JOHN BECKHAM. WIR 2270 Whether John Beckham is the brother-in-law of
William Williams II (d Dec 1775 at Boonesborough, now in Kentucky) of Granville Co., NC, cannot be documented at this time, however, there is
pretty good circumstantial evidence that points to that conclusion.
Phillis (--) Williams, wife of William
Williams (d. 1775 at Boonesborough) was said by Thomas McAdory Owen to have been a Beckham. Nonetheless, William Williams,
possibly the husband of Phillis, was bondsman at Beckham's marriage to Elizabeth Henderson, the daughter of Samuel and
Elizabeth (Williams) Henderson. Bond was dated 12 Aug 1761, and consent was from Eliza. Henderson [the mother] the same date.
(Thomas McAdory Owen, History and Genealogies of Old Granville County, North Carolina 1746-1800 [Greenville SC: Southern Historical Press, 1993]
We learn a little more about John Beckham in a biography of Col. William Henderson, the brother of Elizabeth Henderson. This
biography appears in John H. Logan, A.M., A HISTORY OF THE UPPER COUNTRY OF SOUTH CAROLINA .... P. 38 (Southern California Geneal. Soc.,
"John Beckham, his [William Henderson's] father-in-law [should be brother-in-law] was a most active Whig, and fearless scout.
While Morgan was encamped on Grindal's Shoals, he kept him in constant motion, and he did valuable service. On one occasion, when closely
pressed by the Light Horse of Tarleton, he plunged headlong down a fearful bank into the river, and made his escape. It was on the plantation of
old Wm. Hodge, who was also a true Whig. A comrade named Easterwood, from whom the shoals take their name, was with him in this race Easterwood
rode a big clumsy horse, and was big and heavy himself. His horse striking his foot against a log, fell sprawling, and Easterwood was made
prisoner. Beckham's mare a magnificent animal, soon left them in the rear. He could have got off easier, but stopping at Hodge's to light his
pipe, (he was an incessant smoker), the British were close upon him, while he was yet holding the fire. He swore he would light it before he
budged a foot. After gaining the opposite side of Pacolet, he slapped his thing, and looking back at his pursuers, 'Shoot and be d---d," he
cried, his pipe still in his mouth. He is said to have done all his scouting and fighting with his pipe in his mouth. He survived the war, and
lies buried on Hodge's plantation. His only son removed to Kentucky; his daughters all married and moved to the West." (p. 38-39)
A subsequent paragraph about William Hodge states "His place was some three miles above Grindal's Shoals; it is now occupied by his
grandson, Moses Hodge. "
The son of John Beckham who is said to have gone to Kentucky is probably the subject of the following biography.
A Younger John Beckham
To confuse matters, some 39 years later, a Granville Co. marriage between John Beckum and Mary Denton took place, bond dated Dec
17, 1800. Bond was signed by John his x mark Beckum & John Denton. (2)
(Thomas McAdory Owen, HISTORY AND GENEALOGIES OF OLD GRANVILLE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, 1746-1800, p. 85).
It appears this younger John Beckham, along with several Denton males, migrated to Henderson Co., KY, where he appears on the early tax lists.
The 1810 Henderson Co. tax list shows him with 200 A. on Canoe Creek. These Dentons are shown on the tax list as being on Canoe Creek: Reuben,
John, and Benjamin.(3) Samuel Denton is shown on Lick Creek, which is where Williams resided. Richard Henderson, decd. is shown with 400
A. on Canoe Creek. Also shown on Canoe Creek was John Weller. See Weller biographies.
Mitchell's Index of North Carolina Testators indicates a John Beckham died in Warren Co., NC ca. 1780.
of Wills, Warren County, North Carolina 1779-1844", Published by GoldenWest Marketing Genealogy, Temple City, CA: JOHN BECKHAM
["B" his mark] 17 Oct 1779 - Feb Ct 1780 -Orig. WB3/Pg.40 - Whole estate to my wife NAOMI for her widowhood, and at her death or marriage,
it is to be sold and proceeds divided equally among my children. Ex. brother PHILLEMON BECKHAM, wife NAOMI; Wit. JAS.
BASKETT, YOURRITH [X] BASKETT. Note by D.Williams)
Court records of Granville Co., NC have this abstracted entry: 1805, August court, Deed from Benjamin, Celia, John, Reuben Denton, John Beckham,
Frederick Wiggins and Polly Beckham to Stephen Sneed, 197 acres, and Celia Denton relinquished her dower right in said line.
This seems to indicate a younger John Beckham, and he may be the John Beckham who migrated to Henderson Co., KY.
The following confused genealogy of the family of Elizabeth Henderson II and her husband John Beckham comes from "Collections
and Notes by Eleanor Duke," as published on the Internet spring 1995. There is no date or place given but from personal observation, spring
1994, this writer knows that many of Mrs. Duke's notes on the Henderson family have been published and bound in a volume at the DAR Library,
Part 21, Duke's collection, concerns John and Elizabeth Beckham. Some of the dates are probably errors in transcription, and the footnotes are
undocumented. Where there are obvious or undocumented [undoc] statements, notes have been included in brackets; otherwise the material should be
taken at face value. The numbers in brackets, however, refer to Mrs. Duke's footnotes, which are given at the end.
"Elizabeth (Henderson) Beckham
Daughter of Samuel Henderson
Grand Daughter of Thomas Henderson [undoc]
born 19 February 1738 ["Bible records"; see biography of Samuel Henderson]
Hanover County, Virginia [undoc]
died 17 August 1631 [error]
Union District, South Carolina [?]
married John "Jack" Beckham 
12 August 1761
Granville County, North Carolina
"Eight children: 
"a. John Beckham
(born ca 1763/65
Union District, South Carolina
died ca. 1849 Barren, Warren Counties, Kentucky
married Susan (Rachel) Mosely
Union District, South Carolina
"b. Sarah Beckham
"c. Henrietta Beckham
(married and 'went West')
"d. Susan Beckham
(married and 'went West')
"e. Elizabeth Beckham
(married and 'went West')
"f. Mary Leah Beckham 
(born 10 July 1768
Union District, South Carolina
died 26 May 1859
Leake County, Mississippi
married James Clayton Stribling
11/13 November 1787
Union District, South Carolina)
"g. Nancy Beckham
"h. Teressa Beckham
"50. Son of William Beckham and Phyllis (Green) Beckham" [Phillis's maiden name not documented]
"51. One daughter married Mr. Bledsoe."
Mrs. Duke continues with some of the children of John Beckham and of Mary Leah Stribling.
(1) Brent Holcomb in his transcription of Granville Co. Marriage bonds 1753-1868 has commented that the consent was apparently the bride's.
However, since there are reported linkages of the Williams family and the Henderson family (some of which have been confirmed) and
between the Williams and the Beckham family, we deduce that the consent was given by the bride's mother, the former Elizabeth
Williams, the widow of Samuel Henderson, an early settler of Granville Co.
(2) John Denton's will was recorded 22 May 1817, Henderson Co., KY WB A-242.
(3) Benjamin Denton was married to Sealah Wiggins 18 Nov 1772. Signed by Benj. Denton & M. Williams. Wit: Reuben Searcy.
GEORGE KEELING. (ca 1720-bef. 1759) WIR01015. We know very little of George
Keeling prior to his death which is reported (but not confirmed) to have occurred prior to 1759 in Halifax Co. NC (See transcribed copy of
George Keeling's Will)
He and his wife, the former Agnes Bullock, had four daughters and a son. The children named in his will are: John, Elizabeth, Ann, Agatha,
Francis [sic], (1)
Executors were Thos. B. Smith and Jas Smyth. Relationship to the deceased is unknown.
Wills of Granville Co., NC provide George Keeling's name in this manner:
His father-in-law, Richard Bullock, had a bill of sale, 1760: "Richard Bullock to granddaughter Frances Keeling daughter of George
Records of colonial Granville Co. indicate Agnes (Bullock) Keeling, the widow, later Mrs.
John Williams [Esq], was the daughter of Richard
Bullock. She was named in Richard Bullock's will.
Shortly after Keeling's death, the widowed Agnes married John Williams, Esq., of Granville Co., NC. in 1759.
Keeling probably was alive in 1731 and deceased by 1759. It is inferred, but not proved, he was related to the Capt. Keeling who is mentioned in
Hanover land patent to John Williams ca. 1731. Information about the land patent is found in Vol. III of Cavaliers and Pioneers. (Also Virginia
land patents are now found online at the Library of Virginia website.)
Possiblly he is the same George Keeling whose name appears in the merchant's account book of Francis Jerdone, Hanover Co. ca. 1743/44. The list
is headed: [Folio 98] Hanover County. Sundries Drs [debtors] to ballance being a full list of the debts due to the Cargo belonging to the
Executors of Neill Buchanan Esqr. deceased this 10th day of Novr 1744."
One Richard Bullock appears in the account book among "Sundries Drs."
(Of interest: Also appearing in this account book are names of neighbors of Nathaniel Williams]: William Harlow, Michael Holland, Senior
and Michael Holland, Junior. Also "Execrs. of Matthew Jouett," Jouett being father-in-law of Joseph Williams. Nathaniel and Joseph Williams were
paternal uncles of Judge John Williams of Granville Co. Also the name of John Rodes, a son-in-law of Robert Harris, later of Louisa and
Albemarle Cos. Joseph Williams, a county official at times in Lunenburg Co., VA, was married 1st to Henrietta Jouett, dau. of said Matthew
(Edgar MacDonald, Ph.D., "A Merchant's Account Book: Hanover County, Virginia 1743-1744," MAGAZINE OF VIRGINIA GENEALOGY, V. 34, No. 3, pp.
George Keeling may have been a neighbor of the Williams family in Hanover Co., VA. However, according to notes found in Folder 9A of the Lewis
Bullock [M.D.] Collection, Thornton Library, Oxford, NC, George Keeling died in Halifax Co., NC and not in Granville Co., NC. He made his will 9
June 1759, and it was proved September court 1759. Witnesses were Abner Andrews, Absolom Rogers, Jurat, John Rhodes. In his will, he named his
son John Keeling, and his daughters, Elizabeth, Ann, Francis [sic], Agatha. Executors were Thos. B. Smith and Jas Smyth.
(Document not verified by this writer.)
From the will, it is determined he was the father of the youngest child Agatha, who seemingly was adopted by John Williams, Esq.,
of Granville Co., second husband of Agnes Bullock. The latter couple were married 1759, soon after Keeling's death. At any rate, Agatha
and her husband Robert Burton became sole heirs of Judge John Williams of Granville Co. NC. Apparently Williams considered her his daughter.
Burton had long been associated with Williams as records of Transylvania Colony reveal.
Evidence of Probable Presence in
Hanover Co., New Kent Co. and Princess Anne Cos., VA.
The following documents do not verify the actual presence of this younger George Keeling in Hanover Co. but may indicate the presence of of a
family by that name in the general vicinity of the first John Williams family:
Hanover Co. Deed Bk 14, p. 198. John Williams of Hanover Co. 26 Jun 1731.
304 A, at Gilcrest's corner, Daniel's line, in Rather's line, in Captain Keeling's line, Henry Davis's line, Mr. Harris's corner, in Saxon's
(Note: No first name is given for Captain Keeling. Another neighbor, John Gilchrist is found in the same Francis Jerdone's merchant's
account book, Hanover Co., as George Keeling, cited above. Also a Richard Bullock is listed.)
Hanover Co. DB 24-228. Stephen Terry, Jr. 5 Jun 1746. 149 A ... in the Second Fork of the Pamunkey River ... at John Williams' corner pine in
William Winston's line ... to Major Blair's corner ... on Captain Keeling's line. ( Fry & Jefferson map shows that at one time the Pamunkey
River, a tributary of the York River, formed the border between New Kent Co. on the south and King William Co. on the north.)
[This citation is in error. It is not found in Hanover Co., and not in Louisa Co.,VA. I must have made this note long ago when I was not very
experienced in citing sources. EWW Mar 2004]
There was a John Keeling, not George Keeling, in Hanover Co. ca. 1734. He was named as godson in will of John Burridge. Records for Hanover Co.
are sparse, and we have no other indication of the whereabouts of this John Keeling unless he is the son of George Keeling and who is found
later in Granville Co. records.
The name of a George Keeling appears in VESTRYBOOK OF ST. PAUL'S PARISH, HANOVER COUNTY, VIRGINIA 1706-1786. He seems to have been a
contemporary of John Williams I of Hanover Co. who received a 1716 patent in Henrico Co. The reference in the vestrybook is on page 256:
At a Vestry held for St. Pauls Parish Sbr, ye 10th 1719:
Note these were Tenants, Hinson to West, Brian to Fox; note that Mr Geo. Keeling, Chas Yancey, Wm Saxon, Jno Brian, Thos Preswood, Saml Saxon,
are all Freeholders in this Precinct, note that Colo Walker hath no land in this Precinct.
In 1704-1705 Rent Rolls of Virginia, the name George Keeling appears in New Kent Co. Rolls (Parish of St. Peter's and St. Pauls. Anno 1704.) He
is taxed 1500 pounds. There are two Bullocks also in the rent rolls: Richard and Edward, 450 pds. each. There are also a number of Mitchells and
two Sneads: Tho. and John.
It appears this person was an older George Keeling than the husband of Agnes Bullock.
There was a George Keeling in New Kent Co. ca. 1699-1702, probably of an older generation. He was one of the justices of the peace, as was one
James Moss [possibly Morse]. See biographies of Morse family members of Granville Co., NC, close associates of the Williams family. (Also, a
Capt. Geo. Keeling was sheriff of New Kent Co., VA in 1709, according to C. G. Chamberlayne, THE VESTRY BOOK AND REGISTER OF ST. PETER'S
PARISH, NEW KENT AND JAMES CITY COUNTIES, VIRGINIA, 1684-1786, "Appendices" [Richmond, 1937], p. 693.)
Another justice in New Kent Co. was Nicholas Meriwether, whose name is found as one of the officials in later Hanover Co. records from
1733-1735. There was a Nicholas Meriwether, Jr., also in Hanover Co.
New Kent Co. was the parent of Hanover Co., said to have been the original home of the Williams and Henderson families of Nutbush
Creek, Granville Co., NC.
Other Keelings, all in Princess Anne Co. in the 1704 quit rent rolls of Virginia are as follows:
Adam - 500 [acres]
John - 2,000
Thomas - 700
It seems these Keelings, as a group, owned considerable land. Land patents of Virginia have not been searched for Keelings.
We have no proof that George Keeling was an "Irish lord," a seeming myth which has been repeated in many "family histories." This false pedigree
may have originated with Archibald Henderson, author of THE CONQUEST OF THE OLD SOUTHWEST (New York, 1920), in writing of his ancestors and
Henderson writes, "This young attorney [Richard Henderson], wedded to the daughter of an Irish lord, often visited Salisbury on his legal
circuit; and here he became well acquainted with Squire Boone, one of the 'Worshipfull Justices,' and often appeared in suits before him." (p.
It seems evident from the 1704 quit rent rolls of Virginia, however, that the Keelings were "of the landed gentry," holding considerably more
land than their neighbors.
It is somewhat difficult to trace the movements of the Bullock family in Virginia prior to 1750. The name "Richard Bullock" is
found in many counties.
Other Occurrences of Surname in Virginia
Index to Deeds, Cumberland Co., VA, a progeny county of Goochland Co.:
1755- DB2-180 - Lennard Keeling to John Burton.
A Burton family were later close associates of the Keeling-Williams family of Nutbush Creek area, Granville Co. They seem earlier
to have been in Hanover Co., VA. See biography of Robert Burton who married Agatha, only daughter of John Williams Esq. and Agnes (Bullock)
The name George Keeling appears as a Virginia Tithable in James City 1768, but this was after George Keeling of Granville Co., NC was deceased.
As can be seen, George is a popular first name for Keeling men.
(1) The inclusion of Agatha in the will of George Keeling is confusing in that the daughter of John Williams and the widow Keeling was
reportedly Agatha Williams. Did Agatha Keeling die, and Agnes named a younger daughter for her, a not uncommon practice among English people?
Or, did John Williams, Esq., adopt this last child and thus make her his sole heir? See biography of Agatha Williams, wife of Robert Burton.
(One researcher was of the opinion that Williams had fathered this child, even as George Keeling was dying. I tend to think Williams, who seemed
to be childless--he had had small pox--adopted Agatha, who was very young when Keeling died. There are rumors that smallpox leads to
infertility, but I have not been able to verify this statement.)
Agatha probably is the same child said to be daughter of John Williams, Esq. The reason is that her birthdate, reported to be 1757, is two years
prior to the marriage of her widowed mother to John Williams, Esq. in 1759. Williams may have adopted the child as she was so young when the
couple married. At any rate, she became his sole heir, and Robert Burton, her husband, came into control of the estate. As such, he had several
lawsuits brought against him. His father-in-law, Judge John Williams, had been a land agent for Col. Richard Henderson in the Transylvania
Company [later called Henderson & Co.] according to the Colonial Records of North Carolina.
Note added from D. Williams:
(Thomas McAdory Owen, History and Genealogies of Old Granville County, North Carolina, 1746-1800, Copyright 1993 (Southern Historical
Press Inc.,P.O.Box 1267,Greenville,SC 29202-1267), PP.53 -54 -- GEORGE KEELING -, ISBN 0-89308-487-5).
Bill of Sale, Aug.2, 1760, RICH'D BULLOCK, of Granville County to his granddaughter FRANCES KEELING, daughter of GEORGE KEELING, deceased, in
cons. of "the good will & affection", conveys negro boy named "Bob" in the care of grantor's son JOHN BULLOCK, and grantor also places in the
hands of JOHN WILLIAMS,Jr. "one candle pan" for use of said granddaughter together with said negro. Wit: RICH'D HENDERSON, ZAC.BULLOCK,
Id. p. 160. Bond, Sept 19, 1759, "unto WILLIAM PERSON, WILLIAM HURST, CHARLES JOHNSON & ROBERT HICKS Esqs. Justices of the County Court" of
Granville County, pen &600.' of AGNES KEELING, who is apptd guardian of ELIZABETH, orphan of GEORGE KEELING deceased. Sur: JOHN SIMS, THOMAS
Id. p. 122 Same; ward JOHN, son of GEORGE KEELING. Id.p. 123.
entries from Abstracts of the Wills and Estate Records of Granville County North
Carolina 1746-1808 by Zae Hargett Gwynn, Published by Joseph W. Watson, Rocky
John Keeling, son of George Keeling & Agnes Bullock:
Page 101 – Feb. Court 1797 – John Keeling’s Land, he deceased, was divided to
the four heirs – contained 69 acres – divided to Mrs. Frances Ridley, Mrs. Agga
Burton, Mrs. Elizabeth Henderson, Mrs. Ann Satterwhite.
Agnes Bullock Keeling Williams Will:
Page 324-327, Mar. 29, 1802 – proved May court 1803 – Agnes Williams wills
to…Daughter Frances Ridley, granddaughter Sarah Ridley, granddaughter Elizabeth
Burton, great-granddaughter Frances Keeling Burton (daughter of James Minge
Burton & Elizabeth, his wife), grandson James Ridley, granddaughter Frances
Ridley, granddaughter Polly Ridley, grandson Robert Ridley, granddaughter Peggy
Satterwhite, granddaughter Nancy Satterwhite, grandson Edwin Satterwhite,
grandson Horace Satterwhite, grandson John Henderson, granddaughter Elizabeth
Alexander. Codicil: Grandson Leonard Henderson, granddaughter Fanny Henderson,
daughter Agatha Burton, grandson Frank N.W. Burton.
(Note by DW: This will was also filed in Wilson Co. TN, where it stated: "AGNES WILLIAMS Will. 29 March 1802. Former resident of
Granville County, North Carolina". [Recorded 24 October 1838. Wilson County, Tennessee Wills & Inventories, Book 9 (1837 - 1839), Pages
317-321]. Apparently Agnes had moved to TN where some of her grandchildren lived.)
The name George Keeling is found in Caroline Co. VA Orders in 1748. Is he the
From FHL film 30832 - Court Order Book 1740-1746
11 June 1748 Suit in chancery between George Holloway plt. and Charles Holloway
def., def allowed time to answer next court. George Keeling agst. Stephen Terry
9 July 1748 - Thomas Johnson agst. Samuel Poe debt dismised agreed. George
Keeling agst. Lazarus Yarborough cont.
(From Rootsweb archiver [DAVENPORT] 1999-11 subject: Caroline Co. VA Orders
submitted by Ralph Royce email@example.com)