JAMES HAWLEY WILKERSON AND SARAH MOORE
Although I have no proof I am convinced that James H.’s middle name was Hawley, I think Sarah Halley was very proud of the original spelling of her name and the Hawley names shows up in the Simpson and Wilkerson families. In addition, although I have considerable information about the descendants of all the brothers I will concentrate this narrative on my line the James H. Wilkerson family. All the information I have about the rest of the family is in their individual files.
There are several other family accounts that refer to the Wilkerson family’s early years.
This is an excerpt from Western Star, a county paper published November 4, 1948, at Lebanon, Warren County, (near Cincinnati) Ohio.
“The Wilkerson family held a sesquicentennial celebration at Spring Hill, in Warren County when they dedicated a marker commemorating the settling of the area by forebears in 1798. Land, 2000 acres of it, was acquired by James Wilkerson, Sr., first of the family to move to pioneer Ohio, for services performed under Gen. George Washington in the Revolutionary War. He was the founder of the settlement of Spring Hill. Since then many generations have descended from the family which came to the virgin Northwest Territory 150 years ago. Among them was his son, James, Jr., who named the Christy steamboat and compiled a for¬tune in St. Louis. Another son, William, was a soldier in the French and Indian War. Later, George Wilkerson was a captain in the Union army in the Civil War. John Wilkerson, as the West opened, discovered and named the Wilkerson Pass in the Continental Divide near Colorado Springs, on Highway 24. A John Wilkerson was born in Boone’s Fort, Kentucky, during Indian raids. He married Elizabeth Faires, a native of Virginia and they had a son, John, Jr., who married Ann Conner, a native of Delaware, in 1840. They resided in Warren and Clinton Counties, Ohio, near Spring Hill.” Written by Alberta Wilkerson Graham who was John H. Wilkerson’s granddaughter.
James H. Wilkerson was a documented private in the Revolutionary War from 1780 to 1782. I am a DAR member through him. We get this from several sources.
First, from Thaddeus Wilkerson. JAMES H’ S RECORD OF SERVICE IN THE WAR OF THE REVOLUTION, TAKEN FROM THE RECORDS OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D. C. “James H. Wilkerson enlisted in Louden County, Virginia, late in July or early in August, 1780, and served as a private with the Virginia troops under Captain James Hudage Lane and Samuel Selden. On July 20, 1781, he was transferred to Corps of Artificers under Captain N. Pendelton, and was discharged January 2, 1782. He was allowed a pension on his application executed October 3, 1832, at which time he was a resident of Washington Township, Warren County Ohio. James Wilkerson certificate 7996, issued May 5, 1833, rate $74.67 per annum. Commenced March 4, 1831, Act of June 7, 1832. The data shown herein were obtained from papers in claim James H. Wilkerson S-4727. The papers in this claim contain no data relative to the soldier’s family.”
In addition James H. is a documented Revolutionary soldier with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and I have the following write-up done on him by the Warren County Ohio Genealogy Society (WCGS).
James Wilkerson was born 29 November 1758 in Virginia and died 4 December 1834 in Washington Township, Warren County, Ohio, buried in the Wilkerson Cemetery, located on the western slope of Spring Hill on his property. He married 30 April 1782 in Virginia Sarah Moore, the daughter of James and Margaret Moore. She was born 4 November 1763 in Loudoun County, Virginia and died 17 July 1841 and is buried next to her husband.
James H. Wilkerson’s tombstone and Sarah Moore Wilkerson’s Tombstone at the Wilkerson Cemetery at Spring Hill, Warren County, Ohio.
James Wilkerson served in the Revolutionary War from Louden County. Virginia where he enlisted in late July or early August, 1780 and served as a private with the Virginia troops under Captain James Hudage Lane and Samuel Selden. On 20 July 1781, he was transferred to the Corps of Artificers under Captain N. Pendleton, and was discharged 2 January 1782. James Wilkerson filed his declaration for a pension on Wednesday 3 October 1832 in Warren County, Ohio with Hezekiah Stites and Joel Drake giving their affidavits. James was granted a pension for his service as a private and artificer on 3 May 1833.
In 1787 James Wilkerson and family immigrated to Central Kentucky and in 1805 they moved to Warren County, Ohio bringing their children, three sons and six daughters, settling about two miles east of Fort Ancient in Washington Township. The children’s names were William, Peggy, John, Frances, Nancy, Mary, James, Sarah and Elizabeth. He gave his first farm to his daughters and purchased land on “The Knobs” (Spring Hill), on the west brow of the hill, on Lebanon-Wilmington Road. He built a distillery at the foot of the hill, which operated for many years, making mostly peach and apple brandy. He became the first treasurer of Washington Township in 1818.
He was listed in the 1810 Warren County, Ohio tax list as living in Hamilton Township.
James Wilkerson made his will in Warren County, Ohio on 1 March 1830 and it was proven in court on 16 December 1834 appointing his son, William Wilkerson, executor. Those mentioned in the will were: Wife, Sarah; nine children (not named).”
Sources: Ref: DAR Ohio Roster Vol. II, pg 366; Miami Valley Pioneers by Lindsay M. Brien, pg 50; 1882 History of Warren Co., OH by Beers, pg 690, 699 & 706; WCGS – Rev. War Packet, Pensioners & Burials; WCGS – Family History; Archives of Warren Co., OH – Court of Common Pleas Minute Book # 6, pg 405; Probate Court – Will Record Vol. 5, pg 625, DE Vol. 1/2, pg 44, OCP Box 64, # 10; Warren Co., OH Records by Robert D. Craig, pg 26; 1810 Ohio Tax List; WCGS – Heir Lines Vol. 1, pg 27; Genealogical Abstracts of Rev. War Pension, Files by Virgil D. White, pg. 3836.
We learn very important information 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 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.]
The following article is from an excerpt from Western Star, a county paper published November 4,1948, at Lebanon, Warren County, (near Cincinnati) Ohio.
“The Wilkerson family held a sesquicentennial celebration at Spring Hill, in Warren County when they dedicated a marker commemorating the settling of the area by forebears in 1798. Land, 2000 acres of it, was acquired by James Wilkerson, Sr., first of the family to move to pioneer Ohio, for services performed under Gen. George Washington in the Revolutionary War. He was the founder of the settlement of Spring Hill.
Since then many generations have descended from the family which came to the virgin Northwest Territory 150 years ago. Among them was his son, James, Jr., who named the Christy steamboat and compiled a for¬tune in St. Louis. Another son, William, was a soldier in the French and Indian War. Later, George Wilkerson was a captain in the Union army in the Civil War. John Wilkerson, as the West opened, discovered and named the Wilkerson Pass in the Continental Divide near Colorado Springs, on Highway 24.”
We know that James H. may not have directly served under George Washington I suspect he knew George. The Halley family settled the land that eventually became Mt Vernon and the Halleys and the Washingtons socialized together. Did George Washington have an influence on James being a mechanic and not an infantryman – we’ll never know. I suspect every said they served under George Washington because he was a commander-in-chief. I doubt James H. served directly for George, although it could have been possible. Also, I wonder if he got 2,000 acres for his Revolutionary service. That was a pretty high amount for a private. I do know that one of the reasons he moved to Warren County, Ohio is that the land there was being opened up for military grants. I also know he owned land in Kentucky. I don’t know if he used his military land grant to buy Kentucky land. He could have bought land in Kentucky in 1787 when they moved to there either with or without a military land grant and when he sold it he had enough money to supplement his military land grant and buy 2000 acres in Warren County, Ohio in 1805. Regardless, he was a brave soldier and pioneer who took his family through hardship to a better life.
The Wilkerson and Halley families in Kentucky were very prosperous. They also had many slaves. I have read, but not verified that Sarah Moore was a Quaker and that she and James were very opposed to slavery. There is some conjecture that their homestead “The Knobs” was part of the slave underground railroad. They could have been opposed to the slavery in Kentucky and when the military land grants opened up in Ohio decided to move north. In addition all of his children moved with him although William and Margaret the two oldest were already married. [This is a pretty constant theme in my families that when the family moved, the entire family moved including married children.]
We learn more about James H. Wilkerson from the history of Warren County, Ohio in 1882.
“James Wilkerson, who was a Revolutionary soldier, was born is November 29, 1758, and there married Sarah Moore. He moved to from Virginia, and, in 1805, came to Ohio; he settled on the College road (which was laid out in 1804) in a field now owned by Jesse Urton; he brought a family of nine children, three sons and six daughters. About 1810 he gave his farm to his daughters and purchased land “The Knobs,” on the west brow of the hill, on the Lebanon & Wilmington Road.”
(The picture is a view from Spring Hill) James H. built a distillery at the foot of the hill, which was operated for making mostly peach and apple brandy. This gave place, in 1860 to a steam saw-mill, built by his son John and grandson James H. His three sons, William, John and James, located on lands near his distillery about the time of his settlement there. In a religious meeting, held in Flat Fork Schoolhouse, about 1827, the aged father, James Wilkerson, arose and said he could no longer conscientiously carry on a distillery. He died December 4, 1834, his wife dying July 17, 1841; his son William had a distillery near where George H. Wilkerson now lives, but it was discontinued in 1820. John erected a distillery for making apple brandy near the present residence of William Reynolds, in 1841, which was continued but a few years. John died January 24, 1868 and his wife, Elizabeth (Farris) Wilkerson died in July, 1870. One daughter Mrs. Perry Mills, and a grandson, Horace B., and his sister Melissa Settlemire, wife of Bayless N. Settlemire, are all that remain in the township.
(Another picture of Spring Hill.)
From Thaddeus we learn more about Spring Hill where James H. settled “Spring Hill, the home of our Pioneer Ancestor, is a low table-land, roughly circular in outline and is about one mile across and a few more than 1000 feet above sea level. The Hill is 50 to 70 feet above the surrounding country and has an un-¬usually fertile soil – reddish brown in color.
(Spring Hill again)
The land as Spring Hill was known was owned by James Harris, Sr., and James H. Wilkerson, both having been Revolutionary soldiers. The friendship between these two families has continued unbroken throughout the entire century and three-quarters since they settled there. There have been many marriages between the descendents of those two families, which this sketch will disclose. Such was Spring Hill — today, the only Wilkerson remaining in “the old neighborhood is Mrs. Mary Huffman, who, strangely enough, is a great-grand-daughter of both these pioneers.” (Spring Hill is changing as the area changes from rural farmland to suburban housing developments.)
In addition to James H. Wilkerson’s Will, There are several documents relating to his estate and probate in the Documents Section.
After James H died there was discord between William and his siblings over James’ will as is shown in the below Warren Common Pleas (Ohio) Nov. 7, 1843.
From the Warren County Court Records
En forte W. Wilkerson exr. of J. Wilkerson dec.
Before me the undersigned ? Court in Chicanery personally comes John Wilkerson who being sworn to testify the truth and the whole truth in the matters and findings in the above case says that he is now on his way to Indiana & shall not return for some time, he says that in the lifetime of his father James Wilkerson he heard him say that he had let Timothy Lutey have a sum of money that he had owed to the heirs of Thomas Deacon dec. & thinks it was about two hundred dollars with the interest on one hundred. Further he said he was afraid he should have ? to get said money as Lutey was dead. He further says he was at his Mothers who was the widow of James Wilkerson decd. and sometime before her death she informed me that Billy meaning William Wilkerson the exr. of James had brought her some money and offered to her and told her to take it for it was her and make use of it as she pleased and she told him no for it was paper money and it might ? and be of no use to her. She would rather he take care of it for her and let her have it as she wanted it. She said she would be afraid to keep money in the house if some people knew of it. That she had some silver by her but would not like it to be known.
/s/ John Wilkerson
Sworn to & subscribed before me
Nov. 22 1843
H.M. Stokes, Open Court
Unfortunately nothing is known about Sarah Moore other than that she was born November 4 (my birthday) in 1763 in Loudon County, Virginia. She and James H. married on April 30, 1782 also in Loudon County, Virginia. James and Sarah had nine children. I keep looking for her family but no luck so far.
It is probably appropriate here to insert here a little of the geography of Washington Township and Warren County. Washington Township is adjacent to Clinton County on the East side of the county. When James Wilkerson moved to Warren County in 1805 there was no Clinton County. Clinton County was formed in 1810. Spring Hill is less than 10 miles from the Warren-Clinton Counties border.
Clarksville the county seat of Clinton County is very close to Spring Hill whereas Lebanon, the county seat of Warren County is further away in the center of the Warren County. Consequently, many of the records for the Wilkerson’s can be found in Clinton County, many of the Wilkerson births happened in Clarksville which was much closer than Lebanon, and many of the Wilkerson children and their descendants lived in Clinton County.
When I was in Warren County I found the homestead and went there. I spent some time at the Wilkerson Cemetery.
All the detailed information I have about the rest of the family is in their individual files.