The 2014 Wilson, Greer and Associated Families Forum 5

by Glenn N. Holliman

 In July 2014 a number of descendants of Greers, Wilsons and Osbornes gathered in Boone, North Carolina to share and learn more about their ancestors who had braved in the late 1700s the wilds of the southwestern Virginia and northwestern mountains of North Carolina.  Here are some photographs and lineages of those in attendance.  Any errors belong to this writer, and I welcome corrections and additions. - GNH

 Left, Gloria Wilson Heimburger and her husband, Wilbur, drove down from Illinois to attend the opening dinner.  Gloria is the daughter of Boyd (1911-1972) and Lexie Lawrence Wilson (1912-1982), grand daughter of Arlie G. (1885-1956) and Bessie Wilson (1887-1976), who was a daughter of John (1855-1928) and Rebecca Wilson (1862-1952)
 Therefore, Gloria is of the generation of whom Isaac (1822-1864) and Caroline Greer Wilson (1828-1911) are great, great grandparents.

Right, back row, left to right: Gloria Wilson Heimburger as a young teenager with Robert Wilson, Lexie Wilson and Boyd Wilson. Front row kneeling: William 'Bill' Wilson and Ann Wilson Trivette.  This picture was taken on the 4th of July, 1950 at the Wilson farm.  Sadly Bob Wilson died on August 16, 1950 of leukemia, a few weeks short of his 18th birthday.
Photograph courtesy of Gloria W. Heimburger.

Below, a year later in 1951, Rebecca Wilson's surviving children met a year before Becky's death in Sutherland, North Carolina. Left to right sitting Conley (1882-1959), Rebecca and Bessie (Gloria's grandmother).  Standing left to right are Mayme (1892-1975), Preston (1900-1989), Robert (1906-1987, Ruth (1903-1999, Cal (1898-1999), 'Meg' Margaret 'Maggie' (1894-1992) , Don (1890-1975) and Minnie (1896-1997). Picture courtesy of Shirley Sorrell.

 Next posting, more on the lineages of those who attended the July 2014 gathering in Boone, North Carolina.

All are invited to join in building the family tree at Wilson-Greer-Osborne-Forrester-Donnelly and Associated Families of Western NC at Ancestry.com.  Just write to glennhistory@gmail.com for an invitation.


The 2014 Wilson, Greer and Associated Families Forum 4

by Glenn N. Holliman

With retirement this year, cousin Gary O. Hodges of Virginia is rapidly becoming one of the most prolific researchers of the Wilcoxson-Boone-Greer family lines.  Those of you descended from Caroline Greer Wilson (1828-1911), as am I, are direct descendants of most of the persons recorded by Gary below.  With his wry sense of humor, Gary shares some important information with us.- GNH

Greers, Boones and Wilcoxsons by Gary O. Hodges

It’s time to set the record straight about the cousins who attended the family reunion this July in Boone, North Carolina. Not all of the attendees were Wilsons. Several of us have no direct blood line connections to the Wilsons.

At the dinner Friday night my wife Elogene, my daughter Wendy and I crashed the party and weren’t thrown out. Saturday Wendy and I attended the get together at the library, though I had to sneak in disguised as John Wilcoxson. Don’t put all the blame on me for crashing the reunion. Glenn spilled the beans and inadvertently let me know about the gathering.  Now I say all this with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, next to a chew of tobacco.

Below, Gary, far left, shares information at the July Wilson/Greer and Associated Families Forum in Boone, North Carolina.  

So who am I? I am your cousin Gary Hodges. I am a Boone/Wilcoxson/Greer/Wilcoxson. I haven’t found any Wilson members in my direct line, but I hope you won’t hold that against me. But I am a Greer. I am a direct descendant of Sarah Boone Wilcoxson, her husband John Wilcoxson and two of their children; Samuel Wilcoxson and his sister Nancy Wilcoxson Greer. It’s through Nancy that I have my Greer blood line.

How is it that I am descended from two of Sarah and John’s children? Well, that is what can happen when second cousins marry. Their grandson Isaiah Wilcoxson married their great granddaughter Frances “Fanny” Greer.  Isaiah and Fanny’s son Rev. William M. “Billy” Wilcoxson/Wilcox is my 2nd great grandfather. Through Sarah and John’s son Samuel my Wilcoxson/Wilcox family surname is unbroken to my mother Rosa Jean Wilcox Hodges. Through their daughter Nancy my line takes the Greer twist with their son William Greer and his daughter Fanny Greer.

When I started this article I tried to figure out just what to include. I decided to concentrate on our Wilcoxson and Greer families connection to the American Revolutionary War. Maybe I need to do another article that is more personal to my family line, post Rev. Billy Wilcox, but let’s concentrate on our families participation in the Revolutionary War.

Most of us have four documented Revolutionary War Patriot ancestors through the Boone/Wilcoxson Greer line. If you are a descendant of William Greer and his wife Hannah Cartwright then you have five. 

The first Patriot Ancestors I want to talk about are Sarah Boone and her husband John Wilcoxson. Sarah was the first child of Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan. Her brother, Daniel Boone, was Squire and Sarah’s sixth child. But being a sister of Daniel Boone is not why Sarah is designated as a RW Patriot. Sarah and her husband John Wilcoxson were some of the earliest settlers of Fort Boonesborough in Kentucky County Virginia.  

The Sarah and John Wilcoxson house in Mocksville, North Carolina in the 1980s, still standing over 200 years old.

She was at the fort when it was attacked in September of 1778 by over 400 Indians allied with the British and 12 Tory Militiamen. Since Sarah was at the fort during this 10 and a half day siege, she has been designated by the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as a Patriot Ancestor. Her designation is “Defender of the Fort”. Sarah’s husband John was not present at the time of the siege. John, a member of the Kentucky County Virginia Infantry, was away fighting Indians allied with the British. John’s designation is as a “Soldier” in the Revolutionary War.  

Ft. Boonesborough in a 1901 sketch.

The next two Patriot Ancestors I submit are John Greer (Grier) and his son Benjamin Greer (Grier). When the Wilkes County NC court first met in March of 1778 John was appointed one of the first Justices of the Peace. John served in this capacity for over a year. He swore allegiance to the State of North Carolina the first day the court met. His designation is as a “Civil Servant”. 

John’s son Benjamin was appointed as the first Constable of the Moravian Creek (now Moravian Falls) community of Wilkes County. This appointment and his swearing the oath of allegiance to North Carolina was done on that same day. In addition to serving as a “Civil Servant” in Wilkes County, Benjamin Greer also served in the North Carolina Infantry and the Wilkes County Militia. Ben attained the rank of Captain in the Wilkes Militia, serving under Col. Benjamin Cleveland. Benjamin Greer has two RW Patriot designations, both as a “Civil Servant” and a “Soldier”. I won’t go into Ben’s exploits in the rescued of Col. Cleveland or the famous “Greer Hint”. Cousin Glenn Holliman has covered those in previous articles.

Ben Greer, my 5th great grandfather, was an Indian fighter also, as was his kinsman of the same time period, Daniel Boone.  This dramatic picture interprets an episode in the long and exciting life of our ancestor.  GNH
The fifth Patriot Ancestor some of you may share with me is Joseph Cartwright. Joseph was the father of Hannah Cartwright and  the grandfather of Fanny Greer. There is little information available about Joseph Cartwright and his wife Eve Miller. Eve apparently died in 1777 and Joseph died in 1778, leaving Hannah and her brother Joseph M. Cartwright orphaned. Hannah was six and Joseph was five. Joseph Cartwright served in the Wilkes County Militia under Capt. William Lenoir. His designation is that of a “Soldier”.

For those of you interested in these five Patriot Ancestors, I have documentation proving their service and my blood line to each of them. Some of this documentation comes from the records of the SAR and DAR. At least one person has successfully filed applications to one of these organizations through their direct blood line to one or more of them. 

I successfully filed applications to the SAR under both Sarah Boone Wilcoxson and her husband John Wilcoxson. I have an application (supplemental) for John Greer (Grier) that is being reviewed by the SAR at the National level. It has already been reviewed and approved at the State (Virginia) level. I presently serve as the Chaplain of the Thomas Nelson Jr. Chapter of the SAR in Newport News Virginia.  I know some of our cousins are members of the DAR. Maybe it’s time more cousin joined the SAR or DAR, Hint-Hint. And that’s not a “Greer Hint” I won’t hit any cousin, even if they steal my tobacco.

A few years ago I became very interested in researching my blood line. I started looking for ancestors who served in the American Civil War. Now I call it the War of Northern Aggression. I found two direct ancestors who served in the 65th NC Troops (6th NC Cavalry) and several collateral ancestors (multi great uncles) who served. Some were members of the Wilcoxson/Wilcox family, including one multi great uncle and his son who were Yankee soldiers. Those of you who are familiar with the Journal of Francis Marion Wilcox have read about him and his father serving in the 450th KY Vol. Infantry (USA). But I digress. 

A Daniel Boone portrait of a man perhaps age 35 to 40, lean and hardy from years as a hunter, explorer and soldier.   

When I started my research I was fortunate to get in contact with the senior genealogist of The Boone Society, Dorthy Grissom Mack. Cousin Dorthy is a direct descendant of Sarah Boone Wilcoxon’s younger brother Edward Boone. Cousin Dorthy had a lot of research information on our family and she also created some family line documents just for me. 

I say just for me but Dorthy encourages me to share her work with my cousins, which I do at every opportunity. She guided me in how to research my family line and continues to help me and offer encouragement. Another Wilcox cousin once told me “family history without documentation is just a bunch of folk tales”. Document everything you can”. 

When I was appointed the de-facto genealogist for my first and second cousins, on my Hodges and Wilcox sides, I decided to amass as many documents as I could. I grab hold of and file every document I come across. Some of them have been furnished by cousins. A few aren’t in my direct blood line but anything a cousin gives me goes in the appropriate file. I try to keep everything on a thumb drive so I can attach information to e-mails. That’s another non “Greer Hint” hint that I share everything I have with my cousins. Most of my close cousins aren’t interested in detailed information about our family but I don’t let that discourage me. I just keep plugging on sharing more with cousins who really want the stuff I have.

If I don’t get nasty comments about this article, ha-ha-ha, maybe I will write more for our family site. Cousin Glenn is encouraging me to write an article on the 2014 Boone Society family reunion held at Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Kentucky. There were over 100 Boone family members there including at least eight direct descendants of Sarah Boone and her husband John Wilcoxson.

Gary O. Hodges
Boone/Wilcoxson/Greer/Wilcox families 

Our thanks to Gary for his full and factual presentation of some important family history. For information on Gary Hodges' email address, write me at glennhistory@gmail.com. GNH, seventh great grandson of Squire and Sara Morgan Boone.


The 2014 Wilson, Greer and Associated Families Forum 3

by Glenn N. Holliman

More Photographs and History....

One of our cousins who attended the Wilson-Greer-Osborne-Forrester Family Forum in Boone, North Carolina this past July was Kathryn Wilson, daughter of Clyde (1912-2006) and Maude (Tincy) Williams Wilson (1917 - 2010).  In the 2005 photograph below, Kathryn sits between her father and aunt, Jean Wilson, wife of Ernest Wilson, Clyde's brother.  On the far left is Tincy, her mother.  (Tincy picked up her life long nickname because of her size as a toddler.)

The story of Clyde and Tincy is one that was repeated millions of times in their generation.  They grew up in a rural part of America, Watauga and Ashe Counties, North Carolina.  In the 1930s occurred the Great Depression and in the 40s, World War II.  After the war, they married, eventually left the mountains and moved to a larger city, working in education and industry.  They helped create and enjoy the affluence most Americans enjoy in this generation.

Born in Watauga County, Maude took advantage of what is now Appalachian State University to become a first grade teacher, first in Kingsport, Tennessee and later in Mabel, near Zionville, and High Point, North Carolina.  
Clyde grew up Ashe County in the mountains and went to Asia during World War II.  

On the Fourth of July 2005, The Mountain Times of Boone, North Carolina ran the following front page article on Clyde's service during that World War. 
"On a warm, July 4th day in the Silverstone community of western Watauga County, Clyde Wilson almost wasn’t born.  Today, the Boone resident plans to celebrate his 93rd birthday on Monday.

“It was a special day, the day I was born because I just weighed a pound and a half,” he said, recalling that he almost didn’t make it. Nevertheless, his family celebrated his birth in 1912 along with the birth of a nation.

Upon meeting Clyde, it’s obvious he’s built to last and he still commands a razor-sharp memory. His hearing’s not so good and he has trouble with his eyesight. But, ask Clyde about his past and he can recall just about any event with details that would prove astonishing for someone half his age.  He moves about slowly, using an intricately inlaid cane, but his eyes brighten when he talks about his past.

The middle child of Arlie and Bessie Wilson, Clyde and his brothers, Boyd and Ernest, grew up in a county rife with economic downturns even before the Great Depression.  'I’ve worked for fifty cents a day,' he said. 'Lots of times, after you worked a week, they couldn’t pay you.'

While making money for his family as a gardener and doing other odd jobs, Clyde found time to attend Cove Creek School where he would later meet the girl he was to marry, Maude Williams.

“We worked young----we had to work,” he said.

Helping his father, who served as Watauga County’s treasurer, make a weekly commute ranked as one of his top household chores.  'I’d ride a horse (and bring another horse) from Silverstone to Boone to pick my Daddy up.'  Arlie would stay in town during the week and make the 15-mile journey with his son on Fridays back home.

Although Clyde had at least ten years on most World War II soldiers, he still answered the call to duty at the age of 30 while working at a naval facility in Norfolk, Va. 'I felt like I ought to go so I let the draft catch me.' he said.

As a member of the Army’s 429th Engineers unit, he landed in North Africa in 1942.  The U.S. commissioned the unit for a few specialized tasks—most notably the construction of a road from Iran to an uneasy wartime ally, Russia.  As a motor sergeant, Clyde ensured every vehicle stayed in top shape and remained within the convoy.  That job became a life-threatening hardship when the unit crossed the Himalayan Mountains on its eastern trip.

'We had airplane wreckers (flatbed trucks with large boom-cranes for hauling aircraft) that were 60-feet long' he said. 'We took 50,000 five-gallon cans of gas.'  The trucks couldn’t navigate some of the hairpin mountain passes so Clyde and his comrades had to maneuver a bulldozer under the trucks’ rear axles to move them around.  In the Himalayas, the unit took some heavy but faraway fire from entrenched Japanese units – mostly snipers and artillery troops hidden in caves.

But the unit’s biggest threat came not from Asian gun barrels but from the mountain climate. Growing up in the High Country may have prepared Clyde for cold winters – but not the 40-below zero temperatures his outfit faced. 'The weather got bad for three days and three nights in the Himalayans. We had to wait for a thaw.'

But rather than surrender to the elements, Clyde devised a plan to survive.  'What I did – I shoveled snow up around a truck, sealed it off and left a little place to get under it.'

After weathering the frigid attacks and finishing the road to Russia, the engineering unit unloaded those 50,000 cans of gasoline and built an airport in China. By 1945, the war wound down and Clyde could almost taste his homecoming.

The Army offered soldiers a chance to go stateside if they agreed to sign on as a second lieutenant for two more years. Clyde remembers telling one of his friends, 'I don’t want to be a lieutenant. They get all the slack from the top up and the bottom down'”

Finally, he agreed to a 45-day leave, with the understanding that he would reenlist for another year. 
'But I remember saying, If I ever get out of here, I’m not coming back,’ he said.

And he never did.

On his return trip home, his transport plane caught fire in India. Clyde’s previous orders to return for 45 days and return for one year were on the plane with him. 'Those papers were on me when the fire started. That’s a good time to lose them', he said with an enigmatic grin.

Arriving stateside at Fort McPherson, Clyde 'told my captain what I’d done and he said, ‘Don’t you worry – you won’t have to go back.'

Clyde surprised his parents, who by then had moved to Ashe County, with an abrupt homecoming in October of 1945. 'I was at home before they knew I was around. I just walked in the door,”'he said.

Clyde married Maude and they began what will be a 60-year marriage this month. While Maude worked as a teacher in several places, including Mabel School, Clyde worked as a service technician and salesman for Ivy Wilson’s Boone dairy equipment business.

'I covered 21 counties, seven in North Carolina, several in Tennessee and seven in Virginia.' Later, he would work as a mechanic in High Point and a shop foreman in Greensboro before retiring to Boone in 1991.

He looks forward to celebrating his 93rd birthday and has long enjoyed sharing it with Independence Day. For his 90th birthday, more than 70 visited his Forest Hills home including well-known community leader, the late Alfred Adams.  And it’s pretty obvious he’s looking forward to his 60th wedding anniversary.

'Those wives – they really keep you going, don’t they?' "  

Kathryn writes: "During my lifetime, my father worked in High Point, North Carolina for Olympic Chemical Company - a Division of Cone Mills. It is now called Olympic Products, and is owned privately. Daddy managed the industrial maintenance department. OCC manufactured polyurethane foam for mattresses, pillows, cushions etc. Prior to the move to High Point in 1956, he worked for Ivy Wilson's Boone dairy equipment business as a salesman and technician.

I don't know the details well enough to describe them but there was a lot of politics involved back in the day (in the mountains) in terms of who got jobs and who didn't. Just for the record and it made for interesting family dynamics - Daddy was a conservative Republican and my mother was just about as far to the left as one could get.

 My mother's father Edd S. Williams was very involved in local/state politics but never ran for public office.  I have heard plenty of "talk" about stuffing ballot boxes and buying votes - suppose that stuff happened back in the day!

Three of his 5 daughters (including my mother) married Republicans. The family joke was that someone asked him how many sons-in-law he had and he responded with: "I have 2 - the other 3 are Republicans."

1945 ca Clyde and Tincy (on the right) and Becky Wilson Ignelz, daughter of William and Cal Wilson, a grand daughter of Wilson family historian, The Rev. William A. Wilson (1861-1950), the Methodist missionary to Japan.  Clyde would marry Maude in 1945, and they enjoyed a 61 year union.

"And I have heard my father say many times, there were just not many ways to get ahead or make a good living in Watauga/Ashe. He always laughed about the concept of the good old days as they were not nearly as good in terms of making a living and having money to buy things with as they were once he left the area. 

With that said, he thought the mountains of North Carolina were heaven on earth. He and my mother were able to return to Boone when he was approaching 80 years of age and still in great health and live out his remaining years in the place he loved most." - Kathryn Wilson

Next posting, more lineages of cousins who attended the July 2014 Family Forum in North Carolina....