Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Allen line: William Wilkinson of Maryland, died 1718

What is it with these people?  Couldn't they just tell us when/where they were born and who their parents were?  It would be so much easier!

William Wilkinson is interesting to me because he was in Maryland early, so would have seen many of the changes that transformed the colony, both religious and cultural, and likely had some encounters with the Native Americans of the area.   There are several William Wilkinson's who emigrated to the area between 1650 and 1682, but we don't know which one was William, or whether he came over several times, or whether one of the earlier William's might have been William's father.

Some sources state that his parents were Thomas Wilkinson and Isabella Cutter, but I am not confident that is correct.  I'd be glad to see some real evidence to convince me, but at this point I am saying his parents are unknown, as is the date of his arrival in Maryland.

We know that he was in Baltimore County by March 5, 1681, when he surveyed 50 acres called Wilkinson's Spring.  The going price of land at that time was 100 pounds of tobacco per 50 acres, so somehow he had acquired enough wealth in the New World to make the purchase, or perhaps he brought enough funds with him to make the purchase.  As land goes, it was a modest purchase but it was probably much more than he would have had in England, had he stayed there (assuming he was from England).   

William married Elizabeth Clark, daughter or at least heir of Abraham and Sarah Kinsey Clark, by 1694 (some sources say 1684) and they had at least one child together, Jane. In 1693, Martha Cage named William as the father of her child.  It seems possible that William was a widow by this time, but that for whatever reason he chose not to marry Martha.  Later he married Tamar Love and had at least four children with her. 

William doesn't seem to appear in court and official records much, but we know he was made an allowance for accommodating the jury for the laying out of an early Baltimore Town in 1693.  He seems to have acquired another tract of land as early as 1694, which may have been called Wilkinson's Folly.

In 1708 William and Tamar conveyed the land known as Wilkinson's Folly to Moses Edwards, so perhaps William was already beginning to wind down his affairs.  He wrote his will on April 21, 1718 and died before June 16, 1718.  He left his dwelling plantation to son Robert, "Cumberland" to his four daughters, and named his wife as executrix.  The estate was inventoried and valued at 162 pounds, 3 shillings, 9 pence.  By the time the estate was finally administered in 1725, his widow and remarried.

So between the lines, we read a story of hard work, sorrow, and at least one poor choice.  We don't know whether he had slaves but if he did it wouldn't have been a large number, given the size of his properties.  He may have had other income than just farming, in order to have an estate of 162 pounds.  We don't know why he decided to go to Maryland, or what religion he practiced.  Maryland was founded by Roman Catholics and religious toleration was practiced early, but later became Puritan and then finally the Anglican church became more or less official by 1690.  So depending on when he came, he could have been of any of those three persuasions, or he could have changed religions based on what seemed best to him.  I'd like to know the answer to that question!  I'd like to know what trouble there was, or wasn't, with the native Americans.  And of course, I'd like to know who his parents are!

The line of descent is:

William Wilkinson-Elizabeth Clark
Jane Wilkinson-Edward Corbin
Mary Jane Corbin-Samuel Lane
Lambert Lane-Nancy Anna Anderson
Nancy Ann Lane-James McCoy
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George R Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents