Gaines family has royalty in heritage

Published 12:02 am Saturday, September 17, 2011

There are several members of the Gaines family who currently reside in Covington County. Some researching the family have been able to trace their Gaines lineage back to Brychon, King of Wales, who reigned during the early years of the fifth century. The earliest known home of the Gaines ancestors was in Brecon City, Wales. The name remained as Gam for several generations, and it then underwent a number of changes in spelling: Ganes, Gaynes, and finally Gaines.

The name Gaines has a rather peculiar origin. One David Gam was given this name due to his having a physical defect of a squinted eye. The name has been quite illustrious with its association with members of royalty. One of these was David of Llewellyn, who dates back to Llewellyn the Great, an immortal name in Welch history.

The earliest Gaines ancestor to be identified to date is Llewellyn Gam who was born circa 1330 in the Country of England. He later moved into Wales where he was residing at the time of his death. He was married to Mawd, daughter of Leuan. Among their children was a son, Sir Davydd Gam, who was born circa 1351 in Wales and who died in 1415 in France. He actually saved the life of King Henry V on the field of battle at Agincourt.

Sir Davydd had a son, Morgan Gam, who was married to Talngwsti, daughter of Maredudd. They were all natives of Wales with Morgan and Talngwsti marrying in Newton Brecon. They had a son, Llen Gam, who was born in 1450. Llen then had a son, John Gaines (Note altering of name.), who was born in 1519 and who was married to Jane Ales Havard. John and Jane reared a son, Sir John Gaines, who was born in 1559 and who died in 1606, both occurring in Newton Brecon, Wales.

Sir John Gaines was married to Elizabeth Games, and they reared the following six children: Catherine, b. 1581; Thomas, b. 1584, d. 1840, m. Blanch Remis; John III, b. 1585; Walter, b. 1587; William Richard, b. 1592; and Elizabeth, b. 1596.

Thomas Gaines is the son who came to America and whose line this writing will follow. He was considered to be of royalty status. He was married in Brecon, Wales, to Blanch Kemis, and they reared their seven children in that country: Thomas J., b. 1623, d. ca 1699; Captain Daniel, b. ca 1623, d. ca 1690, m. Margaret Benard (1605-1690); Francis, b. 1624, d. 1722, m. Elizabeth Lawson; James, b. ca 1625; Robert, b. ca 1626, d. ca 1716; Catherine, b. ca 1628, d. 1722; and Richard, b. ca 1630.

Records indicate Thomas and his family immigrated to America in 1634 aboard the ship The Ark and The Dove. They were traveling with Governor Leonard Calvert and landed in Maryland. By 1650, six member of the Gaines family had settled in the Virginia Colony.

Robert Gaines, son of Thomas Gaines, acquired 186 acres of land in Old Rappahannock, Virginia, in 1664. He was born circa 1626 and died in Virginia circa 1716. The name of his wife is not known, and the only son to be identified is Richard Gaines, b. 1690, d. 1750 in Culpepper County, Va., m. Dorothy “Dorrity” ?. Among their children was a son, Heirome (Hiram) Gaines Sr.

Hiram Gaines Sr. was born in 1730 in Albemarle County, Virginia, and died in 1806 in Elbert County, Georgia. He was married in Virginia to Margaret “Peggy” Taliaferro (1732-1773). She died in Virginia before the family moved to Georgia. It appears that Hiram Sr. and his son, Hiram Jr., rendered service in the Continental Army. They were both listed as participating in the Georgia Land Lottery in 1806, and that date is the last date Hiram Sr.’s name appears in public records. Other Gaines relatives participated in the lottery as well, and at least Hiram Jr. won acreage in Elbert County, Ga., where the family later settled.

Hiram Gaines Sr. and his wife, Peggy, reared the following children: Hiram Jr., d. 1815, m. 1792 Ann Thompson; Richard, b. 1752, m. Ann Garth; Humphrey, b. 1755, m. 1779 Martha Bowen; William Shanklin, b. 1757, m. 1785 Milly Banks; Ann Pittman, b. 1758, m. ca 1765 David Nimmo; Francis, b. 1759, m. Judy Lively; Henry, b. 1761, m. Martha White; and Martha, b. 1762, m. Henry Harper.

The son, Frances Gaines, also served during the Revolutionary War circa 1776 and received land grants for his service. In 1784, he owned 400 acres of land of the North Fork of Buck Island Creek in Albemarle County, Va. A few years later in 1788, he moved to Wilkes County, Ga. His brother Henry who rendered service had a land grant in that area in 1886. In 1790, Francis was listed on the tax record for Elbert County. In 1795, he owned a land grant of 200 acres in that county. He signed his will in 1825 and died later that year. He was buried in the Francis Gaines Cemetery there in Elbert County.

Circa 1780, Francis was married to Judy Lively who was born circa 1760 in Albemarle County. They reared the following children: Robert Taliaferro, b. 1781, d. 1860, m. Sarah “Sally” Alexander; Polly Hill, b. 1783; Richard Strother, b. 1784, d. 1870 in Hart Co., Ga.; Levington Pryor, b. 1785, d. 1824; Milly Lewis, b. 1786, d. 1825; James, b. ca 1792; and Judy Barnett, b. ca 1792.

The lineage of this Gaines family will be extended a few additional generations in next week’s column. Also, the descendants who brought the family to Covington County will be introduced. A current descendant, Richard Michael Ayers, has done extensive research, which he has shared for this genealogy feature. Appreciation is expressed to him for making this available to his relatives and the readers of this column. His records are the source for this writing.

Anyone who might have any correction to the above or additional information on the Gaines family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email:

MEADOWS FAMILY REUNION: The descendants of Marcus Alexander Meadows and Susan Frances “Fannie” (Willis) Meadows will be hosting a Meadows Family Reunion on Sat., Oct. 15, in Andalusia. If you are part of this Meadows family and wish to receive further details and information, please contact 904-307-9989 or