Often, the names of early settlers are determined from records of their ownership of land; however, all settlers were not landowners, and all landowners were not residents. The earliest record of landownership in what is now Wilson County , is a grant dated April 9, 1730 , issued to Lewis Conner of Norfolk County , Virginia . Later, this tract was bequeathed to Lewis Conner's two sons, and sold by his surviving son to David Meade of Nansemond County , Virginia . In 1774, Andrew Meade, heir of David Meade, sold the tract to Jonathan Tart. No evidence has been discovered to show that any of the Conners or Meades ever visited their holdings.
John Thomas patented 300 acres on Toisnot and White Oak swamps on March 6, 1740/41 , and lived there. Thus he became the earliest recorded settler.
Francis Rountree patented a tract on Contentnea Creek in 1739, that may or may not have been in this area. However, on March 30, 1741 , he entered 400 acres in Edgecombe County south of Contentnea Creek; and on March 9, 1743 , he entered 100 acres south of Contentnea Creek "it being the place whereon he now lives."
Many other grants were issued for land in what is now Wilson County , and some not only gave the name of the patentee, but also the names of the owners of adjoining land. Here is a list of some early landowners, taken from A PRELINIARY VIEW OF THE EARLIEST OWNERSHIP OF LAND IN WILSON COUNTY by Hugh Buckner Johnston:
Lewis Conner, 1730; John Jackson, 1739; John Thomas, 1740; Richard Sessoms, 1740; Godfrey Lee, 1740; Francis Rountree, 1741; William Cotton, 1741; Richard Braswell, 1741; John Taylor, 1742; Rowland Williams, 1742; Leonard Langston, 1743; William Bently, 1743; Tarlo Oquin, 1743; Samuel Peacock, 1743; Simon Daniel, 1744; Thomas Ivey, 1744; Joshua Lamm, 1744; Joseph Skipper, 1745; Solomon Alston, 1745; William Moore, 1745; John Stevens, 1748; Thomas Horne, 1749; and Peter Barbaree, 1750.