Heathcock Genealogy Database - Person Sheet
Heathcock Genealogy Database - Person Sheet
NameDavid Lay Sr. , 5G Grandfather
Birthbef 1730, possibly England
Deathca 1815, Caswell Co NC Age: 85
ChildrenDavid (ca1754-<1825)
 John (ca1755-)
 George (ca1757-)
 Charles Middleton (1759-1829)
 Bartlett (ca1770-ca1860)
Notes for David Lay Sr.
The first historical reference to David Lay is the “1750 List of Thythables on Dan River from ye Countrey Line Creek & upwards” where he appears with one poll. There were a sum total of 122 individuals on this list, which also included John Gibson and Joseph Gibson.577 He also appears on the 1751 Dan River Tax List (the Dan River flows through Stokes and Rockingham Counties in North Carolina).578,579 He is listed there with one poll, adjacent to Thos. Lay, also with one poll.

He is listed twice in 18th century records of Halifax Co VA:
1. 1760 Peter Wilson, Abraham Little, John Yates, Henry & John Stone, David Lays, Henry Greens, Abraham Ardin, and Jasper Billings in land processioning in Antrim Parish.580
2. 1764 David Lay, 400 a. on branch of Sandy Ck beginning at Charles Little's corner.580

Land transfers involving David Lay are also recorded in Pittsylvania Co VA :581
1. Item 767, to David Lay, Ref VPB 34:669, Date 20 Aug 1760, 113a Lunenburg/ S side of Dan River
2. Item 892, to David Lay Ass'ee of Thomas, Ref CGB 14:551, Date 28 Aug 1787, 127a Pittsylvania/ on the brs. of Sandy River & Sandy Cr
(Pittsylvania County was formed in 1767 from part of Halifax County. It is on the South border of Virginia, just north of Rockingham and Caswell Counties, North Carolina.)

David Lay was listed on A List of Tithables for Pittsylvania County Taken by John Wilson, Gentl, in Year 1767582

David Lay and David Lay Jr. are listed in the 1782 Census of Pittsylvania County, Virginia583

Lay, David 12
Lay, David, Jr 7
Lay, John 6

David Lay is recorded in the 1800 census of Hillsboro, Caswell Co NC, with 1male <10, 2 males 10-15, 2 males 16-25, 1 male >45, 1 female <10, 1 female 10-15, 2 females 16-25 and 1 female 26-44. Caswell County was formed from the northern part of Orange County, North Carolina, in 1777. There are a number of other Lays listed in the 1800 census of Orange County: Catherine Lay, Margarett Lay, John Lay, Marlin Lay, and John Lay Jr.

It is not known if the foregoing census record is for David Lay Sr. or for his son, also named David Lay. There are records of David Lay in the Caswell Co NC will books, the 1810 and the 1820 Caswell Co NC census records, but it is likely that these refer to the younger David Lay.
Notes for David Lay Sr.
David Lay may have been the immigrant Lay (see biographical history by Joel Lay, reproduced below). However, modern DNA research may put a new light on this. Since Y-DNA is characteristic of a male, the Y-DNA of every male is the same as that of his father. All male Lays should have identical Y-DNA if they are descended from a common male Lay some time back in history. However, occasional mutations introduce small changes in Y-DNA and when such a mutation occurs it is passed on to a man’s sons. The Lay Family Y-DNA study group has identified two different Lay lines, one called the “DNA Blue group” and one called the “DNA-Green group.” It is thought that the Virginia Lays (David and his sons Burrell, Instant Sr., John, and George) belong to the DNA-Blue group. This line’s surname was changed before the 1750s from the French Canadian name LeRoi to Lay. Another large group of Lays, who belong to the DNA Green group, trace their ancestry back to the Tennessee Lays.584
Notes for David Lay Sr.
BY JOEL LAY 1899-1985
LFGA Line 2585

This is a short biographical story of the name Lay beginning with my Great Great-Grandfather, David Lay. The material is based on my research of official and Family records. The source of any part of it is available by request. David Lay was a young Englishman who came to the Colony of Virginia about 1750, some 25 years before the beginning of the American Revolution. It seems he was married after arriving in America. He was a Farmer, as were most people at that time. He secured land by "Patent" from the Colonial Government and added more land From time to time by purchase from individuals. Records show him in Halifax County, Virginia in 1755. That area where he lived later became Pittsylvania County, Virginia in 1767.

Where in England the Lays lived is not known. Others of his generation were in Virginia or North Carolina. John Lay was in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Thomas Lay and Jesse Lay were in Wilkes County North Carolina, all of whom could have been cousins or brothers of David Lay. David must have been married twice because he was the father of fifteen or more children. The name of his first wife is not known. His second wife's name was Susannah Gibson.

During the Revolutionary War, having a large family and too old for service as a soldier, he was shown by official records to have provided supplies For the army including a quantity of beef, For the Continental Line of the Army. It was my privilege to have him named as a Patriot on the records of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution. I am proud to be a member of the SAR as his descendant.

David Lay sold his land in Virginia in 1787 and after a few years stay in Wilkes County, North Carolina, he moved to Caswell County, North Carolina, with his family, where he died about 1815. David and Susannah Lay were the parents of my great-grandfather, Burrell Lay, who was born in 1776 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In 1804 Burrell Lay was married to Leannah Newell in Rockingham County, North Carolina.

As was the common practice in the early years of the settlement of the nation, Burrell Lay had the urge to move further westward. Together with his wife and children and his widowed mother, Susannah Lay, he moved from Rockingham County, North Carolina in 1818 to Pulaski County, Kentucky. Along with them were other related families, including two brothers of Leanhah Newell Lay, John Newell and Landing Newell. A few years later three brothers of Burrell Lay moved from Caswell County, North Carolina to Pulaski County, Kentucky. They were George Lay, Instant Lay and John Lay. The County records of Pulaski County indicate that by the 1850's all of these brothers had died. They all lived on adjoining farms or nearby. Names of the wives and of the children of each one of these can be supplied from my records.

Burrell Lay and Leannah Lay were the parents of six or seven children, including my Grandfather, Moses Lay. He was born in Caswell County, North Carolina in 1811. He moved, at the age of seven, with his parents to Pulaski County, Kentucky, where he grew up and lived until 1834. He married Jane Reagan in 1833. She was the daughter of Michael Reagan, Revolutionary War soldier. At the time of his marriage to Jane Reagan, his parents gave them a farm of 125 acres. Although a good future seemed assured him in Pulaski County, Moses Lay, like his father before him, felt the urge to move to where it was believed the pastures were greener and opportunities greater.

So, after one year following their marriage he sold his land to his Uncle "Landy" Newell and in 1834 with his wife and small son, Ephriam, went from Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky on a flat boat down the Cumberland River to Carthage, Smith County, Tennessee. For seventeen years Moses Lay lived and farmed in Smith County, Tennessee having only fair success. By this time his family included himself, wife Jane, and seven children.

Learning of the opportunity to buy land in Illinois from the Federal Government at a very favorable price, he sold his Smith County, Tennessee farm in 1851 and moved his family by covered wagon to Illinois. He purchased land, located in Johnson County, Illinois from the Federal Land Bank in Shawneetown, lllinois l have copies of these original records.

His land was in New Burnside Township, Johnson County, Illinois, near the community of Ozark. This land was not only suitable for farmland, but it had hills and hollows, fine timber and bluffs and streams providing beautiful snenery. Also on this land in Johnson County was one of the most beautiful water falls in any part of Southern Illinois. For many years it was known as "LAY FALLS". At this time it is a part of a recreation area for young people. This love of Nature was a definite quality of the character of the Lays. From the Virginia Farm of Moses Lay's Grandfather, David Lay, through the succeeding years, the Lays have always chosen to have land in the hill country.

One of the children of Moses Lay, Levi Lay, in a biographical sketch in the "History of Johnson, Massac, Pope and Hardin Counties, Illinois" published in 1893, says: "The family of Moses Lay went to Johnson County, Illinois in 1851, making the trip in two large covered wagons, one of which was drawn by horses and the other by a yoke of oxen. They had sold their small farm in Tennessee, and bought a few household effects; saddle horses and a cow"

In 1853 Jane Reagan Lay, wife of Moses Lay, died and is said to be first person buried in Zion Cemetery, in Pope County, Illinois, about three miles east of Ozark. With the death of his wife, Jane, a big problem faced Moses Lay with a family of growing children. For about two years he remained unmarried. Then he met Mahala Ellen Burns recently moved into the neighborhood from Tennessee, with her father, Cyrus Iddo Burns, a native of York County, South Carolina. Moses Lay and Mahala E Burns were married in 1856. She not only accepted being Mother to the children whom Moses had by his first marriage but had six more, as his new wife. He died in 1871 and she continued as Mother and head of the family until all of the children were grown. She died in 1896. Moses Lay is buried in Zion Cemetery with each of his wives on either side, in their eternal resting place. My older brother, Coy Lay, now in his late 80's recalls that our father, Joseph Lay, told him that our Grandmother, Mahala Burns Lay, was a success as manager of the family farm and was a good Mother who maintained firm discipline over her children and household.

My father was a son of Moses and Mahala Lay and was born January 1, 1862 in Johnson County, Illinois. As he grew up he helped on the farm of the family. In addition to a public school education, he attended school at Ewing College near Benton, Illinois. Later, he attended the Evansville, Indiana Business College. He married Rilda Belle Chester, daughter of Nathan L Chester and Sarah Malinda Holland, natives of Kentucky. Nathan was a prominent person in the area. He was a successful farmer as well as a schoolmaster and a devoted church leader. His farm was near that of Moses Lay.

Buying a farm in the same area, Joseph and Rilda Lay lived there for several years. He was induced by the Republicans to run for the office of County Clerk of Pope County, Illinois. He was elected and re-elected for a total period of sixteen years. His family lived alternately in Golconda, the County Seat and on the farm.

In succeeding years the family lived in Carbondale, Illinois and Chicago, Illinois until all the children had completed their education. In retirement Joseph and Rilda Lay returned to Southern Illinois and lived in Creal Springs, lllinois where they were near relatives and old friends.

Joseph and Rilda Lay had ten children of which eight lived to be adults. Rilda Lay died November 11, 1949. Joseph died July 4, 1951. They are buried in the I. O. O. P. Cemetery in Golconda, Illinois. Various details about persons of each of the preceding generations can be supplied from my statistical records.
Last Modified 10 Dec 2014Created 3 Jul 2023 using Reunion for Macintosh
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