Friday, January 7, 2022

Thomas Gunn Ancestry

Thomas Gunn, Jr. (ca. 1738 VA - 1800 NC), James B. Kerner (2007)

Thomas2 Gunn, Jr. (Thomas Gunn, Sr.1) was born in or near Amelia County, VA circa 1738.18 Amelia County, VA was formed from Brunswick and Prince George Counties in 1734. Nottoway Co., VA was formed from Amelia County in 1788. Before Nottoway County established its own government, it was known as Nottoway Parish, a district of Amelia County. Thomas served in the Virginia Colonial Militia during the French and Indian War. He was paid five pounds, six shillings for militia service in 1756, During the French and Indian War, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed an act for the defense of the frontier of the colony on September 14, 1758. Thomas Gunn was among those soldiers mentioned in the schedules attached to that act. Thomas was listed in the Amelia County unit.

Thomas Gunn (or his father) was mentioned in court records in Lunenburg Co., VA in 1758. Note: Lunenburg Co., VA was formed from Brunswick Co., VA in 1746. On April 4, 1758, Thomas Gunn of Amelia Co., VA purchased 300 acres near his sister, Edith Hogan, on the north side of the Roanoke River in Lunenburg Co., VA, (present-day Mecklenburg Co., VA). Note: Mecklenburg Co., VA was formed from part of Lunenburg Co., VA in 1765.

Thomas Gunn (or his father) was listed as a resident of Lunenburg Co., VA per the 1760 tax lists.

Hanging of Sneed and Henry: Dr. James Freeman Eppes Hardy, M.D. (1802-1882)

At Asheville [May 1835]

In the following excerpt, Allen Turner Davidson1 describes the events surrounding his trip as a sixteen-year-old to see the hanging in Asheville of James Sneed and James Henry. [footnotes and paragraph breaks added.]

"But when we got on the top of the hill west of the French Broad river, and looked down and saw the splendid river and the long narrow bridge, then known as Smith's bridge,2 I was carried away completely. It was the largest river and the longest bridge I had seen. The bridge was kept by William Irwin3, I think. He lived at the same old house which stood there till recently on the west side of the river. We came straight up the hill to the top, where Melke's4 house stands, and where the old log Baptist church used to stand.

"I then began to see signs of 'town' by that time, and my eyes began to shine. I remember distinctly to have seen the fields about the present station of the railroad. Branan Patton5 lived there then. Aunt Mary Smith6, Dan'l's wife7, lived above on the river, whose house we could not see from that point, but we could see the curling smoke of the evening meal ascending from the habitation. These were pointed out to me by Paxton Cumming8, who had ridden this circuit and knew all the points of interest round about.

Smith's Bridge (Asheville, North Carolina)

"A Tale of Two Bridges: How the Smith-McDowell House is Tied to Spans of the French Broad River" by John Turk

Smith's Bridge

How did the builder of the Smith-McDowell House make his money? The old-fashioned way: he earned it. At first his fortune was based upon real estate; in 1826, he bought the land on which he would later build the house. But this was just the beginning. While he eventually built an empire based on earnings from his hotel, general store, and other enterprises, his first real moneymaker was a bridge.

In the 1820s, the Buncombe Turnpike was constructed to replace and organize myriad trails used to herd livestock from Tennessee and North Carolina to railroad connections in South Carolina. In Buncombe County, a good deal of this turnpike ran along the east bank of the French Broad River. Smith immediately identified a problem: How do the thousands of small farmers on the west side of the river get their livestock across the river so they can hook up with the turnpike? His solution: build a bridge.