betty Prince, wife of Nicholas Prince; Nathan, Henry, and Nicholas Prince; Jane Jarrat, wife of Nicholas Jarrat; Lucy Cotton, wife of John Cotton; Stephen Johnson; James Holloway, son of John Sr.; Mary Weaver, wife of Edward; Edith Griffis, wife of Thomas; Betty Tatum. It names several of these as godchildren: Gilbert Hay, Lucy Cotton, Richard Carlisle, Jane Jarret, Stephen Johnson, James Holloway, Lucy Griffis, and Betty Prince.

    3. Richard Hay ( ) On 24 May 1734 Richard Hay of Surry County patented 200 acres on the north side of Three Creeks in southern Surry (later Sussex) County adjacent to the land of Gilbert Hay purchased a few months later.35  He appears to have lived on that land for the rest of his life, appearing in several parish processioning records for that land.  He bought land over the border in Isle of Wight but sold it a year later, evidently never having settled on it.  Richard Hay appears jointly in records with Gilbert Hay, Peter Hay, and William Solomon, and Gilbert Hay’s will left his still to “my brother Richard Hay.”  Richard Hay wrote his own will on 18 December 1786, proved on 18 September 1788, leaving a life estate to his wife Frances, and providing for three sons named John, Richard, and Balaam Hay.36  The births of three children to Richard and Frances Hay were entered in the Albemarle Parish register: Richard, Balaam, and Seth.  All three remained in Sussex County. Two other children were identified by estate records.

      1. John Hay (?-?)  Richard Hay’s will left half his land to John Hay “where he now lives”. He was not further traced.
      2. Richard Hay (2 May 1740 – 1796)  He wrote his will in Sussex County on 19 March 1796, proved on 1 September 1796, naming wife Eady, a minor son Richard Hay, a daughter Molly Atkins (wife of John Atkins), minor daughters named Eady, Lucy, and Sealah.  His brother Balaam Hay was named co-executor. 37  His wife Eady may have been a sister of William Solomon, as Richard Hay and William & Lewis Solomon were all paid from the estate of Beadles Underwood.
      3. Balaam Hay (24 February 1746 – c1803)  He was evidently childless.  The inventory of his estate was presented by his brother Seth Hay on 3 February 1803.38  An accounting presented two years later suggests that he had no wife or children, as the legatees included Seth Hay, the children of Richard Hay, the children of Ester Underwood, Benjamin Hay, and several others.39
      4. Seth Hay (6 March 1754 – 1801)  He wrote his will on 16 March 1801, proved on 7 July 1803. 40  It left his estate to his wife Frances for life, then to “all my children” who were not named.  His wife and son Enos Hay were named executors.  He died while administering his brother’s estate, his son Enos (Ennis) Hay closing the accounts.
      5. Esther Hay (c1750? – 1798)  She was married to Mark Underwood, a close neighbor of her brothers. The Albemarle Parish register contains an entry for the birth of Betsy Underwood, daughter of Mark and Ester Underwood on 8 July 1771, with Sarah Hay one of the sponsors.  Esther left a will dated 11 December 1797 and proved 1 February 1798, naming four children: Edmund Underwood, John Underwood, Nancy Underwood, and Rebecca Mosely the wife of Frederick Moseley.41 Her children were legatees of Balaam Hay’s estate.
    4. Peter Hay (c1700? – 1761)  Peter Hay married Martha Sledge of Surry County, Virginia sometime between 3 November 1725 when the will of Charles Sledge bequeathed “unto my daughter Martha Sledge one three year old heifer” and 8 January 1726/7 when his widow Mary Sledge’s will bequeathed her residual estate to “my daughter Martha Hay” and made her son-in-law Peter Hay executor.42  (Charles Sledge and his brother-in-law Robert Carlisle were neighbors of Gilbert Hay.)  On 5 January 1731/2 Peter Hay of Surry County bought 100 acres on Three Creeks in the southwestern part of Isle of Wight that would later become Southampton County, just a couple miles from Sussex County  and quite close to the land that Gilbert Hay and Richard Hay would buy in 1734.43 Seventeen years later on 20 September 1748 Peter Hay was issued a patent for 130 acres adjoining his own land on the north side of Three Creeks and extending to Brown’s Branch, along which also lay the lands of Gilbert and Richard Hay.44  In the meantime his brother-in-law Henry Ivey (c1695-1774), who had married Rebecca Sledge, also settled nearby on Three Creeks. The two brothers-in-law witnessed a deed together for nearby land on 22 September 1743.45. Gilbert Hay and Richard Hay meanwhile had settled a few miles away on Brown’s Branch north of Three Creeks, but across the line in Surry (later Sussex) County.

      On 6 March 1749/50 Peter Hays and his wife Martha Hays “of Southampton County” sold 100 acres of his 230-acre tract on the north side of Three Creeks and the Great Swamp to Martha’s nephew Henry Ivey Jr.46  Fourteen years later, on 13 March 1754 Peter Hay (sic) “of the parish of Nottoway” and Southampton County sold his remaining 130 acres to his son-in-law Francis Hilliard.47  The family moved to Halifax County, North Carolina where Peter Hay left a will dated 3 August 1760, and proved at the March court 1761. 48  The will five shillings to his son Charles Hays, and five shillings each to seven daughters named Rebecca “Emry” (Emory, wife of Edward Emory), Edy Philips, Winny Hilliard (wife of Francis Hilliard), Selve Hays, Milly Hays, Wille Hays, and Hannah (no surname given). His wife Martha was named executor, received the remainder of the estate, and the will was witnessed by a Ruben Hays, among others.  There is no record of Peter Hays buying or patenting land in Halifax County, and the will makes no mention of land.

      For more on Peter Hay, and the rationale for placing him into this family, see this page.

    5. Ruth Hay (c1710? – by1767?)  She was the wife of William Solomon (see above) who patented 175 acres in what became the southernmost pat of Sussex County on the north bank of the Three Creeks on 22 February 1724/5.49  The land was later in the same processioning precinct as the lands of Gilbert and Richard Hay.  When William Solomon sold 27 acres of it on 8  November 1756, Ruth relinquished her dower right.50  She did not participate on 18 September 1766 when William Solomon and William Doby jointly sold a 270-acre parcel that included the remaining 150-acre plantation on which William Solomon then lived.51  Although he no longer owned land in the precinct, he was listed as present for the processioning of his former land on 26 February 1768/9. 52

      William Solomon is believed by some descendants to have migrated into Edgecombe County, North Carolina where a William Solomon and Isham Solomon appear in the 1790 census of Halifax District.  The births of five of their children are recorded in the Albemarle Parish register: Judieth Solomon (1737), William Solomon (1738), Ussle Solomon (1740), Isam Solomon (1741), and Sucky Solomon (1750). Richard Hay was a sponsor for Isam (Isham) and a mysterious Ester Hay was sponsor for Sucky.

    6. Mary Hay (c1690? – ?)  She married John Gordon and had the two children mentioned above: William Gordon and Elizabeth Gordon.  John Gordon died intestate in Surry County in 1713.  Mary Gordon qualified as administratrix on 13 November 1713 with Gilbert Hay and John Weaver her securities.53  She presented the inventory on 17 March 1713/14 and a supplement on 17 August 171454   I found no further record of her or the two children in Surry County.
    7. Alexander Hay (? – c1760?) He may have been another son.  He first appears in Surry County witnessing the will of Mary Cotton in 1729.55  He married a daughter of James Porche whose 1733 will named Alexander Hay (presumably Junior) as a grandson and was witnessed by Alexander Hay. 56  Ten years later the Surry court ordered the son Alexander bound out.57  There are no further records of him in Surry County but an Alexander Hay was a baptismal sponsor in Albemarle parish of Sussex County in 1756.58   He may be the same Alexander Hay who appears on the 1753 and 1755 tax lists of Granville County, North Carolina.  That man died in 1760, his modest estate administered by Robert Collier.59



  1. Virginia Patent Book 7, page 124. []
  2. Virginia Patent Book 7, page 523. []
  3. Charles City County Order Book 1684-1700, image 72 and 73, online at Charles Hay was preparing to travel to New York by ship and left the letter with instructions for disposing of his estate in case he failed to return. He evidently died before setting out on the journey and the letter was accepted as his last will. []
  4. Ibid., image 73. []
  5. Ibid, image 73. []
  6. Ibid., image 109. []
  7. Ibid., image 53 and 54. []
  8. Virginia Patent Book 7, page 657. []
  9. Charles City County Order Book 1684-1700, image 275, online at []
  10. Charles City County Order Book 1694-1700, Image 95, originals at Virginia Memory website. []
  11. Prince George County Wills & Deeds 1710-1713, page 74. []
  12. Charles City County Order Book 1684-1700, image 95, online at []
  13. Prince George County Deeds, Etc. 1713-1728, part 2, p392. []
  14. Prince George County Deeds, Wills, etc. 1713-28, page 310. []
  15. Prince George County Wills and Deeds 1713-1728, page 318. []
  16. Benjamin B. Weisiger III, Prince George County, Virginia Wills & Deeds 1710-1713 (Iberian Publishing, 1995) and Benjamin B. Weisiger III, Prince George County, Virginia Wills & Deeds 1713-1728 (Iberian Publishing, 1994). []
  17. See also Prince George court records reproduced in The Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volumes 18-26. []
  18. Prince George County Wills & Deeds 1713-28, part 2, p675. []
  19. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 7, p803. []
  20. Isle of Wight County Deed Book 2, Part 2, Page 31. []
  21. Surry County Will Book 10, page 138pp. []
  22. Benjamin B. Weisiger III, Prince George County, Virginia Wills & Deeds 1713-1728 (Iberian Publishing, 1994). page 94 slightly modified from Historical Southern Families, Vol. VI, page 54. []
  23. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 8, page 354. []
  24. Surry County Deed Book 4, page 184. []
  25. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 7, page 1005. []
  26. Sussex County Deed Book C, page 103. []
  27. Surry County Wills & Deeds Book 7, page 649. []
  28. Ibid, page 650. []
  29. Surry County Deed Book 4, page 157. []
  30. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 7, p83. []
  31. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 8, page 423, as abstracted by William Lindsay Hopkins. []
  32. The 1747 patent was renewed to David Mason in 1760 by which time it was bisected by the Sussex-Southampton county line. []
  33. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 8, page 562 and Deed Book 6, page 94. []
  34. Surry County Will Book 10, page 67. []
  35. Virginia Patent Book 15, page 223. []
  36. Sussex County Will Book D, page 518. []
  37. Sussex County Will Book E, page 431. []
  38. Sussex County Will Book F, page 313. []
  39. Ibid., page 478. []
  40. Sussex County Will Book F, page 329. []
  41. Sussex County Will Book F, page 81. []
  42. Surry County, Virginia Deeds & Wills 7, page 623 and page 826, respectively. []
  43. Isle of Wight County Deed Book 4, page 146. []
  44. Virginia Patent Book 28, page 422. []
  45. Isle of Wight County Deed Book 6, page 367 []
  46. Southampton County Deed Book 1, page 78. []
  47. Southampton County Deed Book 2, page 14. []
  48. Halifax County, NC, Will Book 1, page 24. []
  49. Virginia Patent Book 12, page 155. []
  50. Sussex County Deed Book A, page 184. []
  51. Sussex County Deed Book C, page 240. []
  52. Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis and Andrew Wilburn Hogwood, Albemarle Parish Vestry Book 1742-1786, (Genealogical Pub. Co., 2008), page 177. “Thomas Avent & Wm. Solomon” were listed among those participating in the processioning of land, including that of David Mason to whom the land was sold. []
  53. Surry County Order Book 1713-1718, page 15. []
  54. Surry County Deed Book 6, pages 179 and 210. []
  55. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 7, page 298. []
  56. Surry County Deeds & Wills Book 8, page 264 as abstracted by Lyndon H. Hart III. []
  57. Surry County Order Book 1741-1744, page 101. []
  58. Boddie, Albemarle Parish Register, page 152. []
  59. Loose Estate Records of Granville County, folder marked “Alexander Hay(e)s 1760”. []