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John Witherspoon
(1700 - 1730)



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John Witherspoon II



Born: 10 Jan 1724/26, SCOTLAND
Died:  07 Nov 1778, Rowan County (Wilkes County), NC


John Witherspoon II was born 10 Jan 1724/26 in SCOTLAND.  He was the son of John Witherspoon Sr. (b. 1700) and Isobel Miller.

John married Martha Pettigrew and is believed to have come to America in 1760.  It is not known exactly what year John and Martha came to North Carolina.  It might have been with the Pettigrew family. 
Children of John Witherspoon II and Martha Pettigrew
Name Birth Date Death Date Spouse
Thomas Wesley Witherspoon Sr. 17 Jan 1747/49 19 Apr 1790 Sarah Howard
David Witherspoon 09 Feb 1758 01 May 1828  
James Witherspoon 1760 22 Apr 1790  
John Witherspoon 14 Oct 1763 14 Jan 1849  
Mary Witherspoon 1764 1856  
Floron Witherspoon 1766    
Martha Patsy Witherspoon 17 Nov 1771 06 Jul 1855  
Nancy Witherspoon 1774 1856  
Jane Witherspoon 1775    
Elizabeth Witherspoon 1777    

The Descendants of John Witherspoon (b. 1650, SCOTLAND)


Compiled by H. Glenn Williams, 1997


Among the early settlers of the section which at that time was known as Rowan County, but which later became Wilkes County, North Carolina, was John Witherspoon.  Many of his descendants now reside in the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.  He was a native of SCOTLAND and is supposed to have come to America about the year 1760, settling in the state of Pennsylvania, where some of his children are known to have been born, and later removing to the state of New Jersey, where he lived for a period of time.  He was a member of a Scotch family whose coat of arms is preserved, the motto inscribed being "Deo Juvante" or "God Helping".  He was a direct descendant of John Knox, Scotland's great reformer, and was closely related to Dr. John Witherspoon, President of Princeton College, in all probability a nephew.


It is not known when John moved to North Carolina, but it is supposed to have been about the year 1771, when his name appears as a petitioner of the House of Assembly of North Carolina asking for the creation of a new county.  At this time he had settled in the forks of Kings Creek on the Little Yadkin River in Rowan/Wilkes County, where the village of Grandin is now located.  Tradition amongst his descendants now living in the state of Tennessee is that he had settled lower down on the Yadkin River, but that he found the land too flat, sandy, and swampy, and he had made some boats and poled up the Yadkin River until he came to the Junction of the Little Yadkin and Kings Creek, where he found, "a beautiful valley with hills on either side densely covered with a forest of such trees as he was accustomed to in his native land, and there on the Yadkin River in North Carolina he staked out his grant."  The location in which he settled is one of great natural beauty and from time immemorial this section has been known as Happy Valley.


At the time John Witherspoon settled on Kings Creek the land was on the Indian frontier and it indicated the great courage and hardihood of this pioneer to engage in a step attended with such anger in the endeavor to conquer the wilds of nature and carve out the wilderness a house for him and for the generations to come after.  As a result of the efforts before the General Assembly of North Carolina, a county which was called Wilkes was established in 1778 out of a portion of Surrey, Rowan and the District of Washington, and the new county became the center of revolutionary activities, and from its confines came the hardy frontier troops under Col. Benjamin Cleveland, who contributed so much to America's success in the war, and whose activities so greatly aided in breaking British power in the South at Kings Mountain.  It is not known exactly what rank John Witherspoon had among the military forces.  Tradition says that he was a commissioned officer, but all muster rolls of the forces of Wilkes County have been lost and documentary evidence connecting any names with these activities is exceedingly scarce, and in most instances entirely lacking. (This has been accepted for DAR membership.)


It is known, however that when the legislature established Wilkes County, John Witherspoon was appointed on of the commissioners to lay out a site for the Courthouse, jail and other public buildings, and that he and those appointed with him, established the site of the present town of Wilkesboro on what was then known as the Mulburry Fields or the Mulberry Meeting House.  The records of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Wilkes County show that this court was organized on the 2nd day of March 1778, the first meeting being held at "John Bron's" at the bend of the Yadkin.  John Witherspoon was not present at this meeting of the court, and the cause of his abscence can only be left to conjecture.  Possibly he was off on a military errand, but at the next meeting of court, the first day of June 1778, the records shw that John Barton, John Witherspoon and Micajah Benton, pursuant to a commission from his Excellency the Governor, appeared, took oath of allegiance and the oath of Justice and took their seats accordingly, and at this meeting a report of the commissioners appointed by act of the General Assembly of North Carolina to lay out and appoint a proper place in Wilkes County, whereon to erect the court house, prison, pillory and stock of said county was reported and spread upon the records.  John Witherspoon appears as a signer of this report.  The records of the court show that he did not sit further as a Justice until Wednesday, September 9th, when he together with Benjamin Cleveland and George Morris, were sitting as a court, and at this meeting an order was entered relieving all persons in the Continental Service from the payment of Poll Tax for the year of 1778.


The Witherspoons of North Carolina  1775 - 1975


Compiled by David Howell Witherspoon, Raleigh, NC, 01 Apr 1976


On 01 Jun 1778, John Witherspoon was appointed Justice of the Peace and in September of that year, an Assessor of the King's Creek and Upper Yadkin section.  His will was the first will probated in Wilkes County.  There is a theory that he died because of wounds inflicted by Tories, but this cannot be substantiated.  In the Will he mentions his wife, four sons and six daughters by name, leaving property, stock, "and the profit from both still and Mill to be equally divided."


The Last Will & Testament of John Witherspoon

  November the first in the year of our Lord Christ 1778
In the Name of God, Amen:

I, John Witherspoon, and of Wilkes County being weak in body but of sound memory blessed by God do this day and in the year of our Lord make and publish this my Last Will and Testament in manner following: that is to say I appoint Thomas Weatherspoon and David Weatherspoon Executors of the estate my natural sons and also appoint them to Discharge all Debts that is made appear Just according to Law, and also Collect all Debts that is due to the estate.


I also give and bequeath to my son, Thomas Weatherspoon, a tract of land he now lives upon only he is to pay to the estate twenty five pounds Old trade: and I also give and bequeath to my son David Weatherspoon a certain tract of land lying in the fork of Kings Creek joining Stephen Tilley's 180 acres.  I also give and bequeath unto my dear wife the third  part of the remainder of the Estate during her widowhood and I also give and bequeath to my son James Weatherspoon this place I now live on, and I also give and bequeath to my son John Weatherspoon and my daughter Mary, and my daughter Floron, my daughter Martha, and to my daughter Nancy, and to my daughter Jane, and to my daughter Elizabeth Weatherspoon the remainder part of the stock and profit of both Still and Mill to be equal divided amongst the seven and also my son David Weatherspoon and my son James Weatherspoon is to contribute from their estate forty pounds and to let my son John have it when he is of age, both to bare an equal part or to purchase a piece of land to be of that value.


Signed, Sealed and delivered by the said John Weatherspoon as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who are present at the signing thereof.

  N. B.  

Before signing I bequeath to my sons James Weatherspoon one young sorral mare with a blaze face and also bequeath to my son John a brown colt with a blaze face.


Thomas Harbin (Dec. Term 1778), John Witherspoon (Seal), Alexander Holton, John Robinson, Martha Witherspoon (her Seal)

From Wilkes County Records, N.C. County Court Minutes 1778 - 1779; A true Copy R. B. House, Secretary


John Witherspoon died 07 Nov 1778, Wilkes County, NC and was buried in the family cemetery.  Son and daughter-in-law, Thomas and Sarah, died during an epidemic of French measles in April 1790 and were buried in the family cemetery.  The five surviving children were reared by their grandmother, Martha Pettigrew Witherspoon.


The Witherspoons of North Carolina  1775 - 1975


Compiled by David Howell Witherspoon, Raleigh, NC, 01 Apr 1976


Martha Pettigrew Witherspoon lived until 1796.  The exact date of her demise is not known, but on 06 May 1796, her son David, together with Benjamin Parks, posted a bond of "Two Hundred Pounds specie" as administrators of the estate of "Mother Witherspoon, deceased."


The Descendants of John Witherspoon (b. 1650, SCOTLAND)


Compiled by H. Glenn Williams, 1997


Martha Witherspoon died and were buried in the family cemetery about 2 1/2 miles from Kings Creek Schoolhouse, Wilkes County, NC, on a farm owned in 1934 by Rufus W. Greene (and in 1972 by Mrs. Clifton Broyhill).  It is about 2 3/4 miles from Kings Creek School House (on Highway 81) and about 24 miles from Wilkesboro.  It was formerly the John Bradley Farm.  John Witherspoon and several members of his family were buried there.  The old stone at his grave bears this inscription: Here lies the body of John Witherspoon, Esq. Deceased November 7th 1778.  N.B. Who was a follower of the Lamb.






"The Descendants of John Witherspoon", Compiled by H. Glenn Williams, 1997, sixranch@swbell.net


Thanks to Dr. Frank Witherspoon from Memphis, TN, for additional information on Thomas Wesley Witherspoon
and the Witherspoon Family.  You can contact Frank at


If you have additional information or photos of John Witherspoon, please contact me.