Yorkville’s first Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1824
by Rev. William Gassaway and Rev. Joseph Holmes, according to church
history. The first congregation consisted of nine members: James
Jeffries, Mrs. Elizabeth H. Jeffries, Col. Thomas W. Williams, Dr. John E.
Jennings, John Chambers, Mrs. Margaret Chambers, Mrs. Sarah Beaty, and
Mrs. Tabitha Wilkerson. – Louise Pettus
The YV Enquirer reported on March 7, 1894 – “Ms. Mary Harold is teaching school at Hopewell and Ms. Mary Allison is teaching at Mr. W.S. Wilkerson’s school.”
City Directories and History: Thomas Jefferson Wilkerson, (1808-1852) a Virginia born cabinet maker, came to western York County presumably to construct furniture for the Howell family. The Howell’s owned the ferry across the
Broad River and were considered one of the regions most prosperous of regional farm families. Mr. Wilkerson not only made fine furniture for the Howell’s, but also married their daughter, Lucinda and thus the Wilkerson family became a central part of Hickory Grove society. Lucinda (1812-1890) and T.J. Wilkerson were married in 1843, to Lucinda Howell – Wilkerson and they had five children. Lucinda was the daughter of Williamson Howell, 9/20/1786 to 3/15/1864.
Interestingly, Joel E. Wilkerson (listed as living in Bullocks Creek in 1850 – carpenter by trade), the younger brother of T.J. Wilkerson, also resided in the area, may have also worked on the Howell’s home.
The Wilkersons and their cousins the Buice and Howell families owned considerable acreage by the turn of the 20th century and were considered highly successful leaders in the community. The family enjoyed having the Wilkerson school not far from their home as well as mercantile stores in Hickory Grove. As a child, Martha Wilkerson Buice, recalled visiting her Buice grandparents and often “visited the Wilkerson’s stores for treats.”
The Wilkerson family was also known for producing vast quantities of sorghum molasses and W.B. Wilkerson was refereed to as the Sorghum King.
***W. S. Wilkerson of Hickory Grove in 1885 was a member of a committee appointed to speak to the representatives of the Gaffney City Railroad Company and the Shelby & Broad River Railroad Company concerning the people’s desire for a railroad in their district. This was the beginning of a trunk line being laid from Blacksburg to Rock Hill, spanning York County. Wilkerson was one of Sharon’s first cotton buyers purchasing for J. W. P. Hope of Yorkville. Wilkerson and a partner, Albertus Hope operated a loan business out of a small house near the Sharon Depot. In 1922 Wilkerson endorsed J. H. Saye’s request for additional appropriation and use of the chain gang to help construct the “West Road” which ran from Yorkville to the York-Cherokee County Line (now Hwy 49, 211, and 97) Wilkerson pointed out that in the 30 year existence of the county chain gang the townships of Bullock’s Creek and Broad River had received only eighteen hours of their service In 1919, Wilkerson and his son, W. B. Wilkerson were members of the Broad River Township Community Improvement Association whose aim was to stop the flow of illegible whiskey. W. S. Wilkerson in 1914 was one of ten men elected to the Conservative Ticket to be elected as a State Executive Committeeman. (Contribution from Jerry West)
The YE on May 25, 1892 reported, “Ms. Agnes Wylie has closed here school at Mr. W.S. Wilkerson’s (Wilkerson School), for a three week vacation.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Dec. 14, 1901 – “A charter had been granted to the Farmers Mutual Life Insurance Company of Yorkville. Officers are: W.S. Wilkerson – Pres., J. Frank Ashe, V.P., and D.E. Boney, Sec – Treasurer and General Manager.”
Click on the More Information > link found below the picture column for additional data or pictures.
Informative link: Mills Map of York County SC
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