Wilkes County, GA

GILLIAMs of Wilkes County, GA
Updated January 23, 2010
wilkes
Background
Wilkes County was established by Georgia's first state constitution—the Constitution of 1777, which became effective Feb. 5, 1777. Because Wilkes is the first county in the list of eight counties created by Art. IV of that document, it is considered Georgia's first county. Unlike the other seven counties (which were fashioned from existing colonial parishes), Wilkes was created from the "ceded lands north of Ogechee"—a reference to the land ceded in 1773 by the Creeks and Cherokees in their respective Treaties of Augusta.

Wilkes County was named for British politician John Wilkes, who supported the cause of the American colonies' cause in the House of Commons.

Between 1790 and 1854, the legislature took land from Wilkes County to form Elbert County (1790),
Oglethorpe County (1793), and Lincoln County (1796), and to help form Warren County (1793) and Taliaferro County (1825).

An act of February 26, 1784 designated the town of Washington as county seat of Wilkes County. In 1793, the legislature named commissioners with authority to choose a new site for the county courthouse—but evidently they decided not to make a change. When the town was laid out in 1780, local officials named it Washington in honor of Gen. George Washington, hero of the American Revolution. Washington, reportedly the first city in America named for George Washington, was incorporated in 1805.


Overview
As Georgia's "first county" Wilkes County saw several GILLIAM families: the family and William GILLIAM, Jr. (son of William GILLIAM and Mary Jarratt, his wife), the family of Peter GILLIAM who married Ann Heard, the family of Ezekiel and Sarah Gilham, the family of Micajah Williamson and Sarah GILLIAM, his wife (Sarah was the sister of William GILLIAM, Jr., and daughter of William GILLIAM and Mary Jarratt) and the family of William GILLIAM and Mason Tarver.


Court
5 Sep 1786
Susannah GILLIAM, Bedford Brown, John Lumpkin, J. P., Test.
Minutes of Inferior Court--1794-1795
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 128

4 Apr 1795
Daniel and Edmund, orphans of Presley Ramey, dec'd. bound as apprentices to Absolom Ramey to learn the trade or carpenter, Nancy bound to Mrs. Anna Gilham, Sally and Fanny bound to Alex. Anderson, all orphans of Presley Ramey, dec'd.
Minutes of Inferior Court--1794-1795
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 128


1798-1811
William GILLUM appointed guardian of Mariah Tarver, now two years old, orphan of Robert Tarver, dec'd of Burke Co., whose widow William GILLUM has since married. John Dyson appointed guardian of William Beal.
Theodrick Montfort appointed guardian of Henry Barnes, orphan of Wm. Barnes late of McIntosh Co. Henry being over 14 chooses Theodrick. Petition of Oliver H. Prince, Atty for John Rorie, Admr of John Rorie, dec'd to sell 850 acres in Franklin Co. on Broad river adj. vacant land when granted said dec'd and one tract in Hancock Co.
Minutes of Inferior Court--1798-1811
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 154


Deeds
5 Sep 1786
Williamson, Micajah and wife Sally to Geo. Lumpkin 200 acres on Long creek known as "Mulberry Grove". Sept. 5, 1786. Susannah GILLIAM, Bedford Brown, John Lumpkin, J. P., Test.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 281

5 Sep 1787
Williamson, Micajah and wife Sally to Wm. Williamson 400 acres orig. grant 1784 to said Micajah. Sept. 5, 1787. Susannah GILLIAM, M. Williamson, Jr., Test.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 281

5 Sep 1787
Micajah Williamson and Sara his wife, to William Williamson and Molly his wife; All of Wilkes Co., for 100 pounds, 450 acres on Beverdam Creek waters, granted Micajah Williamson 27 Nov 1784.
Sig: M. Williamson, Sara Williamson.
Wit: Susan GILLIAM, M. Williamson, Junior, Henry Mounger JP
Deed Book , DD page 164

5 Sep 1787
Micajah Williamson and wife Sara, to William and wife Molly; for 100 pounds; 400 acres granted Micajah Williamson, 15 Jan 1785.
Sig: M. Williamson, Sara Williamson.
Wit: Susan GILLIAM, M. Williamson, Junior, Henry Mounger JP
Deed Book , DD page 165

5 Sep 1787
Micajah Williamson and wife Sara, to William and wife Molly; for 100 pounds; 486 acres granted Micajah Williamson, 8 Feb 1786.
Sig: M. Williamson, Sara Williamson.
Wit: Susan GILLIAM, M. Williamson, Junior, Henry Mounger JP
Deed Book , DD page 166

6 Mar 1796
William GILLIAM of Wilkes Co GA and Davis Saxon for 200 acres on Reedy & Hardens Creek
Wit: John H. Lett
Deed Book RR, 1798-1805, page 225


Land Lottery
Lottery of 1803
The land given out in this lottery was obtained from the Creek Indians in a treaty at Fort Wilkinson, June 16, 1802, and included "the Territory south of the Oconee and Altamaha rivers". This land was divided into three counties, Wayne, Wilkinson and Baldwin. The lots in Wayne consisted of 490 acres each, those in Baldwin and Wilkinson 202 1/2 acres each, three thousand two hundred and forty acres reserved for a town to be called Milledgeville.

Those entitled to draw were every free white male twenty-one years and upwards, and an inhabitant of the state twelve months immediately preceding the passage of this act, who had paid tax, one draw; every free white male having a wife and one or more legitimate children, two draws; all widows having legitimate child or children, two draws; all families of orphans having no parents living, two draws.

No mention is made of military service in this act, and no provision is made for soldiers of any war.

Georgia, Wilkes Co. We the Justices of the Inferior Court viz: Benjamin Porter, James Anthony, Thomas Mounger and Richard Worsham having met the 13th day of June 1803 at the court house agreeable to the Governors Proclamation for the purpose of receiving the names of the inhabitants of the county and the draws to which they are entitled by an Act of the General Assembly passed May 11, last, Do hereby certify that the persons hereinafter named are entitled to the number of draws designated by the figures one and two opposite their names, viz:
GILLUM, Charles, 1 draw
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 317


Local Histories
. . . Among those who had been tortured by the loyalists during the Revolution was Stephen Heard's wife and child, who were driven out into a snowstorm. Their cabin was burned, and both died of exposure. Hannah Clarke, with her children, was also driven from her home, and while she was making her way to relatives in North Carolina, her horse was stolen and she was forced to walk through the mud and rain, carrying one child and leading another. Sarah GILLIAM Williamson, wife of the gallant soldier Micajah Williamson, was forced to look on at the hanging of her eldest son.
The Story of Washington-Wilkes, Part II - In the Revolution, page 26

Reminiscences and Indian Legends
Sarah GILLIAM Williamson

The most remarkable woman who lived in Georgia during the Revolutionary War, perhaps, was Sarah GILLIAM Williamson. Considering her loyalty to the cause of the colonies, her courage in managing the plantation and large number of negro slaves during the absence of her husband in the army, her sufferings at the hands of the enemy, together with the success of her descendants, she stands ahead of any of the Georgia women of her day.

Sarah GILLIAM was born in Virginia about the year 1735. Her father was William GILLIAM, and her mother Mary Jarrett, the sister of Rev. Devereau Jarrett, the distinguished Episcopal minister. Sarah GILLIAM married Micajah Williamson, a young man of Scotch-Irish parentage. In 1768 the young couple moved to Wilkes County, Georgia, and settled on a fine body of land. It was while living here in peace and abundance, with their growing family around them, that the difference between the mother country and the colonies began
.
[It is unlikely that Sarah was born in 1735 as her mother, Mary Jarratt was born 5 May 1724. It is unlikely that Micajah and Sarah moved to Wilkes in 1768 as Micajah received a patent in Buckingham County, VA on 14 Jul 1769 for 240 acres on the head of branches between Wreck Island & Coleman’s Run bounded as follows: Beg. John Gannaway's corner pointer the new line S. 15 degrees East 46 poles to pointers then on John Cox line South 29 & 1/2 degrees East 80 poles to Red Oak James Phelp's line North 40 & 1/2 degrees then said Gannaway's line, VPB 38:855-1.]

Sarah Williamson and her husband both warmly espoused the cause of the colonies, and when hostilities commenced a Georgia regiment took the field with Elijah Clarke as Colonel, and Micajah Williamson as Lieutenant-Colonel. Micajah Williamson was present in all the conflicts of this regiment and in the battle of Kettle Creek Col. Clarke gave him full credit for his part in winning the victory.

Many scenes of this nature were enacted in the neighborhood of Sarah Williamson's home, and this fearless woman not only witnessed the conflicts, but sometimes participated in them. Her husband was twice wounded and to him she gave the care of a devoted wife, nursing him back to health and to the service of his country.

Year after year during this long struggle Sarah Williamson bravely assumed the part of both the man and the woman. Under her excellent management the plantation was cultivated, supplies were furnished the army, and spinning wheels were kept busy making clothes for husband, children and slaves. Thus she toiled in the face of ever-present danger, threatened always with hostile Indians, cruel Tories and British soldiers.

Finally, one day the dreaded Tories, incensed at her husband's activity in the cause of the colonies, made a raid on the home and after taking all they wanted, destroyed by fire every building on the plantation, and their fiendish hearts not being yet satisfied with the suffering of this loyal woman, they hung her eldest son, a handsome youth,
in the presence of his mother.

Her courage undaunted by this great calamity, Sarah Williamson had the faithful slaves gather up the remaining live stock running at large in the woods, and with her entire household went as a refugee to the mountains of North Carolina, where they remained until the close of the war, when they returned to the plantation.

A few years later the family moved to Washington, Georgia. Here again it became necessary for her to manage for the family when her husband was commissioned Major-General of Georgia troops and led an army against the hostile Cherokee Indians. Peace was made, however, before a battle was fought.

Now Sarah Williamson began to reap the reward her love, sacrifice, energy and labor had won. Her five sons grew to be successful men, her six daughters to be refined, educated and beautiful women, who became the wives of prominent men. One daughter married John Clarke who became Governor of Georgia.

To this Georgia mother belongs the distinguished honor of being the first American woman to furnish from her descendants two Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States; Justice John A. Campbell of Alabama was her grandson, and Justice L. Q. C. Lamar of Georgia and Mississippi was her great grandson.
—Ruby Felder Ray, State Historian, D. A. R.
Foster, Sophie Lee.Reminiscences and Indian Legends. Atlanta, GA: Byro Printing Company, 1913.


Marriages
11 Aug 1809
William GILLUM and Tarver Mason

26 Jan 1812
Susannah GILLUM and Josiah Ellis

11 Mar 1821
I. F. Gilliam and Robert Hardie


Military
War of 1812, 2d Regiment (Jenkin's) Georgia Volunteers and Militia
William GILLUM, Private
Compiled and formatted by Keith Giddeon, from: National Archives, Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812. Microfilm Series M602.


Post Offices
List of Letters Remaining in the Post Office, Washington, GA. 31st December, 1814.
Dr. GILLUM, 2
The Friend and Monitor - Washington, Georgia, Volume I, Number 1, Friday, January 13, 1815, page 1


Taxes
1785 Tax Digest (Remant)
This is the first tax digest found in the court house, and was taken to give a practically complete census of the heads of families of that date, to identify their lands as headrights, and possible bounty grants for Revolutionary service, and to replace in a measure the census of 1790, all of which for Georgia was destroyed by the British during the War of 1812 in Washington, D. C. There is no complete digest until 1802, only a few pages left in the interim. The remnants for 1792, 1793, 1794 have been published in "Some Tax Digests of Georgia" Ruth Blair, State Historian and Archivist, and give valuable information.
Ezekiul GILLUM, 1 poll, 200 acres Wilkes Co.


Wills, Estates and Inventories
Administration of Peter Gilliam
15 Jul 1794
Peter GILLIAM (GILLUM) dec'd.
Jesse Heard app. admr Jul. 15, 1794.
Note of Wm. Maxwell and Wm. Cox for £10, 5s. signed Jan. 1, 1794.
Receipts Oct. 8, 1800 to Jesse Heard, admr from Evan Price, Ewing Morrow, Anne, Patsy, and Chas. GILLUM, and Jos. Morrow legacies in full.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume II, Wilkes County, Page 228

Inventory of Nathan Barnett
19 Jan 1796
Nathan Barnett dec'd.
Inventory Reg. Jan. 19, 1796.
Personal estate and inspected tobacco. John Lawson, Jesse Evans, John Evans, apprs.
Sale Reg. June 2, 1798. Nathan Barnett, Jr., Richard and John Watts, James Gresham, Jesse and David Evans, Ann GILLUM and David Duncan purchasers.
Inventories and Appraisements Dec. 20, 1784 to Apr. 10, 1798.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 103

Inventory of Mary Cox
16 Feb 1796
Mary Cox dec'd.
Inventory Feb. 16, 1796. Hair trunks, feather bed, hand bellows etc entire estate.
Wm. GILLUM, James Burns, Wm. Puryear, apprs.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 103

Will of Micajah Williamson, Sr.
5 Dec 1796
Micajah Williamson, Sr.
To eldest son Charles five shillings.
To sons Micajah, Peter, William, and Jefferson Williamson, daus. Nancy Clark, Sally Griffin, Bird, Patsy and Elizabeth Williamson, five shillings each.
To wife all other property, she to be sole Excr.
Sig: 29 Apr 1790.
Pro: 5 Dec 1796.
John Clark, William Gillam, Thompson Bird, Test.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County. Page 169

Will of William Giliam
27 Jan 1798
In the name of God Amen I William Gilliam being of Sound mind and memory but low in health and well knowing the Certainty of Death, and the uncertainty of what time it may come, do Constitute appoint and Ordain this my last will and Testament ~
1st. Item I give all my real and personal Estate to my loving brothers and Sisters and the Lawful Heirs or Children of John Hood they the said Children taking one Share of my said property with my brothers and Sisters, and I do hereby appoint my brother Deveraux Gilliam and my Sister Sally Williamson my Executors to see this my last will carried into Effect -
Witness my hand this 27th January 1798
Sig: Wm [his X mark] Gilliam LS
Witness: Joel Abbot, P Williamson, Charles Ellis

Georgia
Wilkes County
Personally appeared before me Joel Abbot one of the Subscribing Witness to the annexed Will and being duly Sworn Saith that he saw William Gilliam Sign Seal publish and declare the annexed Instrument of Writing to be his last will and Testament and at the time of his so doing he was of sound disposing mind and memory and that Peter Williamson and Charles Ellis Subscribed their names as concuring evidence to the Same.
Sworn to before me this } Joel Abbot
17th February 1798 }
Dd. Terrell R P W. C.
Recorded the 17th February 1798
Wilkes County Wills: 1794-1819 Roll # RHS-370 Georgia State Archives, Page 187, 1792-1801 [Transcribed by 1918copies.com]
[William Gilliam is the son of William Gilliam and Mary Jarratt of Virginia.]

Inventory of William Gilliam
16 Apr 1798
William GILLIAM dec'd.
Inv. Apr. 16, 1798. Slaves Edum, Gabriel, Jones, Cloe, Mary, Chas., Dick, Miner, Slivey and Tobey, and house-hold goods. John Gibson, Daniel Dupree, Alex. Davis, Apprs.
Dr. Joel Abbott's account for visit at Mr. Ellis in Oglethorpe Co. 1796, attendance 40 hours.
Salley Williamson, excx.
Receipt of Deverix GILLIAM, Jun. 5, 1798,
of Richard GILLIAM Dec. 19, 1799,
of Chas., John, and Jarrett GILLIAM Jan. 12, 1799, $380.00, shares in full.
Receipt of Chas. GILLIAM for $1044.00 which is in full of the shares that Archer GILLIAM, Joice Hood, Polly Jennins, Betsy Hood and Polly Hood the children of Joice Hood are entitled to receive under the will of Wm. GILLIAM, dec'd, which he binds himself to pay over to them and to get receipts and transmit to Ga., to said Sally Williamson, admx. Dec. 19, 1799.
John Griffin witness to all receipts.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume II, Wilkes County, Page 228
[There appears to be math error in transcription of the estate of William GILLIAM of Wilkes. It appears that Charles received three equal shares of $380.00 each for Archer, heirs of Joice, and Polly, for a total of $1140, yet this abstract reads $1044. Original not read.]

3 Feb 1800
Deveraux GILLIAM relinquishes his appointment Feb. 3, 1800.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 57

4 Mar 1800
Sally Williamson, Excr of William GILLIAM, and of Micajah Williamson.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I, Wilkes County, Page 141

Account of John Tarver
Jan 1815
John Tarver dec'd. est. Returns of Jas. Jordan, excr. Receipts of Elizabeth Tarver, Wm. Gibson, Samuel Tarver and Wm. GILLIAM in part of their legacies 1815. Elizabeth Tarver, wid, vs. Richard, Samuel, Benj., and Andrew Tarver and Wm. Gibson, Wm. GILLIAM, and Jas. Jordan. Bill in equity for dower in real estate, slaves Jesse and Hannah and Hannah's children. Filed Jan. 1815. Richard Tarver in his answer says while Elizabeth was living with his father as his wife, Richard owned land etc and that Hannah was loaned to his mother by the will of Geo. Jordan, and that Jim was given to said Richard and Hannah's other children are younger than Jim. Dower in land awarded July 1818. In her petition Apr. 18, 1814 Elizabeth says she married John Tarver, dec'd, Sept. 5, 1795 and Apr. 26, 1808 he signed his will in which he named his children, Richard Tarver, Patience Gibson (then and now the wife of Wm. Gibson), Mason Tarver, (then the wife of Robt. Tarver and since intermarried with Wm. GILLIAM), Charlotte Tarver, (then and now the wife of Samuel Tarver), Benj. and Andrew Tarver, all of Wilkes Co., except Charlotte and Samuel who reside in Burke Co. That John Tarver died Sept. 6, 1810. That he app David Bates, now dec'd and Jas. Jordan now of Oglethorpe Co., excrs. That John purchased of Wm. Gibson in 1806 or 1807, 25 acres of land being Williams part of a tract he and his brother Geo. Gibson bought of Wm. Digby. That slave Hannah and her children were given to the first wife by a Mr. Jordan.
Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume II, Wilkes County, Page 302


Sources
  • Davidson, Grace Gillam, The Early Records of Georgia, Volume I & II, Wilkes County
  • Foster, Sophie Lee.Reminiscences and Indian Legends. Atlanta, GA: Byro Printing Company, 1913.