John Wilks & Elizabeth Mead in Bedford Co., VA

John Wilks (Sr.) (ca1734-aft1806) and wife Elizabeth Mead emigrated by 1772 from Loudoun Co., VA, and by 1 Mar 1773 were in Bedford Co., VA. Their son Samuel Wilkes later said on his Revolutionary Pension application that he was brought to Bedford Co. by his parents as a young boy.

John Wilks was granted land 1773 in Bedford Co., 263 acres on Amos Creek, by Lord Dunmore, Governor General of the Colony of Virginia. Grant Book Book I, p. 187.

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He witnessed a deed on 2 Mar 1778 at Bedford Co., VA.

  Bedford Co. Court House, Bedford, VA, is on such a steep hilly lot that the back of the building is two stories lower than the front.
Bedford is a very scenic area about midway between Lynchburg to the east (in the Shenandoah Valley) and the Peaks of Otter at Blue Ridge National Parkway to the west (on Hwy. 221). Interstate 81 in this portion of the State is West of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Farmers needed a cash crop. On the frontier, produce would not stay fresh long enough to take to market, from where it could be shipped to the Tidewater. Corn could be turned into money by distilling its juice into corn liquor and rolling it to market in barrels behind a team of horses, just as tobacco had been earlier when it was used as legal tender. The nearest good place to sell was Lynchburg.

Of course, the new federal government decided taxing this farm crop would bring needed revenue into its minimal coffers. This threat to the frontiersmen's survival coined the term "revenuers," and the "Whiskey Rebellion" in western Pennsylvania in 1791 began as a means of self-defense. Small producers were taxed more per gallon than large producers, so they rebelled, and the federal government decided to quell the rebellion, make it a testing ground for federal authority.

The accounts of John and Elizabeth's grandson Henry Wilkes, son of Samuel, who stayed in Bedford Co., are very interesting and include sales of whiskey by the quart, gallon, and keg. The kinfolks who left Bedford for Lauderdale Co., AL, wrote many letters to Henry telling him to collect their debts and send them money owed to them by various neighbors, sell livestock, furniture, books and other items left behind.

John and Elizabeth raised a large family. They gave their son Samuel Wilks a gift deed in 1784 "for the love, good will, and affection we do bear our well beloved son," for 80 acres on S. side of Blackwater Rd. in Bedford Co. Their other sons moved SW to Franklin, Patrick, and Grayson Cos., VA. Samuel and John's father-in-law Conrad Newman had moved SW across the Blue Ridge to Grayson Co. When he died, they and their wives inherited a portion of his land there. Samuel owned land in both Bedford and Grayson Cos., which he allocated to his children, but Samuel lived out his days back in Bedford, dying in 1837. Their son Francis Wilks moved to Franklin and Patrick Cos., VA, and then to Lawrence Co., OH, on the Ohio River a few miles west of the corner of Kentucky and (now) West Virginia on the River.


Oglethorpe Co., Georgia

John Wilks (Sr.), his wife Elizabeth, their son Benjamin, his wife Sarah Osborne, and their family immigrated before 21 Feb 1793 to Oglethorpe Co., GA. There John bought 50 acres on Long Creek, and 60 acres more on Long Creek 3 Jan 1801 on 31 Dec 1799. He and Benjamin appeared on the census of 1800 at Capt. Thomas's Dist., Oglethorpe Co., GA.

Oglethorpe Co. was created in 1793 from part of Wilkes Co., which was one of several states' counties named for John Wilkes, a noted member of the British Parliament who, before the Revolution, had argued unsuccessfully for more self-government by the Colonies. Oglethorpe's County seat is Lexington, a small lovely historic town with towering ancient magnolia trees, fragrantly blooming when I visited the court house 20-some years ago. I had written the County Clerk requesting some copies; but I learned that the County Clerk was the only clerk. The probate judge kindly allowed me to go into his vault and look for what I wanted to copy. Very courteous people.

John and Benjamin Wilks drew lots in the Georgia Land Lottery of 1805, when lands ceded by the Indians were distributed; the 1805 lottery is unique in that names of all participants were preserved, not just the successful draws.

Jesse Wilks also drew. John drew once, indicating he was a free white single male at least 21; Benjamin drew twice, both blanks; and Jesse drew twice, one was blank and one was a prize of 2021/2 acres in Richmond Co., for which he would've paid a grant fee of $12.15. Benjamin's son John was probably not yet 21 in 1805 at GA.

John Wilks (Sr.) is presumed to have died after 1806? at Oglethorpe Co., GA. The death of his wife Elizabeth is unknown, but both signed a deed in 1795. Neither left a will or estate record ~ and of course today we try to avoid probate.

Children of John and Elizabeth (individual pages follow):

 1.1 Francis Wilks was born between 1759 and 1760 at Loudoun Co., VA.

1.2 NameUnknown Wilks son was born circa 1761? at Loudoun Co., VA. He married Sarah Bertrum before 1780? at VA. He died circa 1794.

1.3 Benjamin Wilks was born in 1762 at Loudoun Co., VA. He married Sarah Osborn circa 1784 at VA. Moved to Oglethorpe Co., GA, with his parents.

1.4 Samuel Wilks (a Revolutionary soldier and pensioner) was born on 24 Oct 1764 at Loudoun Co., VA. He and his brother John (Jr.) married sisters, Elizabeth and Barbary Newman, daughters of Conrad Newman and Anna Brubeck from Germany. His 2nd wife Margaret Witt drew a Revolutionary Widow's pension.

1.5 Ann Wilks was also known as Elizabeth Ann Wilks. She was born in 1768. She married Allen Melton Sr., son of Absolom Melton, on 25 Jan 1787 at Bedford Co., VA, and had four children by 1797 in Bedford Co. She died before 27 Mar 1801 at VA.

1.6 Sally Wilks born in 1774 at Bedford Co., VA, is an assumed daughter. She married James Newman, who may have been a son of Nimrod Newman and Sarah Arthur, on 4 Dec 1794 at Bedford Co., VA. Nothing more known.

1.7 John Wilks Jr. was born circa 1775 at Bedford Co., VA. He married Barbary Newman, daughter of Conrad Newman and Anna Margaretta Brubeck, on 1 Sep 1795 at Bedford Co., VA. He and Barbary Newman immigrated on 7 Mar 1818 to to Lauderdale Co., AL. They immigrated on 1 Nov 1835 to the Chickasaw Purchase, Yalobusha Co., MS., no doubt by way of the Natchez Trace. He died in Jan 1836 at Yalobusha Co., MS. Their move and their deaths were reported in a letter from his nephew Samuel Newman Wilks (son of Samuel) to Henry Wilks in Bedford Co., VA.

1.8 Amos Wilks Sr. was born circa 1777 at Bedford Co., VA. He lived in 1794 at Chester Co., SC. He lived between 1796 and 1798 at Oglethorpe Co., GA. He married Elizabeth "Betsy" Killough, daughter of Allen Killough, on 30 Sep 1796 at Oglethorpe Co., GA. Moved to Maury Co., TN, awaiting the Chickasaw Purchase; ran a trading post on the Natchez Trace (Military Road); lived in Lauderdale Co., AL; then moved 1844 to Lawrence Co., MO. He died He left a will on 20 Jun 1846 at Lawrence Co., MO. He appeared on the census of 15 Oct 1850 at 47th Dist, Lawrence Co., OH. He died between 15 Oct 1850 and 31 Oct 1850 at Lawrence Co., MO.

1.9 Rachel Wilks was born circa 1778? at Bedford Co., VA. Nothing more known.

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