Deena Moore

My mother once said "you could not throw a rock in Bladen County without hitting a Hester". After attempting to trace the Hester lineage I am inclined to believe her. Now I am sure my mother would never want to throw a rock at anyone, much less someone in Bladen County. Much of her family was born in Bladen County.

My thirst for exploring the families that went before us came at my mother's knee. One of my favorite things as a child was to sit and listen to her and her siblings talk about what they did as children. It wasn't just her and her brothers and sisters that fired my thirst, it was grandma (Tine Wilson) and papa (Dellie Wilson), recanting and talking about the kinfolk in Bladenboro. This had to be an exciting place to live, and the people that populated the county of Bladen were rich in experience.

About three or four years ago I decided to trace the family tree. My first step was to go to the Rowan Public Library in Salisbury, NC. It was there I met Kevin Cherry head of the genealogy room. I told him I needed a crash course in genealogy. Originally I planned of searching the Wilson lineage. I knew the name of my grandfathers' (papa) mother. It was Mary Comfort Edwards Wilson. With that small bit of information Kevin showed me how to search the census records, tax books, and old Bible records. I was sailing! But, I kept coming across the Hester name. My grandmother was a Hester. I searched the records the library had to offer, brought the information home to my mother and got confirmation yes that person did belong in my files. 

At the time I did not have a computer and was compiling this information by hand and transferring it to a word processor. Within a short period of time I was hooked. Kevin gave me the name of a lady in Bladen County who worked in the history room, Billie Evans. I wrote Billie and asked her if she had any files on the Daniel Edmond Hester family or James D. Wilson. She sent me some pages from a file being collected by Alice Carter and a file from Sam T. Pait, Sr. Several of the names provided valuable links to the people I was searching for. I exchanged some information with Alice Carter, and forwarded through Billie some information to be sent to
Sam T. Pait, Sr.

Finally I had enough names and links to broaden my search. There are numerous books that give the roster of soldiers in the civil war. These proved valuable in gathering personal information on several of the people I had identified as belonging in the family tree. Then I found the microfilm! What a find! I found documents giving physical descriptions on some of my soldiers. These people were becoming more than names in history. There were books that included excerpts from old newspaper accounts, records of mortality rates giving listing cause of death. These books gave me great insight in to the living conditions during the late 1700's and early 1800 and up to the civil war. I read accounts of community meetings, court documents, searched land deeds, and poured through cemetery records.

I finally hit a stumbling block. I thought I could go no further. My word processor died an ugly death, the shop kept it three months and never repaired it. I purchased a new processor, but now had lost the zeal I once had. I went about a year and did nothing to add to the history I had. Earlier I had submitted a small amount of information to Billie Evans to be included in the Heritage Book the Historical Society was publishing.

 Shortly after the book came out Sue Wilson Oldenburg contacted me. She had a copy of Mary Comfort Wilson's application for widows' pension, and a document for James D. Wilson dividing his land up after his death. Would I like to have them? Would I? Of course! It was the kick I needed to get me back in the saddle again. 

About six months later I broke down and purchased a computer. I tried entering the info in without a program. I purchased a cheap program but found it did not serve the purpose. Sue recommended a certain program, which I purchased and began entering all the data I had written by hand on scraps of paper, and spiral bound books. This was no easy task.

 In the beginning the purpose of compiling the information was to see how far I could go back. The more I read about the Hester's and Wilson's in Bladen County, the more alive they became. I wanted to share it with the rest of the kinfolk. Christmas of 1999 I was at Aunt Margie's house. Cousin Russell was there visiting. Previously I had sent Margie a copy of the history in the draft stage and ask for additions and corrections. I told Russell about the history and he requested a copy. At the time I was not on line but knew I would be after the first of the year. I asked Russell for his e-mail address and promised to snail mail him a copy of the history. 

In February of 2000 I finally joined the rest of the world and got on line. I thought I really needed to fill in the lower branches of the tree and enter information on those still living. I called our cousin Robin, who lives here in town, obtained information on his family, got e-mail addresses for his brothers David and Jerald, and our cousin Steve. I sent e-mail to all telling them it would be nice to have a record to pass down and promised to share the finished product with them. When David wrote back with his information he suggested putting it on the internet for everyone to enjoy. Then Steve said, "Yes! Let's do it!" 

And here we are, the Wilson's and Hester's sharing their history past and present. As with any accumulation of information there may be some errors or omissions. For this I apologize. I found inconsistencies in some of the records I searched. We ask if you find an error or an omission to please click on the e-mail button to the side and let us know.

In the time since this site has been posted, I have received a wealth of information from various cousins. To Winona Gibson, Teddie Nicholson, Richard Gibson, I extend a big thank you. And especially to Douglas Hester, who is also gathering information I offer a big thank you. I guess Steve said it best in one of his first messages to me "Damn I love family!"

We promise to strive for accuracy. Most of all we hope you have a good time meeting the people we are, the ones who were, and listening to our stories as we remember The Wilson's and The Hester's coming together!

Deena Rose Moore