John Wesley vs. John Wofford

John Corn - Aug 25, 2008

Hello All -
 We seem to have a mystery that needs to be resolved: There are 2 John W. LEWALLEN's that seem to be trying to occupy the same space and time.

I have always thought (like Dennis Lewallen) that John Wesley LEWALLEN b. 7 Dec 1848 was the first child of John Jackson & Louisa "Vicey" ACREE LEWALLEN.   I based this on census records that show a "John W." with the right approximate birth year, etc.

However, now we have a photocopy of the death certificate for John Wofford LEWALLEN b. 12 Jul 1847 (see photo section), that shows John Wofford's father as "Jackson LEWALLEN" and his mother as ____ ACREY.   The mother's first name is not really legible.

The 1900 Census for the Washington Dist, Banks Co, GA, Sheet 7B shows LEWALLEN, John W. born Jul 1844.   Neither of our players were born in 1844 but John Wofford was born in July 1847.  

So far, I have not been able to find a single legal document online that refers to John "Wesley" LEWALLEN.   They all show just John "W".

So the questions that I have are:
 If John Wofford is the son of John Jackson & Louisa,
     1)   Who is John Wesley, i.e. How does he fit into the Banks Co LEWALLENs?
     2)   Which one married Mary Connelly?

On a side note, the 1900 census also shows John W's wife Mary & 7 children.   However, Mary is listed as having 10 children with 9 still living.   I only have names for 7; George Jackson (1874), Martha Clementine (1882), Maud M. (1884), John W. (1886), Mary Elizabeth (1888), Harvey Dionysius (1891), James Wofford (1898).   Does anyone know if these are correct and/or know who the others were?

Dennis Lewallen - Aug 25, 2008

Hi, John-
Perhaps this is information you've seen before, but I'll offer it just in case:

John W. Lewallen, born July 12, 1848, married to Mary Connelly Lewallen (1851-1926) were my great-great grandparents.   They are buried at Damascus Church in Banks County.   John W. was the son of John Jackson and Louisa (sometimes spelled Louvisa) Acree.   On many census records she was identified as Vicey and her maiden name was spelled Acree, Ackery, etc.   She was the daughter of Allen and Drucella Whitfield.

As to whether John W. was Wesley or Wofford legally, I don't know, but I believe they were the same person.   He was identified as John Wesley by family member "Milly J. Palmour" who was, I believe his sister.   Whether her record was an oral or written history I don't know.   My guess is oral.

However, this John W. had, among his 10 children, two sons with the middle initial "W".   One was John W. born 9/8/1886, died 10/5/1972.   A younger brother was James W. (8/9/1898 - 7/5/1961).   In the family he was known as James Wofford and he is the father of Swayne Lewallen who compiled the family records posted on this site.   The records for this generation came from a family Bible.

The George Jackson Lewallen listed in the 1900 census with John W. and Mary was my great-grandfather, who married Clara Wiley that same year.   Jackson was used as a family name originating with John Jackson Lewallen's mother, Amelia Jackson, daughter of Elijah Jackson, prominent in early 19th century Franklin County.

Swaynes chart for this generation and several others in this line are posted in the "photos" section.

Here's my guess as to the Wofford-Wesley issue:   I think perhaps the information that it was Wesley might be attributed to faulty memory of an oral history.   A family Bible is usually reliable, but the fact that John W. and Mary C. named their youngest child James Wofford is an important clue, I think.

Also, a research assistant at the GA Archives warned me early in my research that I would find discrpancies in ages and middle names.   She explained that many of the farmers of the 19th century were illiterate and unless they gave specific spellings of names that oftentimes census takers would spell the name however it sounded to them.   Also, ages could sometimes vary because the farmers themselves did not keep written records and documents as we do.   I think that explains the differences in John W's ages in the census records around 1850.

A perfect example of age issues can be found with Johnathan and Sarah Lewallen, whose ages change in almost every census they appear in...ages vary as much as 5 years either way.

Your list of John and Mary's children is accurate as far as it goes.   They did have 10 children.   Check Swayne's list posted here for their names and dates.   You'll notice though that some of their names appear differently.   For example, you have Maud M. born in 1884.   She was known in the family as Minnie and is listed that way in Swayne's chart.

Hope this was not too muddled to be helpful.


Dennis Lewallen - Aug 25, 2008

I'm having such a good time on this site!   I looked at the death certificates for John Wofford and Mary Connelly and Mary is definitely my great-great grandmother.   She was the daughter of George Washington Connelly and Martha Poole. I noticed that the death certificate also carried GJ Lewallen's name (George Jackson?).   My father, George Jackson's grandson, told me that one of his earliest memories is of George Jackson coming to their home to tell them that Mary had died.   My father had just reached the age of five when Mary died.

One of the other names on Mary's death certificate is PG Caudell, who was cousin to my grandmother, Maude Caudell Lewallen.   He was close to my Lewallen "branch" and very prominent in the Damscus church where John and Mary are buried.

For me, this is a strong indication that the record of John W. as "Wesley" is just simply a mistake--and that the "W" by which he's listed is "Wofford".  

What a great find to discover John and Mary's death certificates here!

Dennis Lewallen - Aug 25, 2008

I hit "post reply" too soon.   I had one more question:   The picture of John Lewallen (1812-1896) which you posted...can you tell me exactly who that is?   Is it possibly a son of Johnathan and Sarah?

Also, I have a picture of John W. (Wofford-Wesley) and Mary Connelly taken shortly before John's death.   Also, I have a picture of George Jackson and and Clara Wiley Lewallen taken at the time of their marriage in 1900.   For anyone who's interested, as soon as I learn how to post them here (and find which box they're stored in), I will do so.

Okay folks, sorry to have monopolized the conversation here today.   I'm just having such a good time!


John Corn - Aug 25, 2008

Hi Dennis -
 It's about time you got back into this fight. Glad to have you ....

 OK. I can accept John Wofford as the right name and there only being one of them.   That would solve a number of issues all at once.

 The picture you mentioned is of Sherriff John Lewallen, son of Anderson Grant Lewallen & Lucy Rice. I just addded 2 more photos for the good Sherrif, another portrait and his tombstone. All these are public photos on   If I can get some more time (yeah, right...) I will get copies of everything they have on Ancestry related to Lewallen's (all spellings).

And speaking of getting more photos, Dennis - can we "encourage" you to take tombstone photos at the Nails Creek reunion this year?

Dennis Lewallen - Aug 25, 2008

Sure-   most of the tombstone pictures you have are of my branch.   John B and Shirley are my parents (my mom died this past January).   John W. and Maude are my grandparents, several others of those pictured are his brothers and their sons.   Next time I'm in Banks County, I'll try to get a picture of John Wesley-Wofford Lewallen and Mary's grave at Damascus.

Billie Harris - Aug 27, 2008

I haven't studied the Banks County Lewallens, obviously, and those of you researching it may already know this and I don't, but since Joseph Lewallen (ca 1763-1855) was probably the earliest known Lewallen of this line from what I've read, be sure to read Kay McKinnon's post.   It's possible that Joseph Wofford's (1752-1820?) wife, Martha Llewellyn, was Joseph Lewallen's sister and that's where the given middle name of John W. Lewallen's comes from

[NOTE: broken link]

As I said, you probably already have this information and I've missed it.   Seeing that Joseph Wofford was in Woodruff, South Carolina, Spartanburg County may be a place in S.C. to research.   It's right on the North Carolina border.

Kay McKinnon - Aug 27, 2008

When I read this discussion yesterday, I thought it could go either way. Wofford if there was a family connection, but also Wesley if they were Methodist.   Woffords were very much Methodists, buried in Methodist church yard and had a son who was Methodist preacher/teacher.