Julius Saunders (1720-?) New Kent, Goochland, Albemarle, Fluvanna Counties, VA

A critique of Saunders family history research:

[WHB – The dates and genealogical relationships from the following 2000 GenForum “Saunders Family Genealogy Forum” post from a K. Lund has been widely accepted by various persons researching the Saunders family history:

“Here are some bits that might be useful to you. The two family Bibles from which the data was copied out in 1880 have not been seen since 1913. Therefore, I can only say that the data is based on a transcript from Bibles augmented by my own research and the contributions of other researchers. [WHB – If both of these Bibles are indeed lost, it would be useful to have the description of what facts each Bible recorded without the “augmentations” from others’ research.]

“These are the ancestors of Captain Julius Saunders, husband of Jane Hughes, according to those transcripts: Julius Saunders, Captain Rev. War. fought at the siege of Yorktown under Lafayette was born 12 Jan 1758 at Yorktown, New Kent Co, Colony of Virginia and died in August of 1821 at Bedford Co, VA. He had two wives. The order of their marriage is not given. [WHB – My current belief is that Captain Julius Saunders was born in Albemarle County. It is plausible to me that Captain Julius’ grandfather resided in New Kent County around 1720 and that his father (named Julius) was born there.]

“One was a Miss Jane Hughes who died sometime after 1791 probably in VA and is believed to be dau. of Reece & Lucy Hughes. By her he had two sons and perhaps other children. Those sons were John G. ‘Jack’ Saunders [my husband’s ancestor] and Julius Saunders [the line your queried about]. [WHB – I believe that Captain Julius Saunders was married only once and that his wife was Jane Hughes. I find it plausible that she died in the 1790s or early 18 oughts. I believe that the most recent common ancestor of John G[ardner] Saunders and myself is Captain Julius Saunders.]

The other wife of Capt Julius Saunders was a ‘Miss Woodward’ believed to be the Jemima Woodward sometimes attributed as wife to another Julius Saunders born 1720. [there may some sorting out needed here]. [WHB – I believe Captain Julius Saunders parents were Julius Saunders and Jemima Woodward, and that Captain Saunders did not marry a “Miss Woodward”.]

The parents of Capt. Julius Saunders b. 1758 were George Saunders b. 9 Oct 1728 New Kent Co, Colony of VA and his wife Nancy Hatcher. [WHB – I believe this fact is wrong, but that the George Saunders-Nancy Hatcher idea needs to be explored, because of the later importance of the Hatcher family in relationship to my family in Bedford County a half century later.]

“They had 9 children : Julius [Capt in the Rev. War and our common research subject], Nancy, Elizabeth, John, James, Margaret, William, George W. and Richard. The parents of George Saunders b. 1728 were George Saunders b. 26 Oct 1682 New Kent Co, Colony of VA and his wife, Hannah Creed. They had 9 children: Barbara, Benjamin, Woodward, Thomas, Hannah, Mary, Nancy, Romulus and George.

“The parents of George Saunders b.1682 were Woodward Saunders b. 24 Apr 1632 Colony of VA and his wife Barbara King. They had 12 children: Elizabeth, William (a Quaker), Rolle, Margaret, Thomas, Hannah, Mary, James, Romulus, Barbara, George and John. The parents of Woodward Saunders were George Saunders b. 1 May 1574 England and his wife Elizabeth Woodward. They had 6 children: George, Thomas, James, Mehitable, Jerusha and Woodward.

“The parents of George Saunders b. England were John Saunders b. 6 Jul 1539 Wiltshire, England and his wife Jane Cathaside of Plymouth, England. They had 7 children: Rebecca, Susan, Martha, James, Benjamin, Roger and George. The parents of John Saunders b. 1539 England were Lawrence Saunders b. 8 Jul 1510 Cambridge, England [sometimes confused with Laurence Saunders b. 1520- d.1555 burned for heresy and a Martyr of the protestant church memorialized in ‘Acts and Monuments’ by Foxe whose parents were Thomas Saunders and his wife Margaret Cave] and his wife Elizabeth Kittewell. The had 6 children: John, Richard, Mary & Elizabeth (twins), George and Kittewell. The parents of Lawrence Saunders b. 1510 were John Saunders and his wife Jane Lawrence. [WHB – All of these family groupings need to be correctly identified. It is plausible that they are all related, but I am not convinced that any of this has been correctly proven.]

WHB -The history of Albemarle County is important to my family (not just the Saunders line.) This will prove important as these issues are discussed further.

Selected notes on the history of Albemarle County, from the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanites, University of Virginia, www.iath.virginia.edu.:

“The earliest known settlement in the area was an Indian village (Monasukapanough) located approximately five miles north of the present center of town on a hillside overlooking the Rivanna River. In the early 1700’s settlers traveled the major east-west route from Richmond to a pass in the Blue Ridge mountains named Wood’s Gap (Jarman’s Gap), paralleling the James and Rivanna Rivers. This thoroughfare, the Three Notch’d Road or Three Chopt Road, threaded its way through the Southwest Mountains east of the current town at the Rivanna River Gap following an Indian hunting path through the region.1. As this route proceeded from the Rivanna River heading to the west, it followed a long ridge line separating two major drainage areas. Settlement along a dry ridge line was a common strategy for early Virginia villages, although unlike Charlottesville with its inland location, most of the early plantations and villages in the colonial period occurred with close proximity to the estuaries and rivers feeding the Tidewater region.

“By the mid-1750’s land grants were secured for a number of large parcels within Albemarle County. The first patents were recorded in 1727. In 1735 Abraham Lewis secured 800 acres in an area that currently includes the University of Virginia grounds, and Nicholas Meriwether secured 1,020 acres in the eastern portion of contemporary Charlottesville (in addition to a much larger tract of land to the east of the Southwest Mountains). In 1737, patents were issued to William Taylor between the Meriwether and Lewis tracks; this tract encompassed the area that would later become the village of Charlottesville.

“All of these land grants were included within Albemarle County (named for the titular governor of Virginia from 1734-54, the Earl of Albemarle) when it was established in 1744. In its original formation, Albemarle was extremely large and its county seat was located “centrally” in the village of Scottsville (Scott’s Landing) approximately twenty miles to the south of Charlottesville on the James River. Concerns arose over the size of the county and the difficulty in conducting the business of the county seat within such a large and increasingly settled area of the Virginia hinterland. In 1761 Albemarle was divided, considerably reducing its size down to 750 square miles and placing Scottsville along the extreme southern edge. The newly defined county purchased a 1,000 acre tract from Richard Randolph in a more central location, and in 1762 Charlottesville was founded by an Act of the Assembly as the Albemarle County seat.




JULIUS SAUNDERS, son of WILLIAM SAUNDERS and MARY born in New Kent County(?), VA [WHB Note: New Kent County’s Saint Peter’s Parish was split around this time into Saint Paul’s and Saint Peter’s. Presumably this record was from one of the two parishes. Which is the correct citation?]


Goochland County, Virginia Court Order Book 5; Book 174; Blomquist, Ann K.; p. 99:

“The petition of Henry Martin against JULIUS SANDERS was dismissed with costs.”

[WHB: Assuming this JULIUS SAUNDERS is the son of WILLIAM SAUNDERS born in  New Kent County in 1720, he first appears at age 22 involved in a series of legal actions in Goochland County.

It is my current hypothesis that JULIUS SAUNDERS left New Kent County as a young man determined to make his fortune on land near the Western, upstream portions of the James River, and settled in what was then Goochland County and what is now Fluvanna County.]


Goochland County, Virginia Court Order Book 5; Book 174; Blomquist, Ann K.; p. 244:

“JULIUS SANDERS was summoned to declare how much of the estate of Thomas Alsup he possessed for garnishment [apprently for debts owed by the estate].”

[WHB: Note that nearly a century later, the surnames Sanders and Alsup appear in the 1840 Pulaski County, Kentucky census.]

Goochland County, Virginia Court Order Book 5; Book 174; Blomquist, Ann K.; p.318, 363:

“JULIUS SANDERS was the plaintiff in a trespass case brought by Charles Turnbull in Goochland County, Virginia.”


Goochland County, Virginia Court Order Book 5; Book 174; Blomquist, Ann K.; p. 410:

“The action of trover between David Pattison and JULIUS SANDERS, defendant, was continued.”

[Note the following definition from TheFreeDictionary  by Farlex:

“Early in its history, the English Common Law recognized the rights of a person whose property was wrongfully held (or detained). Such a person could bring an action of Detinue to recover the goods or, later, could bring an action on the case to recover the value of the goods. In the course of the sixteenth century, the action of trover developed as a specialized form of action on the case.

The action of trover originally served the plaintiff who had lost property and was trying to recover it from a defendant who had found it. Soon the lost and found portions of the plaintiff’s claim came to be considered a legal fiction. The plaintiff still included them in the complaint, but they did not have to be proved, and the defendant had no right to disprove them. This brought the dispute immediately to the issue of whether the plaintiff had a right to property that the defendant would not give over to him or her. For some cases, it still was necessary for the plaintiff to demand a return of the property and be refused before he or she could sue in trover. It was reasonable to expect an owner to ask for his or her watch, for example, before the repairperson holding it could be sued for damages. The measure of damages in trover was the full value of the property at the time the conversion took place, and this was the amount of money the plaintiff recovered if he or she won the lawsuit.

Trover proved to be more convenient for many plaintiffs than the older action of detinue because a defendant could defeat a plaintiff in detinue by Wager of Law. This meant that the defendant could win the case by testifying under oath in court and having eleven neighbors swear that they believed him or her. In addition, the plaintiff in trover was not obligated to settle for a return of the property, regardless of its current condition, and did not have to prove that he or she had made a demand for the property if the defendant had stolen it. Since it was the plaintiff who selected the form of the action, he or she was more likely to choose trover over detinue.”

Goochland County, Virginia Court Order Book 5; Book 174; Blomquist, Ann K.; p. 436:

“The petition of Phillip Weber against JULIUS SANDERS was continued in the July Goochland Court.”


From Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 26 (1989):269, Nance, Joanne, Lovelance; Albemarle County, Virginia, Court Orders 1744/45-1748″: 

“John Biby, JULIUS SAUNDERS, Stephen Saunders, and Nathaniel Hoggett were ordered to give testimony for the King in the Albemarle Court against James Gains.”


From Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 26 (1989):269, Nance, Joanne, Lovelance; Albemarle County, Virginia, Court Orders 29(1991(94: 

“A Case brought by Abraham Allen against JULIUS SAUNDERS was dismissed in the court of Albemarle, Virginia.”

Before 1749



JULIUS SAUNDERS to William A. Moss, 250 acres. Adj William Burton, John Morgood, Edward Chamberlaynes, John Anthony and William Sanders. Signed JULIUS and JEMIMA SANDERS Land Deed 10 July 1749, Albemarle, County, VA.

c. 1750

Elizabeth Saunders, daughter of JULIUS SAUNDERS and JEMIMA WOODWARD born in Albemarle County, VA.


Jesse Saunders, son of JULIUS SAUNDERS and JEMIMA WOODWARD born in Albemarle County, VA.


Oct 1755 – Claiborne Saunders, son of JULIUS SAUNDERS and JEMIMA WOODWARD born in Albemarle County, VA. [WHB – Claiborne is the surname of the most prominent citizen of New Kent County, VA in the 17th century. Is there a family connection between Claiborne and Saunders? ]


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

31 July 1758 – JULIUS SAUNDERS grantee 335 acrecs on the south branches of the Rivanna River, Albemarle County.

[WHB: Note that the south branches of the Rivanna River flow through Fluvanna County into the James near the town of Columbia.]


George Saunders, son of JULIUS SAUNDERS and JEMIMA WOODWARD born in Albemarle County, VA.

20 September:

John Payne, Josias Payne and George Payne, 3443 acres Albemarle Co on both sides of Crooks Creek, adj. William Bailey, Thomas Snelson, Thomas Jefferson, John Key, William New, Benjamin and Richard Cocke, Walter King, the said George Payne, JULIUS SAUNDERS, William Sanders, William Clement & Abraham Say; p. 650 15.5 pounds, 400 acs. part thereof formerly Gtd unto the sd George Payne by Pat. 10 Feb 1748/49 [PB 27 p. 138] and 3043 acs. the residue never before Gtd.

[WHB – Crooks Creek branch of James River is located in Fluvanna County.]


Philemon Saunders, son of JULIUS SAUNDERS and JEMIMA WOODWARD born in Albemarle County, VA. [WHB –  Note the following: Pension Application of Philemon Saunders: S31347 . . . State of Virginia} County of Franklin} Ss On this 21st day of August 1832 personally appeared before me Benjamin Booth a justice of the peace in and for the County aforesaid Philemon Saunders Sr a resident of the County and state aforesaid aged sixty nine years . . . And the said applicant further states that he has no documentary evidence of his services & that he does not know of any persons by whom he can prove them except Julius Saunders Sr & perhaps Genl Joel Leftwich . . . NOTE: On 4 March 1837 Philemon Saunders requested a transfer of his pension from Franklin County VA to Shelby County KY, where he had moved because “he has five children living in Kentucky, all married and settled except one & that he wishes to come to Kentucky that he might not only be near them, but also living with one of them.”

[WHB-Philemon Saunders pension application in 1832 specifies his age as 69, which if correct would mean he was born around 1863. At the time Fluvanna County was part of Albemarle County.]


Pleasant Saunders, son of JULIUS SAUNDERS and JEMIMA WOODWARD born in Albemarle County, VA.


The will of WILLIAM SANDERS, dated 8 October 1760 and proved 8 November 1764 in Albemarle County, VA, leaves son JULIUS SAUNDERS 5 pounds of current money to him and his heirs forever; and to his grandaughter Mary Henson, after the death of Mary Hall, his wife, on negro woman Patt, one negro boy named Joe, negro girl Jenny, negro girl Sall, feather bed, furniture cows, etc. To my grandsons Clayborn and Jesse Sanders 400 acres of land wheron I dwell.


WILLIAM SANDERS’ grandson-in-law Philip Henson claims that he and his wife Mary [SAUNDERS] are heir of several Negroes from the estate of William Sanders.


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 petition 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 – Presumably, the elder JULIUS, husband of JEMIMA WOODWARD]

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).  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.


Fluvanna County separated from Albemarle County.

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