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Baird, Ely D.
Boardman, Sylvester
Cunningham, Franklin A.
Dodd, William B.
Gaither, J. W.
Holly, James
Johnson, James W.
LaForge, Pierre A.
McIntire, Louisa
Sanders, James F.
Walker, John
Walker, John H.
Watkins, James H.
Webb, George B.
Wilks, John E.
Wilks, John E. - 2


Wilks, John E.

Submitted by Henry Wilks

Wilks Wilks

Birthdate information given on Ancestrial file: 21 Jun 1820
Cemetery Inscription Records has 20 March, 1820 as birthdate. The Well Parish Register gives the Baptismal date as 9 April 1820.
Obit from Pem Historical Society Quarterly spring 2007 p. 4484: July 31, Wilks, John, buried today. One of the oldest men in the county. A native of England, born at Snape, Yorkshire on March 20, 1820 came to this country in 1838 was married to Lavina Johnson in 1845 who survives him.
Came to the US in 1836, located in Ohio, moved 1842 to New Albany, IN and Louisville, Kentucky until 1849 when he moved to Henderson Co.,Kentucky. He stayed there until 1856 when he moved to Posey Co. Indiana. Then in 1858 moved to Pemiscot County, Missouri where he remained. A second news article indicates that John came to Pemiscot County with his brother Robert in 1859.
He learned the brickmaker's trade when a young man, and made the brick that was put into the first brick house in New Albany,Indiana.
In Missouri, he was a farmer and a Democrat in politics.
"Obituary (written in Democrat Argus Newspaper,Caruthersville,MO)
We have today,July 26, 1902, laid to rest one of the oldest men of Pemiscot County.
John Wilks was a native of England, born at Snape, Yorkshire, March 20, 1820, came to this country in 1838, was married to Lavina Johnson in 1845, who survives him.
We are informed that he was one of the best men who has ever lived in Southeast Missouri. He was a citizen, a neighbor, always charitable, never turning any away empty-handed, everybody's friend, and a friend to everybody. The writer heard one say, who had known him a long time that he had never heard one make a slight remark about Uncle John Wilks. When such a generous-hearted, broad-minded man,as he was,dies, we feel that we have lost much, yet our loss is his gain. His journey on earth is ended, but Jesus had a place prepared for him and a crown of life awaiting him, in a sunbright clime, undimmed by sorrow, and unhurt by time, where age has no power o'er fadeless frame. He now rests in that sunlight clime.
To his beloved companion I would say Jesus is your friend. He sympathizes with you in your declining days. To the children, grand children, relatives, and friends, I want to say let us walk in his footsteps, take his advice and live such a life as he lived. No one can say too much for such a life. Jesus himself did more by the life He lived than by the precepts He gave. Oh, the worth of a beautiful life. Then let us speed with rapture on our way-nor will we pause at Jordan's river. With songs we'll enter endless day, and live with our loved friends forever."
His Memorial Card read: John Wilks, Died July 25,1902, Age 82 yrs.,4 mos., 5 days. Dearest father, thou hast left us, And our loss we deeply feel, But 't is God that has bereft us; He can all our sorrows heal. Yet again we hope to meet thee, When the day of life is fled, When in heaven with joy we greet thee, Where no farewell tear is shed.
Became a US citizen on 7 August 1843.
In a letter written to John dated Dec 1864 by his brother William,i t was mentioned that John Wilks came to America on 21 June 1838 . Information given to me by Judy Caswell, 4047 Concord Ave., Eugene, OR 97402, indicated that John became a U.S. citizen on 7 August 1843.
John Wilks is listed as having been taxed in 1869 on 200a and 652a( Pemiscot Pioneers, Ophelia Wade).

Transcript of letters received from Old England:
Leeming, Bedale, Yorkshire, Old England
December 1864

My dear brother and sister,
We received your very welcome letter quite safe on the 26 July 1864 and we were all very much pleased indeed to hear from you also to hear that you were all enjoying a moderate state of health, there has been a many changes since you had our last letter I have waited some time to give brother Christopher or Joseph time to write to you but they don’t seem to get begun, and I dare say you will always be anxious to have a few lines from any of us I am very sorry indeed to tell you our poor old Father died on Saturday the 16th of April 1864 and was buried in Well Church yard on the 19th it was a very great trouble to him poor brother Georges accident and death poor old man he never seemed to hold up his head after he had something like a fit or stroke just that day a month after poor George died and he was carried up to bed and he was never up after, only till the bed was made he laid 17 weeks in bed he was quite sensible to the last, and prayed a great deal, he seemed to die quite peaceful and happy he often talked about you all and rememberd you in his prayer (end of page 1)
And trusted if he was not permitted to see you again on earth it was his sincere wish and hearts desire that we might all meet in heaven, you would have been very sorry if you had been round his sick bed with us on a Sunday a few weeks before he died brother Christopher and Joseph sister Jane and Myself and our poor old Mother, it was the last time Christopher and Joseph saw him alive, he did not suffer much pain during the time he laid, he seemed to have little or no use of his limbs, we got a nice head stone set up for each of them we got put on Georges in life beloved, in death lamented our Mother has the same house and land She lives on in the house, she has been with us a few weeks but seemed to wish to continue on her home sister Jane was at home with her during the most part of our Fathers sickness that was a great ease of mind to us all, and after his death she went back to be housekeeper for brother Christopher at Newcastle: Christopher was married again in Nov1864 I suppose a person a good deal younger than himself, but I have not seen her nor heard only a little yet, they are carrying on the business in the same place, much as usual sister Jane is with them yet, brother Joseph is in the same place yet with Squire Yorke of Bewerley Hall Near Pateley Bridge, he is at Harrogate with the (end of page 2)
Two hunting horses 4 or 5 months in the hunting season that is from the first of Nov to March or so and then he goes back to Pateley, they are at Harrogate for being nearer to meet the fox hounds for his Master I am still in the same place and continue to go on much as usual, we have two milk cows, two yearling heifers, two young calves and two pigs feeding for bacon, we killed two in Nov. one weighed 20 stones we sold it at 7 shillings a stone and the other weighed 17 stones we kept it for ourselves and we have two less ones that will make light bacon or pork, beef, multon bacon and hay is selling high, beef and Multon about 8d. per lb., and bacon 9 d, hay about 10d. and one shilling per stone all else middling reasonable, I will send you a newspaper sometime if you get them all right; you will be sorry to hear cousin Bessey Rowell died in July 1864 she was married and lived in Leeds, she left no children, our Uncle Christopher Wilks is living at Leeds he was over at Snape at our Fathers funeral also our Aunt Ellen and Jane they all enquired very kindly after you all and desired to be kindly remembered to you, cousin Thos Fryer is living on the Farm where his Father lived I think they are doing in a middling way I think they have 7 children some partly grown up (end of page 3)
And all healthy and well, Uncle Thos Fryer is living yet he is very lame, cousin John Exelby is in the same place at Clifton Castle Near Bedale, and William at the old Hall at Snape with Henry Webster at the Farm and Thos at Roskhill near Snape, cousin Wm often looks in and sits a bit with our Mother; we should very much like to have your likenesses send them as soon as you can, I will send you ours the first opportunity, we have poor brother Georges likeness with his Masters little boy beside him, the only son he was very much attached to George and was mostly with him when he could get the little fellow was about 5yrs old; our Uncle Joseph and Cousin John Webster is at Sodus County of Wane States of New York, our Uncle had wrote to Leeds and wanted to know all particulars, one of our Uncle Robert sons, John, wrote back to him to America my wife and our Mother says I have to mind and a ask you all to come over to England we should all very much like to see you indeed, you said it was 26 years the 21st of last June since you landed in America there has been many many changes since then, tell brother Robert he might write to some of us sometimes, I will not be so long in writing to you next time, with all our kind love to you all we remain your ever and affectionate loving brother & sister William and Ann Wilks
Don’t forget nor neglect to write back as soon as possible (end of page 4)
(Notes written along the edges): have you or Robert lost anything with these men that call themselves Guerrilles since you wrote
we received the two pieces of paper money in your last letter all right and safe

The paper of this letter measured 9” x 14”. It was folded to fit into an envelope sized 3”x4 ½”.
I left spaces where there seemed to be a new sentence starting. The spellings of the names Christopher, Thomas and William were abbreviated in the letter to Christr, Thos., and Wm. I didn’t change the spellings of any other words.
I used italics to distinguish my comments apart from the written text. Marilyn Liesmann

Grewelthorpe, Ripon, Yorkshire, Old England
Monday August 24 1876

My dear Brothers &Sisters, Nephews and Nieces
You will be pleased to hear we received your letters quite safe this time, both cousin John Exelby and us, at the same time, we live about 4 or 5 miles distant from John Exelby and 7 from our Mother at Snape, both John Exelby and I have wrote to you once or twice during the time you say you have not heard from us and we have all often wondered that we did not hear from some of you, our poor aged Mother often enquired if I had not heard from none of you when I went to see her and often asked me to write to you, we received your letter on Monday July 10th it had only been about 3 weeks from starting off from you to landing to me, Mother is still living at Snape she is very well considering her years but seems to get weak and feeble with old age She will be four score or eighty years old in Oct next our Aunt Mary Cooper died a few months since aged 85 or 86 years, our Aunt Ellen Kilburn died this last March aged 93 or 94 years (end page one)
Cousin Thomas Exelby died this last April, if you and Brother Robert were to have a trip over to Snape you would find a deal of alteration and changes you would hardly know the old place or very few of the people; it was Snape Feast on the Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of August it is always held on the 5th and 6th of August some of us that could get, used to meet together at that time when younger, we are living at Grewelthorpe now and rent a bit of grass land and keep a few milk cows and a pony, you would pass through it from Grantley or Sawley to Masham, I think Brother Robert would live near to it when he lived with _______ about Bramley Brother Christopher and his wife and family are still living at Newcastle on Tyne they have two sons and three daughters living they keep a grocers shop and have done, and doing very well I dare say They will be writing to you sometime soon, I think I told you before that sister Jane is married and lives at Crook Near Bishop Awkland her husband is at a corn mill they are doing pretty well they have one daughter about 10 or 11 years old they call her Mary Jane after her (aunt is crossed out)cousin in America (end page 2)
Sister Jane and her daughter have been over Snape a week or two with Mother we had them at our house a few days They live about 30 or 40 miles from our Mothers, brother Christophers wife was over a week at the same time they are all pretty well and were pleased to hear from you, and desired to be kindly remembered to you all; I told Aunt Ellen Wilks I had heard from John she was pleased to hear from you and said you used to be a fine lad when you were with Uncle William and her, she is getting fast into years, Uncles John and Robert Wilks is dead, cousin Thomas Fryer is living on a Farm at Sawley that belongs to Lord Grantley two of his sons Isaac and Thos (Thomas) is married and on Farms to themselves they are all doing very well, we are having a dry summer grass and turnips a light to moderate crop, a cold wet backward spring corn will not be up to an average crop there is a deal of your Indian corn used here it is about 28 or 30 shillings a quarter that is 8 bushels I have sent you a newspaper to see the markets, we got 2s. 5d. a roll 24 ounces last Thursday at Ripon market, there is a deal of American Cheese and bacon sold in the markets here (end of page 3)

The Cheese is 7d. per lb. and bacon 8d. per lb. I hardly know what a cent is in English money when you tell me what cheese or bacon is a pound tell me in our money as near as you can, Thomas Fryers sister Bessey is married and lives at _____ Near Pateley Bridge her husband is a blacksmith named ______, I see Bill Harrison and John at Ripon market Bill always enquires after John I have not heard from Uncle Joseph Wilks lately I don’t know whether he be dead or living, cousin John Webster that used to live at Leeds went to America to where Uncle Joseph was I have not heard from them lately Uncle Joseph had a daughter but whether she is living or dead I don’t know, I will send you the London Times sometime soon, I have got our ages from the old book Mother safely keeps at home anything you wish to know that I have not told you I will tell you next time I write, cousin John Exelby will write soon, we are cutting and getting in our harvest corn as fast as we can it is fine weather for that, Brother John and Robert mother wishes you to write to her she says her time will not be long here I have Registered this letter so that we hope it will reach you safe, my wife join with me in kind love to you we remain your affectionate brother and sister William and Ann Wilks write back soon and tell us all news. (end of page 4)
Then on the edges of the letter are these additional notes: please let Brother Robert see this letter and tell him to write to his Mother
we sent you brother George likeness, and funeral card, did you ever get it

The letter is on a piece of paper that measures 8”x 13 ¼”. It was folded to fit into an envelope, which I don’t have, that is 2 ½”x 4 ¾”.
I have transcribed it as written with capitals and not. The punctuation was mostly commas, so I tried to put in extra spaces at the start of a new sentence. Hopefully this makes it easier to read. Anything that I added for clarification is in italics.
Marilyn Liesmann

Gibdykes July 16 1877

Dear Cousin
Believe me It whare with great plsher I recved your kind letter I never got your letter in 1875 I roght to you about the same time and sent you a paper at the same time-I should have roght to you before kow but you Brother W- said he had roght to you---- I whare glad to hear that you and your famley whare all well may God bless them all and B-R. to I shoult like us all to meet in heaven at last thank God we may tell them all to get relion Godlenss is profitable un to all things having the frames of the life that kow is and that wich is to come---A old friend of mine came to see me the other week whare over from America John Bell son of Wm Bell---- I think that soum of you might come over for a few weeks how is Sanky and Modey geting on----- Mother is (onley, I think that’s what it is) poorly I think it is like breaking up she is living in a little house at Snape and it is so clene and tidey could you but see it your Brou Christopher whare at our house the other week from Newcastle thay are all well and your Bothears and Jane is all well (he was spelling well with “ ee”, but my computer kept correcting it) Dear Cousin---- What change in our faleys I lost my wife 4 years cense I have no famley I have a housekeeper brothear William is with me he is onley poorly (poorly is spelled “ley” in his letter-computer corrections again) B Thomas as bene dead a year is family is all up one of them is still on the farm at Roskhill ant Elenor and Ant Marey is dead cousin W Cooper too and ---(can’t figure it out, maybe tem) is living thar is maney changes at Snape you whould know verrey few in if kow in a few years we shall all have done may wee all be found readey (end page 1)

At the top of the second page is the information:
John Wilks Born March 12 1820
Robert Wilks Born October 1(7) 1829 (on the numeral 1 it has “th” which would make the “1” a “7” to match other records we have)

We have had a verrey could whet spring corn looks bad in Jeanearl hay time is going on but harest will be verrey late corn as to come in to (it looks like hear) yet we are (this next part looks like biey howing tournps, maybe they are hoeing turnips?) we have got the raleway to Masham from Ripon-we have no frute to year thar us bene no account from your uncle Joseph--- I will send you a paper and then you will see how things is going on ples to wright soon Mother wants to hear from you
Brother Whillam joins in love to you and Robert (above this is the note: but do wright soon) and tell him too to send me a good long letter

From your eve affected Cousin,
John Exelby
Gibdykes Masham
Old England

I found his spellings very interesting as well as his “message”.
It’s good to know we are from God-fearing folks from way back.
Marilyn Liesmann

March 5
Newcastle on Tyne

My Dear Brother John

The writer is my nephew and if you can do anything for him do it for my sake you once asked to come out, take him instead. Therre is nothing for him heare in England and he might get in America with your assistance and your advise if you can employ him do so and if not you can advise him where to get employment he is steady honest and willing to work at anything he can get to do. I remain your affec Borther
Chistopher Wilks
43 Leasses Terrace
Newcastle on Tyne

Remember me to Brother Robert

I had looked up Wilks in Newcastle on Tyne in the British white pages on the internet. There is a Wilks living at this almost exact address.
There is a letter accompanying this one from Robert Taylor. His handwriting is very neat.
This two letter envelope cost “half penny” to mail.

43 Leasses Terrace
Newcastle on Tyne
March 1883

Dear Sir

Having heard from my uncle Mr Christopher Wilks with whom I am at present residing of your farm in America, I take liberty of addressing the following lines to you which I hope will meet with your kind consideration I have been trained for the anvil service, but owing to the death of my father, in the middle of my preparation, I am compelled to abandon
(end of page 1)
the idea and endeavour to obtain a situation whereby I can earn a livelihood
As I can do nothing here but clerk’s work, a branch of labour already overstocked, I have been unsuccessful up to the present
I have always had a great inclination for farming and my object in writing this letter to you, is to ask you if you can assist me by giving me a situation upon your farm, or to use your influence with some neighboring gentleman on my behalf I am almost totally ignorant of farming life, but as I am quite willing (end of page 2)
to devote myself to hard work, I have no doubt that I could soon learn it I have a mother also three little brothers not over well provided fore and this coupled with my dependent position make it all the more necessary that I should escert myself to obtain some emplyment
I am twenty years of age and am relative to your brother, through my mother, who is Mrs Wilks’ sister
Should you be able to do anything for me and (end of page three)
I sincerely hope and trust you can, I can assure you that it will be my earnest endeavour to merit you trust.
Anxiously awaiting your reply
I am
Yours truly, Robert Taylor

Agatha H. LaForge Wilks

Agatha Wilks



First Families in Pemiscot, Missouri






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