The "Gilliam Clan" migrated mainly from North Carolina and Tennessee into Missouri about 1820. They moved much like an Indian kinship group that added members as the children married into other families.
Epaphroditus Gilliam (Va. or N.C., ca 1770/Buchanan Co., 1843), progenitor of the clan, was in Clay County when the county was formed, in 1822, and had settled "across the line" in Platte (Territory) by 1836. His oldest son, Jesse (N.C., 1790/Andrew Co., 1867), was the first tax collector of Clay Co.
Another son, Cornelius (Buncome Co., N.C. 13 Apr 1798/Wells Springs, Ore., 20 Mar. 1848), is said to have served six different counties in the State of Missouri, either as representative or senator before 1844. Cornelius advertised for volunteers to go to "upper California" or Oregon in 1841 and 1843. They started from five miles west of Savannah, opposite Owens Landing, 9 May 1844. One of their three companies was in command of Wm. Shaw (Wake Co., N.C., 15 Dec. 1795/Polk Co., Ore.) who had married Sarah Gilliam (N.C. 11 May 1796/Polk Co., Ore 9 July 1875) on 14 June 1822 in Clay Co. Later, one company was in command of Mitchell Gilliam (Tenn. 27 Sept., 1815/Sonoma Co., Cal., 26 Jul 1882) who had married Henrietta Taylor (Ky., 15 Apr 1815/Sonoma Co., 9 Nov 1890) daughter of Rachel (S.C. or Ky. 8 Apr 1798/Sonoma Co., 13 Nov 1881) and Benjamin Taylor (Ga. 28 Jan 1794/Sonoma Co., 2 Jun 1873) on 11 Nov 1833 in Clay County. Cornelius was killed while in command of the troops in the Cayuse War and Gilliam County, Oregon is named after him.
Surnames of some of the clan members who had lived in the Platte Territory and made the 1844 trip to Oregon include: Belieu; Bowman; Gage; Grant; Nichols; Shaw; Taylor; and a Sullivan who is believed to be the Isaac Sullivan (Knox Co., Ky., 29 Mar 1807/Sonoma Co., 25 Aug. 1891) who taught school in Washington Township "at an early day" and married Mary "Polly" Gilliam (Mo. 26 Sep 1833/Sonoma Co. 14 Nov 1885), daughter of Mitchell and Henrietta, 26 Aug 1851, in Sonoma County, California.
Several of these families lived in the area that is now DeKalb County. In 1835 Benjamin Taylor and Robert Gilliam were ordered to be judges at the next election for Grand River Twp. Capt. Benjamin Taylor and Rachel passed through Maysville on their way to California, 6 May 1857, with their daughter Jan and Ben Branscomb who was Jane's husband on 7 Aug 1859. Some of the Taylor children remained in DeKalb County including Jacob Taylor (1831-1906) who set up and operated the first steam mill in DeKalb County and was the father of W. Benj. Taylor (1854-1920).