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Hugh Gwynn (abt. 1600 - abt. 1654)

Colonel Hugh Gwynn aka Gwin, Gwinne, Gwinn, Gwyn, Gwynn
Born about in Englandmap [uncertain]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married 1650 in Virginiamap
Descendants descendants
Died about at about age 54 in Gloucester County, Virginia Colonymap [uncertain]
Problems/Questions Profile managers: Cynthia B private message [send private message] and Toby Proctor private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 3 Mar 2012
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The Birth Date is a rough estimate. See the text for details.



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Hugh Gwynn was a Virginia colonist.

Hugh Gwin, Colonel AKA Gwinne, Gwinn, Gwyn, Gwynn [1]

Spelling of the Name

Hugh's last name is spelled "Gwin (Gwinne, Gwyn)" in the index for the Journals of the House of Burgesses ...[2] It is spelled "Gwin, Gwinn, and Gwynn" in Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents ...[3] There are many examples of various spellings, and it may be difficult to pinpoint a pattern with any certainty.

The spelling is possibly significant, because apparently the Welsh form of the name includes the "y" ("a specific sound in the Welsh language very unlike the 'i").[4] Therefore names of English origin usually used the "i" spelling, and this is how Owen "Winne" spelled his name.[4] This adds to the argument that Owen was not the son of Sir John Wynn (of Welsh heritage). While it is true that spelling was largely phonetic at the time, changing from "y" to "i" would have been unusual.

Uncertain Origin

Hugh may have been born in England.[5]

He is sometimes assumed to have been a son of Owen Gwynn and Grace Williams.[6] Proof is lacking, and this has since been disputed.

Apparently Owen Gwinn/Winne was on the London & Va. Company rolls as an adventurer. As we know, this only meant he was an investor ("adventurer of purse"). Authors from the early 1900s may have made them father and son on this basis alone. Stella Pickett Hardy in Colonial Families of the Southern States of America ... was among these.[7]
Not the least evidence can be found that Sir Owen Gwynn was ever in Virginia or had anything to do with Hugh Gwinn of Gloucester County, and the later had nothing to do with David Gwynn (called here his son) who is shown by the records not to have been a native of Virginia.[7]

Hugh Gwin certainly came from an influential family. He was well educated and had resources. Within a relatively short time in Virginia, he had patented a couple of thousand acres and was a justice and a burgess.

His birth date may have been c. 1600, a guess based on his appointment to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1639.

Immigrant to Virginia

Hugh arrived in Charles River County (after 1643 York) in 1621,[4] and by 1639 he represented that county in the Virginia house of Burgesses.[5] Some believe he was the Hugh Wynn who is mentioned in the patent of William Spencer as "100 acs. in the right of Hugh Wynn & Robert Latchett whoe both came in the George 1621 at the charges of Capt. William Peirce" (p 16).[3] He may have even been the "Hugh Winne," tradesman, who arrived as one of the Second Supply in October 1608,[8] but there is no proof.


Hugh was married to Elizabeth (Unknown), his executrix in 1654.


  1. Hugh Gwynn, vestryman of Kingston Parish, Gloucester in 1680
  2. Rev. John Gwynn, distinguished royalist minister of Ware Parish, Gloucester

Note: Hugh was not the father David Gwynn, "who is shown by the records not to have been a native of Virginia"[7] (profile detached as a son).

Military Service

Hugh Gwin was a Colonel in the British Army.[citation needed]


On 17 January 1642, "Hugh Gwyn, Gent." patented, "1,700 acres near the mouth of Pyankatanke River. 200 acs. of marsh beg. at a sandy point upon Chisopeiake Bay, extending up Milford Haven Bay to the narrow, bounded by a great bay called Stengrabay, being due E. from the mouth of sd. river, etc. parallel to Rappahanocke Bay and Sly. parallel to Chisopeiake Bay."[3] Among his headrights were Christopher Higginson, Mrs. Ann Gwynn, and Eliza Higginson (p 141).[5]

Included in this patent was the island called Gwynn's Island or "Governor's Island," because in July 1776 Gov Dunmore tried to establish a camp.[9] However the rebels' mainland artillery surrounding the island convinced him to abandon this idea quickly.[9] The part known as Gwynn's "grant in the Main," meaning mainland, situated on a point of land overlooking Hill's Bay and Gwynn's Island, was the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Cricket Hill.[10]

On 6 December 1652, "Col. Hugh Gwin (Gwyn)" was issued a patent for "300 acs. upon W. side of a tract called Gwins Island, being the surplusage of sd. island bounded S. W. upon the Narrowes W. opposite to mouth of Peanketank Riv. S. upon Deep Cr., which lyeth toward S. side of sd, Island" (p 263).[3]

On 26 February 1653, Col Hugh Gwynn patented 200 acres on the north side of the Piankatank River, across the creek from Col. John Mattron and adjoining the property of "Maj." (later Col.) George Reade (p 248).[3]

Some of his neighbors were Col George Ludlow who patented 2,000 acres adjoining Hugh's land on the south side of the Piankatank River and on the west-northwest side of Gwynns Creek (p 239). Another was Col Humphrey Higginson (who purchased his land from William Armstead), and also Col. George Reade (p 248).[3]


Hugh was a justice of York County in 1641.[5] He represented Charles City County in in the House of Burgesses in 1639, for York County in 1646, and the newly formed Gloucester County in both the April and November sessions of 1652.[2]

On April 26, 1662, "Hugh Guinne" was one of the two burgesses' names returned to the Grand Assembly as representatives for the newly formed "Glocester" County.[11] This may have been in regards to Hugh's son by the same name.

Death and Legacy

Hugh must have died c. 1654 when his wife, Elizabeth Gwynn, acted as executrix of his estate; she patented 700 acres in Isle of Wight County (the same he had patented in 1640).[5]

Research Notes

Some assume that Hugh Gwin was a descendant of Sir John Wynn (d.1626, aet 73), but this not correct. Sir John's line ended with grandson, Sir John Wynn (d.1719), who had no issue.[4]

Beware the work by Stella Pickett Hardy, Colonial Families of the Southern States of America ..., called "worthless" by a review in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.[7] If you read the first, please read the other.


  1. Gwin/Gwinne/Gwyn, Hugh - A3303; Charles River: 1640, York Co.: 1646, Gloucester Co.: 1652 (Burgess). accessed 12 August 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 Virginia. General Assembly. House of Burgesses; McIlwaine, H. R. (Henry Read), Journals of the House of Burgesses of VA, 1659/60-1963, Vol 1. Richmond, VA: [Library Board, Virginia State Library] accessed 8 June 2016 (Vol 1, Pages xi, xv, xix, 84).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Nugent, Nell Marion, 1934 Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1800. [1st ed.] Richmond: Dietz Print Co., accessed 6 June 2016, (Pages 16, 141, 239, 248, 263, 653).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Johnson, Myles, (February 2003) "Wynne Mythtakes & Wynn Winners." accessed 10 October 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Merrill, Kathy, transcriber, (Jul., 1909) "Historical and Genealogical Notes." William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, USGenWeb Archives Special Collections Project accessed 10 October 2016 (Vol. 18, No. 1, Pages. 59-67).
  6. Hardy, Stella Pickett, 1958 Colonial Families of the Southern States of America ... Baltimore: Southern Book Co., accessed 8 June 2016 (Page 250) Caution: Contains many errors - called "worthless" by The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography see VMHB 19:446.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 (Oct., 1911) "Reviewed Work: Colonial Families of the Southern States of America. A History and Genealogy of Colonial Families Who Settled in the Colonies Prior to the Revolution by Stella Pickett Hardy." The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Virginia Historical Society accessed 10 October 2016 (Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 442-448, citing p 446).
  8. Sams, Conway Whittle, (1929) Conquest of Virginia, the second attempt ... Norfolk, VA: Keyser-Doherty Printing Corp., accessed 10 October 2016 (Page 822).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ward, Harry M., For Virginia and for Independence : Twenty-Eight Revolutionary War Soldiers from the Old Dominion. Jefferson: McFarland & Co., 2011, accessed September 28, 2014
  10. Mandell, Gayle N., Chapter 7 - Introduction, Gale/Gayle Families of America The Gale & Gayle Families, accessed 8 June 2016.
  11. Kingston Vestry, The vestry book of Kingston Parish, Mathews County, Virginia (until May 1, 1791 .... ExLibrisRosetts accessed 10 October 2016 (Pages ix, 2) Citing Hening Vol 1: 373-75.

See also:

  • Wrike, Peter Jennings, The Governors' Island : Gwynn's Island, Virginia, during the Revolution. Gwynn, VA: Gwynn's Island Museum, 1993.


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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Hugh by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Hugh:

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Comments: 5

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He was possibly born sometime in the 1580's. He was in the his 20's when he arrived In Jamestown
posted by Brandon Smith
Gwynn-16 and Gwynn-121 appear to represent the same person because: Cynthia, there are still a lot of gaps but I believe they are the same person.
posted by [Living Cannon]
Thanks James. I agree. I have, however added Cynthia as a profile manager, but at this time ask her not to merge.
posted by Toby Proctor
Gwynn-121 and Gwynn-16 are not ready to be merged because: Dates of birth and death are at variance. Place of birth is at variance. No confirmation on spouse or children. While I agree that the name and the names of parents are the same, I am not convinced and cannot confirm at this time.
posted by [Living Cannon]
Gwynn-121 and Gwynn-16 appear to represent the same person because: Same name, same parents
posted by Cynthia (Billups) B