Sunday, July 18, 2010

Heading West

Not all of the folks who left western Kentucky migrated to Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas or Texas. Some took different paths and ended up far from their old homes. One such family was that of David Wilson.

David Wilson was born between 1810 and 1815, probably in the part of Livingston County, Kentucky that is today Crittenden County. His father, Robert Wilson, had migrated from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina with several brothers by 1803. They settled in the northern part of present-day Crittenden County.

David Wilson married Charlotte Postlewait on the 4th of August 1830 in Livingston County and they had the following children: Caroline C., Rachel Priscilla; James M. and Charlotte Rebecca.

Because David Wilson died as a young man, he generated few records. Much of what we know about David, including his death date and the names of his children, comes from two Crittenden County Circuit Court case bundles, both of which can be found at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. In bundle #46, Charlotte Wilson states she was the widow of David Wilson, who died on the 6th day of October 1841. The children of this marriage are named as co-defendants when Samuel Nunn filed a cross bill. The suit was filed because of a dispute over some land formerly belonging to David Wilson. Charlotte claimed she had never relinquished her dower right in the land and was now "poor and needy." From the deposition of Richard Postlewait in this case on 27 March 1845, we learn that he was 59 years of age and was the father of Charlotte Wilson.

From case bundle #171, we learn that David Postlewait was the brother of Charlotte and she was born in October or November of 1814.

Charlotte (Postlewait) Wilson married, as her second husband, William Smith on 15 December 1845 in Crittenden County. Then Charlotte started migrating. In 1850, Charlotte and William Smith were living in Gallatin County, Illinois. She had three children, Andrew S., Thomas J. and William Smith, by the second marriage. I don't know if William died or if they divorced, but Charlotte married a third time in Gallatin County in 1856 to Joseph Grayson. The fate of Joseph Grayson is also unknown but Charlotte Grayson appears as head of household with son, James (Wilson) and her Smith children on the 1860 Benton County, Iowa census. Also living in her household was her father, Richard Postlewait, age 74 and born in Maryland.

Other members of Charlotte's Postlewait family had settled in Benton County prior to 1860. Her daughter, Caroline C. Wilson, had married John E. Guinn 16 June 1849 in Iowa County, Iowa and can be found on the census records in Benton County in 1860 and 1870 and in Carroll County, Iowa in 1880. In 1870, Charlotte's son, Andrew Smith, was living with the Guinn family.

I don't find Charlotte after the 1860 census. She may have died or she may have moved on to another place. I do know that her daughter, Caroline C. Guinn, moved to Nebraska before 1900, when she appears on the census in Omaha, Douglas County. The whereabouts of the other children of Charlotte are unknown. I'm adding them to my "More Work Needed" list. That list just gets longer and longer, but isn't it fun when people go in unexpected directions, forcing you to learn to research in new areas?

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

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