FAMILY: The Wilhoite Family
2000: I finally VISITED the Wilhoite's home region in Virginia. Click HERE for more info.
All of the thousands of Wilhoites/Wilhites (Willits, Wilheits, etc.) in the United States appear to be descendants of Michael Willheit, an Evangelical Lutheran from Schwaigern (in Baden-Wurtemmburg, Germany) who was part of the Germanna colony in Virginia. This group came to the United States in 1717 and, after a number of misadventures, prospered in Viriginia and ultimately all across the United States.
The name may come from the German "Wildness", in which case it would have referred to a perceived character trait in a family member. However, while in Germany, one Wilhite was told, variously, that it meant 'Wild Meadow', 'Keeper of the Wild' (gamekeeper), and that it was the union of two families, the Will's and Heid's.
Although the family seems to have been successful in whatever passed for business at the time (blacksmithing, inn-keeping, farming, etc.), a surprising number have made their mark in the arts:
Wilhoites and the military
The family name can be found in the roster of every major war involving
Americans, and certainly many pictures must exist of Wilhoites/Wilhites in
Among the Wilhoites who have died in combat is 1LT HENRY O NEIL WILHOITE, who died in Vietnam and is memorialized on the 73rdSAC site.
PlacesSchwaigern, the Wilhoite's ancestral town, is on the outskirts of Heilbronn (Baden-Wuerttemberg). Heilbronn was largely bombed out during the war, but apparently a Baroque castle still remains near Schwaigern itself. It also has a thriving wine industry.
The Wilhoite name (with all its variants) appears all across the United States, not only attached to Michael Willheit's innumerable descendants, but to several towns and other locations:
ALABAMA: Wilhite Cemetery, Morgan County Wilhite Cove, Morgan County Wilhite Post Office (historical), Morgan County Wilhites, (populated place), Morgan County Wilhites Hollow, Morgan County ARIZONA: Wilhoit, (populated place), Yavapai County Wilhoit Spring, Coconino County Wilhoit Tank (reservoir), Yavapai County ARKANSAS: Wilhite Branch (stream), Saline County Wilhite Cemetery, Montgomery County Wilhite Cemetery, Montgomery County Wilhite Hollow, Pulaski County INDIANA: Wilhite Cemetery, Montgomery County Willhite Cemetery, Montgomery County Wilhoit Cemetery, Dubois County ILLINOIS: Willhoit Airport, Macoupin County KENTUCKY: Wilhoit (populated place), Harlan County LOUISIANA: Wilhite (populated place), Union County Wilhite Cemetery, Union County MISSISSIPPI: Wilhite Creek, Union County MISSOURI: Wilhite (historical), Boone County Wilhite Cemetery, Sullivan County Wilhite Cemetery, Texas County Wilhite Dam, Pike County Wilhite Hollow, Shannon County Wilhite School (historical), Sullivan County Wilhoit Cemetery, Osage County Wilhoit (populated Place), Ozark County OKLAHOMA: Wilhite Cemetery, Kingfisher County OREGON: Wilhoit (populated place), Clackamas County Wilhoit Mineral Springs, Clackamas County Wilhoit Post Office (historical), Clackamas County TENNESSEE: Wilhoit Subdivision (populated place), Greene County Wilhoite Cemetery, Marshall County Wilhoite Mills, Marshall County Wilhite (populated place), Putnam County Wilhite Baptist Church, Putnam County Wilhite Church, Sevier County Wilhite Creek, Sevier County Wilhite School, Putnam County Wilhite School (historical), Sevier County TEXAS: Wilhoit Branch (stream), Fannin County VIRGINIA: Wilhoit (populated place, historical), Greene County Wilhoit School (historical), Greene County Wilhoits Ford (crossing), Greene County (list compiled by Gary Wilhoite)
At least one Texan restaurant is named Wilhoite's, for the family members who formerly had a garage at the same location. A copy of their menu WAS on-line but has been removed.
A considerable amount of information is available both about the Wilhoites and about the Germanna colony, whose founding families included the Blankenbakers, the Gaars, the Weavers and the Broyles.
The classic book (besides the Gaar Genealogy) is by Johni Cerny and Gary J. Zimmerman,: BEFORE GERMANNA; 1577-1750; 1990, Lineages, Inc, American Genealogical Lending Library ,Publishers, Bountiful, Utah84011. It apparently has some inaccuracies, though.
For an excellent run-down of the Wilhoites' early history, see the Peak-Wilhoite home page at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Bluffs/4579/peakwilh.html
For more extensive genealogical information about Germanna descendants, see the excellent Broyles/Briles Family History Home Page, which is adding information about other Germanna families as well and is to become an overall Germanna page: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~george/index.html
A number of other Wilhoite descendants have posted family information on the
Web. Forrest Wilhite Budd is one who has posted QUERIES about the Wilhite family.
Mailing Lists and Forums
Rather than list (as I used to) a few forums here, I'm giving a link to George Durman's excellent list of Mailing Lists & Message Boards for the family.
Family Members MentionedTHIS could be a Web site in itself - the family is very numerous and covers all sides of any religion, political belief or behavior (i.e., some Wilhoites get elected, some get arrested). Some of the links I had have disappeared and I don't have time to find all the others that are undoubtedly out there. But these two surviving items give interesting glimpses:
LAST UPDATED November 2004