Abt 1774 – Abt 1829
The founder of our Georgia branch of Wilkerson/Wilkinsons was my third great grandfather Archibald Wilkerson/Wilkinson. (Spelling was phonetic and varies.) Based on various census documents and the age of his children, our guess is he was born some time around the mid 1770s, very possibly in Scotland. His parents probably came over by ship to the Cape Fear area of North Carolina.There was a large clan of Wilkinsons who settled in this area, and many of them shared the same first names as Archibald, his wife and his children.Little documentation exists for Archibald.
Some have speculated, based on the age of his youngest child when he arrived in Troup County, that Margarett was his second wife. On the other hand, one of his two older daughters was named Margarett, so that may have no basis.
We can only guess at his life, but we do have a few written records: the administration of his estate, a purchase of property as a newly arrived settler of Troup County, and the information that he moved there with his wife Margarett and ten of their known children in 1827. The family is shown by land records to have come to Troup from Monroe.
Archibald, the patriarch, did not live long thereafter and died prior to March of 1829. He left no will, so returns on his estate were published until 1845, when all assets were finally distributed. It is this information that has provided much of the basic information about his children and their marriages.
We know he had a spirit of adventure, setting off into what had been until very recently the frontier, inhabited by Creek Indians and fur traders.Our family verbal history maintained that Archibald originally came to Georgia from Robeson County, NC. One of his daughters later indicated that her father and mother were natives of Scotland on the census. My research has led me to believe that he came to this country from Scotland as a very small child, probably somewhere around 1770 to 1775. The family first names are certainly very Scottish and repeat many of the same names in other branches of the Scottish Wilkerson clan that settled in the general area of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina.
I have found records of an Archibald Wilkinson in Cumberland County, Richmond County and also in Robeson County, which is just south of Cumberland. Just south of Robeson, in Chesterfield District, SC, there are also records of an Archibald Wilkinson. So, it is easy to see how confusing this search has been.Old maps show a distinct road across the frontier and most travelers, especially ones moving a large household, would have followed the same path from North Carolina to Troup. They would have come down through Cheraw, South Carolina, past Columbia, through what is now Augusta, GA. They would have moved across the state from Wilkes to Taliaferro, through Greene and Morgan Counties and on to Jasper County and from there to Monroe.
Once the 1827 Lottery was held many moved on to their winnings in the western part of the state. Others, like my distant grandfather, purchased parcels from speculators. There were earlier lotteries held, but our family was in the state only for the 1827 one.
The family moved from Monroe County, Georgia to Troup, but all of the children except the youngest Joseph, who was a babe in arms of less than six months, were born in North Carolina.
Archibald purchased 202.5 acres from Whitfield Sledge in District 5, Lot 267 for $250. (Archibald would not have been eligible to participate in the lottery, because a three year residency was required. Many speculators played the lottery with the intent of re-selling the parcels). Mr. Sledge purchased this from William L. Astin, who won it in the land lottery. At this time, Troup County was newly created from the Cherokee Land Lottery, and the removal of the Creek Indians.
There may have been earlier relationships between the families of Archibald Wilkinson, William E. Potts, William Browning, and David Johnston. Two of Archibald’s sons married girls from Monroe County. Neal K., the oldest son to accompany him on the migration, married Rebecca Johnston, daughter of David Johnston who was one of the original settlers of Monroe County. Alexander (Sandy), one of the younger sons, married Jane Adaline Potts, daughter of William A. Potts, who lived in the same district in Monroe County as David Johnston.
Early census records show David Johnston in Jasper County as early as 1800. He migrated there from Newberry District in South Carolina, which is just south of Cumberland and Robeson in North Carolina. Indeed, at times the county lines between North and South Carolina varied. There were also Wilkersons in Jasper County at this time, but no relationship has been proven. It is however interesting that the descendants of these Wilkersons were found living in the same areas of Long Cane, Georgia as well as Chambers and Macon Counties in Alabama in future years. The Potts family was also in Jasper County then moved on to Monroe. Some eventually moved on to Troup and founded the Potts Store where later descendants of Archibald traded.
A common thread between these men may have been service in the Revolutionary War, for which frontier lands were often the reward for valor.
Archibald’s descendants attended the Long Cane Church. Tradition would indicate that Archibald and Margarett were buried on the family farm, which is now under West Point Lake. The Corp of Engineers moved the graves of Neal K, Rebecca, John, David, James, Elizabeth and Ezra to the cemetery at Long Cane Church. There are two unmarked graves there as well, perhaps those of Archibald and Margarett.
Marriages of the Children
As the family crossed the state, they may have made friends or visited with former friends from the Carolinas. As you can see, the children married six people from states through which the family would have journeyed on their trek from Robeson County to Troup County.
Archibald’s time in Troup County was short. He died intestate before 1829. He left behind ten children ranging from 24 years old to less than two years and a widow, Margarett. His possessions were handled by different administrators, including neighbors W.W. Carlisle and David B. Cameron. Three appraisers were appointed by the court to inventory his possessions. Records of the sale of his worldly goods to thirty different purchasers can be found in the Troup County Archives. His slaves, Mack, Sarah, Dick, Sealy (sp?), Harriet and Arthur were all purchased by the administrator of the estate, David B. Cameron, on November 25th, 1829, with the exception of Tempy who was retained by the widow. We might guess that she was the younger children’s nursemaid. It appears that Margarett must have been in her mid to late forties when she became a widow.
The family moved to the area just one year before the city of LaGrange was formed. The land that Archibald purchased was in the Long Cane District. Other nearby landowners included the Potts and Tatum families, whose properties were all adjacent to the Wilkinson land.
Most Scottish immigrants were Presbyterian, having sought to evade religious oppression in the old country. This is borne out by the fact that two of the older daughters who were in their late teens at the time were among the fourteen founding members of First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange in On March 21, 1829, ninety-five days after the town of LaGrange was chartered.
It is my theory that John had already married before the family left North Carolina and therefore did not make the trip to Georgia. After their father’s death, the remaining oldest children began to marry. First to marry were Flora and Margarett, who appear to have been very close. They were even married on the same day – August 24, 1830 in Troup County. The two sisters married young men from Morgan County, Georgia. Jane married James Cravey in December of 1830 and Neal K. married Rebecca Johnston of Monroe County, GA, on February 7th, 1831.
The land was rolling and beautiful with creeks and streams and the Chattahoochee River close by.
“Long before the white men came to this region the proud Creek Indians called it home. When the covered wagons arrived bringing settlers and merchants from northeast Georgia and the Carolinas, they found a warm welcome and a deep satisfaction in their decision to settle here.
The beginning of the community was made when log homes were built and farmers began to till the fertile soil. The settlement had no name but soon it became known as Franklin. A busy trading post was established and the owners began to sell calico, sugar, blankets, pins and other necessities to the Indians and newcomers.
In 1832 the unsettling news was brought that there was already a village named Franklin to the north in Heard County.
To avoid confusion another name was selected and a new sign was nailed up at the trading post which read West Point, Established 1832.There were about 100 people living here (West Point/Long Cane area) at that time and they began to think about the need for a school and a church. This problem was solved with the erection of a large log structure which served as a school and common church building, and was located close to where the Confederate Cemetery is today.
“The swiftly flowing Chattahoochee was beautiful and teeming with fish, but its width and depth were discouraging to the settlers who wished to cross over to the west side. A number of ferries came into use and canoes were plentiful but a more permanent crossing was needed.”
KNOWN CHILDREN IN ORDER OF BIRTH
Jane – Born 1803 – Died 1877
Jane was the oldest come to Georgia. She was born in 1803. She married James Cravey, who was seven years her junior, in Troup County on December 8, 1830. Sometime between 1833 and 1837, the Craveys moved to Alabama. They lived in Coffee County, Alabama, then moved south to Washington County, Fl.
John (I am not dead certain about this one part)
John Wilkerson did not accompany the family on the migration, having just married Ann McKenzie on July 3rd, 1826 in Fayetteville. He remained there and they had two sons, John and James. John died in 1828 in Chesterville, SC of a kick from a horse. His orphans are mentioned in the final two years of returns on his father’s estate. His wife supported her little family as a Mantua Maker, a popular ladies dress pattern of the times and was assisted by two other McKenzie ladies, who lived with her until she died.
Margarett – Born before October 1812 – Died after 1880
Margarett married Pleiades Orion Lumpkin (nickname – Dan), son of Wilson Lumpkin, Governor of Georgia. As governor of Georgia, Wilson Lumpkin oversaw the Land Lottery of 1832, which eventually led to the removal of the Cherokee in the Trail of Tears. Later, as president of the Western and Atlantic, he oversaw North Georgia’s growth after the immense Panic of 1837. Marthasville, now known as Atlanta, was named for his daughter twice (Martha Atalanta Lumpkin).
Flora – Born before October 1810 – Died before 1860
Flora married George Washington Browning, son of William Browning. The 1830 Troup County census shows the young couple living in Capt. Morris’ District.
These two sisters seem to have been inseparable in the early years of their lives. The two young families moved west to Texas together where the husbands fought in the battle for Texas Independence. P.O. went on to be a Texas congressman and Wash was a lawyer and the first commissary for Fort Houston.
Alexander J. Wilkinson – Born November 10, 1815 – Died November 10, 1855
Alexander married Jane Adaline Potts of Monroe County. The Potts family were well to do millers. Other members of the Potts family also settled in Long Cane and there is a Potts store still there today.
Archibald Alonzo Wilkinson – Born July 14, 1818 – Died 1867
Archibald Alonzo was deaf. His first wife was Bethany Ward of Greene County. There is evidence to indicate, in the form of written documentation, that he was an alcoholic. Bethany died very
Rebecca Wilkinson – Born December 26, 1824 – Death date unknown
Rebecca married John Milton Andrews and the couple lived in Chambers County, Alabama. They had a number of daughters and Mr. Andrews, who was older than Rebecca by fifteen years, died in 1857.
Mary Ann Wilkinson – Born September 6, 1825 – Died September 18, 1899
Even though Mary Ann and her family also lived in Alabama at the same time as Sandy and Jane, they moved on to Arkansas sometime between 1850 and 1860. Archibald Alonzo joined them there and helped
Joseph Wilkinson – Born July 28, 1827 – Died January 1, 1834