My Wilson Family

My Wilson Family

First Generation

I have been able to trace my Wilson family back to Robert King Wilson, my great-great-great grandfather. Although he was a prominent citizen in Rutherford Co NC, I have not been able to determine who his parents were. I have heard some speculation that the family was once in Pennsylvania and that it traveled along the Great Wagon Road through the Shenandoah Valley to reach North Carolina. The person who seems most likely to be the next step back once lived in the Warren Co NC area, and that location makes sense with the Pennsylvania account.

As I worked on this line I sifted through every original record from Rutherford Co NC in the North Carolina State Archives, as well as secondary sources and microfilmed records. From my notes I compiled a database of every reference to Wilsons in the county. I extracted the records that relate to Robert King Wilson and prepared a narrative of his life as revealed by those records. I also gathered all records that relate to Mumford Wilson, the most likely candidate to have been his father (assuming that the father was also in the general area of Rutherford County). At this time all I can say is that Mumford very well may have been Robert King's father, but there is no solid proof. Circumstantial proof is very heavy in favor of the relationship.

Robert King Wilson was born about 1780, possibly in Mecklenburg Co NC. He lived most of his life in Rutherford Co NC, where he died 24 Feb 1856 and was buried in the old Concord Baptist Church Cemetery, Bostic, NC. He married 1st on or about 28 May 1801 in Yorkville (now York), York Co SC Nancy Beatty. Nancy's mother, Elizabeth Beatty, signed the marriage bond. This probably indicates that Nancy's father was dead. Her father was William Beatty, an Irish merchant who apparently made several trips between Ireland and South Carolina before settling there.

The 1810 census is claimed to be set out alphabetically, although it is not completely alphabetical. The surnames are grouped together under the first letter of the surname, but that is the extent of the alphabetical nature of the listings. Robert K. is the only Wilson found on page 454 of the census; he is listed as age 26-45 (born 1765-1784). There are three females in the home—one age 45 or over and two under age 10. The older female could be his wife, but I think the age is too old for her. She may have died and this may be his mother, but I don't believe Nancy was dead by 1810. The younger females included his daughter Eliza R. and, according to family information, Cynthia D. But according to her tombstone she was born in 1817, not 1802 as family tradition claims.

Page 459 contains another entry for Robert K.—the only Robert K. in Rutherford County at that time, so this must be a duplicate entry. (This census once made me think that there were two Robert K. Wilsons in the area, but further research has shown otherwise.) However, this entry has different and more understandable information. Robert K. and one female are both age 26-45, and this fits for him and his wife. There are two females and four males under age 10. Again, the females were Cynthia D. and Eliza R. The males were probably Jonathan Beaty, William Alonzo, Orville McKee and Samuel P. or James L.

Immediately after Robert King's listing is Hartwell Wilson, age 26-45 and after him is Angeline Wilson, age 45 or older. Mumford Wilson had married Angelico Battle in old Tryon County in 1778, and Angeline is surely his widow. County court minutes show that Mumford had died between October 1806 and January 1807. Angelico had a brother named Hartwell, so Hartwell Wilson must be her son. He is in the same age range as Robert K. and could be his brother. Hartwell married Nancy Gear in 1807 and his entry shows two males under age 10. Other Wilsons are scattered throughout the "W" listing of the census, so I believe that this group belongs together. There was another entry for Hartwell on page 456, so it seems clear that this census was taken somewhat haphazardly. I believe that the first Robert K. entry shows his mother and two daughters and that the second correctly shows his family, with his brother and mother living nearby. Perhaps further research will solve this puzzle.

The 1820 census was more straightforward for Robert King than 1810 had been.  He was again listed between ages 26 and 45 (born 1775-1794) and there was a female aged 45 or older with him (born 1775 or before). There were two males aged 16-26, one of whom was in the 16-18 age range. These would be Jonathan Beatty and William Alonzo. Two females and one male were in the 10-16 age range—probably Cynthia D., Eliza R. and Orville M. In the under age 10 range were three females and two males. Adaline was one of the females and one of the males was probably James L. He had three persons engaged in agriculture and one in manufactures. Robert King was still listed in the Cane Creek, 2nd Broad River area.

The 1830 census, Cane Creek district, listed Robert K. as between ages 40 and 50, thus indicating years of birth between 1780 and 1790. In his household were one female age 20-30 (Cynthia or Eliza), one female 15-20 (Adaline), one male 15-20 (James L.?), and two females 10-15. Also on the same page were Orvile Wilson, age 20-30, Daniel Wilson, age 40-50 (or 90-100, unless this was someone else in the household), and William A. Wilson, age 20-30. Taken together with the two previous censuses, it appears that Robert King was not born as early as 1775 as his tombstone suggests, but that he was born between 1780 and 1784. I tend to think he was born in either 1780 or 1781.

Robert King Wilson and Nancy Beatty had at least four and more likely from seven to eleven children:

  1. Jonathan Beatty Wilson—perhaps the first born, about 1802.
  2. William Alonzo Wilson
  3. Eliza R. Wilson
  4. Orville McKee Wilson—perhaps born between 1801 and 1810. He moved to MS, perhaps around 1831. He was in the 1850 Carroll Co MS census.
  5. male  Wilson—born 1810-1815. Perhaps James L. Wilson. In 1832 James L. and Orville sought execution in a case against John H. Alley. Robert King signed an acknowledgement that the judgment had been satisfied. The only Wilson case against Alley had been filed earlier by Robert King.
  6. female Wilson—born 1801-1810.
  7. Adaline Wilson—born 4 Oct 1812 and died 7 Aug 1872. She married William Overton Wallace, who was born 4 Feb 1810 and died 17 Jul 1900. They are buried in the Rutherfordton City Cemetery, Sec. 1.
  8. male Wilson—born 1810-1815.
  9. male Wilson—born 1810-1815. Perhaps Samuel P. Wilson.
  10. Cynthia D. (Dix) Wilson
  11. female Wilson (?)—born 1815-1820.

Family tradition that I have gleaned from attending the Wilson reunion in Forest City, NC, recognizes William Alonzo and the three girls. My research has led me to conclude that they had other sons as well. The 1810 Rutherford Co NC census seems to list this family twice, and the second listing may be the accurate one. It shows two female and four male children under age 10 in the home. Nancy Beatty had a brother named Jonathan and there are records in Rutherford Co NC for a Jonathan Beatty Wilson. I am convinced that they named a son after her brother. One fact that supports this conclusion is that Jonathan B. Wilson was bondsman for the marriage of Eliza R. Wilson, the eldest daughter, and Joseph C. Grayson on 23 Jan 1827. He was also bondsman for the 6 Aug 1824 marriage of Elias Moorhead and Sally Fortune. This item tends to establish his age – he should have been 21 years old and therefore born by 1803. He was very likely the eldest child, because he witnessed a deed from Robert Johnston to Robert K. Wilson in Apr 1823indicating a year of birth around 1802. Jonathan also served as a patroller in Capt. Deck's Company in Feb 1824.

On 29 Oct 1830 Rev. Alfred Webb performed the marriage of Robert King Wilson and Susanna McArthur, daughter of Thomas Roberts. She was the widow of John McArthur, and Robert King had been one of the justices chosen to allot her year's support in July 1828.

Robert King Wilson did not appear in the 1840 census. I have examined the Rutherford Co NC census and have looked in nearby states as well, but I have found no trace of him in that year. He was last in the census in 1850. He was in the Roberson's Creek District and was a farmer. His age was given as 69, indicating that he was born about 1781. He and all his family were born in North Carolina. Susanah was age 56 and their children were P. K. (actually Perry R.) age 19, Joseph age 16, Jane age 14, George age 12 and Martin age 10.

Robert King Wilson and Susanna Roberts McArthur had five children:

  1. Perry R. Wilson—born in 1832 and died Sept 1862 of wounds received at Shepherdstown, MD.
  2. Joseph Wilson—born in 1835.
  3. Jane A. Wilson
  4. George D. Wilson—born 1838 and died 1 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.
  5. Martin V. (or B.) Wilson—born 1840 and died about 1 Jan 1864.


Second Generation

William Alonzo "Lindsey" Wilson was born 6 Mar 1803 to Robert King Wilson and Nancy Beatty; he died 1 Dec 1877. On 30 Sep 1826 in Rutherford Co NC he married Sarah Elvira Freeman, who was born 29 Oct 1808 and died 8 Apr 1894. Both are buried in the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Cemetery, Rutherford Co NC. 

The 1830 Rutherford Co NC census was the first to list William A. Wilson by name. He and a female were in the 20-30 age range and they had two males under age 5. The 1840 census does not list him; taken together his the absence of his father in that census I suspect that their neighborhood was omitted. In 1850 his family was in the Cain Creek District of Rutherford County. William was age 47, wife Sarah was age 42, son W. B. was 21, Hamblen was 19, Nathan (Athen) was 17, Martha was 15, Robert was 13, Sarah was 11, Margaret (Meredith—a son) was 9 but listed as a female, Susan was 7, Joseph was 5 and Alpha was 3. The 1860 census, Flint Hill District, Oak Spring Post Office, listed Linsy as age 57 and a house carpenter; Sarah was age 52; Athen was age 25 and a farm laborer; Robert was age 22 and also a farm laborer; Decatur (now a male) was 17; Susan, 16; Joseph, 14, Alpha, 12; and Mary, 8.

The 1870 census, Logan Store District, listed William A. as "Clinsa." He was age 66 and worked as a carpenter and mechanic. Sarah E. was age 62 and their children were Maridah D., 24 and farming; Susan, 20; and Mary, 18. Nancy Mints, 5, was also living with them. The 1880 census listed Sarah, age 78 and a widow, in Golden Valley Township. Also in the home were son Meredith D., age 37 and farming; daughter Mary D., age 21; and Mary N. Mints, age 18 and an orphan boarding in the home.

William Alonzo Wilson and Sarah Elvira Freeman had twelve children:

  1. William B. Wilson—born about 1829.
  2. Hamblen Burgin Wilson
  3. Athen E. Wilson
  4. Martha Lou Wilson
  5. Robert Knox Wilson
  6. Sarah Ann Wilson
  7. Meredith Decatur "Dick" Wilson
  8. Susan Angeline Wilson
  9. Joseph Grayson Wilson
  10. Alphia F. Wilson
  11. Mary Wilson
  12. Lawson Wilson—apparently died in childhood.


Second Generation

Eliza R. Wilson was born 4 Nov 1804 to Robert King Wilson and Nancy Beatty; she died 31 Dec 1856. On 23 Jan 1827 she married Rev. Joseph C. Grayson, who was born 13 Jan 1804 to Benjamin Grayson and Hannah Melton; he died 23 Apr 1884. They are buried in the Harmony Grove Baptist Cemetery, McDowell Co NC. They had ten children:

  1. Jonathan Baty Grayson—born about 1830.
  2. Elizabeth A. Grayson—born about 1832.
  3. ? Grayson—born about 1834.
  4. Mary J. Grayson—born about 1836.
  5. Margaret E. Grayson—born about 1838. A tombstone in Sec. 1 of the Rutherfordton City Cemetery is for  Emma Grayson Wallace, born June 9, 1837 and died February 18, 1914, (second) wife of William Overton Wallace. This may be Margaret E. William Overton Wallace had first married Adaline Wilson, Margaret E. Grayson's aunt.
  6. Fatima E. Grayson—3 Mar 1840 and died 17 Jul 1918. She married R. P. Howard. She is buried in Sec. 1, Rutherfordton City Cemetery.
  7. Joseph W. Grayson—born about 1842.
  8. Louise C. Grayson—born about 1844.
  9. Alfred F. Grayson—born about 1846.
  10. Albert L. Grayson—born 7 Jul 1849 and died 12 Aug 1917. He married Jimmie Justice, who was born 11 Sep 1861 and died 21 Dec 1929. They are buried in Sec. 1, Rutherfordton City Cemetery.


Second Generation

Cynthia Dix Wilson was reportedly born in 1802, but her tombstone says 9 Nov 1817; she died 18 Aug 1870. On 25 Apr 1835 she married James Hines Carpenter, who was born 22 Dec 1809 to Kinchen Carpenter and Anna Baber; he died 3 Jun 1889. They are buried in the Floyd's Creek Baptist Cemetery, Rutherford Co NC. They had four children:

  1. Jonathan Beattie Carpenter
  2. Asinath "Abi" Carpenter
  3. Texas Carpenter
  4. Missouri Carpenter


Second Generation

Jane A. Wilson was born 3 Jul 1835 to Robert King Wilson and Susanna Roberts McArthur; she died 3 Dec 1896. On 3 Nov 1865 she married Andrew J. Green, who was born 5 Mar 1837 and died 12 Jun 1917. Both are buried in the Concord Baptist Church Cemetery, Bostic, Rutherford Co NC. They had four children:

  1. Marion Jackson Green
  2. Samantha Jane Green—born 4 Mar 1869 and died 17 Dec 1946. She is buried in the Concord Baptist Church Cemetery, Bostic, Rutherford Co NC. She married (given name unknown) Horn.
  3. Decatur Washington Green—born 14 Jul 1871 and died 3 Aug 1963. He is buried in the Cliffside Cemetery, Rutherford Co NC.
  4. Lillie Green—born 14 Sep 1884 and died 3 Nov 1971. She is buried in the Trinity Baptist Church Cemetery, Rutherford Co NC. She married (given name unknown) Harris.




Last Updated Tuesday, July 11, 2000 07:59 PM