William Cheek
of Surry County, NC

William Cheek, known to genealogists as "William of London" or "William the Schoolteacher" (to distinguish him from all the other William Cheeks), was born Dec. 22, 1728, in London, England, and immigrated to Bedford Co., VA, in 1754. He died Mar. 16, 1802, in Surry Co., NC. He married (1) Elizabeth Lindal probably around 1765. He married (2) Elizabeth or Susannah Ross. She died after 1802.

Children of William Cheek & Elizabeth Lindal:

  1. Thomas L. Cheek, b. abt. 1765 in VA; d. Dec. 5, 1815, Craven Co., NC; m. Penny REESE, Oct. 14, 1785, Craven Co., NC.
  2. Henry Cheek, b. May 22, 1767 or 1769, in VA; d. Dec. 20, 1838, Adair Co., KY; m. Jane "Jenny" HANCOCK, daughter of William HANCOCK & Ann HILL, Sept. 24, 1797, Bedford Co., VA (b. Feb. 28, 1778, VA; d. 1850, Adair Co., KY). Children: Thomas Cheek (1798), William P. Cheek (1799), Henry Cheek (1802), Elizabeth Lindal Cheek (1804), Pamelia Cheek (1806), Dr. James Hill Cheek (1809), Nancy Cheek (1811), George Hancock Cheek (1813), Silas Cheek (1816), Aaron Cheek (1818), Levi Cheek (1820), John Lindal Cheek (1821), Mary Jane Cheek (1824).
  3. Susannah Cheek.
  4. Stella Cheek, b. Dec. 22, 1769, in VA; m. Edward VEST, July 15, 1794, Beford Co., VA.
  5. Amelia or Permelia Cheek, m. John LONDON; they later moved to Marshall Co., TN.  Amelia CHEEK & John LONDON posted a marriage bond in Surry Co., NC, dated Apr. 22, 180-; a final digit "0" appears to have been written in later. The bond refers to North Carolina Governor William Hawkins who was in office from 1811-1814.
  6. Elizabeth Cheek.

Children of William Cheek & Elizabeth or Susannah Ross:

  1. +John Cheek, b. abt. 1781, VA; d. 1850-1860, Yadkin Co., NC; m. Mary ELMORE, daughter of Athanatious ELMORE, Jr., & Susannah PENIX, Sept. 6, 1809, Surry Co., NC (b. abt. 1791; d. 1850-1860).
  2. Nicholas Cheek, b. abt. 1784; d. Aug. 5, 1857, Shelby Co., KY; m. Susannah SUMMERS, May, 20, 1805, Green Co., KY. Children: Henry A. Cheek (1802), Elizabeth Anne Cheek (1810), Granville Cheek (1813), Lewis E. Cheek (1817), Thomas Cheek (1805), Louisa Jane Cheek (1806), Martha Ann Cheek (1826).
  3. +William Cheek, Jr. b. 1790-1800; d. 1830-1840, Surry Co., NC; m. Rhoda MONEY, Mar. 1, 1819, Surry Co., NC (b. abt. 1802; d. 1860-1870).
  4. Pleasant Cheek, b. abt. 1795; d. 1850 in Vigo Co., IN; m. Rhoda WOOD. 4 children incl. Samuel & John of Vigo Co., IN. According to History of Vigo County, Indiana (Chicago: S.B. Nelson & Co., 1891), pp.700-701, Pleasant CHEEK & Rhoda WOOD came to Vigo Co., IN, from Surry Co., NC, in 1844. Children: Samuel B. Cheek (1823), John C. Cheek (1825).


William Cheek "the Immigrant," also called William "of London" or William the Schoolteacher, is the progenitor of one of two main families of Cheeks in the Southern United States.  The other family is descended from John Cheek, Sr., who is found in the records of Old Rappahannock Co., VA, in the late 1600's.  William "of London" was probably not related to John Cheek, Sr.  Based on the results of the Cheek/Chick DNA Project, William's descendants and the descendants of John Cheek, Sr., do not have a common male line ancestor within the last 500 years, and the chance of a common ancestor withint the last 1,000 is only about 50-50.  Click here to read more about the DNA project.

For more information on William Cheek and his descendants, see Jeff Williams' database on Rootsweb.  Jeff is also the author of the book The Cheek Family Chronicles, the definitive resource for Cheek family genealogy. 


William Cheek of London immigrated to Virginia in the year 1754, according to the book Boarded Passengers to America, Volume 5, by Peter Wilson Coldham.

Wiilliam is mentioned in a biography of Joel O. Cheek of Nashville, TN, which appears in Tennessee, The Volunteer State, Vol. 3, by John T. Moore & Austin P. Foster (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1923).  Joel O. CHEEK was the founder of the Maxwell House Coffee Company.  The biography states that Joel Cheek's father, "a native of Kentucky, was a son of William Cheek, who was born in Virginia and who in turn was a son of William Cheek, Sr., who came from England in 1768 and settled in Bedford, Virginia, where he became a freeholder.  He was also a school teacher, being a Latin scholar and highly educated man."

On May 26, 1772, a deed entered in the records of Bedford Co., VA, indicates that William CHEEKE purchased approximately 200 acres from Nathan TURNER and his wife Agnes.  The same property was sold by William and his wife Elizabeth to Jackson ALLEN of Shenandoah County on April 29, 1794.

William Cheek was a loyalist during the Revolutionary War and was arrested for treason in Bedford Co., VA, on Aug. 22, 1780 (Miscellaneous Court papers [pre-1780] filed with the Bedford Co., VA, Clerk).  His crime, apparently, was encouraging others to sign an oath of allegience to the British crown. William pled guilty on Aug. 29, 1780, in Bedford Co., VA, and was sent to Richmond for trial.  William could have been sentenced to death; fortunately, in Oct. 1780, the Virginia Legislature decided to pardon all persons who had had taken the King's oath, or who had encouraged enlistments in the British service, but who had not commited any other criminal acts, provided they took an oath of allegiance before the last day of Feb. 1781.  William understandably complied and his life was spared.

The 1785 Tax List, Bedford Co., VA:
William CHEEK, 8 white persons, 1 black person
Richard CHEEK, 3 white persons, 2 black persons
The 1787 Tax List, Bedford Co., VA:
William CHEEKE, 1 white male 16-21, no black persons, 2 horses, 7 cattle.
1789 Tax List, Bedford Co., VA:
WILLIAM CHEEK, 2 tithes total, no black persons

A descendant of William CHEEK is said to have an old arithmetic book that once belonged to William CHEEK. In it, William wrote a note dated June 22, 1791, saying that he "taught scool in my own house in the County of Bedford, Virginia at the age of sixty two and a half years" and that "God will provide." The current owner of the book is unknown.

William CHEEK sold his 200 acre property in Bedford Co., VA, April 29, 1794.

On June 7, 1799, William CHEEK received a land grant of 140 acres on the waters of Elkin Creek at the "dividing ridge." (Wilkes Co., NC, Deed Book D:803.)

William CHEEK's will is dated Mar. 24, 1824, in Surry Co., NC. However, the date may be incorrect based on documents discovered in the Surry County records by Terry W. Cheek.  The will was apparently a nuncupative will, or a verbal will later reduced to writing.  On Apr. 14, 1802, William's sons John and Nicholas gave a statement under oath that Wiliam had died on Tuesday March 16, 1802, and that he made his verbal will two days before his death.  This means the will should be dated March 14, not March 24.

Will of William Cheek of Surry Co., NC

Dated Mar. 24, 1802; recorded Aug. 1802
Surry Co., NC, Wills, Vol. 3, pp.54-55
Transcribed by R. Moon
Digital image

In the name of God Amen. I WILLIAM CHEAK of Surry County make this my Last will and testament. I resign my soul to its creator in all humble hopes of its future happiness, as is the disposial of a being infinibly good as to my body my will is that it be decently buried.

I hereby make and appoint my son JOHN CHEEK Executor of this my last will and testament.

I do hereby will and bequeath to my dearly beloved wife all my lands tenements stock and household furniture during her lifetime or widowhood and at her death the plantation where she now lives together with the whole tract of land I will to my youngest son PLEASANT CHEEK.

I also will to the rest of my sons and daughters the property that I have already given them one hundred and forty acres of land lying in Wilks County.

My old place I give and bequeath to the six children I had by my first wife THOMAS, HENRY, SUSAN, TILLER*, MILLIA, ELIZABETH.


Mar. 24th day 1802

State of North Carolina August Session AD 1802. NICHOLAS CHEEK and JOHN CHEEK the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing.

*Note: "Tiller" is probably a phoenetic spelling of Tillie or Tilla.