A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR NAME
by James Lewis Gurkin
Unfortunately, due to not being able to determine the original spelling of our name, our Gurkin history must begin in November 1693 when the will of Zachary Yerkin was proved in court by William Glover and William Keeto. (p. 396}. This was probably our Zachary and indicated he died prior to November 1693. Zachary Jerkin was the third husband of Elizabeth "Brightman". In 1709 Zachary's son, Zachariah, witnessed the will of John Walker, his mother Elizabeth's fourth husband.
Now, for the first time, thanks to the efforts of Luther Warren Gurkin, we can determine the approximate location of our beginnings in America. In 1718, Nathaniel Everitt sold a tract of land, containing by estimation 60 acres, to his son in law, Zachary Jerkin's son, Zachariah. This estimated 60 acres, in later deeds referred to as "The Gurkin Plantation", was located just east of and near Plymouth, NC, southeast of and near Conaby Creek, and was sold in 1756, after Zachariah's death, to Benjamin Blount. Warren Gurkin furnished an 1808 survey plot and a current US Geological Topographic map of that area which shows various tracts of land, and which includes a tract of land, containing by estimation 80 acres, owned by Edmund Blount, son of Benjamin Blount. Although this 80 acres may not be the same plot of land sold by Nathaniel Everitt to Zachary's son, Zachariah, it had to be in that general area. A cemetery is shown nearby, in which Zachariah could have been buried (not documented).
Zachariah had three sons; Joshua, Benjamin and Zachariah. Jr.. All three were listed in the militia in 1747, before the Revolutionary War, and are covered extensively in the Early Gurkin section of this Web Site. For the purpose of this Brief Gurkin History, my research developed very little additional information on son Zachariah, Jr., other than the fact that he could have been the father of the Revolutionary War Pensioner shown under Early Gurkins on the "Home" Page of this Web Site. Son Joshua was deeded 141 acres on Davises Island and his early descendants seemed to have stayed near and south of Plymouth, NC, east of Welch's Creek and along Long Ridge Road. Son Benjamin migrated to Beaufort County, just south of the Washington-Beaufort County line on Long Ridge Road (which at that time was east of the present location). Benjamin and Joshua are covered briefly in the following paragraphs.
Benjamin's descendants are pretty well documented. In 1758 he was deeded 75 acres on the south side of Gum Branch in Beaufort County, NC, a few miles north of Pinetown, near the Washington-Beaufort County line, where he raised four children named: Hannah, Zachariah, Benjamin,Jr. and Nelley. Benjamin, Jr. had five children named: Zachariah, Charles, Bethuel, Love and Reading (Redding). One of those children, Zachariah, married Sarah "Nancy" Mizell and they raised their family in Williams Township near Jamesville, NC. Their children included James, abt 1833, Benjamin, abt 1835, Lovie, abt 1838, Charles, abt 1840, Frances, abt 1842, Hannah, abt 1846, Alvana "Vane", 1851, Nechoda "Cody", abt 1852, Zachariah Taylor, 1855, Laura Dianthia, 1858 and William Jefferson, abt 1861. Zachariah Taylor raised his family about 8 miles south of Williamston, NC, off Highway 17 on Fire Dept. Rd. The Zachariah Taylor Gurkin family cemetery is located near the old home place. Known descendants of this branch of our Gurkin family are shown in the descendant printouts at this Web Site.
Benjamin, Jr.'s son Charles had three children: Henry, Sarah and Harmon. Charles died in 1794 and Harmon must have gone to live with his uncle Zachariah. When Zachariah died about 1801 his estate was left to his sister Nelly and to his nephew Harmon. The 1830 census, and other documents, indicate Harmon had five sons: Charles, born abt 1807, James, 1809, Horace, 1812, William A., abt 1820 and Henry (Hardy B.), abt 1828. A writ issued in 1845 against the heirs of Harmon Gurkin, deceased, indicated he died in 1845.
Horace Gurkin was born in 1812. An ancestor chart furnished by his grandson Alfred Fitzhugh Guirkin to his daughter Mary showed Horace's father to be Harmon Gurkin. Also, the family bible of Henry A. Gurkin showed Harmon Gurkin to be the father of Horace Gurkin. Numerous land transactions between Horace, William A. and James Gurkin, and others, are recorded for property, probably just south of Plymouth,NC on Long Ridge Road, and on the east side of Welch's Creek, the boundary between Washington and Martin Counties. Horace's early transactions were for property in Washington County and adjoined property owned by William A. and James Gurkin. He apparently sold this property in 1847-48 and started buying land in Martin County in 1847. His first purchase was for 450 acres of the Bald Grey Tract. Horace's family cemetery is located on this property in Martin County between Dardens and Jamesville, just off Hwy 64 on SR 1563, known as the Grey Farm Rd. The cemetery of his son Warren William is located on the same road about 1/4 mile away toward Hwy 64 behind a mobile home. The occupants of the mobile home are doing a good job of maintaining that cemetery. The cemetery of his sons Henry A. and Charles is located about 1/2 mile from his at the intersection of Hwy 64 and Gray Farm Rd, across Hwy 64 in the edge of the woods. Horace's known descendants are shown in the descendant printouts.
William A. Gurkin was born about 1820. As stated second paragraph above, he was the son of Harmon, and grandson of Charles. He first appeared in a Washington County deed transaction in 1844. His son William Harmon and grandchildren, Will Harmon, Carrie Ann and Colon Lee are buried in Windley Cemetery and Memorial Gardens in Plymouth. His grandson Charles Gray is buried in Jamesville. William A's known descendants are shown in the descendant printouts.
In determining the origin of the Pinetown Gurkins, I went back to Zachariahs son Joshua. He was deeded 141 acres on Davis's Island in 1761. I have not been able to locate that property. He had four children; named Joshua, John, Hannah and Jeremiah. Joshua, John and Hannah seemed to have stayed in that area and although I'm sure they had descendants, I did not research this line enough to discover any. Jeremiah was granted 100 acres in Beaufort County in 1788 on the north side of Pungo Swamp. The 1800 census shows Jeremiah with two males 16-26 which probably were Frederick and Richard. Fredericks son, William, married Mary Harrison, whose father deeded them a tract of land next to the school in Pinetown. William deeded this land to his grandson, William Alfred. The land was later passed down to William Alfred's son, Hoyt Milton, then on down to Hoyt Milton's son, Milton Leo. That, and the fact that Williams first daughter, Elizabeth, named her son Hoyt, makes me think that Eli Hoyt Gurkin was Williams brother, and Fredericks son. Known descendants are shown in the descendant printouts.
Eli Hoyt Gurkin was born between 1810 and 1815, probably Frederick's son, but could have been Richard's. He apparently moved to Hyde County and raised his family there, evidenced by numerous land transactions in that County. His son James Edmund, and James's wife Henrietta are buried there, near Pantego. His known descendants (which include Edwin Stanton Guirkin's descendants, (next paragraph)), are shown in the descendant printouts under "Eli Hoyt".
My research has not determined how or why the name "Gurkin" was changed to "Guirkins", but Edwin Stanton Guirkins was definitely the son of Eli Hoyt Gurkin. Edwin Stanton Guirkins first married Sarah Jane Ball and had son Ashley Stanton Guirkins. He then married Mary J. Elliott and they had six children: Jessie Hollon, Edith DuPont, Ernest Hansen, Eli Sherman, Sr., Justin Bonner and Dolly May Guirkins. After Mary's death in 1917 Edwin Stanton married Lilly Hodges and had son Charlie E. Guirkins. Edwin Stanton Guirkins is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Washington, NC, along with one or more of his wives. His son and grandson, Eli Sherman, Sr. and Jr, and some of their descendants are also buried in Oakdale Cemetery. E. S. Guirkins's known descendants are shown in the descendant printouts (as descendants of Eli Hoyt Gurkin).
Most of The present Pinetown Gurkins are descended from Frederick's son William. William's children were; Elizabeth, Rufus, William Wylie, Mettildah, Mary Etten, Eliza, Rodah (Rhoda), Emmaluciezer (Emma), Horis (Horace Oden), Livey Ann and Martha Missouri. Known descendants are shown in the descendant printouts, under "Rufus".
Updated Aug , 2005