Wimbish the Surname

(Based on detailed notes from Connie & William Wimbish of the USA

There are no records of anyone called "Wimbish" in the current telephone directory of England (source www.192.com) , nor do we know of any current British nationals called Wimbish. They survived in England at least until the end of the 19th century as they appear in the census records now available on line. In 1891 there were 12 English Wimbishes living in Derbyshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire ( source www.ancestry.co.uk ). By the 1901 census there were none. Where did they all go?

Did the Wimbish family come from Wimbish? We simply don't know but it seems likely. Simon of Wimbish [Simoni de Wymbisse or Symone de Wymbig] was granted 2 acres of land and also witnessed another document in 1275. John of Wimbish [Iohanne de Wymbis] was mentioned in a document dated 1273. In the 15th century there is mention that "William Caldecotte held here [Thunderley] half a knight's fee formerly helden by John Wimbish".

It is not really surprising that people who actually lived in Wimbish did not have the village name as their surname. Someone called, for example "John the Miller" might well become "John from Wimbish" when he moved away from his birthplace.

Wimbish is a fairly rare name in the USA. and mostly in the south-west, see a map of where they lived in the 1920s

Wimbish is the 11,926th most popular surname in the United States; that's 0.001% of the population or about two to three thousand people (- so far five of them have visited the village. We look forward to seeing more of you, but not all at once please!)

Doug Wimbish (a well-known musician, see: www.dougwimbish.com) features on many websites and is one of many Wimbishes of African descent whose family name is almost certainly derived from the European plantation owners for whom their ancestors were forced to work as slaves.

It seems that American Wimbishes of European descent can trace their origins to an English Wimbish who emigrated from East Anglia in the early 18th century (see the following details from Connie Wimbish ). Connie writes:

"The first (and only) Wimbish to come to America was James Wimbish (born about 1690). His wife's name is Anne (we do not know the last name) and they had 8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls. The Wimbish name is traced through the 4 boys who each were considered, back then, a wealthy, well known family. There are many Wimbishes in America today, we're all cousins, related to the first James Wimbish.

"I started my husband's family history in 1995 with a 2-page outline; I now have a 30-page outline of names, dates, etc. and over 150 pages of back-up material."

We do not know whether James Wimbish came from our area, what happened to any relations of his who shared is surname or whether his name was linked with our village at all. Answers to those questions are most likely to come from families in the USA researching their history and we would welcome any information.

Connie continues: "Your description of the area around Wimbish describes the area of Halifax County, Virginia; low rolling hills, with fields and woods. My husband and I visited the area a few years ago just to gather family history. We found the old Wimbish homestead and the newer (1800's) house, which the owners graciously gave us a tour. Its a white, 2-story with a wide front porch which extends around the right side of the house. There are quite a few outbuildings including barns." 
William Wimbish writes "the first Wimbish to America was white. I don't know if James had any slaves, but his sons certainly did. John's Inventory of Estate has over 3 pages of just slave names with a price on each. Each hand written sheet in the ledger book had at least 15 names per page. The generations after the first 4 sons would have had slaves too. I would like to think the slaves were treated well and when freed, they took the last name of their master (Slaves did not have last names), that is how there are black Wimbishes now. When we were in Halifax County, Virginia a few years ago, there were 7 Wimbish names in the telephone book; 6 were black, and the seventh was Carlyle Wimbish, a cousin, whom we viisted."

Connie Wimbish's summary history of the Wimbish family

"The references for the early Wimbish family in Virginia is difficult to read. The early Wimbishes had a habit of naming their children "Samuel, John, Alexander, James and there could be several living at the same time. Common female names are Sarah, Mary, Ann(e), Martha, Elizabeth. It is also difficult to keep the family relationships straight on the first (or fourth) reading of the references. So, I thought I would write this summary which highlights some of the Wimbish's early accomplishments and family relationships.

The first Wimbish in America was James Wimbish Sr. (born about 1690) who came from England. As far as I can tell he settled in Prince Edward County, VA. He and his wife, Ann, had 8 children; Martha, Anne, Sarah, Mary, James (Jr.), Samuel (Sr.), John (Sr.) and Benjamin. In a list of early Prince Edward County settlers, "James Wimbish, June 10, 1749, 1,020 acres on Buffalo River" is listed.

My direct ancestor, Samuel Wimbish moved to Abbeville County, South Carolina. All of the references in Halifax County, VA, and surrounding counties concern the other three brothers, John Sr., James Jr. and Benjamin. James Jr. died when he was about 42 years old and his wife Sarah remarried. Benjamin died when he was about 38 years old and his wife also remarried. John Wimbish Sr. is the one we find the most information about, he lived the longest of the 4 brothers, he was about 69 years old when he died. The Father: James Wimbish Sr. was sheriff of Prince Edward County during 1758 and 1759. His daughter Martha's husband, Hugh Challes, and his son Samuel were his deputies. He was a County Court Justice for the January and November Court 1754, August 1757 and 1758. James Sr. and others are appointed to view lands offered for a "Glebe" in 1757 in Prince Edward County.

James's daughter Sarah married Rev. James Garden on Sept. 19, 1760. "Processioning" of Prince Edward County is also found in the History of Prince Edward County by Bradshaw. James Wimbish Sr. is mentioned along with James Thackson who married James's daughter Mary about 1740. The Sons: James Wimbish Jr. was given "Negro man Mingo and Negro boy Harry with what he has received formerly" in his father's will dated February 1, 1761. James Jr.'s will dated 1770, names "my well beloved wife Sarah (Hunt) and "my beloved son John". His son is under 21 when James Jr.. made his will and John is his only son. His brother Samuel, wife Sarah and Elijah Hunt are executors. John Hunt and John Logan are witnesses. I believe Elijah and John Hunt are related to James' wife Sarah Hunt. James Wimbish Jr.'s will, inventory of estate and estate division copies from the Halifax County Courthouse are attached in the reference section. James Wimbish, Will Book O, pages 291, 296, dated 1770. James has only one son, John A. Wimbish. You can find references to him in A History of Halifax County by Carrington and History of Halifax County by Edmunds.

Virginians in the Revolution lists Sgt. John Wimbish, although other references note him as Major or Colonel. His wife is noted as Nancy many times but I found one reference to Rebecca. In court records he is noted as Major John Wimbish and his wife as Nancy. It is also noted that he owned 900 acres and his estate inventory shows a house with handsome silver, china and furniture. John was County Clerk from 1797 until his death in 1818(19). He developed Banister Town a few years before his death, his wife Nancy sold lots after his death. Nancy 's will is attached in the reference section. One of his sons, Capt. Abram Wimbish, is noted on page 35 of A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations (Civil War). .

John and Nancy Wimbish had 7 children. John H. Wimbish is mentioned many times in various documents is connected through the purchase of land to the Woodburne Plantation and is buried at Woodburne Cemetery along with his wife Rebekah Lanier and several children. His inventory of estate lists 85 slaves, mansion house, mahogany and walnut furniture, piano and guitar, silver, cut-glass and china, silver candlesticks, farm utensils and crops, cattle, horses, hogs, sheep, cows and a large crop of tobacco. The list covers several pages and shows him "to be in very comfortable circumstances, if not rich". Daughter Elizabeth J. (Eliza) Wimbish married Dr. Granville Craddock in 1815 and is noted as "an heiress". Dr. Craddock was in the Virginia Militia, Revolutionary War. After the death of Dr. Craddock, Eliza married Rev. Abram M. Poindexter. Eliza Wimbish is buried in the Craddock-Poindexter Cemetery, along with son Capt. Abram Wimbish Poindexter, son Charles Craddock, son William J. Poindexter, daughter Louisa Craddock. Benjamin Wimbish married Elizabeth Watson in 1761. They had 4 children before he died at the age of 38.

Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution by Gawathme lists James Wimbish of Halifax. This could be the son of Benjamin. The only other James Wimbish is Benjamin's brother who died in 1770, who would have been too old to participate in the Revolutionary War as a soldier. James Wimbish is also listed as a surveyor of Booker's Road to Sims Ferry in 1790. "John Wimbish Sr. of Peytonsburg was a power between 1760 and 1800". He was Justice of the Peace, he owned most of Peytonsburg including stores, tavern an ordinary, lumber mill, etc. His library included volumes of Shakespeare and Voltaire. His will is dated December 20, 1802 and gave his wife 760 acres including the Town of Peytonsburg. Peytonsburg was laid-off as a town in 1759 and became a supply center for the French and Colonial Wars and the Revolutionary War. Peytonsburg was also known as "Wimbish Stores". John Wimbish Sr. also owned land in Prince Edward, Pittsylvania, Lundenberg, Charlotte, and Henry Counties. A typed copy of his will is in the reference section. The book containing his estate inventory is not available for copying as it is in a sewn book. There must have been 8+ pages, 3 or so of which lists only slaves. John Wimbish Sr. and his wife Mary Brady had 3 sons, John Jr., William and Samuel, and 2 daughters, Polly and Nancy.

A letter regarding a subscription dated 1809 signed by William Wimbish, Peytonsburg, Pittsylvania Co. V. is in the reference section. I believe this is a letter written by John Wimbish Sr.'s son, William. John Wimbish Jr. has a son named Epaphroditus Y. Wimbish. County records and other references is the name of Eppa Yeadon Wimbish. This is the same family, Eppa being Epaphroditus's grandson. See that family line on pages 121A through D in the reference section. Eppa Y. Wimbish buys 134 acres from the estate of John Wimbish Sr. of Peytonsburg for $2.00 an acre. Epaphroditus had a son William Wimbish who is noted as the "Squire of Nathalie". You can find references to him in "A Look at Nathalie's History" (newspaper article), and History of Halifax Co. by Edmunds.

Samuel Wimbish moved to Abbeville District (County), South Carolina. Court survey records show him purchasing 160 acres in August of 1785, 250 acres in January of 1787, and 14 acres between the two large parcels in February of 1788. These are described as bordering the Savanna River and Rocky Creek. The map of the County dated 1825 shows "Wimbish Mill" on Rocky Creek.

The Wimbish family from this point moved to most every southern state although some did stay in Virginia.. The list of Wimbishes in the Civil War (1861-1865) shows how much the family moved to different states: Please note that all persons below are related! Note also the common family first names. Abram Wimbish, Virginia Light Artillary, Wimbish's Company, Captain, George C. Wimbish, & Miles. W. Wimbish, Georgia 5th Infantry George R. Wimbish, Mississippi 32nd Infantry GR Wimbish, Alabama Cavalry JA Wimbish, Tennessee Light Artillary James S. Wimbish, Virginia 14th Cavalry JH Wimbish, North Carolina 1st Calvary John Wimbish, South Carolina 1st Rifles John Wimbish, North Carolina 54th Infantry John, JW, William M., William P. Wimbish, Alabama 5th Infantry (Wm. M. died Antietam) John L., Peter H. Wimbish, Virginia 24th Infantry (John killed, shot 7 times; Peter died Antietam) John S. Wimbish, Georgia Light Artillary Joseph A. Wimbish, Alabama 24th Infantry JS. Wimbish, GA Infantry JT. Wimbish, 1st Confederate Calvary Lewis W. Wimbish, Cadet, Virginia Military Institute Samuel J. Wimbish, Louisiana Infantry Samuel P. Wimbish, Virginia 5th Cavalry Samuel P. Wimbish, Virginia 13th Cavalry Thomas A. Wimbish, Georgia 27th Infantry William Wimbish, North Carolina 1st Battalion W.M. Wimbish, Tennessee 5th Infantry WP Wimbish, Alabama 6th Infantry WS Wimbish, Georgia Heavy Artillary

An interesting side note, while researching my husband's mothers side of the family (Kindrick/Thompson) I came across the following information: On February 5, 1787, Francis Barnes and Dudley Barksdale served on a Grand Jury for Charlotte County, Virginia. Dudley Barksdale married the widow of Benjamin Wimbish and the Wimbish children were under his care. Francis Barns is the grandfather of Virigini Pride Ellett-Kindrick, the great grandfather of Phebe Ellett Kindrick-Thompson, and the great great grandfather of Anna Leone Thompson. These two families would meet again after 149 years with the marriage of Barry Wimbish to Anna Leone Thompson. "