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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wyatt Wilkerson

Wyatt Wilkerson was the maternal grandfather of Sidney Preston Reeves and his brother William Harrison Reeves who settled in the Jackson Purchase around 1840 in the area that became Ballard County. Wyatt was born about 1740 in Virginia and his marriage to Mary Britt on 26 Dec 1765 is recorded in the Douglas Register of St. James Northam Parish, Goochland County. Mary was the daughter of William Britt and Hannah Connelly of Goochland County and is named as Mary Wilkerson in his 1787 will.

Based upon information from the 1807 will of Wyatt's brother, Joel Wilkerson, recorded in Logan County, Kentucky, Wyatt was originally from the southside of Virginia since he was described as being "of Prince George County, Virginia". Wyatt was named as the executor and primary heir in Joel's will which also mentioned possible legacies left by their father Frederick Wilkerson of Prince George County. 

Southside of Virginia, below the James River
Frederick Wilkerson was probably born around 1720 in Prince George County and died sometime before the 19th of November in 1803 based upon a notation on page 98 of Prince George County Surveyor's Book 1794-1824 in regard to a survey of "Frederick Wilkinson, decd., 486 A. in 2 tracts".

A Prince George County deed of 9 Jun 1789 identifies Frederick's wife as Sarah:
Frederick Wilkerson and Sarah his wife of Prince George County to William Edwards, Sr. of same, land where John Chambless's buildings formerly stood, 1 acres, bounded by the old line of John Chambless, Sr. No witnesses. Recorded June 9, 1789.
The birth of Wyatt and Mary's first child, Sally, on the 25th of October 1766 is recorded in the Douglas Register as well as the births of Hannah in 1769 and Lucy in 1771. Sometime after 1771, Wyatt and his family left Goochland County and returned to the southside of the James River where he is listed on the rent rolls of Brunswick County in 1779. It appears that in 1779, Wyatt moved just south of the state boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina. There is a deed recorded in Granville County, North Carolina from Isaac Williams and Jesse Williams administrators of James Moore of Southhampton County, Virginia to Wiatt Wilkerson of Granville County on 3 Aug 1779 (Deed Book M, Page 174-175).

Wyatt and his family moved into the Granville County area and during the next 20 years, several other Wilkerson families settled there as well. There are numerous Wilkerson deeds recorded there in those years but no known family connection between them. In 1786, Wyatt purchased a tract of land on the north side of the Neuse River at the mouth of Knap of Reeds Creek. Knap of Reeds Creek would have flowed from the north into the Neuse almost directly across the river from William Reeves' land where Ellerbe Creek joins the Neuse River on the south side. Living in such close proximity it's possible that Betsy Wilkerson became acquainted with George Reeves prior to their arrivals in Madison County, Kentucky.

Consent by Wiatt Wilkerson for Marriage of Elizabeth to George Reeves
Wyatt left Granville in the late 1790's and is recorded in the 1800 census of Madison County, Kentucky and is also recorded as having been a resident at Fort Boonesborough. In Madison county sometime after the 1st of January in 1802 when the marriage bond was issued, Elizabeth Wilkerson and George Reeves were married.

In the course of the next ten years, Wyatt is also recorded on the tax lists of Wilson County, Tennessee circa 1804-1809. Additionally there is an 1809 suit "Harmon Hays, Plaintiff vs Wyatt Wilkerson, Defendant" in Tennessee that is over a land transaction. Harmon Hays was a land speculator in the Sumner/Robertson County area. It appears that Wyatt may have become involved in a land deal that went wrong. The names of numerous other Madison County settlers are also listed in those Tennessee tax lists. By 1810, Wyatt is once again listed in the census of Madison County, Kentucky which may indicate that he never actually lived in Tennessee, just purchased land there.

Before 1820 Wyatt and Mary Britt Wilkerson joined their daughters and their families - George and Elizabeth Wilkerson Reeves and John and Polly Wilkerson Thompson in migrating further west to Warren County, Kentucky where they are all listed in the 1820 census. Wyatt died in Warren County in 1821 and his will recorded there names his children as Elizabeth Reeves, Polly Thompson, William Wilkerson, John Wilkerson (deceased), Sally Searcy and Jesse Wilkerson (deceased) in addition to grandson Jonathan Parker, son of deceased daughter Lucy Wilkerson Parker.


  1. Beverly - was looking at the year 1779 comments above regarding Wyatt and thought to add a few details from my own research which may be of interest. Oct 8, 1779 Wyatt Wilkerson (of Granville County) to Craddock Vaughan for L1000 210 acres ... this is in Lunenburg County DB 13 page 261. The sale was witnessed and signed for by William Longmire, Wyatt's brother in law. Even more interesting is that William also sells 172 acres for L1200 to the same person, Craddock Vaughan, on the same day with the same witnesses - Glenn, Patteson, Johnson, Smelt. Next entry page 262 John Cabiniss is then selling 200 acres for L1000 to Craddock Vaughan and all three transactions were then recorded Oct 14, 1779. William Longmire then moves to Granville County and resides several properties over from Rev Henry Patillo - the same fellow who witnessed Jane Randolph's will with William Britt in 1760! William Longmire was listed as "of Goochland County" when he bought the 172 acres on the North side of North Fork of Meherrin River. Wyatt's land was at "a small branch Meherrin River called Little E.C." conveyed said Wilkerson by John Love May 14, 1777. Some years later John Cabiniss and wife, Elizabeth Longmire, moved to Kentucky. I have never been able to figure out who she was and how she related to William Longmire ...

  2. Hi Michael,
    It's good to hear from you, it's been a while since we last spoke.

    I'll need to make a point to find that Lunenburg deed on my next trip to the FHC. You can't pull the Virginia deeds up from a home computer, but you can access them at a Family History Center.

    All of us who have deep colonial roots just keep criss crossing throughout our research. This Craddock Vaughan appears to be a interesting fellow from what I read online and was a descendant of my Vaughan line who start with Nicholas Vaughan I of Prince George VA. My Nicholas II, son of Robert Vaughan, came from Amelia County.

    It would appear that a contingent of Goochland residents made an exodus from there during the Revolution and settled in Granville NC. A Moses Fussell with wife Lucy Wilkerson Fussell also left Goochland for Granville although I believe he had originally come from that area. I have always felt that Lucy may have been a sister to Wyatt but have no documentation. Lucy and Moses Fussell even named one of their sons Wyatt.

    Regarding Elizabeth Longmire Cabiniss - have you ever been able to find a will for William Longmire's father?

    If my Wyatt Wilkerson owned land in Lunenburg County in the 1770s, I should probably spend some of my time at the FHC digging around in those records to learn more about him.

    Good to hear from you. Keep in touch,

  3. Hello,
    I stumbled upon this wonderful page while searching for info. My 4th great grandparents were, William Justice and Mary Martha Elizabeth Wilkerson. Mary was born in 1771 in Virginia. Ancestry dna suggests that her parents were Wiatt Wilkerson and Mary Britt. Is this the same Wiatt that settled in Kentucky?

  4. Hi,
    I see Mary Martha Elizabeth Wilkerson in my DNA matches as a daughter of Wyatt's but his daughter Mary married John Thompson in Kentucky. John Thompson and family also migrated from eastern Kentucky (Madison County) to Warren County in central Kentucky at the same time Wyatt and Mary Britt Wilkerson did along with their daughter Elizabeth and her husband George Reeves who were my 3rd great grandparents. I've corresponded with descendants of that line and have some DNA matches to them so there's no doubt in my mind that she was the daughter Mary of Wyatt Wilkerson. But I have also had matches to Mary Martha Elizabeth Wilkerson; however, I've never been able to determine what lineage our match was based upon. I just tried to find some of the matches to your line and couldn't in looking through the search feature. Maybe you can use the "Shared Matches" function to get an idea how we could be related based upon who we have in common.

  5. I will look at the shared matches, but my great great grandmother was Rebekah Wingo McElrath. Her father was Abner Wingo. They were from Spartanburg County, S.C. i noticed that there are a lot of Wingos in the Jackson Purchase area too.

    1. This makes total sense. Abner Wingo was the first cousin of my ancestor Thomas Wingo, born 1764, son of Thomas Wingo Jr. My ancestor Jerman Jeduthan Wingo was a son of Thomas Wingo (born 1764) who settled in Graves County KY. There are also several posts in this blog about him.

  6. I share the most dna with the descendants of Sydney Reeves. I think his mother was Elizabeth Wilkerson.

  7. Now that one I can't figure out unless your Wilkerson connection is from a generation before Wyatt. Do you know where your Wilkerson ancestor came from. I seem to have a lot of Wilkerson matches to the Wilkersons who settle early in Orange County NC but I have no idea how Wyatt is connected to them. What is your Ancestry username and I'll go there and look at our DNA match to see what I can come up with.

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks for your username but sadly Ancestry says we don't have a DNA match. My username is watsonbeverly and my GEDmatch kit number is A637326 if you have your results there.

  9. Thank you for checking. My gedmatch is DM9666119. I suspect that that those matches showing up a related to me through Wingo and Morgan. I had not confirmed the Ancestry match to Wyatt Wilkerson. I'm finding that the Thrulines are not always accurate because they pull info from trees that may be incorrect.

  10. With your Gedmatch kit number I was able to compare with two of my first cousins from this same line and you have fairly small matches to them. You match one on Chrom. 1 and the other on Chrom. 2. I have to run an errand right now but I'll try to check those chromosomes and segments on the spreadsheet of DNA matches I've been recording for year to see if they fall in areas where we know who the line is.