Gates County Tax Lists 1784-1799

Russells and Collinses in the early Gates County tax lists …

1785 – George Russell, James Arline’s co., 25 acres; Thomas Collins, James Arline’s co.

1786 – Lamuel Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.; George Russell, James Arline’s co., 25 acres;  Thomas Collins, James Arline’s co.

1787– George Russell, Jesse Benton’s co, 25 acres; Lamuel Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.;  William Collins Sr., Wm. Goodman’s co.; William Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.

1788 – George Russell, Jesse Benton’s co, 25 acres; Lamuel Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.;  William Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.

1789 – George Russell, Jesse Benton’s co, 25 acres; Lamuel Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.; William Collins, Jesse Benton’s co.

1790– George Russell, Jesse Benton’s co, 25 acres; Lamuel Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.; William Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.

1791– James Russell, Jesse Benton’s co, 25 acres; Lamuel Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co; William Collins, Wm. Goodman’s co.

1792 – William Collins, Jesse Benton’s co.; Thomas Collins, Jesse Benton’s co.; James Russell, Jesse Benton’s co., 25 acres; Lamuel Collins, John Bethey’s co.

1793 – William Collins, Jesse Benton’s co.; Thomas Collins, Jesse Benton’s co.; James Russell, Jesse Benton’s co., 30 acres; Lamuel Collins, John Bethey’s co.

1794 – William Collins, Jesse Benton’s co.; James Russell, Jesse Benton’s co., 25 acres; Lamuel Collins, John Bethey’s co.

1795 – Lamuel Collins, John Bethey’s co.

1796 – Lamuel Collins, Francis Speight’s co.

1797 – Lamuel Collins, Jesse Benton’s co.

1798 – Lamuel Collins, Jesse Benton’s co.

A little analysis

 

The most conclusive information to come from this, is that George Russell was most likely the father of James Russell, and also the father of my ancestor Anna Russell. George Russell died in 1791, and his son James Russell was named as the administrator of his estate. George Russell probably died in January or February. In February 1791, William Goodman, Elisha Cross, Jonathan Rogers, and Enos Rogers made a division in the estate of George Russell, deceased. In November 1791, they made an audit of James Russell’s accounts as the administrator of George Russell’s estate.

The Collinses are a little messier, as usual. In the Nansemond County tax lists of 1783, Samuel Collins is found leading a household of five in Willis Cowling’s list. In the same year, Thomas Collins is leading a household of 4 and William Collins a household of 3 in Willis Parker’s listIn the next year, 1784, he is listed as Lemuel Collins, leading a household of 5 in the same county. Whoever he is, he seems to be operating independently of William and Thomas Collins.

In fact, there seem to be multiple generations here. It is interesting that in 1785 and 1786, the only Collinses in the county are Thomas and Lamuel. Lamuel is in Wm. Goodman’s company, which I believe is near present-day Reynoldson, close to where our Collinses eventually wound up. Thomas is in James Arline’s company. The best source for the location of where this might have been is the 1786 Gates County Census. On page 6, one finds the following list:

Ann Parker 0...1...1...1...1
Joseph Griffin 0...3...2...1...1
Samuel Baker 1...4...3...4...5
Jonathan Williams 1...4...5...2...2
Jesse Benton 1...0...1...1...1
Elizabeth Benton 0...2...1...2...1
Mary Benton 1...2...2...3...1
William Barr 1...1...2...1...1
Moses Haynes 1...1...3
Edward Daughtiee? 2...2...3...2...2
William Daughtiee? 1...2...4...2...3
Rachel Willey 1...1...3...1
William Walters 1...0...2...4...3
William Dunford 1...6...3
Miles Parker 1...1...3...2...2
James Bristow 1...1...3...2...2
Enos Rogers 1...2...2...1
Zilpha Rogers 0...1...1...4...2
Phillip Rogers 1...3...2...0...1
James Brady 1...2...2...6...10
Solomon Ross 1...0...1
Robert Parker 1...3...2...2
Henry Griffin 1...2...5...0...1
Moses Boyce 1...2...2
Francis Daughtiee? 1...0...1
Mills Odom 1...0...3...0...1
Demsey William 1...3...1...4...4
Elisha Cross 1...4...3...2...1
Josiah Benton 1...1...4...4...2
John Cuffe 1...5...2
John Arlinne 1...1...1...3...2
Geroge Russell 1...0...1
William Matthews 1...6...3...0...1
William Vann 2...4...3...1...1
James Phelps 2...3...4

I have highlighted a few names here. First, you can see “John Arlinne” located next to “Geroge Russell.” If George Russell is the father or grandfather of Anna Russell, John Arline is the father of Jesse Arline, who was the husband of Milley Williams (daughter of Jonathan Williams, also highlighted) and grandfather of Nancy Arline and Polly Arline, who married Anna Russell’s sons Thomas and Graham.

Look at it this way: Jonathan Williams (1747-1815); Mildred Williams (1777-1820); Nancy Arline (1800-1880); Hugh Collins (1839-1915).

OR

George Russell (d. 1791); Anna Russell (1775-1855); Graham Collins (1800-1880); Hugh Collins (1839-1915).

OR

John Arline (1718-1790); Jesse Arline (1767-?); Nancy Arline (1800-1880); Hugh Collins (1839-1915)

The most interesting name on the list is John Cuffe, a “free person of color” in the 1790 census, and included as a Chowan Indian descendant on many lists. John Cuff’s land is listed as being near the White Pot Pocosin and/or the Honey Pot Pocosin, both of which are located  near Bennett’s Creek in southwestern Gates County, which is essentially where the Chowanoke Indian Town was located.

 

Conspicuous in their absence from the 1786 census are the Collinses. How can it be that they are listed in tax lists in 1786, and yet are not included in a state census that covers everybody else? The 1787 list is more interesting because it shows a William Collins, Sr. and a William Collins Jr. So we have a Thomas Collins who is on the list from 1785-1786; two different William Collinses in 1787; one William Collins from 1788-1791; a William and Thomas Collins from 1792-1793; one William Collins in 1794, and then that’s it.

William Collins starts showing up on the Nansemond County tax lists already in 1796. Thomas Collins is listed in the 1800 Gates County census, and then appears on the Nansemond County list beginning in 1805 or so. So, the Collinses moved, apparently from southern Gates County toward the border, in the second half of the 1790s. Maybe they were returning from the same region.

What is hard to understand is how these Collinses, who own no property and show up in few, if any, records, are connected to the Collins of Kinsale Family, which owned a lot of property, or the Collins of Bertie Family, which also owned a lot of property. And how could relatives of such established families simply not be counted in a state-wide census?  All of this leads me to believe that we are dealing with a marginal, poor family, that drifted around a bit and finally came into some land (via rent) in the second half of the 1790s.

Looking around at other lists in the region, the only name I could find that sounds promising is Samuel Collins of Hertford County. Samuel Collins was listed in Hertford (which then included the northern half of what became Gates County) in William Murfree’s tax book in 1768 and 1770. One tantalizing clue is that his middle name is recorded — Samuel Bridgers Collins or Samuel B. Collins. This is interesting because one of the Tuscarora representatives who signed land transactions in the 1760s and 1770s in Bertie County was named Samuel Bridgers.

 

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