Rebel Legacy


old caswell county courthouse

Old Courthouse Caswell County North Carolina


Today has been an auspicious Memorial Day.

When I checked my email this morning I found I had a message from a second cousin. My DNA was  analyzed by Ancestry last year and they link you up with people who share your genetics. But I hadn’t received any messages through Ancestry for months. My second cousin wanted to know from where our ancestors emigrated, so I looked at  my genealogy research and found that my oldest ancestor in that line was a woman named Mourning Wilky, b. 1780 in North Carolina. I haven’t done much genealogy research for the past few years so I decided to see if I could find anything new. I did, and that’s the auspicious part.

I had thought that Mourning was an unusual name and I got lucky and found a family story that explained how she came to be called Mourning. It seems her mother was pregnant when her father John Wilky enlisted in the Revolutionary Army in Caswell County, North Carolina. Her mother  decided if he returned safe, the baby would be named Rejoica, but if he didn’t come back, her name would be Mourning.

So I went in search of John Wilky’s military records. I found his enlistment roster, serving in a company under Capt. Robert Moore and I also found a muster roll which had the comment “died in hospital.” The date of his death and any battles in which he fought I have not been able to find.

Mourning “Mourna” Wilky married Robert Barnabus “Robin” Sisk and they moved to Madisonville, Kentucky where they lived for the remainder of their lives. Their daughter Mary Ellen was my great-great-grandmother.

So this Memorial Day I have confirmed that I have an ancestor who fought and died in the Revolutionary War. Rest in peace John Wilky, and I wish I knew you better.

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