Barnhill Families of Pender County, NC & their Connections

My southern ancestors arrived in America in the 18th and 19th centuries from England and Scotland and are connected to the other main surnames through marriages and on-going bloodlines for over 200 years.

First, I will start with the my oldest proven known "Barnhill" ancestor, John, who is shown in the 1800 census records in New Hanover county, NC., with his wife, three sons and a daughter.

As time passes, the 3 sons, James J., Alexander and John marry and begin families of their own. They reside in New Hanover until sometime between 1820 and 1830, at which time, James J. and Alexander move with their families into Bladen County and obtain farm land on the NE Side of the Cape Fear River. John A. Barnhill moves his family into Bladen sometime after 1840 and prior to 1850 when he appears in the 1850 census records on the NE Side of the Cape Fear River. The area became known as "Frenches Creek" and is now called "Kelly".

They settled along or near the Black River in the communities of Frenches Creek, Lake Creek, Point Caswell, Colvin's Creek, Beatty's Bridge, Atkinson, Columbia Township, Caswell Township, Long Creek, Canetuck, Currie and Watha, just to name a few. Some of these towns were located in the county of Bladen and and some were located in what was then, New Hanover County (until about 1875), when Pender County was formed.

As time passed and with the intermarrying of family lines, generations began moving from Bladen into Pender and Pender into Bladen. Many descendants still live in the same areas today. 

Trades they had were farmers, coopers (barrel makers), turpentiners, sawmill workers, blacksmiths, ship builders and ship captains, to name a few. 

Many, many young men from these lines, just like the many sons of all the families living in the area, served as Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Some died in or as a result of the war, my 2nd great grandfather, Griffith W. Barnhill, being one of them. Obviously, it was a hard, difficult time for these families, but they survived with many generations following them.

My own direct line or pedigree, if you will, goes as follows: I am the oldest son of Willie James Barnhill.

Willie James was born to Willie Don Barnhill and Ella Lee Wallace, my grandparents, and was one of 10 children. Ella Lee Wallace was the daughter of William Bland Wallace and Martha Jane Horrell.

Willie Don Barnhill was a son born to Robert Bizzell Barnhill, and his wife, Katherine Sherman, my great grandparents, and was one of 11 children. Katherine Sherman was the daughter of David Sherman and Ann Eliza Watson.

Robert Bizzell Barnhill was a son of Griffith W. Barnhill, and his 2nd wife, Eliza Jane Henry, my 2nd great grandparents and was one of 3 children. Eliza Jane Henry was the daughter of William Henry and Olivia Register.

Griffith W. Barnhill was a son of Alexander Barnhill and Darkis Phillips, my 3rd great grandparents and one of 11, possibly 12 children.

Alexander Barnhill was a son of John Barnhill listed in the 1800 census records in New Hanover County and one of at least 4 known children, possibly more.

There is a thought that my line goes back to David Barnhill and Margaret Fleming in Pitt County, NC and to Johne and Elizabeth Barnhill who were originally in Baltimore, Maryland. John and Elizabeth are believed to have arrived in the 1690's. (See note below pertaining to March 1930 interview of J. T. Barnhill. This appears to sustantiate the above thought.)


Nov. 2009 - I have come into possession of a newspaper article interviewing J. T. Barnhill of Ivanhoe, NC in March of 1930. J. T. Barnhill clearly states that the ancestors of the Barnhill Families in Bladen and New Hanover County (now Pender County) were in Pitt County over 200 years ago as of the date of this interview.

Read Newspaper Article 1930 newspaper article.


The information on this site dates back to 1800 and comes forward to the current timeframe. Obviously, for privacy reasons, no data is shown on any living persons, unless they have specifically given their permission.

Visit the links below
and read a brief family narrative
describing how I make my connections
to the following family lines

Henry | Horrell | Sherman | Wallace | Woodcock

Posted in

Jul 2022


-Melinda Lucille Willetts Swinson

Last time this site updated is: 16 Jul 2022

Thank you for visiting my web site.


Thank you,

Bill Barnhill