source: familysearch.org website, NC, Edgecombe Co., Wills
If you read this will carefully note this… “being in health in body & in perfect Sound Science [sense] and memory”… In other words, the man was not dying. This is a preliminary will. In this same year, 1759, this John Gay Jr. also witnessed the will of Moses Pitman along with Joseph Pitman (the Quaker), his brother in law. Note also his signature “mark”… an “X”. His father John Gay Sr. signed with a distinct mark… a capital I with a dash through the middle. (Whenever you see that mark… the “I” with the center dash… it was common in the era… it was simply the “Latin” letter for “J”.. in this case John… its that simple).
Note also the date this will is recorded… June 1761. The court essentially probated these 2 wills in December Court 1761.
Edgecombe Co., NC, Court Minutes 1763-1774 Book II
GoldenWest Marketing Genealogy, Temple City, CA
 Dec 1761 Book I
Ordred that the Sheriff sell the Perishable Estate of Jno. GAY Senr.
Ordred that the Perishable Est. of Jno. GAY junr. be sold acco. to Law.
 Jul 1763 Book II
Ordred that Joseph PITMAN Exor. to the Estate of John GAY Junr? Deced. sell the Perishable Part of the sd. Estate accordg. Law (sic) for the Benefit of the Devisee.
I am now convinced that John Gay Jr. was the brother in law of Joseph Pitman (the Quaker). The Quaker records state her birth (Elizabeth) as 1724 and in the above will Gay leaves his estate “to his eldest sister’s son Thomas Pitman” If you take that statement to mean his “older sister” then he was born “after” 1724…. which reasonably establishes his birthdate. He apparently had no heirs other than his wife Sarah.
This will is the father John Gay Sr. it accounts for son William who appears to acquire adjoining property about 1760… this William will eventually sell the land to Elisha Battle in 1779.
Since he also mentions his son John, this will also establishes that he wrote this will just prior to son John’s death.
In reading various wills of Edgecombe I have noticed several sons who die at about the same time as their fathers… namely: John Gay Sr & Jr, Andrew Ross and his son… also Charles Coleman and his son…. all around 1760. I wonder if there was some sort of plague such as smallpox at this time?
Note also that this Moses Pitman will below was written by the same scribe as the John Gay Jr. will… both in the year 1759. Perhaps John Gay Jr. got caught up in the moment?
Below is Moses Pitman, 1759
Edgecombe Co., NC, Court Minutes 1744-1762 Book I
GoldenWest Marketing Genealogy, Temple City, CA
The last Will & Testament of Moses PITMAN Deced. was Exhibited by the Exrs. therein named
and at the same time Joseph PITMAN one of the People called Quakers affirmed that he saw the
sd. Moses PITMAN Execute the sd. Will & that he saw Jno. GAY & Jesse GREEN sign the same
as Evidence thereto & at the same Time the Exr. Qualified acco. to Law
Some notes on John Gay….
My guess is that John Gay Sr. of Edgecombe Co. is the grandson of the immigrant Henry Gay of IOW… likely a son of Henry II or his brother Thomas (I’m not sure if the first John Gay left a will?). If this Edgecombe John is indeed the son of the immigrant then he would be at least in his 80’s I’m guessing… The John of Edgecombe (remember his son John was not born until about 1725 or so) obtained a grant for 400ac in 1744 and references can be found to his land on Southside Tar River in 1745. He was simply too young to be a son of the immigrant in my opinion… I just don’t see any logic to this man being born before 1688. Most researchers estimate the son of the immigrant being born around 1660… hence I suppose this John of Edgecombe a grandson. But don’t take my guess as gospel… this John Gay Sr was noted in the Rich Square MM Quaker records as an elder in 1760 and the Isle of Wight “immigrant” Henry Gay is closely associated with numerous Quakers.
On second thought and to argue with myself, a plausible case can be made that this IS the son of the immigrant Henry Gay (I say “immigrant” because he was listed as a headright).
According to Boddie, Robert Lawrence, Jr. was born in 1639 (from a 1708 deposition in which he gave his age as 69). He had 400 acres in Isle of Wight and 400 in Nansemond in the Quit Rent rolls of 1704. His will was probated in 1720 and “the page where it is recorded is badly torn”. The only children that can be deciphered are, 1. Robert, 2. daughter married Henry Gay, 3. daughter married John Gay. [Lawrence researchers further say: “son-in-law and executor John Gay to have a long table, great brass kettle, and great iron pot… witnesses were Ambrose (A) Sanders and Jane Gay” quoting Hugh B. Johnston]
This Robert Lawrence married the widow of Henry Gay in 1689.
John Gay was still living in IOW in 1720 presumably, since he acted as executor.
When did wife of R Lawrence die? She may have been relatively young when she had son John.
“Thomas Gay son of Isaac [sic] Lawrence & Rebecca Page the Daughter of Thomas Page both of the county of the He of weight did propound their marriage before a meeting of men & women freinds at our publick meeting house in Chuckatuck the 14 day of the 10 mo last past and coming before the meeting the second time they Published their marriage againe and at our above sd Publick meeting house were married this 11th day of the 11th mo In the year 1699″ Thomas Gay, Rebecca Page What is this “son of Isaac” business… a transcribing error?
Thomas Page Senor
Isaac Rickesis Senor
Robt Lawrence Junor
If this Thomas was about 20 yrs at marriage his birth would be about 1680. Brother John would likely be in this ballpark year also… just no later than 1688, the death of his father.
In Isle of Wight Guardian Accounts 1740 – 1767, Hopkins…
(p.10) 1 Sep 1742…. Account of Estate of Joseph Bridger… list includes John Gay…
“An” adult John Gay was in IOW in 1742 per above account… the Bridger estate was close to the original Henry Gay patent. 2 years later he perhaps moves to Edgecombe Co., NC.
Minutes of the North Carolina Governor’s Council
North Carolina. Council
November 19, 1744 – November 27, 1744
Volume 04, Pages 703-710
Read the following Petitions for Warrants Vizt
William Carruthers 200 Beaufort, Edward Bryant 100 Craven, Do Do 50 Do, Isaac Henter 150 Bertie, Thomas Taylor 300 Pasquotank, John Halsey 400 Chowan, Peter Adams 500 Do, James Blount 300 Tyrrel, Francis McClendon 600 Craven, John Clark 640 Bladen, Do Do 200 Do, Do Do 300 Do, John Simpson 200 Onslow, John Edward 600 Bladen, William Jones 400 Edgecombe, William Chavers 400 Do, Walter Gibson 100 Do, William Jones 600 Do, John Gay 400 Do, Joseph Howell 300 Do, Thomas Gwaltney 400 Beaufort, David Bunn 100 Edgecombe, Walter Lane 400 Craven, William Herring 300 Edgecombe, Jacob Strickland 100 Do, William Douglass 300 Do, Henry Ivey 300 Do, Theophilus Pugh 2,000 Chowan, William Eves 200 Edgecombe, James Pace 450 Do, Joseph Lane 500 Do, James Ard 400 Craven, Thomas Howell 200 Do, Francis Jones 200 Edgecombe, Joseph Brantley 200 Do, John Lott 300 Do, Solomon Joyner 200 Do, John Hennard 150 Do, Peleg Rogers 400 Do, Thomas Bradley 600 Do, Richard Bayley 600 Do, David Kelley 400 Do, Francis Patterson 200 Do, William Bentley 100 Craven, Joseph Kimball 200 Edgecombe, Theophilus Goodwin 200 Do, Joseph Sims 150 Craven, Anthony Rackley 250 Edgecombe, Joseph Philips 250 Do, Thomas Ray 200 Do, Robert Humphrey 200 Craven, Wm & Robt Sutherland 300 Edgecombe, John Bishop 400 Do, Thomas Mason 400 Do, John Moore 200 Do, William Sims 300 Do, David Bales 300 Do, John Patterson 200 Do, William West 300 Do, Thomas Nellson 640 Carteret Granted
A little candy for serious researchers… I think this mention of Henry Gay of Isle of Wight (Nansemond in this reference) is from 1678…
here is where you can find the source…
memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/mtjser8.html … see Manuscrpt Volume 19. Virginia. Foreign Business and Inquisitions. 1665-76…. somewhat of an index can be found at image number 460).
See an early post of mine here for some background… https://andersonnc.wordpress.com/page/9/ see the “IOW and Nansemond Patent Map” post (updated in my IOW Map Page)
Some where in my posts I think I transcribed one of these “escheat” hearings…