Person:Joseph Wilson (34)

m. Bef 1734
  1. Joseph WilsonAbt 1734 - 1838
  2. Charles Wilson, Jr.1736 - 1815
  3. Isaac Wilson, Sr.1741 - Abt 1805
  4. David Wilson1746 -
  • HJoseph WilsonAbt 1734 - 1805
  • WMary Sears1746 -
m. Abt 1754
  1. James Wilson1754 - 1793
  2. Joseph WilsonAbt 1755 - 1845
  3. Adam Wilson1756 - 1768
  4. Robert Wilson1758 - 1813
  5. Thomas Wilson1760 - 1793
  6. Jean Wilson1762 - 1786
  7. John Henderson Wilson1770 -
  8. Isaac Wilson1773 - 1852
Facts and Events
Name Joseph Wilson
Gender Male
Birth? Abt 1734 County Antrim, Ulster, Northern Ireland
Marriage Abt 1754 Prob. Augusta County, Virginiato Mary Sears
Death? Aug 1805 Sevier County, Tennessee
Alt Death? 7 Nov 1838 Sevier County, Tennessee

Joseph Wilson was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia


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Information on Joseph Wilson

Warning: contains some obvious errors on dates:

2. Joseph Wilson was born about 1734 in County Antrim, Ulster, Northern Ireland and died on Nov 7, 1838 in Sevier Co., Tennessee about age 104. [Note: error, Joseph died in abt. 1805]

Research Notes: There were five or more Joseph Wilsons in East Tennessee during, or soon after, the Revolutionary War. Joseph first appears in official records of the State as a member of the first court of Washington District, North Carolina, in August, 1777. Many important details of his life and family are unknown. That which is known and presumed about him is derived from miscellaneous official records and circumstantial evidence, supported by family tradition. Three major factors probably account for the almost complete omission of Joseph Willson in published histories; first, he was probably illiterate except for his signature; next, documentary records which most likely would reveal him have been lost or destroyed, notably those of the State of Franklin and Sevier County and the embryonic, unofficial government of the territory South of the French Broad River; and third, his entire life was spent on the extreme outer fringes of frontier settlements. Yet, this Indian fighter and captain of militia had the unusual distinction of serving as magistrate on the first courts in each of six or seven local governments in three states and one territory of the United States.

There is no consistent spelling of the surname but Joseph's son and grandsons used the double ell. Many present-day descendants spell it, Wilson.

Joseph was a son of Charles Wilson, Sr. who served as a lieutenant of Augusta County, VA. in the French and Indian War. There are two traditions relative to the place of his birth and early settlement in America; one, that he came from Scotland and settled first in Pennsylvania, later moving to the western part of Virginia; the other, that he was born in County Antrim, Province of Ulster, Ireland, and came to America about 1737, landing in Philadelphia and settling first in Virginia. The latter tradition seems more plausible. Undoubtedly, Joseph was a small child when he arrived in America, and 1734 is a reasonable estimate of his birth date. Sometime between 1749 and 1756, Charles Wilson and his sons moved from the Shenandoah Valley westward and settled on the South Fork of South Branch of Potomac River. There Joseph married Mary Sears, daughter of James and Sarah Sears of Hampshire County. Another Sears daughter, Catherine, married William Shook who, in or about 1786, settled in Knox County, Tennessee.

There is some indication that Joseph and his eldest son, James, fought in Lord Dunmore's War against Indians in 1774. In August 1775, however, Joseph and Mary sold their Augusta County land to Charles Wilson, Jr, and then or during the following year, removed to the "Western Country" of North Carolina. At about the same time, but before July 4 1776, one Isaac Willson moved from the same Virginia neighborhood in which Joseph lived and settled on Nolachuckey River. (Davy and Wilson Crockett were born on the adjoining tract). The relationship of Joseph to Isaac is not known but Joseph and his brother Charles each named a son Isaac.

In addition to James, the eldest son, and Isaac, the youngest son of Joseph, strong circumstantial evidence indicates that his other children included Adam, Robert, Jean who married John Dixon and Thomas.

Joseph, James, Adam and Robert Willson "entered" and received grants for adjoining or nearby lands in Washington County at about the same time (1778-1782). These lands lay on Big Limestone Creek and its tributaries, Mill Creek (now called Carson Creek) and Cedar Creek.

In February 1778 Washington District became Washington County, and Joseph was a member of its first court and was appointed by the NC legislature to serve on the committee to establish the county seat (Jonesboro). Throughout the Revolution he was a captain of militia under Colonel John Sevier, with headquarters probably at Fort Lee, the present site of Limestone, Tennessee.

Joseph and James Willson were delegates of Washington County to the conventions which brought about the State of Franklin. Soon after the Franklinites' treaty with certain chiefs of the Cherokee at Henry's Station which opened for settlement, on a tenuous basis, lands south of the French Broad, Joseph, James, Adam, and Robert moved to the valley of Little Pigeon River. There on the East Fork of the Little Pigeon, they erected Willson's Station about four miles east of present Sevierville.

Following the treaty of Holston in 1791, Governor Blount ordered the establishment of Jefferson County and appointed Joseph a magistrate of that County's first Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. Adam was appointed a captain of Jefferson's militia. Then in 1794 the Territorial Assembly erected Sevier County out of the greater part of Jefferson lying south of the French Broad, and Governor Blount appointed Joseph a magistrate and "Third Chairman" of the new county court. Again he was made a member of the commission appointed to select and lay out the local seat of government (Sevierville). Adam Willson was a member of the Sevier County Court at its first official meeting in 1796.

According to tradition, James, son of Joseph, "gave a barbecue to the Indians to gain their friendship. They ate his barbecue then killed him". Although the tradition is not definitely confirmed, there is much reason to believe that James and his brother Thomas were killed by Cherokees from ambush on Little Pigeon River on March 9 1793. In 1807 the heirs of James entered their lands on East Fork, claiming ownership by occupancy and possession. These lands were not legally subject to entry before 1806 although there had been 'color of title' since 1786. James' wife, according to tradition, was Elizabeth Dixon. Robert Willson, presumably the son of Joseph, married Jane Martin and there are many descendants now living. Isaac, youngest son of Joseph, married his cousin, Sarah Shook in 1796 and settled near her father, William Shook, at Shook's Gap in Knox County. Many of their descendants now live in this County.

The last authentic record relating to Joseph Willson is a recorded deed bearing date, August 25, 1805, by which he, "Joseph Willson, Esq. of Sevier County," sold his last remaining land in Washington County to Rev. John Cosson. Presumably he died before the end of 1806 at the approximate age of 72, because his name does not appear in the few existing records pertaining to Sevier County after that date.

Joseph married Mary Sears, daughter of James Sears and Sarah, in 1746 (??) in North Carolina. Mary was born in 1746 (?error?) in Hampshire Co., West Virginia and died in 1772 in Sevier Co., Tennessee at age 26.

Children from this marriage were:

6 M i. James Wilson was born in 1754 in Augusta Co., Virginia and died on Mar 9, 1793 in Little Pigeon River at age 39. James married Elizabeth Dixon.
7 M ii. Adam Wilson was born in 1756 in North Carolina and died in 1768 in Dickson, Tennessee at age 12.
8 M iii. Robert Wilson was born in 1758 in Pendleton, West Virginia and died on Mar 10, 1813 in Morgan Co., Alabama at age 55.
9 M iv. Thomas Wilson was born in 1760 in North Carolina and died on Mar 9, 1793 in Little Pigeon River at age 33.
10 F v. Jean Wilson was born in 1762 in North Carolina and died in 1786 at age 24.

Jean married John Dixon.

11 M vi. John Henderson Wilson was born in 1770 in North Carolina.
12 M vii. Isaac Wilson was born in 1773 in Augusta Co., Virginia and died on Nov 11, 1852 in Knox Co., Tennessee at age 79.