Who was Rachel Gibson ??? YOU DECIDE !!!

(Compiled by Steve Taylor, Jan 2017 & 26 Jan 2023)     [are mine]

The problem is who were her parents?    Here is what I have found so far with help from Elisa Reid & Fred Prisley.  So that I didn’t have to ask for permission to copy a narrative, I have used some links to information on the internet.

Margart Catlett [daughter of John Catlett & Mary (Elizabeth) Gaines] is said to be one possiblity for her mother.  Did Margaret marry Jonathan Gibson I or Johanthan Gibson II?  Margaret was born around 1700.  Her father died 1724/25.  His will is in Virginia, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1900, Essex County, Will Book, Vol 4, 1722-1730, p 84-86 (also his son Lawrence).  Link:


In the will she is given land among other things.  The family story is that she could not keep the land if she married.  This story was used in conjunction with why she married later in life.  She had a son Jonathan Gibson about 1729.  So she was probably in her mid to late 20’s when she married Jonathan Gibson.  If you read her father’s will there is no such stipulation on the land she inherited.  She most likely married after her father died because there is no married name mentioned in his will (the wife of his deceased son Lawrence is given as Alice Catlett).

The second possiblility is Elizabeth Thornton (widow of Edwin Conway), daughter of Francis Thornton I & Alice Savage.  She married Jonathan Gibson I about 1698/99.

The above information was added 26 Jan 2023 __________________

Rachel Gibson was born in 1713 & married George Taylor in 1738.

From the linen tree:  married 1738, George Taylor (son of James Taylor II & Martha Thompson).  A scan of the tree can be found on this site:  www.jtiassociation.org



From an email to Steve Taylor from Mark Hale (a Gibson researcher & descendant):

Elizabeth (Thornton) Conway Gibson (1675 – 1733): From the time of her marriage to Edwin Conway 2nd in 1695 until her death, she was mistress of the plantation now known as Belle Grove at Port Conway, the birthplace of her great-grandson Pres. James Madison. She had one son by her brief first marriage to Conway, Francis Conway (1696 – 1733). In 1699 she married Jonathan Gibson 1st. There were four offspring by Gibson who survived to adulthood. Jonathan 2nd (c. 1700 – 1745), Alice (c. 1707 – 1761), Sarah (c. 1711 – 1736) and Rachel (1717 – 1761). These four were all named in the wills of both Elizabeth (1733) and Jonathan 1st (1729) in King George County. Jonathan Gibson 2nd and his half-brother Francis Conway 1st married Catlett sisters: Margaret and Rebecca, daughters of John 2nd and Mary (Gaines) Catlett [I use just Mary, per the work of professional genealogist Margaret Amundson]. Elizabeth and Jonathan Gibson’s daughter Alice married John Catlett 4th, Margaret and Rebecca’s nephew. Sarah Gibson died unmarried in 1736.

As you probably know, there was a general pattern of migration of interrelated families (Strother, Conway, Catlett, Gibson, Taliaferro et al.) to what is now Orange County around the decade of the 1730s. There, they were apparently neighbors of and intermarried with the descendants of James Taylor. By the middle of that decade, Elizabeth (Thornton) and Jonathan Gibson 1st were dead (in King George). Jonathan 2nd at that time was a burgess representing Caroline County. I think the first of the Gibson family to go to Orange County was Alice and her husband John Catlett 4th (ca. 1736) and I think Alice’s younger, unmarried sister Rachel may well have accompanied them in the move. The family of Margaret (Catlett) and Jonathan Gibson 2nd followed to Orange at the end of his term as burgess ca. 1741, and there he became county clerk.

I absolutely trust the date of birth (1717) attributed to Rachel (Gibson) Taylor by family researchers. Rachel’s parents were married in 1699 and her brother Jonathan Gibson 2nd was born about a year later. His wife, Margaret (Catlett) Gibson, was still unmarried when she inherited Green Hill near Port Royal by her father’s will in 1724. Just doing the math is evidence that Rachel (Gibson) Taylor was too old to be daughter of Jonathan and Margaret (Catlett) Gibson. They were married ca. 1724 (or later) and Rachel was born in 1717 (when Margaret Catlett Gibson was unmarried and about age 14).

I can’t prove Sarah [Rachel, not Sarah] Gibson Taylor’s heritage with public records. Marriages apparently were not recorded for Orange County as early as 1738 when she and George are believed to have married. The wills of her parents in King George County, Jonathan 1st (1729) and Elizabeth Gibson (1733) both name their four children: Jonathan 2nd, Alice, Sarah and Rachel. In both cases Rachel was unmarried, so the wills are circumstantial evidence. Perhaps the register of whatever parish George Taylor was a member of in 1738 might have a record. However, if a public record is never found to prove Rachel’s relationship, like so many other beliefs, I accept it because it FITS and there’s a lack of credible evidence to the contrary. Highly respected historian George H.S. King in Marriages of Richmond County, Virginia 1668-1853 (p. 248) states that Rachel was daughter of Jonathan 1st and Elizabeth (Thornton) Conway Gibson and that she married George Taylor. Three excellent contemporary researchers, Mike Marshall, Robert Allen and Ann Blomquist are also believers.

Much of Mark Hale’s research is on his Findagrave postings. Here are links to some of them:





Link to Rachel’s page at WikiTree:  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gibson-2339

The notes mentioned on WikiTree in the Filson Club file are by a living Taylor descendant & the forward is by an unknown author(s).  The forward contains the genealogy information & the provenance of the diary which passed through the hands of Taylor family historians & descendants Dr. Andrew Glassell Grinnan who found it & sold it to William Kyle Anderson & was most likely seen by another, Philip Fall Taylor (whose unpublished book/notes of Taylor genealogy is at the Filson).

More about the Francis Taylor Diary here:



Notes and Queries, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Jan., 1920), pp. 65-82

Published by: Virginia Historical Society, The Gibson Family by Alice E. Trabue:



From the will of Frances Thornton (King George County Virginia Will Book A-! 1721-1752″, George H. S. King), parts concerning this compilation paraphrased by me.  (His will can also be found at several places online, just Google it.):

Written 10 May 1726, Probated 7 Oct 1726

Mentions eldest daughter Elizabeth Gibson

Mentions grandson Francis Conway [Elizabeth Thornton first married Edwin Conway, Jr. (d. 1698) & had son Francis who married Rebecca Catlett. They were the parents of Eleanor Rose Conway, wife of James Madison & mother of the president).]


From the will of Jonathan Gibson I (King George County Virginia Will Book A-! 1721-1752″, George H. S. King), parts concerning this compilation paraphrased by me.  (His will can also be found at several places online, just Google it.):

Written 30 Octber 1727, Probated 5 Dec 1729, presented into court by Elizabeth his wife

Mentions children:  Jonathan Gibson, Sarah Gibson, Alice Gibson & Rachell Gibson

Mentions wife Elizabeth Gibson


From the will of Elizabeth Gibson (King George County Virginia Will Book A-! 1721-1752″, George H. S. King), parts concerning this compilation paraphrased by me.  (Her will can also be found at several places online, just Google it.)

Written 14 Nov 1732, Probated 2 Feb 1732/33

Mentions children Francis Conway, Jonathan Gibson, Sarah Gibson, Rachel Gibson & Alice Catlett [married John Catlett]


Marriages of Richmond County, Virginia 1668-1853, by George Harrison Sanford King, Southern Historical Press, 1986, p 248

(To enlarge the image right click it & choose view image, then ctrl + to enlarge the picture, ctrl – will reduce the size;  hit the back button to return to the web page)



Descendants of John Nelson, Sr.-Mary Toby, Stafford County, Virginia, 1740-1959, with Related Families, by Olive Nelson Gibson, Redlands? Calif., 1961, p. 222+



Donald Robertson & his wife Rachel Rogers of King & Queen Co., VA & etc. (the title goes on forever; online), p. 238



[Wm. Kyle Anderson apparently did not find the wills of Jonathan Jr.’s parents so he skipped a generation & has left out Jonathan Gibson Sr.& Elizabeth Thornton.  Jonathan Sr. was the sheriff of King George Co.  The Bishop of London was Jonathan Sr.’s  first cousin.  Jonathan Gibson Jr. died in 1745 so could not have been a godfather of James Madison (b. 1751); Jonathan Gibson III was a godfather of Madison.]


Will of Johnathan Gibson II source:  “Orange County, Virginia Digest of Will Abstracts, Will Books 1-8”, Ruth & Sam Sparacio

Will of Jonathan Gibson III source: “Abstracts of Wills, Administrations, and Marriages of Fauquier County, Virginia 1759-1800” By Junie Estelle Stewart King &  Abstracts of Fauquier County Virginia, Wills Inventories and Accounts 1759-1800. Baltimore, MD, USA: Clearfield, 1999, John K. Gott

If anyone has any other good sources to contribute please email them to me:

steve dot taylor at jtiassociation dot org (dot=., at=@, takeoutthespaces)