James Lea Willcox (1803-1861)

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James Lea Willcox
(no known picture)
Sex: Male
Birth: October 20, 1803
in Chatham County, North Carolina
Death: July 14, 1861
near Abbeville, Wilcox County, Georgia
Burial: Mt. Zion Baptist Church Cemetery,
Abbeville, Wilcox County, Georgia
Father: John Willcox II
Mother: Mary Lea
Spouse/Partner: Elizabeth McDuffie
Marriage: January 5, 1823

         A son of John Willcox II and Mary Lea, James was born in North Carolina before the family moved south. James was involved in the last battle with the local Indians in Georgia in the battle of Breakfast Branch in 1818. He and his brother Mark Lea Willcox, namesake of Wilcox Co., were both involved. James, Mark and 4 other brothers all served terms in the Georgia State Legislature. James had large landholdings (and many slaves) in what became Wilcox Co. He gave the land for Mt. Zion Baptist Church where he and his wife are buried.

         His bio from Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume V:

"James Lea Wilcox was born in North Carolina, Oct. 20, 1803, son of John Willcox (Vol.II). He was brought to Georgia when about three years old, by his parents, and grew up in Pulaski County (now Dodge). He was married Jan. 4, 1824, to Elizabbeth[sic] McDuffie, daughter of Murdock McDuffie (Vol.I). She was born in North Carolina, May 10, 1805. They had eleven children, viz:
  1. John W., b. 1825, m. Nancy Read, dau. of Go. R., Died 1852
  2. Sarah, b. 1827, m. James V. Hollingsworth, May 9, 1844
  3. Mark, b. 1829, m. (unknown)
  4. Mary, b. 1833, m. (unknown)
  5. George Mitchell, b. 1835, m. Nancy S. Daniel, Oct. 29, 1857
  6. Wootson[sic], b. 1836, died young
  7. Georgia Ann, b. 1837, m. ______ Brown
  8. Sibbiah, b. 1839, m. Jacob Watson
  9. Elizabeth, b. 1842, m. James J. Turner
  10. Lewis Abijah, b. 1845, m. (unknown)
  11. Abegail Sophronia, b. 1847, m. Rev. Elias Turner, Sept. 23, 1866
After marriage, James L. Wilcox made his home in Irwin County. His large plantation was located about ten miles south of Abbeville. When Wilcox County was formed in 1858 partly out of Irwin County he was included in it, and he took a leading part in the creation of the new county.
Mr. Wilcox served as Captain in the 433rd district militia, 1833-38. He was State Senator from Irwin County in the 1829, 1830 and 1832 sessions of the legislature. He was County Treasurer of Irwin, 1830-38, also a Justice of Irwin Inferior Court, 1829-1833 and again 1841-1849. He was listed in the 1860 Census of Wilcox county as a merchant. He and most of his family were members of the Methodist Church, and his membership was at Mt. Zion Church near his home. In the legislative act approved Jan. 26, 1850, incorporating the church, he was named as a trustee of the church, and he held that office and that of steward in his church for several years prior to his death.
Mr. Wilcox died July 14, 1861. His wife survivd and died Nov. 8, 1887. They were buried at Mount Zion Church about 15 miles north of present Fitzgerald. Mrs. Wilcox died in Hawkinsville at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Watson, with whom she spent her latter years."


Name Birth Death
Children of James Lea Willcox and Elizabeth McDuffie

John Woodson Willcox January 31, 1825
Irwin County, Georgia
June 18, 1852

Sarah Willcox February 13, 1827
Irwin County, Georgia
January 4, 1854

Mark Willcox ?? ??, 1829
Irwin County, Georgia
?? ??, 1829
Irwin County, Georgia

Mary Willcox February 24, 1833
Irwin County, Georgia
?? ??, 1883

George Mitchell Willcox November 1, 1835
Irwin County, Georgia
May 20, 1915

Woodson Willcox ?? ??, 1836
Irwin County, Georgia
?? ??, 1836
Irwin County, Georgia

Georgia Ann Willcox ?? ??, 1837
Irwin County, Georgia
?? ??, 1837

Sibbie Gertrude Willcox December 27, 1839
Irwin County, Georgia
October 5, 1910
Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia

Elizabeth Willcox March 27, 1842
June 12, 1876

Lewis Abijah Willcox ?? ??, 1845
?? ??, 1845

Abigail Sophronia Willcox July 25, 1847
June 9, 1894


  • Albertson, Martha S. A Willcox Family History 1689-1981. (private printing June 1981)
  • Hawkinsville Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, compilers. History of Pulaski County, Georgia 1808-1935: Official History. Atlanta: W. W. Brown [c. 1935]; Bicentennial Edition: Macon, GA: OmniPress, c. 1975.
  • Huxford, Folks. Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume V. 1951.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou L. and Samuel Jordan Lawson III. The Passing of the Pines: A History of Wilcox County, Georgia, Vols. I-III. Roswell, GA: W. H. Wolfe, 1984.
  • Mt. Zion Cemetery

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