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Benjamin Lillard (1747 - 1828)

Captain Benjamin Lillard
Born in Culpeper, Colony of Virginiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [uncertain] and [uncertain]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married 7 Apr 1772 in Culpeper County, Colony of Virginiamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Madison, Virginia, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 16 Nov 2010
This page has been accessed 1,329 times.
US Southern Colonies.
Benjamin Lillard resided in the Southern Colonies in North America before 1776.
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Biography

Flag of Virginia
Benjamin Lillard lived in Virginia.
1776 Project
Captain Benjamin Lillard served with Virginia Militia during the American Revolution.
SAR insignia
Benjamin Lillard is an NSSAR Patriot Ancestor.
NSSAR Ancestor #: 236517
Rank: Captain

Benjamin Lillard was born in Culpeper County, Virginia and married Frances "Franky" Crow, daughter of James and Elizabeth Crow. They were married at the Old Glebe in Culpeper by Parson Heidsman.[1] His family life was complicated and inimical in nature.

There are a number of land transactions recording Benjamin and his wife, Franky, in the records of Culpeper and Madison Co., VA. Benjamin was a captain in the Revolutionary War, commanding a militia company of men from Culpeper County, Virginia.[2] David Lillard cites the Revolutionary War Pension Application of John Breedlove and of Shadrack Barnes as a source of much of the information regarding Benjamin's service. He also apparently provided supplies to the cause.

At some point shortly after the war, Benjamin left his wife, Frances. There are a large number of court records in Culpeper and Madison that document the ensuing disputes for his lands and assets. Benjamin attempted to divorce Frances, but the divorce was never finalized. He began living with Elizabeth Hensley, but continued to have to include Frances in any land sales, in order to have her give up her rights of dower. This included transactions made after their separation. Benjamin also had children by Elizabeth.

The first suit filed by Benjamin's children was by his daughter, Clara, in 1803. Over time three lawsuits were filed (two after his death, against him and Elizabeth Hensley and against his heir, Rhode Pulliam), which record the names of his children. David Lillard quotes the records at length in the source below.

Benjamin executed his will on 6 Nov 1828, which was probated on 25 Jun 1829, therefore he died sometime between those dates, probably closer to June. He left everything to his daughter Rhoda (Lillard) Pulliam and her husband Ransom, who were also made executors. He appeared to have been living with her in his last years.

He and Frances (Crow) Lillard had the following children:

Francis (dau), Clara, Dennis, Lucy, Mordecai, Benjamin and Elizabeth.

His children by Elizabeth Hensley were:

  1. Mary "Polly",
  2. Nancy,
  3. Absolem,
  4. Margaret "Patsey",
  5. Rhoda,
  6. Leftage,
  7. Hedgeman,
  8. Oliver.


Research Notes

Traditions on Lillard Family Origins

In 1928, Ephraim Stout Lillard published a book called “Lillard: A Family of Colonial Virginia.” Though Stout Lillard’s work is something of a watershed in the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary history of the Lillard family (and he deserves great credit as the “grandfather” of Lillard genealogy), his work suffers from a paucity of authentic sources, especially in the colonial period and earlier. It has been criticized, as David H. Lillard, Jr., author of the second edition has pointed out:

“by professional genealogists on several grounds. . . there is a general paucity of documentation to authoritative sources. . . {and} generally fails to adequately distinguish between statements or conclusions which are based exclusively on family tradition and those based on documented primary sources or authoritative secondary sources.”[3]

In preparing his second edition of the book, David Lillard went to a great deal of effort to examine the records to try to confirm Stout Lillard’s conclusions regarding the relationships of the Colonial Lillards in Culpeper County, Virginia, and the two alternative pedigrees that the original edition discusses. In fact, many subsequent researchers have accepted only one of the two pedigrees – the one regarding the medieval Welsh and French Huguenot ancestry. The other was that the family was English in origins, and begins with a John Lillard who emigrated directly from England to Virginia. Although there are a number of records in England and Scotland of the surname Lillard or Lilliard, there are actually none yet found for the surname in France.[4]

Regarding the Colonial Virginia pedigree, David was unable to find any reference in the extant records of a Benjamin Lillard who married Elizabeth Lightfoot. In my own researches so far, I was unable to find any record of a Benjamin Lillard of the right time period at all. Ephraim Stout Lillard’s conclusions regarding Benjamin and Elizabeth (Lightfoot) Lillard, and their parentage of the Culpeper County Lillards is based solely on various family traditions. In fact, though some sort of familial relationship can be guessed at, there is no primary or authentic secondary source to justify that all of the colonial Culpeper Lillards were even siblings.

David Lillard discusses the extant records of the Lillards in Prince William, Essex, Fairfax, and Orange counties, and it behooves Lillard researchers to read this chapter of his book carefully. It is his conclusion that a John Lillard of Orange County recorded in the 1720s and 1730s is the likeliest candidate for the progenitor of the Culpeper Lillards, but he specifically states that it cannot be proved unless further records are found. It cannot even be proved at this time that all the Culpeper County Lillards were even siblings, which is why David chose to present the family as separate branches, with each branch beginning with a specific Culpeper Lillard ancestor.

S. Waters Edillon posted: William, I descend from Mary "Polly" Lillard Bradley, Benjamin's daughter with the widow Elizabeth Hensley. Mary married Augustine Bradley Jr. and they were first cousins. Benjamin Lillard's birthdate came from a bible record that also has Capt. Augustine Bradley's birthdate too. I see I have the 27th of August and two others have the 28th (one on Geni and one Family Search). I'll have to check that out. I lost a number of emails and photos some time back and now only have one photo of the bible with a partial page showing names and dates. The person who emailed me no longer has the same email address. She was trying to figure out her family connections to all of the people listed in the bible. This bible and another record indicate that Mrs. Elizabeth Hensley may have been a Seale. This was a Seale bible that someone shared with me. She said her grandfather went back to Virginia to visit relatives and brought the bible back with him. The other other record was family information written by a Lillard descendant.

Requested image of Bible record from S. Waters who writes in an email on August 19, 2021:

I descend from Mary "Polly" Lillard Bradley, Benjamin's daughter with the widow Elizabeth Hensley. Mary married Augustine Bradley Jr. and they were first cousins.
His [1747] birthdate came from a bible record that also has Capt. Augustine Bradley's birthdate too. I see I have the 27th of August and two others have the 28th (one on Geni and one Family Search). I'll have to check that out.
This bible and another record indicate that Mrs. Elizabeth Hensley may have been a Seale. This was a Seale bible that someone shared with me. And the other record came from a Lillard descendant. Some of the information was not correct but it did corroborate this.

Sources

  1. David H. Lillard Jr, compiler, Lillard: A Family of Colonial Virginia, two volumes (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc, 1991), Vol 2, pp 1273-1323
  2. Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Genealogical Research Databases, database online, (http://www.dar.org/ : accessed Sep 206 2020), "Record of Benjamin Lillard", Ancestor # A070354.
  3. David H. Lillard Jr, compiler, Lillard: A Family of Colonial Virginia, two volumes (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc, 1991), Vol 1, Forward, p. viii.
  4. David H. Lillard Jr, compiler, Lillard: A Family of Colonial Virginia, two volumes (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc, 1991), Vol_ 1, pp. 1-9.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Benjamin 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 Benjamin:

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Comments: 5

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Lillard-536 and Lillard-54 appear to represent the same person because: Lillard-536 with son Mordecai is the same as Capt. Benjamin Lillard -54. The birthdate of 1747 is correct. Mordecai is a son of Frances Crow.
posted by S. Waters
What evidence can you provide to back up your claim that the 1747 birth is correct? The profile Lillard-536 is unsourced, so it provides no support for that date.
posted by William Foster Jr
Tagged Captain Lillard as American Rev. War vet. He deserves more work on his profile. I will return and help develop this more fully hopefully.
posted by Thom Anderson