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The Heards, Smiths & Wilkinsons

of Wilkes Co., Ga.

 

Wilkes County Georgia was formed from over 1½ million acres of land that the Cherokee and Creek Indian tribes ceded to the white men, which is generally described as "The Ceded Land". The land was ceded in treaties to pay debts that the tribes had to white traders with the idea being that the government would sell the land and pay the debts. Wilkes was subsequently sub-divided into several additional counties.

There were three major family lines of ours that converged in Wilkes County, Georgia. They are:

  1. the Heards
  2. the Smiths
  3. the Wilkinsons

As the Revolutionary War came to and end, veterans Francis Smith and Jesse Heard received land grants in Georgia for their service. About 1784 both moved their families from Virginia to Wilkes County, Georgia and were neighbors. Some Wilkinsons had gone there in the first wave of settlers of "The Ceded Lands" around 1773 and more relatives joined them at later dates. Both Smith and Heard married a lady named Wilkinson (Lucy and Judith respectively). A lot of researchers say that these ladies were sisters but I can find no evidence to support that argument; and while they may not be sisters, they are almost certainly related. From this beginning the Heards, Smiths and Wilkinsons are closely entwined for posterity.

The Heards

Jesse Heard served in the Revolutionary war under General Elijah Clarke and when he moved to Wilkes County some of his relatives were already there. The "early" Heard family settled in the area around 1773 along with other families from Virginia. Jesse and Judith had eight children and they both died in Wilkes County.

The Smiths

Francis Smith was from Essex County, Virginia and his family had sizable land holdings there. In Virginia, the Smith family was active in the Anglican Church (Church of England). After his new beginning in Wilkes county Francis developed a large holding of land there. He and Lucy had seven children and they both died in Wilkes County.

The Wilkinsons

As mentioned above, there is evidence that at least Benjamin Wilkinson was in the early wave of Virginia settlers to Wilkes County, arriving about 1773 with his wife Ann. We are not so sure of when othes came and went. The use of William and/or John as given names, multiple times in each generation, makes for quite a puzzle. On the page devoted to Wilkinson I have attempted to unravel part of the puzzle.