Alabama Pioneers HonoredBiographiesGenealogy Information

Biography: Jesse Wilson born Feb. 10, 1776

Happy Birthday!






Montevallo is the thought to be the oldest settlement with its first white settler being Jesse Wilson, who built his cabin on the big hill west of the depot in 1814. A village soon blossomed around him that was called “Wilson’s Hill” until 1826 when it was renamed Montevallo. The hill had been the site of an old Creek Indian clearing. In these early primitive days, “goods were hauled in wagons from Selma and Wetumpka, and it was said that salt was brought from Tuscaloosa on horseback, the roads being so bad. The merchants made purchases only once a year, and the goods were on the road from one to three months.”

Jesse is the son of James Wilson of and Lucretia Griffith, both of Augusta, Virginia who later moved to Surry, NC. Jesse was born Feb. 10, 1776, in North Carolina. He traveled to Tennessee as a young man where he is found in 1802 on the Anderson County Tax List along with his brother Benjamin. Jesse had served as a soldier under Andrew Jackson and was one of the many veterans to settle down in Alabama.

Jesse Wilson is found in land records, from April 28, 1806 to 1809, buying and selling land in Rutherford County, Tennessee. The last record, on June 23, 1809, indicates that Jesse sold land to Avertt Yerby. He bought land in Madison County, Alabama August 10, 1809 and the deed refers to him as being from Rutherford County, Tennessee. From 1810 to 1815, Jesse appears on the Madison County tax list with the rest of his family. His wife, Elizabeth,  is referred to as “Betsy” in land deeds. After 1815, he sold his land in Madison County to LeRoy Pople and moved to Shelby County, Alabama in the present day area of Montevallo.

Jesse was an original shareholder in the Selma Land Company and may have been planning to move to Dallas county before his death September 29, 1820, because his will was probated in Dallas County, Alabama (will book B!, page 49). Jesse represented Shelby County, Alabama in the lower House in 1819.

Jesse Wilson was forty-four years old when he died and is believed to be buried on Dallas County Road #81 in the NE corner of Section 5, Township 17, Range 11E. The inscription on a single 8-foot obelisk that has now fallen is:

“Thou art at rest where

Storms can ves no more

When you shall meet again

And Kiss away

The tears of Joy in one Eternal day”

The children of Jesse and Elizabeth “Betsy” Wilson are:

  1.  William A. Wilson born 1802 Tennessee died 1887 Coosa County, Alabama, married Ann Harkins
  2.  Maria Wilson
  3. Patsy Wilson
  4. Nancy Wilson born Dec. 5, 1803 Tennessee died Nov. 4, 1842 wife of William Trout – married July 3, 1823 Dallas County, Alabama
  5. Lucretia Wilson born Mar. 29, 1805 Tennessee died Nov. 2, 1822
  6. Elizabeth Wilson born Oct. 14, 1807 Tennessee died July 6, 1822
  7. Hannah Wilson born Jan 17, 1809 died Sep. 22, 1821
  8. Liddia Wilson born April 4, 1811 died Oct. 4, 1823
  9. Jesse Wilson born 1814



  1. Jesse Wilson – Will filed in Dallas County, Alabama 1820
  2. Bible Records of Mathusalem and Lucretia Griffith (Jesse Wilson’s grandparents)
  3. Tax records Rutherford County, Tennessee
  4. History of Montevallo, Shelby County, Alabama
  5. Tax Records of Madison County, Alabama
  6. Find A Grave Memorial Wilson Cemetery –Memorial # 53118809 ## 35901861 # 53119119 # 53119014 # 53118910# #53119043

This biography and other relatives can be found in the book Shelby County Alabama Pioneers Volume I


One comment

  1. […] in use although an 1823 map gives the present name. The city was named for the first resident, Jesse Wilson, one of Jackson’s soldiers. Ibid., II, 1036; Peter A. Brannon, Adventures on the Highroad […]

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