ALVIS, David, of Hanover and other counties in Virginia, unabridged


If you are descended from any Alvis and have taken an autosomal DNA test, please let me know if you have any shared matches with these surnames: Webster, Dabney.

David Alvis was born about 4 Oct 1713 in Hanover Co VA, the son of George Alvis[1] and his third wife, Mary. He died before 4 Oct 1787[2] in Goochland Co VA. Sometime, possibly ca 1738, he married Elizabeth Stanley, who was probably his only wife.

Elizabeth was born, say, about 1719, the oldest daughter of John Stanley and his first wife, Alice Ballard, and died probably after 11 Nov 1796.[3]

David Alvis was a minor at the time of his father’s death. His estate refers to his property during his minority; he was born after 1711. He is an adult by 11 Feb 1735/6, when he was present at a vestry meeting of St Paul’s Parish; we may assume he was born no later than 11 Feb 1714/5, that is, at least 21 years old at that date.[4] Since his estate from his minority was settled 4 Oct 1734, that was probably the date of his 21st birthday.[5]

The following document proves his relationship to George Alvis and gives clues to the identity of his mother. I left the original punctuation and spellings but expanded unusual abbreviations to make this more legible.[6]

Estate of David Alvis in the hands of David Crenshaw his late guardian.

Sept. 2  23 yds. cloth  3/4 yd check 1.6; 1 Ell Brown Linen making a vest .3.9; Thread and Buttons, writing paper .2.10; 1 days attendance at the Orphans Court .5; man, horses to remove ye negros 7.6;

Dec. 1  27 Ells brown linen, 23 yds. plain .4.9

6th  8 pr. shoes, 101/2 yds cotton 3.8.8;

Jan. 4  3 old grubbing hoes 1 ax, 3 baggs .6.9; making 7 shirts, 7 new shirts .14; 1/4 ell thread making 7 pr. cotton stockings .14; 2 Ells Garlix, 5 yards Check linen 16.3; making 2 shirts, 400 lbs. pork 2.8; 1 iron wedge, 1 Day to carry the sick Negros .7; 1 day to meet Fras. James to take ye orphan necessarys;

11 Feb.  3 quarts of Rum, 1 qt Molasses, 41/2 Sugar; 3/4 Ells brown linen; curing his foot doses Tartar Emetir 1.1.4; altering a coat .11; a man brought to carry iron to the Smith .3;

March 1  making 7 Shirts 17.3; hilling hoes, making 4 pr cam britches .15; making 3 petticoats; 2 bushels salt .3; 1/2 Bushel Beans, 1 pr. Shoes 6.6; 2 pair stockings, 1 penknife 6.6; 500 Pins; 1 Sugar 10 lb. Cask; paid the midwife 1.2. 1; 1 pr. pottthooks, 1 meal sifter, 1 pot hook 7.8; 1 day to carry the Negros clothes, 1 Bagg 6.6; 22 lb. Beef, pork, peak 6.9; 1/2 bushel beans, making a linen frock 5.6; 1 Ditto a Vest, 2 pr. Breeches .8; making a frock 5; Bombays 3 ells Linen 13.8 pork salt, 1 spoon 2.6; hoe, tub, pail .18; 2 pr. linen britches 3.1.6; 2 handkerchiefs, 1 silk Ditto .4; 1/4 yd. muslin, 41/2 yds. Druget 19.6; 2 _____, Buttons and Mohair 9.4;

June 7  6 pounds of bacon, 41/2 Ells Doulas 1.3; making 2 Dowlas shirts .3; to Ditto a linen coat .5; thread felt hatt .6; 22 Ells brown Linen 1.5.8; 5 knives 2 pr mans shoes .12.6; 141/2 Bacon 1.5.8; 3 months schooling 8/; 6 pr. shoes 1. 13; 10 yds. cotton making 6 shirts 1.6.4; ___ Ells Dowlas, 7/8 Ells Garlix .12.81/2; shirts 1.8; making a womans suit 3; 2 pecks corn 2.17.8; 3 pecks salt, 31/2 barrels Ditto 1.6.9; 28 lbs. bacon; building a house 2.4.4; Rent of a plantation 600; 6 yds Cotton, making of a suit 16. 6; to making 2 pr stockings and 2 shirts .2; 16 barrels 1 bushel 3 pecks corn 5.4.10; carting 7 hogsheads Tobacco 2.16; 14 lbs. pork .2.4; 2 dates to see the Tobacco inspector .10; to carry to see the Commissioner .5; the overseers share 8811/2; the Negroes eating 25 barrels 4.7.6; 34 Coopers Nails .6; 2 dates to see the Commissioner .5; To Rolling part of a hogshead of Tobacco .2; County Levy 65; Copy Alvis Will 30; to Parish Leavy 175; Registering 2 births and 1 death 9; 1 Barrel of Corn given credit for 3.6; To his Trouble in selling the Tobacco bringing the necessarys for the orphan and laying out the money above 12 months 2.15; A Lawyer fee to attend the audit and business in Court 1.6; Crop of Tobacco Total 6168; 87 Barrels corn 15.6; abate ment on 12 pr. shoes .12; Ditto for carrying cloths 2.6; Ballance of Tobacco 36.15; Ballance to David Crenshaw 10.6

March 21 1733[7] To estate of Mary Alvis  May 25th 1732[8]

one gallon of Rum, 1 sheet, 15; a cart and team to move the goods 10. a day to fetch her clothes, 1 day to Court Administration .5; 1 day of a man and horse to fetch her corn .3; 1 day to get the praisers .3; 2 quarts of rum for the praiser 2.6; 1 days tendance of the priser; 1 day to Court to return the Inventory .5; Cash pd. Tho. Johnson, John Williamson for Somon the Jury .5; Cash pd. the Coroner; cash pd. James Philips .19; cash pd. John Utley; Cash pd. Michael Holland  .8; Cash pd. James Filips; cash pd. John Bowie .10; Cash pd. Richard Starmer (?) to redeem a ring .13.1; cash pd. James Filips .18; Clerks fee for administration Tobacco 1.5; Clerks fee copy Alvis will 30 Tobacco .5; cash to Mr. Thos. Prosser 1.15; cash pd. John Bowie 1.5.0; the administration fee at 5 per cent 1.15; a fee Mr. Walker .15

May 25th 1732  By the appraisement 22.7.6; by Thomas Grant 7.6; 2 lbs of picked cotton 2.6; 11/2 lbs. sugar .1; 2 old casks without hogshead .2; James Filips for rent .7; by Cash for a Ring sold .17.6; cash of Mr. Thos. Proser .15;

_____ 25.1.0

By wheat 12 bushels reaping and thrashing .16

Ballance due to Mary Alvis 10.15

In obedience to the order wee the subscribers met Michael Holland and being absent the parties viz. David Crenshaw late guardian of David Alvis Infant and Edward Harris his present Guardian consented that we should settle all account to the Estate of said Orphan and accordingly wee find to be due from sd. orphans Estate unto David Crenshaw Ten pounds 6 pence 3 farthings current money and that the said parties did agree that wee should settle an account hereunto annexed to the estate of Mary Alves deceased. Wee find to be due from David Crenshaw administrator of said Mary unto David Alves Orphan Ten pounds-15 sterling.

David Chiswell   Richard Cough

Oct 4 1734 Settlement of the Estate of David Alvis Orphan of George Alves dec’d was recorded.

The William and Mary Quarterly, also refers to the end of this guardianship in 1734: “Est: of David Alvis in hands of David Crenshaw, his late Guardian.”[9]

It is not at this time known what happened to the estate of David Alvis, who as a child was wealthy. A few years later, this was not the case. From 1742, David Alvis was frequently insolvent.[10]


Court Order Book 1, Amelia County, Virginia, 1735-1746, volume 1

  • Page 117 – 21 Jan 1742 – Suit, Bradley Cock vs David Olvis, Plaintiff awarded 
attachment, returnable – next court.
  • Page 118 – Case Cock vs Olvis – defendant failed to appear last 
court so attachment awarded against his estate; 
Sheriff returned – attached 1 horse and saddle.
  • Page 122 – William Battersby became special bail for defendant in case of 
Cock vs Olvis.
  • Page 133 – Bradley Cock given leave to amend his declaration against 
David Olvis.
  • Page 182 – Feb 1744 – Judgement-Cock vs Alves to plaintiff for 12 pounds 
and costs.
  • Page 194 – 18 May 1745-Debt action-Robert Jennings vs David Alves for 17.03.3 
due bond. To plaintiff for sum, but judgement to be discharged by 
payment of 8.10.1-12, with interest, costs and lawyer’s fee.
  • Page 213 – 20 Sep 1745-John Hodnett vs David Alves.
  • Page 219 – 15 Nov 1745 – John Hodnett vs David Alvis, dismissed.
  • Page 229 – Attachment Robert Wathen vs David Alves, ordered garneshee to be 
summond to declare how much of estate he has in his possession.
  • Page 250 – 20 Sep 1745 – Cock vs Olvis. David Olvis is not to be found in my 
bailiwick, Samuel Terry, Sheriff.

David Alvis was named in the Amelia County, Virginia, tax lists in 1744, 1745 and 1746, the latter year with no tithables and the notation “constable.” In 1745, he was counted as one tithable, with no slaves; in each year, he was located in a different part of the county.[11] Conjectures have been made about his connections to Quakers and others who freed their slaves.

            A lawsuit abstract in the Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers, dating from the March court 1746 in Amelia County, Virginia, found David Alvis’s estate to have “no effects.” Six men were plaintiffs suing David Alvis for £51 currency. “In September last an attachment was grandted the Pltfs. Against the estate of the Deft. But no effects being found the suit is dismissed. Mch. Court 1746. O.B. 174651, p. 38.[12]

Extant tax records in Goochland County, Virginia, begin in 1778; David Alvis owned fifty acres, as he did in each year through 1786. Other Alvis taxpayers were doubtless his sons. No mention of land is mentioned after that, but simply the number of tithables. In 1784 and 1785, there were two tithables named David Alvis, assumed to be father and son. The name continues after the death of David Sr, with several men being difficult to distinguish in the records. Again there were two Davids in 1789 through 1791.[13]

Marriage of David Alvis

            That David’s wife was an Elizabeth was known for some time before a reference was found revealing her to have been Elizabeth Stanley. The name and family connection immediately made sense, due to names given David’s children and family connections which continued for several generations among some of David’s children.

            The Hanover County deed referenced above reads:

Rec’d of William Thomson of Hanover one mare, 1 cow & calf, 5 Barrels of corn & 5 bushels of wheat which I acknowledge as full compensation for my third part of the tract of land sold by my late husband David Alvis of Hanover Co to Moses Harris. Elizabeth (X) Alvis, Wit: John Norvell, Wm. Hendrick, John Norvell Junr. 4 Oct 1787 proved by oath of John Norvell.[14]

This record probably refers to David’s widow Elizabeth, since Forrester’s wife was named Ann, and no other Alvis widows, i.e., deceased husbands, are known at that date:

Forrester Alvis vs. Thomas Hardin:  Alvis worked as an overseer for Thomas Harding for one year and was promised a share of each crop – corn, wheat, tobacco. He was never paid. Witnesses for Alvis, all “of this county”, were Woodford Alvis, John Chisholm,  Henry L. Joyce, Harden Turner, James Cockrom, Samuel Higgason, Elizabeth Alvis, John Johnston, and James Henry.[15]

Then, it was discovered that a book published in 1996 stated that an Elizabeth Stanley married Mr. — Alvis, or Olvis.[16] Since that time, continued research has found out much about the Stanleys, many family connections, but not one additional reference to Elizabeth (Stanley) Alvis and her husband.

A National Stanley Family Association exists with this stated focus: “to help preserve the name and heritage of our family … the Quaker Stanleys of Hanover Co., VA, starting with the first known ancestor Thomas1 Stanley, and his three known sons: James2 Stanley (baptized 1688), Thomas2 Stanley Jr (baptized 1689), and John2 Stanley (baptized 1691).” A published brochure states that, “Records show that Thomas1 and his sons lived in New Kent County, Virginia in the 1680’s, later moving to present-day Hanover County, Virginia, in the early 1700’s. They were active Quakers, helping to establish the Cedar Creek Meeting which played a key role in the early antislavery movement.”[17] Our Elizabeth was the second daughter of the John Stanley of 1691.[18]

What follows is a summary of Thomas Stanley Sr’s life, original source unknown.[19] It is interesting that Hinshaw calls Thomas Stanley a “patron saint” of this Cedar Creek Meeting, an oddly inappropriate title for a Quaker.[20]

The Thomas Stanley family were immigrants to New Kent County, having come there from the town of Preston in Lancashire, Old England in the year 1685. Preston was a weaving center and Thomas Stanley may have been a weaver as well as a farmer before he brought his family to the New World.

In 1688, near Talleysville (New Kent County, just east of Hanover Co.) Virginia, James Stanley was baptized by the Rector of St. Peter’s Church (Church of England). Thomas Stanley, the younger, was baptized in 1689, John Stanley in 1691. Up until that time, the Stanleys were regular attenders at St. Peter’s.

A few months after John Stanley’s baptism, however, two Englishmen appeared in New Kent County, Thomas Wilson, 37, and James Dickinson, 32. The word came ahead of them that they were Quakers, the first ever to come to New Kent, and that they would hold a meeting in a certain orchard near Black Creek where it flows into the Pamunkey River.

This announcement caused considerable interest in the neighborhood and a number of St. Peter’s communicants decided to go hear what the Quakers had to say – including Thomas Stanley and his wife. St. Peter’s Rector and some of his Vestrymen weren’t too happy about this development, because Quakers were rumored to be revolutionaries and rabble-rousers who disturbed the established order of things.

That rumor was true. The Quakers in England refused to attend the Established Church. Their leading idea was that every man and woman had something of God within him or her, an inward light and a still small voice. They were all brothers and sisters under the parenthood of God. They believed it contrary to God’s will to fight and kill; so they refused to serve as soldiers, and in Virginia they refused to serve as Indian fighters.

Up until the time Wilson and Dickinson came to America, the Quakers were outlawed in England and her Colonies, but Parliament passed a Toleration Act, in 1689, which made it permissible to attend a Quaker meeting – although Quakers were still forbidden to witness in court or serve on a jury, or to hold a Government office. The Toleration Act was only hazily known in Virginia in 1691.

Here’s how Thomas Wilson described the gathering in that New Kent County orchard in the summer of 1691: “The sheriff, with some officers, came to break it up. James Dickinson being then declaring, the sheriff asked him, from whom he had his commission to preach? James answered to this effect: “I have my commission from the Great God, unto whom thou and I must give an account”. At which words the sheriff seemed much astonished; and after they had some further discourse, the sheriff swore, for which James reproved him… He answered, “I know I should not swear,” seeming then very mild and said, we had a gracious king and queen (William and Mary) and they had given us our liberty (by the Toleration Act). I then stood up and asked the sheriff a question: inasmuch as he had said, we had a gracious king and queen who had given us our liberty, which was true, by what law would the sheriff persecute us? He then turned about and went away; whereupon James Dickinson spoke aloud saying “Let the sheriff answer the question.” But instead of doing this,, he took the man of the house a little way off, and sent him back to bid us go off his land. I told him, we did not come here without his leave, and … had not broken the King’s law, but were there upon a religious account, and if they would have a little patience and hear what we had to say for the Lord, we would go peaceably away. After the said meeting at Black Creek, one Charles Gleming who had not been at any of the meetings before, kindly invited us to lodge with him, which we did; and from his house traveled toward Maryland…”

It seems that Thomas Stanley and his wife were among the people who stayed and were convinced to follow the Quaker way of worshipping God. Their names disappeared from the records of St. Peter’s Church and began to appear in the minutes of the Black Creek Meeting of the Society of Friends.

The Stanleys worshipped in the Black Creek Friends Meeting for 30 years. But it wasn’t an easy thing, for the Quakers of Black Creek were often brought into court for refusing to pay Church taxes to support St. Peter’s Parish, and for refusing to report for militia duty. There were fines and jailings, which probably accounts for the fact that the Stanley’s purchased 800 acres of uninhabited virgin forest on both sides of Cedar Creek in 1714. And in 1721, the year when Hanover County was formed from the west end of New Kent, the Stanleys moved to their Cedar Creek land.

Thomas Stanley was about 65 years old in 1721. No sooner had the Stanley’s begun to clear their Cedar Creek land, than they built a little log meeting house, 16′ x 24′.[21]

These references occur in Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Volume I, North Carolina, and Volume VI, Virginia:

1700, 2, 28. Henrico MM. Thomas Standley first appeared when he signed a certificate for a meeting held in New Kent MH.

1706, 5, 20. Henrico MM. Thos. Stanley disowned.

1706/7,11,18. Henrico MM. Thomas Standley condemned for misconduct and put on probation.

1708, 2, 20. Henrico MM. Thomas Standley disowned.

1721/22, 11, 6. Henrico MM. Thomas Stanley and John Harris[22] requested that the meeting lately set up at Cedar Creek by them and others be recongnized. Granted.

1726, 8, 1. Henrico MM. Thomas Stanley Sr. disowned for marrying out of unity.

It appears that more Stanley records dealing with this family go back to a 1931 manuscript, Virginia Quaker Stanleys and Descendants, by Celeste Terrell Barnhill, in which she reported that Elizabeth Stanley, daughter of John Stanley and his first, unidentified wife, married a Mr. “Olvis.” Mrs. Barnhill resportedly took her facts from an 1845 manuscript written by an individual who knew personally most of the members of this family.


Mary Alvis signed the wedding certificate of Littleberry Stanley and Agatha Stanley.[23] Who was Mary? a daughter of David and Elizabeth (Stanley) Alvis? the wife of John Alvis, below? A daughter-in-law? a granddaughter.


Family Connections

            In each of the early generations of the Alvis family, connections with neighbors and in-laws seem to be related to church matters. George, the immigrant ancestor and patriarch, was Anglican, and is found 75 times in the vestry book of St Paul’s Parish.[24] In this, he was joined by stepsons William and Edward Harris and son-in-law John Ellet.[25] Other names which occur frequently in the vestry book are Anderson, Winston, Rice, Gentry, McGehee, Slaughter, Cawthorn, Crenshaw, and Syme.

Thomas Stanley, the older brother of John Stanley, is mentioned in the vestry book as a “gang leader,” that is, the head of a team of neighbors who kept the roads clear.[26]

            Processioning records indicate that George Alves owned land in the same general vicinity as land owned by John Stanley, the eldest. For example, George Alves was in the same processioning precinct with Cecelia Anderson who owned land adjacent to one of John Stanley's tracts.[27]

After 1735, David Alvis disappears from the vestry book. This fits with the statement that he married a member of an anti-slavery Quaker family, even though the exact marriage record has not been found. Quaker records from this time in Virginia have been compiled by William Wade Hinshaw in The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy.[28]

Not all of the marriage records for John Stanley’s family are included in Hinshaw. John’s second marriage, to Martha Hutchins, 10 Nov 1743, was recorded in the Cedar Creek Monthly Meeting. His son John Stanley [Jr]’s 1754 marriage to Ede Hutchins and daughter Alice Stanley’s marriage to John Hutchins in 1757 are given on the same page. Agatha Stanley is stated to have married Ashley Johnson on 15 Dec 1747, also at the Cedar Creek Meeting House.[29]

These are the children of John Stanley, according to Barnhill: Mary, Elizabeth, Agatha, Ann, John, Shadrach, Alice; and by the second wife: Ursley, Milly, Joshua, Thomas and Agatha. From the second marriage, John’s daughter Milly married a cousin, John Stanley on 12 Jun 1765; Joshua married a cousin, Elizabeth Stanley, 9 Jan 1773 (on page 270); Thomas married Unity Crew on 12 Dec 1780;  John’s younger daughter Agatha married Littleberry Stanley on 2 Mar 1787.[30]

John’s daughter Mary married David Crew at the Henrico Monthly Meeting on 9 Nov 1733/4.[31]

Shadrach Stanley, John’s oldest son, was dismissed from the Cedar Creek Meeting 9 Aug 1760, requested reinstatement on 15 Sep 1760, which he ceived on 8 Aug 1761. He was granted a certificate to join the White Oak Swamp meeting on 10 Nov 1764; on 12 Dec 1772 he was again dismissed for buying a slave; he appealed this twice and was ordered reinstated on 28 Feb 1773. Probably the same man requested a certificate on 13 Sep 1777 for the New Garden Monthly Meeting in North Carolina. On 1 Dec 1764, Shadrach produced a certificate from the Caroline Monthly Meeting and narried Agnes Ladd at the Henrico Meeting House, and Agnes then requested a certificate for the White Oak Swamp Monthly Meeting on 10 Aug 1765. The next son John Jr. was also dismissed 12 Sep 1761.[32]

John Stanley, “the eldest,” died 17 Jul 1783, “ae about 90 years.” And Martha his second wife died 28 May 1789.[33]

Of John Stanley’s family, no records appear in Hinshaw of his first marriage or marriages for his children Elizabeth, Ann or Ursley.

Other families whose names are connected with the Alvises and with the Quakers include Hutchens, Crew, Pleasants, Walkins, and a different group named Harris.[34]

Although several of the marriages of David’s son George’s grandchildren are given along with Quaker records in Hinshaw, they are in a section where many non-Quaker marriages were recorded.[35] Others of David’s children seem to have returned to the Anglican church by the mid-1700s, as seen in entries in The Douglas Register, but until 1786, this was the established religion of Virginia; none of these entries is after 1786.[36]

Children of David Alvis

Since no other Alvises have been found in America at that time, the nine Alvis men who begin to appear from 1761 in the Virginia records, specifically those who are listed in Hanover and Goochland Co VA tax lists, would have been David’s sons. These include a David, a George (for his father), and a John (presumably for Elizabeth Stanley’s father). The names Shadrach and Ashley occur in Elizabeth Stanley’s family, as well as the obvious Stanley. No source has been noted for the name Forester; youngest sons Zachariah and Elijah may relate to religious interests in the family (or not).

From surety data, it seems clear that Elijah, Zachariah, David, Shadrach and Ashley were brothers, sons of this elder David. Many Alvis families used all five of these given names; for example, the early TN family mentioned above had sons with four of the names. Other possible brothers were George, John, Stanley, Forester.[37]

Some of the following family groups are speculative, but I believe them to be fairly reliable. Most birth dates are entirely speculative, based on age at marriage, first child, or parents’ marriage date. The children of David Alvis, probably all by his wife, Elizabeth Stanley were:

1. John ALVIS Sr. John was born say in 1739 and died in VA in 1805-10. His widow may have been the Elizabeth Alvis in the 1810 census, Hanover Co VA. John Alvis was the first man of his generation of Alvises to be listed individually, in Louisa County in a 1771 lawsuit.

1761, witness in a Louisa Co VA lawsuit

1760s, married

1771, Louisa Co. Court Orders, 1770-1772; p. 477. 10 July 1771  John Alves, Plaintiff against Cosby Duke, Defendant…have settled the account in dispute between the parties…5 pounds 14 shillings due to the plaintiff John Alves…

1776, Rev War service[38]; 1781, paid substitute

1781-2, 1787, Hanover Co VA tax list

1784: VA Gen Soc Q XXXI, #1: John Alvis signed a petition, as resident of Hanover Co. Forester Alvis also signed.

1787 tax lists of Virginia (a substitute for the missing 1790 census): Alvis, John, Hanover Co, 0 additional males 16-21, 2 blacks over 16, 1 black below 16, 3 horses, 9 head of cattle

15 Sep 1788, surety for marriage of Lucy Alvis, to Reuben Cosby, Goochland Co

1788-91, Goochland Co tax lists, once with Matthew

1789, insolvent in Goochland Co [The Virginia Genealogist, 21 (1977), 287]

1793, 1795, 1805, Hanover Co tax lists (his moves back and forth from Hanover to Goochland were usually with George)

1805, last year clearly named in tax records as John Alvis Sr

1810 census, possibly his widow Elizabeth, Hanover Co, 1814-7, taxed in Hanover Co

Revolutionary War Pension File for George Gentry of Albemarle Co VA:

Testified that he was born in 1765 or 1766 in Hanover Co near Ground Squirrel Bridge; that he served with the VA militia during the Revolutionary War from 1781 until after Cornwallis’ Surrender… On questioning by the clerk of court, he responded: ‘In the third tour I served as a substitute for John Childress. In the next as a substitute for John Alvis.’

John and an unidentified wife had the following possible children:

i.      Jesse (1757-1841)

ii.      Nancy (1766-)

iii.      Lucy (1768-). She married Reuben Cosby 15 Sep 1788 in Goochland Co VA, that is, three months before another Lucy married James Ryan.

iv.      Matthew (1772->1795)

v.      Robert (1765-)

vi.      John Jr (1775-1847)

vii.      Mary Ann (ca1770-1840)

viii.      Charles Dabney (1777-1861)

ix.      David (~1780-1840)

2. George ALVIS. George was born say in 1741 and died in Goochland Co VA, before 1806.

1761, witness in a Louisa Co lawsuit

ca 1770s, married

1782, Hanover Co VA tax list, with 5 people

1788, 89, 90, 91, Goochland Co tax lists

1802, 03, 05, Hanover Co VA tax lists

3 Feb 1806, Polly, daughter of George Alvis, deceased, married Jesse Page, Goochland Co

27 Feb 1806, Elizabeth, daughter of George Alvis, deceased, married William Page, Goochland Co

He had the following known children:

i.      David (~1770->1840)

ii.      Henry (1775-<1830)

iii.      Mary (1782-)

iv.      Elizabeth (1786-)

v.      Matthew (1795-)

3. Forester ALVIS. Forester was born say in 1743 and died in Chesterfield Co VA, before 1805; his wife was Ann –?–. Forester Alvis was the second man of his generation of Alvises to be listed individually, in Louisa County in 1775.

1772-3, 8 (overseer), Trinity Parish, Louisa Co

1776 St Martin’s Parish

1782 Hanover Co VA tax list, with 7 people in family. This list was published as “The First Census of the United States,” since VA’s 1790 census was destroyed. Forester Alvis is listed on p. 28 in Capt. Owen Dabney’s District and had 7 white members in his family. It is possible his parents were in the household.

1784: VA Gen Soc Q XXXI, #1: Forester Alvis signed a petition, as resident of Hanover Co. John Alvis also signed. XXXII, #1: Elijah, Forester and Stanley signed petition 20 Nov 1790 for dividing Hanover Co and building a new courthouse.

1787: This tax list was recently published as “The 1787 Census of Virginia.” Forester Alvis’s listing reads 0-0-0-0-0, that is, no other males over 16 and under 21, no blacks, no horses or cattle.

1793-7, Hanover Co VA tax lists: Forester appears in each year up to 1797 (always as “Forrester”), and then disappears totally from the Hanover Co rolls. Forester had one horse from 1793 to 1796, but none in 1797. In 1796 there was one extra male over 16, probably his oldest son. Since this boy is not listed with Forester in 1797, he could be Maury, who is a new taxpayer in that year. Forester was registered the same day as John four times, the same day as Stanley three years, the same day as Jesse and Robert twice, and once each with Matthew and Maury. There are no other indications as to the size of Forester’s family.

1796, resident of Louisa Co VA, filed suit for wages[39]

before 1805, died

3 Apr 1805, Barbara, daughter of Ann Alvis, married Edward Henry, Chesterfield Co

15 May 1810, daughter Marinda married John Vickers/Vicars, Chesterfield Co

Forester and Ann had the following children:

i.               Maury?

ii.              James (1775-<1830)

iii.            Woodford (1775-1830)

iv.            (1-3 others) (<1782-)

v.      Joshua (1784-1854)

vi.            Zephaniah (1780-1840)

vii.           Barbara (1785-) Her 1805 marriage record says “daughter of Ann Alvis. Surety: Woodford Alvis”

viii.          Marinda (1790-) Her 1810 marriage record says “daughter of Forrest [sic] Alvis, deceased”

ix.            Edmund Jordan (1792-1821)

x.              Abimelech (ca1794-1814)

4. David ALVIS. David was born say in 1748 and died probably in Buckingham Co VA, before 1814. On 20 Aug 1768, he first married Mary CAUTHON, daughter of John CAWTHON & Agnes HARRIS,[40] in Goochland Co VA. On 27 Dec 1784 when David was 36, he married a second wife in Goochland Co VA; the marriage bond does not give her name, but she may have been Carolina.[41]

1768, 20 Aug, married (1) Mary Cauthon, The Douglas Register

1769, Douglas Register records birth of son Harris

12 Nov 1775, Douglas Register records christening of dt Aggie

1784, 27 Dec married (2) —, Goochland Co, William and Mary Quarterly

1782-4, 1785, 1786-8, Goochland Co tax lists

1787, death of David Alvis [Sr]

1789, insolvent  [called David Jr, The Virginia Genealogist, 21 (1977), 287]

1789-91, 94-5, still in Goochland Co (in these years there were 2 Davids over 16)

1795, mentioned in the settlement of the Estate of Robert Page, Goochland Co VA. The final settlement was dated Feb 20 1795, but contains charges and receipts for the estate as far back as Jan 3 1787. See receipt on April 20 1789 of 1 pound, 10 shillings, plus 3 shillings, 2 pence interest, from “David Alvis Jr.”

1796-1806, one David was in Goochland Co tax lists, Harris in 1799 tax list

19 Jun 1798, surety at marriage of dt Agnes [Aggie] to Turner Clark, Goochland Co

1800, poss this David in Buckingham Co tax list

1802, dt Polly married in Augusta Co VA “Meris” was surety

1807-1814, lands in Goochland Co, but not necessarily present or even the same David

1814, listed as deceased

David had the following proposed children, the first two being clearly idenitifed in The Douglas Register:

i.            Henry Harris (1769-<1854)

ii.      Agnes (1775-)

iii.      Elizabeth/Betsy (1777-)

iv.      David (ca1790-1848)

v.      Zachariah C (1783-1868)

vi.      Mary (1784-)

vii.      Moses (1790-)

5. Ashley ALVIS. Ashley was born say in 1750 and died in Sumner Co TN, after 29 Aug 1808. On 17 Dec 1772, he first married Elizabeth KNOLLING/NOWLIN in Goochland Co VA. About 1789, he second married Martha [NOWLIN?]. Martha died in 1815 in Sumner Co TN.

1771, 16 Dec, married (1) Elizabeth Knolling, The Douglas Register

1885 KY hist book says he served in the Rev War (no record found)

1782, res Goochland Co VA, also 1784-93

1782, 27 Sep, declared his losses to the British in Goochland Co[42]

1789, 31 Oct, Ashley Alvis witnesssed the marriage of Stephen Nowlin[43] and Anny Witt

ca 1789, married (2) Martha Nowlin, Goochland Co VA

1789 in Goochland Co VA.

1794-1806, most years, Buckingham Co

24 Mar 1794, Milly Alvis witnesses a promissory note from James Nowlin and Thomas Chancellor. She is otherwise unknown, but Ashley’s two wives were both members of the Nowlin family. Prince Edward County[44]

1799, 7 Dec, VA Gen Soc Q XXXII, #2: Signed a petition in Buckingham Co

1808, 29 Aug, found a stray horse, Sumner Co TN[45]

1810, 3 Mar, Mrs. Martha Alvis found a stray[46]

before1811, died, Martha appears on tax list

1815, Martha died, leaving a will, , Sumner Co TN, signed 21 Mar 1816, proved Nov 1816

Ashley and his first wife had the following children:

i.      Edmund (1778-1864)

ii.     John (1780-)

iii.   Abraham (1781-1854)

iv.   Charles (1780-)

v.     Shadrach (~1788->1860)

Ashley and his second wife had the following children:

i.      Ashley (1791-1883)

ii.      Nancy (1793-)

iii.      Elizabeth (<1795-)

iv.      Mary (1796-)

v.      Elijah (1801-)

6. Shadrach ALVIS. Shadrach was born say in 1752 and died in Goochland Co VA, in 1806. On 23 Sep 1773, he first married Nancy ADDISON in Goochland Co VA. Nancy died after 21 Aug 1780 in Goochland Co VA. On 27 Dec 1784, he second married Judith HANCOCK, daughter of Major HANCOCK & Ann THOMAS, in Goochland Co VA. Born on 17 May 1768, Judith died in Goochland Co VA, on 16 May 1856. Judith’s census record from 1810 through 1850 is complete.

23 1773, married (1) Nancie Addison, The Douglas Register

20 Nov 1774, christening of daughter Elizabeth, The Douglas Register

21 Jul 1776, christening of daughter Nancy, The Douglas Register

20 Apr 1777, christening of son Meredith, The Douglas Register

27 Dec 1784, married (2) Judith Hancocke, The Douglas Register, David was surety

1782, 84, 87-9, 91-9, 1800-3, Goochland Co tax lists

25 Dec 1805, marriage of dt Polly to John Bush; Elijah’s son David surety, Goochland Co

1806, died, leaving will in Goochland Co

19 Dec 1806, daughter Sarah married William R Wright, John Bush surety, Goochland Co

9 Oct 1811, Judith consented to marriage of daughter Patsy to Josiah Amos. Shadrach was deceased, Goochland Co

Shadrach and his first wife had the following children, births recorded in , The Douglas Register:

i.            Elizabeth (1774-)

ii.            Nancy (1775-)

iii.            Meredith (1777-)

Shadrach and his second wife had the following children:

i.            Mary/Polly (1785-)

ii.            Sarah (1786-)

iii.            Martha/Patsie (1791-)

iv.            (daughter)

v.            Major (1792-)

vi.            Robert (1798-1878)

vii.            Henry Franklin (1804-1861)

viii.            Susannah (1800-)

7. Stanley ALVIS. Stanley was born say in 1754 and died in VA after 1806. About 1780, he probably married a woman named Rhoda. Rhody Alvis was in the 1810 census in Henrico County, where Stanley’s probable children lived.

1775 church list, Trinity Parish

1776, Revolutionary War, with John[47]

ca 1780, married, poss Rhody —

1782, Hanover Co tax list with 2 people

1790, 20 Nov Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly XXXII, #1: Elijah, Forester and Stanley signed petition for dividing Hanover Co and building a new courthouse

1793, purchased property from Walter Chisholm in Hanover Co VA[48]

1793-96, 98, 99, 1801, 03, Hanover Co tax lists

1804-1806, Louisa Co tax lists

poss his widow Rhody, Henrico Co VA 1810:  21100/00101

Stanley and his wife probably had the following children:

i.            Walter (1780-<1831)

ii.            Thomas Spencer (~1783-)

iii.            Stephen (1797-)

iv.            Sarah (1799-)

v.            Peter Meredith (ca1794-1849)

8. Elijah ALVIS. Elijah was born say in 1758 and died in Goochland Co VA, in Oct 1822. On 15 Oct 1784, he married Elizabeth CLARKE in Goochland Co VA. Born in 1767 in Virginia, Elizabeth died in Goochland Co VA, about 16 Feb 1846.

1778-1780, Rev War soldier

1784, Oct 15, m Elizabeth Clarke, Goochland Co, Shadrach was surety

Goochland Co VA tax lists: 1792-5, 1798-1807 (in 1804 and 06, David was listed w/Elijah; in 1805 and 09 there was an unnamed male 16-21), 1809-14, 1820-21

VA Gen Soc Q XXXII, #1: Elijah, Forester and Stanley signed petition 20 Nov 1790 for dividing Hanover Co and building a new courthouse.

1810 census Goochland Co VA: 121[torn]/11200

1818, pension filed from Louisa Co VA

1820 census Goochland Co VA: 000001/01121

1822, Sep 3, gave consent to marriage of dt Nancy

1822, Elizabeth in Goochland Co tax lists

1822, Oct, died in Goochland Co , per pension

1829, Elizabeth, consent at marriage of dt Elizabeth

1830 census Goochland Co VA, Elizabeth: 0/000000101

1840 census Goochland Co, Elizabeth, “widow of  Elijah”: 0/000001101/22/1201

1846, widow’s estate lists 9 children

1850, two unmarried daughters in census

They had the following children:

i.            David (~1785->1850)

ii.            Mary (1786-)

iii.            Stanley (1789-1850)

iv.            Nancy (1790-1860)

v.            William E (1793-1863)

vi.            Shadrach “Sr” (~1794-<1845)

vii.            Jane (1797->1850)

viii.            Ashley (1802-~1873)

ix.            Elizabeth (1804->1846)

9. Zachariah ALVIS. Zachariah was born in 1761 and died in Goochland Co VA, after 1833. On 15 Dec 1789, he married Elizabeth WEBSTER, daughter of David WEBSTER & Judith CARTER, in Goochland Co VA.

1779, served at least one month in the Rev War

11 Dec 1788, surety for marriage of Lucy Alvis, to James Ryan, Goochland Co

26 Sep 1789, married Elizabeth Webster, Goochland MR

19 Oct 1795, surety at the marriage of James Ryan, whose first wife was Lucy Alvis

17 Sep 1803, Goochland Co Records, mortgage.[49]

1814-1822, Goochland Co Orders, several entries

1809-15 (w/son 16+ in 1814-5), 16-20, 22-23, 29-31, Goochland Co tax lists

1810 census Goochland Co VA: 12001/21010

1820 census Goochland Co VA: 210001/02101

1824, gave consent to marriage of daughter Sarah

1830 census Goochland Co: 001100001/000010001

1832, filed for pension from Goochland Co

after 1833, died

Zachariah and Elizabeth had the following likely children:

i.                        Shadrach “Jr” (~1795-)

ii.                        (daughter)

iii.                        Woodson (1790-1822)

iv.                        William Woodson (1803-1856)

v.                        Charles (~1800-<1842)

vi.                        Sarah (1800-)

vii.            Elijah (~1817-)

viii.            John W Sr (1817-1878)

ix.                        Mary (1817-)

10. Lucy ALVIS. Lucy was born, say, between 1755 and 1763, based on her marriage date. Lucy married James Ryan 11 Dec 1788 in Goochland Co VA and probably died before October 1795. Since John Alvis was surety at her marriage and Zachariah Alvis was surety at a later marriage of James Ryan, 19 Oct 1795, it seems clear that Lucy was a member of this family, either a daughter of the first David Alvis or a granddaughter.

Known Counties of Residence of David Alvis

Hanover            1713-1734

Amelia            1744-1746

Louisa            1761-?

Several sons stayed in Louisa County as late as 1798

Several sons were in Goochland County by 1768

Four sons were in Hanover County in 1782

Goochland             1778-1787

Use of double or middle names

As a general rule noticed by genealogists, until the late 1700s, most people had only one given name, such as George or David Alvis. But starting around the time of the Revolutionary War in America, children were sometimes given double names, usually it seems to honor someone famous or a significant family member. Thus, we have Hannah Smith Crossman, whose maternal grandmother was Hannah (Smith) Vincent; George Washington Huff; and lesser known but unrelated namesakes, like Philetus Swift Howe, named for a Colonel in the War of 1812.

The following are the first double names in the Alvis family, all apparently among the grandsons of David Alvis. This writer was unable to find indications of ancestry in any of the names used.

Henry Harris….. 1769-1854, oldest son of David Jr….. his mother was daughter of Agnes Harris, daughter of William Harris Jr.

Charles Dabney….. 1777-1861, a younger son of John….. John served in Revolution under Col. Charles Dabney[50]

Thomas Spencer….. born ca 1783-aft 1844, probably son of Stanley….. Col. Thomas Spencer of Charlotte Co VA married two wives named Watkins[51]

Edmund Jordan….. say 1792-aft 1821, probably son of Forester….. there was an Edmund Jordan, Quaker, who died 1756 VA, had, among other children, son Edmund Jordan, born 1738; the latter is probably the man who moved to Georgia in the 1780s[52]

Peter Meredith….. ca 1794-1849, probably son of Stanley….. the name Meredith was used by Shadrach Alvis as early as 1777, still being used today. No reference found.

Zachariah C      1783-1868, probably son of David Jr      without the middle name, we are limited to chance to find a reference for this name

© 2013, Kathy Alvis Patterson

[1] George Alvis (or Alves) originally came to America sometime before 1682 (George m. bef. 1682, Alice (—) Harris, wid. of Maj. William. Henrico Orphans’ Court, 1 Feb 1682), but returned to Great Britain ca 1710 (the St. Paul’s Parish Vestry Book shows clearly that he was in Great Britain in 1711). He came back to America in 1712: “Passengers to America: Various Communications and Sources,” New England Historical Genealogical Register, 31:3 (July 1877), pp. 310. George’s wife Alice was living in 1700, but may have died before George’s trip to Great Britain. She does not appear on his entry at Boston Harbor in 1712, although three servants were listed. He probably remarried about 1713 or later, and died in 1734 leaving one minor son, named David. Since David was likely born in 1713, his father would have been over 65, and David’s stepbrothers would have been in their 50s.

[2] Hanover County VA Deeds 1783-1792, p. 53: p. 251. Abstracted in William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. XXI, No. 1 (Jul 1912), p. 146.

[3] If she was the Elizabeth Alvis who was deposed in 1796 concerning Forester’s wages, she was still living in that year and likely was Forester’s mother.

[4] Churchill Gibson Chamberlayne, The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Virginia, 1706-1786, Baltimore: Reprinted for Clearfield by Genealogical Pub. Co., 1999, 1940, 286.

[5] See below.

[6] Hanover Co VA Court Records 1733-35, pp. 35-36, page 123-126 of the original record book.

[7] This was March 21, 1734, according to our calendar. New Year’s Day at that time was March 25th.

[8] Mary Alvis was deceased prior to this date.

[9] Vol. XXI, No. 1 (Jul 1912),  p. 54. This guardianship was the origin of speculation that Mary, David Alvis’s mother may have been a Crenshaw.

[10] He was also a witness in Louisa County in  1761; Goochland Co tax list: 1785, and possibly other years, indistinguishable from his son and several grandsons named David. A website ( attributes this to me, but I cannot locate the original submission of this data to me.

[11] Amelia County, Virginia, Tax Lists 1736-1764: An Every-Name Index, Miami: T.L.C. Genealogy, 1993. In 1744, he was in the area from Namozine Creek to Cellar Creek, with one slave named Jack. In 1745, he was “above Saylor’s Creek.” In 1746, he was “from the upper part of the county” and had zero tithables, probably because he was listed as Constab

[12] Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers, published in 1927 and re-issued by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1979, page 493.

[13] The Alvis Exchange, 27 (1995) 5-8.

[14] See footnote #2.

[15] Louisa Co, VA Chancery Notes 1798-008. No relationships were given in this record. The first six were deposed 20 Sept 1796; the rest gave their deposition Nov. 11, 1796.

[16] Alvin L. Anderson, Stanley & Allied Families, Vol 1, 1996, p. 278.

[17] From the association website,

[18] Anderson, loc. cit., states she married an Alvis and was dismissed for marrying against discipline. Email communication from Ruth Kuntz, 23 Jul 2013.

[19] Published on the Internet at and various other sites.

[20] William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. Vol. VI: (Virginia), 1950, 223.

[21] An excerpt from the book, The Stanley Families of America… by Israel P. Warren, 1887; also posted at and other sites.

[22] No connection to the stepsons of George Alvis has been located.

[23] James Pinkney Pleasant Bell, Our Quaker Friends of Ye Olden Time: Being in Part a Transcript of the …, p 104. Littleberry Stanley was a first cousin once removed of Elizabeth (Stanley) Alvis; he married her half-sister, Agatha, that is, also his first cousin once removed.

[24] Op. cit., index.

[25] Op. cit., 75. This page from 1712 names “Mr. George Alvis,” William Harris, Isaac Winston, who later purchased land from George’s daughter, and an Anderson. See also page 256.

[26] Op. cit., 144, passim.

[27] Op. cit., 256.

[28] Vol. VI: (Virginia), 1950, pp. 213, 224. In 1724, John Stanley, along with John Harris and James Stanley, were “imprisoned for refusing to pay tithes or priest wages.”

[29] Op. cit., p. 268.

[30] Op. cit., p. 270.

[31] Op. cit., p. 216.

[32] Op. cit., p. 270. Henrico MM marriage on page 192 and also on page 213, where it was reported as taking place in Charles City County.

[33] Op. cit., p. 268.

[34] Note above that Elizabeth (Stanley) Alvis received payment in 1787 for land sold by her husband to Moses Harris.

[35] Chapter 17, “Marriage Bonds of Campbell County” in Hinshaw, op. cit., 1950, pages 795, 819, 836, 862, 867.

[36] See “Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, January 16, 1786,” at VirginiaMemory,

[37] See my blog, “The Importance of Naming Patterns in Determining Early Alvis Families,” George was clearly a family name, for David’s father, John and Stanley refer to David’s father-in-law.

[38] Louis A Burgess, Virginia Soldiers of 1776, Vol. III, p. 1255. Note that he was in Col. Charles Dabney’s Company.

[39] Louisa Co, VA Chancery Notes 1798-008; Forrester Alvis vs. Thomas Hardin:  Alvis worked as an overseer for Thomas Harding for one year and was promised a share of each crop – corn, wheat, tobacco. He was never paid. Witnesses for Alvis, all “of this county”, were Woodford Alvis, John Chisholm,  Henry L. Joyce, Harden Turner, James Cockrom, Samuel Higgason, Elizabeth Alvis, John Johnston, and James Henry. No relationships were given. Woodford through Samuel were deposed 20 Sept 1796. The rest gave their deposition Nov. 11, 1796.

[40] Agnes and her daughter Mary were descendants of Alice (–) (Harris) Alvis, second wife of Immigrant George Alvis.

[41] Marriage bond for David Alvis and —, 27 Dec 1784, in William and Mary Quarterly, VIII, 96. See Carolina Alvis in the 1820 census for Buckingham Co VA.

[42] “British Depredations in Goochland County,” The Virginia Genealogist, Vol 30, p 217.

[43] Brother of his first wife, Elizabeth. Goochland Co Marriage Register, 394. Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol 25, No. 3 (1987).

[44] Prince Edward County, Virginia, Records at Large II, page 364, page 185 in published extracts. James Alvis may have been Elizabeth (Knolling/Nowlin) Alvis’s uncle. “Milly” signed with a mark, which may indicate given name was not correct. Or Milly may have been one of the unidentified Alvis wives. A Milly Nowlin was married 29 Nov 1786 to Thomas Chancellor in Goochland County, Abraham Nowlin surety. See The Alvis Exchange, 25-2.

[45] The Impartial Review & Cumberland Repository, 1805-1808, 229.

[46] The Democratic Clarion & Tennessee Gazette, 1810-1811, 121.

[47] Louis A Burgess, loc. cit.

[48] “Little Garden,” Old Houses of Hanover Co VA, pp. 131-132.

[49] Deed Book 18, p 665.

[50] Burgess, loc. cit.

Published on February 22, 2009 at 2:15 am  Comments (7)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve also seen the Olvis spelling.

    David Alvis had tithables in 1734.

    ” $25 Reward.—Ran away from the subscriber, a negro woman named Matilda. It is thought she may be somewhere up James River, as she was claimed as a wife by some boatman in Goochland.

    “J. Alvis.”


    Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853-1865
    Has list of slave Births and the Slave owners, many Alvis names and where they were living.


    (Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, March, 1880.)
    [Virginia Law Journal, 1880, p. 359.]

    This was an action of debt brought by Robert Alvis, assignee of Virginia Cunningham, against Philip T. Johnson,

  2. History of Henderson County, Kentucky: comprising history of county and city … By Edmund Lyne Starling

    had been given for public uses and no other Alves and Hart the proposition of the citizens meeting and thereupon on first day of July 1825 the following indenture was entered into the citizens

    This indenture made and entered into this first day of July 1825 between the citizens and present lot holders of the town of Henderson of the part and Amelia Alves William J Alves James Alves Robert Alves Alves Walter Alves Ann Henderson t late Ann Alves Thomas and his wife late Elizabeth Alves and Richard G Hart of the other witnesscth that for and in consideration of certain lights relinquished by parties of the second part to the parties of the first part by deed of this

    • This is a different Alves (not Alvis) family, that came to America from scotland almost 100 years after the Virginia Alvis (or Alves or Olvis or other variants) family was founded.

  3. your absolutely right, My gggm was rose Alvis who married Thomas Matthew Copass. Rose and Thomas had my Grandmother Fatima who married my Great Grand father James Peart Hulse who had several children among them my grandfather John Wesley Hulse. I have traced the Alvis family back the the King of England King Edward the Third. My name is harvey Frank Hulse

    • Is your royal ancestry through the Stanleys, or maybe the Lees?

  4. Did George Alvis’s daughter Susan marry John Ellitt and their daughter Elizabeth marry Samuel McGehee?

  5. Excellent information, thank you!
    My Alvis-Armstrong connection is Samuel Wesley Armstrong and Mary Elizabeth Alvis who married in 1860. Is this part of anyone’s tree? Would love to share information. Contact me at Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: