Peter Wilt, Brother Michael, and Broadwater Kin
Peter Wilt was born 2/15/1775, son of Henry Wilt. Considering Peter's date of birth, we can conclude that Henry was living as late as mid-1774. Henry's wife, whose name in not presently known to us, remarried. Her second husband was Jacob Beavers; their daughter Mary was born in 1782 or 1786.
Peter Wilt is probably the person of that name whose military service record shows that he was slated to march from Virginia to fight against insurgents in southwestern Pennsylvania in 1794. This action became known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Peter's record shows that he became ill during the march to Pennsylvania and was left behind. He was given three months pay for the period September 1 to December 1, 1794. The record shows that prior to his discharge, Peter served under the command of Ensign William Clark. (It is highly likely that this was the same William Clark who would later gain great fame for his leadership role in the Lewis and Clark expedition, which explored the western half of America from 1804 to 1806. It is known with certainty that this William Clark was an officer in the Whiskey Rebellion.) Previously, Peter had served under Col. William Campbell's Regiment of Virginia. Peter was paid $3 per month.
In August 1795 Peter Wilt was named as a member of his stepfather Jacob Beavers' household in Loudoun County, Virginia. By the end of that decade, Peter had moved to Truro Parish, in adjacent Fairfax County. At the time, Truro Parish encompassed the southern half of Fairfax county.
Peter's first wife was named Catharine. Their children: George Wilt (born 2/15/1799), Peter Wilt (born 12/14/1800), Thomas Wilt (born 11/13/1802), Lesha(?) Wilt (born 7/3/1805), John Wilt (7/23/1807-1/22/1872), Theophilus Wilt (1809-after 12/18/1883), Nancy Wilt (born 7/20/1812), and William Henry "Henry" Wilt (born 1/19/1814).
Peter's name first appeared in Truro Parish tax lists on 6/17/1799. He was assessed for two head of livestock in the category "Horses Mares Colts and Mules." He was assessed the same in 1800 and 1802.
Meanwhile, Peter's brother Michael Wilt moved to western Maryland about 1799.
In every annual assessment list from 1803 through 1816, Peter was taxed in Virginia for either three of four animals in the horse classification. In 1814, he was also taxed for one slave over 16 years of age. His total tax that year was $1.42. The 1815 list was the only one during his adult life to make an assessment for cattle. That year, he owned 11 head, and his tax amounted to 96 cents.
Peter's mother and stepfather Jacob Beavers had two daughters; one of them was Mary Magdalene Beavers who married Charles "Charley" Broadwater. Charles and several of his brothers and sisters followed Michael Wilt and emigrated to western Maryland in the early 1800s.
Peter's fortunes seem to have been tied to those of his brother Michael, at least for a time. It is known that Peter moved from Fairfax County to western Maryland where he settled on Michael's farm. The exact year of Peter's arrival in Maryland is uncertain, but his name was absent from Truro Parish tax lists in 1817 and 1818, and again from 1821 through 1824. (There is circumstantial evidence that places at least one of his family in Allegany County in 1818. On November 20 that year, a marriage license was issued to one George Wilt, possibly Peter's 19-year-old son. If Peter had moved his family to Maryland by that date, it appears that he, at least, returned to Virginia temporarily, as he was again named in Truro Parish tax lists in 1819 and 1820. His assessment those years was uncharacteristically modest; he was taxed for only one animal in the horse category.) It is known, at any rate, that he was Michael's next-door neighbor in Allegany County at the time of the 1820 federal census. After living for some time on his brother's land, Peter reportedly settled for five or six years on Swamp Ridge, in the vicinity of Pine Swamp Road in present-day Garrett County. This land in later generations was owned by George S. Warnick.
Peter was quite possibly still an Allegany County resident on 6/8/1824. On that date he apprenticed his two youngest sons, Theophilus and Henry, to his brother Michael. (In addition to being a farmer, Michael was a weaver.) The boys' apprenticeships were to run for six and ten years, respectively, until each, apparently, attained the age of 21 years. Peter was located in Truro Parish within the year, for he was named in the tax lists there on 4/14/1825. Michael Wilt and his wife may not have had children of their own, as no information about any such children comes down to us.
It is known that Peter's first wife, Catharine, died in Fairfax County. In an 1891 history of the Broadwater family, Amos Broadwater, Sr., said that she was buried "at the Fairfax burial ground. The 1820 census had not included a woman of Peter's generation in his Allegany County household. It is likely, therefore, that she had died between 1814--when her youngest child was born--and 1820.
Amos reported that Peter also died in Fairfax County. The date of his death is not known, but his name never again appeared in Truro tax lists after 4/14/1825. Amos noted that Peter was buried in Fairfax County.
It is said that Peter's second wife was Jennie Woogit. Nothing more is known of her, but circumstantial evidence exists. To begin with, Jennie may have been in Peter's household in western Maryland in 1820, for there was an unnamed female there between the ages of 16 and 26, born between 1794 and 1804. Secondly, one Jane Wilt (the names Jennie and Jane were typically used interchangeably) was head of a household in Fairfax County in 1840, 1850, and 1860.
I have compiled a huge amount of information about thousands of descendants of Peter Wilt, mostly the descendants of sons John and Theophilus. I also have extensive information about a person who is probably, but not with certainty, daughter Lesha Wilt.
Another Wilt family stemmed from pioneer David Wilt of what is today nearby Preston County, WV. Other than the coincidence of surnames, no connection with Peter Wilt has been found.
While my book, The Wilt Families of Western Maryland With Early Ties to Virginia and West Virginia (254 pages), is available at the Ruth Enlow Library in Oakland, my collection of information about the western Maryland Wilt families is in a constant state of refinement, and the book very much needs a revised second edition or another family historian to continue the research. The vital statistics of people named in my Wilt book have been entered on the web by Wilt cousin Michelle Staggs, who begins her site with Peter's father, Henry Wilt. Inquiries about western Maryland Wilt families are welcome.
This site was revised November 27, 1999. For more information about western Maryland family history, visit Walt Warnick's Western Maryland Family History Pages