submitted by Judy G. Russell
1. Elijah1 Gentry; born 1787 at Wilkes County, GA; married Wilmoth Killen, born circa 1795 in North Carolina, circa 1817 at Wayne County, MS.
Elijah’s family history begins in America in 1680, when Nicholas Gentry was first recorded as a colonial militiaman for the Mattapony Garrison in Virginia (York County (Va.) Deeds, Order and Wills 1677-1685, volume 6, page 268). The first Nicholas, known as Nicholas the Immigrant in Gentry family research, was probably indentured and earned his freedom in part with his militia service. By 1684, he owned land in New Kent County, Virginia, going on to become a large landholder in central Virginia. Nicholas’s son Samuel was born in Virginia around 1692. He married Ann (Allen?) in Hanover County, Virginia, around 1712 and had 10 known children. Samuel’s son David was born around 1712 in Hanover County, Virginia, and married Sarah Brooks around 1734 in Louisa County, Virginia. David and Sarah had at least eight sons. Their youngest known son was Elijah Gentry (the Elder), born around 1753 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. After David’s death around 1765, Sarah and her sons moved to South Carolina, and five of her sons –- including Elijah – served in varying capacities in the Revolutionary War. The original stub indent copy from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History speaks of Elijah Gentry's duty "in the Militia as Sargeant before and since the reduction of Chas Town". This Elijah married a woman named Hannah in South Carolina, and moved first to Georgia, and then to Mississippi, where he died around 1817. At least two of his children, sons Elijah and Josiah, were born in Georgia.
The younger Elijah first appears in Mississippi in the records of the Tennessee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which covered the Mississippi Territory until the Mississippi Conference was formed in 1816. He was accepted as a junior itinerant preacher of the Tennessee Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, on Nov 14, 1814 at Logan County, KY, and served between 1814 and 1815 at the Pearl River District, MS. He was assigned as a junior itinerant preacher between 1815 and 1816 at Amite Circuit, MS. Between Oct 10, 1816 and Nov 7 1817, he served as an itinerant preacher assigned by the Mississippi Conference to the Chickasaw Circuit, MS. He was ordained on Nov 7, 1817 and admitted to deacon’s orders at Midway, Amite County, MS. He "located" around the end of 1818, meaning he gave up his regular church assignments and salary but continued to preach in Wayne County, MS.
The usual reason for a young man to leave the ranks of the itinerant preacher was the responsibilities of marriage and a family. That appears to be precisely the case for the Rev. Elijah Gentry, who then appeared on the census of 1820 at Wayne County, MS, with a wife (Wilmoth), young daughter (Martha Ann), young son (Elijah Killen Gentry), and brother (Josiah Gentry).
Identifying the family of a wife is always difficult but various clues make it possible to state with a fair degree of certainty that Elijah’s wife was Wilmoth Killen, daughter of William Killen Sr. and sister to Henry Killen (later of Neshoba County), William Killen Jr. and others. Gentry family history is consistent in identifying Wilmoth's maiden name as Killen; indeed, her first son was named Elijah Killen Gentry. In their history of her husband, Rev. Elijah Gentry, for the Rankin County Historical Society, Clarence Wilson and Maxine Wilson Smith (descendants of her son John Wesley Gentry) identified Wilmoth's father as a neighbor in Wayne County, MS. Family history reports that Wilmoth and Elijah married around 1817 in Wayne County.
The only Killen family in Wayne County around the time Elijah and Wilmoth married was that of William Killen, Sr. William Sr. and his son Henry were on the poll tax rolls of Wayne County in 1813 and 1815. William Sr. is on the 1816 Wayne County MS territorial census, and there are two adult females in his household.
Elijah Gentry and William Killen Jr. are on the same page (page 111) of the 1820 Wayne County census, one right after the other. Elijah Gentry's entry shows one female, aged 16-26. William Sr. is on the next page (page 112); his household then contained only one female, a woman more than 45 years old. (Henry is also reported by Ancestry.com to be on the same page as William Sr.; it is hard to see that name if it is there.) Thus if Wilmoth was born around 1794-95 and married around 1817, she would have been 21-22 in 1816 and in her father's household, and 25-26 and in her husband's household in 1820.
In 1830, the Gentrys, William Sr., William Jr. and Henry were all on the Rankin County census. Indeed, William Sr. is reported to have died in Rankin County around 1834. Rankin County was divided into different counties by 1840; the Gentrys were in Winston County and Henry Killen in Neshoba County. (There was a William in Kemper County; family researchers indicate that was in fact William Jr., who was in Rusk County TX by 1850.) The 1850 census continues to show Henry Killen in Neshoba County and by then the Gentrys had moved to Neshoba County as well. The census shows the birthplace for both Wilmoth Killen Gentry (shown as age 56) and Henry Killen (shown as age 58) was North Carolina. (Note: the birthplace of William Killen in the 1850 Rusk County TX census is also shown as NC. He was reported to be 50 years old in 1850.)
One family researcher, Harold B. Killen, initially reported (Killen Surname Board, Ancestry.com Dec 2001) that the first William Killen was an Irish immigrant from Ulster; he has since come to conclude that William was the son of John Killen, who was an Ulsterman. In any event, Harold Killen reports that William's first four children, three sons and a daughter (William Jr., Henry, Jacob and, presumably, Wilmoth), were born in North Carolina. He further reports that William Killen Sr. was born around 1772 and died in Rankin County in about 1834. There is a census report on the 1800 Richmond County NC census for a "William Killin" with three sons under age 10 and one daughter under age 10. Other family researchers (Jim Hardy and Roy Traster) report (Neshoba County Rootsweb site) that Henry Killen's father was a William Killen, born in Ireland before 1775, who died about 1834 in Mississippi. Family tradition reported by Jim Hardy, Roy Traster and Tom Branning is that the first Killen in Mississippi was one of three brothers who came to American together from Ulster. Still other family researchers (see various messages on Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com) also report the family story that the first Killen in Mississippi was a William, born in Ulster around 1775, who died in MS around 1834.
Putting all these facts together, it is clear that these Killens are Wilmoth's family: the lives of the Gentrys and the Killens overlapped and were intertwined to a degree that powerfully suggests kinship.
Wilmoth married well in choosing Rev. Gentry. He became a licensed professional engineer before 1828. Section 9 of the Statute of February 4, 1828, establishing Rankin County, created a commission consisting of John Brown, William Steen and Elijah Gentry, to fix a site for new county's courthouse and jail. An Act of the Legislature on February 3, 1829, established Pearl River Acadamy as seminary of learning at Brandon, Rankin County, MS, and appointed Elijah Gentry and eight others as the first trustees. The Board of Road Commissioners appointed Elijah Gentry and Daniel Fore and others to lay out a road from the new county seat of Brandon to Purvis Ferry on the Pearl River on Oct 7, 1829. He appeared on the census of 1830 at Rankin County, MS, with wife Wilmoth, mother Hannah, brother Josiah and children Martha Ann, Elijah Killen, Ira Bird, John Wesley and Nancy.
He appeared on the census of 1840 at Winston County, MS, with wife Wilmoth and children Ira Bird, John Wesley, Nancy, Isabella, William Jefferson and George Washington.
Rev. Gentry appeared on the census of Aug 4, 1850 at Neshoba County, MS, with wife Wilmoth, sons William and George, and son John Wesley and his family (wife Amanda and William, possibly a stepson). He had returned to preaching as much as possible (his occupation is shown in the census as Methodist Episcopal preacher) but he was also a landowner and a slaveholder.
He appeared on the census of Sep 20, 1860 at Twp. 12, Range 10, Neshoba County, MS, with wife Wilmoth, living near several of his children. His real estate and personal property was valued at more than $4500, a very large sum for the time.
The exact date of Elijah Gentry’s death is unknown. However, he was alive as of the census on September 20, 1860, and on December 19, 1868, Wilmoth Gentry executed a deed to sell 320 acres of land in Neshoba County as the widow of Rev. Elijah Gentry. Thus it is safe to say he died between Sep 20, 1860 and Dec 19, 1868 at Neshoba County, MS.
The exact date of Wilmoth Killen Gentry’s death is also unknown. She was living with her son George and his family at the 1870 census; the family’s 1880 census record has not yet been located.
Children of Elijah1 Gentry and Wilmoth Killen were as follows:
2 i. Martha Ann2 Gentry; born circa 1817; married George W. Thomason.
+ 3 ii. Elijah K. Gentry, born circa 1818; married Eliza Z. Lanham.
+ 4 iii. Ira Bird Gentry, born circa 1822 at MS; married Martha Clark.
+ 5 iv. John Wesley Gentry, born circa 1823; married Amanda Haynes.
+ 6 v. Nancy A. Gentry, born circa 1829; married Amos T. Humphries.
+ 7 vi. Isabella Gentry, born Sep 8, 1832 at probably Rankin County, MS; married
Gustavus Boone Robertson.
+ 8 vii. William Jefferson Gentry, born circa 1834; married Amanda LNU.
9 viii. George Washington Gentry; born between 1836 and 1837 at MS; married Sina A.
3. Elijah K.2 Gentry (Elijah1); born circa 1818; married Eliza Z. Lanham Apr 18, 1848 at Winston County, MS. He appeared on the census of 1820 at Wayne County, MS. He appeared on the census of 1830 at Rankin County, MS. He appeared on the census of 1840 at Winston County, MS. He appeared on the census of Sep 25, 1850 at Winston County, MS.
Children of Elijah K.2 Gentry and Eliza Z. Lanham both born at MS were as follows:
10 i. Joanna3 Gentry; born circa 1848.
11 ii. Wilmoth Gentry; born circa 1850.
4. Ira Bird2 Gentry (Elijah1); born circa 1822 at MS; married Martha Clark Aug 6, 1840 at Noxubee County, MS. He appeared on the census of 1830 at Rankin County, MS. He appeared on the census of 1840 at Winston County, MS. He appeared on the census of Oct 26, 1850 at Attala County, MS. He appeared on the census of Sep 20, 1860 at Twp. 12, Range 10, Neshoba County, MS.
Children of Ira Bird2 Gentry and Martha Clark all born at MS were as follows:
12 i. James A.3 Gentry; born circa 1843.
13 ii. Mary Gentry; born circa 1845.
14 iii. Amanda Gentry; born circa 1847.
15 iv. Adolphus Gentry; born circa 1849.
16 v. Elijah Gentry; born circa 1854.
17 vi. Benjamin F. Gentry; born circa 1856.
18 vii. Margaret Gentry; born circa 1859.
5. John Wesley2 Gentry (Elijah1); born circa 1823; married Amanda Haynes Apr 8, 1850 at Winston County, MS. He appeared on the census of 1830 at Rankin County, MS. He appeared on the census of 1840 at Winston County, MS. He appeared on the census of Aug 4, 1850 at Neshoba County, MS. He appeared on the census of Sep 20, 1860 at Twp. 12, Range 10, Neshoba County, MS. There was a J. W. Gentry on the roster of the 14th Mississippi Infantry, Co. F, during the Civil War; this is likely to have been John Wesley, since both of his younger brothers also served in that regiment. He appeared on the census of Aug 6, 1870 at Precinct 4, Orange, Orange County, TX.
Children of John Wesley2 Gentry and Amanda Haynes were as follows:
19 i. William3 Gentry; born circa 1847 at AL (possibly stepson).
20 ii. Jacob E. Gentry; born circa 1853 at MS; buried after 1900 at Castle Cemetery,
Castle, Okfuskee County, OK.
21 iii. William P. Gentry; born circa 1855 at MS.
22 iv. George H.P. Gentry; born circa 1857 at MS.
23 v. Wilmoth N.C. “Nancy” Gentry; born circa 1859 at MS.
24 vi. Mary Gentry; born circa 1861 at MS.
25 vii. John W. Gentry; born circa 1864 at MS.
6. Nancy A.2 Gentry (Elijah1); born circa 1829; married Amos T. Humphries Jul 4, 1845 at Noxubee County, MS. She appeared on the census of 1830 at Rankin County, MS. She appeared on the census of 1840 at Winston County, MS. She appeared on the census of Sep 25, 1850 at Winston County, MS.
Children of Nancy A.2 Gentry and Amos T. Humphries were:
26 i. William3 Humphries; born circa 1846 at MS.
7. Isabella2 Gentry (Elijah1); born Sep 8, 1832 at probably Rankin County, MS; married Gustavus Boone Robertson, son of William M. Robertson, before 1847 at MS; died after Oct 1, 1903 at Delta County?, TX. She appeared on the census of 1840 at Winston County, MS. She appeared on the census of Oct 17, 1850 at Winston County, MS. She appeared on the census of Aug 1, 1860 at Twp 14., Range 8, Attala County, MS. She appeared on the census of Aug 31, 1870 at Beat 2, Paris, Lamar County, TX. She appeared on the census of Jun 19, 1880 at Precinct 3, Delta County, TX. She appeared on the census of Jun 13, 1900 at Delta County, TX.
Children of Isabella2 Gentry and Gustavus Boone Robertson were as follows:
+ 27 i. William M.3 Robertson, born circa 1847 at MS; married Louisa Victoria LNU.
+ 28 ii. John Elijah Robertson, born circa 1850 at MS; married Martha Jane Ellis.
+ 29 iii. Bird Alexander Robertson, born Jan 7, 1852 at Attala County, MS; married Alice
+ 30 iv. Martha W. Robertson, born Feb, 1854 at MS; married Lewis D. Crenshaw Jr.
+ 31 v. Nancy Arminta Robertson, born Aug 29, 1856 at MS; married Mack Lee Parish.
+ 32 vi. George G. Robertson, born Oct 9, 1858 at MS; married Viola G. Garner.
+ 33 vii. Lara Della Belle Robertson, born Jan 15, 1861 at MS; married H. J. Pratt.
+ 34 viii. Mary Isabella Robertson, born Jan 6, 1863 at MS; married Amos Wade Hendrix.
+ 35 ix. Fannie B. Robertson, born circa 1865 at TX; married John F. Harrison.
+ 36 x. Lillie Robertson, born circa 1867 at prob Lamar County, TX; married Losses or Lossen
+ 37 xi. Jasper Carlton Robertson, born Apr 18, 1871 at Honey Grove, TX; married Eula L. Baird.
8. William Jefferson2 Gentry (Elijah1); born circa 1834; married Amanda LNU before 1857 at MS. He appeared on the census of 1840 at Winston County, MS. He appeared on the census of Aug 4, 1850 at Neshoba County, MS. He appeared on the census of Sep 20, 1860 at Twp. 12, Range 10, Neshoba County, MS. He served in the 14th Mississippi Infantry, Co. F, during the Civil War.
Children of William Jefferson2 Gentry and Amanda LNU were:
38 i. Marcina W.3 Gentry; born circa 1857 at MS.
9. George Washington2 Gentry (Elijah1); George Washington2 Gentry (Elijah1); born between 1836 and 1837; married Sina A. Cooksey before 1860 at MS. He appeared on the census of 1840 at Winston County, MS. He appeared on the census of Aug 4, 1850 at Neshoba County, MS. He appeared on the census of Sep 20, 1860 at Twp. 12, Range 10, Neshoba County, MS. He appeared on the census of June 23, 1870 at Beat No. 5, Neshoba County, MS. He served in the 14th Mississippi Infantry, Co. F, during the Civil War.
Children of George Washington2 Gentry and Sina Cooksey were:
+ 39 i. Mary A.3 Gentry, born circa 1861 at MS.
+ 40 ii. Elizabeth Gentry, born circa 1863 at MS.
+ 41 iii. Nathaniel Gentry, born circa 1866 at MS.
+ 42 iv. Alonzo Gentry, born circa 1867 at MS.
+ 43 v. Isabella Gentry, born May, 1869 at MS.
Printed on: Mar 07, 2003
Judy G. Russell
GGG granddaughter of Elijah and Wilmoth Killen Gentry
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further family tree data: http://www.jgrussell.com/famtree.htm
Jeff Kemp - State Coordinator
If you have questions or problems with this site, email the County Coordinator. Please do not ask for specfic research on your family. I am unable to do your personal research. I do not live in Neshoba Co., MS and do not have access to additional records.