Magazine Index


A Letter from Hubert Wilkey
Mystery of Vincent Wilkie
A letter from the Past
A Letter from Francis X. Wilkie S. J.


The following is a letter Hubert Wilkey wrote to "Dear People" after he finished the "Jonathan Tree" in which he express his disillusionment in the number of William and George Wilkeys.  Hubert's books are available at this time, see elsewhere on the WWB.  Most of the information found in Hubert's books are available on these pages.


Dear People,

My work from Jonathan J. Jackson Wilkey down to the present-day baby descendants is finished and being readied for printing and binding. It will be a hardbound book and I believe I can come out the publishing part by selling the book for $7.00.

I do hope to add Samuel, the brother of J. J., descendants. Am in touch with Grace Wilkey Thomas, a lawyer and descendant of Sam, who lives in Atlanta. I also hope to push the line back beyond Vincent and work along that line has been rewarding. I seem to be near the point of gathering up lose ends.

The first record of Wilkeys in N. C. ( robina ), that I have is the record of a deed by which Thos. and Elizabeth Martin conveyed to Qrames Bond a trust of land or plantation formally owned by Joseph Wilkey. This was May 10, 1756.

Then in Orange County, N. C. in a deed dated March 20, 1769 William and Elizabeth Wilkey conveyed property to William West.

In 1790 the only Wilkey head of a household in the N. C. Census was George Wilkey in Chatham County, who was a Revolutionary War Veteran. At that time George and his wife had 3 sons under 16 and 4 daughters. George may have had older sons away from home and more children may have been born.

Was George the son of Joseph or William?

The next records that I have are the marriages of James Wilkey in 1823; Mary in 1821; Martha in 1819; and Polly in 1820. How many of these were children of George?

George left no will in Chatham County; and due to my reliance on faulty transcriptions of the Census of 1800 and 1810, I decided that he had moved from N. C. before 1800; (Hubert was looking in the wrong place. Vincent was born in S. C. in 1780 dcw). But when I viewed microfilm of the original Census I found him there in 1800, 1810, and 1820. I was puzzled that he should be gone during the period when his children were marrying. I had begun to look for him just over in Virginia and Tennessee. I must check further to see if he ever left N. C.

The Census of 1800 in Chatham also showed an Alexander Wilkey and a Joseph Wilkey. I couldn’t be sure about these, the writing was fancy and dim. It could have been Joseph Gilkey. The one letter was the doubtful item. Both of these were up in years. Was this the Alexander who served in the Revolution in Virginia and was Joseph the Craven County Joseph?

The 1810 Census of Chatham County added Catherine Wilkey and Isaac (?) Wilkey, didn’t find Alexander or Joseph.

The 1820 Census had: George Wilkey, William Wilkey, Jonathan Wilkey, Polly Wilkey, William Wilkey and George Wilkey. The latter George and William were younger that the first named George and William.

Now we know that this Polly Wilkey and her children belonged to Vincent. I believe he had a sister named Polly, who was married to ?? in Oct. 13 of the year 1820.

The surprise was to discover a Jonathan with a wife and four children. Also we wonder where Vincent and Polly were in 1810. I am guessing how that they had been trying to establish themselves in Tennessee and he had been killed in one on the Indian uprisings. They were having them up until The Great Removal was accomplished. I am also guessing that it was ( blurred ) Jonathan, the brother of Vincent, who went to their rescue and brought them to Chatham. Only two or three names separated Jonathan and Polly which indicates they were neighbors at the time of the Census. I imagine that out of gratitude Polly named her baby Jonathan.

I hope that I will be able to learn more about how Vincent died.

By the way I found Joseph J. Stubbins in the 1790 Census. He was middle age then; had a family; and owned 3 lots in Hillsboro, Orange County. Some have speculated that he was a relation to this family as his surety was on Vincent’s marriage bond. His wife could have been a sister of Vincent’s father, but I doubt that there was any relationship. He was surety on many bonds and was probably a deputy clerk or held another office nearby. Didn’t find him in 1820

One of the Williams and one of the Georges may be the William and George who came to Indiana. Can I ever put this jigsaw together? I plan a trip to Florida before long. Perhaps I can go via N. C. I would like to visit the court house in Chatham, Orange, Henderson, and Burke Counties.

It would take only a short time to go through their deed books, marriage bonds, and wills to get all Wilkeys and Wilkies. It would be important to see the deeds. I would want only names and dates of transfers involving Wilkeys as grantor or grantees. It might be helpful to have names of witnesses and sureties on marriage bonds s they might point to other relations. Any of courts wills would give valuable information. I believe I can do these counties in two days. I wouldn’t use information later than 1840.

Anybody want to help?




Unlocking the Mystery of the Vincent Wilkey Family

A letter from Donald Wilkey to Nola Ree Welliford

 Dear Nola Ree,

A couple of miles North of Beulah is a little settlement we call "Rabbit Ridge." I took a road to the right in Rabbit Ridge and after a few miles encountered a sign, "Silent Run Baptist Church." I turned right again to visit this little Church.

The Church is on a hill side in a very picturesque setting facing a very large open field which woody hills surround. On the hill beside the Church is a small cemetery. One small grave caught my eye. This little grave was above ground and made with sandstones. The top stone is large and flat and covered the stones underneath. At the head of this stone they had cut a large slot so that the tombstone might be fitted inside.

Time had taken its toll and the tombstone had sunk down into the grave so only a part remained above the large flat stone. I pulled the stone out to see whom they buried there. I was very surprised to find Isabel Wilkey, a sister of our grandfather, Jimmy Wilkey, who died when she was a little over two years old.

Isabel’s grandfather was Rev. Milton Sisk. It would not surprise me if Timothy and Milton Sisk’s graves are nearby without markers. Several Sisk’s are buried here. Surely this must be the site of both Rev. Timothy’s Church and Rev. Jonathan Jackson Wilkey’s Church. It seems that Jonathan Jackson Wilkey would have buried his daughter in his Church’s cemetery. Jonathan Jackson Wilkey’s wife was the daughter of Rev. Milton Sisk.

June Hancock informs me Timothy had been married twice before he married Mary Savage in 1835. Mary had also previously married twice and is not the mother of Milton.

She does not state Timothy Sisk’s age but we can guess. Taking Anna, the first born.

Anna’s birth date...............1803

Average age of marriage..... -20 years

Sub total............................1783

Average time for first

child to arrive........................- 2 years

Timothy’s estimated birth 1781

Timothy Sisk remarries..... 1835 in Hopkins County, Kentucky

Estimated birth date.......... 1781

Age at third marriage ...... 54 years old.

The history of Beulah, Kentucky is slowly unfolding. It appears the Franklins, Dockerys , and the Sisks may have been the first of our family to settle in Hopkins County with the Wilkeys and McGregors following shortly. We know that Grandsire Dockery’s son, Richard Perry Dockery, had purchased land in the Beulah area. The Sisks traveled from South Carolina sometime after 1803 to North Carolina where Milton was born in 1815 and made the trek to Hopkins County sometime before 1820. About 1826 Vincent’s family made the trip to Hopkins County.

Listed are dates and events which may have been important to our forefathers in their settlement of Hopkins County, Kentucky. One or two dates are merely reference points to give you a point in time.

 1750 Grandsire ( John ) Dockery is born.

1755 George Wilkie is born in North Carolina.

1775........The Transylvania Company sold land to settlers at thirteen and one-half cent per acre. Land grants permitted under certain conditions.

1778 ( May ) Reverend Peter Tinsley preached the first sermon in Kentucky, by a Baptist minister.

1778 (Dec.) Two hundred thousand acres became Henderson County, the finial windup of the Transylvania Company as a reward for whatever benefit they may have been to settling Kentucky. Most of the Indian trouble was in the Central and Eastern part of Kentucky.

1780 Vincent Wilkey is born in South Carolina.

1781......Timothy Sisk is born.

1782 (June 1 ) Kentucky became the fifteenth state.

1803 .....Due to the inconvenient size of Henderson County the southern part becomes Hopkins County. Traveling southward Henderson County extended from Red Banks approximately sixty miles to the Tradewater River and what was to later become Dawson Springs, Kentucky.

1803... Hopkins County Court House is built at a cost of $329.00. The successful bidder was Solomon Silkwood.

1803 Anna Sisk was born in South Carolina.

1808 ( Sept. ) Vincent Wilkie and Polly Dockery wed, North Carolina.

1810 Census of Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky: 37 residents of which 11 were men, 3 women, 10 boys, 1 freedman, and 8 slaves.

1811 The western part of Henderson County becomes Union County.

1815 Milton Sisk was born in North Carolina which indicates that Timothy moved from South Carolina between 1803 and 1815.

1815 Vincent sells land grant in North Carolina and leaves before deed is settled.

1816 Vincent returns to North Carolina.

1819 The Sisks left North Carolina and traveled to Hopkins County, Kentucky.

1819 John James Audubon left Henderson, Kentucky to find a market for his drawings of birds and wildlife of Kentucky.

1820 (Feb.) Anna Sisk marries Hopkins County.

1820 ( June ) Jonathan Jackson Wilkey was born in North Carolina.

1820 Richard Perry Dockery bought land from Owen Franklin in Hopkins County.

1821 - 1825 ? Vincent Wilkey dies on a hunting trip.

1826 Grandsire Dockery and Polly Wilkie move to Hopkins County.

1840 Census of Madisonville shows 51 people.

1860 Webster County began to stand alone from Henderson County.

1868 James H. Wilkey is born. Son of Jonathan Jackson Wilkey.

1870 The population of Madisonville began to show growth. Dawson Springs starts to grow and will soon be a town. Mineral water will soon be discovered. At this time Dawson Springs may be larger than Madisonville. The railroads are now being built or soon will be.

1871 Frank Leslie Wilkey is born.

1900 The New Century Hotel is built and is considered a better hotel than any in Louisville. Dawson Springs boosts of 41 hotels and rooming houses. The ICRR sells 41,000 tickets to Dawson Springs in one year.

Vincent sold his land grant in the year of 1815 and received the money and left before signing the deed. He gave a friend "power of attorney" before leaving. Today it might require as long as a year to clear a deed. I don’t believe it would require that long in 1815. There was some reason why Vincent had to leave so suddenly.

Vincent was seeking better land and new lands were westward and to the south. One explanation of his sudden departure would be a planned trip. Had he and Richard Perry Dockery ( Vincent’s brother-in-law ) and perhaps the Sisks planned a trip to Kentucky on a certain date?

If these three men had planned such a trip it would be very important to leave early in the Spring to take advantage of the weather. Otherwise the trip would be delayed until next Spring.

Perhaps the Wilkeys and Sisks knew each other in North Carolina and Vincent knew the Sisks planned to move to Kentucky as soon as Milton ( born in 1815 ) was old enough to withstand the trip. Before making the trip with their families these men may have wanted to see this new land. Or perhaps they wanted to blaze a trail before risking the journey with their families.

Hubert Wilkey stated that Vincent was "land hungry." A brand new sparsely settled state would be too much temptation for a "land hungry" person to pass without first taking a look at the land.

During those days news traveled slowly and the fact that the Transylvania Company ( which was now out of business ) requested that land grants be given only under the following conditions. They held one-half interest in all mineral rights. Every year the Company was to be paid rent of fifty cents on each hundred acres of the twenty million acres that was most of Kentucky "forever and ever." During Vincent’s time the Company no longer existed but news traveled slowly and stories of the conditions of the Transylvania Company and other rumors would die slowly. Such rumors may have lingered on, even as long as thirty years. And this may have been the big factor which influenced Vincent and Richard not to purchase land in Kentucky at that time. Even today we often fail to learn of laws which have been repealed.

Vincent returned in 1816 in time to sign the deed. The time Vincent was gone may be deceiving at first. If he left ( Richard going along is a guess ) in very early Spring would have given Vincent almost a year and a half to make the trip. Uncle Hubert hints that Vincent may have been a hunter and a trapper and "wintering over" would not be a problem for Vincent.

The Sisks would not be prepared to leave for at least four more years, waiting until Milton was at least five years old. According to all we know Vincent did not buy any land, nor did Richard, if he was along. However, it was not uncommon for land owners to fail to register their land sales with the county seats. This fact opens another line of thought on which I will not dwelled as some of the following reasons quickly put aside the chance that Vincent may have, in fact, purchased land on which his wife later settled.

About 1818-1819 the Sisks left North Carolina in early Spring when Milton was 4 years old. I believe Richard Perry was with them. The fact that the Sisks and Dockerys were in North Carolina at the same time and their place of settlement was in the Beulah area of Hopkins County, Kentucky in what seems to be about the same time frame is just a little too close for mere chance. Anna marries in 1820 which could have been a little after the Sisks settled. In the same year Richard Perry buys land in Hopkins County, Ky. Vincent may not have liked the land. At first I thought Vincent intended to return to Kentucky but as Jonathan was born in June shows clearly that Polly was not carrying Jonathan when the Sisks and Richard left North Carolina. Let’s give our ancestors a little more reasoning power than to be caught in the wilderness in the dead of winter. They would have left early in the Spring wanting to reach their destination in time to either find or build a shelter for the winter.

Vincent was killed on a hunting trip perhaps a couple of years after the Sisks and Dockerys departed for Kentucky.

When Jonathan was old enough Polly and Grandsire Dockery moved to Kentucky and this might seem to indicate that Vincent intended to move to Kentucky but it may be the case of dad wanting to be with his son.

We know they traveled by wagon and oxen. We do not know the trail conditions or if there was a trail. We also think of Kentucky as being covered with tall trees, which is true, but there were also open plains. I would suppose covering five miles a day would be considered good. By the time Grandsire Dockery made the trip the roads were dirt and well traveled. I doubt they actually blazed any new trails.

I was wanting to prove that Jonathan and Polly Wilkie were pioneers, in a way they were, but there were people here long before they arrived. Hopkins County was 25 years old when they arrived.

As you know our Uncle Hubert wrote two books about the Wilkeys. The first was the "Jonathan Tree" and the second was 'The Wilkey Wilkie Family."  I believe the second book was the fruit of his unsuccessful search for the father of Vincent Wilkey.  Vincent's land grant may be a more important clue that Uncle Hubert realized.  This may indicate that Vincent was born some where other than North Carolina.  Thus his search of the United States and Canada for the answer.


P. S.    Since writing this letter I have discovered my suspicion that Vincent Wilkie was born somewhere other than North Carolina was correct.  He was born in South Carolina and I have inserted this in the history outline.  This opens a whole new ball game.  Uncle Hubert had it.  Look on pages 13 and 14  in the Wilkey Wilkie Family book. It is confusing but Uncle Hubert reasoned that there could not be two sons with the name of William.  I have always wondered how, or why, Jonathan Jackson was so named.  The Jonathan part is not difficult as he was named after his father's uncle.  The Jackson name, which is a last name, might very well be the maiden name of one of his grandmothers.




A Lesson in Genealogy From The Past

Submitted by Jeffrey Martin

The following was transcribed from a very old hand-written note found among the papers of Mrs. Sarah Rippy Lutts (Sally). It is presumed to have been written by Sally herself who was born in 1837.

Parts of this letter were very difficult to read. My intent was to present it entirely verbatim. Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify its veracity. Here is an excerpt: J.M.



"Our Grandma Elizabeth Rippy’s Side"


"My great, great, great grandfather Martin was from England his wife was

Scotch-Irish & catholic had 4 children 2 boys William & Thomas one girl

married an Irvin, the other Benjamin Hardin. My great, great grandfather

Thomas Martin married SABRA WILKEY, her father was GEORGE WILKEY from

France & was lost on the Atlantic. Thomas & Sabra had 8 children 7 sons & 1

daughter Elizabeth, she married a Taylor. The sons William, Thomas second,

Valentine my great grandfather, next John, J_ri__, J_ab_ Absolon They all

married & moved to different states except Thomas who died near Hickory

Creek NC He had 20 children & raised 18 to be married William married &

moved to Mississippi in 1841. He had one son who was a Baptist preacher one

who was a Presbyterian & one a Methodist one son name Thomas Nelson Martin

was Judge of Houston Miss. My father W. M. P. Rippey moved from Spartanburg

SC to Houston in 1855 & left for Tenn. in Oct. 1855 & settled at the Rippey

stand All the Martins came from William & Thomas. William’s daughter Mary

married Edward Rippey the Third Valentine Martins (great) grandfather came

over in the May Flower Edward the second sister Fanny married Abednego

Adams, their daughter Polly Adams married William Martins oldest son James

a Baptist preacher. His eldest sister Betsy Martin married William Adams

eldest son of aunt Fannie & Abednego Adams & settled in Water Valley Miss."


Jeffrey L. Martin



Letter from Francis X. Wilkie, S. J.   Mailed from Fairfield, Conn. April 9, 1956

Addressed to Miss Bridget Wilie, 417 East 87th St., New York 28, NY


Fairfield University

Fairfield, Connecticut

      April 8, 1956

Dear Miss Wilkie,

Your letter came as a surprise.  My brother, Robert Wilkie, lives at 63 Pinckiney St., Boston and has lived there for severa years.  I saw him last week and we were amazed that this was all a coincidence.   My grandfather, James Wilkie, came to Boston from Dundee, Scotland.   He had several so it is possible that we have cousins that we  don't know.

I have just written to your brother.

Sincerely yours,

Francis X. Wilkie, S. J.