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Who was Martha Carolyn Spiller who marries W. J. Wilkinson?

2019 July 17

Who was Martha Carolyn Spiller and what is her family genealogy, has been asked by many family members.  This is the research I have been able to put together from many sources.

Martha Carolyn Spiller was born 22 Dec 1852 in Milam County, Texas.  Her parents were Jeremiah M. Spiller, Jr. (also shown spelled as Spillers on some records) was born 28 Nov 1822 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana and he married Tennessee Jane Frazer on 13 Feb 1848 in Jefferson County, Texas. They had 10 children. 

1850 Census Milam and Williamson District in County of Milam, Texas

1850 Jeremiah Spiller and family in Milam County, Texas from ancestry

The 1860 census for the Post Office San Gabriel, Milam County, Texas and shows his brother Meredith and wife Martha Ann Courtney and their 6 children were living with him and his family.  Meredith Spiller is the younger brother of Jeremiah and was born 20 May 1825 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana.

1860 Census in Milam County Texas, Post Office San Gabriel enumerated on 6th day of July 1860 shows the father, Meredith Spillers, age 38 born in Louisiana with his wife Martha Spillers age 30 with their 6 children living with his brother J Spillers age 38 with his wife Tennessee J Spillers age 31 and their 6 children including Martha C Spillers.  This census includes both brothers living in same house in San Gabriel, Milam County, Texas)

Post Office: San Gabriel
Family Number: 257
Name: Tennessee J Spillers
Age: 31
Birth Year: abt 1829
Gender: Female
Birth Place: Tennessee
Home in 1860: Western District, Milam, Texas
Post Office: San Gabriel
Family Number: 257
Household Members:
Name Age
J Spillers 38
Tennessee J Spillers 31
George F Spillers 11
Martha C Spillers 8
James Spillers 6
John B Spillers 4
Perry Spillers 2
Paddy Spillers 2/12
M Spillers 38
Martha Spillers 30
Jacob Spillers 12
Thomas Spillers 9
Mary Spillers 8
Melina Spillers 5
Jerry Spillers 2
Wade Spillers 1

J. M. Spiller, age 43 was a private in Texas State Troop, TST, under Captain W. R. Wood during the Civil War enlisting and mustering February 6, 1864 at San Saba, Texas and serving through July 1, 1864.

Muster card for J. M. Spiller

Unsure the date when the family moved to Coleman County, Texas but Jeremiah and Tennessee Jane were successful at cattle raising.  Here are three photos shared on ancestry showing 1870, just before Jeremiah dies.

1870 Jeremiah Spiller photo in Fort Worth, Texas shared on ancestry


1870 Tennessee Jane Frazer Spiller photo in Fort Worth, Texas shared on ancestry


1870 Martha Caroline Spiller future wife of W. J. Wilkinson taken in Fort Worth, Texas shared on ancestry

Jeremiah Spiller Jr. was a father of ten children and a successful cattle raiser in Coleman County, Texas but unfortunately died at age 47, April 1870.  His wife, Tennessee Jane moves with her family to McCulloch County and was appointed postmaster 19 September 1884.  Also the 1870 census show his younger brother Meredith Spiller and family are living in McCulloch County, Texas.

1870 United States Federal Census  Year: 1870; Census Place: Coleman, Texas; Roll: M593_1579; Page: 307A; Image: 211440; Family History Library Film: 553078
(Husband, Jeremiah M. Spiller died from measles at the age of 47 shown as age 50)
Name: Tenn J Spiller
[Tennessee Jane Frazer Spiller]
Age in 1870: 40
Birth Year: abt 1830
Birthplace: Tennessee
Dwelling Number: 40
Home in 1870: Coleman, Texas
Race: White
Gender: Female
Occupation: Keeping House
Personal Estate Value: 40000
Real Estate Value: 1000
Household Members:
Name Age
Tenn J Spiler 40
George F Spiler 22
James H Spiler 16
Perry C Spiler 14
Charles W Spiler 11
Ida M Spiler 6
Emma A Spiler 5
Francis Spiler 3
Lester Spiler 1
John Birks 26
Sarah Funderberg 17

Tennessee Jane moves with her family to McCulloch County after the death of her husband in 1870.  She is appointed postmaster 19 Sep 1884 in Voca, McCulloch County, Texas. 

William Jackson Montgomery Wilkinson married Martha Caroline Spiller in Coleman County, Texas, when she was 17 in 1869.  Their first child, William Neille Buie Wilkinson was born 1 Sep 1869.  There are many spelling differences in their son’s name including Neal or Nealie and also Bowie. 

The Wilkinson’s moved to Menard when Neille was four years old in 1873 and lived at the old Max Menzies ranch at 5 Mile Crossing.  Martha Carolyn was expecting their second child.  W. J. continued raising cattle, as well as in Coleman County, and took a herd of cattle to New Orleans.  While he is gone she gives birth to their daughter, Martha Caroline “Carrie” Wilkinson on 2 December 1873, but Martha Caroline dies on 11 December 1873 when she was 21 years old.  There are stories written about the time before she died and it is said she hid $10,000 in gold under a fence post to protect it but didn’t tell anyone.  J. Frank Dobie wrote about this incident in his book, Coronado’s Children: Tales of Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of the Southwest.

George Bihl Wilkinson did many years of research on the Wilkinson family genealogy and tells of the headstone for Martha Caroline.  Inscription reads;

Martha C.

Wife of

W. J. Wilkinson

Born Dec. 22, 1852

Died Dec. 11, 1873

She was a kind and affectionate wife

a good Mother and a friend to all

As stated by George Bihl’s research papers, “The grave is marked with a stone that is a large, tall one, and it seems unusual for the time and place that is resting.  Altogether it is probably seven feet tall and is surrounded by a cut rock fence with very large, cut limestone rocks”, and above inscription.  I am trying to get access to her grave site on private property at the old Max Menzies Ranch in Menard County, Texas.  This is located about fifty yards from the old headquarters on this ranch about a mile south of the Old River Road east of Menard. There are other stones and burials at this location, too.  I hope to get permission to document this cemetery with the new owners soon.

The other question is how is Carolyn Spiller kin to the other Spiller’s who married into the Wilkinson family?

Meredith Spiller, younger brother of Jeremiah Spiller, Jr. married Martha Ann Courtney and their 10th child, Robert Harvey Spiller marries Mary Frances Carter and they raised 5 children, one child, Robert Roy Spiller (1900-1979) marries Nancy Ethel Mears (1905-2004), and they have 4 children.

W. J. Wilkinson (1828-1919) marries a second time to Nancy Rosary Mires (1860-1955) on 22 Dec 1875 in Menard, Menard County, Texas.  They have 9 children.  Their oldest was Emma Permelia Wilkinson (1877-1970) marries Edward L. Mears (1878-1933).  Their second daughter, Nancy Ethel Mears (1905-2004) marries Robert Roy Spiller (1900-1979).  Their son, Rob Roy Spiller is a cousin to Martha Carolyn Spiller.



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