Friday, May 15, 2015

Pruning of William Wilkinson and Huldah Godwin

This post discusses William Wilkinson, previously listed in the Whipple Genweb as a son of John Wilkinson and Rebecca Scott. John Wilkinson is a great grandson of Captain John Whipple, the earliest known "Rhode Island Whipple."

Over ten years ago I encountered a book entitled Genealogy of Wilkinson and Kindred Families by M. M. Wilkinson (Shelby, Miss.: Shelby Book Store, 1949). I recall spending many days entering the Wilkinsons in that book into my database of Whipple descendants.

Many of the Wilkinsons in that book were in fact descendants of Captain John Whipple, who died in Providence, Rhode Island in 1685. However, during the past week I learned that William Wilkinson, Jr., who was believed to have been born in 1723 in Providence, RI, and died 1796 in Virginia, was actually the son of John Wilkinson born 1726. John Wilkinson came to Pennsylvania from Northern Ireland in 1733. 

In her email, Janice McAlpine noted the following:

This connection is well documented because William and his children, including Mary and Rebecca Connerly, were mentioned in various estate papers and family letters. (See, Descendants of Irish Immigrant John Wilkinson (1726-1806) William Amel Sausaman (1971), online at: <>)  In addition, John Wilkinson's other documented children, including sons Jehu and Samuel Wilkinson, remained in close connection to William Wilkinson's children in Mississippi and Louisiana.  In fact, Samuel's estate documents listed William's children by name.
She continues:

I think some researchers mistakenly assumed that William's father was also named William because William was referred to as William Wilkinson Jr. in a document or two, but Junior didn't mean "son of" in those days. It just meant that there was a younger and an older man by the same name in the area. Sometimes the men weren't related at all. In this case, there was an older William Wilkerson in Duplin Co., North Carolina, but he wasn't William's father. 

At some point an overly enthusiastic researcher mistakenly attached William Wilkinson Jr. to William Wilkinson and Huldah Godwin of Nansemond Co., Virginia, and then on to the Whipples of Rhode Island. One of the books containing this mistaken connection is Genealogy of Wilkinson and kindred families, M.M. Wilkinson 1949. The book is not well documented even though it includes some occasional documents. Mostly, it just lists lineages with no proof. 

You may also want to look a little more closely at William Wilkinson and Huldah Godwin. Although this William's parents are often listed as John Jr. Wilkinson and Rebecca Scott, there isn't any documentation for this link. In reality, his father was William Wilkinson (Sr.) of Isle of Wight Co., Virginia, whose will, dated March 6, 1740, listed sons William and Willis. (See, Chapman, Blanche Adams, Wills and Administrations of Isle of Wight County Virginia, Books 1-3; Heritage Books, Inc.; Westminster, Maryland 2006.) These two sons were on records in Nansemond County and son William Wilkinson of Nansemond Co. was married to Huldah Godwin. 

William Wilkinson (Sr.) of Isle of Wight was connected to the Godwin family well before his son's marriage. They sold him land in 1725: Isle of Wight Deeds, Wills - Vol. 2, 1715-1726.p.709. "28 Jun 1725.... William Godwin and His wife , Ann Godwin, of Nansemond County to William Wilkinson of Isle of Wight.... one grist mill and 1 acre of land in the lower parish on Chucatuck Creek (being land bought by Col. Thomas Godwin from Samuel Ferment). Wit: Joseph Godwin, James Godwin and Richard Rudyard. William Godwin, Ann (X) Godwin." (See, William Lindsey Hopkins Isle of Wight County Virginia Deeds 1720 - 1736 and Deeds 1741 - 1749, Athens, Ga.: Iberian Publishing Company, 1994, p. 21. ) 

According to his marriage records, William Wilkinson (Sr.) of Isle of Wight was the "son of Henry Wilkinson of Nansemond Co. , decd." He married Rebecca Powell , daughter of Wm. Powell , of Isle of Wight Co. 21 day 9 mo. 1725. Witnesses- Robt. Jordan, Jr., Robert Scott , Elizabeth Scott , Wm. Scott (See, Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers, Abstracts of Records in the Local and General Archives of Virginia - Records of the Society of Friends Lower Virginia Meeting, 1673-1727, The Valentine Museum Richmond, Virginia.) 

I suspect Henry Wilkinson was related to the many Wilkinsons who were in Virginia by the mid-17th century. For a list see: Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623-1666, George Cabell Greer, 1912 < > In other words, I don't think there is any direct connection between this branch of Virginia Wilkinsons and the Rhode Island Wilkinsons.

After considering  the evidence, I decided to prune William Wilkinson and Huldah Godwin, and their descendants from the Whipple Genweb (at both and

If you feel that I have pruned William and Huldah in error, please let me know.

-- Weldon Whipple, Webmaster, Whipple Website

(P.S. William previously appeared in the Whipple Genweb as the son of John Wilkinson ( and his wife Rebecca Scott (

1 comment:

John said...


I am a descendant of William W./Huldah Godwin through their son John who married Anne Douglas and then John and Anne's son Micajah who started the Amite County, MS line of Wilkinsons. I am trying to digest this post but I am confused about something.

Are you saying that William Wilkinson who mar. Huldah was not from the Whipple line, or is it his supposed son William Jr. who is not related to the Whipple line?

If it is William Jr. that is wrong, is William who married Huldah still part of the Whipple family?