Wiley Weatherspoon

Submitted by Dortha Wren

Wiley Weatherspoon was born about 1796 in North Carolina. He was one of nine children of John William Weatherspoon and Sarah Hopson who were married in 1787 in Wake Co., N.C. There was Dorcas who was deaf and never married or left Kentucky, James who married Nancy Coleman in 1821; William who married Winifred Strait; Wiley who married Jane Edmunds; Major who married four times, Jane Moody (the mother of all his three children) Elizabeth Pearson (ended in divorce) Sophia Moody and Lucinda Rose; Younger Hopson Weatherspoon who married three times, Martha Greathouse, Sallie Glazebrook and Martha Wheeler; Elizabeth who married James Bridges; and Mary Ann who married John Pinckney Isbell. The ninth, Hardy, died as an infant.

Around 1810 John and Sarah took their eight living children and moved to Bowling Green, Warren Co., Ky. The 1810 census for Wake Co., N.C. is missing and they do not appear on any of the fragments of the 1810 census for Warren Co. Ky that I have found. Joseph Bailey Witherspoon wrote in his book that they went in 1809 but did not quote his source. John William purchased 120 acres on Bays Cr from Henry Travis on December 3, 1810. At this time Bowling Green consisted of a few rough wooden cabins. By 1820 it was a thriving town.

On July 4, 1812 John William wrote his will and must have died shortly thereafter. He appointed his wife Sarah and his son James as executors. To each of his children he left a horse and the balance of his estate went to Sarah his wife with the stipulation that at her death or remarriage all be sold and divided among the children. At his death Wiley would have been about 16.

In 1814 Wiley and his two brothers, James and Major, enlisted to fight in the war of 1812. It is almost certain that they were in the reinforcements floated down river to fight with Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. If so they would then have had to walk back home over the Natchez Trace and they were dismissed on May 20, 1815. In the Allen Co., Ky deed book a document shows that they seem to have been in the militia. On July 29, 1816 appointed a trusted friend John Travers to be their lawful attorney and received their wages in full while they were serving as privates in the 14th Regiment of the Detached Militia under Captain Thomas Griffin.

In 1819 Wiley married Jane Edmunds the daughter of James Edmunds. >From all accounts, Jane was born in 1800 in Virginia. The family went straight from Virginia to Kentucky in 1805 according to one account we found on the internet, traveling with several other families in a wagon train. James Edmunds is from a large family whose members moved to Kentucky. He was married to Jane Innes/Ennis and we have traced the Edmunds back to the early 1700s and the Ennis family back to the 1600s in early America. We can only trace Wiley back to his grandfather, William Weatherspoon Sr. of Wake Co., N.C. born probably 1735. All of Wiley’s brothers and sisters were married in Warren and Allen Co., Ky. and the only one to ever leave Kentucky to live was Wiley.

Wiley and Jane were on the 1820 Allen Co., Ky . census and had one child. This would have been Catherine. Then about 1829 almost all of the family headed for Calloway Co.,Ky. which was part of the Jackson Purchase. William, Wiley and James can be found on the land grant lists of Kentucky and this land seems to be in the Calloway Co. area. I pulled up the microfilm of the original land grants in Salt Lake City and they paid $1.00 per acre or $160.00 for each land grant. Major never left the Allen Co., Ky region choosing to stay near his uncle Hardy. However, you can find deeds of purchases and sales of land for all of the other children (except Dorcas who always lived with her brother Younger or her mother)and for their mother Sarah. Sarah and Younger only stayed two years or so and sold out and headed back to Warren Co., Ky. John Isbell and Mary Ann followed later. Wiley started disposing of property and by 1834 disappeared from the tax lists. Catherine told her descendants that they traveled by oxcart from Kentucky. On his affadavit for his headright he states that he arrived in Texas on October 23, 1834 and was entitled to 4,605 acres. In 1842 Wiley again climbed in his oxcart and went from Pinhook to Austin to patent his land.

Wiley had at least four slaves with him and settled on two parcels which totaled 4,605 acres in the Pinhook area. I wondered where the slaves came. He did not have slaves in Kentucky that I can find. His father did not have slaves mentioned in his will and in 1838 Sarah died and does not mention any. However, Jane Edmunds came from a large slave holding family and her father died in 1834 leaving several slaves to his family.

By the time Wiley and Jane left Allen Co., Ky for the Jackson Purchase all four of their girls had been born. Catherine was the oldest and then there was Martha Ann and Artha Ann and Mary Ann. The girls were still young when they arrived in Lamar Co., Tx. They grew up in Lamar Co., Tx and marriages and families can be found for all but Martha Ann. I suspect she died young.

There are numerous deeds on file which show that Wiley and Jane lived quietly until 1847 when they began to deed their property to their daughters and one grandson, reserving the right to live on the homeplace until their deaths. Some of the deeds are very odd and I don’t know what they were doing. However, by 1849 they seem to have disposed of everything and Wiley then disappears from all further records. Jane shows up on the 1850 census of Eagle Pass, Bexar Co., Tx. where she lived until the age of 90.

Catherine married John Hall who was murdered by a sniper in Pinhook. He was from New York and evidently rather outspoken about things Southerners did not want to hear. They had several children listed on the census and several sources say that their only son died at about the age of 12. Three of the girls have been traced. Artha Ann Hall married William H McLemore in Jasper Co., Mo. and after a few years the family moved back and settled in Red River Co., Tx. just over the county line from Wiley’s land grant. William’s father Richard McLemore had a land grant next to Wiley in the 1840s. His widow remarried and moved out of the area over to Wise Co., Tx., but somehow William and Artha Ann kept in touch through their separation and his service in the Civil War. Afterwards they somehow wound up in Missouri where they married. Ann J is supposed to have married but we have no info on the family. There is a picture of her. Mary Elizabeth went south to Eagle Pass after the Civil War to be with her grandmother. She married Joseph William Backus. Harriett Hall never married and lived with Artha Ann McLemore all her adult life. Catherine then married William Duval and they were the parents of two girls. Melinda was the oldest and she married John Owens. She gave birth to Charles Owens and died not long afterward while he was a baby. He was the father of William A. Owens, the author. Eliza Duval married Hezekiah Owens, brother of John who married her sister. Catherine was widowed again and later married Wesley Brown and moved to Red River Co.

Artha Ann Weatherspoon married J. S. Bryant and they appear with their children on the 1850 and 1860 census. They then disappear and I have not been able to find any information on them.

Mary Ann married Elisha Thomas Wilson and they had eleven children. Nine lived to grow up. Mary Ann and E. T. lived on the old homeplace of Wiley all their married lives and left an eleven page will dividing the property between their children. All the children lived near them until their deaths in 1880 and 1885 and then sold out and many moved on. Martha had married George Morrison and was widowed within three months and pregnant. She then married L. L. Peevy and they left for Abilene. William A married Mollie Thompson and may have left or may have died in Lamar Co. after the 1880 census. Their daughter Willie married Dr. Sam Wilson and she died in Paris in the 1900s. John Michael married Louisa Anderson and they left the area before 1900 for Cooke Co., and then on to Clay Co., Tx. John and Louisa were my grandparents. Margaret married B. F. Burks and they went to Clay Co., Tx. Nancy married Thad Haynes and then W. T. Wright and might have died in Lamar Co. However, I cannot find them in the cemeteries. Thomas Jefferson went to Clay Co., Tx. and married leaving no children. Joseph Johnson Wilson married Telitha Hearn and lived his life in Lamar Co. where he and his wife and two sons are buried. The sons had no children. Joseph had the original land grant given to Wiley and gave an interview to a local newspaper about it in 1944. With the deaths of his entire family it has disappeared and I do not know where it went. Mary (Mollie) married George Kitchens and then Henry Chronic. I think she lived her life in Lamar Co. but I have not found the grave. I know that her descendants are in California. This leaves Susan who was not yet grown when her mother died. The only clue we have is an obituary that gives the last name of Whitlock for her and a picture of her visiting her sister Margaret.