SHERLIN - WILSON FAMILY HISTORY

March 2, 2008

Revised November 16, 2014

 

HISTORY OF THE WILSON FAMILY

A WORD FROM THE WRITER

 

   The following historical account of the Wilson family was written by my own hand and conceived in my own thoughts.  I have tried to always give credit to all sources and family members who have provided information in this wrtitten history.  In veritably there will be times when this Writer may insert information without giving said credit.  This will never be done intentionally and will be corrected as soon as the Writer is made aware of it.  Any and all of this historical writing I give freely to anyone wishing to use it.  The one thing that I do require is that credit is given where credit is due.  If indeed anyone chooses to use any part of this writing you must insert the information about where you got it and give my name and website address showing original authorship.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  This history of the Wilson family is a compilation of 41 years of research that began with my Sherlin history and has evolved into my wife’s family history which is, and continues to be, very time consuming, costly, sometimes frustrating, but always very rewarding.

  It has been motivated by love and is dedicated to my wife Kathy Sue Wilson, daughter of William Roy Wilson, son of William Peeler Wilson, son of Wallace Newton Wilson, son of George W. Wilson, son of Solomon W. Wilson, son of Isaac Wilson Jr., son of Isaac Wilson Sr., son of Charles Wilson Sr., son of David Willson, and to my children and grand children and all those who follow after.  My hope is that it also will be an exciting and wonderful door into the past for all of my wife’s immediate family, cousins and other family who will undoubtedly find this account helpful to them in their research in years to come.

  I know that there are accounts in this history that will be revised and corrected in the days and years to come, but it is for the most part, accurate and correct.  There are some dates and information that has been compiled from bits and pieces of information that is vague and difficult to verify.  Some information has come from other family members who have done their own research and offered information that has been passed down from previous generations.

  So, this is the account of my personal research and is done by my own hand. My name is Steven Scott Sherlin, born February 6, 1955 in the city of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee.  Herein I will refer to myself as the “Writer”.

 

THE BEGINNING

  The name Wilson is a common and interesting surname.  The Wilson name is derived from a parental first name of a father, or grandfather, a derivation resulting in the surname Wilson.  It indicates “son of Wil”, a pet form of William.  It is an ancient name derived from the Germanic “willi”, meaning “desire, will,” and “helm”, meaning “protection, helmet.”  There are many variations of the name Wilson.  It is one of the top 30 most common surnames in Ireland today.

  One of the earliest references to this name or a variant is English in origin and a record of one Robert Willeson, who is mentioned in documents relating to Yorkshire in 1324.  Other documents verify baptisms of Wilson’s in Ireland in the early 1700’s and the continuation of research will undoubtedly reveal earlier dates.

 

THE EARLY WILSON’S OF IRELAND

  The reader of this account would do well to read the history of Ireland.  Ireland has an ancient and rich past filled with Celtic culture, wars, and religion that began with the Druids culminating in Christianity that encompassed Catholicism and Protestantism. 

  In the year 1167 Ireland was invaded by the French-English King Henry II of the Plantagenet dynasty from Anjou, in France.  His vassal, lord de Clare, best known to fighting men as Strongbow had taken a strong foothold in the land of the Irish. This was the beginning of 800 years of grief for the Irish people under the tyranny of England.

  When the English King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church in Rome and established the Church of England in the Early 1500’s it was the beginning of a great conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland that continues to this day.  After King Henry VIII’s death his son Edward ruled for a short time, then King Henry’s daughter Mary ruled as Queen.  She began what is known as “The Plantation” in Ireland.  This was the transplanting of English people’s to Ireland and resulted in the dispossessing of land from Irish people.

  Mary was a Catholic and during her reign religion in Ireland was at peace even with the “Plantation” taking place.  When Mary’s half sister Elizabeth came to the Throne of England upon Mary's death things changed.  She was a devout Protestant and began to aggressively pursue the “Plantation” of English people and the Protestant religion to Ireland.

  It is believed that somewhere during this time from the mid 1500’s to the early 1600’s that Wilson’s came into Ireland.  Wilson’s were Scottish and were devout Protestants as a result of the sweeping changes in theology brought about by Martin Luther and John Calvin in the “Reformation”.  The Scot’s and the English had great differences concerning religious beliefs and Independent rule.  As a result, many Scot’s left Scotland and came to the Northern part of Ireland and settled in the Ulster, Antrim area where the ancestors of this Writer’s wife’s part of the family came from.  Without exception they became fully Irish in blood and every sense of patriotism.  They even created their own Irish Wilson Coat of Arms which this Writer will describe later in this historical synopsis.

WILSON’S IN AMERICA

  David Willson, born about 1684 in Antrim Shire, Ulster, North Ireland, and who also died in this same place (date unknown), had a son named Charles Wilson (spelled with one “L”) who was also born in Ulster, North Ireland.  It is this same Charles Wilson who came to America and began the American line of Wilson’s that make up this Writers wife, Kathy Sue Wilson’s part of the Wilson family.

  He no doubt came around 1737 when sadly there were sparse records kept pertaining to immigrants.  Hopefully, those records will come to light with ever increasing finds and availability concerning early immigrants.  Most likely, he entered America through a Virginia Port.  Early Virginia records state that he settled in Augusta County Virginia, now Pendleton County West Virginia.  He lived unknown about 1775 in a narrow valley through which the South Fork of the South Branch Potomac River flows west of the Blue Ridge.  He died there about 1778.

  Charles Wilson had four known children: Joseph Wilson born about 1734 in Antrim, Ulster, Ireland.  He died 07 Nov 1838 in Sevier County, Tennessee at the age of 104.  Charles Wilson was born in 1736 in Antrim, Ulster, Ireland.  He died 08 Sept 1815.  Isaac Wilson was born about 1740 in Augusta County, Virginia.  He died 18 May 1810 in Washington County, Tennessee.  (It is his lineage that we will follow in the rest of this history).  David Wilson was born about 1746 in Augusta County, Virginia. 

PIONEER AND FIRST FAMILY WILSON’S OF TENNESSEE

  Isaac Wilson, son of Charles Wilson Sr. from Ireland, married Ann States about 1760 in Augusta County, Virginia.  She was born about 1742 in Augusta County, Virginia and died in Washington County, Tennessee.

  Isaac Wilson and his wife Ann moved from Virginia to the Indian Territories of a land that was in dispute between Virginia and North Carolina.  This land was known as The Lands of the Watauga in the Western Frontier of the Washington  District, present day Washington County, Tennessee.  The exact date he relocated to this area is unknown but Land Grant records and Tax records verify that he was there in 1776.  On July 5, 1776 Isaac Wilson was one of the signers of the Watauga Petition requesting to become a part of the State of North Carolina’s State government.  Prior to the Petition Washington County, Tennessee historical records show that Isaac Wilson purchased 350 acres on the Nolachucky River April 18, 1776 for 100 English Pounds.   Tax records of 1782 also reveal that Isaac Wilson paid 50 English Shillings per 100 acres of land in taxes that year.  These records give proof of Isaac Wilson being a settler and pioneer of this area before Tennessee statehood.

  Other Land Grant records, tax records, and historical records for the Washington District in the mid to late 1700’s show that Isaac’s brothers, Charles, Joseph, and David also lived there.

  Being a frontiersman and pioneer of his time Isaac Wilson was also a patriot in the American Revolution.  Research reveals several Isaac Wilson’s serving in the Continental Army during the war.  Pension records show that one Isaac Wilson born 1740 in Virginia was the husband of Ann States.  Other records may be found in the following publications:  “Over Mountain Men” by Pat Alderman, “Tennessee Cousins” by Worth S. Ray, and “Tennessee During the Revolutionary War” by Samuel Cole Williams.

  Isaac Wilson and wife Ann States had five known children; Abram Wilson, Charles Wilson, Anna Wilson born 20 Nov 1771 in Virginia and died 18 Feb 1827 in Green County Tennessee, Isaac Wilson Jr., born 1775 in Augusta County Virginia and died 1841 in McMinn County Tennessee, and John Isaac Wilson.

  Early Tennessee marriage records state that Isaac Wilson Jr. and Rosanna Wilhoit were married in Greene County Tennessee 16 Jan 1796.  Washington County Tennessee deed records give the transfer of Isaac Wilson Sr.’s 350 acres on the North side of the Nolachucky to his son Isaac Wilson Jr. on 06 Nov 1805.  Additional deed entries show that Isaac Wilson Jr. purchased 20 acres adjacent to his property 05 Oct 1813.  Another deed entry shows 151 acres assigned to Isaac Wilson Jr. on 06 Oct 1813. 

  This Writer would like to note for the Reader of this history that Isaac Wilson Sr. and his son Isaac Wilson Jr. were both settled in Tennessee before statehood as verified by petitions, deeds, war records, and marriage records.  This makes them Early Pioneers and First Families of Tennessee as set forth by the East Tennessee Historical Society in Knoxville, Tennessee where they are both recorded as such.  This makes available to any descendent of Isaac Wilson and son Isaac Wilson Jr. certification as a First Family of Tennessee member upon submission and verification of lineage.

WILSON’S OF MONROE & MCMINN COUNTIES

  Before this Writer continues further a short History of Wilson’swill be introduced that was researched, written, and published by Sarah G. Cox Sands in Volume III of the History of Monroe County, Tennessee.

  The Wilson family are an old and prominent family of Monroe County, having settled at what is known as Wilson’s Station in the old 6th Civil district of Monroe County, near the L&N Railroad which ran from Athens to Tellico Plains.

 This little railroad built in the days of the Babcock Lumber, “timber rush”, was used mostly to transport lumber and it’s last days for pulp-wood.  It als0 was used by farmer’s to transport their produce to market in Athens, TN.  It was discontinued about 1983-84 and the tracks and ties were removed in 1987.

 The Wilson family most generally claim to be of Scotch descent but emigrated to Ireland as religious dissenters before finally making their way to America, while in Ireland they married some of those Irish beauties with flowing red hair, therefore the common phrase, ‘Scotch-Irish’.

Family members have traced their ancestry to the province of Ulster, Ireland.  Charles Wilson of the shire (County), Antrim was born in 1710, died between 1760-75 in Augusta County, Virginia, (present Pendleton County, West Virginia).  The three known son’s of Charles Wilson, Sr. were Charles Wilson, Jr., Joseph and Isaac Wilson.

  Isaac Wilson of the above family was born about 1741 in Augusta County Virginia, died in Washington County Tennessee about 1805-10.  He married Ann States, daughter of John States in 1760 and their six children were:

Isaac Wilson Jr., born about 1776, died 1840 in McMinn County., TN.;

Charles Wilson; Ann Wilson, born Nov. 20, 1771 who married Samuel Wilhoit;

David Wilson married Sarah Steele; John Wilson married Sarah Winberg, and Abram Wilson.

 Isaac Wilson, Jr. of the above family will be our subject of this family.  He married Rosanna Wilhoit born Nov. 7, 1777, died about 1850-60, daughter of Conrad and Elizabeth Broyles Wilhoit, and their eight children were: (All of their children were born in Washington County TN.).

 The eight children of Isaac Wilson, Jr. and Rosanna Wilhoit Wilson were Charles G. Wilson born 1797; John Wilson born March 20, 1799 married Jane G. Hayes; Elijah Wilson born 1805 married Eleanor Messor; George W. Wilson born June 6, 1807 married Elizabeth Messemore; David Lawrence Wilson married Ann Glaze; Susannah Wilson born 1813 married Henry Winkle; Solomon W. Wilson born 1814 married Mary Glaze; and Ann Wilson born 1817 married George Copp.

  Sarah Sands continues her Wilson family history with the lineage of Elijah Wilson brother of Isaac Wilson, Jr.  The reader is encouraged to purchase the four book set of the History of Monroe County, Tennessee from the Sweetwater, Tennessee Library, or check them out of the Library to continue this account. 

  In order to stay with the lineage of Isaac Wilson, Jr., this Writer will now continue this history following the descendents of Isaac Wilson, Jr.

  Found in the historical deeds of Washington County, Tennessee is recorded a deed from Isaac Wilson Jr. to his children Elijah, George, David, Solomon, Sarah, and Ann dated October 1829 transferring ownership of his Washington County lands to them.

  The Federal Census of 1830 shows that Isaac Wilson Jr. and his children were still living in Washington County Tennessee at that time.  Sometime between that 1830 Census and 1841 when Isaac Wilson Jr. died he and his wife and his children and their families moved to the area of Wilson Station that lies in Monroe and McMinn Counties Tennessee.  After his death about 1841 we find recorded deeds in Monroe County transferring ownership of his lands to his children:  Elijah, Solomon, George, and Susannah (Sarah) by John Wilson who was Isaac’s brother and the Executer of his estate.  These deeds are listed in the Monroe County Deed Book N and K and are dated 02 Mar 1844.

  NOTE TO THE READER:  It is interesting to note that errors have been found in some historical writings by other individuals of the Wilson family. Had these persons taken the time to do authentic research they would have found their error.  In the East Tennessee First Families Library in Knoxville, Tennessee there is a book in the McClung Historical Collection titled “Monroe County Tennessee Tombstone Inscriptions”.  On page 348 which gives some of the tombstone inscriptions in the Wilson-Joines Cemetery at the Chestue Baptist Church in Monroe County there is a paragraph at the bottom titled “FAMILY SKETCH”.  It says:

 John Wilson of Washington Co., in or about the year 1838, brought six of his sons Solomon, John, Elijah, Charles, and David Lawrence, to Monroe Co., and George to McMinn Co., and bought them large farms. Etc.etc.etc.

  It was in fact Isaac Wilson Jr. that brought his sons to the area and not John Wilson.  John Wilson was Isaac’s brother and later became the Executer of his estate.  In the rest of this “Family Sketch” the person who wrote it gives the names of the sons and their families which seems to be correct.

  In other family histories this Writer has encountered the lineage from Isaac Wilson Sr. having many discrepancies.  In particular, other histories claim that John Wilson owned Wilson Station.  The facts and historical records make it quite clear that Solomon W. Wilson owned Wilson Station, during and some years beyond, the Civil War.  His brother John may have indeed owned it at a later time as is claimed.

  Before moving to Monroe County Tennessee most of the children of Isaac Wilson, Jr. married in Washington County Tennessee.  Birth dates of their children in Monroe County indicate that Charles was in Monroe County around 1820 and Solomon was there by 1834.

  Solomon Wilson married Mary (Polly) Glaze 05 Oct 1833 in Washington County Tennessee.  They had 11 known children:  Hanna Wilson born 01 Aug 1834, Charles Wilson born 10 Jan 1836, Elizabeth Wilson born 04 Oct 1837, William M. Wilson born 13 June 1841, John D. Wilson born 1843, George W. Wilson born 14 Sept 1846, Isaac Newton Wilson born 04 Mar 1848, Lawrence J. Wilson born Feb 1849, Jessy Wilson born 1852, Richard Wilson born 1853, and Humphries Wilson born 1856.

  Solomon Wilson owned and operated Wilson Station alongside the railroad that ran between Athens and Tellico Plains.  During the Civil War records indicate that the Southern Confederate Army destroyed a large amount of timber and also took or destroyed much of his personal property.  Another account of this incident makes claim that it was Sherman’s Union Army that did this on their march to Atlanta.  Most records found though support that the Confederate Army was responsible.

  Solomon Wilson and his wife Mary (Polly) Glaze Wilson are buried with their daughter Elizabeth in the Wilson-Joines family cemetery at Chestue Baptist Church in Monroe County.  Solomon died 19 Aug 1889 and his wife Mary (Polly) died 17 Aug 1873.

  George W. Wilson, son of Solomon, was born 14 Sept 1846 in Monroe County Tennessee. He married his 2nd wife Susan Callie Cobble 27 Apr 1875 in McMinn County Tennessee.  She was born 08 Oct 1853 in Greene County Tennessee.

 Children of George and Callie were:  William Peeler Wilson born 16 Sept 1866, Margaret E. Wilson born 15 Feb 1868, Robert Wilson born 1872, Wallace Newton Wilson born 07 May 1877, Jesse Clinton Wilson born 26 Jul 1879, James Carl Wilson born 16 Sept 1881, Harvey R. Wilson born 23 Jul 1883, Eugene Wilson born 17 Apr 1885, Minnie Mae Wilson born 11 Feb 1888, Edd Wilson born 10 Mar 1890, and Grover Cleveland Wilson born 23 Oct 1892.

  George W. Wilson drove a Confederate supply wagon during the Civil War.  He had a minute ball near his lung until his death.  George W. Wilson and wife Susan Callie Cobble Wilson are buried at the Coghill Baptist Church cemetery in Etowah, Tennessee. George died 11 Mar 1912, Callie died 15 Apr 1928.

  Wallace Newton Wilson, son of George, was born 07 May 1877 in Monroe County Tennessee. He married Ellae Mae Barker 03 Jan 1897 in McMinn County Tennessee. She was born 10 Jun 1879.  Wallace died 16 May 1953, Ellae died 25 Nov 1967, both are buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Athens, Tennessee.

  Children of  Wallace and Ellae were:  Herbert Franklin Wilson born 01 Dec 1897, William Peeler Wilson born 23 Jun 1900, Sally Wilson born 1902, Sarah P. Wilson born 1903, Carolyn (Callie) Minerva Wilson born 20 Sept 1904, Robert Cecil Wilson born 17 May 1906, Vesta Myrtle Wilson born 26 May 1908, and Ona Lee Wilson born 07 May 1911.

  William Peeler Wilson, son of Wallace Newton Wilson, was born 23 June 1900 in McMinn County Tennessee.  He married Artie Emma Nora Maria Cain 05 Oct 1919 in McMinn County.  She was born 27 Feb 1899.  William died 28 Mar 1966, Nora died 14 Mar 1982, both are buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Athens, Tennessee.

  Children of William and Nora were:  Lockey Lou Wilson born 29 Jun 1920, Edith Loraine Wilson born 28 May 1922, William Roy Wilson born 01 Sept 1925, Clinton Timothy Wilson born 10 Oct 1932.

  William Roy Wilson, son of William Peeler Wilson, was born 01 Sep 1925 in McMinn County Tennessee.  He married Anna Leona Benton 09 Feb 1946 in Rossville, Georgia.  She was born 13 May 1928 in McMinn County Tennessee. William “Roy” died 10 Sept 2005, Leona is living.  Roy is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Athens, Tennessee.

  Children of Roy and Leona are:  Jerry Ross Wilson born 26 Nov 1946, William Clinton Wilson born 19 Apr 1948, died 11 Aug 2005, Rebecca Ann Wilson born 20 Oct 1949, Kenneth Leroy Wilson born 29 Jul 1951, Donald Lynn Wilson born 06 Jul 1954, and Kathy Sue Wilson born 23 Aug 1957.

  This Writer will stop at this point with the Wilson lineage.  Additional information including the children and grandchildren of William Roy Wilson be added at a later date.  Expansion of information on all other family members noted in this history will also be added.  The Reader may see the full Family Tree by accessing Ancestory.Com and searching for “Sherlin-Wilson Family Tree”.

 

WILSON HERALDRY

   The Wilson Irish Coat of Arms is as follows:

Blazon Of Arms:  Argent, a wolf salient vert. on a chief sable, a fleur-de-lis between two mullets of six points or.

Translation:  Argent (white) signifies Peace.   Vert (green) signifies Hope.  Or (gold) denotes Generosity.

Crest:  A demi-wolf salient vert.

Motto:  Aviumque volatus.

Translation:  And a flight of birds.

Origin:  Ireland                                                                                                       

CONCLUSION

  Although I refer to this section as the conclusion, it is not, in fact, it is only the beginning.  As I have time, and the more I discover, this history of the Wilson’s will be expanded.  A person needs to know their history, the good and the bad.  To know where you come from and what your ancestors lived like and what they faced gives an individual a sense of belonging and a determination to live life to its fullest to the end.

  There is much more I wanted to add to this history but I am subdued by the constraints of time. 

FINAL NOTATIONS

  If you have or find information concerning the Wilson history I would greatly appreciate you contacting me so as to make additions or corrections. I truly hope this concise history will be of help to you in your own search for your Wilson ancestors.            I can be reached by using the information below:

Steven S. Sherlin

1410 Crestway Drive

Athens, Tennessee  37303

423-746-1660 

sksherlin@att.net

 

            ssherlin@sherlin-wilson.com

 

EARLY WILSON HISTORY

Provided by Clint Wilson

The Wilsons in Scotland.  The vast majority of the law-abiding Wilsons scattered across the globe may be surprised to learn of not only the warlike roots of their surname, but of how a significant number of its bearers figured in some of the most notorious and bloody incidents in Scotland’s turbulent history.

The name is a derivative of William, under its popular diminutive of Will.  William itself is from the Old German ‘Wilhelm’ or ‘Willihelm’, with ‘will’ denoting the fierce dedication required to overcome one’s foes in battle, while ‘helm’ refers to an armoured ‘helmet’.

While the surname Williamson refers to ‘son of William’, Wilson refers to ‘son of Will’ and both William and Will became popular names following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 under the leadership of the mighty William, Duke of Normandy.

In Scotland, however, the name also became popular through its famed monarch William the Lyon, who reigned from 1165 to 1214.

Wilson became a surname through the gradual introduction of hereditary surnames, and variations include Wylson, Wylsone, Willison, Wylie, and Vylsone.

First recorded in Scotland in the dawn of the fifteenth century, it established itself as a common surname particularly in Dumfriesshire, Ayrshire, and the Glasgow and Stirling areas, although concentrations of Wilsons are also found in the Fife and Angus areas.

Records show a Wilson buying lands of Hinschelwood and Cleugh, at Carnwath, Lanarkshire, in 1653, while his descendant John Wilson of Aridrie, who lived from 1809 to 1889, was created a baronet in 1906.

In England, the name is particularly commonplace in Devon and Lancashire, while it is a popular name in Northern Ireland, where four out of five Wilsons are believed to be of Scottish descent.

It was through the Plantation of Ulster, from 1603 to 1640, that many Lowland Scots such as Wilsons settled there as part of a government policy to populate the land with British Protestants, at the expense of native Irish Catholics.

The descendants of many of these Wilson who settled in Ireland later found a new home in North America, where many Wilsons of today may well find they have original Scottish roots, albeit via Ireland.

While Wilsons thrived in the Scottish Lowlands, England, Ireland, and, later, North America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, much of the romance and drama associated with the name is to be found in the far-flung Highlands.

Unraveling what is a complex genealogical skein, it is possible to firmly link the Wilsons with the two proud clans of Gunn and Innes.

These links are so strong that Wilsons of today who can trace a descent back to either of these clans are recognised as a sept, or branch, of the clan and can wear its tartan and take pride in its crest and motto.

The tale of how the Wilsons became associated with the Clan Gunn is a tragic one, but one that is sadly all too familiar in the bloody history of the clan feuds and treachery that for centuries blighted the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

‘Either peace or war’ is the motto of Clan Gunn, while its crest is a hand grasping a sword, rather fitting sentiment and imagery for a clan that claims a descent from Gunni, a grandson of the ferocious Sweyn Asleifson, known to posterity as The Ultimate Viking, who was killed in a raid on Dublin in 1171.

Originally settled near Morvern, in Caithness, in the northeast of Scotland, the Gunns had deadly enemies in Clan Keith and Clan Mackay, both clans defeating the Gunns in battle at Wick in 1438.Rather ironically, perhaps, ‘Williamson’ is a recognised sept of Clan Mackay!

Before the mighty Sinclairs were granted the earldom of Caithness in 1455, the Gunns had held the powerful and prestigious position of representing the royal authority throughout this wild and vast area.

This authority in the mid-fifteenth century was represented in the form of the clan chief, George Gunn, known as Crowner (‘Coroner’) Gunn, the title indicated this royal authority.

In 1464, in a desperate bid to settle a bitter and costly feud with the Keiths, it was arranged that Crowner Gunn and the chief of the Keiths would meet at a chapel near Girnigoe, in Caithness.Understandably distrustful of one another, it was stipulated that only ‘twelve horses’ from each side should ride to the meeting.Arriving first, Crowner Gunn and his eleven clansmen went into the chapel to pray.  The Keiths arrived but, treacherously, they had two men to each horse.  Outnumbered by two to one, the Gunns, including Crowner Gunn, were slaughtered in the battle that ensued.  This act of treachery festered in the minds of the Gunns for so long that seventy years later, in 1534, a grandson of the Crowner exacted revenge by killing George Keith, chief of the Keiths, along with twelve of his men, in a fierce battle at Drummoy.

Earlier, however, following the death of Crowner Gunn and subsequent threats to their existence by the Sinclairs, some of his sons had dispersed from their original homelands.  While some remained in the Braemore area of Caithness, James, William, and Henry Gunn took their kenfolk and settled in Strathullie, in Sutherland.  Those Gunns who followed William became known as ‘the sons of William, or Will’, which later developed into the more recognizable anglicised form of ‘Wilson’.  Wilsons who can trace a descent to Banffshire, the historic Scottish county now divided between Moray and Aberdeenshire, can claim a link to the Innes family of Littlefield one of several branches of this clan whose crest is a boar’s head and whose motto is ‘Be traist’, signifying trust.

Berowald, a knight of Flanders renowned for his chivalry and martial prowess, was given the lands of Innes, in Moray, by Malcolm IV, between 1153 and 1165.  His grandson later adopted the name of these lands as the family name.

While Wilsons who can trace a descent to Clan Gunn or the Innes’s of Littlefield, in Banffshire, have the right to wear their tartan, there is also a specific Wilson tartan.  It was the Wilson family of Bannockbum, near Stirling, merchant weavers from 1750 to 1906, who in 1819 were responsible for compiling the earliest surviving list of tartans.  Known as The Key Pattern Book of William Wilson and Sons, Bannockburn, it lists thirty Highland clan tartans, thirteen family tartans, and twelve distinct, or general, tartans.  A Wilson tartan is included among the family tartans and, originally known as ‘the Janet Wilson sett’ it was created for the wife of the founder of the Wilson company.   

 

Descended From the Nobility of England and Kings of Ireland