THE WILSONS of early Pleasant Hill came of Irish and French Huguenot ancestry. Their forebears fled, as did the ancestors of numerous others of our history, from the persecutions visited upon those of Protestant faith in France following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. They, as did the early Lewises and Collards, found refuge in Ireland, where the various families sojourned for a long period of time.
David Wilson was the first of this branch of the Wilson family to locate in Pike county, Illinois. He came to what is now Pleasant Hill township in 1834, crossing over from Lincoln county (Mo.) In the midst of a howling December blizzard which set in shortly after the departure from Union township, in Lincoln county. With him in the covered wagon that carried the family possessions into the wilds of Pike county rode his young wife, formerly Isaphena Collard, daughter of Kentucky and Missouri border pioneers.
David Wilson (the name is frequently spelled Willson in the early records) married Isaphena Collard at Troy, Missouri, December 3, 1834, with E. H. Powers, a Lincoln county justice of the peace, officiating. She was the second child of John Collard, son of Joseph of the Revolution. Her mother was Lydia Cannon, daughter of James Cannon of the Revolution. Isaphena was a younger sister of Felix Alver Collard, whose history has been recited, and an older sister of John J. Collard, a former clerk of the Pike county (Ill.) court.
Isaphena Collard was born in Christian county, Kentucky, July 18, 1813. When she was four years old she came with her parents to the Missouri border, to what is now Lincoln county. This was early in 1818. Illinois and Missouri were still wild territories, although statehood was being talked in the scattered settlements of Illinois.
Isaphena lost her father when she was not yet five. He was killed when a team of horses ran away, soon after he arrived on the Missouri border from Kentucky. His death occurred June 18, 1818. Records of the administration of his estate are in the archives of the probate court of Lincoln county, Missouri.
Isaphena and her younger sister and elder brother, Rachel and Felix Alver, were housed for a time in the home of their uncle, Charles Collard, an early minister of the Baptist church in Missouri. Their mother later (probably late in 1819 or early in 1820) married Isaac L. Thurman, member of a family from which are descended the present Thurman (Thurmon) families in Pike county. Note: There is some confusion in the records respecting Lydia Cannon Collard's second marriage, some claiming that she married Isaac Newton Collard (said by some Collard descendants to have been a brother of Lydia's first husband), prior to her marriage to Isaac L. Thurman. Family records indicate that Mart (Polly) Little Thurman, first child of Lydia's marriage to Isaac Thurman (and second wife of Elder David Hubbard, noted early day Baptist preacher at Martinsburg and Pleasant Hill), was born in 1820, although Missouri court records late in 1820 were still referring to Lydia as Mrs. Lydia Collard, a summons in connection with a matter pertaining to the John Collard estate being so addressed.
David Wilson, Pleasant Hill pioneer, was born January 12, 1811. His parents had come over from Ireland in 1808, in one of the slow sailing vessels of those days. After a brief stay in the south, they settled on the Missouri border, in what is now Lincoln county. This was several years before the Indian war which was waged on the Missouri frontier at the time of the second war with Britain.
David Wilson's brother, James Wilson, noted school teacher on the Missouri frontier, had been born in Ireland about 1793 and had crossed to America with his parents. He died at Auburn, Missouri, at the age of 97.
The Wilsons in Missouri were closely associated with the Sittons of Tennessee, the Virginia Lewises and Porters, the Cannons and Gibsons. The David Porters, who later settled in Pike county, Illinois, were near neighbors of the Wilson family in Missouri. All of the families mentioned became more closely associated through intermarriages.
James M. Wilson, son of the elder James, on April 19, 1832, in Lincoln county, Missouri, married Nancy Lewis, daughter of James Lewis, the early miller who died in Lincoln county in 1825. James Lewis was a kinsman of Samuel Hardin Lewis. Both settled in Missouri Territory in a very early day. The James Lewis children were Elizabeth Bean, Nancy, John, Fielding, James, Lemuel, Zachariah and Isaphenia (or Suphenia). The latter name appears in an old court record of the James Lewis estate as "Icefenia." Their mother, a niece of Daniel Boone, was a sister of Dinah Boone (Mrs. Zachariah "Boone" Allen), who is buried in French cemetery, near Milton.
Interesting records found among papers pertaining to the James Lewis estate suggest that he financed numerous of the hard-pressed Rangers in the Indian war of 1812-1815. A number of promissory notes payable to James Lewis, signed by various Rangers, mostly by mark, were in each instance promises to pay the stipulated amounts upon "first payment of Capt. Jim Callaway's company of Rangers in this Territory, as witness my hand," etc. These notes are dated in the year 1814. (See story of Colonel John Shaw in early chapters of this history.)
The Galloway family appears to have been closely associated with the family of James Lewis, as it was with that of Samuel Hardin Lewis. Names of various Galloways appear in the papers pertaining to the James Lewis estate, as do also the names of various Sittons. William Sitton was appraiser of a note on Alexander McNair, drawn in favor of James Lewis. McNair was one of the noted men of the Territory. Among bidders at the sale of James Lewis's personal property on July 27, 1825, were James, Samuel, Charles, Elijah and Peter Galloway, all of whom were sons of the elder James Galloway, from whom all of the Pike county Galloways are descended.
Records of Nancy Wilson's estate, following her death in 1867, show that she left surviving her the following children: Elizabeth E. Wilson, Margaret Gladney, Robert Wilson, Caroline Finley, David Wilson, A. K. and William T. Wilson. A deceased daughter apparently had married one of the Sittons, as among the heirs of Nancy Wilson are named James G., John W. and Jerome B. Sitton.
The Wilson and Sitton families were otherwise related by marriage. Joseph W. Sitton, a grandson of Joseph of the Revolution (father of Jesse Sitton, early Detroit minister), married Catherine Wilson (sister of David Wilson) in Lincoln county September 15, 1829.
The Wilsons and Porters, who intermarried in Pike county, were also intermarried back in Missouri, where Alexander Wilson, on March 1, 1836, married Elizabeth Porter, with Lawrence B. Sitton, Lincoln county justice of the peace, officiating.
The early Wilsons were related also to the great Woodson family, with which so many Pike county families are connected in various degrees, notably the Lewises, Porters, Tuckers, Cannons, Turpins and Venables.
Dr. John Woodson was the emigrant ancestor of this large and influential family which has produced so many worthy citizens. He came over to Virginia in the ship George in 1619, as surgeon to a company of British soldiers, and became one of the founders of the Virginia Colony.
This progenitor of a distinguished family was of English origin, the name in Old England being spelled Woodeson, possibly a corruption of the Saxon name of Wodeson. The arms, as preserved in the family, indicate they belonged to the Woodesons seated in Devonshire.
Dr. John Woodson was a native of Dorsetshire. He brought his wife with him to America. Her name is not known. They settled at "Fleur de Hundred," where probably their two sons, John and Robert, were born. She was a typical woman of the frontier, of heroic mold. Thrilling battles in the wilderness are related wherein she played the stellar role. One day, during an absence of her husband, assisted by one Robert Ligon (probably an ancestor of the Ligons of Lincoln county, Missouri, and Pike county, Illinois), she resisted an attack by Indians, killing nine. She loaded the gun while Ligon fired. Hearing a noise up the chimney of her cabin, she threw her bed upon the coals in the fireplace. The stifling smoke brought down two Indians. She killed both of them. Her sons, hidden in the potato hole, were saved. The two sons, John and Robert, whose lives were thus preserved, married early, and their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren married into the families of the leading colonists of the day, the Lewises, Porters, Tuckers, Cannons, Randolphs, Jeffersons, Cabells, Turpins, Venables and others.
John, eldest of the two sons, married and had a son John, who married Mary, daughter of Captain Samuel Tucker, master of the ship, Pine Tree. These Tuckers, whose kin two centuries later began settling in the west, some of them in Pike county, descended from the emigrant, Andrew Tucker, who pioneered in the Massachusetts colony.
One of the John Woodson descendants, Charles Sampson, married Anne Porter, of English and Huguenot lineage, daughter of Captain Thomas Porter and his wife, Elizabeth DuTois, daughter of Pierre DuTois and wife, Barbara DeBonnett, refugees from France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. This Anne Porter Sampson, following the death of her husband, married again, her second husband being Joseph Lewis, Sr., son of William Lewis and Elizabeth Woodson, and great grandson of John Lewis of Henrico (Henrico county, Virginia), of whom mention has been made in former chapters.
Anne Porter's daughter, Elizabeth Barbara Sampson, married Captain George RoBards, of Revolutionary fame, who when a lad of 16 ran away from home and enlisted in the 4th Virginia Regiment, Continental Line, as a private for three years. He was made sergeant in 1780, afterwards lieutenant. Serving under LaFayette at Yorktown, he was promoted to a captaincy in recognition of gallantry in battle. At Camden, his brother, William RoBards, was severely wounded at his side; at Cowpens he carried from the field a wounded comrade upon his back.
Captain RoBards was a son of William RoBards and Elizabeth Lewis, who were the great grandparents of John Lewis RoBards, so well known in the history of Hannibal, Missouri. Elizabeth Lewis RoBards was a daughter of that Joseph Lewis who was a son of William and Elizabeth, she a daughter of the Colonel Robert Woodson who was one of the two brothers who hid in the potato pit when their mother defended the home against Indian attack.
The Tucker family of above reference, of whom there are numerous descendants here in the west, evidently issued from the ancient Scotch family of that name, the various branches descending from three emigrant brothers, who came from Dundee, one of whom settled in South Carolina, one in Virginia and the third in Massachusetts. In their mother country they were a maritime people, as shown by their coat of arms: seahorses upon the shield, with a demi-seahorse for a crest. In this country, in the early years of settlement, they seem to have taken naturally to the sea and for many years were known as shipbuilders and merchantmen, owning and sailing their own craft and carrying on a lively trade between the colonies and the West Indies and the mother country.
Thomas Porter of above reference was a son of Thomas and his wife, Mary Kemp (Robards family record), and among his children was numbered Francis Marion Porter. From wills, county and parish records, Thomas Porter, Sr. is supposed to have been a son of John Porter and his wife Margaret, who was a daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Willoughby and wife, Margaret Herbert.
Robert Woodson, second son of the emigrant Woodson and his Indian-fighting spouse, married Elizabeth Ferris and had several children, among whom were Robert, who married Sarah Lewis; Joseph, who married his cousin, Mary, daughter of John Woodson and Mary Tucker; Elizabeth, who married William Lewis (grandson of John Lewis of Henrico); Judith, who married William Cannon (of the family to which belonged Isaphena Collard Wilson's mother), and Benjamin, who married Sarah Porter.
Sarah Porter, who married Benjamin Woodson, was a member of the Virginia branch of the Porter family, established by William and John Porter, large patentees of lands in Virginia, in Cumberlain and Henrico counties and in Rockbridge county, where descendants of this line are later found. David Porter, 1836 settler in Newburg township, whence he came with his family from Lincoln county, Missouri, belonged to the Rockbridge county (Va.) branch of the family.
The English Porters are all descended from William de la Grande, who came over with William the Conqueror ("Americans of Gentle Birth and Their Ancestors"). William de la Grande's son Roger (or Ralph) was Grand Porteur to Henry I, whence comes the name. Lands were awarded William Le Grande by the Conqueror in Kenilworth, near Warwick. In succeeding centuries the family spread to various parts of England and in the 17thcentury joined the adventurers of the period who were emigrating to America. The first of these Porter emigrants were descendants of John Porter, born 1590 in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, at Wraxhall Abbey.
Thus, briefly, is shown the far-flung connections of the Wilson family to which belonged David Wilson, Pike county pioneer and husband of Isaphena Collard.
To David Wilson and Isaphena Collard were born (in Pike county) the following children: John D., Washington J., Nancy E., William Riley, Lydia E., Mary K., Erastus E. and Margaret C. Wilson, of whom further notice in the succeeding chapter.