Goodman and Related Families of Amherst County Virginia

County Formation and Boundary History

Amherst County was formed in 1761 from the southwestern section of Albemarle, lying between Bedford on the south, and Albemarle on the north. In the same year, Buckingham County was formed from the southeast section of Albemarle.

In 1807/8, Amherst was split in half, with Nelson Co. being established between Amherst and Albemarle.

Albemarle County Records in Amherst County

These first few deeds were originally recorded in Albemarle Co., but also ended up in the Amherst County records, probably as a result of creation of Amherst Deed Book A from transcriptions of deeds previously recorded in Albemarle for lands that were in the new county soon after Amherst was formed. In the Louisa and Albemarle County records, all of these are recorded with Goodman surnames. while in Amherst records, they are indexed and recorded with Goodwin surnames.

  • 9 Aug 1750 Jno Goodwin & wife Mary, 400 ac to Thompson, S. side James, N branches of Slate. (In what is now Buckingham Co., between Bridgeport and Taggart.)
  • 9 Aug 1751, Jno Goodwin witnessed sale of Elk Islands (Now in Goochland County, on the border with Cumberland County).
  • 12 Nov 1751 Ray to Jno. Goodwin, Sr. £10, 400 ac s. side Fluvanna near branch of Rock Island Creek. Wit Jno. Goodwin, Jr. (Rock Island Creek enters James R. about .9 mi due east of Warren, VA. It crosses under SH676 just south of there.)
  • 9 Mar 1758 Jno. Goodwin sold 100 ac of above lands near Rock Island Creek to Wm & Mary Anglin. Deed to Stephen Ford £15.
  • 9 August 1758, Jno. Goodwin sold remaining 300 ac near Rock Island Creek for £25 to Stephen Ford. Mary wife of Jno. Goodman.
  • 27 Sep 1760 Rich. Tillis, Bedford Co. to Jno Goodwin for £55, 400 ac n side and adj. Fluvanna.

Amherst County Deeds and Wills

The following deeds were recorded after formation of Amherst Co. from Albemarle. According to a clerk I spoke to at the Amherst courthouse when I visited there, all deeds were transcribed from the original deteriorated deed books into new copies sometime around 1800, and these later transcriptions show Goodwin surnames instead of Goodman. However, as a result of earlier Louisa and Albemarle County deeds, as well as the Horsley references, I believe that most, if not all, of these Goodwin surnames should actually be Goodman.

  • 30 Apr 1763, William Cabell to Wm. Horsley, dec’d, and to William, Robert and John Horsley, his sons by Mary Cabell, according to marriage agreement. Exchange of 200 ac. of land in Albemarle, for 160 ac. and 1,525 ac in Amherst and Buckingham, both sides Fluvana R. adj. Elk Islands. (Amh DB A:112). (See 1769 Division of Estate, following).
  • 7 May 1764 Jno. Goodwin (wife Sarah) pd £20 for 400 ac from Rowland Horsley Burks, both sides of Johns Creek & joining n. side of Fluvanna R. Lines: Nicholas Davis, Richard & Rowland Burks. Also near lands sold by Burks to Capt. Chas. Lynch. (RG: Roland Horsley Burks was the son of Richard Burks and Frances Horsley, who was daughter of Robert Horsley of St. Paul’s Parish, in Hanover, VA, a son of Roland Horsley of York / New Kent County. Robert Horsley also had sons John, William and Roland. Roland Horsley, son of Robert Horsley, was the father of Charles Goodman’s wife, Elizabeth Horsley.)
  • 4 Aug 1764 John Goodwin to Joseph Goodwin 200 ac n. side Fluvaner (sic.) River. Part of 400 ac John Goodwin bought of Roland Horsley Burks.
  • 1764, Micajah Terrell to Abram North (Amh DB A:163)
  • 1764, Rowland Horsley Birks to Mary Bryant (Amh DB A:191)
  • 1764, Rowland Horsley Birks to Wm. Staton (Amh DB A:193)
  • 1764, Rowland Horsley Birks to John Goodwin, 400 ac w/buildings (Amh DB A:195)
  • 3 Nov 1766 Henry Trent to Joseph Goodwin, 113 ac n. side of Johns Creek. Wit. Wm Horsley.
  • 1769, Wm. Horsley, dec’d, Division of est. to his sons, with full page, hand drawn map of boundaries and river, (Amh DB B:416).
  • 17 Aug 1773 Micajah Goodwin, 200 ac given to him by father Jno. Goodwin, on James R. between Joseph Goodwin & Nicholas Davis. Wit. John Ritchie.
  • 7 Mar 1775 Ro. Horsley & wife Judith 392 ac to Jas. Pamplin. On Elk Island Creek (prev. of Nicholas Cabell, dec’d), line of Wm. Horsley)
  • 2 May 1774, Richard Goodman to John Goodwin (Amh DB D:144)
  • 2 May 1774 Jno. Goodwin to his sun (sic.) Rich. Goodwin, 105 ac on Harris Creek. Wit. Jos. Goodwin, Jno Henry Goodwin (?John Henry Goodman?, possibly named after Col John Henry, whose lands in Fredriskville Parish were processioned along with lands of Wm. Via, John Carr and John Michie on 23 Mar 1752?) , Blake Trent. (Harris Creek enters the James R. at the NE quarter of Lynchburg, just 1.5 mi n. of Lynch’s ferry crossing, now US29 Bus.)
  • 1777, Mary Reynolds to Pleasant Reynolds (Amh DB D:462)
  • 1777, Mary Reynolds to (Subvina?) Reynolds (Amh DB D:462)
  • 28 Feb 1778 Jno Goodwin & wife Mary to Wm. Lee, 100 ac James River, Geo. Goodman, Jno Dawson.
  • 3 Aug 1778 Rich. Goodwin, Jno. & Mary Goodwin, to Wm. Lee, 105 ac on Harris Creek. See also: 2 May 1774.
  • 24 Feb 1780 Jno. Hansford to Jno. Henry Goodman, 70 ac. on Bollings Creek. Lines of Burford (Buford), Jno. Lynch.
  • 1782, Wm. Horsley (Jr.) to John Whittle (Amh DB D:318),
  • 1782, John Richardson to Mary Richardson, slaves (Amh DB E:379)
  • 1 Mar 1784 Thos. Wright to Jno. Henry Goodman, 22 ac. on Lynch’s Rd.
  • 15 Oct 1786 Jno. Goodwin to dau. Lucy Goodwin, a slave, bed, cow & calf for £50. Wit. Wm & Geo Goodwin.
  • 30 Sep 1786 Jno Goodwin to Wm Goodwin for £5, 87 ac Harris Creek. Wit. Jno. Reynolds, Lewis Dawson.
  • 15 Oct 1786 Jno Goodwin to Geo. Goodwin for £100, 90 ac on James R.
  • 1787: John Goodman resides with one horse. [1787 VA Census (reconstructed)] This census record, reconstructed from tax lists in Richmond that survived other courthouse disasters, further establishes that the copies made by Amherst clerks were flawed, and had mis-transcribed ad Goodwin instead of Goodman.
  • 9 Jan 1789 Jno Goodwin to son Jas. Goodwin £5, 131 ac. Lines Wm Goodwin’s spring.
  • 8 Apr 1789, Jno. Richardson & wife Mary, AC, to Lindsey Coleman, 173 ac both sides of Buffalo Creek. (J:344)
  • 21 Jun 1789 Chas. Lynch & wife Anna to Jno. Lynch, 150 ac (heirs of Edward Lynch – no issue). Lynch’s Ferry, lines of Jno. Goodwin (formerly Miles Buford), surveyed for Micajah Terrell. Chain Island. (Micajah Terrell family is mentioned in minutes of the S. River Meeting of Friends. He m. 1st in 1754, Sarah Lynch, daughter of Charles, and possibly 2nd, date not known, Hannah Goodman. He had 8 children before 1773, presumably all with Sarah. Others have Hannah Goodman, b ca 1751, as wife of Micajah Terrell, Jr., b: 22 Apr 1746 d: 10 Oct 1805, of Bladen Co., NC)
  • 1792, Wm. Cabell to Robert Horsley (Amh DB G:14).
  • 1792, Micajah Terrell to John Lynch (Amh DB J:487)
  • 1792, Micajah Terrell to Achilles Douglas (Amh DB J:487)
  • 14 Dec 1792 Jno H. Goodwin & wife Mary (nee: Johnson), to Sackville King, 2 ac for £20.
  • 30 Sep 1794 Jno H. Goodwin, 1/2 ac in Scuffle Town, lines Lynch Rd. (now Madison Heights just across from Lynchburg on James R.)
  • 22 Oct 1794, Jno. Richardson (d. bef. 1800) wife Mary, 547 ac., from Wm Clapton. Wit. Jesse Richardson, Joseph Richardson. On Horsley Branch (Horsley Creek). (Amh DB G:478).
  • 1796, Wm. Goodman to Joseph Crews (Amh DB K:353)
  • 1799, Charles Reynolds to James Lee (Amh DB J:3)
  • 1803, Roland Horsley to James Pamplin (Amh DB K:18)
  • 1804, Thomas Goodman to various others (Amh DB K:256-257)

Amherst Tax Lists

This tax list, having been transcribed about the same time as the Deeds, is subject to the same surname transcription errors.


Name of Head of Family White Souls Dwellings Other buildings

  • Goodwin, Micajah 7 – –
  • Goodwin, James 3 – –
  • Goodwin, William 3 – –
  • Goodwin, John, Sen. 3 1 1
  • Goodwin, George 5 1 –
  • Goodwin, Joseph 13 1 –
  • Horsley, Robert 2 1 3
  • Horsley, John 5 1 3
  • Horsley, William 9 1 9
  • Cabell, William 6 10 33
  • Cabell, Samuel Jordan 3 2 7
  • Cabell, William, Jun. 3 3 3
  • Cabell, Joseph (of Buckingham Co) – – 4

Why are there so few Goodmans in Amherst, and many Goodwins?

In the preceding abstracts, it is interesting to note numerous references to “Goodwin”, and almost none to “Goodman”. However, the familiarity of the names of other persons referenced in these transactions, especially Horsley, Richardson, Terrell and Lynch, all of which families intermarried with Goodmans and each other, leads me to believe that many or all of the Amherst Goodwin references should have been Goodman. Other surnames in the 1782 and later Amherst tax lists, such as William Via, John Williams, John Clarkson, Charles Reynolds, and others with strong Goodman connections, are also found in Amherst during this period. Finally, with Amherst being formed from Albemarle, and lying smack between Albemarle to the north, and Bedford to the south, it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine this preponderance of the Hanover / Louisa / Albemarle rooted families without at least a few Goodmans! Subsequent examination of the microfilms of Amherst Co. records in the Library of VA seemed to confirm that Goodwin was the correct spelling for all of these.

A close examination of these deed records also revealed an uncanny, and un-typical, consistency of person and place names, writing style and stroke, and physical paper stock, over several decades of records. These include the 1782 and later tax lists, as well as deed books, will books and court orders. This could indicate that all or many of them are transcriptions of older records, into newer books, perhaps necessitated by damage or deteriorating condition. So, a transcription error may have been introduced and propagated throughout the series. This is furthered by the fact that all but one Goodman / Goodwin entries in Amherst Deed Book H for 1796, are from John H. Goodman to other parties, not John H. Goodwin, as all earlier deed books record. Was DB H recorded and/or transcribed after the earlier transcriptions? Was it transcribed more accurately by a different clerk? Or, is it wrong the other way? According to one LVA archives research assistant, we may never know for sure unless an original of some of these deeds can be located and examined.

On a subsequent visit to the Amherst courthouse, I raised this question to one of the clerks, who confirmed that the records had been re-transcribed from the originals, not just once, but perhaps twice, in the case of some records! As a result, it may be impossible to ever accurately differentiate GOODMAN from GOODWIN records in early Amherst County, VA.


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