Alexander Wilkinson 1815-1855

The little cabin above was built about 1850 and still stands in eastern Alabama, near where Sandy and his little famiy lived and is probably a good representation of their home.
Alexander Wilkinson was born November 10th, 1815  in North Carolina.  1855 Tallapoosa, AL Census

He was one of the younger children of Archibald Wilkinson and his wife Margarett. He married Jane Adaline Potts from Monroe County. Historical records tell us that Archibald Wilkinson was living in Monroe County when he bought land in Troup County from Shirley Sledge, who had won the parcel in one of the Georgia lotteries. Because Neal K. Wilkinson married Rebecca Johnston, a girl who was also from Monroe County, I feel it is safe to assume that there was a relationship with these families prior to the migration to Georgia, but this is unconfirmed. All of the Wilkinson children received a tidy sum from their father’s estate, in the amount of about $3000. I have been told that multiplying that by 200 would give you today’s currency equivalent.

I have very little documentation on Alexander. He is referred to as Sandy in some of the notes regarding his father’s returns on his estate. A lot of the information I do have has come through the family bible of William E. Potts. His daughter Jane Adaline married Alexander. William E. Potts was born in Georgia, most probably in Wilkes County. His father, Moses Potts, left him land in Franklin County in his will. By 1827, he was living in Monroe County.

Perhaps these families met there, since Archibald the elder migrated from Monroe to Troup, as stated on his purchase of land from Shirley Sledge.

Alexander was probably about twelve when the family passed through Monroe County on the way to Troup. Perhaps the Potts and Wilkersons were friends, but I believe that the Johnstons and the Potts were definitely friends, which would explain the acquaintance.

William E. Potts must have had a decent portion of land since he is shown as having 15 slaves in 1850 on the Monroe County slave census as well as personal wealth of $10,000.

William E and Sarah Potts, parents of Jane

Jane Adaline was born September 17th, 1821 and her name is stated as Jane on a later census. Alexander is mentioned in the returns of his father’s estate up through 1844. Alexander and Jane were married in Troup County, September 21, 1837. Sandy would have been twenty two, and Jane just sixteen.

By 1838 the little family was in Alabama, according to the 1850 census which shows son William, aged 11, born in Alabama. A number of Sandy’s brothers and sisters had gone to Alabama, most likely because of newly available and land and also possibly because of a brief gold rush in Randolph County in 1834.

In 1849, the  family was living in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, where Sandy had purchased farm land. The Alabama Land Records show him purchasing 40 acres on May 1, 1849, another 39.98 on May 1, 1850, another 39.99 on March 15, 1851 and in October 1851, with his last purchase being 39.98 acres on June 15, 1854 for a total of 200 acres. There was a gold rush in Tallapoosa County during this time. This was an unusual gold rush since the gold was found by digging holes in the ground rather than mines. There is no way to tell if Sandy got gold fever or not, but he was a farmer.The 1850 census shows Sandy as 36 and Jane as 26. They did not appear to be prospering – their net worth was only $800 including their land. Their children were listed as son William A., born in Alabama, 11, and daughter Amarintha Fannie, also born in Alabama,  six months old.  Margaret E. was born in 1843, but had died by 1848.

Alabama Dog Trot Log Cabin from the 1850s located in Carrville, near where the young couple lived

In 1855, there was a nationwide epidemic of Yellow Fever. It’s possible that Jane had it because her twin girls Mary and Martha died the same day they were born in September of 1855. Sadly, Sandy died just two months later in November at the age of 40. According to family bible records, he died on the same day of the month on which he was born.

Jane was left alone with little William, Amarintha (Fanny) and Sarah, who was a babe in arms. In 1857 she was still living in Tallapoosa County when William died. She sold the farm and took her little girls back to Monroe County to live with her father and mother.

In 1860 we find her living with her parents and her two daughters Fannie (Amarintha) – 10, and Sarah – 6. She is a 37 year old widow. Her father’s personal property and real estate is valued at $25,000 by now so they were comfortably off at this time. Of her five brothers aged 30 to 15 still living on the family farm, four will be killed in the Civil War.

In the 1870 census she is living with her father, 81, and her two daughters Fannie A. (23) and Sarah (16) in Johnston’s District, Monroe County. We have no record of her death or burial place. She may have moved away with one of her daughters when they married. The History of Monroe County states that there are many unmarked graves in the Potts cemetery where Mahlon is buried. We can probably assume that William E and his daughter Jane Adaline are buried there as well.

I copied this will from the archives in the basement of the Tallapoosa County courthouse in Dadeville, AL


I A J Wilkinson being of sound mind but afflicted in body do here by make and constitute this my last will and testament revoking all others. And the first I grant all my just debts paid and after that I grant my beloved wife Jane Adaline to have full control of the remainder of my estate during her lifetime or widowhood. I also grant my said wife Jane Adaline to buy or sell and dispose of any of my estate just as suits her during her lifetime or widowhood. And the second, in case my wife Jane Adaline marrys I want all my esate equally divided between her and Amarintha Francis Wilkerson and Sara Wilkerson my two children. And third I grant all my perishable property and land sold and if that should not be enough to pay off all my just debts, sell enough other property to pay off said debts. I also leave N. G. Hjamond muy executor to carry out my last will and testament. Witness thereof of the said A J Wilkerson have hereunto set my hand and seal this November the 6th 1855.

A Burns (mark)
N. G. Hammond (brother in law – married to his sister Mary Ann – this young couple were also living in the area at the time)

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