An American Story #2: The Lunsford Immigrant and the “Three Musketeers”


Who are the ancestors of my 2nd Great Grandfather?  John R Lunsford born 1815 Raliegh, Wake, North Carolina, who married Sarah Sallie Harrison 1846 in Robertson County, Texas and died 1900 in Lampasas County, Texas.

I know…it’s quite presumptuous of me to claim I know who John R Lunsford’s immigrant forefather is when I don’t even know the names of his parents.  However, I think we can know the names of his grandparents.

So….I will say that it “appears” to me….as I speculate…that the following suggestion is most likely, according to circumstantial association and recent findings in my DNA.

We begin with Hiram and Allen Lunsford, Jr who were both in Texas by at least 1855…and associated in several different ways with our Texas Lunsfords.  We clearly have circumstantial evidence to show a family connection between our John R and these two brothers, Hiram and Allen, Jr, who’s father was Allen Lunsford, Sr. The Will of their mother, Elizabeth (Glenn?), names both Hiram and Allen, Jr which means we can be sure of  their parentage. However, their mother’s Will does not show a son named John. Nothing is ever easy. Could he have been omitted for some reason??  That leaves us still not knowing who John R’s parents were.  Perhaps these two brothers, Hiram and Allen, Jr were cousins to our John R??? At any rate they share DNA with me and so I am going to follow their path for this Blog Post with the assumption that they share an ancestor with our John R Lunsford of Texas.

So…at this time (impending continual research), I do have these two DNA connections to sons of Allen Lunsford, Sr.  One DNA connection is to son Hiram Lunsford (b abt 1793 in Iredell County, NC and died aft 1880 in probably Texas) and the other to son, Allen Lunsford, Jr  (b 1805 in Iredell County, NC and died probably 1891 in Texas).  Hiram married Amelia Hudspeth…while Allen, Jr was married to several women, one in North Carolina and then later, at least two in Texas. His first marriage was to Mary Elizabeth Basset. (See my different blog posts on these two brothers).  Their father, Allen Lunsford, Sr, was the supposed son of William Lunsford.  On a land transaction in 1789 William purchased 50 acres from John Richardson in Iredell County, North Carolina for $112, located at Caley’s Creek. Sale was witnessed by his sons, Nimrod and Allen. That would be Allen, Sr and his brother Nimrod Lunsford.   See the following:

So we have now confirmed Hiram and Allen, Jr (DNA connected to me)…and their father Allen, Sr… and now his father was William Lunsford.  William was b abt 1739 in possibly Granville County, NC and d abt 1810 in same. Is there any DNA connection with any of William’s other children, besides his son Allen, Sr?  Yes.

William Lunsford and (wife unknown) children:  Nimrod, John, Elisha & Elijah, and Allen, Sr. Other researchers include, Lidiah (Lunsford) Saunders, Lovia (Lunsford) Hight, Reuben, Agnes (Lunsford) Taylor, William, Jr, and Catherine (Lunsford) Miller. There is also the possibility that Lemuel Lunsford is a son of William. (DNA connection to date are in “bold”).

I have DNA connection to (7) members of William’s family… out of a potential of twelve children.  I have (20) DNA matches with his grandchildren.  Hence, I’m suggesting that perhaps our John R, and Hiram and Allen, Jr, all born in North Carolina, share this ancestor, William Lunsford.  Below: Children of William Lunsford

  1.  Nimrod Lunsford, Sr (with (6) DNA matches amongst his children).  He was born abt 1759 in NC and died 1847 in Alexander County, NC.  Nimrod’s son Michael has the famous war hero and movie actor, Audie Murphy, in his line of descendants.  His line is well documented and I have (1) DNA match with Michael’s son John Lunsford.  Also, a DNA connection with Nimrod’s sons Eli, Wyatt, John, and Nimrod Jr, and daughter Celia (Lunsford) Price. See:
  2. John Lunsford (with (1) DNA match with his son Jonathan).  John was born abt 1760 and died in 1820 in Wilkes County, NC.
  3. Elisha Lunsford, Sr (with (4) DNA matches amongst his children).  Elisha was born abt 1762 and died 1821 in Wayne County, Kentucky.  DNA matched:  Isham, Daniel, Silas, and Amos.
  4. Reuben Lunsford Sr, (not everyone agrees he is William’s son). I have (2) DNA matches with Reuben’s children:  John and Margaret.  Reuben was born in 1765 and died in 1845 in Virginia.
  5. Allen Lunsford, Sr (with (2) DNA matches).  Sons, Hiram and Allen, Jr.  Allen, Sr was born 1766 and died 1851 in Iredell County, North Carolina.
  6. William Lunsford, Jr (with (1) DNA match), his son James A Lunsford.  William was born 1767 and died 1834 in Georgia.
  7. Lemuel Lunsford (not everyone believes Lemuel to be William’s son).  I have (4) DNA matches with Lemuel’s sons, Hiram, Isaac, Silas and David. Lemuel was born 1774 and died abt 1840 in Clay County, Kentucky. This connection would put us in association with the Melungeons of Clay County, Kentucky.

Here’s the following website for another list of William’s children where Allen, Sr is referred to as James Allen, Sr and his son as James Allen, Jr. Interesting that many in our family call Allen Sr and Jr…Jesse Allen.  see:

So…even though we may not know who John R Lunsford‘s parents are, I’m thinking that William Lunsford is most probably his grandfather.  If you know something I don’t about DNA…please advise me.  I need all the help I can get.

So…let’s say I’m right and that William Lunsford is our John R Lunsford‘s grandfather (any of his sons could potentially be our JR’s father…even illegitimately, it seems to run in the family).  Our next step in discovering the “Lunsford Immigrant” would be… who is this William Lunsford and can we document his parentage?  Yes.

William Lunsford:  born abt 1739 in Granville County, NC and died abt 1810.  This William is the grandfather that I would share with Audie Murphy.  William would be my 4th great grandfather. Audie’s biographers state that William’s wife is “unknown”.

In 1799, William’s father, John Lunsford, Sr died leaving William Lunsford Juror of Dower of his mother, Mary (Wingate) Lunsford, in Perquiman’s County, NC.  In 1806 at his mother’s death, he was left executor to her Will along with his mother Mary’s brother, Ephraim Wingate. Williams’ sons were also listed in their grandmother’s Will as being Allen (Sr), Nimrod, William and Elisha and Elijah (twins?).

We conclude that William’s parents were John Lunsford, Sr and Mary (Wingate) Lunsford .

 John Lunsford, Sr was born 1719 in Stafford County, VA and died 1799 in Granville County, NC.  John and Mary’s children were William Lunsford, John Jr, James, Joseph, Jesse, and Rodham.  Besides William, I have DNA connection to his brother John Lunsford, Jr.

John Lunsford, Sr parents were William Lunsford II and a “Willie (Franklin?)“. William II was born 1685 in Stafford County, VA and died in 1741 in Northumberland County, VA. Their three known children are:  William Lunsford III, Alexander Lunsford and John Lunsford, Sr.  Besides having a DNA connection to John Sr, I also have DNA connection with his brother, Alexander Lunsford.

William Lunsford II parents were…William Lunsford, Esq and Susannah Blackwell. After some research I found that Esquire means the oldest son of a Knight in England.

William Lunsford Esq was born 1648 in England or, some researchers have speculated that perhaps he was born on the boat coming to America.

William’s life story is somewhat complicated because when his supposed father Sir Thomas Lunsford died in abt 1653 it was thought he had left no male issue. Some researchers continue to say that William, Esq’s father, Thomas, left only daughters…but others have found documents that suggest otherwise. One of the reasons for this persistence is that the only legal transactions concerning Thomas’ estate involved his American born daughter and not a son. But there is evidence that Thomas had one son, William Lunsford Esq.  If William was born in 1638 (as some suggest) his mother would be Thomas’  first wife, Mary Ann Hudson who was born and died in England.  If he was born in 1648 his mother would be Thomas’ 2nd wife, Katherine Neville who was born in England and died in Virginia.  Katherine also had three daughters with Thomas: Elizabeth, Phillipa and Mary.

“In a book by the Coppedge Family, it states, based on their research:
“Tradition has it that William Lunsford, who arrived in VA. with Sir
Thomas, Lady Lunsford, in 1650 lived to marry a Miss Blackwell in
Northumberland. The land patent of 24 Oct. 1650 reads: “Sr. Thomas
Luntsord Knt., The Lady Luntsford, Mrs. Elizabeth Luntsford, Mrs. Philippa
Luntsford, Mrs. Mary Luntsford, Wm. Luntsford, Esqr., Mr. Foster, Mr.
Buffin …” 65 in all. From the position of William Esq., he must have been
younger than his sisters, perhaps born on the voyage and not in London
Tower like Mary; to have the designation Esqr. he must have been the
eldest son living of a knight, as we clearly see, and what is more
important, he must have been the son of Sir Thomas’s English wife,
Katherine Nevill of Billingbere, Berks, dau. of Sir Henry Nevill and
descended from the Killigrews, Smiths, Greshams and the Lords
Abergavenny, not to mention the House of York, Pedro of Castile, Boleyn,
Mortimer, Portugal, Chiche, Pierleoni, and Chichele.”

Even so…William’s connection to Sir Thomas Lunsford is still disputed.  Many hold out he could’ve been a nephew, brother, son, illegitimate son, etc…

Because Thomas had been knighted in England….that made his first son, William Lunsford an Esquire.  The point is that his father brought to America his wife, three daughters and (I think) a son, William Lunsford, Esq.  William’s name listed last suggests that he was younger than his three sisters (which puts me on the side of Katherine Neville being his mother).

William Lunsford, Esq. and Sussanah (Blackwell) Lunsford had five known children: Samuel, Charles, John Sr., Moses, and William Lunsford II.  I have DNA connection to both William II and  John, Sr (from whom the Swanson Lunsfords come).

***William Lunsford, Esq is probably our Lunsford immigrant… unproven to date: is his would-be father, Sir Thomas Lunsford.  They both came over from England so they were both immigrants.  If Sir Thomas is not William’s father then we do not know at this time the parentage of William Lunsford, Esq.

Sir Thomas Lunsford
Sir Thomas Lunsford

Sir Thomas Lunsford is thought by some researchers to be the first Lunsford in VA and perhaps in America. He was described as a red-haired man who was lame in his left leg. His life was at times filled with violence.  It is thought he was mean and vindictive, but at the same time also loyal to his wives and to the Crown of England.  See a well written study of the man by Michael Terry Lunsford.  (Michael has done an excellent job with the historical Thomas Lunsford)….whether we agree on Thomas leaving a son or not.

He was born in 1602 in Bearsted, Kent, England. His parents were Thomas Lunsford, Senior and Kathryn Fludd. (In this Post I will refer to our Immigrant as Sir Thomas and his father as Thomas, Senior).  His father had “3” warrior sons (our Sir Thomas, Henry and Herbert). Our American Immigrant, Sir Thomas Lunsford was, in his youth, of a “lawless disposition with a violent temper”.

These three Lunsford boys, Sir Thomas, Henry and Herbert were all loyal to King Charles I , military leaders and protectors of the King.  Because of this, some believe them to be the true life inspiration for Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers“.  Both of Sir Thomas’ brothers, Henry and Herbert, served under his regiment and held rank.  Now…a candy bar is named after them!!  Paul Harvey’s radio program discussed the inspiration for “The Three Musketeers” ….and according to him, it wasn’t the Lunsfords!


Some background:

Oct 1625 Sir Thomas illegally challenged a distant relative, Thomas Whatman, to a duel. To summarize: Whatman complained to the Earl Marshall, and the record remains for everyone to read. Mr Whatman’s complaint was in part, “he was now provoked by Thomas Lunsford, gent, ….by many wrongs and disgraces to fight.”

30 Oct 1627…Sir Thomas was admitted to Grey’s Inn – equivalent to “passing the bar” today.

June 1632:  A Lunsford servant was told to shoot a dog of the Pelhams (cousins to the Lunsfords) which had strayed on Lunsford property.  The two estates, Lunsford and Pelham, abutted one another.  The retaliation was immediate when Sir Thomas Pelham charged Thomas Lunsford, Senior (Sir Thomas’ father), Herbert Lunsford (Sir Thomas’ Uncle and not to be confused with his brother Herbert), and Sir Thomas Lunsford himself…..with poaching, (killing a deer) on Pelham’s grounds. They were all three imprisoned.

Sir Thomas was fined 1,000 pounds by the Star Chamber besides 750 pounds restitution to the Pelhams.  Thomas Lunsford, Senior was never released because he was required to raise security for his own and his families good behavior.  He died in prison. We do not know what happened to Thomas, Senior’s brother Herbert, for the records do not document his fate.  Pelham wrote a letter to the Earl of Dorset stating that the Council take into consideration  “…that young Lunsford who fears neither God nor man.”  The Earl wrote back in Oct of 1632 that he would make every effort to “…..right your reputation and secure your person against that young outlaw.”

Aug 1633:  After his fine was paid he was released from prison.  Sir Thomas and his servant shot two musket balls at Pelham in his carriage in front of his Church…and missed. One report says that one of the musket balls hit the Church door and the mark is still there today.  Pelhams’s wife, two children, and Anthony Stapley were also in the carriage. (Anthony Stapley would later sign the death warrant for King Charles I in 1648).  Sir Thomas was abt 30 years old at this time and may have already been a Colonel in the military.  Some find it difficult to understand how he could’ve missed.

16 Aug 1633:  He was fined 8,000 pounds and committed to Newgate Prison, by warrant.

13 Sep 1633:  His father, Thomas, Senior was ordered at liberty but charged 2,000 pounds for his own and his family’s good behavior.  The sum was later reduced but he still could not come up with the money nor a bondsman.

1633:  Sometime during this mess….Sir Thomas married Mary Hudson (probably before he was imprisoned).  She was born in abt 1614 in Echam, Surrey, England.

15 Oct 1634:  He escaped Newgate Prison by pleading for fresh air and bribing a “guard” for a walk outside.

Abt 1635: While in exile he joined the French service for 6 years.

In 1637 his father Thomas Lunsford Sr died in prison.

28 Nov 1638: Wife, Mary Ann Hudson died in Sussex, England.  It is said she had a son with Lunsford, but he died an infant in England.  They had been married about five years.  No known living children (except that some believe her to be the mother of William Lunsford, Esq.)

In abt 1639 he returned to England where he received a pardon from King Charles I. This was during the English Civil War and anyone loyal to the King would be welcomed back.

About 1639 he married Katherine Neville who was born in England abt 1605 and died in Virginia abt 1651.

Abt 1640 daughter Phillipa was born.

Abt 1641:  He was released from French Service.

Abt 1641 daughter Elizabeth was born.

Also in 1641 he was appointed Lt of the Tower of London.  This appointment produced much hostility and fear in England because the Puritans cautioned their children that he was a cannibal and they all feared him.  Many rumors spread about his violence. There was such an outcry that he was replaced. (Some say after just 5 days).

He was…”described as an “outlaw” and non-attender of Church while in the King’s Army, a ruined and desperate character”.  The below source has a more detailed life for Thomas, but does not mention a son William.  See:,_Thomas_(DNB00)

Abt 1642:  Meanwhile his daughter Mary was born during his duty at the Tower of London.

1 Oct 1647: After some time he was released from duty in London and Knighted after much service to King Charles I and he left for Amsterdam.  Knight:  A man awarded a non-hereditary title in recognition of merit or service and entitled to use the honorific title of “Sir” in front of his name.

He was also a Baron but his land patent had never been issued:  Baron: A member of the lowest order of the British nobility.  A person who held lands or property from the sovereign.

In 1647 he supposedly drew up a Pedigree…and he showed “no sons”. This was written while he was married to his second wife, Katherine Neville who had already bore him 3 daughters.

Some believe that in 1648-49 a son was born and named William Lunsford, Esq.

In 1649, after hearing King Charles was beheaded, he received a pass for himself, his wife, and children to go to Virginia.  He left for the New World…Virginia Colony, America, which was still loyal to the Crown of England at that time.  He wife was Katherine (Neville), 3 daughters, Phillipa, Elizabeth and Mary and son William, Esq with him.

Arrived in America:

I repeat:  In a book by the Coppedge Family, it states, based on their research:
“Tradition has it that William Lunsford, who arrived in VA. with Sir
Thomas, Lady Lunsford, in 1650 lived to marry a Miss Blackwell in
Northumberland. The land patent of 24 Oct. 1650 reads: “Sr. Thomas
Luntsord Knt., The Lady Luntsford, Mrs. Elizabeth Luntsford, Mrs. Philippa
Luntsford, Mrs. Mary Luntsford, Wm. Luntsford, Esqr….

1650:  Almost immediately upon his arrival Gov William Berkeley made him Lt General of the Colony (James City) and later the Council.  (Interest to those with Lee ancestral ties: my Great Grandmother Passmore had the Lee family in her ancestry….and the Lee immigrant (Richard Henry Lee) was also in Virginia at this time and Gov William Berkeley commissioned him to Clerk of the Quarter in James City).  US and Canada Immigration List is showing the date of arrival as 1654????

24 Oct 1650 given Land Grant in Virginia Colony south side of the Rappahannock River. 3,423 acres.

bef 1651 his wife Katherine Neville died leaving him with four children, Elizabeth, Phillipa, Mary and his son William, Esq.  (Some accounts say that Katherine Neville had remarried after Thomas’ death to Sir John Thorowgood, who after Katherine’s death took charge of Katherine’s three daughters.  This doesn’t make sense???  If you have an answer to this…please comment.)

abt 1651 Sir Thomas married for the 3rd time to Elizabeth Wormeley.  This was his only American born wife.  She was born 1632 in VR and died in 1698 in VR.  They had a daughter, and after the custom of naming a daughter after the husband’s deceased wife, they named this daughter, Katherine Lunsford, (after Katherine (Neville) Lunsford).

1652 daughter Katherine was born and it is through her line that the inheritance of the land passed.

Sir Thomas Lunsford died bef 1 Dec 1656 and is buried in Williamsburg, VR. Some say he and son William faked their deaths because of persecution.  They probably remained royalist and may have had enemies from England and/or Virginia because of the family’s connection to King Charles I.

I have DNA connection to Thomas not only through his son William, Esq but potentially through his daughter (with his 3rd wife Elizabeth (Wormeley) Lunsford…Katherine (Lunsford) Wormeley.  (She married Ralph Wormeley, Esq,  a relative from her mother’s “Wormeley” family). She was born 1652 in James City, Virginia and died 1685 in Middlesex County, Virginia.  However, that line needs to be more thoroughly researched, for the DNA tree I have a link with seems to have made an error.  UPDATE:  I do have DNA connected tree to Thomas Lunsford’s daughter with his wife Elizabeth Wormeley, however my connection may be through someone else in the tree that I’m unaware of. Are designation of 10th cousin possible on Ancestry?

There is a reenactment of battles in the English Civil War (similar to America) where they celebrate “Sir Thomas Lunsford’s Regiment of Foote:  See

This post is speculation on my part of course…please do not assume I’m correct.  This blog is about sharing our ideas, especially on those stubborn brick walls.

Signature of Sir Thomas Lunsford.

See Coppedge Family Research at:


Author: Belvidene

I am first...a follower of Jesus Christ. He is my reality. I am the widow of an Architect and the mother of a beautiful daughter. I have three wonderful grandchildren. I have lived in Nebraska, Illinois and in Wisconsin. My hobbies are studying the Holy Scriptures and researching early Church history, organic architecture and living "simplistic and minimalistic". I'm interested in genealogy and all that goes with it....history of our country, etc. ; the UFO phenomenon through Christian lenses and seeing God's Prophetic Word come to pass.

2 thoughts on “An American Story #2: The Lunsford Immigrant and the “Three Musketeers””

  1. Do you have any confirmation that your William 1739 is the father of Agnes, Catey, Lovia, Reuben and William, Jr? All of these have marriage and other records in Amherst Co or Bath Co, VA in the late 1700s. He seems to have been born in NC, raised parts of his family in VA and NC and then returned to NC to die. That might have happened but I would like to see some evidence that it was the same William in both VA and NC.

    1. Hi Stan,
      I really do not have any evidence about William. I do understand what you mean about the possibility of there being two Williams. In my research tree I have the daughters you mention listed…but only because some other trees at include them. I have not had, to date, any DNA connection with them. I will spend some time looking into the suggestion of two Williams. At any rate, William appears to be connected to John Lunsford and Mary Wingate.

      As you know, this post is only speculation…and if all of us can add our findings we may eventually come to the truth. I hope you will share with us what you discover for we all want to know the amazing story of our ancestors. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment and lease keep us posted on what you find out.
      Keep searching!

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