The Wainwright pioneer families of southeastern Georgia, and their descendents, have their roots in Pitt County, North Carolina. Their progenitor was JAMES WAINWRIGHT who received from William Tryon, the royal Governor of North Carolina, on April 28, 1768 Land Warrant Nr 488 for 200 acres of land in Pitt County, North Carolina. In the execution of this warrant a survey was made on August 1, 1768 which located the 200 acres above the Lower River, adjoining the lands of Simon Jones.
There is some question as to the antecedents of James Wainwright and, particularly, his whereabouts prior to receiving the land grant in Pitt County in 1768. Before 1768 the name of Wainwright is seldom found in the official records of North Carolina. The earliest records found were those pertaining to Martha Wainwright of Beaufort Precinct in 1711. Martha was the common-law wife of Robert Daniel and bore him three children: John, Sarah and Martha who were recognized by their father and bore his name. Martha sued over the division of Robert Daniel's estate and appointed James Leigh with Power of Attorney. The lawsuit, Martha Wainwright vs Jno Norton was discontinued by the General Court of North Carolina in July 1712. Shortly there afterwards Martha Wainwright returned to her home in South Carolina.
The name of James Winwright, sometimes listed as Wainwright, has been associated with many land grants in eastern North Carolina and as the holder of several public offices during the period of 1713 to 1743. Research has proven these to be one and the same person, James Winwright. He was a Deputy Surveyor for the Colony; member of the Lower House of Assembly from Pasquotank Precinct; Provost Marshall of the County of Albemarle and the town of Edenton; holder of land grants in Pasquotank, Perquimans and Carteret counties; and in later life was coroner, treasurer, tax collector, and justice of the peace for Carteret County. He was deceased in 1743 and his will disclosed no male issue to further his name. Early land records show that a Thomas Wainwright of Carteret County received a land grant in 1736 but little else is known of him. A William Wainwright, blacksmith, was deceased in New Hanover County in 1763 but a review of records reveal nothing more than his name. Exhaustive research has not disclosed any connection between James Wainwright of Pitt County and others in North Carolina with the Wainwright name. Research to date in South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland has achieved only negative results. The more promising view is that James Wainwright came to North Carolina about 1760 with the influx of settlers from New England, many of whom settled in the Pitt County Area.
It is apparent that James Wainwright was married with family when he first obtained land in Pitt County in 1768. County records prior to 1800 give the names of several Wainwrights-John, William, Daniel, and Lydia (Wainwright) Averette, all related. These were the children of James Wainwright in his first marriage. The absence of a son named James leads to speculation that he was deceased. Obviously, there was a Mrs. Wainwright but there are no records which document her presence or death.
Little is known about James Wainwright from the time he first settled in Pitt County in 1768 until after the Revolutionary War. It is known, however, that he served as a Juryman for a Coroners Inquest on August 30, 1774. He was a witness to a land deed between Matthew Parrimore and John Jones in September 1777. During the Revolutionary War James Wainwright obtained supplies for the Pitt County Militia Troops which was under the command of Colonel John H. Simpson. According to the militia records he also provided horses and wagon for hauling military supplies.
On May 31, 1784 the Land Entry Officer for Pitt County, Jesse Moye, by Land Warrant Nr 55, directed the County Surveyor to lay off and survey for Sarah Mundine 150 acres of land on the north side of the Tar River, adjoining the Lands of Robert Flakes, (James) Robson, and Henry Herrenton. As was the custom of the day, payment for the value of the land was made at the time the warrant was issued. The fact that Sarah Mundine was able to pay a substantial sum for her land warrant suggest that she was a person of ample means. It is believed that Sarah was the daughter of Stephen Mundine who died in late 1780 and whose will was proven in the Pitt County Court on January 6, 1871. John Mundine, son of stephen, and William Baldwyn were granted Letters of Administration on the estate of Stephen Mundine. It is obvious that Sarah was not the widow of stephen Mundine because of her age and the fact that there was no division of property to Sarah as a "widow's third". North Carolina State Archivists suggest that a male member of the Mundine family had obtained the land warrant for Sarah as a possible dowry in some future marriage.
Some three and half years later, November 27, 1787, the land warrant issued to Sarah Mundine in 1784 was finally executed. However, the survey was executed in the name of James Wainwright as the husband of Sarah Mundine. James Robson and William Barber were the Chain Bearers for the survey and neighboring land owners were Robert Flakes, David Fleming, and Abner Proctor.
At the time of the marriage of James Wainwright and Sarah Mundine, probably about 1785, the children of his earlier marriage were grown and had established homes of their own. The North Carolina State Census, 1784-1787, lists the return of Pitt County for the year 1786 which discloses the enumeration of James Wainwright in the District of Captain Robert Hodges.
His household consisted of himself, a wife (Sarah), and a small male child who, undoubtedly, was James Wainwright Junior. After his marriage to Sarah Mundine and establishing a new home on the north side of the tar River, James Wainwright sold his original grant of land in the Chicod Creek Swamp to a John Gray Blount of the town of Washington, GBeaufort County by deed dated September 8, 1788, Book G, page 342. On February 19, 1794, James Wainwright purchased from James Moye 100 acres on South Deep Branch on the sourth side of the Tar River, Deed Book N, page 211, witnessed by John H. Simpson and James Brown. Apparently, this became the Wainwright homestead and was added to by a subsequent purchase of 94 acres from the estate of James Moye in 1806.
From the count of the 1810 and 1820 census, the marriage of James and Sarah Wainwright was blessed with at least seven children, five males and two females. Of this number we are only certain of the names of James Wainwright Junior and Joseph Wainwright as they removed to Wayne County, Georgia in the 1820's and were the progenitors of a long line of Wainwrights found today in Georgia and Florida.
James Wainwright Junior was born about 1786 in Pitt County, North Carolina, and died in February 1870 in Charlton County, Georgia. He was married about 1814 in Pitt County, North Carolina to Mary Elizabeth Roberson (Robinson), daughter of James Roberson (Robinson). He removed about 1822 to Wayne County, Georgia.
Joseph Wainwright was born about 1798 in Pitt County, North Carolina, and died about 1863 in Wayne County, Georgia. He was married about 1818 in Pitt County, North Carolina to Laney (Knox?). He removed about 1827 to Wayne County, Georgia.
In the 1820 U.S. Census, James and Sarah (Mundine) Wainwright were living in Captain Moses Tison's District, Pitt County, North Carolina. With a few short years, probably about 1824, James Wainwright was deceased. Since his son James Wainwright Junior had removed to Georgia in 1822, the Widow Wainwright made her home with her younger son Joseph. In 1827, with the desire to follow other Pitt County residents to new homes in southeastern Georgia, Joseph Wainwright sold to Walter Hanrahan the Wainwright homestead which he had inherited from his father, Deed Book DD, page 424, May 26, 1827. Provisions were made for the Widow Wainwright to have a life estate in property. By 1830, Sarah (Mundine) Wainwright was deceased.
References: Colonial and State Land Records of Pitt County, North Carolina; Deed Records of Pitt County, North Carolina; North Carolina State Census, 1784-1787;U.S. Census, Pitt County, North Carolina, 1790-1830;Vital records of Wayne, Camden, and Charlton Counties, Georgia; Source publications of the Huxford Genealogical Society.
Contributed by: Colonel Milton D. Weeks, 511 Poinciana Drive, Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33301.