Crittenden County, KY | Gilliams of Virginia

GILLIAMs of Crittenden County, KY
Updated March 24, 2016


Crittenden County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It was formed in 1842 from Livingston County. Its county seat is Marion. The county is named for John J. Crittenden who was Governor of Kentucky 1848-1850. Generally pro-Confederate during the American Civil War, both armies passed through the county repeatedly and several skirmishes took place. The county court house was burned by guerrillas in 1865, during the last months of the war.

The first Gilliam to settle Crittenden County was John S. Gilliam. Prior to Crittenden’s formation, John was living in Livingston County, KY. Though John’s parents are not known he was born in Virginia about 1807 and was likely from a prominent family as he was a physician.

J S Gilliam
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Smithland, Livingston, Kentucky
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9: 2
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29: 1
Slaves - Males - 24 thru 35; 1
Slaves - Females - 24 thru 35: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
Persons Employed in Learned Professional Engineers: 1
Free White Persons - Under 20: 5
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total Slaves: 2
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 9

Gilliam, John L.  
Year: 1850
County: Crittenden
Roll: M432_197
Township: District 1
Page: 245
Image: 300

Albert Gilliam
Age in 1860:   21
Birthplace:   Kentucky
Home in 1860:   District 1, Crittenden, Kentucky
Gender:   Male
Post Office:   Marion
Roll:   M653_363
Page:   0
Year:   1860
Head of Household:   Nancy S Gilliam

Sarah F Woods
Age: 49
Birth DateFeb 1851
Home in 1900:
Marion, Crittenden, Kentucky
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Robt H Woods
Marriage Year: 1870
Years Married: 30
Father's Birthplace: Kentucky
Mother's Birthplace: Kentucky
Mother: number of living children: 6
Mother: How many children: 10
Household Members:
Robt H Woods, age 59
Sarah F Woods, age 49
Bessie L Woods, age 16
Fannie L Woods, age 16
Northern Woods, age 20
Robert A Woods, age 24
Mary R Gilliam, age 54
[Mary R, Gilliam, the widow of Albert Gilliam, in 1900 is living with her sister and her family.]

County Histories
Later court meetings were held at the Brick Church near Marion, and Dr. John S. Gilliam, who had built Marion's first house in 1840, donated five acres of land where the public buildings now stand, for a courthouse site. He had paid $5 per acre for the land. The first courthouse, built of brick and completed June 10,1844, was burned by General Lyon's forces in January of 1865. A second one was built after the war, and in May 1870, it burned. It was rebuilt in 1871 and used until 1960, when the current courthouse was built.

In the early days, the Circuit Judge came from Henderson by buggy to conduct court, staying at least a month in the homes of friends or in one of Marion's two hotels. In 1844, rates fixed by court, at Gilliam's Hotel in his log home were: meals 25¢; night's lodging 12 1/2¢ horse all night, two feedings 25¢; whiskey half pint 5¢; rum, brandy, or wine 10¢.

14 Aug 1851
Trustees of Marion convey to J. W. Rutherford of Crittenden County, for consideration of an order from John S. GILLIAM, proprietor of sd. town, to and in favor of Wm. H. Rochester for lots $28 and 30 in sd. town of Marion, order assigned by Rochester to Rutherford
Crittenden County, KY, Deed Book B, page 889

Family Histories
Nancy's [Selissa Hughes] 2nd husband was a Physician in Marion [Dr. John S. Gilliam]. Appointed clerk pro-tem when Crittendedn County formed in 1842. He donated the land on which publc buildings, including the original and present courthouse stand; the county seat was moved South to Marion in 1844. (107 Main St) The first public school in Marion was built on land donated by his widow, Nancy, and dedicated 8 August, 1868.

Land Records
3 Dec 1842
Gilliam, John S
Acres: 42
Book: 10
Survey Date: 12- 3-1842
County: Crittenden
WaterCourse: Crooked Cr

27 Apr 1845
Gilliam, John S
Acres: 962
Book: 14
Survey Date: 4-27-1845
County: Crittenden
WaterCourse: Hoods Cr

9 Jan 1906
Mrs. Mary Rebecca Gilliam was born in Fredonia, Ky., Feb. 1, 1845. Her parents were Alfred and Mary Eliza Armstrong. Her mother was the sister of R. W. Wilson, of this place. In her early life her parents removed to Marion. From the time her parents made their removal until her death, she resided here. She had three sisters--Melinda Jane Miles, Mrs. S. F. Woods, the only surviving child of Alfred Armstrong and James Ella, (commonly called Dedia) Flanary.

She was married to Dr. Albert Gilliam. To them five children were given, three of whom died when young; the other two, John and Ada, grew to maturity.

She professed religion and joined the Presbyterian church Sept. 27th, 1867. Her husband, Dr. Gilliam, died Oct. 24, 1877. Since then, for these 28 years, she has lived a widow. John and Ada survived their father's death a few years and then passed away, leaving Mrs. Gilliam the only vestige of the family.

What shall we say in regard to her life and character? To know her was to lover her and the better you knew the better you loved her. With eyes beaming with the soft radiance of kindness and a sunny countenance, betokening the great soul within her, it was delightful to bask in the presence of her purity and enjoy her sweet converse of humility and love. She had in her very being a nobleness of nature, a spirit of fairness and justness to all that characterizes God's true nobility. The innermost circle of relatives and friends who have lived and associated with her unstintedly testify of her sweetness of disposition of her forbearance and forgiveness of the faults and follies of others. How free she was from any word of censure or unkindness to others.

She was a woman of remarkable intelligence and broad culture, yet so modest was she and reserved in her nature that those who did not know her well would not likely thus judge.

She was a fine musician. In her palmy days, but few could equal her on the piano. It seemed that the music emanated spontaneously from the instrument under the deft touch of her skilled natural talent.

She was a pleasant visitor. Wherever she went she made the social circle happy. They were always glad of her arrival and loath to give her up when the time came for her departure. She had so many insistent invitations to spend weeks with these various friends that she could not fill the tithe of these invitations. In the providence of God she came home to die; to fold her mantle and sink to sleep--came home where she was best known and best loved. She seemed so glad to see all of her friends.

She was a noble christian lady. In the glory and beauty of her young womanhood she gave her heart and life to Jesus and to his church; she loved the church, while affliction often prevented her attendance. She loved her Bible and made it her daily companion. Its blessed promises buoyed her up amid the successive sorrows and scenes of bereavement through which she passed. Such a life, so pure, so sweet, so good, passes out from mundane shores, but anchors in the haven of rest. No long and lingering illness. But one shaft from death's arrow and she went home to Jesus. She sweetly fell asleep; while loving hands could not restore the life, bright angels caught the quivering spirit and conveyed it through the fields of ether,--and she awoke in the Paradise of God!
The Library of Congress. Chronicling America. Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, January 18, 1906, Image 2

All Marion was shocked Tuesday morning at 9 o'clock to hear of the sudden death of Mrs. Mary Rebecca GILLIAM, at the home of her sister, Mrs. R. H. WOODS, corner Bellville and College streets.
Mrs. GILLIAM had not been complaining, but was in splendid health and was engaged in sweeping the porch when stricken.
She had only a few minutes before left the room where her nieces, Misses Fannie and Bessie WOODS, and their father, R. H. WOODS were seated.  Suddenly, without any warning, they heard loud groans and on opening the door found her lying prostrate, still holding the broom in her hands.
Although help was given her and medical attention summoned as quickly as possible, 'twas all to no avail, as death had already ensued.
Mrs. GILLIAM was one of the most lovable characters that ever resided in Marion, being of a kindly disposition and a true christian, having for years been a member of the Presbyterian church in this city.
Her life has been a sad one, having lost her husband and five children, she being the last surviving member of her family.
She was born Feb. 1, 1845, and had she lived until the first of next month would have been sixty-one.
She was the daughter of Alfred ARMSTRONG, a former merchant of Marion, and in his day one of the first citizens of the place.  Her mother was Miss Mary Eliza WILSON, the only sister of Mr. R. W. WILSON of this city.
She is related to many of Marion's first citizens, being a first cousin of Mesdames R. W. WILSON, H. K. WOODS, J. W. BLUE, S. M. JENKINS, and of John W. WILSON.
Mrs. GILLIAM was married in 1863 to Dr. Albert GILLIAM but he met an untimely death about twelve years later from an injury received by being thrown from his horse.
The funeral was conducted by the Rev. James F. PRICE at the Presbyterian church, Wednesday afternoon, and the interment took place immediately afterwards, at the new cemetery; where she was laid to rest by the side of her husband who preceded her to the grave so many years before.
The Pallbearers were chosen from among her friends--those who had known and loved her from their childhood--and were:  C. S. NUNN, G. M. CRIDER, H. A. HAYNES, J. F. DODGE, R. V. STINSON, of Mt. Vernon, Ind., W. E. STINSON, of Enfield, Ill.
The floral offerings were very beautiful.


22 Feb 1859
Will of John Spotswood Gilliam
I John S. Gilliam of the county of Crittenden and State of Kentucky do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in the manner following to wit:

1st I desire that all of my just debts may be paid out of any money that I may have now on hand or out of nay money that May arise from the sale of the property the title to which I shall vest I n my executor herein after appointed.

2nd It is my will and desire hat my executor shall have the title and I do hereby vest the title of al my property both real and personal of every kind and description whether the title be legal or equitable in my executor to control as fully and completely as I myself could do if living for the uses herein after expressed except my negroes herein after named and my executors are vested with full power to sell and convey any part or all of my lands upon such terms and conditions as they may see fit and proper for the payment of debts or for the general benefit of my family except one tract of land hereafter described which I shall give to my son Albert.

3rd It is my will and desire that my executor shall keep together all of my negroes Edmond, Rachel and her children and my farm for the use and benefit of my family until my youngest child shall come of age and then or within two thereafter will and direct that said negroes together with their increase, if any shall be equally divided between my wife and my three children Nancy, Albert and Ann and I give to hem as my devisees the title to said negroes immediately upon my decease but to be controlled by my executor until the arrival of age of my youngest child as aforesaid.

4th I will and direct that at or within two year after my youngest daughter shall come of age that my executor shall divide all of my lands if any that remain unsold or the proceeds of such as may have been sold and such proceeds remain undisposed of equally between my wife and three children before named and I direct that they shall be made equal in their portions in every respect.

5th I Will and direct that my son Albert have all of the stock which he now claims, the three oldest mules that we have, a bay bald face horse and a black horse called Bill and one tract of land lying on Piney Creek a part of which is included in the deed made to me by M. B. Haynes, executor of Wm Hale and the balance was taken and surveyed by myself and lies adjoining that contained in Haynes deed and for which I have not obtained a patent.

6th I wish my executors to use their discretion in the sale of my real estate and all or any of my town property and I give them full power and authority to sell the same publicly or privately upon such terms as they may thin most advantageous to my estate.

7th It is my will and desire that the portion herein given to my wife shall only vest in her the title for her life and that at her death all of said property real and personal shall be equally divided between my three children before named and if either of my children shall be childless or without issues then I direct that the portion of such child shall be equally divided between the survivors.

And lastly I do nominate and appoint my beloved wife Nancy S. Gilliam and my son Albert Gilliam executor and vest them with full power to carry this my will into effect according to its obvious meaning and I request that the county court shall grant them letters testamentary without requiring of them security

In testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand and affixed my seal this 22nd day of February 1859.

Sig: John S. Gilliam
Attest J. N. Woods,
Alfred Armstrong

State of Kentucky
Crittenden County Court
April 14th 1859

I Berry S. Young Clerk of the county court for said county hereby certify that on the 14th day of March 1859 the foregoing instrument purporting to be the last will and testament of John S. Gilliam deceased was produced in open court by the executor herein named and proven to be the true last Will and Testament of the said Gilliam by the oaths of John S. Woods and Alfred Armstrong subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded whereupon I have duly recorded same and this certificate in my officer given under my hand this 15th day of April 1859.
Berry S. Young, Clk
[John’s parents are not known, but census records indicate he was born in Virginia. John is found in Livingston County, KY prior to the formation of Crittenden County.]

14 Oct 1877
Will of Albert Gilliam
I, Albert Gilliam, being sick and feeble but of sound mind do make this my last will and testament in manner following to wit

First. I desire all my just debts paid out of any effects on hand at my death and I herein appoint my executrix herein after named with all necessary power to sell, dispose of or in any manner she may see fit such property as I may own, collect debts, receipts for money or other things, sell, land, or land town lots, convey by deed or deeds possessing the title as complete as though it me myself. In selling land it is expected only so much will ____ be sold as will enable her to settle up and pay off my debts on prohibition however in the sale of any she has full power to do all things that I would have if living.

Second. When my children become of age then I wish such a division of my estate as will be equal. My wife taking an equal share with the children I desire no change in the family but to continue as though all were living or in other words the appointment of guardian for my children leaving it all to my wife should there be anything in this my will that cannot be fully understood I want such construction put upon it as will be the most advantageous or the greatest benefit to my wife. I am willing to leave it all to her that she may manage it for her use and the children.

Third. Lastly I hereby appoint my beloved wife Mary R. Gilliam my executrix and desire the court that she have letters testamentary without executing any bond.

In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand in the presence of the following witnesses
R. W. Wilson, J. H. Hawkins
Oct 14 1877

Sig: A. Gilliam

State of Kentucky
County of Crittenden
I James W. Bingham clerk of the county court for the county and state aforesaid certify that the foregoing instrument of writing purporting to be the last will and testament of A. Gilliam decd was on the 12th day of November 1877 present in open court and proved to be the last will and testament of A. Gilliam decd by the oaths of R. W. Wilson and J. H. Hawkins subscribing witnesses thereto. Thereupon the same was duly ordered by the court to be recoded whereupon I have duly recorded same and this certificate in my office.
Given under my hand this 14th day of May 1878
James W. Bingham, Clerk
[Albert is the son of John S. Gilliam above and Nancy Selissa Hughes, his wife.] Kentucky, Probate Records, 1792-1977. CrittendenWill records, 1833-1925, Vol. 1 Image 119 of 385