Use Sorrells Index to Find Your Ancestor Easily

Compiled by Thelma Faye Cain Prince, © Copyright 1998

Richard and Mildred Snead Sorrells were the progenitors of this branch of the Sorrells family. They came from Surry County, North Carolina to Georgia. On 22 April 1800 Richard bought land on Scull Shoal Creek in Elbert County, the area now in Madison county, from James and Nancy Colbert. It is known Richard was living as of that date, but the exact date of death is unknown to this compiler.

According to old family letters written by John Benjamin Sorrells (1830-1920), a grandson of Mildred and Richard, and by Mary Susan Sorrells (1874-1957), a  great-great-granddaughter, and other descendants, Richard was born in Virginia. Mary said he was born ca. 1744, and John said he died at age 40 or 50 in Georgia. Proof of his birthdate has not been found.  Ricahrd  was the son of RICHARD SORRELLS (1707-1773) and his wife, MARY,  of Albemarle and Augusta Counties, Virginia.  Please see  and

More information and records of documentation are there to prove the family of Richard and Mary Sorrells .  They had sons, WALTER, JOHN, WILLIAM, RICHARD, SAMUEL, JOSEPH, and daughters MARY and MARGARET SORRELLS.  When I have the time, I intend to work this famiy up in detail on this site. We also think, but no proof yet,  that JOHN SORRELLS who died at an advanced age and left a will in Amherst county, Virginia is the father of Richard Sorrells (1703-1773).

John wrote that Richard married Mildred Harris in 1773 in Virginia. He did not give a county, and the marriage record has not been found. Most other descendants have written that her name was Mildred Snead. But this provides food for thought. Why did John call her Harris? Was she a widow when she married Richard? What was her maiden name, Snead or Harris? Was John thinking of some other ancestor in this line? To this date, the answer to these questions are still being sought. John was only six years old when Mildred died, and he wrote this when he was 85 years old.

Mildred was born in 1746 in Virginia, according to the old letters, and was still living when she drew as a resident of Caldwell's District , Madison County, in the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery. She won Lot #71, 20th district, original Lee County, Georgia. On the grant, she was given as the widow of a Revolutionary soldier. The land was registered 16 December 1835, showing that she claimed it.

John said she died in Walton County, Georgia at the age of 90. It is estimated that she died in 1836, but the exact date is unknown. Lee County was subsequently divided into Randolph and other counties, including Stewart County where the above land was located. Mildred's land was reported by Charles Sorrells, acting as her agent,on the 1831 Walton County tax list. He was also her agent for 5 slaves on the 1834 Walton County tax list. Her land is also mentioned in the loose estate papers of William Alexander Sorrells who died prior to May, 1841, in Walton County Georgia. The land was sold from William's estate to Richard Kidd in 1842 [Stewart Co. Deed Bk L:211-212; loose estate papers, Ga. Archives]. These records are the proofs that Mildred was indeed the mother of both Charles and William Alexander Sorrells.

No deeds between Mildred and either of her sons were found by this compiler. No estate record was found for Mildred in either Walton County or Madison County and it is not known where she died or where she was buried.

Mildred was listed as a widow on the 1813-1827 Madison County tax lists. Madison was formed from parts of Elbert County and other counties in December 1811. In the 1820 Madison County census, a female over 45 years old is in Charles Sorrells' household. By the1830 census, both William and Charles Sorrells had moved from Madison to Walton County, and no female of Mildred's age is found in either of their households. She was not found in any of the 1830 censuses of her grandsons. She might have been living with any one of her granddaughters as those censuses were not searched.

The parentage of Richard Sorrells (1744-1801)  is the question.   In 1997, the wife of a descendant (Russ Shriver) of Richard Sorrells and Mildred Snead, named  Cindy Shrider found a book in the Stauton, Augusta County,  Virginia library entitled Albemarle County, Virginia Court Papers 1744-1783, abstracted and Compiled by Benjamin B. Weisiger III. From pg. 33, it says:

1772, Folder #1---  12 Aug. 1772.  David Nowlin sells for 20 pounds, 3 cows to John Henderson, Jr that Nowlin purchased of William Towel, also all goods, etc. on plantation.  Witnesses: Richard Surles, Jr, and Wm Thomason.

Further down the same page of book, it gives this record:  22 March 1772.  John Henderson, Jr. complains before me, William Harris, one of His majesty's Justices for Albemarle County, that David Nowlin, late of said county, is in debt to him and removed himself from the county.  An order is given to attach his estate.  Execution carried out on livestock and other items. Richard Sorrells, Jr. and Soloman Nelson noted as garnishes.

The big question: is this Richard Sorrells, Jr. who married Mildred Snead?  It is probable!.  If so, it is the only record I know of that places Richard Sorrells, Jr. in Albemarle Co. Va. in 1772.

I believe the below record is Richard Sorrells who married Mildred Snead and it is placed here for continuity of dates of his records.

NC Secretary of State, 302 Legislative Office Building, 300 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, N.C. 27611, November 1985.  The index in the Land Grant
Office shows: File No. 1452 for  RICHARD SORREL, Burke County, 150/100 acres, Grant No. 1342 issued 16 Nov. 1790, Warrant No. (blank),
Entry No. 1764 entered 23 Dec. 1779, Book 77, page 140, location on the head of Little Mulberry Creek.


 N.C. No. 1764. Charles McDowell, entry officer of lands in the county of Burke to the surveyor of said county. Greeting. You are hereby
  required to lay off and survey for RICHARD SORREL a tract of land containing 150 acres lying in the county aforesaid on the head of
 Mulberry or Michel Willson's forke of the Mulberry and joining lines with said Willson agreeable to their conditional line and running up
 said forke for complement entered 23 Dec. 1779. Observe the directions of the act of assembly in such cases made and provided for running
 out lands. Two just and fair plans of such survey you are to return with this warrant to the secretary's office without delay. 28 Feb.
                                        A.D. 17.. (year indecipherable). s/ C. McDowell

                                                                                                  BACK OF WARRANT

John Carter (with line marked through name; name could be something other than Carter)150 acres land No. 1764. Transfer this warrant to
RICHARD SORRELS as he hath paid me for said. This shall be your authority for the same. October ye lOth To Mr. William White from your
humble servant. s/John (x) Carter. RICHARD SORRELS warrant 150 acres of land, No. 1764. ____ 4, 1779.


Burke Co. N.C. y 4th day 1779.

Surveyed for RICHARD SORRELL one hundred acres land lying on the head of Little Mulberry, Beginning on a pine in James Nailors line running N 39 chains to a Spanish oak thence W.,38 chains 44 links to a stake thence S 39 chains to a pine in Michell Willsons line thence E 38 chains 44 links  with this line to the beginning. Surveyed by W. White, D.S. October y 4th 1779.

William Nortley (surname not clear) C.C.
 Dickerson Nailors (chain carriers) Christopher Beekman

It has not been possible to identify Richard Sorrells in any 1790 census, including the Surry County census, North Carolina . He may have come to Georgia, but no census is extant for that year. Of the 1800 Georgia census, only Oglethorpe County has survived, and Richard was not on that census. It is probable he was in Elbert Co. at that time.
George Sorrell and Elizabeth, his wife and children, were included in the edition of OUR SOUTHERN ANCESTORS, Gateway Press, Baltimore, 1985, by this compiler. This is the George Sorrell who appeared in the 1800 Oglethorpe County census. I know of no connection with the Richard Sorrells family under discussion. Any descendant of that line is invited to get in touch with me.

Mary Susan Sorrells, a descendant of Richard, in her old notes, called Samuel Sorrells a brother to Richard Sorrells and said they both came from Virginia. She is known to have corresponded with Mattie Quinn, the first descendant to go into the DAR on her ancestor, Samuel who served in the Revolution from North Carolina and who Mattie said died in 1811 in Elbert County, Georgia. Mary wrote that Richard came to Elbert County, Georgia from Rutherford County, North Carolina, where he had moved after serving in the Revolution. She did not say where he lived during the war, only that he served at Kings Mountain and Bunker Hill.

A great-granddaughter, Elizabeth A. Sorrells McKown, said that Richard served at Cowpens, SC under General Daniel Morgan and Richard was wounded in that battle. Both Kings Mountain and Cowpens were victories for the Americans, and they were fought, respectively, in the latter part of 1780 and the first month of 1781. Bunker Hill, the first large scale battle of the Revolution was fought 17 June 1775 at Charlestown, now Boston, and was lost by the Americans. Richard is said to have been wounded in the battles of Bunker Hill and Kings Mountain.

Revolutionary War records were researched at the Virginia State Library for this Richard Sorrells and none were found for him, also in the National Archives. Some of the men who served do not have a surviving record, because of sloppy record keeping, or because of destruction of the records, loss of records for many different reasons such as fire. Records for a different Richard Sorrell were found. That Richard and his brothers, Elisha, and Thomas, and a William Sorrell enlisted from Culpeper, Virginia, January 1777, in the 10th Virginia Regiment, Continental Line. That particular Richard died 23 November 1777 while in the service of his country (from his record, available at Virginia Archives). Elisha went on to have a family and has many descendants.

Early in 1981, the,  Index to Revolutionary War Army Accounts, Vols 1-XII, North Carolina was obtained by hiring a genealogist to work at the North Carolina Archives in Raleigh. Some of the records on this Richard Sorrells who came to Georgia were found at that time, #5242 Account and Voucher from Surry County, NC, Salisbury District. Also, some of the Walter and Samuel Sorrells, Morgan District, NC records were obtained.

In June 1983 the compiler visited the North Carolina Archives and searched these records thoroughly. Abstracts were done by me on most Sorrells who served or supported the war with provisions and are available in the appendix. All of the Sorrells records were seen by me at the North Carolina Archives. The only information to be gleaned from these records is what they actually say. Public claims could have been for supplies, provisions, and some vouchers do prove military service such as Walter's voucher #5015. When the vouchers were cashed in, holes were made in them the size of a penny, making some words unreadable now.

Samuel, Walter, and John Sorrells all had vouchers issued from Morgan District, some on the same date and in consecutive order. This means they were in the same place at the same time, and raises the suspicion that they might have been related. It is suspected that John was the John Sorrells of the Revolutionary pension claim, and that he was the John Sorrells, Jr. listed along with John Sorrells, Sr. On the 1790 Rutherford County census . Walter Sorrells is listed on the 1790-1810 Burke County censuses. A Samuel Sorrells is listed on the 1786 state census of Wilkes County, and a Samuel is listed on the 1800 Burke County census. All of these counties were in Morgan District, North Carolina.

In Georgia, a Samuel Sorrells is listed on the 1797 and 1798 Oglethorpe County tax lists and a Samuel Sorrells, resident of Elbert County, won land in the 1805 Georgia Land Lottery.

The Army Account and voucher for Richard Sorrel in Salisbury District, #5242, belong to our subject Richard Sorrells. This is the only Richard found in these records in North Carolina. Although this particular record may not prove military service, it does not conflict with the strong family tradition that he was a Revolutionary soldier because many of the vouchers stating military service are lost. Also the 1827 Land Lottery grant to Mildred Sorrells says she was the widow of a Revolutionary soldier.

It should be mentioned that there was an Army Account for one R. Sorrell, Vol. VI, page 88, Folio 4, No. 3907, issued at Hillsborough, not dated and no voucher was extant for this man. The compiler was unable to identify him.

It is proven that the son of Richard Sorrells, William Alexander, married Dorcas Sanders, a daughter of James Sanders, Sr. and his wife, Sarah Tully Sanders. The Sanders family were living in Surry County, North Carolina (part of Salisbury District) from 1774 until late 1794 when they moved to Oglethorpe, County Georgia, settling on Brushy Creek, a part formerly in Wilkes Co. On 20 October 1797, in Oglethorpe County, William Alexander Sorrells and Dorcas Sanders were married [Marriage Bk A-B:263].

It was then noted that the upper board of auditors who paid Richard Sorrel, #5242, were Traugott Bagge and James Hunter for Surry and Guilford Counties, meaning that this Richard came from one of these two counties. Until 1782, Salisbury District consisted of Anson, Burke, Guilford, Lincoln, Richmond Rowan, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Rutherford, Surry, Sullivan Wilkes and Washington Counties. About 1782, the counties of Burke, Lincoln, Rutherford, Wilkes, Sullivan and Washington were taken out of Salisbury District to form Morgan District. Therefore, at the time of Richard Sorrels' record, September 1784, Salisbury District consisted of Anson, Mecklenberg, Rowan, Montgomery, Richmond, Surry, and Guilford Counties.

Going on the premise that Richard may have come from Surry County, the compiler searched Deed Books A,B,C,D,E,F, and G, without finding him. Surry County Minutes 1768-1785 were read without finding him. However, the 1782 Surry County tax list yielded the following information:

# Capt. Shepherd's District, p. 14- WILLIAM SORRILS, 2 horses & mules, 2cattle; no land listed.  (Believed to be brother of Richard below)

# Capt. Humphries' District, p. 17- RICHARD SORRILS, 4 horses & mules, 3 cattle, 100 acres Land. (Believed to be Richard, b. 1744)

# ROBERT HARRIS, 600 acres land, 6 horses (name just above that of Richard Sorrils)

    * Capt. Wright's District, p. 26- JAMES SANDERS, 6 horses & mules, 45 cattle, 740 acres on Hunting Creek, 250 acres on Hunting Creek. [Legislative Papers, 46.1. N.C. Archives].

The compiler has noted Robert Harris in the Surry County deeds and minutes which have been published and listed in the bibliography. Robert Harris of Albemarle County, Virginia purchased from Robert Lanier on 1 April 1778, for 400 pds Va. money 200 ac E side Tarrarat River; being part tract Lanier bought of Martin Armstrong adj Granville Grant to John Stuart,. Wits: John Harris, John Lynch, and Benjamin Petty [Deed Bk A:263-264]..

This is interesting in light of the fact John Benjamin Sorrells called Richard Sorrells' wife Mildred Harris. Also found in the above sources in the bibliography in Surry County were Benjamin, Charles, and John Snead. Further research has not yielded any proof of Mildred's family. A search for records of Richard Sorrells, his wife, Mildred, and of Samuel Sorrells was conducted in Madison, Elbert, and Oglethorpe Counties, Georgia. A small amount of research was done in Greene, Clarke, Jackson, and Franklin Counties in Georgia. No estate records were found for any of these three persons, The other records found are included in the appendices. Many rolls of microfilm were not read. Loose records of Elbert, Franklin, Madison, and Oglethorpe Counties were not searched..

The only record found, in which Richard, William, and Charles appear together, is the undated tax list of Elbert County, Georgia [Dr. 10. Box 82, Ga. Archives]. The neighbor of the Sorrells in Jackson County on the tax list was Miles Gathright of Virginia who first bought land in Jackson County from Samuel Gardner, 21 October 1797. Therefore, it is deduced that the tax list was dated after that date. .

On 22 April 1800, Richard Sorrells bought 126 ½ acres land in Elbert County adjoining his own land, Elisha Johnson, and others, from Nancy and James Colbert. This land lay on Scull Shoal Creek and was part of an original tract granted to the Heirs of Colbert. The deed was recorded 20 October 1802 [Elbert Co. Deed Bk H:55-56]. No deed was found for the first purchase of Richard in Georgia. These records can be very hard to find, since many rolls of microfilm are not indexed..

Richard was not found on the Elbert County 1805 Land Lottery list, so he may have died before the time of signing up for the lottery. The act to have this lottery was passed 11 May 1803. Every white male , age 21 or older, a United States citizen, and an inhabitant of Georgia for 12 months immediately prior to 11 May 1803, was entitled to one draw. Every male, meeting the same qualifications as above, but with a wife and one child or more, was entitled to two draws.

There were others who were entitled; the rules are explained in many published works. Richard's two sons, Charles #578, and William #577, each with two draws and Samuel Sorrells #636 with two draws, were on the 1805 lottery list. William Alexander Sorrells did not win a lot, but Charles and Samuel did win. The list is complete for all registrants in the lottery, serving as a substitute for Georgia's lost 1800 and 1810 censuses.

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Updated 20 January 2004