Wilkes County, North Carolina Genealogy
Guide to Wilkes County North Carolina genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Wilkes County, North Carolina|
Location in the state of North Carolina
Location of North Carolina in the U.S.
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 History
- 3 Places / Localities
- 4 Resources
- 4.1 Cemeteries
- 4.2 General
- 4.3 Specific
- 4.4 Censuses
- 4.5 Church Records
- 4.6 Court
- 4.7 Education
- 4.8 Genealogy
- 4.9 Land
- 4.10 Local Histories
- 4.11 Maps
- 4.12 Migration
- 4.13 Military
- 4.14 Newspapers
- 4.15 Other Records
- 4.16 Probate
- 4.17 Taxation
- 4.18 Vital Records
- 4.19 General
- 4.20 Births
- 4.21 Marriages and Divorces
- 4.22 Specific Marriages
- 4.23 Deaths
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Web Sites
- 7 References
- The Original Wilkes County Courthouse - from Go Wilkes
Wilkes County is located in northwestern North Carolina. The county was formed from Surry and the District of Washington (or Washington District) by a 1777 legislative act. That act took effect 15 February 1778.
The county derives its name from John Wilkes, who was an opponent of Britain's Tory party and, at one time, Lord Mayor of London. Because Wilkes had been barred from serving in Parliament because of his political stance, in spite of his having been elected to office, he was viewed as having been persecuted for the sake of freedom.
The first settler of Wilkes County is said to have been Christopher Gist, who moved into the area in 1750. Other famous residents include Daniel Boone and Revolutionary War hero Col. Benjamin Cleveland.
The first court was held at the home of John Brown. The second court was held at the "bent of the Yadkin" on 1 Jun 1778 and was moved the following day, June 2, to the Mulberry Field Meeting House. That location was chosen as the county seat on June 3.
The 2010 population of Wilkes County was 69,340. Wilkes County comprises 757.19 square miles.
Ashe County was created from Wilkes County in 1799. Caldwell County was created from parts of Wilkes and Burke Counties in 1841. Part of Wilkes County, along with parts of Caldwell and Iredell Counties, became Alexander County in 1847. Watauga County was created in 1849 from parts of Wilkes, Caldwell, Ashe, and Yancey Counties.
For animated maps illustrating North Carolina county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation North Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1664-1965) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
A few of the early records are missing. The reason is unknown. For a list of record loss in North Carolina counties see: North Carolina Counties with Burned Courthouses
Places / Localities
Cities and towns
- North Wilkesboro (incorporated 4 Mar 1891): Historic Downtown North Wilkesboro | Official town website | Wikipedia page
- Ronda (incorporated 15 Feb 1907): Wikipedia page
- Wilkesboro (county seat; incorporated 1889): Official town website | Wikipedia page
- Cemeteries (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Cemetery Index (Genealogy Trails)
- The Political Graveyard: Wilkes County, North Carolina
- Wilkes County (The Tombstone Transcription Project)
- Wilkes County Cemeteries (ePodunk)
- Wilkes County Cemetery Search Results (Find a Grave)
- Cemetery Index (Wilkes County NCGenWeb)
- Shepherd Cemetery: Deep Ford Hill Cemetery
- Shepherd Cemetery: Doctor Franklin Shepherd Family
- Reddies River Baptist Church Cemetery
- Rock Creek Baptist Church Cemetery (New River Notes)
- Vannoy Cemetery: Elder James Vannoy Family
- 1790 Census (Going Home for History)
- 1790 Census (New River Notes)
- 1790 Census (U.S. Census, Wilkes Co.)
- 1800 Census Index (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1810 Census Index (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1820 Census (U.S. GenWeb)
- 1820 Census Index (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1830 Census Index (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1840 Census Index (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services (Genealogy Trails)
- 1850 Census Index (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1850 Census Mortality Schedule (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1860 Census: Wilkes County Head of Household Project (Going Home for History)
- 1860 Census Mortality Schedule (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1870 Census images (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- 1880 Census (U.S. GenWeb)
- 1883 Census of Pensioners (Genealogy Trails)
- 1930 Census (Wilkes Co. included; Internet Archive)
- 1930 Census (Wilkes Co. included; Internet Archive)
For tips on accessing Wilkes County, North Carolina Genealogy census records online, see: North Carolina Census.
- Beaver Creek. Constituted 1779.
- Brier Creek. Constituted 1781.
- Fish's River. Constituted 1789.
- Little River. Constituted 1791.
- New River, North Fork. Constituted 1781.
- New River, Three Forks. Constituted 1791.
- Roaring River. Constituted 1779.
- Roaring River, South Fork. Constituted 1785.
- Yadkin River, Head. Constituted 1779.
- Minutes of the First Regular Annual Session of the Primitive Baptist Association, Held with New Covenant Church, Wilkes County, N.C., October 22 and 23, 1869 (New River Notes)
- Minutes of the 41st Annual Session of the Roaring River District Primitive Baptist Association Convened with the Double Creek Church, Silkes County, N.C. Friday and Saturday October 7 and 8, 1887 (New River Notes)
- Zion Hill Baptist Church Membership List, 1814
- Court (Wilkes County records in U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Court records from 1781 that have not been transferred to the North Carolina State Archives are at the office of the Wilkes County Clerk of the Superior Court at the Courthouse, 500 Courthouse Dr., Wilkesboro, NC 28697, (336) 667-1201. Some records, however, have been transferred to the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, ND.
- The North Carolina State Archives has the original copies of the following: Apprentice Bonds and Records, 1778-1916; Bastardy Bonds and Records, 1773-1911; Officials' Bonds and Records, 1777-1914.
- The North Carolina State Archives has various records of the Wilkes County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions: Minutes, 1778-1868; Appearance Docket, 1840-1853; Execution Dockets, 1837-1868; State Docket, 1778-1792; Trial and Appearance Docket, 1824-1827; Trial Docket, 1837-1859; Witness Dockets, 1807-1837; and Misc. Dockets, 1778-1858.
- The North Carolina State Archives has various records of the Wilkes County Superior Court: Minutes, 1807-1931; Equity Minutes, 1819-1860; Equity Enrolling Dockets, 1813-1857; Equity Execution Docket, 1814-1861, and Appearance Docket, 1815-1830; Appearance Docket, 1823-1846; Execution Dockets, 1807-1860; Judgment Dockets, 1868-1877; Recognizance Docket, 1812-1832; State Dockets, 1807-1822 and 1837-1866; Criminal Issues Dockets, 1873 and 1879-1884; Trial and Appearance Docket, 1807-1822; Trial Docket, 1822-1844; Witness Docket, 1824-1833; Misc. Dockets, 1807-1855; Civil Action Papers, 1771-1936 and those concerning land, 1778-1928; Criminal Action Papers, 1761 and 1778-1945.
- Other records at the State Archives: Alien Registration records, 1940; County Accounts, 1773-1903; Insolvents' Records, 1780-1896; Record of Jurors, 1893-1906; Record of Justices of the Peace, 1877-1898; Physicians' Certificates of Registration, 1889-1988; Record of Lunacy, 1899-1937; Orders and Decrees, 1869-1935, 1938; Special Proceedings Dockets, 1880-1941; Clerk's Minute Dockets (Special Proceedings), 1884-1941; Misc. Records, 1775-1946; Record of Strays, 1822-1839.
- Annual report of the public schools of Wilkes County - from about 1906-1921 (not all inclusive); via the Internet Archive
- Wilkes County students at NC colleges - a name list of students at various NC colleges with identified hometowns in the county.
It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:
- Locate publications about direct ancestors
- Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
- Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]
- [Dick] Hoffman, Muriel M. History of Peter and Christina Shutt Dick Family: Frederick County, Maryland, Wilkes County, North Carolina, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, Simpson County, Kentucky, Sangamon County, Illinois, Cass, County, Illinois. Anchor, Ill.: Hoffman, 1970. FHL Book 929.273 D55h
- [Owen] Owens, Charles Sterling. David Owen, Revolutionary War Soldier, and His Descendants Wilkes County, North Carolina to Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Knoxville, Tenn.: C.S. Owens, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 Ow2owc
- [Vannoy] Andrew Vannoy 1742-1809: Husband of Susannah Shepherd
- Weight, V.F., Captain Samuel Johnson of Wilkes County, North Carolina: Ancestry and Descendants, 1988. (Google Books link)
- Wilkes County has land records starting from 1777 which can be obtained from the Wilkes County Register of Deeds, 500 Courthouse Drive, Suite 1000, Wilkesboro, NC 28697, (336) 651-7351
- The North Carolina State Archives has various land-related records pertaining to Wilkes County: Record of Deeds and Grants, 1779-1796; Record of Deeds, 1789-1851; Deeds, 1741-1944; Ejectments, 1799-1907; Land Entries, 1783-1851; List of Land Entries, 1808-1828; Record of Sale of Land for Taxes, 1870-1887; Petitions for Partition and Sale of Land, 1892-1912, 1932; Processioners' Record, 1883-1884; Misc. Land Records, 1778-1925.
- Absher, Mrs. W. O., editor, The Heritage of Wilkes County, Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Wilkes Genealogical Society, Inc., 1982. Google Books link
- Bass, Misty, Christy Earp, and Jennifer L. Pena, Wilkes County (Images of America series), Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2007: Google Books link
- Byrd, Fay, Wilkes County Bits and Pieces, 2010. Google Books link
- Crouch, John. Historical Sketches of Wilkes County. Wilkesboro, NC: Chronicle Job Office, 1902 - typescript edition: text in Internet Archive | text in New River Notes - later edition: text in Internet Archive
- Gregory, Paul W., Early Settlers of Reddies River, Reddies River Valley (N.C.): Wilkes Genealogical Society, 1976. Google Books link
- Hayes, Johnson J., The Land of Wilkes, Wilkesboro, NC: Wilkes County Historical Society, 1962. Google Books link
- Holcomb, Brent, Marriages of Wilkes County, North Carolina, 1778-1868, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1983: Google Books link
- Hunter, C.L., Sketches of Western North Carolina: Historical and Biographical, Raleigh, North Carolina: The Raleigh News Steam Job Print, 1877; see ch. 9: "Wilkes County:" Google Books link
- Pearson, James Larkin, Poet's Progress, 1965. Reprint, Wilkesboro, NC: Wilkes Community College, 2005. Google Books link
- Simpson, Mrs. Nancy W., editor. The Heritage of Wilkes County, North Carolina (Volume II), Charlotte, North Carolina: Wilkes Genealogical Society, Inc., 1990. Google Books link
- Wilkes County Property Maps
- Wilkes County 1895
- NC Digital Map Collection: Wilkes County
- Short History and Place Names for Wilkes County, NC (includes township map)
Early migration routes to and from Wilkes County for European settlers included:
- Catawba and Northern Trail pre-historic
- 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services (Genealogy Trails)
- 1883 Census of Pensioners (Genealogy Trails)
- Capture and Rescue of Benjamin Cleveland (New River Notes)
- Fort Hamby, Wilkes County, North Carolina, March-May 1865 (New River Notes)
- The North Carolina State Archives has the following records pertaining to Wilkes County: Record of Pensions, no date, 1 volume; Pension Records, 1814-1927
- Wilkes County Volunteers Participating in the Indian Removal, April 7, 1838 (New River Notes)
Revolutionary War pension applications at the National Archives for individuals associated with Wilkes County, North Carolina as a place of residence or enlistment, some of which have transcribed copies as indicated:
- Brookshire, William - North Carolina - S6706
- Bryan, John - Pennsylvania - W4902
- Gordon, Richard - North Carolina - S3404
- Hughes, Jonathan - Virginia - S9591
- Lyon, William - North Carolina - S8875
- McCoy, John - North Carolina - S4190
- Parks, Samuel - North Carolina - S8937
- Powell, William - North Carolina - W4054
- Stoakes, John - North Carolina - W8754
- Pension Statement of James Davis
- Pension Application of Jasper Billings
Civil War Confederate units - Brief history, counties where recruited, etc.
- Marriage Announcements
- Obituary/Death Notice Index (from newspapers; Genealogy Trails)
- The Record: Wilkes County's First Worldwide Newspaper
- Bibles (Wilkes County Bible records; Wilkes Co. GenWeb)
- Biographies (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Eastern Cherokee Application: Wood, John W., res. Darby, Wilkes County, North Carolina, 24 Aug 1907 (rejected), National Archives
- Letters (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Photographs (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Post Offices & Post Masters (Genealogy Trails)
- Short History and Place Names for Wilkes County, NC (ALHN)
- The Wilkes County, North Carolina Directory - 1883 (New River Notes)
- The Wilkes County Clerk of the Superior Court (500 Courthouse Dr., Wilkesboro, NC 28697-2497, (336) 667-1201) has copies of wills, estate records, and records pertaining to administrations and settlements, except for those records that have transferred to the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh.
- Pre-1790 - Pre-1790 Wilkes County, North Carolina Genealogy Wills stored at the North Carolina State Archives are online - free. Website tips.
- 1778-1963 - Will Books 1 to 11 (1778-1963) have been digitized by FamilySearch - free.
- The North Carolina State Archives has various probate-related records for Wilkes County: Record of Accounts, 1868-1939; Administrators' Bonds, 1890-1919; Appointment of Administrators, Executors, Guardians and Masters, 1868-1903; Appointment of Administrators, Executors, and Guardians, 1903-1915; Record of Administrators, Executors, and Guardians, 1915-1941; Record of Widows' Year's Allowance, 1871-1970; Estates Records, 1777-1945; Guardians' Records, 1780-1939; Guardians' Bonds, 1910-1921; Record of Amounts Paid to Indigent Children, 1913-1935; Record of Settlements, 1805-1834; Records of Assignees, Receivers and Trustees, 1872-1915.
- The State Archives also has the following records for Wilkes County: Record of Wills, Bonds, Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1778-1799, 2 vols.; Wills, 1778-1948.
- See also Abstracts of Loose Papers Filed with the Secretary of State for North Carolina - Wilkes County (ALHN) for listings of Wilkes County inventory and appraisal records
The following are links to transcribed Records of Wills & Estates for Wilkes County:
- Index to Devisors List, 1780-1948
- Elizabeth Baker, 1836
- Thomas Bicknell, 1781
- John Brown, 1812
- William Carely, 1796
- Larkin Carley, 1841
- Nancy Chambers, 1832
- Kinchen Cheatham, 1834
- Elijah Church Sr., 1854
- John Church Jr., 1870
- John Coffey, 1812
- Abraham Cook, 1800
- Ephraim Cook, 1872
- Thomas Cook, 1819
- Thomas Cottrel, 1825
- Samuel Curtice, 1853
- James Denney, 1812
- Caleb Dyer, 1816
- John Ferguson Sr., 1838
- William Gambill, 1779
- William Gilliam Sr., 1831
- Charles Gordon Sr., 1811
- John Grant, 1835
- John Greer Sr., 1782
- Harold Hayes, 1912
- Mary Ellen Hendren, 1944
- Benjamin Howard, 1828
- John Howard, 1811
- Mary Polly Howard, 1836
- Benjamin Isbell, 1870
- John Isbell, 1827
- Thomas Isbell, 1819
- James M. Jarvis, 1805
- John Jarvis, 1848
- William Jarvis, 1860
- William Jarvis, 1875
- Charles Johnson, 1816
- Charles Johnson2, 1816
- Jeffery Johnson, 1789
- John S. Johnson, 1868
- Leander Johnson Sr., 1860
- Moses Johnson, 1855
- William B. Kennaday, 1860
- William Laws, 1781
- William Low, 1780
- William Mallory, 1779
- James Marlow, 1850
- James Martin Marlow, 1920
- Stephen Matthews, 1812
- A. C. Moore, 1932
- Starling Moore, 1836
- James Norman, 1828
- William Owen, 1785
- John Parks Sr.,1793
- Thomas Parks, 1791
- William Sale, 1787
- John Shumate, 1783
- Henry Sims, 1904
- Hugh Smith, 1781
- James Spradling, 1805
- Sarah Vickers, 1847
- David Williams, 1855
- Ann Collins Wisdom, 1801
- John Witherspoon, 1778
- Thomas Witherspoon, 1790
- Henry York, 1817
- Index to Transcribed Wills (Wilkes Co. NCGenWeb)
- 1787 Tax List (New River Notes)
- 1797 Tax List (New River Notes)
- Absher, Mrs. W.O., Ruth P. Gregory, and Paul W. Gregory, Wilkes County, North Carolina Taxables (1787, 1788, 1789, 1790) Vol. 3. North Wilkesboro, NC: The Wilkes Genealogical Society, 1975: text in Internet Archive
- Wilkes County Register of Deeds has copies of birth, marriage, and death records. Contact the office for details: 500 Courthouse Drive, Suite 1000, Wilkesboro, NC 28697, (336) 651-7351
- Birth Records from WWI Registration Cards (Wilkes Co. GenWeb)
- Wilkes County, North Carolina Bastardy Bonds 1871-1883 (Going Home for History)
Marriages and Divorces
- Marriages, Wilkes County Database (Wilkes Co. USGenWeb Archives)
- Marriage Index (Genealogy Trails)
- Marriages from Wilkes Bible Records (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- The North Carolina State Archives has the following Wilkes County records: Marriage Bonds, 1778-1868; Marriage and Family Records, 1788-1912; Divorce Records, 1820-1912
- Original Wilkes County Marriage Bonds and Licenses (Wilkes Co. GenWeb)
- Wilkes Co., NC Divorces, 1820-1899 (Genealogy Forum)
- Wilkes Co., NC Divorces, 1820-1899 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Wilkes County Marriage Bonds (Wilkes Co. GenWeb)
- NC County Marriages 1762-1979 (FamilySearch; contains images of Marriage Records)
- Anderson-Ellis Marriages (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Benge Marriages (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Benge Marriages of Yadkin (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Brinegar, Jacob to Tasann Johnson, 1832
- Cannon, Col. N. to Rachel S. Welborn, 1818 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Chambers, Henry to Mary Stokes, 1813 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Chang-Eng ("the celebrated Siamese Twin") to Adelaide Yates, 1843 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Hampton, Rev. to Neely Tidline, 1892 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Hayes, George to Judah Mills, 1785 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Leonidas Hayes to Agnes Rockwell, 1916 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Houck, Albert F. to Margaret Horton, 1882 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- John W. Houpt to Margaret Correll, 1834 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Hunt, James to Diana Martin, 1829 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Parks, S.L. to Grace Hulbert, 1893 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Pickens, Israel to Martha Lenoir, 1814 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Riddle Marriages (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Roberson-Robertson Marriages (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Tedder Marriages (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Triplett Marriages (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Walker, James to Nancy Bradley, 1797 (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Death Index (Genealogy Trails)
- Wilkes County Mortality Schedule 1850-1880 (Wilkes County NCGenWeb)
- Wilkes County Executions (Wilkes County NCGenWeb)
- 1913-1964 - Wilkes County Death Index 1913-1964. Batch B746564 at FamilySearch - free.
Societies and Libraries
- Old Wilkes, Inc. (preserves and promotes the history of Wilkes Co.)
- Wilkes County Genealogical Society
- Wilkes County Public Libraries
Family History Centers
(Note: The following are in alphabetical order.)
- Appalachian American Genealogy (includes Wilkes County)
- Ashe County, NC ALHN Homepage (includes extensive Wilkes County materials; American Local History Network; seems to be a Wilkes Co. page that is mislabeled as an Ashe Co. page)
- Family History Library Catalog
- Genealogy Research (ExploreWilkes.com)
- Genealogy Resources (for Wilkes County) (Wilkesboro Tourism Development Authority)
- Going Home for History: Wilkes County, North Carolina
- Wilkes County Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Wilkes County Genealogy Queries (Cousin Connect)
- Wilkes County History and Genealogy (Melungeon Studies)
- Wilkes Co., NC (RootsWeb)
- Wilkes Co., NC Club (GenCircles)
- Wilkes County, NC Genealogy Forum (GenForum)
- Wilkes County, NC GenWeb
- Wilkes County, NC U.S. GenWeb Archives
- Wilkes County, North Carolina (Genealogy Trails History Group)
- Wilkes County, North Carolina (New River Notes)
- Wilkes County, North Carolina (official government site)
- Wilkes County, NC History, Records, Facts and Genealogy (Genealogy Inc)
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wilkes County, North Carolina. Page 514 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- George Washington Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists, 2 vols. (1930; reprint, Gallatin, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1990), 2:569-570. FHL Book 975.6 K2p 1990.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the Early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
- Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/f/f5/Iginorthcarolinap.pdf.