The Whams came from Scotland by way of Ireland, shortly after the Revolutionary War. Benjamin and son William and family were first to arrive, probably in 1797. Another son, Joseph, and his family arrived in 1806. They arrived in Charleston and moved on to Chester County, SC. (Some members of our family believe that the first Wham in the U.S. was named Joseph. We believe his name was Benjamin - see excellent Wham History by Mary Wilma Wham Monore of Lurens, SC.)
William Wham and his family moved to TN and became the "Northern Branch" of the Wham family. From TN most moved on to Marion County, IL. The IL records indicate that quite a few original Federal and Illinois land sales were made to various members of the Wham family. Many generations of Whams lived and farmed in Marion County, and to this day, several Whams call this area home. From Marion County, various Whams migrated on to OK, MT, CA, and other locations. One story has a Wham migrating to Australia, doing quite well, and returning to Marion County. He apparently was quite "rough" and did not receive a warm welcome and returned to Australia. Later in the 1900's additional Whams came over from Scotland and Ireland, and their connection to the earlier U.S. Whams remains to be determined.
Joseph Wham and his family remained in South Carolina, establishing the "Southern Branch" of the Wham family (see EARLY SOUTH CAROLINA WHAMS - NATURALIZATION AND CENSUS INFORMATION). To this day there are more Whams in South Carolina than any other state. Tragically, many of the Wham men ended up on opposite sides in the Civil war, resulting in several deaths and injuries to "cousins".
Many ask about the origin of the name "Wham". See excellent contribution by Thomas James Wham for a wonderful discussion of Wham family in England, Scotland and Ireland: Early Wham Family History