Julius Saunders (1758?-1821?) Bedford County, VA

The following correspondence was sent by WHB to the leaders of the Saunders DNA project:

Hi James –

A bit more information and some considerable questions on the Bedford County events of 1806-1810.

One of the websites I administer is a family history website, vikingsandvirginians.com onto which I am gradually adding all of the family history research that I have gathered over the past decades.

I will begin a page on JULIUS SAUNDERS that will attempt to do a forensic analysis of what went on between the 1790s and 1820s and the inter-relationships of Williamson Burnett, PRISCILLA CARTER BURNETT, Tempy Hatcher, JULIUS SAUNDERS and Jane Hughes Saunders and their children.

One determinant in this forensic analysis is my y-chromosome test, which the Sorensen Foundation notes matches perfectly (1 generation MRCA) the patrilineal line of JULIUS SAUNDERS (born 1758) through John Gardner Saunders (born 1791).

My direct ancestor, genealogically proven, is JOSEPH BURNETT, SR, son of PRISCILLA CARTER and repudiated by her husband, Williamson Burnett.) During the decade of JOSEPH BURNETT’s birth, Williamson was brought before the Bedford County courts for wife abuse, and, later in the decade, began an extra-marital relationship with Temperance Greer Hatcher, that produced an extramarital son, David Hatcher.

Williamson, in his Last Will and Testament, claimed that PRISCILLA had abandoned his “bed and abode” during the period that JOSEPH and his younger brother (Christopher Ammon) were born. The three sons who lived with Priscilla were apparently under the protection of JULIUS SAUNDERS, who provided legally-sanctioned apprenticeships for at least two of them.

[The 1823 will for Williamson Burnett says the following:” I  give to Williamson or William, Joseph and Ammon,  children of PERSILLA BURNETT one dollar each, two of the above named children, Joseph and Armon, have been born since PERSILLA BURNETT abandon(ed) my bed and abode”….

In 1820 William, JOSEPH and “Amos” (Ammon) sons of PRISCILLA BURNETT, were indentured to JULIUS SAUNDERS. According to court order books, PRISCILLA BURNETT, widow of Williamson Burnett, applied for a pension in 1843.]

However, at Williamson’s death, PRISCILLA CARTER BURNETT claimed his Revolutionary War widow’s pension and the Bedford County legal establishment, including Williamson’s eldest son (whom Williamson recognized as legitimate), testified that Priscilla had lived with Williamson for their entire life.

Without the y-chromosone evidence, this all would have been an exercise in guessing what the few recorded statements from the parties about what happened over two centuries ago.

Knowing that at least JOSEPH BURNETT, of the three sons, was properly a Saunders and almost certainly the half-brother of James Gardner Saunders, gives us something more to work with.

Subsequently, I have been contacted by a person who is my lateral fourth cousin from the line of Christopher Ammon. He took the y-chromosome test and determined conclusively that he, of Christopher Ammon’s line, is also a direct descendent of JULIUS SAUNDERS.

There is no doubt that JULIUS SAUNDERS, whose property adjoined that of JOSEPH CARTER, the brother of PRISCILLA CARTER, was the father of at least two of the three boys she had with her. In 1820 (which was after JOSEPH CARTER’S death, JULIUS SAUNDERS legally apprenticed all three of the boys).

I welcome any insights you have into this matter.  WHB. Please reply on the “responses” section below, or write me at ffvsearch@yahoo.com.



12 January 1758 – JULIUS SAUNDERS, son of JULIUS SAUNDERS and JEMIMA WOODWARD, born in Albemarle County, VA.


On 10 Nov 1772 Rees Hughes and Lucy, his wife, of Goochland Co sold to Matthew Vaughan 75 ac in Goochland Co bounded by The Reverend Patrick Henry, Benjamin Woodson, Moses Broomfield, dcd, and  Matthew Vaughan.  Bk 10, p. 27 4.  They seemed to have then moved into neighboring Albemarle Co, where in 1777 he signed a petetion to the Virginia legislature to divide Albemarle Co, forming the new county of Fluvanna, successfully passed through the Legislature by Thomas Jefferson.

Among the other signers were Henry Hughes, John Moody, Edmond Moody, and JULIUS SAUNDERS [WHB – if this is the elder JULIUS, husband of JEMIMA WOODWARD, his death dates are suspect. If JULIUS JR were born in 1758 he would be no more than 14 in 1772.]


JULIUS SAUNDERS was deeded a tract of land on the north side of the Staunton River in Bedford Co. by James Greek et ux. (Land Book “G” p. 408)


In 1785 JULIUS SAUNDERS, in a list of Bedford County VA taxable property and tithes, he is credited with “1 white over 21 years, 3 horses, 4 cattle.”


On 20 Oct 1787 Reese Hughes and Lucy, his wife, of Bedford Co. sold to Thomas Farrow of Fluvanna Co. 180 ac on Carey Creek, “land where Rees Hughes formerly lived “. (Bk 2, p. 242).

JULIUS SAUNDERS is credited in the list of Bedford Co. taxable property and tithes, with “6 horses mules and colts; and 5 cattle.


JULIUS SAUNDERS shows as a Head of Household in the Fluvanna County census.


July 16 – John Grant of Bedford County VA bouth 100 acres from JULIUS SAUNDERS of Bedford County. Witness David Hughes, George Moody and William Martin [Land Book “I”, p. 95]

July 16 – John Grant witnessed sale of 24 acres in Bedford County VA of John Woody [WHB-Moody?] and Lockey his wife, to JULIUS SAUNDERS all of Bedford Co. Other witnesses – David Hughes and George Moody. [Land Book I.]


JULIUS SAUNDERS had 1 tithe, 2 horses.


In 1795 and 1796 JULIUS SAUNDERS and William Martin owned 100 acres of land and 20 acres of land [Bedford County Land Tax Roll]


Sept 24 – John and Edy Grant sold 50 acres to JULIUS SAUNDERS in Bedford County VA. [Land Book J p. 187.]

Sept 24 – John and Edy Grant sold 69 acres to John Moody of Bedford Co. on Merriman’s Run. 1800 (approx) – In Bedford County Farley Hatcher, administrator of Benjamin Hatcher’s estate = bounds John Grant’s line. [Land Book “J”.]


On 29 March 1800 Rees Hughes of Bedford Co. sold 190 ac in Bedford Co. to Jesse Hughes of Fluvannah Co., the land adj. to Robert Lazenby, Banner Bently, and Samuel Banks (Bk 11, p. 198). In April 1800 he sold 10 ac to Robert Lazenby.  No mention made of Lucy.

[WHB – Although there is, at present, no reason for me to believe that I have any of the Hughes family in my ancestry, including Jane Hughes, the wife of JULIUS SAUNDERS, I am adding a webpage on the interrelationships of the Hughes and Saunders, not only of Bedford and Fluvanna Counties, but New Kent and Hanover Counties as well, which I believe should prove instructive.]

JULIUS SAUNDERS and ux. conveyed to John Moody. [Land Book “K”, p. 209.]


On 9 Sept 18 03 Rees Hughes conveyed to JULIUS SAUNDERS all of his estate, both real and personal, SAUNDERS agreeing to care for Hughes in consideration of his infermity. (Bk 11, p. 823).  On 1 April 1800 Rees Hughes conveyed to JULIUS SAUNDERS title to “one Negro wench named Dinah and her son named John . … of me”. (Bk 12, p. 198).


Susannah Moody 35 al. conveyed to JULIUS SAUNDERS (Book “L” p. 1) Fr Geo. Moody & ux. Rel Dower. (Book “L”L, p. 155)

From Susannah Moody &c [Book “L”, p. 161.)


JULIUS SAUNDERS, living on the premises, owned 100 acres of land on Staunton River, adjacent to Hodges, Grubb, Levi, Best, et al.; 59 1/2 acres, on the same river, adjoining the same men. Bedford County Land Tax Roll (quoted in Saunders research document).


JULIUS SAUNDERS owns 100 acres of land on Craddock’s Creek, adjoining JOSEPH CARTER’s estate. Bedford County Land Tax Roll (quoted in Saunders research document).

“To Jno. Williams” (Book E. p. 264.) (quoted in Saunders research document)


“In 1817 and 1818, JULIUS SAUNDERS (here listed as SENIOR) was taxed on 125 acres on Craddock’s Creek, adjoining JOSEPH CARTER’s estate. He had gained 25 acres since 1815, when he owned 100 acres at this place. Perhaps he bought the 25 acres from his son John, for in 1816 there was a transfer from “Jno. Saunders” [Land Book G p. 443.] On the same page of the book, there is recorded a transfer “To JULIUS SAUNDERS”.  (quote from Saunders research document).

“From 1817 to a date I cannot be sure of, this land on Craddock’s Creek continued to be carried in the name of JULIUS SAUNDERS; more was added to the original 100 acres, the final listing being 161 acres. One item so aded was 59 1/2 acres which seems to have been the same land that in 1818-1821 was carried in the name of John G. Saunders. [WHB-See my reference to my match with John Gardner Saunders DNA above.] This land was 20 miles south of the courthouse. (quoted in Saunders research document)

“The brother of George W. Saunders who removed to Kentucky was John G. Saunders. The reference above, showing a connection between John G. Saunders and Julius Saunders, is to me evidence that this JULIUS SAUNDERS mentioned is my ancestor. (quoted in Saunders research document)



JULIUS SAUNDERS legally apprentices William(son) Burnett, JOSEPH BURNETT, and Christopher Ammon Burnett. Y-chromosome tests have proven that JOSEPH BURNETT and Christopher Ammon Burnett are descended from JULIUS SAUNDERS.


CAPT JULIUS SAUNDERS died in Bedford County, Va., in August, 1821, as indicated in the letter from Samuel Newell to Tunstall Quarles hereintofore quoted. He was buried with military honors, as befitted “a good soldier”, who “had helped capture that old Scoundrel Cornwallis”.

“I visited Yorktown in June, 1937, in company with my nephew, Jim Bob Saunders, and Mr and Mrs George Kerry Wait, of Burnside, Ky. We spent a night at a small hotel situated very near the Yorktown Monument, looking across the broad expanse of the York River, and toward its junction with the Chesapeake Bay. It was a beautiful view, and we were thrilled to remember that one of our forefathers had a part in making history at that place.

“In 1936, Miss M. Lockie O’Bryan, of Owensboro, Kentucky was admitted to the D. A. R. on the record of Capt. JULIUS SAUNDERS. (quoted in Saunders research document)


The marriage of Julius H. Saunders to Priscilla W. Carter in Franklin County, VA (the  county that shares  a boundary with Bedford County, seems absolutely certain to be pertinent to the relationship between my direct ancestors JULIUS SAUNDERS and PRISCILLA CARTER, but, I am certain, are of the next generation.

Ancestry.com. Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.Original data: Dodd, Jordan R., et al.. Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850. Bountiful, UT, USA: Precision Indexing Publishers.



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1 Response to Julius Saunders (1758?-1821?) Bedford County, VA

  1. Pingback: The Descendents of Julius Saunders and Priscilla Carter Burnett: Resolving a Genealogical Mystery, Part 2 | Vikings and Virginians

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