The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky is comprised of the eight westernmost counties - Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken. It is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River, on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the Tennessee River and the state of Tennessee to the south. By Kentuckians it is generally referred to simply as "the Purchase".

Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby purchased the land lying west of the Tennessee River from the Chickasaw tribe and opened the area for settlement around 1820. Within the next few years, my grandfather's ancestors came there from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee - the Beadles, Clapps, Pryors and Wingos settled in Graves County with the Reeves and Halls in neighboring Ballard County.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jerman J. Wingo of Wingo, Kentucky

Jerman Wingo's parents, Thomas Wingo and Mary Holt Wingo died in Pittsylvania County, Virginia in 1828 and 1827, respectively. Shortly after their deaths, sometime in 1830, Jerman with his wife Ann, their three small children and his younger brother William Thomas Wingo left Pittsylvania County migrating to the newly opened territory of Kentucky west of the Tennessee River. They came west with Ann's parents Lewis Yancey Beadles and Martha C. Vaughan Beadles, and were joined by most of her siblings.

On the 21st of November 1831, Jerman J. Wingo received 2 land patents of 160 acres each and on the same day, his father-in-law Lewis Yancey Beadles received 8 patents of 160 acres each, all located in Graves County.

Land Patent #2338

Patent 2338 had previously been #2113 which was granted to Levi Tucker

Reverse-Land Patent #2338

Reverse side showing Levi Tucker's assignment to Jerman J. Wingo and
Lewis Y. Beadles' signature as witness.

Aunt Molly Wingo Peal, granddaughter of Jerman J. Wingo, repeated stories she had been told as a child by older slaves of the family's migration from Virginia to Kentucky. The men herded the cattle while the female slaves and children herded geese and chickens as they traveled west through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky. Jerman Wingo was an amateur horticulturist and they told her of his bringing fruit tree cuttings from North Carolina and Virginia to be planted in Kentucky.

For those who have traveled along this route even on modern roads, it is all too evident what a monumental task it must have been to travel from Virginia thru the Cumberland Gap all the way across Kentucky to the Jackson Purchase area in wagons bringing all their worldly possessions as well as livestock.

Within the next decade, Jerman's only other sibling, sister Lucinda with her husband George Bolinger and their family followed, migrating from Virginia to the Jackson Purchase.

Welcome Sign - Wingo KYThroughout the next 50 years, the Wingos, Beadles, Bolingers and other allied families such as the Slaydens developed prosperous farms and plantations on the Jackson Purchase land grants. The Beadles, Bolingers and Slaydens became involved in business such as banking and manufacturing in addition to holding public office. After Jerman Wingo gave right of way to the railroad as well as land for a depot, the town that grew there was first called "Wingo Station" and later shortened to Wingo.

During the Civil War, the effort to control the two great rivers, the Mississippi and Ohio, brought the presence of the Union Army to the Purchase. Ulysses S. Grant and the Union army captured Paducah which gave them control of the Ohio and the Tennesseee Rivers. Since the majority of the residents of the Jackson Purchase were southern planters and sympathized with the Confederacy, it was an extremely difficult time in the Purchase area. Many years later, Jerman's son, Elijah Willis Wingo told of their home on the Wingo Plantation having first been confiscated for use as a hospital and then later burned.

In a newspaper article from Denton, Texas in March 1930, Elijah Willis Wingo described the move from Kentucky in 1869 to Stephenville in Erath County, Texas. He said that in spite of the hardships of the 32-day trip to Texas and the dismal living conditions in the early days, it was not as bad as those they left behind in Kentucky after the Civil War.

Jerman J. Wingo, Sr.'s GravestoneJerman and Ann both survived the trials of the Civil War in the Jackson Purchase. Even after the losses of the war and reconstruction, the 1870 census lists Jerman's worth in real estate property at $8,000 and $4,000 in personal property. They raised their eleven children in Graves County and nine of the eleven survived them. Jerman died in Wingo, Kentucky in 1873 and Ann died there in 1879. Both are buried in the Greer Cemetery of Wingo, Kentucky with other early settlers to the Jackson Purchase such as the Plumlees and Bosticks.


  1. Stopping by via GeneaBloggers. My Kentucky roots go deep, too, but I don't think any of them were in the exact area. The closest I have was a circuit riding Methodist preacher that I can document as residing in Caldwell County.

    Best wishes

  2. such an interesting place.Do keep up the good work!

  3. amazing! i've been looking for quite some time for info from the early Wingo family. excellent blog.

  4. My name is Shammy Wingo I am from Marion indiana, my father was Charles Major Wingo,our family would to find someone to track down our family name. This site has been helpful. Thank you

  5. Found this blog Want a pic of James Nicholas Beadles? I am related to Wilks and Canterine Beadles of Mayfield 4044832615

  6. Cool site...I am related to Wilkes Beadles and Catherine Beadles et. al. Want a pic of James Nicholas Beadles (framed old photo).. 404 483 2615... Best regards!!

    1. Thanks for the offer Sam, I'd love a picture of James Nicholas Beadles. I'll send you an email with my address.

  7. I am the son of Harlene Jesse Reeves, author of "An Unusual Childhood," and she is the great great granddaughter of Jerman Wingo. Her father was Jesse Harley Reeves

    1. Hi Bill,
      I didn't realize that Harlene had written a book. Did you see the post in the blog about Uncle Harley? Carole Davey shared quite a few photos with me, plus the map of the Yellowstone with campsites marked and I used some of the photos and the map in the post.

      Uncle Harley and Aunt Naomi came to Texas to visit my grandfather at least twice that I remember. I'm so glad you commented.