Lieutenant Colonel William J. Polk

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Lieutenant Colonel William J. Polk

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of General Thomas Polk and Susannah Polk
Husband of Sarah Sophia Polk and Griselda Polk
Father of Lucius J. Polk; Lucinda Polk; Lt General Leonidas Polk, CSA; Rufus King Polk; George Washington Polk and 12 others
Brother of Thomas Polk; Margaret Alexander; Charles T. Polk, Sr.; Ezekiel Polk; Mary Brown and 3 others

Managed by: Stanley Welsh Duke, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Lieutenant Colonel William J. Polk

Colonel William J. Polk (9 July 1758 – 14 January 1834) was a North Carolina, banker, educational administrator, political leader, renowned Continental officer in the War for American Independence, and survivor of the 1777/1778 encampment at Valley Forge.

Biography

Born in Mecklenburg  County, NC, William Polk served in the Revolutionary war for some five years and emerged as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1780. His service included his duty with Washington at Valley Forge in 1776 and his escort of the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to Allentown in 1777.  His heroism and service garnered a place in the North Carolina Legislature in 1783 and appointment as the Surveyor General of lands recently opened in the western part of the new state (now Tennessee). While living in Davidson County he served in the NC House of Commons and later in the Legislature as a representative from Mecklenburg County. In 1791 Washington appointed him to the post of Supervisor of Internal Revenue for the District of North Carolina. From 1790 to 1834 Polk was a Trustee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also served a President of the State Bank of North Carolina (1811-1819). He reportedly held some 100,000 acres of land in what is now Tennessee. In 1847 Polk County was named for William Polk. Polk County was formed from portions of Henderson and Rutherford counties. 

As a bank trustee, a land speculator, and a politician, his interests were much the same as those with whom he became entangled in the Speculation Lands. (3)

Links

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Polk_(colonel)
  2. http://www.jamesmannartfarm.com/libbellpolk.html
  3. http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/speculation_lands/biographies/polk.htm

http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/p/o/l/Billy-F-Polk/GENE13-0002.html#CHILD3


William Polk was born near Charlotte, Mecklenburg Co, NC, the eldest (along with his twin, Thomas Polk) of 11 known children born to Gen. Thomas Polk & Susanna "Sarah" Spratt. His father was born in Carlisle, PA, and his mother from Accomack County, VA. He is the grandson of William Polk II and Margaret Taylor of Whitehall, Somerset Co, MD, who also migrated to Mecklenburg Co, NC. He is the gr-grandson of William Polk I (1662-1704) who came to Somerset Co, MD from Donegal, Ireland and married Ann Nancy Knox.


William Polk was born near Charlotte, Mecklenburg Co, NC, the eldest (along with his twin, Thomas Polk) of 11 known children born to Gen. Thomas Polk & Susanna "Sarah" Spratt. His father was born in Carlisle, PA, and his mother from Accomack County, VA. He is the grandson of William Polk II and Margaret Taylor of Whitehall, Somerset Co, MD, who also migrated to Mecklenburg Co, NC. He is the gr-grandson of William Polk I (1662-1704) who came to Somerset Co, MD from Donegal, Ireland and married Ann Nancy Knox.

William Polk was educated at Queen's College, Charlotte, NC., which he left, at the age of 17 in April, 1775, to accept a commission as Second Lieutenant in Captain Ezekiel Polk's Company of the Third South Carolina Mounted Infantry, under Col. William Thompson. He commanded several expeditions in South Carolina and was severely wounded in the left shoulder at Great Cane Break, December 22, 1775, being rendered unfit for service for eight or nine months.

On November 26, 1776, by North Carolina Provincial Congress at Halifax, Polk was elected Major of the Ninth North Carolina Regiment. In command of four companies, he marched with his division of the line into the Jerseys and joined General George Washington's Army. Polk was present with General Washington through the hardships of Valley Forge. In September of 1777, Polk and 200 of his North Carolina cavalry, escorted the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to Allentown. He returned and was present at the battles of the Brandywine and Germantown in October of 1777. At Germantown, he was shot in the mouth. In March of 1778, when the nine North Carolina regiments were consolidated, he was left without a command. Polk returned to the South, volunteered with the Militia and served as aide to General Caswell, when Gates was defeated at Camden, NJ. In the fall and winter of 1780, he fought at Guilford Court House and Eutaw Springs. Polk's total service amounted to five years and two months.

In 1783, Polk was appointed by North Carolina Legislature, Surveyor General of the "Middle District", now part of the State of Tennessee and in that capacity resided at French Lick Fort, the site of the present City of Nashville. He remained there until 1786 and was elected twice from Davidson County to the North Carolina House of Commons. In 1787, Polk was elected to the Legislature from his native county, which he represented until President Washington appointed him, in 1791, Supervisor of Internal Revenue for the District of North Carolina. Polk held this office for seventeen years, until the repeal of the Internal revenue Laws.

On October 15, 1789, the 31 year old married 21-year old Grizelda Gilchrist of Suffolk Co, VA. This marriage produced two sons: Gen. Thomas Gilchrist Polk (1791-1869) and Dr. William Junius Polk (1793-1860). The marriage ended after 10 years, with the death of Grizelda in October, 1799.

On January 2, 1801, the now 41-year old widower, married again to Sarah Hawkins, the 17-year old daughter of wealthy planter Philomen Hawkins III & Lucy Davis of "Pleasant Hill" Plantation in Warren Co, NC. Sarah became stepmother to his two sons, and together they would have 12 known children: CSA Gen. Lucious Junius Polk, (1802-1870), Lucinda Davis Polk (1804-1805), CSA General and Right Reverend Leonidas Polk (1806-1864), Mary Brown Polk (1808-1835), Alexander Hamilton Polk (1810-1830), John Hawkins Polk (1812-1813), Rufus King Polk (1814-1843), George Washington Polk (1817-1892), Eliza Hawkins Polk (b. 1820), Susan Spratt Polk (1822-1909), Andrew Jackson Polk (1824-1867), and Charles Junius Polk (1828-1831).

The Polks resided in Raleigh, where William was a Trustee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (1790-1834), and a Director and then President of the State Bank of North Carolina (1811-1819). During the War of 1812, Polk declined President James Madison's offer of a general officer's commission because he was a Federalist who opposed Madison's policies.

At age 61 (1819), he resigned from the bank in order to devote more of his attention to his extensive landholdings of 100,000 acres in Tennessee.

Lieutenant Colonel William Polk died at Raleigh, on January 4, 1834. He was 75 years old. His bride of 33 years survived another 9 years, passing in 1843 at age 59. They are both buried in Old City Cemetery.

His son, Rev/General Leonidas Polk was killed in the Civil War at Pine Mountain in Georgia. After the battle, General Sherman (one of the few men who had little use for the rebels and even less for the clergy), sent a tersely worded note to General Halleck, "We killed Bishop Polk yesterday and today the fighting goes well."

Of interest, Polk County in NC is named for William Polk.

Another footnote to history occurred with his son, Gen. Lucius Junius Polk who married Mary Eastin, the niece of Mrs. Andrew Jackson, the President. They were married in the White House.


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Lieutenant Colonel William J. Polk's Timeline

1758
July 9, 1758
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States
1791
1791
Age 32
1791
Age 32
1793
1793
Age 34
Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, United States
1793
Age 34
Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States
1802
March 16, 1802
Age 43
Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, United States
1804
January 12, 1804
Age 45
Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, United States
1806
April 10, 1806
Age 47
Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, United States