The name "Wilhite" has many different spellings: Wylhart, Wilheitt, Wilheyt, Wylhatt, Wilhide, Wilheight, Wilhoit, Etc
The first Wilhite in America that I record is Michael Wilhoit an immigrant from Germany. It is stated in the "Moravian Diaries" that Michael Wilhoit came to the America & to the Colony or Germanna between1717 and 1720.
It has been found that Johann Michael Wilheit was christened in Schwaigern 25 January 1671, with his twin Matthais, who would die two weeks later on 8 Feb 1671. Their parents were Michael Wilheit & Anna Maria Riflin/Ruefflin. Thus, Johann Michael would have been forty six when he immigrated from his homeland. At that point, he had two wives & seven children. His first wife Ann Dorthea Mueller, whom he married at Schwaigern on Jan 29, 1696, was the daughter of Phillip Mueller. The Parish register shows that they had the following children:
1- Maria Dorothea, b. Oct 27,1696, d. June 19, 1697
2- Hans Michel, b. May, 1698, died the same day.
3- Hans George (Jerg), b. July 4, 1700, d. Oct 12, 1701
Anna Dorothea died Aug 6, 1705, age 37 years 7 months. Six months later, on Feb 16, 1706, Johann Michael married again. His second wife was Anna Maria Hengsteller, the daughter of Matthais Hengsteller & Maria Mueller, christened Oct 9, 1685, in Oberbaldingen, Baden.
Some genealogist say that Johann Michael's second wife was Mary Blankenbaker, married in 1710. On the contrary the Parish record shows that Anna Maria was alive in 1710 and had two more children after that. It also does not mention her death. Thus it is reasonable to assume that she was the wife who accompanied him to America in 1717. Since Johann Michael's name was anglicized to "Michael Wilhoit". it is not unlikely that "Anna Maria" became "Mary" in the same way.
The possible paternal ancestry of Johann Michael Wilheit is as follows: the surname Wylhart, Wilheitt, Wilheyt & Wylhatt is found on a 1539 tax list in Schwaigern.
The earliest known ancestor is great-great grandfather George/Jerg Willert, born ca. 1550 in Schwaigern. Goerg Willert "the Old" possibly died between 1611 & 1617. His son Goerg (Jerg) Willheit, the great grandfather of Johann Michael, was born ca. 1580. He married 3 April, 1605. Anna, widow of Michel Bickel. He died 19 August, 1623. They had four children:
1- Anna, b 14 April, 1606, died young
2- Anna, b. 4 Nov, 1607, m. Hans Hell, 8 May, 1633
3- Johann Georg, b. 25 April, 1610
4- Martin, b. 10 Oct, 1617
Their son, Johann Georg, b. 25 April, 1610, Johann Michael's grandfather, was referred to in his entry in the Parish records, as "Schwartz Georg", meaning "Black Georg". It suggest he had a swarthy complexion or the nickname may have been used to distinguish him from other Georg's in the family.
He married Barbara Lutz, daughter of Hans Lutz and Anna Maria Ehrens, a soldier's widow on 7 Oct, 1675. Georg died in Schwaigern 13 Nov, 1685, age 75 years and several months.
Georg and Barbara Willheit were the parents of nine children:
1- Georg, b. 23 April, 1641
2- Anna Elisabeth, b. 30 Dec. 1642
3- Michael, b. 9 Sept, 1645
4- Barbara, b. 11 Dec, 1647
5- Magdalena, b. 14 June, 1651
6- Catherina, b. 27 Nov, 1652 d. 3 Mar, 1653
7- Matthias, b. 27 Jan, 1654, d. 6 Mar, 1724
8- Samuel, b. 11 May, 1656
9- Johannes, b. 10 May, 1659
Johann Michael's father, Michael Willheit, "great care taken of the poor", was born 9 Sept, 1645, in Schwaigern to Johann Georg Willheit and Barbara Lutz. He married Ann Maria Ruefflin, daughter of Martin Ruefflin and Barbara Bartenschlag, there on 3 Nov, 1668. She died 27 Dec, 1869 at age 42, and he married (2) Anna Barbara Nellinger, widow of Joerg Boger on 18 Nov, 1690. Michael died 23 Sept, 1711, age 66 years, 14 days. Michael and Anna were the parents of 9 children.
1- Anna Maria, b. 9 Aug, 1669, d. 15 Sept, 1671
2- Johann Michael (twin), b. 25 Jan, 1671, (Immigrant to Virginia);
3- Matthais (twin), b. 25 Jan, 1671, d. 8 Feb, 1671
4- Barbara, b. 27 Aug, 1674, m. Hans Paul Beringer, 6 Sep, 1698 (their grandson Johann Paul Beringer, b. 4 June, 1721, immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1743;
5- Elisabetha, b. 18 Nov, 1677, d. 19 Nov, 1677
6- Catherina, b. 31 Aug, 1679, m. Hans Jacob Baumgartner, 23 Jan, 1700;
7- Johan Georg, b. 21 Mar, 1682, d. unmarried 22 June, 1710
8- Susanna, b. 11 April, 1684, m. Hans Jerg Boger, 4 May, 1706;
9- Anna Maria, b. 28 Dec, 1689, d. 3 Jan, 1690.
It is believed that Michael Wilhite came to Virginia with the Second Germanna Colony. He was granted land in the Robinson River area where the colony settled after 1724. His family attended Hebron Church in Orange County, where the German Lutherans of the Second Colony worshipped. Most of his descendants married into other colony families, and he disappears from the German parish registers after 1717.
The second colony, which came in 1717, was entirely distinct from the first colony of 1714. The first colonist were induced to leave their homes in Germany by the Baron deGraffenreid, acting for Governor Spottswood, who was then making preparations to develop his iron mines in the vicinity of Germanna. This business enterprise of the Governor was the sole cause of their coming to America and Virginia. The 1714 settlers at Germanna were fairly well educated people by the standards of the time. Compulsory schooling was introduced in Nassau-Siegen in the middle of the 16th century.
The colony is first mentioned in a statute found in an old volume entitled "Acts of Assembly passed in the Colony of Virginia from 1622 to 1715", printed in London in 1727. About the last Act in it is one to exempt certain German Protestants from the payment of levies for seven years and for erecting the Parish of St George, passed in 1714. "Whereas certain German Protestants, to the number of forty-two persons or thereabouts, have been settle above the falls of the River Rappahanock, on the southern branch of the river, at a place called Germanna, in the County of Essex, and have there begun to build and make improvements for their cohabitation, to the great advantage of this colony and the security of the frontiers in those parts from the intrusions of the Indians, its is enacted they will be free from the payment of all public and county levies for seven years, as should be any other German Protestants who might settle there, always providing, however they did not leave Germanna and settle elsewhere."
These German Protestants who came in 1714 were in fact the "First Settlers" of Essex, afterwards of Spotsylvania, and not called Orange until 20 years later. All of these first colonist belonged to the German Reformed Church, The German branch of the Presbyterian family of churches.. They were natives of the old principality of Nassau-Seigen, now a part of Westphalia, Germany, and their homes were in and near the city of Seigen, and town of Muesen.
They organized at Germanna the first congregation of the German Reformed Church in the United States. Rev Henry Haeger was their pastor.
The family names of the 1714 Colonist were: Brumbach, Cuntzer, Fishbachs, Haeger, Huffman, Hitt, Holtzclaw, Kemper. Martin, Rector, Spilman, Utterbacks and Weaver.
The second colony, comprised of Lutherans, left Germany in the spring of 1717, en route to Pennsylvania. It numbered about 80 persons, comprising 20 families, coming from Alsace, the Palatinate and adjacent districts in Germany. They left Germany to escape religious persecution, and secured passage to America by way of England. They paid passage upon boarding the ship, but when they got to London, the ship's Captain Scott was arrested for bad debts and used the money to pay off all his debtors. They were detained several weeks while the captain was imprisoned for debt. Their food supplies dwindled while the passengers waited, and actual starvation took the lives of many passengers at sea.
When they arrived in America, the Captain did not land in Pennsylvania. Instead he took his approximately 80 passengers to Virginia where he sold them as indentured servants to Spottswood to pay for their passage and confiscated their belongings. They were not released until 1725, a year longer than the customary seven. Spottswood sued 18 of them in 1723 & 1724 to force them into their extended service.
In 1724 (July 7) is recorded action for debt of Governor Spottswood versus 18 Germans. They were: Conrad Amberger, Gyrachus Fleshman, Andrew Ballenger, Michael Holt, Balthaser Blankenbacher, Michael Kaifer, Mathias Blankenbacher, George Moyer, Nicholas Blankenbacher, Philip Paulitz, John Broyle (Broil/Broyles), George Schirble, Michael Clore, Michael Smith, Michael Cook, Henry Snyder, Nicholas Yager, George Utz.
While Johann Michael Wilhite's name does not appear as a party to this suit, he is named along with other Second Colony Immigrants in land grant and court records of that time.
John Michael Wilhoit was granted 289 acres adjoining George "Woods", i.e. "Utz", 28 Sept, 1728 (Spotsylvania Co. Grants, Book 14. pg. 113). On 6 May, 1729, he was freed from levies, indicating that he was at least a middle-aged man, perhaps 60 years old. He did not prove his importation until May 1736. as John Michael Wilhoit (Brockman, "Orange Co. Families", vol. 1, page 57), and died in Orange Co, in 1746, leaving a will which mentions his wife, Mary, sons Tobias, John, Adam, Mathias, Philip and daughter Eva, wife of Nicholas Holt.
There is evidence that Michael Wilhoit came to Virginia prior to 1723, and was one of the Germanna pioneers. The evidence for this is as follows: His two older sons Tobias & John were both born in Germany and were naturalized along with many other of the Hebron Church community 24 Feb, 1742/43 (Orange Co. G.B. 3, Pg. 436). As early as 20 July, 1736, Tobias "Willhide" was granted 400 acres of land jointly with Martin Walke, son-in-law of the 1717 immigrant, Michael Clore (Orange Co. G.B. 17, pg. 127). This grant indicates that Tobias was of age and was born in Germany at least as early as 1715. The 1739 list of tithables in Orange Co. shows both Tobias and John Wilhoit as heads of families, with one tithable each, indicating that they were both born prior to 1718, of 21 in 1739 (William & Mary College Quarterly, First Series, vol. 27, pg. 26). In this same list, the father Michael Wilhite, is shown with two tithables, indicating a third son born prior to 1723. This third son was Adam Wilhoit, who on 26 July, 1744 made a deed to Conrad Broyles, showing that Adam was of age and born at least as early as 1723 (Orange Co. D.B 9, pg. 167). Adam seems unquestionably to have been born in this country, as there is no record of his naturalization, so Michael Wilhoit must have been settled at Germanna prior to 1723. Michael perhaps did not leave Germanna with the first settlers who cam into the Hebron community and made their first patents of land 24 June, 1726. "Michael Willhide" is listed with the second group of patentee who recorded their patents 28 Sept, 1728, at which time he patented 289 acres.
Michael's Will, signed 1 Jan, 1742/43
In The name of God Amen. I Michael Wilheit of the parish of St. Mark and the county of Orange, being sick and weak of body, but being sound of mind and perfect memory (thanks to Almighty God for same) do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following: First I recommend my soul to God that gave it, trusting and surely believing that through the merits of my Blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, to receive full remission and forgiveness of all my sins, my body I commit to the earth to be decently buried at the direction of my executors hereafter named. I will that after my decease, my loving wife Mary Willheit, do live and continue upon the plantation where I now live, during the term of her natural life, and I do most earnestly enjoin and require all my children to love, honor and respect her as their dear mother, and I do give unto my said loving wife all my personal estate during her natural life, and to make sale of either house or cattle so long as my said wife shall live, and after her decease, my will and desire is that all my personal estate will be equally divided amongst my six children hereafter named. I will that my tract of two hundred and eighty nine acres of land be equally divided unto two parts, of which my son Matthias is to have one part, and my youngest son Philip is to have the other part, whereon the house and plantation is, and whereon I now do live, and it is my desire that after the decease of my loving wife wife Mary, and when the above said my two sons, Matthias Willheit and Phillip Willheit are at age of 21 years each, that then the aforesaid my two younger so so pay 12 pounds currency to the four following of my children as their share of inheritance. That is to say, unto Tobias Willheit 3 pounds currency, unto John Willheit 3 pounds currency, unto Adam Willheit 3 pounds currency, and unto my daughter Eva (now married to Nicholas Holt) 3 pounds currency. I make and ordain my loving friend Michael Holt and my dear eldest son Tobias Willheit to be executors of this my last will and testament, revoking all other wills heretofore by me made, and in witness that this is my last will and testament I have hereunto set my hand and seal this first day of January 1742/43
Witnessed by: Michael Willheit; Balthaser Blankenbaker; John Sneider; Michael Holt.
Probated: June 26, 1746; Orange W.B. 2, pg. 87
His will was presented into court by Tobias Willheit. It was proven by Michael Holt and Balthaser Blankenbaker; the other witnesses refused to join. The executor with Ludwick Fisher and Lawrence Garr acknowledged bond. The total valuation of the inventory of Michael Wilhite 20.3.6 returned 24 July, 1746, by Ambrose Powell, Stockley Towels and Francis Mikell. An additional inventory valued at 2.15.6 was retuned by the same appraisers 12 Feb, 1747.
1 - Michael Wilheit, christened 25 Jan, 1671, Schwaigern, Ger., d.ca.1746, m. (1) Anna Dorthea Mueller, 29 Jan, 1696 at Schwaigern, Ger, dau. of Philip Mueller, children; Maria Dorothea, 1696-1697; Hans Michael, b. May, 1698, d. same day; Hans Georg (Jerg), b. 1700, d . 1701; Anna Dorothea died 6 Aug, 1705, age 37 years, 7 months: m. (2) 16 Feb, 1706 Anna Maria Hengsteler, the daughter of Matthias Hengsteler And Maria Mueller, christened 9 Oct, 1685 in Oberbaldingen, Baden.
1A - Tobias, b. 1713/15 in Germany, d. 1761/62, m. Catherine Walke,
1B - John, b. ca. 1715, Germany, d. 1797, m. Margaret (Peggy) Weaver,
1C - Adam, b. ca. 1719 in Virginia, d 1763, m. ca. 1739 Catherine Broyles,
b. ca. 1722, 5 children;
1D - Eva, b. ca. 1721, m. Nicholas Holt, 6 children;
1E - Matthias, b. ca. 1723, m. (1) ca. 1744 Mary Ballenger, 11 children; m.
(2) ca. 1771/72 Hannah:
1F - Phillip, b ca. 1725, m. 1746 Rachel, b. ca. 1727, 13 children
1A - Tobias Wilhite, b. 1713/15, Germany, d. 1761/62, m. Catherine (some think Walke). Tobias Wilhoite and Martin Walke were granted were granted 400 acres of land in the Great Fork on July 20, 1736 (Orange Co. Grant Book 17, pg. 127). Tobias was one of the appraisers of the estate of Andrew Kirker, 23 Nov, 1738 (Orange Co. W.B. 1. pg. 68) He is listed as a taxpayer in Orange Co. in 1739/40 and was naturalized 24 Feb, 1743. He witnessed the will of Frederick Baumgardener 8 Sept, 1745 (Orange Co. W.B. 2 , pg. 94). On 20 Dec, 1759 he and his wife Catherine sold 200 acres of land (described as part of 1736 patent) to William Jett for the nominal sum of 5 shillings (Culpepper Co. D.B. "c", pg. 290). Tobias Wilhite bought 400 acres of land on 2 May, 1760, from George Martin and wife Susannah of King & Queen Co, for 50 pounds, the land being described as lying on the Deep Run and part of the patent to George Martin, dated 23 March, 1733. The deed was witnessed by Henry Lyne and Roberts Brooking (Culpepper Co. D.B. "C", pg. 317. Tobias made his will 1Sept, 1761 (Culpepper Co. W.B. "A", pg.282-283). The inventory of his estate was made by John Towles, Russell Hill and Abraham Eddins 21 Oct, 1762. His estate was valued at 39.3.7-1/2.
Children of Tobias and Catherine:
1A1 - Michael, b. ca. 1735,d. ca. 1804, m. ca 1756 Mary Shirley: children
1A1A - Gabriel, m. Nancy Simms; Revolutionary War
1A1B - James
1A1C - Michael
1A1D - Elizabeth, m Mr. Spicer
1A1E - Agnes, m. Mr. Coginhill
1A1F - Frances, b ca 1767, m. Thomas Lucas
1A1G - Nancy Ann, m. Matthew Hawkins
1A1H - Sarah, m. Mr. Green
1A1I - Mary, m. Joel Wilhoite, son of Matthais and Mary Ballenger Wilhite
1A2 - Conrad, b. 1737 Orange Co. VA, Revolutionary War d. ca. 1808/09 Campbell Co. TN, m, ca. 1740, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Fleishman) Broyles, children;
1A2A - Adam, b ca 1758 French Broad River, Jefferson, Sevier, Cocke Co. TN;
1A2B - Solomon, b. ca 1762, stayed in Greene Co, TN;
1A2C - Julius, b. April 25,1765, Campbell Co, TN, 1830 census - age 60-70;
1A2D - Matthias, b. ca 1766, Jefferson Sevier CO, TN in 1801;
1A2E - Samuel, b. Nov 25, 1768 in Greene Co, TN;
1A2F - Reuben, b. 1768 in White Co, TN;
1A2G - Elizabeth, b. ca 1773, m. Frederick Talbot,, Aug 30, 1790;
1A2H - Frances, b. ca 1773, m. Samuel Moore July 24, 1791;
1A2I - Rosina, b. Nov 7, 1777, m Isaac Wilson;
1A2J - Elijah, b. ca 1778; Anderson Co., Campbell Co. & Roane Co. TN;
1A2K - Simeon, b. ca 1781: to Anderson Co. TN; in 1850 Census, 69 b. VA.
Rosina is the only child of Conrad and Elizabeth listed in the Hebron records. When she was christened, the sponsors were Jacob Broyles, Matthias Broyles, Mary Broyles and Dorothy Broyles. Conrad sold 100 acres of land "Lying on the branches of Deep Run" to Michael Wilhoite. This land probably received from his father Tobias (Culpepper Co. VA W.B.A, pg. 282). The date of the sale was Aug 31, 1775 (Culpepper Co D.B.H., pg. 111). This was the last record of Conrad in Virginia. On April 19, 1782, he witnessed the will of Adam Broyles in Washington Co., NC (Now Tennessee). On June 12, 1783, "Conrad Wilhite was issued Specie for 1 pound, 14 shillings, in Sullivan Co. NC (now TN). (North Carolina Revolutionary War Accounts) Conrad moved to present Campbell Co. TN (then to Grainger) where he bought 100 acres of land on 29 March, 1800, from John Love, lying in Powell's Valley on the headwaters of Indian Creek. The last record we have of Conrad is an indenture made in Campbell Co. TN, 7 Feb, 1809, between Hugh Montgomery on the one part and Simeon Wilhite and Henry McKinney as executors of the last will and testament of Conrad Wilhite deceased on the other part. Conrad probably died around 1808/09 in Campbell Co. TN.
1A3 - Jesse Wilhite, b. ca 1739, d. Sept 1823, m. Mildren, d prior to Aug, 1830; children;
1A3A - Simeon, b. ca 1781, d. 1817: Oldham Co, KY;
1A3B - Evans, b. July 13, 1787, d. May 4, 1865: Oldham Co, KY;
1A3C - Allen, b. July 26. 1789, d. June 13,1863; Oldham Co, KY;
1A3D - Zachariah, b. July 30,1791, d. Feb 22,1835; Oldham Co, KY;
1A3E - Margaret, b. ca 1792, m William Loving Garriott;
1A3F - Larkin, b. ca 1794, d. ca 1833; Oldham Co, KY;
1A3G - Lucy, b. ca 1802, m. Jesse Lacy.
Jesse served in the American Revolution from Culpepper Co, VA. On March 1, 1808, Jesse and wife Milly sold 120 acres of land to Mark Finks and immigrated to Jefferson Co. KY, the same year.
1A4- William, b. ca 1739, d. ca 1831, Jefferson Co, KY, m. Elizabeth
Shirley, daughter of James and Judith Garriott Shirley; children:
1A4A - Frances, b. Feb 27,1782, d. March 21, 1830, m. Elijah Clore, son
of John and Margaret Blankenbaker Clore, 11 children;
1A4B - Lucy, b. Nov 2,1783, d. Nov 3, 1855, m. Lawrence Clore, 5
1A4C - Bathsheba, m. Asa McGhee;
1A4D - Elenor (Nellie), m. John Pinnell;
1A4E - Anna, m. Oct 8, 1813, Jefferson Co, KY, m. Jonathan
Barrickman, 8 children:
1A4F - Dicy Ellender, b. Dec 20,1795, d. May 13, 1836, m. (1) Sarah
Clore; m. (2) Martha R. Booker. After Thomas's death, Martha
m. Jesse Wilhoite, son of Simeon;
1A4H - Zachariah Shirley, m. Orsanoen Harbold;
1A4I - Judith S, b. 1799, d. 1880, m John Harbold;
1A4J - Jane, m. William Kennedy.
William, 1741-1831m emigrated to Jefferson Co, KY, about 1806 and died there about 1831 (Tax List). Elizabeth died prior to 1818. In 1820, the City of Florence, KY was laid out by William Wilhoite, Henry Crisler and Jacob Conner.
1A5 - Mary Wilhoit, b. ca 1743, d. ca. 1795, m. ca 1761, Ziriakus
(Cyprus) Broyles, b. 1732 Orange Co, VA, son of Jacob and Mary
Catherine Fleishman Broyles. Cyrus and Mary emigrated to
Washington Co, TN (then NC) about 1782. Mary died about 1795, and
Cyrus, m. Jennie (?) prior to 1797. All his children are by his first
wife Mary Wilhoit Broyles; Children:
1A5A - Daniel Broyles, b. May 1,1762, d. Feb 13, 1847. Revolutionary War,
m. (?), 8 children:
1A5B - Adam Broyles, b. ca 1764, d. ca 1816, m., 3 children:
1A5C - Samuel Thomas Broyles, b. ca 1766, m. Phoebe Broyles, daughter of
Nicholas Broyles, possible 15 children;
1A5D - Rosina Broyles, b. Nov 19, 1769, d. Oct 25, 1837, m. (1) Rueben
Broyles, son of Nicholas, 4 children; m. (2) Adam Broyles, son of
Adam, 7 children;
1A5E - Tobias Broyles, b. ca 1770.
1A2 - Conrad Wilhite, , b. 1737, Orange Co, VA, m. 1758 Elizabeth Broyles, b. ca 1740, daughter of Jacob and Catherine Fleishman Broyles. Evidently the emigrated to North Carolina (now TN), probably in early 1778. Their daughter Rosina was born Nov 7, 1777 in Culpepper Co, VA and their next child Elijah was born in 1778 in Washington Co, TN. Their older children evidently all accompanied their parents to NC (now TN). At that time, North Carolina was a very unsettled Indian territory. After the last French War, the British issued a proclamation to prevent colonist from making settlements west of the Alleghenies. For as long as the western country remained unsettled, the very profitable fur trade with the Indians could be continued. Brave and hardy pioneers on the outskirts of the older settlements failed to regard the order. Soon after the last French War, they pushed southwest into the Shenandoah Valley and beyond into western NC.
Permanent white settlements began about 1769. with settlers emigrating from Virginia and east North Carolina. Unsuccessful attempts had been made to colonize the Carolina region under the auspices of Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584-87. The first permanent settlement was made by the Virginians at Abermarle on the Chowan River, about 1660. The territory was granted to proprietors in 1663/64 An attempt was made to introduce a constitution framed by Shaftsbury and Locke in 1669, but it ended in failure.
After the defeat of the regulators in North Carolina in 1771, a number of them settled in what is now east Tennessee, supposing it to be Virginia soil. When the region was found to be within North Carolina, which did not however protect the settlers from Indian attacks, some of the settlers formed a "homespun" government, later known as the Watauga Association.. With the outbreak of the American Revolution (1775), the Wataugans, renamed their holdings the "Washington District". In 1776 on petition of the Wataugans, the district was formally annexed to North Carolina. During the American Revolution, the Wataugans repelled Indian attacks and helped defeat the British in the battle of King's Mountain in South Carolina. North Carolina, in 1784, ceded the Washington District to the U.S. Government. The inhabitants. indignant at being transferred without their consent. formed the State of Franklin, and elected the American soldier John Sevier as their Governor. Congress ignored the request of the State of Franklin to be recognized as a state of the Union, and in 1788, North Carolina legislated the State of Franklin out of existence. In 1796, the territory was admitted to the the Union as the State of Tennessee, with the addition of the region extending west from the original State of Franklin to the Mississippi.
In 1769, about the same time that Daniel Boone led a group through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky, a pioneer from Virginia, William Bean built a log cabin farther south on Watauga Creek in eastern Tennessee. The next year, 1770, James Robertson and other men who dared to face the dangers of the unbroken wilderness, settled in the valleys of the Clinch and Holston Rivers. This group was soon joined by John Sevier (1772).
These early settlers of Kentucky and Tennessee had a life and death struggle with the Indians. who looked upon the white men as invaders of their hunting grounds.
Conrad Wilhite and his family settled in Washington Co., in the Allegheny Mountains with the Watauga River on the northeast side and the Nolichucky River on the southern part of the county. Many others settled in this territory about the same time, among them Conrad's sister Mary and her husband Cyrus Broyles and their family. During these years, there were many battles with the Cherokee Indians. At this time, "Nolichucky" Jack Sevier was earning a reputation as the greatest Indian fighter in the Southwest.
The early settlers were Scots-Irish, English, German and occasionally French Huguenots. Most of the early settlers came on foot. Some came on horseback with packhorses carrying a few necessities. Those who came next were in wagons, slowly up the mountains and down rutted inclines and over rocky creek beds. They could bring more of the necessities, sometimes seeds and plants, tools of a trade or a spinning wheel.
Usually they found their place near a spring of water and then came the task of felling trees to build a log cabin, and clearing some land. The cabins were usually very crude with a fireplace made of stone chinked with clay. They raised their own food or found it in the forest. Salt had to be imported and was very expensive. The salt gourd was well guarded. Clothes were simple and crude. The wool was raised at home, sheared, cleaned, carded, spun, dyed and finally sewn into shirts, dresses and coats. Breeches for everyday were made from deerskin.
Iron was another expensive item as it had to be brought in from east of the mountains. An early foundry was located at Pigeon Forge on the Little Pigeon River, near Sevierville, TN. Here, some of the necessities of life, i.e. axes, hatchets, knives, horseshoes, nails, bolts, chisels and augers, were forged by primitive methods. A man's gun was a prized possession, often determining whether a man would live or die. Firearms were needed for food as well as protection.
The mill was an important center of every settlement. Building one was a hard job. It had to have sufficient water to turn the millstones, which had to be chipped into form by hand with a hammer and chisel and set in place. As corn meal was the staple food in every home. A bushel didn't last very long. Sometimes it took as much as 24 hours to make a trip to the mill and back home.
The early stores were simply setup in part of a farmers house or a small nearby building. One of the first merchants was Peter Fine, one of the first settlers on the site of New Port when it was on the French Broad River. In 1797, Fine was keeping accounts by pence, shillings and pounds for customers with names like: John Gilliland, Evin Morgin (Evan Morgan?), Theophelaus Paget, Amos Exley & Uriah Rector.
His customers charged things such as one spoon of ginger, cloth for leggins, four yards of gimp, one fine hat, two pewter dishes, one ounce of turkey red, one Bible, five gimlets, one quart of whiskey, one quire of paper and one pair of candle molds. In payment Fine gave credit for almost any farm product, with such entries as: a cow & a calf, by hauling one day of corn, three large bantams, brandy and bearskins, seven bushels of oats, by smith work, beeswax, whiskey, feathers, thirty one prime deer skins & the making of forty axes.
Conrad Wilhite witnessed the following will in Washington Co, TN: Adam Broyles, 19 April, 1782 sick of body; to Moses Broyles, my first born son, land, out of that bought of Joseph Ballard, on the south side of Little Limestone; to my sons Aron and Joshua Broyles, the land I now live; to my daughter Mille Panther, land bought of George Doherty to Minna Broyles; my daughter Mary Broyles; my daughter Anne Brown, negros and Kentucky land to be divided. Executors: my friends Joseph Brown, Moses Broyles and William Moore. Witnesses: John (X) Waddile, Conrad Willhight. Matthias (X) Broyles.
Signed Adam Broyles
Conrad moved to Campbell Co, TN (then Granger Co.), where he bought 100 acres of land, March 29, 1800, from John Love, lying in Powell's Valley on the headwaters of Indian Creek. Conrad died circa 1808/09 in Campbell Co, TN.
During the same period of time that Conrad Wilhite was living in eastern Tennessee, William Hays, Anthony Christian, Isaiah Huff & Moses Netherton were living in the same area. Conrad Wilhite's grandson, James Wilhite, William Hays & Isaiha Huff were among the first settlers in the Saline Co, MO, in 1815/16. Moses Netherton came to Missouri in 1835. All are my ancestors.