Wiggins family settled in community that became Wiggins

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2002

July 6, 2002

From all indications the Wiggins family moved into Covington County circa 1854. The first public land purchased by a member of this family occurred in 1854. Thomas's brother, Simeon, came a short time before 1860 because his youngest son, Wiley B., was born here in 1860, and the family was enumerated in the census for that year.

Genealogical records available on this family reveal that it was members of Willis Wiggins's family that migrated to the area. He was born in 1781 in North Carolina and had moved as far south as Georgia before his death in 1863. He and his wife, Zilpha (Carroll) had the following children: William Jr., Allen, Wilah, Annah, Thomas, David, Archibald, and Simeon. Several of the sons, Thomas, David and Simeon in particular, came to Covington County.

Thomas Wiggins and William Wiggins married sisters who were the daughters of Joseph and Kasiah Cobb of Marion County, Georgia. (The Cobb family came to Covington County during the 1860s.) Thomas was born in 1811 in North Carolina and his wife, Louisa Jane Cobb, was born in 1821 in Georgia. William was married to Mary Ann Cobb who was born in 1823 in Georgia.

Thomas and Louisa Jane were in Covington County by 1850 when they were listed as members of the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church in the Babbie community. They would have been a part of the constitution of the church at that time. Thomas acquired several parcels of government land beginning in 1854. That year he purchased two tracts, one for 82 acres and one for 162 acres in the Horn Hill area, which is located southwest of Opp. He bought 40 acres in 1855 and 40 acres in 1856 in the Wiggins community, which is near Horn Hill. In 1864 he was a private at the age of 54 years in Company A, Covington County Reserves (First Class) of the Confederate Army. In 1867 he was listed as a registered voter in this county.

Thomas and Louisa's family was enumerated in the 1870 Census of Covington County with the following residing in their household: Thomas, 59; Louisa J., 50; John, 21; William H., 17; Simeon, 15; Kesiah, 12; Jane, 8; and Jesse P., 6. William was listed as the first child to be born in Alabama. In the 1860 census, there were three children listed who had married and/or established their own home by 1870. These were Elizabeth, b. ca 1844; Joseph, b. ca 1846; and Thomas, b. ca 1848.

David who was born circa 1814 in North Carolina was a farmer also and was married to Naoma J. or Nancy J., born circa 1828. David probably came about the time his brothers and families did in the 1850s. In 1854 he acquired two tracts of land, 160 acres and 162 acres, in the Horn Hill community. In 1864 he was a private at 57 years of age as a member of Company A, Covington County Reserves of the C.S.A. In 1868 he was on the Supplemental List of Registered Voters for this county.

In the 1870 Census of Covington County, David and Nancy's household was enumerated in the following manner: David, a farmer at 56; Nancy, 43; Samuel, 19; Yancy Zepha, 14; William/Willis, 12; Willard A, 7; and James A., 3. In the 1860 census there was an older son, Leonard J., born circa 1849, who had left the household by 1870. Yancy or Zepha was the first child to be listed as having been born in Alabama.

Thomas and David's brother, Simeon, was married to Mary A. Hudson, daughter of Byrd and Mary Bedingfield Hudson, in 1840 in Georgia. They began their family there and were enumerated in Stewart County in 1850. By 1860 they had migrated to Covington County and were residing next door to her parents who had moved here as well. There are records of Simeon acquiring a tract of 160 acres of land in 1863 in the Wiggins community. He died in 1863 at the fairly young age of 51 years. It is believed that he and his wife, Nancy, were buried in unmarked graves in the Bethel Primitive Baptist Cemetery at Babbie.

Simeon and Nancy had the following children: William F., b. 1841, d. 1964; Sarah Ann E., b. 1842, d. 1924, m. Robert Nelson Woodham; John T., b. 1844, d. 1864, m. Becky Smith; Mary Frances, b. 1846, d. 1925, m. Jasper Short; Simeon B., b. 1848, d. 1882, m. Emma Cobb; Willis Jackson, b. 1850, d. 1935, m. Ida Kimmey; Nancy Ann, b. 1852; James D., b. 1855, d. 1926, m. (1) Sarah E. Graves (2) L.J. Mills Pitman; George Washington, b. 1857, d. 1924, m. (1) Isabella Merrell (2) Georgia &uot;Washie&uot; Odom; and Wiley B., b. 1860.

Nancy lived about 40 years after Simeon's death. She died sometime after 1900 since she was listed as a widow in the household of her son, George Washington, in that census. In 1870 she had been head of a household with her five youngest children. In 1880 she continued to be head of a household and farmer with two of her children, Nancy Ann (26 years) and Wiley B. (20 years).

There were many descendants in the Wiggins family, many of whom continue to reside in Covington County. This family's history and genealogy will be continued in next week's column. Resources for today's column include research done by descendant Gloria Cade, Eunice Woodall, census records, and Wyley Ward's &uot;Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871&uot; and &uot;Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Alabama.&uot;

Anyone who might have additional information or any corrections to the above information is requested to contact the writer, Curtis Thomasson, at Route 9, Box 97, Andalusia, AL 36420, phone 334-222-6467, or Email: chthom@alaweb.com


Searching for father: Shirley E. Crane who has been living in Copperas Cove, Texas, for the last five years was born and reared in Germany of an American father and German mother. She is seeking to locate her father, John or Johnny Wilson, born in Alabama between 1940 and 1945. He was stationed with the U.S. Army in Erlangen, Germany, from 1963 to 1964. He returned to the U.S. in the summer of 1964. If anyone has related information, please contact Shirley Crane at 502 Courtney Lane, Copperas Cove, TX 76522, 254-547-7548, or shimar@excite.com

Photo caption: George Washington Wiggins and his second wife, Washie, seated and holding children, George Ray and Clydia Estell. Children standing are Bura, Alice, Barney and Hampton. Circa 1910.