Gwaltneys In America: The Clearinghouse for Gwaltney Family History

Gwaltneys in America Introduction and Beginnings William Gwaltney The Three Sons Gwaltneys In America 1 Gwaltneys In America 2 Gwaltneys In America 3 Gwaltneys In America 4 Gwaltney Tidbits-1 Gwaltney Tidbits-2 The Gwaltney Family Scholarship The Gwaltney Family Scholarship--2 2008 Gwaltney Homecoming-1 2008 Gwaltney Homecoming-2 2009 Gwaltney Homecoming-1 2009 Gwaltney Homecoming-2 2009 Gwaltney Homecoming-3 2010 Gwaltney Homecoming-1 2010 Gwaltney Homecoming-2 2010 Gwaltney Homecoming-3 2011 Gwaltney Homecoming-1 2011 Gwaltney Homecoming-2 2011 Gwaltney Homecoming-3 2012 Gwaltney Homecoming-1 2012 Gwaltney Homecoming-2 2012 Gwaltney Homecoming-3 2013 Gwaltney Homecoming-1 2013 Gwaltney Homecoming-2

Welcome to the Gwaltney/Gaultney/Gortney/Gwatney/Galtney/Gwartney family!

Hello Everyone,

I am excited about the upcoming 2014 Nationwide Gwaltney Family Homecoming that we have scheduled for July 25-27, 2014 in Smithfield, VA. This will be the 7th annual Nationwide Homecoming and we have a great program planned. This year, we will be the Gwaltney family in the Civil War (War Between the States). The nation is marking the 150th anniversary of the War, and we thought we'd like to honor our Gwaltney ancestors who were part of that historic and difficult event. If you have any Gwaltney ancestors who were part of the Civil War, please let us know and we will be happy to honor them.

Whether you descend from the Gwaltney/Gaultney /Gwartney /Gortney/Gwatney or Galtney lineage, you can trace your roots back to Surry and Isle of Wight counties in Virginia and that is why we all come "home" to Smithfield in Isle of Wight County.

If you have never attended a Homecoming, I believe you will enjoy yourself. The Gwaltney family is a diverse bunch, yet they are a very caring and loveable group of people, and you will feel right at home as you meet distant kinfolk from around the U.S. You may come here wondering how you fit into all the Gwaltney family lineage, but you will leave feeling a valued part of the Nationwide Gwaltney family. I have already heard from a lot of the family from across the U.S. who plan to return to the Homecoming this year, and we also look forward to many new faces as well.

Dates: Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26, 2014 with an optional Family Day at Mill Swamp Baptist Church and the Gwaltney Homeplace on Sunday, July 27, 2014. The Mill Swamp Baptist Church is one of the oldest Baptist churches in America and was considered the fellowship of many of the early Gwaltneys in the late 1700's and early 1800's.

Location: Smithfield Baptist Church Family Life Center in Smithfield, Virginia located at the corner of Lumar and Wainright streets.


Friday, July 25

3:00 to 4:45 p.m.-Registration-pick up name tags and brief photo and video clips of each family.

3:30 to 4:30 p.m.-(optional )Gwaltney Family  Historical Outline presentation by Dr. Jeff Koonce

5:00 to 5:45 p.m.-Friday meal catered by Henry  Pulley of Windsor, VA.  Menu: Pork loins, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, desert

6:00 to 7:30 p.m.-The Great Gwaltney Challenge-can your team beat the rest?? And other Ice-breaker activities

7:30 to 9:30 p.m.-Gwaltney Family Showcase I-time for Gwaltney family talent-singing, music, and who else knows what?


Saturday, July 26

 9:30-11:30 a.m. Optional Activity

A.Tour of Fort Huger in Isle of Wight Co. VA.  Fort Huger was a confederate fort built to block Union advancement of the James River to Richmond. Keeping in line with our honoring the Gwaltney family during the Civil War, we wanted to visit Fort Huger where some Gwaltney ancestors would have served during that time. Hosted by Gerald Gwaltney of Smithfield, VA.


B.Trail Ride at the Mill Swamp Indian Horse Farm and Gwaltney Heritage Farm. Join Steve Edwards for a two-hour trail ride on the horses raised on his farm. There is a limit of 10 participants and a cost of $15. The first 10 to turn in their request and money will be the ones to enjoy this fresh-air experience on an old Gwaltney farm.

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.-Lunch catered by Henry Pulley of Windsor, VA. Menu: Ham Biscuits, Fried Chicken, Bean Snaps, and Potato Salad, and desert

1:30 to 3:00 p.m. -Visit St. Luke's Church and enjoy a Gwaltney Family Worship Service congregational singing led by Charlie Gwaltney  of Roanoke, VA and a sermon from Dr. Cliff Gwaltney of Hiddenite, NC.

3:30 to 5:00-The Civil War: A Gwaltney Family Affair-Steve Edwards and Gerald Gwaltney have a special program highlighting the Civil War campaign in Virginia and honoring those Gwaltney family members who were part of the War Between the States.

5:00 to 5:15--break

5:15 to 6:00 p.m.-The Gwaltney Family Scholarship Program Awardees, In Memory of those Deceased and Celebration of New Births

6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.-Evening Dinner catered by Henry Pulley of Windsor, VA. Menu: BBQ pork, rolls, baked beans and slaw, desert

7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. -Name that Gwaltney Game and Gwaltney Family Showcase II-a closing round of Gwaltney family talent

Sunday, July 21 (optional)

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.- Family Day at Mill Swamp Church and a stop by the Old Gwaltney Homeplace.  This is an optional activity for anyone interested. The itinerary for this activity includes attending a service at Mill Swamp Baptist Church (the oldest Baptist Church in Virginia history and the family church of the 18th and 19th century Virginia Gwaltneys) with lunch on the grounds, and then a visit to the original Gwaltney homeplace from 1666, where you can spend some time hearing the history of the early Gwaltney generations.



2014 Gwaltney Family Scholarship Finalists Announced!


Congratulations to the six college students who have been announced as finalists for the 2014 Gwaltney Family Scholarship. These six students were selected on the basis of their applications and will undergo an interview to determine which of these students will receive a scholarship. The Gwaltney Family Scholarship fund awards deserving college students with financial assistance ranging in the amounts of $400 to $1,000 on an annual basis. The amount of donations to the Gwaltney Family Scholarship Fund determines the number and the amount of the scholarships that are awarded. I want to thank all students who expressed interest and applied for the scholarship. I also want to congratulate the following six students for turning in high-quality applications and responses to questions:


1.Anna Gwaltney is the daughter of Gary and Sarah Gwaltney of Inver Grove Heights, MN. She is the granddaughter of Thomas Gwaltney and Joyce Sample-Fox. She is the great-granddaughter of Homer and Edna Gwaltney. She descends from the Posey County, Indiana branch of Gwaltneys. Anna will be a freshman at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, majoring in musical theater.


2.Caleb Gwaltney is the son of Brian and Angela Gwaltney of Weaverville, NC. He is the grandson of Gerald Thomas and Barbara Gwaltney and the great-grandson of  Cecil Gwaltney. He descends from the Zachariah Gwaltney line of Roanoke, Virginia. Caleb will be a freshman at Mars Hill University in Mars Hill, NC.


3.Lane Gortney is the son of Ryan and Angee Gortney of Granger, IN. He is the grandson of Ronald and Vickie Gortney and the great-grandson of A.J. and Velma Sue Gortney. He descends from the Rutherford County, Tennessee line of Gortneys. He will be a freshman at the University of Northwestern Ohio and major in High Performance Technology.


4.William W. "Tripp" Gwaltney III is the son of William W. Gwaltney Jr. and Stacy L. Gwaltney of Birmingham, AL. He is the grandson of William W. Gwaltney Sr. and Betty D. Gwaltney and the great-grandson of William Henry and Delta Gwaltney. He descends from the Smith County, Tennessee line of Gwaltneys. Tripp will be a sophomore at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida and his major is Music Performance.


5.Rose Alyse Gwaltney is the daughter of David and Laurie Gwaltney of New Palestine, IN. She is the granddaughter of Charles and Catharine Gwaltney and the great-granddaughter of Enford and Josephine Gwaltney. She descends from the Posey County, Indiana branch of Gwaltneys. She will be a freshman at Ball State University and major in nursing.


6.Kathryn "Katy" Foster Griggs is the daughter of Glenn and Julie Gwaltney Griggs of Lexington, NC. She is the granddaughter of Wayne and Kate Gwaltney and the great-granddaughter of William Wade and Clara Gwaltney. She descends from the Alexander County, North Carolina line of Gwaltneys. She is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a major in communication sciences and disorders with a concentration in speech-language pathology.

Recipients of the 2014 Gwaltney Family Scholarship will be announced on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the Nationwide Gwaltney Family Homecoming in Smithfield, Virginia.



Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the Gwaltney Family Website! I am Dr. Jeff, a Gwaltney descendent and family history researcher. Although I am not a strong computer tech guy, I have put together this site as a source of information for those interested in the Gwaltney family. It is my goal to piece the whole  Gwaltney/Gaultney/  Galtney /Gwatney/Gortney/ Gwartney family together. I have not done this all on my own; in fact, I tend to compile what others before me have done as I have drawn upon the work of Hank Burnham, Dr. Jack Gwaltney, Raymond Edwards, Martha Haidek, Rosie Gwaltney Fritz, Mary Lewellyn Sweet, Carolyn Gwaltney, William Handy, and so many others too numerous too mention. My thanks to everyone who has been willing to share stories, pictures, and family records.

So I hope you enjoy the few pages I have here. And I hope someday you can attend one of our Gwaltney Family Homecomings, for it is there you can see the legacy of our common ancestor, Thomas Gwaltney (1613-1666) who, by God's grace, established this family in America! 

This is a website devoted to the accumulation and preservation of the Gwaltney/Gaultney/Gortney/Gwatney/Galtney/Gwartney family history in America (Gwaltney is the original Americanized spelling). While there are Gwaltney's who have traced their individual lines back several generations, our goal here is to discover and provide information about the general Gwaltney population in the United States. While all Gwaltneys in America seem to have originated from Surry County, Virginia, migration patterns took them into North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Then into Texas and Mississippi, and ... eventually scattered all over this great country.



The Gwaltney Name

For purposes of simplicity and ease of reading, the name GWALTNEY will be used in this website.  While early spellings of the name have been "Gwalpmey" or "Gualmey", the name GWALTNEY is the earliest Americanized form of the name that has stood the test of American history. Dr. Jack Gwaltney of Charlottesville, VA has an interesting commentary on the origins of the Welsh version of Gwaltney--the name GWALCHMAI. If you are interested in his commentary, you may contact me.

So how did the spelling variations occur? How do we also end up with GAULTNEY, GWARTNEY, GORTNEY, GALTNEY, and GWATNEY being of the same family? Primarily the variance is the result of pronunciation, dialect, and mistransciption by the census-taker's hand. However, all of these names proceed from  the name GWALTNEY.  When Thomas Gwaltney's (3rd generation) offspring began to migrate into southern Virginia and then into North Carolina, their pronunciation and dialect brought about many of the various name spellings. For example, William Gwaltney of Brunswick Co. had at least two sons...Micajah and Michael. That group of Gwaltneys pronounced their name something like "Gawatney". Micajah ended up moving into KY and IN and started spelling the name GWARTNEY. Michael ended up moving into western VA and kept the spelling GWALTNEY.

Benjamin Gwaltney of the Brunswick Co. VA area eventually moved into the state of Mississippi. His pronunciation of the name led to the spelling GALTNEY. John Gwaltney's son, Peterson, also left the southern VA counties of Brunswick and Mecklenberg and went into Alabama and eventually his offspring made it into AR and OK--they ended up spelling their name GWATNEY, leaving out the letter "L".

As these Gwaltneys migrated from southern VA into North Carolina, some kept the name GWALTNEY, while others began to spell the name GAULTNEY and GORTNEY. It is interesting to see how many families had difficulty being consistent with the name even within their own families. Margaret Gwaltney of Hiddenite NC showed me a cemetery of Gwaltneys in Banner Elk, NC and the tombstones of some family members was spelled GAULTNEY and other family members had the spelling GWALTNEY. Sarah Gwaltney Behrens of Denver CO once showed me the photocopied pages of the Henry Hudson Gwaltney family Bible, and there, in black and white, some of the offspring had their names spelled GAULTNEY and others GWALTNEY! No wonder some were confused on how to spell the name.

The Gwaltneys who stayed in VA had no problem keeping the spelling GWALTNEY. It was those who moved further south who had difficulties in determining its spelling. Oh, by the way, even those who spell their name GWALTNEY do not always pronounce it that way. Many Gwaltneys from IL, IN, TN, GA pronounce their name "Gaultney" even though they spell it GWALTNEY.

But whether you are a GWALTNEY, GAULTNEY, GORTNEY, GWATNEY, GWARTNEY, or GALTNEY, you all belong to the same family...the family of Thomas Gwaltney (1613-1666) who settled in VA sometime after 1635. 

The Vision and the Motivation

In all honesty, this labor of love began as a spiritual journey for me. I was very curious about the spiritual heritage of--not only my immediate Gwaltney family, but the Gwaltney Family en masse. My inspiration came from God's promise in Deuteronomy 7:9:

"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands." (NIV)

I have seen the hand of God upon my family and was curious about my past generations. Had there been a great-grandmother or a great-great grandfather who had prayed for God's grace to be upon their family and upon their generations? Thus my inquiry into the Gwaltneys was a research into who they were as a spiritual nation.

And thus I began--not just seeking to know my momma's Gwaltney family from Obion County, TN, but all the way back to the beginning--with Thomas Gwaltney, himself, the first Gwaltney in America. There is a lot I still don't know. But I've come to understand this family a lot just by talking with others, researching, and by keeping my ears open.

This site was originally set up in August 2001 and is maintained on an occasional basis. The latest update was June 11, 2014.

30341This website was established in August 2001