Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bedford County, Tennessee: A Definitive List of the Children of Jacob and Mary Powell Wilhoite

I've recently had to present information to multiple people disproving their belief that they descend  from Jacob Wilhoite (II) and Mary Powell of Bedford County, TN. I was not aware there was such a prevalence of incorrect children being attributed to this couple as there is to Jacob's parents, an issue which I have addressed on my blog in the past and will soon update with new information.

As I began to search the internet, I found a multitude of family trees on and other websites listing children other than the seven known identified children. Census records indicate there were others, but hard documentation proves that Jacob had a total of SEVEN heirs. He did not have children that went back to North Carolina or stayed in North Carolina after that family left for Tennessee.

Other than a handful of random additions, the two women most commonly added to this family erroneously are Edith Wilhoite who married Jacob Lineberry and Penelope Wilhoite who married Edwin Miller. One can find numerous trees with these two daughters added to this family. However, the DO NOT belong to this family. They both married in North Carolina, and there is no indication they ever lived elsewhere. Further, there is no place for either woman in Jacob's households in Census records. Even further, they are NOT listed as his heirs or relatives of his heirs in the numerous records concerning his actual children. Lastly, if they were Jacob's daughters, they would have been entitled to parts of Wiley Wilhoite's estate as all of Wiley's siblings were, but they were recipients of any of his estate because they were not his sisters

If you have Penelope Wilhoite Miller or Edith Wilhoite Lineberry in your family trees as daughters of Jacob Wilhoite and Mary Powell this is WRONG. They are likely relatives of his, probably cousins of some sort, but they are not his daughters. I am prepared to lay out all the documentation I have found that conclusively shows his children were, and you will not find either of these women associated with him in any way, shape, or form.

Unfortunately, the Census records for Jacob's households in 1810, 1820, and 1830 are spotty and incomplete. The 1810 Census does not enumerate his wife at all, nor show any females in the household. So we have no way of knowing if he had daughters born before 1810. In 1820, he has 3 daughters or women: one age 16-25, and two under age 10. We have no way of knowing if the woman aged 16-25 is a daughter or another woman, but the records I will share leads one to conclude that this woman was either A) not a child of the family, perhaps a niece or servant, or B) she was a daughter who pre-deceased Jacob, and therefore received no portion of his estate, nor any portion of her brother's estate when he died. The two daughters under age 10 are undoubtedly Amelia (sometimes referred to as Millie and even Emily) and Mary.

The 1820 Census also shows four males: one 16-25, and three under 10. The male 16-25 is undoubtedly Pearce Wilhoite. Two of the males under 10 are Wiley and Jacob. It is unknown who the fourth boy is. Like the female discussed above, he was either not a child of Jacob, or he pre-deceased his father and therefore received no portion of his estate.

The 1830 Census makes the family appear even cloudier. It appears likely that the family took in some other relatives, or had servants or others staying with them. It shows a male under 5, who is a complete unknown. He could be a son that pre-deceased Jacob. There is a boy 5-9; though he was 10 when the Census was taken, this is most likely his son Jacob, b. 1819. There is a female who is 5-9, who would be Jane. The female 10-14 is likely Margaret. Then there is a female 15-19 and a female 20-29. The 15-19 year old female could be Amelia or Mary. The 20-29 year old is unknown, though she could be the 16-25 year old from the 1830 Census, who as I said could have been a relative or else a daughter who pre-deceased Jacob. It is odd that Wiley appears to be absent from the household, and one of the two teenage daughters (Amelia or Mary) is also absent; it is unclear where they might have been enumerated. They could have been away at school or with relatives.

So one can keep all the children straight as they go through the records below, I am going to list the information I have for each:

1. Pearce H. Wilhoite, about 1806-Aug 1880. Married Hester "Hattie" Burrow.
2. Wiley Wilhoite, about 1812-between 1836-1838. Unmarried. Also called "Willie".
3. Amelia Wilhoite, about 1814-1871. Also called "Millie" and "Emily". Married first John Brewton, also spelled Bruton. Married second Harris Austin/Auston.
4. Mary "Polly" Wihoite, about 1816-before 1860. Married James M. Jones.
5. Jacob W. Wilhoite, III, 1819-1894. Married Malinda Burrow.
6. Margaret Wilhoite, about 1820-after 1850. Married James Burrow.
7. Jane Wilhoite, about 1821-after 1850. Married William Dwyer.

I am now going to transcribe all the records I have found which tie the seven known children, Pearce, Wiley, Amelia, Mary, Jacob, Margaret and Jane, together and leaves little doubt that they are the heirs of Jacob Wilhoite. One will find there is no room for others to be added.

The following comes from "Chancery Court Records of Bedford County, Tennessee" compiled by Timothy R. and Helen C. Marsh (1988):

Page 370 – James M. Jones & wife vs. John Bruton & others
James M. Jones and wife Polly, formerly Polly Wilhoite, of Bedford County against Jacob Wilhoite, Jane Wilhoite, minors who have [Pearce] Wilhoite for their guardian and Emily [Bruton], formerly Emily Wilhoite, all of Bedford County and John Bruton whose residence is unknown.

Complts state that Polly Jones is the sister of Willey Wilhoite, deceased, who died intestate without issue and that she on the ____ day of ______ intermarried with James M. Jones by which he became interested in the real estate belonging to said Polly Wilhoite, deceased. Complt James stated that said Willey Wilhoite was seized as of his own right a tract of land lying on Big Flat Creek in Bedford County, adjoining the lands of Mrs. Polly Wilhoite and others, about 120 acres and that he left some brothers and sisters, his only heirs at law. Jones also stakes that he purchased said interest in said lands of them by the heirs and he obtained deeds therefore, and purchased the share and interest of John [Bruton] and wife Emily and paid for the same, $90.00 and has not yet obtained a deed but a Title Bond. 

[Note: This first document is not dated. It is also confusing in that it states Polly is deceased, although neither she nor her mother who was also Polly were deceased whenever this hearing took place. It appears to be from the late 1830s or early 1840s based on the documents surrounding it. It is likely an error by the original author, or in the transcription. "Jane" is presumably her sister prior to her marriage to William Dwyer. Regardless, this deed conclusively proves that the wife of James Jones was a Wilhoite, a sister to Wiley, and inherently a sister to Amelia, Pearce, and Jane.]

Page 275 – Harrison Austin & wife Emily vs. John Brewton & Pearce Wilhoite – 28 December 1843
Wiley Wilhoite died some eight or ten years ago, that he was the brother of Emily the wife of Harris Austin and that Pearce Wilhoire was appointed the admr of Wiley Wilhoite, deceased. Wiley Wilhoite left a small personal estate when he died and that out of the estate Emily Austin is entitled to $8.00 and interest. Emily, the wife of Harris Austin, about the time of the death of Wiley Wilhoite, was the wife of John Brewton, that he deserted her, and fled to parts unknown, that she afterwards in the year 1841 married Harris Austin, that she has since heard that said John Brewron is still living and that she never obtained any divorce from said Brewton. Court ordered Pearce Wilhoite, admr of Wiley Wilhoite, pay over to said Emily, now wife of Harris Austin $8.00 and interest, as distribute share of the estate of Wiley Wilhoite, that neither said John Brewton nor Harris Austin shall receive any part thereof.  

Page 213 – William G. Cowan vs. William Dwyer and Jane his wife – 27 December 1842. William Dwyer is not a resident of Tennessee. He is indebted to Cowan on several notes. Court says that William Dwyer owns, in his own right, of the undivided 5/6 and in right of his deceased wife, during her natural life, the 1/6 of a tract of land in Bedford County on Big Flat Creek, known and designated in the division of the lands of Jacob Wilhoite, deceased, among his heirs, as Lot No. 3, containing about 121 acres. Also, that he owns in right of his wife, a tract of land in Marshall County, Tennessee containing 106 acres and 36 poles on waters of Wilson Creek and designated as Lot N. 9 in the lands of Jacob Wilhoite, deceased, being the part allotted to his daughter Jane Dwyer. Court orders Dwyer to complt $450.09.

[Note: It is based on this record that I have listed Jane as "deceased by 1842" in my records previously. However, below one will find the deed where William Dwyer and Jane sell land to the same William G. Cowan, and it lists them both as residents of Jackson County, Alabama, and it does not state she is deceased. That deed is in 1846. Further, a Jane Dwyer appears in the same household as William Dwyer in the 1850 Census in Jackson County, Alabama, and her age matches the approximate age Jane is believed to be. Based on the latter two facts, I believe Jane's being listed as deceased in this 1842 record is erroneous.]

Page 220 – Robert Mathews vs. William Dwer & others – Report of Clerk & Master [Note: This record not dated.] Report as to how much money is due complt from deft. William Dwyer is a non-resident of Tennessee, that he has no property in Tennessee, he owes $102.97. That he owns an undivided interest of 5/7 part of a tract of land in Bedford County described as said bill, and that deft Jacob Wilhoite and the wife of Dwyer (whose given name is unknown) are respectively the other 2/7 parts. Land describes, to wit, bordering _____ Burrow’s line, Eve Burrow’s field, William Word’s line and Lot No. 1. Court orders deft to pay complt.

 Page 241 – William G. Cowan vs. William Dwyer and Jane his wife – Report. Court to sell land on waters of Flat Creek on 18 March 1842. William and Mary Dwyer’s land borders the waters of Wilsons Creek devised to Jacob Wilhoite by his father and James Williams.

Page 278 – Robert Mathews vs. William Dwyer and Jane his wife & Jacob Wilhoite – Report. Sale on land on 11 March 1843. William G. Cowan was the best, highest and last bidder and he became the owner of said property or land, and executed notes with Robert Moffat as his security. William Dwyer’s 5/7 parts of land. Land in Bedford County on waters of Big Flat Creek, Lot No. 3 in the division of the lands of Jacob Wilhoite, deceased, and assigned in said division to Willie Wilhoite. Land borders Polly Burrow, Eva Burrow, William Word’s line, and containing about 121 acres.

Page 204 – No. 9 – John Wilhoite vs. Madison Jones & others. Bill filed 16 April 1864. John Wilhoite of Bedford County states that Madison Jones, a citizen of Arkansas is indebted to your orator for sum of $150.00, the value of a horse which Jones took from your orator’s stable in Spring of 1863 without your orators knowledge or consent. Jones left the State and took the horse. Orator states that Jones had an undivided interest in a tract of land in Bedford County in District No. 22, on water of Flat Creek, known as the Polly Wilhoite Dower or tract, who was the grandmother of said Jones, and inherited the same through his mother Polly Jones. Bother mother and grandmother now being dead. After their death, the land has been sold by Bedford County Court. The land was bid off by Jacob Wilhoite but has since transferred his big to Isaiah Parker.

The following comes from "Land Deed Genealogy of Bedford County, Tennessee 1807-1852" compiled by Helen C. and Timothy R. Marsh (1988):

Page 441 – 21 Jul 1841. H. Austin and A. Bruton to A. W. Reagor. Deed 11 acres. Harris Austin and Amelia Bruton one part and A. W. Reagor other part, all of Bedford Co., TN, sold land in Bedford Co., on waters of Big Flat Creek, being part of the lands which Bruton inherited of her father’s estate, John Bruton interest in same having been sold for debt, Austin purchaser. Land borders Reagor’s land, Peter Raney, William Boone, Henry Hart’s corner. Wit: William Boones and James Wilson. Reg: 6 Aug 1841.

Page 13 – 25 Oct 1840. James Burrow and Margaret Burrow to James M. Jones. James Burrow and Margaret Burrow his wife one part and James M. Jones other part, all of Bedford Co., TN, on waters of Big Flat Creek, in the division of he lands of Jacob Wilhoite, deceased, amongst his heirs, fell to Willis Wilhoite, deceased, it being one seventh of the land of Willie, deceased. Wit: G. H. Phillips and Philip Phillips. Reg: 25 Aug 1841.

Page 14 – 25 Sep 1840. James M. Jones and wife to William Dwyer. 170 acres, 1/5 of. James and Mary Jones his wife to William Dwyer, all of Bedford Co. TN, land in Bedford Co., on waters of Big Flat Creek, it being the lot which fell to Willie Wilhoite, deceased, in the division of lands of Jacob Wilhite, deceased. Wit: William Bateman and Samuel Morris. Reg: 25 Aug 1841. 

Page 417 – 1 Jul 1846. William and Jane Dwyer to William G. Cowan. Deed, interest in land, 121 acres. William Dwyer and his wife Jan Dwyer of Jackson Co., Alabama, sold to William G. Cowan of Bedford Co., TN, land in Bedford Co., on waters of Little Flat Creek. Bounded by the lands of the Widow Burrow, John Lacy, Widow Wilhoite, Pearce Wilhoite and others. The land being that which Willie Wilhoite, deceased, brother of Jane Dwyer, inherited of the state of his father Jacob Wilhoite. Reg: 21 Aug 1846,

 Page 213 – 19 Dec 1835. James Burrow and Margaret his wife to Thomas C. H. Miller, all of Bedford Co., TN, land in Bedford Co., on waters of Wilson Creek. Borders Adam Miller on land where he now lives and James Williams. 80 acres. Wit: Pearce Wilhoit and James Jones. Reg: 10 Mar 1836.

Page 141 – 6 Jun 1837. Pearce Wilhoite and Mary Wilhoite to James Jones. Mary Wilhoite and Pearce Wilhoite one part and James Jones, all of Bedford Co., TN, other part. Land in Bedford Co., on waters of Big Flat Creek, which in the division of the lands of Jacob Wilhoite, deceased, amongst his heirs fell to Willie Wilhoite since deceased, it being two sevenths of the land of Willie Wilhoite, deceased. Wit: John F. Norman and Samuel Hawkins. Reg: 20 Aug 1838.

Page 144 – 6 Jun 1837. James M. and Polly Jones to Pearce Wilhoite.105 acres. James M. Jones and Polly his wife sold to Pearce Wilhoite, all of Bedford Co., TN, land in Bedford Co., on waters of Big Flat Creek. Borders William Boone, Thomas Dean, Hurst’s tract. The land being the same which fell to James and wife as heirs to the estate of Jacob Wilhoite, dec’d. Wit: John F. Norman and Samuel Hawkins. Reg: 23 Aug 1838.

Page 352 – 31 May 1842. Jacob Wilhoite to Pearce Wilhoite. Deed, 121 acres. Jacob Wilhoite sold to Pearce Wilhoite, both of Bedford Co., TN, all his undivided interest in a tract of land, being in Bedford Co., on waters of Big Flat, it being the lot allotted to Willis Wilhoite in the division of the lands of Jacob Wilhoite, Sr., deceased, and known as Lot No. 3. It being my interest, being one seventh. Reg: 1 Jun 1842.


These records speak for themselves. Wiley/Willie is established as a son of Jacob. When Wiley died, his estate was divided seven ways: between his six siblings and his mother. His mother and six siblings eventually sold all of their portions of this land, and some would sell their other portions of the Jacob Wilhoite estate as well. There is at least one record above that conclusively ties Wiley, Pearce, Jacob, Margaret, Mary, Amelia, and Jane as the children and heirs of Jacob Wilhoite. If the two North Caroline women, Edith and Penelope, had been among them, then they too would have been referenced in these records. But they are not, because they are not members of this family.

I hope this information will be useful to future researchers of the Wilhoite family, and will prevent them from erroneously applying these two women or any other children to this family.