Selected 18th Century Saunders Property Transactions Along the James River (Virginia Piedmont Counties)

In my review of Saunders/Sanders family histories, considerable confusion is evident. Several factors should be noted:

(1) both spellings of the surname are used for the same family and often for the same individual, so a review of 18th century records should include the alternate spellings,

(2) several family names, such as William, John, James and Julius are repeated, both from generation to generation and in the names of the sons of brothers, and

(3) a tendency exists for researchers to associate a county legal record with the present day geographic boundaries of the county, whereas during the 17th through 19th centuries, counties are often divided – the records staying with the original county. The latter fact means that the record of ownership of a given piece of land over, say, a period of sixty years, might be located in the records of five or more counties.

What I not seen done is a systematic analysis of any clues that exist to the geographic location of pieces of property, but I believe such analysis can often yield useful insights into family history.

Because persons surnamed Saunders/Sanders whom I know or suspect are direct ancestors can be associated with properties located within the geographical boundaries of the counties of Bedford and Fluvanna as they exist in the 21st century, I thought it might be useful to see what persons named Saunders/Sanders possessed property in the area now comprised of those counties and of the region between them.

I have used the Gazetteer of Virginia and other sources to identify geographic areas that can locate such properties. Most promising is the bend of the James River that flows through or near the Counties of Amherst, Nelson, Albemarle, Buckingham and Fluvanna Counties. (See the horseshoe bend located near Scottsville, Virginia in the map below):

The following is an initial list of properties that I believe should be studied, that I will supplement as I analyze other records, including the properties with whom JULIUS SAUNDERS SR (born New Kent County, 1720) is associated:


24 March: John Sanders is granted 400 acres beginning at the mouth of Stovall’s Creek, Henrico County.

[WHB: According the the Gazetteer of Virginia, Stovall’s Creek is a small left-hand of the James River in Amherst County. In 1761, Amherst County was formed from the Southern Half of Albemarle County; which had been formed in 1744 from the Northern Half of Goochland County, which was created in 1728 from Henrico County.]





John Sanders, 28 September 1730, grantee 400 acres on the south side James River on the Eastermost branch of Deep Creek known by the mane of Little Deep Creek or Tabors Horsepen Branch Goochland County.


Goochland Co Virginia Wills and Deeds, Abstracted and Compiled by Benjamin B. Weisiger III, 1728-1736:

p 48 Deed 15 Feb. 1733 William Tabor, John Tabor and George Stovall, son and heir of Bartholomew Stovall, dec’d, of Goochland Co., planters, to Allen Howard, for 55£, 65 acres on south side of James River, bounded by John Sanders, said Tabors, the river; it being part of a greater tract granted to Bartholomew Stovall, dec’d, 16 Aug. 1715 and is the lower moiety given by said Bartholomew to Hagar Tabor for life, and at her decease to her sons William Tabor and John Tabor, with all houses, etc.Wit: John Shelton, George Woolf, James Hambree, John Tabor, William (M) Stovall. Signed: William (W) Tabor, John (T) George Stovall Recorded 19 Feb. 1733. Rachel, wife of William, Mary, wife of John, and Elizabeth, wife of George, relinquish their dower rights.

[WHB – The original grants to land in the possession of the Tabors and Stovalls appear to be in present day Amherst County, which in 1733 was part of Goochland County].


John Hyde Sanders, 19 July 1735, grantee 400 acres beginning on Bartholomew Stovalls back line and being on Stovalls Branch Goochland County.


 John Sanders, 15 February 1736, will index &/or deed book Goochland County.


John Hyde Sanders, 22 September 1739, grantee 570 acres adjacent to the west side of Stovalls Branch of the south side of James River Goochland County.


John Sanders, 15 March 1744, grantee 368 acres on both sides of Willis River Southward of the Mountain Goochland County.

[WHB: Willis Run is a right hand branch of the James in Buckingham and Cumberland Counties.]


John Sanders, 20 March 1745, William Gray grantee 200 acres among the branches of Willis’s River adjoin.g John Sanders Goochland County.


Stephen Sanders, 10 September 1755, grantee 400 acres on the South side of James River and on both sides of Willis’s River Albemarle County.


Samuel Sanders, 10 March 1756, grantee 396 acres on the South side of James River and on the North branch of Willis’s Creek. Albemarle County.


James Sanders Sr., 25 March 1762, grantee 84 acres on both sides his own Mill Creek Albemarle County.

[WHB: There are several Mill Creeks. Perhaps this refers to a small right-hand tributary  in Amherst and Rockbridge Counties.]


John Sanders, 1 February 1780, John Land grantee 275 acres adjoining the lines of Wm. Curd, John Sanders and Alexr. Stinson Buckingham County.


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