Like my other families, the Wilkerson Family also holds many mysteries. Not unlike many of my other ancestors, the Wilkersons were also in the United States before the Revolutionary War. My line goes through James H. Wilkerson who was born in November 29, 1758 in Fairfax County, Virginia and is a documented Revolutionary War Soldier. However, the big mysteries about the Wilkerson family are “who was the first Wilkerson to come to this country” and “who was James H. Wilkerson’s great-great grandfather”?
Much of the information, misinformation and confusion that surrounding the early Wilkersons in this country is from a history of the Wilkerson family done by Thaddeus Wilkerson in 1942. Thaddeus was a great grandson of James H. Wilkerson through his oldest son William.
I will quote considerably from Thaddeus’ paper. To read his paper you can go to the Wilkerson Document Page. I believe Thaddeus’ paper is rich in history and family stories. Although, it may not always be accurate it is very valuable. I have stated family stories are always interesting. There is some truth and some fiction. There is a co-mingling of stories. Actions get attributed to the wrong persons. The fun and challenge of family stories is looking at the bits and pieces of the stories and the overall thread of many stories. It is finding that grain of truth in each story. Making them fit and figuring out the fact versus the fiction. It is great fun. It is what makes genealogy exciting.
In his paper Thaddeus starts out “This record of the Wilkerson Family was compiled in most part from memory and scanty Family Bible records that were available, and the Grave-Stones in the Family Burying Ground, facing the setting sun on the westward slope of Spring Hill, in Warren County, Ohio. With only such records as these available, it is difficult to go back along the trail for a century and three-quarters to early Pioneer Days and produce a record that is free from mistakes — so please do not expect such a miracle in this one. This lack of reliable records is also responsible for the incompleteness of this effort.”
He goes on to state “The James H. Wilkerson family Bible, with its records, could not be located. Consequently, many dates which should be included in this brochure are so completely contingent upon memory or guess-work, we have omitted all but proven dates, and will record the descendants of our Ancestor in the order of their birth and whom they married as far as possible.
Dr. Marion Wilkerson, late of Bloomington, Ohio was pretty generally considered an authority on Wilkerson lore. A great deal of our knowledge of the family came thru Dr. Wilkerson, Father, and Uncles Thomas and Edward Wilkerson. Dr. Wilkerson always maintained that the main difference between the Wilkerson’s and the Wilkinson’s was a matter of spelling. Both families are of English origin; however, the Wilkerson’s as a rule are fair and have blue eyes, while the Wilkinson’s as a rule are not of the blonde type and are dark-eyed.
The original Wilkerson of which we have any record was Moses Wilkerson — a native of either Loudon or Orange County, Virginia. Moses Wilkerson was known to have been the father of six sons, but we have no further knowledge as to the remainder, if any, of his family. James H. Wilkerson was one of the six sons; therefore, Moses Wilkerson must be the corner-stone on which our structure will rest, for the very simple reason that is where our information ceases. There seems to be but little knows about the early Wilkerson’s due most likely to long distances, difficult communications, and the well-known Wilkerson reluctance for letter writing.”
Later in the paper he writes “About this time  there were three prominent, and for the period wealthy families living in the heart of Kentucky’s famous Blue Grass section — the Neal’s, the Wheelers and the Wilkerson’s. During the “Gay Nineties” when the writer was a resident of Kentucky was privileged to meet and visit the homes of the descendants of these pioneer families. At that time they were prominent leaders in their respective communities such as Postmaster at Mt. Sterling, Sheriff of Fayette County (Lexington) and Colonel “Jack” Wilkerson, who was a real colonel, and it was said of his by his admirers that he was the greatest fighter in the Confederate Army. In 1895 one of the largest wholesale drug houses in the south was the Wilkerson Wholesale Drug Company of Memphis, Tennessee. It was significant that all these branches of the Wilkerson family whose the writer contacted, and they were many, traced their lineage to one common head – MOSES WILKERSON.”
I believe that this is where the idea originated that Moses Wilkerson was the Father of James H. Wilkerson and his brothers. It has permeated most documents on the Wilkerson family. And although I have relied on others for the information on the Wilkerson family prior to James H. Wilkerson, personally I do not believe that Moses Wilkerson was the Father and “corner-stone on which our structure will rest.” Thaddeus himself states that this is based on family recollections and stories, not fact.
The Wilkersons were a family that firmly believed in the naming convention of the time. Sons were named after Grandfathers and Fathers. I have 332 Wilkersons in my database of which about 180 are male. Of those 180 Wilkersons I have 23 William Wilkersons, 15 John Wilkersons, 13 James Wilkersons, and only 2 Moses Wilkersons. James H. Wilkerson named his oldest son William, his second oldest son John, and his third oldest son James H. after himself. Even Moses Wilkerson named his two oldest sons William and John. I have to believe if Moses Wilkerson was the Father of six sons one of them (except for Pressley the youngest son) would have named one of their sons after their Father.
While I realize this is not a quantitative fact, it lead me, however, to believe the school of thought that the earliest documented Wilkerson (so far) in this country was John Wilkerson born in Stafford, Prince William County, Virginia around 1715 and who married Sarah Ross November 13, 1730 at Saint Paul’s Parrish, Stafford, Virginia.
We also earn very important information about John H.’s parents from a biography of Jonathan Vandervoort, a grandson, done for the History of Warren County Ohio in 1882 “The maternal grandparents were James and Sarah (Moore) Wilkerson, natives of Virginia; he was a son of William and Sarah Wilkerson, and was born Nov. 29, 1758; was married in Virginia April 30, 1782; his wife Sarah was a daughter of James and Margaret Moore, born Nov. 4, 1763; they emigrated to Kentucky; thence, in 1805, came to Warren Co., where he died Dec. 4,1834; Mrs. Moore [Wilkerson]died July 17, 1841. They had nine children-William, Peggy, John, Frances, Nancy, Mary, James, Sarah and Elizabeth. [To me this is a very important clue in verifying the identity of James H. Wilkerson’s parents. Jonathan was a grandson and knew James H. Wilkerson. This biography was written in 1882 only 50 years after James H.’s death, so I put more credence in it than Thaddeus Wilkerson’s research that was done in the 1940’s a hundred plus years after his death. – ld.]
? – 1632
1656 – ?
About 1700 – 3.10.1745 and 7.17.1745 – 3.3.1734
10.14.1731 – Abt. 1765 and 4.26.1739 – 11.13.1809
FORT BOONESBOROUGH, NATHANIEL HART, AND DANIEL BOONE
This is John Halley’s journal about the originial trips down the Mississippi River. William Wilkerson is referred to in the journal.
11.29.1758 and 11.4.1763
Willliam Wilkerson (Mary Neal), Margaret Wilkerson (Thomas Deakin) (Willliam Settlemyre), John Wilkerson (Elizabeth Farris), Frances Wilkerson (Andrew Branstrator), Nancy Wilkerson (Jason Darrow), Mary Wilkerson (Dixon Smoot), James H. Wilkerson Jr. (Jane Christy) (Mahala McDonald), Sarah Wilkerson (George Longstreth), and Elizabeth Wilkerson (Paul Vandervoort)
8.19.1787 – 1.24.1868 and 10.18.1792 – Abt. 7.21.1870
Ann Wilkerson, David F. Wilkerson, Sarah Wilkerson (James Harris Jr.), John Wilkerson Jr. (Ann Conner), Henry Wilkerson, William Wilkerson (Samantha Unknown), Jane A. Wilkerson, Elizabeth Wilkerson (Hugh Baugh), Lydia Marion Wilkerson Francis Marion Wilkerson (Ann Telfair), Nancy Wilkerson, Mary Emeline Wilkerson (Perry G. Mills), and Janes H. Wilkerson (Sarah Ann VanSkyke)
11.16.1819 – 7.14.1888 and 5.9.1820 – Abt. 11.18.1890
James H. Wilkerson (Lettie Petree), John W. Wilkerson (Lydia M. Austin), Laura E. Wilkerson (John W. Osborn), Elizabeth Wilkerson (James Bellis), David F. Wilkerson (Adelia Shaw), Francis Marion Willkerson (Elizabeth Wysong), Sanford Wilkerson (Cora Willoughby), Vincent Wilkerson (Mary Atha Torrance), Mary Margaret Wilkerson (John O. Wells), Albert Wilkerson (Elizabeth Slade), Anna Rosetta Wilkerson (John Farrell), and Thomas Wilkerson (Caroline Kelley)
7.25.1865 – 1.4.1933 and 11.20.1867 – 10.25.1953
Katherine (Kate) Wilkerson (Charles Pemberton), Anna Mae Wilkerson, Mary Atha Wilkerson (Thomas Smoot), Lena Leota Wilkerson (Clarence Smoot), James Alva Wilkerson, Mildred Wilkerson (Marvin Gibbons), and Thomas Lloyd Wilkerson (Verna Swink)
12.11.1869 – 9.30.1948
8.26.1887 – 5.26.1981 and 1.10.1883 – 5.14.1957
Blurb about pictures
I have a number of pictures that I thought I would share with everyone.
I believe the following pictures belong to the Wilkerson family. Any help I can get in identifying the people in the pictures will be greatly appreciated.