WILLOUGHBY, Benjamin, of Fauquier Co VA and Greene Co TN

Benjamin Willoughby was born 1736 in Virginia and died around 1800 in Greene Co TN.[1] In Fauquier Co VA, about 1761, he married Susannah Wyatt, daughter of William and Winifred (–?–) Wyatt.

         William’s widow Winifred married Edward Sparks in 1763.  Benjamin Willoughby received administration expenses for attending court.[2] Benjamin’s wife in the lawsuit mentioned was Susannah, believed to be Wyatt, and the suit was against her mother Winifred (—) Wyatt, administrator of the estate of William Wyatt (Wiat). Evans Wynn mentions another lawsuit brought by Winifred Wyatt against Benjamin and John Willoughby, Bk 1, p. 89, Fauquier Co VA. John Willoughby was married to Mary Leachman ten days after Elijah’s marriage to Susannah Leachman. In the settlement of the estate of William Wyatt, Benjamin Willoughby and Thomas Leachman are clearly listed as sons-in-law.[3] Although Benjamin and John Leachman were stated to be sons-in-law of one man, William Wyatt, nowhere have we seen the relationships of their own fathers. Were the fathers brothers or cousins? This remains to be studied. Early correspondents of my mother and my aunt said cousins, but the brothers theory seem to have taken over at Ancestry.com. Documentation is needed.

         Another lawsuit was abated due to the marriage of the plaintiff, Hannah Bates, who had sued Benjamin and John Willoughby in 1762.[4]

         On 27 Mar 1775, both Benjamin Willoughby and Thomas Leachman together with Silvester Welch paid cash to three men in the settlement of the estate of John Hogan of Fauquier Co VA.[5]

How does Benjamin fit in with the more prominent Willoughby families of VA? Ruth Thomas wrote my aunt Ramona Duff that Benjamin was born ca 1725, the son of William Willoughby, b ca 1668, and his wife, Elizabeth Warrington, possibly Harrington. Documentation is also needed for this and the next generation.

Benjamin was in Hampshire Co VA in 1782 as follows: Hampshire Co VA [later WV], Benjamin Willowby: 10 [whites]/0 [blacks]/3 [Justice Michael Stump’s list]. He was not listed there in 1784. By 1787, his son Elijah was again in Fauquier Co VA where he married Susannah Leachman.

Several gedcoms at Ancestry.com state that he was in a returned tax record for Greene Co TN 1793,[6] and by the 1820 census he and many of his children and their families were in Montgomery Co KY. Three Willoughbys were in Greene Co TN in 1812: Thomas, John, and Benjamin. The only Willoughbys in TN in 1820 were households headed by William and Sarah in Smith County.

            Based on his 1782 tax, we can assume that Benjamin and Susannah had at least eight children born before that date and possibly others after that. Their known children include:

1. Elijah WILLOUGHBY. Born in 1762 in VA. Elijah died in Monroe Co IN, in 1834.

On 19 Oct 1787, he married his first cousin, Susannah LEACHMAN, daughter of Thomas LEACHMAN & Mary WYATT, in Fauquier Co VA. Born ca 1766 in VA, Susannah reportedly died in Vigo Co IN, on 26 Feb 1853. This date is suspect. They had the following children:

                        i.          George W (ca1788-~1835)

                        ii.         Polly (ca1798-)

                        iii.        Enoch (1794-1827)

                        iv.        Elijah Jr (1802-)

                        v.         Benjamin Jefferson (1809-1850)

                        vi.        Elizabeth (1813-<1900)

                        vii.       Anna (1814-ca1845)


2. John WILLOUGHBY. Born in 1765. He is not on some lists of their children; his name may be a confusion with the cousin John, who married Mary Leachman.


3. Margaret WILLOUGHBY. Born in 1765 in Fauquier Co VA. Margaret died in Coles Co or Edgar Co IL, on 11 Jun 1851. She married Thomas Donaghe, or Donica, 3 Apr 1797 Greene Co KY. Margaret and Thomas married in Greene Co TN, and both Thomas Donica and the Benjamin Willoughby families are on the early tax records of Greene County TN. They were in 1810 in Montgomery Co KY where Benjamin’s family stayed behind a short while then followed on to Lawrence Co IN. Thomas and Margaret (Willoughby) Donica’s daughter Margaret who married Rev. James F. Smith from Hawkins Co TN …moved latter to Illinois then MO. Margaret and Thomas had twelve children.


4. Sarah WILLOUGHBY. Born in 1771 in Fauquier Co VA.


5. Benjamin Jefferson WILLOUGHBY. Born in 1773 in Fauquier Co VA. Benjamin Jefferson died in 1834. He possibly married Susan FRAZIER.


6. William WILLOUGHBY. Born ca 1780. He married Phoebe (poss Hutson). Their children were:

         1. William, 1805 in Tennessee

         2. Phoebe, ca 1810

         3. Susan, 22 Feb 1811 in Montgomery Co KY

         4. Pleasant Wade, 1811 in Castle Rock,(or Rockcastle) Kentucky

         5. Benjamin Franklin, 1814 in Mt. Sterling, Montgomery Co KY

         6. James W, ca 1817 in Montgomery Co KY

         7. Maylon, 1821


7. Anna WILLOUGHBY. Born ca 1790. This daughter is not in most lists of Benjamin and Susannah’s children.


© 2008, Kathy Alvis Patterson


[1] “Re: Benjamin Franklin Willoughby Sr.-KY,” posted by Caroline Sims Coon, 5 Mar 1999, on <http://genforum.genealogy.com/cgi-genforum/pageload.cgi/Wyatt:: willoughby::237.html>.

[2] Southern Lineages, Records of Thirteen Families, by A. Evans Wynn, p. 229. 1759-1763 Minute Book of Fauquier Co VA, p. 239.

[3] Ancestry.com. Abstracts of Fauquier County Virginia, Wills Inventories and Accounts 1759-1800 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: Gott, John K. Abstracts of Fauquier County Virginia, Wills Inventories and Accounts 1759-1800. Baltimore, MD, USA: Clearfield, 1999, page 23, pages 89-90 in the original county records.

[4] John P Alcock, Fauquier Families, 1759-1799: Comprehensive Indexed Abstracts of Tax and Tithable Lists, Marriage Bonds, and Minute, Deed, and Will Books, and Others. Iberian Pub. Co., 1994, page 28.

[5] Gott, op cit. According to “Howdershell Geneology [sic]” at Ancestry.com, Sylvester Welch, who died in 1810 in Fauquier Co VA, was married to Jemima Carroll. Possibly this was a case of men who owed money to Hogan paying directly to Hogan’s creditors.

[6] See also Willoughby Family Genealogy Forum, message #1147 from Connie Cartwright Kwasha.

Published on November 30, 2008 at 2:57 am  Comments (15)  

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  1. My ancestry goes back thru William Willoughby (1780-1840) and my research has been local (Montgomery Co, KY), so I have very little info on Willoughbys in Greene Co, TN and beyond. Just started looking at the on-line info on the Willoughbys and there sure is a lot of confusion. Anyway, just a couple of questions right now.

    1. You mention 8 children known for Benjamin Willougby, yet you only list 7. (List goes from 5 to 7 and misses number 6). Who was this extra child, if known?

    2. You show Benjamin Jefferson Willoughby marrying Susan Frazier and dying in 1834. Where did he die (and what was the source)? Other family trees show that he married Anna Gillespye? Any sources as to who his wife was…did he marry twice?

    3. Do you have any info on a James Willoughby (1783 – 1873)? He married supposedly Elizabeth Brown and some family trees show him as a son to Benjamin and Susannah Wyatt Willoughby. Could that possibly be true?

    4. For Pleasant Wade Willoughby, you show Castle Rock as his birth. Other family trees show his birth as Rockcastle (a KY county south of Estill). I suspect Benjamin was travelling between KY and TN in 1811/1812 timeframe and he was born there. I can’t otherwise explain why the children before and after Pleasant Wade were born in KY.

    Anyway, don’t have any personal research on any of these early Willoughbys. I’m just trying to get my arms around these early Willoughbys and I’ve just seen this info in yours and various family trees.

    Thanks in advance for your help.


  2. my grandfather william g. hisle married nettie willoughby, her mother was sarah elizabeth thomas willoughby and her father was william riley willoughby. thanks for any help jim

  3. My great grandmother was married to Randall Gordon Donica, son of Samuel. I am looking for a Thomas Donica born in 1755. Was the Thomas Donica that married a Willoughby born in 1813? Samuel’s father was Thomas born in 1755 and I have hit a blank wall in my family research. Thanks for any help. Carol E.

  4. My paternal great-great grandmother, Sarah Smith Donica, was married to Randall Gordon, like Carol above. I was wondering the same thing about Thomas Donica/Doneghe born in 1755 (grandfather to Randall via Samuel). I, too, have hit a dry patch.

    I was looking at a Hugh Doneghe’s lineage from Augusta Co., VA. who appears to have an ancestor namesake from Chester county near Philadephia, PA. I also see where Randall’s Father is Samuel & was born in Rockbridge, Va. I was wondering if there is any connection there. Hugh inherited land in KY from his grandfather, & that is where Randall married sisters (2)Lucinda & (3)Sarah Smith.

    I was born in Oklahoma & Wiseley is my maiden name. You have done a wonderful job with your blog. I knew that 2 Willoughby sisters supposedly married a James & John Donica in Indiana. Hope you can help.


    • I’d love to help, but it seems as though my best contribution is allowing all of you Donica descendants to locate each other. I don’t know more about a Donica than the fact that he married a Willoughby.
      What a lovely last name. I haven’t seen it before, although I lived in Latin America 20 Years. Do you know consuegra is a term for women whose children marry each other, a great relationship, but a word we lack in English.

  5. My mother was Eldeena Willoughby from Fairbury, Nebraska. I have traced her ancesters back to Facquir Co. VA in 1748. Let me know if you want the documented line – by both Y-DNA 33 markers and documents. The line starts in Jamestown.. I need one more document to finish the proof.

    Ray Maxson

    • Yes, please. I am anxious to see your line and evidences. This is one of my seriously under-documented lines. I can provide documents to Benjamin Willoughby of Fauquier Co VA, needing only a link to his son Elijah Willoughby.

      • 2- Lt. Col. Thomas Willoughby……………………..Mary Bennett
        -b. 25 Dec 1632 NOT married . -dau of ? Thomas Bennet
        Elizabeth City Co., VA & of ? Ann Snayle
        -d. 1672 VA – intestate -b. bef/ 1640 ENG
        Letters of Adm -d. 1672/1682
        15 Oct 1672, Norfolk Co., VA -She mar. John Hebert – will 1675

        3- Thomas Willoughby……………………………………Ann Halstead
        -b. ca. Nov-Dec 1654 VA mar. dau of…………………….
        -d. ca. Jan-Mar 1710 & of………………………….
        will pd. 16 Mar 1710/11, Norfolk Co. -b. 1675 Yorkshire ?
        inventory 13 Jun 1710/11 – -called Thomas Willoughby of the Southern Branch by Walter.

        4- William Willoughby…………………………………..Elizabeth Warrington
        -b. 1679 VA or b. 1790? mar. dau of Stephen of Worcester, ENG
        -d. 1755 VA and of Elizabeth Jenkins of VA
        -b. ca. 1685 Accomack Co., VA
        – named in will of his father. -In 1722 Wm and Thomas bought 110 acres of land from Richard Smith
        in Blackwater, Princess Anne Co., VA.
        ……………………………………………………………………….missing connection document…………..

        5- John Willoughby……………………………….1.? 2..Eleanor..?….
        -b. ca. 1720-1725? mar. after 1764
        -d. 1782
        Fauquier Co., VA -Letters of adm. 1782.- by John Willoughby ( jr.)
        -he and wife Eleanor sold land in 1779 Fauquier Co., witnesses = John and Wm. Wyatt.

        6- John Willoughby…………………………………………Mary Leachman
        of Fauquier Co., VA mar. bond dau of Thomas & of
        -b. ca. 1763-4 29 Oct 1787 Mary Elizabeth Wyatt
        -d. Jul 1814 Fauquier Co.,VA -b. 1767-1768
        Greene Co., TN

        7- Thomas Willoughby……………………………………Nancy (Mary) Chambers
        -b.ca. 1791 mar. 16 Dec 1812 dau of…………………..
        Greene Co.,? TN Greene Co., TN & of…………………………
        -d. before 13 Nov 1833
        Orange Co., IN – (Thomas first appeared in poll tax in 1812, which means he was then 21.)

  6. Hi Kathy,
    Again I commend you on your website and the quality of your work on the Willoughby family. My only concern is the Willoughby/Donica connection and the internet spread of undocumented speculation that Samuel Donica is the father of Randall Gordon Donica. There is no proof of this assumption by Carol and Donna. We both know that Randall Gordon Donica, and Benjamin Willoughby were in Nevins Twp in Vigo Co IN in 1835. They lived about a mile apart. Benjamin’s brother Elijah lived adjacent to them in Clay Co IN. About 2 miles from my great grandfather Randall(who I assume to be his cousin)and his brother Benjamin. Everyone researching this family needs to do a little original research rather than assuming that Samuel is the father of Randall Gordon Donica. I personally think that you will find that Randall is a likely descendant of Hugh Doneghe with the father being either John or James. It is well documented that Hugh Doneghe’s sons moved to Greene Co TN in the 1790’s and that is of course where Thomas married Margaret Willoughby and James married Sarah Willoughby 3 or 4 months earlier. I also think that Livingston Co KY needs to be researched to solve this puzzle. Any comments–please contact me at wiseleycha@aol.com.

  7. I am wondering if Sarah Willoughby b: 1771 is the same Sarah Wiloby(Willoughby} b:1769 Farquier, VA. Sarah Wiloby married my 4th Great Grandfather, John Monroe from Scotland in 1793/94 at White Plains, Va?

  8. I appreciate your work on the Willoughby family. I descend from Benjamin Willoughby and I am researching my lineal ancestor Rev. James F. Smith as you have identified him above as marrying the daughter of Margaret Willoughby Donica.

    Can you tell me what document identified his middle initial as F? I’m trying to locate his parents and any help would be very much appreciated.

  9. I am trying to find the father of John Willoughby who married Sara ? I find them in Russell Co. Va. and then the family is in Campbell Co.Tn.

  10. Documented Information about Fauquier County Virginia families of Willoughby * Griffith * Johnston * Bennett

    At the House of Bedford Foster in the County of Monroe Margaret Cornwell of lawful age who being first duly sworn deposeth and saith that she was well acquainted with an old man by the name of (Wire? Wine? Win? Ware? Weir?) Johnston – (my note: this man’s name is spelled these various ways in the deposition and accompanying documents) in the County of Fauquire in the State of Virginia which was a long time ago the said Johnston was a raw? boned? man hard Fatures, (illegible) of an eye and dark hare, he was also much affected in the brest and is was said that he was wounded in some of the old battles (my note: in a different deposition we learn that Mr. Johnson was blind in one eye and had an injury to his shoulder, wounds that occurred during Braddock’s defeat) but as to the circumstance this deponent can not say of herself, but so it was he allways said that he had got land for being in the war which land or his right of his land he sold to a certain Evan Griffith of the county of Fauquire a great many years ago but do not recollect how long for which land or right that he had to land the said Evan Griffith paid to the said Ware Johnston a considerable amount in cattle and hogs and (illegible) then the said Win Johnston and his wife for several years previous to their death the sd. Evan Griffith at one time fixed Johnston and his wife in a little house that was some short distance off in a field and suported them there for some time and afterwards took both back to Griffiths own house where he suported them until after the death of Johnston’s wife and some time afterwards but not certain how long, the said Johnston went to a certain John Willoughbys in the same neighbourhood and lived there until he died this deponent further states that she knows of none else that the said Johnston sold to (illegible) to the sd Even Griffith, this deponent further states that the whole of the circumstances took place near the Bull Run Mountain in the said County of Fauquire.

    Signed: Margaret (her mark) Cornwell

    We do hereby certify that on this 2nd Saturday in Feb 1827 Agreeable to the within notice we met at the house of Bedford Foster in Monroe County and that the within named Margaret Cornwell was duly qualifyed before us on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God to the within deposition given under our hands and seals this 10 day of Feb 1827

    Signed: Wm Graham, Jacob Johnson, JP
    Acting Justices of the Peace for the County of Monroe

    spelling unchanged

    Source: Augusta County Chauncery Court Case, Index No. 1855-934, Heirs of William Broughton, William Coleman, Charles Morgan and Heirs of John Williamson v James Holderby, Simon Morgan, John Savage, and David Spurlock

    State of Ohio Brown County, Saturday the 10th of March 1827 at the house of John Willoughby in said county …. take the deposition of Jesse Bennett of lawful age …. deposeth and said that John Willoughby who is (illegible) and has been about three months confined in this deponent’s house to a bed of affliction by a paraliss stroke and entirely unable to speak but a few words at a time and the mind so impaired has rendered him unable to give his deposition at any time since he was first taken ill but have often heard that Wine Johnston an old soldier in Braddocks War had sold his land to Evan Griffith …. and this deponent further states that the said John Willoughby is at this time about seventy six years old and this deponent further states the said John Willoughby is his father in law and that they reside in the same house.

    Signed: Jesse Bennett

    spelling unchanged

    Source: Augusta County Chauncery Court Case, Index No. 1855-934, Heirs of William Broughton, William Coleman, Charles Morgan and Heirs of John Williamson v James Holderby, Simon Morgan, John Savage, and David Spurlock

    There is more information on these families in this Chauncery Court Case, which is almost 2,000 pages long. The information above is found on pages 641 – 647.

  11. Trying to find proof that Evan Griffith married Sarah Ann Willoughby (b c 1729) and that Sarah Ann was the daughter of William and Elizabeth (Warrington) Willoughby.

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