Updated June 17, 2014
Wilkes County was formed in 1777 from Surry and the District of Washington. The act was to become effective February 15, 1778. It was named in honor of John Wilkes who was a violent opponent of the Tory party in England. He was not allowed to take his seat in Parliament to which he had been elected. The Americans imagined that he was suffering in the cause of liberty and named this county in his honor. It is in the northwestern section of the state and is bounded by Yadkin, Iredell, Alexander, Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany and Surry counties.
In 1795 an act was passed naming new commissioners to select a site for the erection of a courthouse, pillory and stocks. It also named commissioners to purchase fifty acres of land on which to lay out a town and to erect public buildings. By 1801 Wilkesborough had been laid out at the courthouse. In 1823 an act was passed authorizing a new courthouse to be erected on the public square in Wilkesboro. Wilkesboro is the county seat.
The GILLIAMs of Wilkes County, NC should not be confused with the GILLIAMs of Wilkes County, GA. The GILLIAMs of Wilkes County, GA include William GILLIAM, Jr., son of William and Mary Jarratt GILLIAM and Peter GILLIAM who married Ann Heard.
Two groups of GILLIAMs settled for a time in Wilkes County, NC. One was the line of Rev. Epaphroditus GILLIAM of Albemarle County, VA, son of John GILLIAM and Elizabeth Murrell, his wife. Epaphroditus was in Wilkes as early as 1787. He appears in the 1790 Census in the Morgan District. In 1800 Epaphroditus may be found in the Morgan District of Buncombe County.
The line of Rev. William GILLIAM who left his will in Wilkes in 1831 is the second group of GILLIAMs who settled in Wilkes. Though Epaphroditus above had a brother William, it does not appear that Rev. William is closely related to Epaphroditus and his brother William.
1 male > 16
1 male <16
[Paphrodite should read Epaphroditus]
Morgan, Wilkes, North Carolina
Free White Males Under 10: 2 (Richard and _____)
Free White Males 10 to 15: 2 (Thomas and ______)
Free White Males 45 and Over : 1 (William)
Free White Females Under 10 : 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Females 10 to 15 : 2 (Lucy and Sarah)
Free White Females 26 to 44 : 1 (Mary)
[It appears that this William Gilliam is in Halifax County, NC prior to removing to Wilkes County]
Wilkesborough, Wilkes, North Carolina
Free White Males Under 10: 1 (Elisha Bagby)
Free White Males 10 to 15: 1 (Richard)
Free White Males 16 to 25: 1
Free White Males 26 to 44: 1
Free White Males 45 and Over: 1 (William)
Free White Females 10 to 15: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Females 16 to 25: 2 (Lucy and Sarah)
Free White Females 45 and Over: 1 (Mary)
Wilkes, North Carolina
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Males - 10 thru 15: 1 (Elisha Bagby)
Free White Males - 26 thru 44: 1 (Richard?)
Free White Males - 45 and over: 1 (William)
Free White Females - 16 thru 25: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Females - 26 thru 44: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Females - 45 and over: 1 (Mary)
Wilkes, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 60 thru 69: 1 (William)
Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 60 thru 69: 1 (Mary)
[William dies shortly after the 1830 census]
April 1793, page 420
Between Robert Kirkpatrick, Burke County, NC and Hezekiah Sturtton, 70 lbs, 100 ac., S. side of Yadkin river . . . s. side mountain.
Wit Benjamin Coffey, George _____ and Epaphroditus GILLIAM
Signed Robert Kirkpatrick.
5 Nov 1799, page 812
Between Iles I. Denny and William Bagley, 40 lbs, __ ac. Lower fork Brier Creek. . . Mill path.
Wit John Bagby, William GILLIAM, & James Henderson
Signed Ilis I. Denny.
2 Dec 1799, page 830
Between Thomas Green and William GILLIAM 107 lbs, 10 shillings, 270 ac, Swan Creek near Boland Cabbin. . . Benjamin Herndons line
Wit Meredith Thurmond, Thomas Benge, Junr, Thomas Benge, Senr.
Signed Thomas Green
16 Jan 1800, page 824
Between John London and William GILLIAM, 30 lbs, 130 ac. William GILLIAM line. . . Thomas Thurmonds line
Wit Meredith Thurmond, Thomas Green, and Abel Sparks
Signed John London
31 Jan 1800, page 828
Between John Martin & John Bagby. . . and Thomas Green, 50 lbs, 175 ac, W. fork Swan Creek. . . Thomas Becknells line.
Wit John Martin, William (x) GILLIAM & Thomas Martin,
Signed John Martin and John Bagby.
1 Feb 1800, page 833
Between Thomas Benge and John Martain, 30 lbs, 100 ac, Waters Swan Creek . . . William GILLIAMs corner , , , John Martains corner . . . John Londons line
Wit John Martin, James Gray & William (x) Bagby
Signed Thomas Benge.
16 Jul 1800, page 644
Between David Witherspoon and James Henderson . . . $40, 50 ac, S fork Swan Creek at the old Muster Ground . . . Waggon Road . . . James Hunts corner . . . John Reddings line . . . William GILLIAMs line
Wit John London, James B. Meredith and Nancy (x) Meredith.
Signed David Witherspoon.
6 Dec 1800, pages 353-354
Between John Martin and Elisha Usten, 200 lbs, 370 ac, Isaac Martins corner . . . his own line. . . forks path James Grays line. . . where a little cabbin formerly stood . . . head Race path.
Wit Samuel Gray, John Bagby William GILLIAM.
Signed John Martin.
6 Dec 1802, page 357
Between John Martin and Elisha Usten . . . 20 lbs, 100 ac, . . . Grays Creek . . . James Grays corner.
Wit Samuel Gray, John Bagby, and William GILLIAM
Signed John Martin.
31 Aug 1807, page 498
Between Andrew Kaneday and John GILLIAM . . .1 cent, 200 ac, Big Bagaboo.
Wit John Keneday
Signed Andrew Keneday.
17 Nov 1807, page 221
Between Larkin and Isaac Cook and Fielder Lowe, $60, 100 ac, waters Swan Creek . . . Thomas Benges line.
Wit John GILLIAM, John Brown and Richard Cook
Signed Larkin Cook and Isaac Cook.
21 Jan 1811
Between Thomas Benge and John Martin, 50 lbs, 100 ac., waters Swan Creek at Richard Benges corner. . . William GILLIAMs line . . . John Martins line.
Wit: Robert Martin & William Benge.
Signed Thomas (x) Benge
Ancestry.com. Marriages of Wilkes County, North Carolina 1778-1868 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: Holcomb, Brent H. Marriages of Wilkes County, North Carolina 1778-1868. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998.
22 Feb 18__
Thomas GILLIAM & Mary Demmit, William GILLIAM, bondsman
5 Oct 1807
John GILLIAM and Nancy Kennady, John Kennady, bondsman
18 Dec 1810
William GILLIAM and Elisabeth Walker, William Demit, bondsman.
5 Dec 1815
Elza Messick and Lucy GILLIAM, Leonard Messick, bondsman
25 Jan 1820
John Fuget and Nancy Ivey, Thomas GILLIAM, bondsman
16 Oct 1820
Richard GILLIAM and Rosannah Powell, Thomas GILLIAM bondsman
15 Feb 1821
John Johnson and Elizabeth GILLEM, George Johnson, bondsman
4 Oct 1821
John Green and Sarah GILLIAM, William Green, Martin Green, bondsman
9 Apr 1824
Elisha Bagbey and Rebecah Sale, William GILLIAM, bondsman
3 Aug 1824
John Harriss and Lucinda Perden, R. GILLIAM, bondsman
1 Nov 1824
James Harriss and Nancy Martin, Richard GILLIAM, bondsman
15 Aug 1825
Gilford Edmondson and Polley Denney, Thomas GILLIAM, bondsman
17 Aug 1842
Robert F. Calloway and Sarah GILLUM
28 Feb 1843
John GILLIAM and Nancy Adams, Jacob Delinger bondsman
10 Nov 1844
Hiram Redding and Nancy GILLIAM; William Redding, bondsman
16 Mar 1849
Henry J. Brown and Marey GILLIAM; Elsey A. B. Messick, Bondsman
17 Feb 1854
Andrew J. GILLIAM & Saron McBride, Hiram Redding, bondsman, married 22 Feb 1854 by S. D. Swaim, Baptist minister
23 Jan 1854
Ephraim GILLIAM and Martha Adams, Rufus Hampton, bondsman, married 2 Feb 1854 by S. D. Swaim, Baptist minister
3 Jan 1866
Thomas J. GILLIAM and Elivira Studavent, J. W. GILLIAM, Bondsman, married by Thomas Howell on 4 Jan 1866
6 Mar 1866
J. O. Redding and Martha GILLIAM, married 8 Mar 1866, by W. F. Adams, Baptist minister
Oath of Allegiance
7 Sep 1778
"The following voluntarily came & took Oath of Allegiance to this State: Mordica Fuller, William Wilson, Luke Fields, Joseph Taylor, Francis Hill, Mumyard Gillium, Jacob Standley, James M. Lewis. . . . "
Absher, Mrs. W. O. and Mrs. R. K. Hayes Sr., County Court Minutes Wilkes County, NC 2 March 1778-28 October 1784, Volume I, Wilkes County Genealogical Society, page 3.
Pension of William Gillum
1787, Morgan District
GILLAM, Epaphroditus, 1 poll
Will of William GILLIAM, Senior
October Term 1831
The Last Will and testament of William GILLIAM Sen of Wilkes County, made this 1st day of May 1831. Considering the Uncertainty of the mortal life and being of sound mind and Memory blessed be almighty God for the same do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say first I give and bequeath unto my beloved Wife Mary GILLIAM the whole of my Estate during her life that I die possesed of.
Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Son William One Hundred Acres of Land bounded as follows. Beginning at a
Bunch of Maples on _____ of a Branch at the South end of the Tract of Land that I now live on Runing South to red Oak in a conditional line made by Thomas Green and John Reddin thence Eastwardly with said line to a post oak thence South to a large forked white oak thence West to the Begining containing seventy acres then thirty acres to make the Hundred taken off of the Hundred and Thirty acres I said That I bought of John London Begining at said bunch of Maples first named runing North ___ my old line as many poles as on test West line to make Thirty Acres also I have given to my Son John GILLIAM one Horse Valued at Twenty-five dollars one Saddle at ten dollars one Cow and calf at ten dollars one sow and pigs at two dollars which makes in the whole forty seven dollars land Excluded.
Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Son Wm GILLIAM One Hundred acres of Land more or less on the North end of the Tract of Land that I now live coming South to a course of Marked trees runing East and West across said Tract of Land with all his Improvements that the said Wm GILLIAM has made on said Land also I have given Wm GILLIAM one Horse Valued at Twenty-five dollars one Saddle at five dollars one Cow and Calf at ten dollars one Sow and pigs at two dollars one ewe and lamb at one dollar and fifty cents Land excluded.
Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Lucy Messicks one Mare Valued at twenty-five dollars one cow and calf at ten dollars on Saddle at ten dollars one Chest at Seven dollars one Wheel at two dollars one bed and stead at twenty dollars making in the whole Seventy four dollars and twenty dollars in Money to be made out of my property at the decease of my Wife.
Item I give and bequeath to my beloved Son Thomas GILLIAM one Hundred acres of land more or less out of my Hundred and Thirty acre Tract that I bought of John London which takes the whole of said Tract only ____ Thirty Acres that is to be taken off for John GILLIAM as before Mentioned. Also I have given Thomas GILLIAM one Horse Valued at twenty-five dollars one Cow and Calf at ten dollars one Sow and pigs at two dollars one Ewe and lamb at one dollar fifty cents making in the whole thirty eight dollars and fifty cents.
Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Salley Green one Mare Valued at Twenty Dollars one Saddle at ten dollars one Chest at Seven dollars one Cow and Calf at ten dollars one Wheel at two dollars, one bed and Stead at twenty dollars making in the whole Seventy Four dollars and twenty dollars in money to be made out of my property at the decease of my Wife.
Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Son Richard GILLIAM one Hundred acres of land more or less at the South end of the tract of land that I now live on with all the my Improvements on said land Joining the South by said first name GILLIAM land on the North to the course of Marked trees Mentioned in Wm GILLIAMs Jns part to two white oaks & two Lowerwoods Saplins on the West side and to a post Oak and Spanish Oak on the East line Also I have given him one Horse Valued at twenty-Five dollars one Cow and Calf at ten dollars one Sow and pigs at two dollars making in the whole Thirty Seven dollars.
Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Elizabeth Johnson one Chest at the decease of my Wife Valued at Seven dollars one Saddle at ten dollars one ewe & lamb at one dollar and fifty cents one little Wheel at two dollars one bed & Stead at twenty dollars twelve dollars and Seventy seven Cents in Sundry Accounts making in the whole fifty three dollars and twenty seven Cents and twenty dollars in money to be made out of my property at the decease of my Wife.
Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved nephew Elisha Bagby whom I hast raised one Mare Valued at twenty five dollars One Saddle at five dollars one Sow and pigs at two dollars one Cow and Calf at ten dollars making on the whole forty two dollars and I give him no more. Being this the property that I have Willed my Will and desire is that out of the ____ of my property at the decease of my Wife when Sold for each of my Sons parts to be made equal that is John William Thomas and Richard GILLIAM also _____ also my three Daughters, that is Lucy, Sally and Elizabeth to have each of their parts made equal with each other. if there is not Enough left on hand at my Wifes death to make the money that I have left to any three daughters each of my Sons to pay back equal to make up their parts. Should there be any Surplus Money left after my four Sons parts are made equal and my three Daughters parts also equal as before mentioned I wish it equaly divided between my Seven Children (To wit.) John GILLIAM Wm GILLIAM Lucy Mesicks Thomas GILLIAM Sally Green Richard GILLIAM and Elizabeth Johnson my property to be seen to by my Executors that there is no waste made of it.
Lastly I appoint my worthy friend John Martin Jun's Son Executor of this my last Will and Testament revoking all former Wills of me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal the day and date above written.
Wm (x) GILLIAM Sen (seal)
Signed Sealed and published in the Presence of
North Carolina, Wilkes County, Oct Term 1831
The foregoing Will was duly proven in open court by the oathes of Isaac Martin & James Martin & John Martin was duly sworn as Executor to said Will
Teste R Martin Clk
[This William Gilliam should not be confused with William Gilliam who left a Will in Chatham County, NC in 1821 who also had a daughter Sarah “Sally” Gilliam who married a Mr. Green.]
Wilkes County, NC, Will Book 4, page 149
Will of William Gillum
2 Apr 1851
In the name of God Amen. I William Gillum of the County of Wilkes and State of North Carolina, being of sound mind but feeble in body, have determine to make this my last Will and Testament and I hereby dispose of my worldly affects as follows:
First, I give my soul to God who gives it and my body to the dust from whence it came
Second, My will is that all my just debts be paid out of my estate if these be any
Third My Will is that the hundred acres of land that my son James sold to my son which I now give him a deed to shall be John’s land bounded as follows, beginning at a ___ hickory at a road running, various courses for ______ also a tract of one hundred acres cornering at a little while oak running along the old road, various courses for ____ which tract is now is possession of him
Fourth My will is that my son William have the middle tract containing one hundred and six acres my wish is that John take six acres off of Wm.’s tract and that Jackson tact it off Jackson’s tract
Fifth My will is that my son Jackson have the tact of land lying mist [sic midst] the land I have willed my son John supposed to contain sixty two acres by the addition of the acres taken from John’s tact. I wish him to take from Wm ______ as they may agree among themselves.
Sixth My will and desire is that my beloved wife Elizabeth shall have my home, plantation and possession on which I live.
Seventh My will is that my daughter Polly Delinger have one dollar in addition to what I have given her
Eighth My will is that my daughter Nancey have one dollar in addition to what I have given her
Ninth My will is that my daughter Elizabeth have seven dollars out of my estate.
Tenth My will and desire is that if there is not personal property to pay to Jackson the amount of thirty eight dollars noting the lands above willed at one dollar per acre that John, William and Ephraim jointly pay the amount so that they may all become equal so far as the land in concerned making Jackson’s part equal to one hundred acres
Eleventh My will is that Jackson have the filly now one year old which he claims
Twelfth I give to my son James one dollar and no more
Thirteenth My Will and desire is that after the above property is disposed of if there is any left that be equally divided among my children.
Fourteenth I hereby constitute and appoint my son John Gillum my executor to carry into effect this my last Will and testament. This 2nd day of April 1851 to which I have affixed my signature.
Sig: Wm [his X mark] Gillum
Wit: J. J. Bryan, Jurat, John W. Harris
North Carolina, Wilkes County
May Session 1853
The execution of the within will was duly proved in open court by John J. Bryan one of the subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and John Gillum the executor therein named duly sworn.
Teste W. Martin, Clk
Wilkes County, NC, Will Book 5, May Session, 1853, page 85. Will Number 24.
[William Gilliam, Jr., the son of William GIlliam Sr. and his wife Mary.]
Will of James GILLIAM
January Term 1866
I Jas. Gilliam of the county of Wilkes and the state of North Carolina being sound in mind but weak in body have this day determined to make this my last Will and Testament, Amen.
1st I will my body to the dust from whence it came and my soul to God who gave it.
2nd my Will is that my beloved wife Silva Gilliam have my two tracts of land one of which lies in the county of Ashe containing fifty acres more or less during her natural life or my widow [?] and at the death of my beloved wife Silva Gilliam.
3rd my Will is that after the death of my beloved wife Silva, that the above named land belong to my three sons, namely Thos. J. Gilliam, my son Charles Poten [Peyton] Gilliam, my son George W. Gilliam, my son, that the above named lands belong to my three sons above named.
4th my Will is that my two daughter namely Mary J. Gilliam, my daughter, and Cresa L. Gilliam, my daughter have forty dollars each out of my personal property.
5th My will is that my son Thomas J. Gilliam be my Executor to execute and carry out this my last [Will] and testament revoking all other Wills by me made.
In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal this the 30th day of November 1865.
Sig: James Gilliam
Teste: J. P. Adams, John Gilliam, G. W. Gilliam
North Carolina, Wilkes County
Jany Term 1866
The execution of the written Will was duly proven in open court by the oaths of J. P. Adams and John Gilliam, two [of] the subscribing witnesses thereto in order to be recorded
Thomas J. Gilliam, the executor therein named was duly qualified.
Teste S. S. Call, Clk
Wilkes County, NC, Will Book 5, page 427
Will of John GILLIAM of Wilkes County, NC
30 Aug 1888
I, John Gilliam of the County of Wilkes in the state of North Caroline being of sound mind and disposing memory and knowing the uncertainty of this mortal life, do hereby make, publish and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say:
I hereby revoke and disannul all former Wills and Testaments by me made and dispose of my estate with which I have been blessed as follows, namely:
Item, First. I will and desire that all my just debts by me owing whatsoever be paid by my executors hereinafter named appointed out of the moneys first coming into their hand.
Item 2. I give and will unto my beloved wife Sally a home and residence in my present home and dwelling during her life time or while she remains my widow and also a sufficiency of my house hold and furniture for her comfort and enjoyment and a sufficiency of the rents and proceeds of my home place annually for her support and comfortable enjoyment while she may live or remain my widow.
Item 3. I give, will and bequeath to my daughter Martha, wife of James Redding, now living in the sate of Indiana, the sum of five hundred dollars which sum I propose advancing in a short time or a portion of that amount.
Item 4. I give and bequeath to my son William now living in the state of Indiana the sum of five hundred dollars and have hereto for advanced to him the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars and may perhaps make an advancement of the remaining three hundred and fifty dollars.
Item 5. I give, will and bequeath to my daughter Margaret Sturdivant wife of Hubard Sturdivant, who is now deceased leaving four children (to wit) John, James, Thomas, and Charley, to whom I give jointly and hereby convey to them and to their heirs and assigns forever, a certain tract or parcel of land lying and being in Wilkes County containing one hundred acres more or less being the tract I purchased from Jonathan Austinson [sp?] and upon which they now reside.
Item 6. I give, will and bequeath to my daughter Dianah wife of S. S. Sale the sum of five hundred dollars which sum I intend and may advance to her in a short time or a portion of it.
Item 7. I five will and bequeath to my daughter Susan wife of Charlie Parks, the sum of five hundred dollars which sum or portion of the same I may advance in a short time.
Item 8. I give, will, devise and convey to my two sons, Franklin and Charlie my home tract of land on the Yadkin River containing about 170 acres more or less also another small tract purchased from Edwin Martin, also another tract containing 37 acres more or less lying upon the Wilkesboro Road and being the tract I bought from W Q Hendspeth to have and to hold the said tracts of land (subject to the claim given to my widow) to them the said Frank and Charlie Gilliam jointly and equally and to their heirs and assigns forever.
Item 9. I will and desire that my executors herein after named after the several sums above named have been fully advanced and paid off, should there still remain effects belonging to my estate sell the residue and remainder of all the property of whatsoever name or kind so remaining and divide the proceeds thereof equally between my four children William, Martha, Dianah and Susan unto their children.
Item 10. And lastly I hereby appoint and constitute and appoint my two sons Franklin and Charlie my executors to this my last Will and Testament with full power to execute the same according to the true meaning and intent thereof and enjoin it upon them to take the oversight of my widow during her life or while she may remain my widow and see that she is comfortable provided for and that nothing be wasted or unnecessarily consumed.
In testimony whereof I the said John Gilliam have hereunto set my hand and seal on this the 30 day of August 1888 in the presence of the subscribing witnesses whom I have requested to witness the same.
Sig: John [his X mark] Gilliam
F A Harris
J C Armstrong
Wilkes County, NC, Will Book 7, page 77
- Absher, Mrs. W. O. and Mrs. R. K. Hayes Sr., County Court Minutes Wilkes County, NC 2 March 1778-28 October 1784, Volume I, Wilkes County Genealogical Society, page 3.
- Absher, W. O. Wilkes County, NC Deed Book A-1, B-1, C-1, 1778-1803, Deed Book D, F-1, ad G-H
- Ancestry.com. Marriages of Wilkes County, North Carolina 1778-1868 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: Holcomb, Brent H. Marriages of Wilkes County, North Carolina 1778-1868. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998.
- Wilkes County, NC. Deed Books
- Wilkes County, NC, Will Books.