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Wilkes County Genealogy

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Wilkes county was formed in 1777 from parts of Surry County and Washington District (now Washington County, Tennessee). The first session of the county court was held in John Brown’s house near what is today Brown’s Ford. The act creating the county became effective on February 15, 1778, and the county celebrates its anniversary as February 15. It was named for the English political radical John Wilkes, who lost his position as Lord Mayor of the City of London due to his support for the colonists during the American Revolution.

In 1799 the northern and western parts of Wilkes County became Ashe County. In 1841 parts of Wilkes County and Burke County were combined to form Caldwell County. In 1847 another part of Wilkes County was combined with parts of Caldwell County and Iredell County to become Alexander County. In 1849 additional parts of Wilkes County and Caldwell County were combined with parts of Ashe County and Yancey County to form Watauga County. Numerous boundary adjustments were made thereafter, but none resulted in new counties.

The County seat of Wilkes County is Wilkesboro. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes through Wilkes county. Wilkes County is also divided into the following townships: Antioch, Beaver Creek, Boomer, Brushy Mountains, Edwards, Elk Creek, Hays, Jobs Cabin, Lewis Fork, Lovelace, Moravian Falls, Mulberry, New Castle, North Wilkesboro, Rock Creek, Somers, Stanton, Traphill, Union, Walnut Grove, and Wilkesboro.

Wilkes County is a part of the Yadkin Valley Wine Growing area.

Among the famous residents of Wilkes County:

* Daniel Boone (1734-1820), the famed explorer and pioneer, lived in Wilkes County for several years, and married a Wilkes County native, before moving west to Kentucky.
* Benjamin Cleveland (1738-1806), was a distinguished colonel in the North Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War. He was one of the American commanders at the famous Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780.
* William Lenoir (1751-1839), the first President of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
* Montford Stokes (1762-1842), United States Senator and Governor of North Carolina from 1816 to 1832. In 1832 he was appointed by President Andrew Jackson to lead the Federal Indian Commission in what is now Oklahoma; he is believed to be the only veteran of the Revolutionary War buried in that state.
* Chang and Eng Bunker (1811-1874), the world-famous Siamese twins, who were a popular attraction in Asia, Europe, and North America in the nineteenth century, settled in Wilkes County in the 1850s and married two local sisters.
* George Allen Gilreath (1834-1863), a captain in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War; he commanded the regiment which advanced the farthest into enemy lines during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gilreath was killed in the assault.
* James B. Gordon (1822-1864), a general of cavalry in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
* Tom Dula (Dooley) (1844-1868), a Confederate veteran of the Civil War who was tried and hanged shortly after the war for the murder of his fiancee, Laura Foster. Dula was the subject of a top-selling 1958 ballad by the Kingston Trio, entitled “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley”.
* James Larkin Pearson (1879-1981), poet and newspaper publisher who served as North Carolina’s official Poet Laureate from 1953 to 1981.
* Robert Byrd (1917-), the senior U.S. Senator from West Virginia since 1959. Byrd is the longest-serving Senator in American history.
* Junior Johnson (1931-), in the 1950s, Johnson became a legend in the rural South by consistently outrunning law-enforcement officials in auto chases while delivering homemade liquor (moonshine) to his customers. Johnson then became a champion NASCAR racer, winning 50 NASCAR races before his retirement.
* Benny Parsons (1941-2007), well-known NASCAR racer who won the 1973 NASCAR championship. After his retirement he became a popular racing analyst for the ESPN, NBC and TBS television networks.
* John Swofford (1948-), since 1997 the Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), one of the nation’s premiere college sports conferences.
* Deneen Graham (1964-), the first black woman to be crowned Miss North Carolina (1983).
* Zach Galifianakis (1969-), a popular stand-up comedian who has appeared on such television shows as Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He has also been a character actor in films such as Into the Wild and on several television series for the Comedy Central network, such as Reno 911.

Wilkes County is home to the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, Merlefest, the Shine to Wine Festival, the birth of the folk song “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley”.

Source: Wikipedia.

Wilkes County Genealogy Resources

Wilkes County NCGenweb site

Wilkes County NCGenWeb Archives

Wilkes Genealogical Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 1629
North Wilkesboro, NC 28659

300x250

Wilkes County Government

Wilkes County Government Official Site

Wilkes County Register of Deeds
500 Court House Drive
Suite 1000
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
Phone: 336.651.7351
Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:55pm
(None of their documents can be accessed online as of July 14, 2010)

Appalachian Regional Library – Serving Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga Counties
215 Tenth Street
North Wilkesboro, NC 28659
Phone: 336.838.2818
Hours
336.838.2818
Directions
336.667.2638

Cities and Towns

* North Wilkesboro
* Ronda
* Wilkesboro

Unincorporated:

* Cricket
* Fairplains
* Hays
* Millers Creek
* Moravian Falls
* Mulberry
* Pleasant Hill

Census

1790 Federal Census Transcription

1800 Federal Census Index

1810 Federal Census Index

1820 Federal Census Index

1830 Federal Census Index

1840 Federal Census Index

1850 Federal Census Index

1850/1860 Federal Slave Mortality Census

1870 Federal Census Images

Cemeteries

USGS listing of cemeteries in Wilkes County

Cemetery Transcriptions

Wilkes County Cemetery Transcriptions

Wilkes County Cemetery Census

Query Forums

Wilkes County, NC Query Forum

Latest North Carolina Genealogy Query posts for Wilkes County from the Forum:

North Carolina Genealogy Forum: Forum: Wilkes County NC Genealogy Queries – Recent Topics

Pet Money on “Money Family”

Looking for info on Leonard Money son of Marshall Money. Leonard’s son, Willie Cicero
Money was raised by his grandparents Marshall & Nancy Money.




Dora S. Johnson on “Grover Loranzy Johnson search”

Grover Loranzy Johnson, born September 14, 1913, North Wilksboro. Mother’s name was Dora Ethel Johnson. They moved to Virginia prior to 1938.


Wilkes County, NC at Genforum

News related to Wilkes County, NC

“wilkes county” nc – Google News

Funeral procession travels through Wilkes, Ashe counties for NC soldier killed in Afghanistan – Winston-Salem Journal


Winston-Salem Journal
Funeral procession travels through Wilkes, Ashe counties for NC soldier killed in Afghanistan
Winston-Salem Journal
A funeral procession was held Wednesday in Wilkes County for a North Carolina soldier who was killed earlier this month in eastern Afghanistan. Sgt. Dillion C. Baldridge, 22, of Youngsville was among three U.S. soldiers killed on June 10 when an Afghan …
Funeral for fallen North Carolina soldier will be FridayWXII The Triad
Procession held for fallen North Carolina soldier killed in Afghanistanmyfox8.com
Flags At Half Mast In Honor Of Sgt. Dillon BaldridgeGo Blue Ridge

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Wilkes infant dies from cocaine toxicity; parents are charged – Wilkes Journal Patriot

Wilkes infant dies from cocaine toxicity; parents are charged
Wilkes Journal Patriot
On Thursday, both were in the Wilkes County Jail with secured bonds of $200,000 apiece. Absher said Smith and Bouchelle found their 3-month-old daughter, Rainbow Smith, unresponsive in her crib in their mobile home on Stoneview Drive at 1:45 p.m. Sept …




Wilkes County players selected All-Region – Wilkes Journal Patriot


Wilkes Journal Patriot
Wilkes County players selected All-Region
Wilkes Journal Patriot
All-Region Team. Wilkes Central's Karson Anderson was one of three Wilkes County players named to the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association's All-Region 9 team for 2A this spring. All-Region Team. Zach Colburn …




Plan bumps criminal age in NC to 18 – The Robesonian


Newburgh Gazette
Plan bumps criminal age in NC to 18
The Robesonian
RALEIGH — North Carolina appears ready to give up being one of the only states that automatically prosecutes 16- and 17-year-olds as adults for crimes. A policy decision included in the state's budget deal would “raise the age” of juvenile courts to
Budget Deal to End Adult Prosecution of North Carolina TeensU.S. News & World Report

all 71 news articles »




Baldwin is new Wilkes Soil and Water Conservation District director – Wilkes Journal Patriot

Baldwin is new Wilkes Soil and Water Conservation District director
Wilkes Journal Patriot
A longtime N.C. Department of Agriculture employee is the new Wilkes Soil and Water Conservation District director. Robert Baldwin, 54, will start in the new Wilkes County government-funded position at the first of July. Simultaneously, he is retiring




Wilkes County Schools win pension spiking court battle – WXII The Triad


WXII The Triad
Wilkes County Schools win pension spiking court battle
WXII The Triad
Three years ago, North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation targeting any public official earning more than $100,000 to see if school boards or local governments spiked salaries. Ironically, the lawmaker who initiated the crackdown is now the North …

and more »


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