Wilkinson family of Nansemond County

There seems to be a relationship between the families of Wilkinson and Jordan because of the close connection between the runaways. “Daddy Moses” Wilkinson, who was owned by Mills Wilkinson, was the dominant Methodist among the runaway cohort from this region, but the other Methodist preachers are all owned by Jordans. Luke and Phillip Jordan were both by Josiah Jordan were married to women owned Willis Wilkinson.

The Wilkinsons were originally Quakers, though it is not clear if they were still professing Quakers at the time of the revolution. Mills Wilkinson was in the militia so could not have still been Quaker. According to oral sources he became a Methodist. It does appear that William Wilkinson Sr, father of Willis, was a Quaker. He was married to Hulda Godwin, from a Quaker family with whom the Wilkinsons were often intermarried. There are no records for Nansemond, but oral history record that William Wilkinson freed his slaves in the 18th century. He, and his son and heir, William were close neighbors of Josiah Jordan, who was the putative owner of Luke and Phillip Jordan. Josiah Jordan also freed his slaves.

William Wilkinson’s family were suspected as Loyalists during the Revolution. In November 1775, Colonel Woodford of the Virginia militia reported that two of William Wilkinson’s daughters had been apprehended for sending letters to the Loyalist, John Hunter. Woodford reported that:

Mr. (John) Wallace from Port Royal (who is Brother to the gentlemen that broke his parole of Honour at Hampton) was to have married one of the Miss Wilkinsons last Thursday, and as the Whole Family are rather suspitious (sic), I have detain’d them.

A committee of safety meeting held for Nansemond County in Suffolk town, on Wednesday the 22nd of November 1775, ordered that “Mary and Martha Wilkinsons (Wilkinson) be advertised in the public papers, and looked on as enemies to America”.

While Michael Wallace and John Hunter did defect to Dunmore, none of the Wilkinsons became active Loyalists.