William Goodman of Surry / Nansemond / Isle of Wight VA 

Most of the Goodman families in the areas of Virginia south of the James River, appear to be primarily descended from the William Goodman who was in Nansemond County by 11 April 1672, when he married Rebecca (presumed to be Rebecca Collins, daughter of John Collins or James Collins of same County). Members of these families remained and are recorded in these counties at least through the late 1700s, while some members removed around 1700 to the newly chartered North Carolina Colony, where they are found in the early records of Bertie, Gates and Dobbs Counties.

The Capt. William Goodman who died at the battle of Eutaw Srings in the Revolutionary War, may have been from this family line. If he was, then Jacob Goodman of Barren County, brother of Capt. William Goodman, was also from this line.

The Surry, Nansemond and Isle of Wight records for Goodman and several related families, often identify the proximity of other neighbors, streams and other landmarks that connect these families with each other and later generations. Some of the related families include:

Collins: Married into Surry / Isle of Wight Goodmans, and the Collins land grants reveal probable locations for these families.

Bayley: The Anselm name occurs in several Goodman lines, including Charles Goodman of Albemarle, John James Goodman of Bedford, and John Goodman of Germany and TN. According to one researcher, there were two Anselm Bayleys in early colonial records before 1700. One was in Surry before 1668  See: Records of Bayley and related families.

Hart and Williams: Later members of the Transylvania Company, along with the Hendersons of Hanover/Louisa County, and with Daniel Boone, pioneers and founders of Fort Boone, Kentucky. The Williams family of Hanover / Louisa also intermarried with Goodmans in Hanover/Louisa, and they migrated from there to Granville County NC about 1750. While no concrete connections can be established between the Williams lines of New Kent / Hanover and those of Surry / Isle of Wight, the naming patterns are very similar, so they may have common roots.

Pipkin: Intermarried with Goodmans in these Virginia counties, and later in NC.

Darden: Intermarried with Goodmans in these counties later in the 1700s, revealing that at least some of the Goodmans remained in these counties, while others in the same lines removed to NC, or were in those parts of the VA counties that extended into what was later to become NC.

These counties form an important part of the early history of Bedford Co., later home of Ansel and John Goodman in 1777 and later years. Brunswick Co. was taken from parts of Prince George, Surry and Isle of Wight in 1732. Lunenburg was taken from Brunswick in 1746. In 1754, Bedford Co. was formed, largely from part of Lunenburg, including New London, previously the county seat. A small part of Albemarle was also included in the new Bedford Co. When Campbell Co. was formed in 1782 from Bedford, New London was in the part that became Campbell Co., and Bedford City, originally named Liberty and later simply Bedford, became the seat of Bedford Co. Therefore, many of the early records of the residents and lands of Bedford Co. prior to 1754 will probably be found in court houses of these parent counties. 

Prominent Goodman and Related Families

I will start with a line of Goodmans of these early VA and NC counties, apparently related by common ancestry, but perhaps not directly. These families were also prominent and influential in the colonization of America, and in the Revolution and subsequent settlement of TN, KY, and points west.

A partial list of the militia of Surry County, VA in 1687 includes: (in order) Henry Hart, Roger Williams, James Watkins, Thomas Blount, Robert Littleberry, Charles Williams, Robert Hart, Thomas Blount, Wm. Goodman, Robert Renolls, Robert Reddick, Thomas Hart, James Reddick, Anselm Baley. Mentions of these names and families occur frequently in Goodman land records, marriages, wills, well into the Revolution and thereafter, and Goodman names in theirs. This is the first occurrence I have found of the Anselm given name in the colonial records, that might also be related to our Anselm and the Goodman line. If a female descendant of Anselm Bayley married into the William Goodman family sometime after 1687, then the Anselm name would have naturally followed in the later Goodman lines. The Baley surname also appears with Goodman surnames in several locations of NC, where the Goodmans of Surry are known to gone. It also appears in the lines of other families that were in Hanover, Louisa and other counties, and later intermarried with the Goodmans of Albemarle Co.

A William Goodman (ca. 1650-1715) and his wife Rebeccah (ca. 1655-1727) owned at least 200 acres in Surry Co. in 1704. He was the patriarch of the many prominent William, Henry, Joel and other Goodman families of VA and NC. His brother may have been the Benjamin Goodman of New Kent Co., VA, b ca 1668, further detailed following, who was patriarch of the prominent Goodman lines of New Kent, Hanover Co., Louisa Co., and Albemarle Co., VA. Both of these families were quite prosperous, and holders of extensive lands. Their father, if he was father of both, was probably in America before 1660, and may have been the William Goodman who was sent by Cromwell, or could have been the Benjamin Goodman who was expelled from England to Barbados, and supposedly later came to Virginia. Both of these families frequently include William, Timothy, and Henry names. However, after the early 18th century, the names of their issue more often followed the names of their respective heads, and of the families into which they married, as would be expected.

The many direct descendants of William and Rebeccah Goodman are fairly well documented from that time, in Surry, Nansemond and Isle of Wight County, VA, and in many North Carolina county records, especially in Bertie, Gates and Duplin Counties. The extensive records on this family include many wills, land transactions, militia rolls and Rev. War records. Surry Co., VA was eventually divided, part becoming Nansemond, and part Isle of Wight. William Goodman first appears on the tax list of Surry in 1668, again in 1671-84, in the 1687 Militia list, and tax lists of 1688 and 1694. Therefore, we may surmise that he was probably b. before 1648. William and Rebecca Goodman witnessed the marriage of John Collins and Mary Tooke ("Friends in Nansemond and Isle of Wight") on 14 Dec 1682. The will of John Collins, proved 2 Jan 1683 in Surry Co., gives 1000 lb. tobacco to Wm. Goodman for keeping his child that year. The rest of his estate went to the children of Rebecca Goodman, Jean Nuby, and Elizabeth Izzard. From this we may conclude that Rebecca Collins, daughter of John Collins, was the wife of the William Goodman of Surry / Isle if Wight. They had a son William, a daughter Mary, and probably many more children, probably including the Henry Goodman described following. This William Goodman’s died before 1715, and Rebecca Goodman died in 1727. Their wills and inventories are recorded in Isle of Wight in those years. 

The William Goodman who was in the Surry Co. Militia in 1687 could have been the son of William and Rebecca, and if so, would have been b. about 1668, and 18 years old in 1687. He died in Isle of Wight Co. in 1735. This was also probably the William Goodman who was driven from the Colony by the Church of England in 1695, and removed for a time to North Carolina with some of his family and kin, including members of the Bethea family. He and his descendants continued to own a grist mill in Nansemond Co., which is mentioned in later Goodman and Bethea wills.

A Henry Goodman was granted 256 acres of land in the upper part of Nansemond County near a place called Salem in 1711, by Alexander Spotswood, Lt. Gov. & CINC, for transporting six persons. He also could have been a son of William and Rebeccah Goodman. This location is interesting because of the Anselm name’s derivation from "Near Salem". Thomas Goodman, whose will is recorded in Surry Co., 20 Dec 1748, may also be a son or grandson of William and Rebeccah Goodman.

A William Goodman, joiner, of Surry Co., removed to Mecklenburg Co., VA, where he sold his joiner’s tools to Henry Williams for 18 pounds, 9s, 10p, recorded 11 May 1767, and witnessed by Joseph Williams and Joseph Williams, Jr. He probably sold his tools because of his age. This may have been a grandson of William and Rebecca Goodman of Isle Of Wight. Henry Williams was probably his apprentice or partner. Henry and Joseph Williams were probably the sons of Daniel Williams of Granville Co., who died in 1759, and whose daughter Marya (Maria) married Benjamin Goodman in Louisa Co., VA. Mecklenburg Co. is on the southern border of VA with NC, and adjoins Granville Co., NC.  

The 1704 Quit Rent Roll of the Virginia Co. of Surry Co., VA also includes William Gwaltney with 625 ac. His son, Thomas Gwaltney of NC, married Martha, daughter of William Goodman in 1737 in Isle of Wight, VA. Martha was probably the daughter or granddaughter of William and Rebeccah’s son, William. The 1704 rent roll also included Henry Hart with 725 ac., Robert Hart with 600 ac., Joseph Richardson with 300 ac., William Williams with 300 ac., Roger Williams with 150 ac., and Charles Williams with 100 ac. William Goodman is not listed at this time, Surry Co. having been divided to form Surry, Nansemond and Isle of Wight, and the family of William Goodman apparently lived in that part of Surry Co. which became Isle of Wight Co. But, he apparently returned later, as some of his descendants apparently stayed in Isle of Wight Co.

Thomas Hart of Isle of Wight County VA, died March 26, 1711. In the probate of his will, Robert Hart, William Goodman and Robert Sherrer provided bond for the estate of "Thomas Hart, the orphan of Thomas Hart." Hopkins Howell was administrator. Thomas, the orphan beneficiary, was probably not more than 12-14 years old at the time. This young Thomas Hart was probably the father of Thomas, David, and Nathaniel Hart of Hanover / Louisa Co., VA, who were brothers, and who removed to Granville Co., NC, where they became partners with the Henderson and Williams families in the Transylvania Company. Nathaniel Hart, Capt. NC Rangers, was killed by Indians at Blue Lick Springs, Kentucky, Aug 9th, 1782. This is the same location where Ansel Goodman and Daniel Boone were taken prisoner by the Indians in 1778. Nathaniel Hart was one of the principal partners of the Transylvania Company that founded Boonesborough, and for which the later Hart County, KY was named. Many members of the Hart family played prominent roles in the American frontier history. Given this early Goodman/Hart connection of 1711, it is not surprising that Goodman kin went to Kentucky with the Harts in 1775-76. It is also interesting to note many Goodman families in the county named for Capt. Nathaniel Hart, and the adjacent Barren and Greys Counties of Kentucky.


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