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Preacher William G. Gentry

Preacher William G. Gentry

Male Bef 1804 - Abt 1882  (~ 78 years)

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  • Name William G. Gentry 
    Prefix Preacher 
    Born Bef 1804  Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Abt 1882  Texas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Ken Harvey writes that "William was known to have been a Baptist preacher.  The sober preacher trained in the dialectics of the seminary was rare west of the Appalachians. The Baptists boasted that in 1817, in the State of New York, that there were only three preachers west of the Hudson that had ever been to college. The settlers demanded personality rather than diplomas from the men who called them to God. Kentucky was famous for the pathological intensity of the religious revivals that shook the populous at the turn of the century. Evangelists had swarmed over the area preaching in great open-air camp meetings where silent, lonely frontiersmen gathered to sing and shout. Revivalists knew their hell intimately---geography, climate, and vital statistics---and painted the sinners fate so hideously that shuddering crowds surged forward to the bushel-box alters to be born again. Hundreds fell to the ground senseless, the most elegantly dressed women in Kentucky lying in the mud alongside ragged trappers."

      1817--A William Gentry appears on a Wayne Co, Kentucky list of Delinquent taxpayers. It is noted, as a reason for non-payment, that he had gone to Tennessee. If this is "our" William, he must have been born earlier than 1804, possibly as early as 1795.

      1826 - Approximate year of the marriage, of William to Mary "Polly" ???, based on the date of birth of their eldest known child. Note, however, that there could have been earlier children who had left home before the 1850 census.

      1830 - It has not been possible to find Preacher William Gentry in the 1830 census in Illinois (where several of his children were born).

      1840 - A search for his location, in Kentucky, in the 1840 census has been negative using FTM Census Index on CD ROM (1996).

      1846 - William Gentry was listed as a MG (Minister of the Gospel) and a JP (Justice of the Peace) in Obion Co., Tennessee. He officiated at the marriage of John Marr and Nancy R. Mills (Miles) on 11 Feb 1846, and at the marriage of Allen Walker to Margarette Jones on 29 July 1846.

      Ken Harvey further noted that the Tennessee Baptist Historical Society has failed to find any reference to Preacher William Gentry in its Baptist collection. They should be contacted again, at their request, if the Obion County Church with which he may have been associated with can be identified. The first organization for the Missionary Baptists in Obion county was in Beulah, which was formed by the 1830s. At this period, the Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists worshipped in the same building. The church, known as Solitude, was located about 4 1/2 miles north of Union City. That original church building burned down in 1838 and a few years later (1841) the Beulah Baptist Church was built. There are no extant records for the next 12 years. However, it is most probably the church attended by the Gentry family, since it was located in their general area and was the only Baptist Church in the county. In 1858, W.H. McGowan was listed as pastor, and their were 72 members. (Adapted from Marshall and Goodspeed).  It is assumed that William was a lay preacher. The reason for this assumption  is that William is not referred to in the book by: Carroll, James Milton (1923) "A History of the Texas Baptists."

      The postmaster of Bulah, Obion County, Tennesse as of 27 Sept 1847 was a William Gentry. This may well have been our William. (Source: TNGenWeb Project "Obion Post Office and Postmasters of Obion County, TN", cited by Lynell Cordell). Bulah (1847-1859) later became State Line, Fulton County, KY.

      The document below, dated March 15, 1850, was found by Charles R. Strong and his daughter, Mary Pat Strong during mid June 2002.  This was the only document found in the land records of Obion County Tennessee. No record was found of land purchase or land sale! (Also there were no land records found in Weakley County Tennessee).  This may be due to fact that the old town of Bulah, Tennessee, was renamed State Line Kentucky after a border correction at some date.  State Line KY located in Fulton County KY was not searched for land records.

      Charles and Mary Pat observed that there was an abandoned  store in State Line KY named Shaw as highlighted in the document below.  Also, the "(???)" in the document might be either "etc." or "and so on and so forth".

      Obion County #1  - Wm Gentry

      Book 1 - I, page 201-202

      William G Gentry Mortgage to L. S. Barnes Registered 15th day of March 1850

      This indenture made and entered into this day of March 1850 between William G Gentry of Obion County Tennessee of the one part and L.S. Barnes of Fulton County Kentucky of the other part.  Witnesseth [sic]  that the said Gentry for and in consideration of seven hundred and seven dollars and 05 cents in hand paid hath this day sold and by these presents doth convey unto said Barnes his assigns. (???) a certain gelding horse about six years old a sorrel mare about 11 years old six head of stock cattle one farm horse wagon also all my house hold and kitchen furniture consisting of feather and under beds clothing furniture (???) bed steads [sic] side bordes[sic] chairs cooking utensils and cup board ware also my stock hogs about 25 in number all of which property is now in my possession my farm and in and about my dwelling house in said Obion County.  I also sell and convey to said Barnes my two succeeding crops which are to be made on my farm and I do sell and convey to him all the corn tobacco oats fodder potatoes and all other production which maybe thereon raised so what my family may be protected in (???) law as exempt from sale and I do sell him all of the profits production and mumments [sic] of my said farm for two years to come and I have assigned to said Barnes the following notes towit [sic] one on John Shaw & John Bayer for sixty seven dollars and 50 cts due 9th Feby [sic]1850 and on N. Gurley for one hundred and eighty dollars due 1st Feby [sic] 1850 one on RR Powel for one hundred dollars due 19th June 1850 one on same for fifty dollars due 19th April 1850 - one on Charles S. Tally for seventy five dollars due 1st May 1850 and whereas said Barnes is to pay for me to Messers [sic] Robinson and Keith seventy five dollars and Thos Mitchell thirty nine dollars and 50 cts and whereas he has also paid me two hundred dollars over and above the amount of said notes now shall I within two years pay to said Barnes or his order or cause the same to be done said Robinson and Keith and Mitchell debts said two hundred dollars and all liabilities that I may be under as the assignor of said notes and it is expressly understood that Gurley and Tally are not to be sued the first court nor under aliberal [sic] time and that I am to guaranty these debts then this obligation to be null and void else to remain in full force and virtue and it is further understood and so agreed between these parties that said Barnes to act as my agent in and about the management of sell of all the herein mortgaged property or interest and he is to have the right from time to sell and dispose of the same for the purposes of paying of dispersing this mortgage and I said Gentry for myself my heirs administrators (???) doth and will forever warrant and defend the title in (???) to the property things interests profits (???) herein sold against any and all claims whatever.  In witness where of I have hereto set my hand and seal this day and date above written.  John M. Gentry & James C. Gentry /s/ witnesses.     --   /s/ Will Gentry (Seal

      1850 - Unfortunately Preacher William Gentry was not listed as being present in his Obion Co. home, in Tennessee, at the time of the 1850 census enumeration. He is therefore presumably recorded elsewhere in the census of that year, possibly while on a visit to Kentucky, if he is recorded at all. Could he have already gone on to Texas, and left his wife and eldest son in charge of the family?

      From the evidence above it would appear probable that;

      1. Preacher William Gentry was born and married in Kentucky.

      2. A few years following the marriage, ca. 1829, the young family moved to Illinois, probably to the southern part of that state.

      3. They returned to Kentucky in about 1835 and remained in that state until ca. 1846 when they moved again

      4. This time they moved to Tennessee and they had only been in Tennessee for a few years by the time of the 1850 census.

      Using further data

      5. The family then moved to, and stayed in, Missouri from about 1854. They would have been in that state for about four years (grand-daughter Ellen was born there in 1855, as was Virginia in 1858).

      6. They then all headed to Texas in about 1859.

      This assumes that William and his son John Melton Gentry stayed together as they migrated south. William could have gone ahead to Texas, before John and his family, without staying with them in Missouri. He was more mobile on account of the age of his children.

      1860 - William Gentry is described (microfilm page 58), in 1860, simply as a Baptist Minister, age 55, born in Tennessee. Mary was the same age, but like all the children, listed as born in Kentucky. Clearly this contradicts the 1850 census. The family were living in Hillsboro, Hill Co., Texas. William's real estate here, at the time, was valued at $1,250 and his personal property at $3,115.

      At this time there was a very high per capita income in Texas. This was to collapse in a few years with the civil war and it took a very long time to recover.

      Preacher William's eldest son, John Melton Gentry (32), had real estate in Grandview area in nearby Johnson Co. This was valued at $270 and his personal property at $525. He was a farmer and he was now employing a farm labourer from Alabama, Sam Benge (23), who lived with his family.

      1861-The book HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY noted that on June 14, 1861 the Masonic Blue Lodge #266 A.F. and A.M. was chartered. The charter members included W.F. and J.M. Gentry. The book also noted that the first organization of a Baptist church in Alvardo, TX is due to the Rev. William C.(G.?) Gentry. The church was organized on October 6, 1861 in the old Union Building, located on the corner of what is now Cummings ans Atchley streets. The upper story was used for Masonic meetings, the lower floor was a school and church. The records state that "after a few remarks by Brother William C. Gentry, the members present appointed Brother Gentry moderator pro-tem. They then adopted the Trinity River Association  Constitution or by laws, written by Brother Carroll. After they organized,the door of th church was opened. Brother William C. Gentry was elected pastor and Jonathan Burk elected pastor and Jonathan Burk elected clerk." On the first Sunday in July 1862 Brother W.B. Senter was chosen to be pastor and moderator. Was this Rev. William Gentry our Preacher William moving to be closer to his son John? If it was not our William, there is a slight possibility that it could be William Gravit Gentry, born 23 Jan 1786 in Louisa Co, VA, son of John and Milly (Edwards) Gentry [THE GENTRY FAMILY IN AMERICA, p 24].

      W. G. Gentry also purchased land in Hill County from Thomas A. Flippin and N.J. Fritze sometime in the 1860's. Also, the Johnson County Deeds Vol. D, Pg 84-December 27, 1860- W.G. Gentry-Land Patent in Hill County, Texas from Smith, 200 acres--witnessed by John M. Gentry

      1870 - "Mary Gentry, 65 years of age, born in Kentucky, died in August of this year in Grayson Co., Texas."  Was this Preacher William's wife?  It certainly seems highly likely.

      William's Grayson Co., Texas, census entry is proving difficult to find. He would have been aged 66. Ken Harvey believes he was still alive.

      1871-Land records from Grayson County, Vol 38 pg 442 dated November 6, 1871 show that Mary Gentry owned, with her husband William G., 20 acres of land situated about one mile west of Sherman on the Gainsville and Sherman road at the time of her death. (Grayson Co, TX Vol 38 pages 442, 443 & 444)

      1875 - A Rev. Gentry performed a wedding in Grayson Co. Texas and another one in Collin Co., Texas.   Were these two ceremonies performed by the same man and was it "our" Rev. William Gentry? An unknown Rev. M. Gentry was active in Collin Co, also. He is not thought to be related.

      1880 - Preacher William's, Wise Co., Texas, census return is proving difficult to find. He would have been aged 76. He might well have died before this. Zada Trawick's family was also in Wise Co. in 1880. I wonder if John M. and Pamelia could have moved there after the 1880 census and Zada and [James] Ed[win Gentry] met and married there in 1890/91.

      "LOCALS   ... ... A well known citizen by the name of Gentry, of the Sand Hill country, who was stopping in the East Mound country for his health died one day last week." Could this have been Preacher William's "obituary"? The newspaper date needs to be rechecked. Could the East Mound area be where Will and Molly lived? Their Wise Co. census return gives their location as E[numeration] D[istrict] 130.

      From the deed listed below, it is known that William died before 1883.

      Charles Strong located the following deed in Hill County, Texas (Hill Co, Vol. N)

      1883-"Know all men by these presents that whereas on or about the ___ day of ___ A.D. 186_, W.G. Gentry, then a resident in Hill County, Texas now deceased, did make, execute and deliver to Thomas A. Flippin and N.J. Fritze for a valuable consideration to him in hand paid, a good and sufficient warranty deed to the following tract of land....and whence the said deed has been lost, mislaid or destroyed, and the record of the same in the deed records of said Hill County, having been destroyed by fire, now therefore in consideration of the ??? and the fact of the payment in full of the purchase money of said land, to said W.G. Gentry by the said Flippin & Fritze which we here acknowledge, We J.M. Gentry, James C. Gentry, Mitchell C. Gentry, Jesse A. Gentry, J.W. Gentry & Minerva A. Gentry his wife, B.F. Hodges and wife Sarah M. Hodges and L.B. Bush and wife Mary E. Bush, sole surviving heirs at law of the said W.G. Gentry, do bargain and sell, and by these presents do transfer and convey unto J.W. Siddons the ....title to said land...Witness our hands this the 19 day of September A.D. 1882. John M. Gentry, J.W. Gentry [Minerva's husband], M.A. Gentry, L.B. Bush, M.E. Bush, J.C. Gentry, M.C. Gentry, B.F. Hodges et ux, Sarah M. Hodges J.A. Gentry

      It would be worth searching for the burial place and gravestone of Preacher William. He could be buried near Decatur. Lewis Payne remembers his maternal grandmother, Molly, speaking of Decatur and it seems that her husband, Will, and she could at the time, have lived outside this town, the Wise County seat.

      William Gentry's parents are still unknown.According to Ken Harvey, the following are considered to be possible, but unlikely, parents of Preacher William Gentry, born circa 1804.

      Gentry, (1909), M.S., Ph. D.  "The Gentry Family in America 1676 to 1909 etc."  The Grafton Press:New YPatrick Gentry (abt.1780-1820) of Louisa Co., Virginia. His son William B. Gentry (1802-?) married Sallie Sargent March 11, 1824. (p 74)

      --Robert Gentry of Jackson Co., Tennessee. Robert was fifth generation but there are no dates. His son William was probably born in Jackson Co. where he was definately reared. (p 134)

      --Mathew Gentry (abt. 1782-? ),  son of Samuel.  Matthew had migrated from Surrey Co., North Carolina to Warwick Co., indiana in 1822 where he settled and reared a large family. His children were: William, James, Mathew, Samuel and Thomas. (p 270)

      --Thomas Gentry (1779-?) and Sussana Caster (1781-1854). Son William was born in 1806. Thomas' father was William Gentry of Gloucester Co., N.J. said to have been a revolutionary soldier. (p 292)

      --Joseph Gentry (abt.1785-1835) of King William Co., Virginia. (p 294)

      1810 - There are thirty-one potential Gentry parents of William in the state of Kentucky in 1810 when he would have been circa six years old at the time.

      1820 - Of these there are, however, only seven possible candidates as William's parents in Madison Co. Kentucky in 1820   This ASSUMES that he was born c. 1804 in Madison Co., Kentucky. There is no compelling reason for this assumption however.

      These Madison parental candidates, with some of their probable wives, have all been arrived at by a process of elimination, they are;

      1. Bartlett Gentry and Elizabeth Timberlake, 2. ? Gentry and Elizabeth ?, 3. John Gentry, 4. John (Stumpy) Gentry, 5. John P. Gentry, 6. Josiah Gentry, 7. Josiah Gentry and Winney Musick
    • (Research):
      Census Information:

      1850 census, Obion Co. TN
      District  2  West of District 1 (NE corner before the panhandle was included), North border is Kentucky.
      Polly GENTRY, 48, KY;
              John, 23, KY, farmer;
              Permelia, 23, TN;
              James, 20, IL, farmer;
              Michel, 18 IL, farmer;
              Manerva, 13, KY;
              Sarah, 12, KY;
              Wesly, 8, KY;
              Abram, 5, KY;
              Mary, 4/12,TN

      1860 census in Hill Co. TX
      Hillsboro twp. ED 58 Pg. 459
      Gentry, William 55 M Baptist Minister TN
                          Mary 55 F KY
                          Menerva 23 F KY
                          Sarah 20 F KY
                          Wesley 18 M KY
                          Abram 15 M KY
                          Mary 10 F KY

      (Courtesy of Lynell Gentry Cordell)
    • (Medical):Y DNA Results, FTDNA Haplogroup:


      A direct male descendant of William G. Gentry volunteered to have his yDNA tested. The results can be found at, under the user ID #CBFD9, and the FamilyTreeDNA Kit number is 49107.

      The DNA sample was a high resolution match to several documented descendants of Nicholas Gentry I of Hanover County, Virginia. Nicholas was the original immigrant, and can first be found on colonial records of Virginia in 1684.

      More about the Gentry DNA study can be found at:

      I is often called the "Viking Haplogroup." This haplogroup is common among Icelandic populations, and is generally considered indicative of Scandinavian or Anglo-Saxon ancestry when it is found in a person of British descent.

      A good website that discusses Haplogroup I1a is located at:
    Person ID I6157  Strong Family Tree
    Last Modified 17 Aug 2014 

    Family Mary "Polly" ???,   b. 23 Jan 1805, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Jun 1869, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years) 
    Married Abt 1826  Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. John Melton Gentry,   b. 19 Dec 1827, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Mar 1904, Alma, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years)
     2. James C. Gentry,   b. Abt 1830, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1883  (Age ~ 54 years)
     3. Mitchell Cyrus Gentry,   b. Abt 1832, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1883  (Age ~ 52 years)
     4. Minerva A. Gentry,   b. 9 Oct 1837, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Jun 1890, Grayson County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years)
     5. Sarah M. "Sally" Gentry,   b. Abt 1838, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     6. Wesley Gentry,   b. Abt 1842, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     7. Jesse Abram Gentry,   b. 27 Nov 1844, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 May 1915, Mullin, Mills County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
     8. Mary Elizabeth "Mollie" Gentry,   b. 20 Feb 1850, Tennessee Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Oct 1933, Comanche County, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)
    Last Modified 3 Feb 2007 
    Family ID F2981  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsDied - Abt 1882 - Texas Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Gentry Family?--UNKNOWN
    Gentry Family?--UNKNOWN
    This photo was contained in an album of family photos belonging to Karen Burk's mother, Ruby (Adams) Russell. Karen is sure that her mother recognized the family, or she would not have kept it. The women in the photo is very similar in appearance to Mollie Gentry Bush, but based on both the time period and family makeup, it is not thought to be of her. The photo was placed on a page with a photo of William G. and Mary GENTRY, so it seems likely that it is a GENTRY family photo, the exact identity unknown. However, it is possible that it is instead a photo from the Bush, Adams or Russell family.
    Gentry, William G, ca 1860-1870
    Gentry, William G, ca 1860-1870
    Husband of Mary [Unknown]
    B. 1805 in Kentucky or Tennessee D. 1882 in Texas
    Gentry, William G., ca 1870-1880
    Gentry, William G., ca 1870-1880
    William G. Gentry was a Baptist Minister on the frontiers of Tennessee and Texas, and as was noted by Ken Harvey, "Frontier settlers demanded personality rather than diplomas from the men who called them to God. Kentucky was famous for the pathological intensity of the religious revivals that shook the populous at the turn of the century. Revivalists knew their hell intimately---geography, climate, and vital statistics---and painted the sinners fate so hideously that shuddering crowds surged forward to the bushel-box alters to be born again."
    _Gentry, William G., bet. 1870-1880
    _Gentry, William G., bet. 1870-1880
    Husband of Mary [Unknown]
    B. 1805 in Kentucky or Tennessee D. 1882 in Texas

    Gentry, William of Kentucky yDNA of direct male descendant
    Gentry, William of Kentucky yDNA of direct male descendant
    Certificate of Y-chromosome DNA testing from The Geneographic Project. Haplogroup I is widespread throughout southeastern and central Europe and most common in the Balkans. More information can be found at the Gentry DNA Project website. This sample matches those individuals that are proven descendants of Nicholas Gentry of Essex, England, an early immigrant to this country.

    William G. Gentry>John Melton Gentry>James Edwin Gentry>Private Gentry>Living Gentry>Living Gentry