The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history


That David Crockett was very prominent in our family lines…

he even married at least one of our allied ancestors.

I am in the process of proving a number of different family lines that date back to a patriot who either served or contributed in the Revolutionary War. Among those is Jeremiah Lucas. Some of the documentation of his patriotic service follows:

  • 1779   Age: 31 Roster of SC Patriots

Jeremiah Lucas enlisted in the Third Regiment on 10 Mar 1779 and was discharged in August 1779

  • 1780  Age: 32

    South Carolina

    Jeremiah served in the militia under Colo. Roebuck after the fall of Charleston (Roster of S. Carolina Patriots in the American Revolutionary War).

  • 1786 19 Aug  Age: 38

Jeremiah Lucas Rev pay Description: Militia pay since fall of Charleston in Roebucks Regiment

Jeremiah Lucas was the father of our Willis Lucas who was a Physician. Willis Lucas, M D was the father of our Sarah Frances Lucas who married Jacob Duckett Casey as his third wife and had our Willis Robert Lucas Casey who was born about 1841 in Lauderdale County, Alabama.

Jeremiah Lucas and wife Sarah Willis Ingram Lucas had ten known children. They were: Joseph Lucas 1773 – 1848, Ingram William Lucas 1777 – 1841, George Lucas 1782 – 1855, Jesse Lucas who was born 1788, Jeremiah Lucas born 1791, William “Willie” Lucas 1793 – 1861, Peggy Lucas born 1797, and Sarah Elizabeth H Lucas who was born 9 January 1801 in Union County, South Carolina; she died 13 July 1851 in Greenville, Hunt County, Texas.

Davy Crockett home

Home of Davy Crockett in Lawrence County, Tennessee

Sarah Elizabeth H. Lucas married John Hampton Hamilton, son of Jeremiah & Ann (Hampton) Hamilton on 7 Jul 1819 in Davy Crockett’s home, Lawrence County, Tennessee. The marriage was solemnized by Davy Crockett.

Place and Cause of death as transcribed from the Family Bible by Levin Hamilton and in a letter to Uncle Asberry & Aunt Liza Hamilton, dated August 13, 1882, Paris, Texas reads:  “Sarah H. Hamilton died at Greenville, Texas July 13, 1851 aged 50 years 6 mo 4 days- of fever. Her end was peaceful and happy rejoicing that she was going home to join those who had gone before “Blessed are the Dead who die in Lord”. C. A. Warfield.

Sarah Elizabeth H Polly Lucas Hamilton

Sarah Lucas Hamilton was the third person to be buried in East Mount Cemetery, Greenville, Hunt County Texas [Source: Honorable Mention Early Families Hunt Co, TX  R976.4272, Vol 3, page 34; record is located at the Dallas Public Library]. Her grave marker cannot be found and a letter to cemetery department brought news that the records went no further back than 1920. A fire had destroyed the records before that. After the fire a census was taken and if the grave was unmarked or unreadable they simply put “unknown”.

Known children of John Hampton Hamilton and Sarah Elizabeth H Lucas Hamilton were : William Carroll “Bill” Hamilton born 1820; Ann Hampton Hamilton Adams born 1821; Joseph Decator  Hamilton born 1822; Martha Parrom Hamilton Warfield born 1824; Jane Anderson Hamiton Tennyson born  1825; Jeremiah Jay “Jerry” Hamilton born 1826; Asberry Francis Hamilton born 1828; Joshua Butcher Hamilton born 1829; John Hampton Hamilton born 1831; Sarah Elizabeth Washington Hamilton Wilson born 30 Apr 1834; and George Willis Washington Hamilton born 30 Apr 1834.

There is no grave marker, but she was the third person buried in East Mount Cemetery. Over time her marker has been lost. East Mount Cemetery is located in Greenville in Hunt County, Texas.

Sarah Elizabeth H “Polly” Lucas Hamilton has qualified for the distinction of the Citizen Medallion of the Republic of Texas. The Citizen Medallion is to mark the graves or cenotaphs of people whose residence was in The Republic of Texas before 19 February 1846 before Texas became a state.

  • Citizen medallion Republic of Texas

Full Metal Jacket…

was a powerful movie. Did you ever wonder what inspired such a gut wrenching portrayal of the military experience? Hassell G Hasford 1922-1971 and Hazel G Hasford 1929-1993 gave birth to the person who was inspired to write the novel Their son Jerry Gustave, called Gus, Hasford was born 28 November 1947 in Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama and died 29 January 1993 on Aegina Island, Regional unit of Islands in Attica, Greece in an impoverished state. His life was cut short from the complications of diabetes.

Gus Hasford during the Vietnam conflict

Gus Hasford during the Vietnam conflict

Always, it seemed, a person of unorthodox ways, he failed to finish high school graduation because he refused to take his final exams. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1967. He served as a combat correspondent in Vietnam.

He used his emotions, and likely the experiences during the war that was never declared a war and put pen to paper. The result of using his wartime experiences came his first novel, “The Short-Timers”, published in 1979.

It is generally assumed that the novel’s central character, the wise-cracking ‘Private Joker’, is semi-autobiographical. The novel was greeted with positive reviews and the motion picture rights were acquired by director Stanley Kubrick.

Hasford collaborated with Kubrick and author Michael Herr on the screenplay to what would become the motion picture “Full Metal Jacket”, with actor Matthew Modine portraying the Private Joker role.

Personality conflicts between Hasford, Kubrick and Herr complicated the process, or more accurately it was a conflict on how much credit Gus would get for all his hard work. All three were nominated for an Academy Award in 1987.

He was arrested  in 1988 in San Luis Obispo, California and charged with having stolen some 748 library books. He being the voracious reader and bibliophile, he got himself in to trouble with the law – over books. Sentenced to six months in jail, he was released after three months and promised to pay damages with the royalties from his next book.

The novel, a sequel to “The Short-Timers”, was called “The Phantom Blooper” and was supposed to be part of a trilogy. The trilogy would remain incomplete when, he died at the age of 45 on the Greek island of Aegina in 1993.

Here is a link to a trailer. Some people got really upset thinking this trailer spoiled the movie for them. But, it happened during the first few minutes of the movie, so it actually did not spoil anything. timers2

He wrote a poem that does not seem to provide a glowing review of that conflict that still haunts America, its citizenry and its veterans. Here is the poem:


 By Gustav HasfordSleep, America.
Silence is a warm bed.
Sleep your nightmares of small
cries cut open now
in the secret places of
Black Land, Bamboo City.Sleep tight, America
dogtags eating sweatgrimaced
Five O’clock news: My son the Meat.Laughing scars, huh?
Novocained fist.
Squeeze every window empty
then hum.

Fear only the natural unreality
and kiss nostalgia goodbye.
Bayonet teddy bear and snore.
Bad dreams are something you ate.
So sleep, you mother.

From Winning Hearts and Minds, a collection of poetry by Vietnam vets, published in 1972.

“I joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War while I was still in Vietnam. About February, ’68. Also, I had a poem in Winning Hearts and Minds, published by the First Casualty Press, which was the first anthology of writing about the war by the veterans themselves.”
–Gus Hasford, LA Times Magazine, June 28, 1987

For more extensive information about this remarkable man from the Shoals area, there is a blog dedicated to him.

Give that boy a good whooping and he will run away from home…

and maybe, just maybe, turn out to be a hero in the end. In this case William M Isbell and brother James H Isbell were heroes of the battle of San Jacinto.

The Isbell family line in the Shoals area runs deep. One of the Isbell sons was William. The history of his life is so compelling.

William M Isbell was born  in 1816 in Greenville, Green County, Tennessee on the 15th day of June and died 2 December 1877. When just a boy, William Isbell’s father, Dr James R Isbell, gave his son a good whooping after he caught him in a lie. William ran away from his homeplace and went to Abington, Virginia where he lived until fall of 1834. He traveled to Texas and established himself a farm on Cummings Creek. A number, too many, researchers give Dr James R Isbell’s wife’s name as Elizabeth Birdwell which is in error. The Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell is my line and she was married to a different James Isbell. Neither Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell or her husband James Isbell ever set a foot in Texas.

William M Isbell and James H Isbell’s grandparents were Zachariah and Elizabeth Isbell of the Watauga Settlement which of itself is very historic as well as his participation at Kings Mountain. William Zachariah Isbell was born in the year 1769 in Fort Watauga, Warren, Tennessee/North Carolina and died 1825 in Warren, Tennessee. It is unclear whether William Zachariah Isbell was a brother or a first cousin of Dr James R Isbell. who was the father of the San Jacinto heroes.  James R. Isbell was probably a son or grandson of Zachariah Isbell Sr. An Isbell family researcher, Sarah Coon commented on a genealogy forum with this statement,“ It is thought that James R. Isbell may have been a son of Zachariah Isbell, Jr.  But of course, there is no proof.” Ray Isbell, a cousin and avid researcher of the Isbell families provides this insight: Zach Isbell Jr. may have been too young to be James R.’s father.  One of his older brothers Jason or William was more likely James’ father.

Jason Isbell also lived in Greene County, Tennessee for a time, as did brother William.  Their sister Hannah Isbell (b. c1747) lived in Greene County, Tennessee when her first husband Samuel Williams died there 1788 and in 1791 when she married second to James Taylor.  Brother William Isbell was bondsman at that marriage.

William Zachariah Isbell and Sarah Richardson Isbell were also the parents of Levi Isbell who married Sarah H Birdwell and James Isbell who married Elizabeth Birdwell. Levi and James Isbell and their families are the ancestors of many Shoals area Isbell families. Because it is an important facet of our history, a synopsis of the settlement from the Watauga Association follows: 

Watauga Settlement

  • Watuaga Association

In the spring of 1768, a few adventurers, from the neighborhood of Raleigh, in North Carolina, crossed the mountains, westwardly, in search of a new place of residence. And, having explored the country on the Watauga River, they selected a spot there, made some preparations, returned, and, the same year, moved over their families, ten in number, to live in the interminable wilderness. At the head of this little colony was James Robertson, afterwards so extensively known by the title of General; whose name the early history of Tennessee, if ever written in detail, will exhibit on many a page.This now became a place of rendezvous to all who followed their footsteps over the same stupendous heights. And so many gathered in, from the Carolinas and Virginia, that, within three years, they could muster nearly three hundred soldiers. But , in the very infancy of the settlement, by a treaty with the Cherokees, held under the authority from the government of the last mentioned province, a boundary was established to run from the White Top Mountain in a west direction to Holston River, on a parallel of latitude of about 36 1/2 degrees. The inhabitants of Watauga were, consequently, left on Indian ground, in no better condition than that of trespassers. And it was not long before they were ordered by Alexander Cameron to move off. Cameron was deputy agent for the government of England, resident among the Cherokees. But part of the Cherokees, notwithstanding his zeal, expressed a desire that the trespassers might be permitted to remain, provided they would make no further encroachments.This favorable symptom was not long neglected. But Robertson and John Bean we re deputed by these tenants at will, in 1771, to treat with their landlords, and agree upon articles of accommodation and friendship. The attempt succeeded. For, though the Indians refused to give up the lands gratuitously, they consented, for a stipulated amount of merchandise, muskets, and other articles of convenience, the value of the whole estimated at five or six thousand dollars, to lease for eight years all the country on the waters of the Watauga. After this the settlement increased with still greater rapidity than before.  The property paid to the Indians in fulfillment of these covenants was compensated for, in both cases, by sales of the lands. Those who advanced it reimbursed themselves from the settlers.Thus a nursery of population was planted in East Tennessee never to be eradicated.But, far removed from the parent provinces, separated not only by trackless forests, but by numerous ranges of mountains, they were as little protected, controlled, or recollected, by any government whatever, as their co-tenants, the bears. What people ever approached nearer to the imaginary state of nature? Yet they lived in extraordinary harmony among themselves, and in perfect amity with the Cherokees, the only power by which they were recognized.The political history of Tennessee begins with a convention of the settlers on the Watauga River, 1772, which organized the Watauga Association, and appointed a court consisting of five members, which was entrusted with the entire administration of its laws. And, accordingly, a code of laws was drawn up to be signed by every individual. If any one should refuse he was to be debarred from its benefits. But there was no recusant. This became known as the Watauga Association. Its military history commences some three years later, when a joint convention of the Watauga and Nollichucky settlements met in 1775, and unanimously declared for the American cause, and appointed a committee of safety of thirteen members, authorized to pledge the settlements for their part of the continental expenses, to cooperate with the United Colonies, and to direct and control the military affairs of the settlements. The members of the committee of thirteen were:

John Carter, chairman

William Been

Charles Robertson

John Jones

James Robertson                 

George Russell 

Zach. Isbell

Jacob Womack

John  Sevier

Robert Lucas

James  Smith

William Tatham

Jacob Brown

Thus organized, their affairs continued prosperous, till the commencement of the Revolutionary war. And so great had been the augmentation, that, in 1776, they could have raised seven or eight hundred riflemen.But , when it appeared that this great conflict would inevitably become universal, Cameron sent very enticing letters to them, endeavoring with many fine promises of protection in case of their loyalty, to attach them to the British interest. The peril of their situation was too obvious; but they unanimously resolved, whatever the issue should be, to participate in the struggle for independence. As soon as Cameron had ascertained this determination, a project was devised to spread desolation over the whole settlement at once, by making a sudden incursion, and attacking it on all sides by surprise. But the barbarous design was happily frustrated. The electrical flame of liberty, so spontaneous, so efficacious, was not confined to the atmosphere of civilization. Four white men, having long sojourned among the Cherokees, were entrusted with the bloody secret. But, true to the cause of humanity and freedom, they made escape, and gave seasonable notice of the meditated invasion.These tidings produced no inconsiderable terror. A large proportion of the people recrossed the Allegheny, and fled back for shelter to the several places of their nativity.But the panic was not universal. Enough remained to man and maintain a garrison, situated on the Holston, near the Sycamore Shoals. Yet so sensible were they of their comparative weakness, that they delegated John Carter and Geo rge Russell, to repair to North Carolina, make a representation of matters, and solicit the interposition of that state, and the necessary assistance. The application was attended to, and measures adopted preparatory to their relief. All this country was erected into a county by the name of Washington. And the little republic, which originated not in opposition, but convenience, now became an integral part of the great commonwealth, within the chartered limits of which it was situated.The Act of Assembly for this purpose bears date in December, 1777. But the settlers at the suggestion of Robertson, had called their territory Washington District several years before.In the fall of the same year, troops arrived from North Carolina and Virginia, who were joined by Robertson and seventy men from the garrison; the whole amounting to about eighteen hundred. They marched rapidly, struck home upon the Cherokees, vanquished wherever they came, ruined many towns, and destroyed stocks and provisions, and so crippled those savage enemies that they were obliged to submit to terms. A treaty was agreed upon; and poor Cameron hurried himself to Pensacola.Th e treaty was held in the spring following, at a place in the Holston called Long Island, under joint authority of Virginia and North Carolina. Peace was mutually promised and Robertson was appointed agent, to reside at some central place in the Cherokee Nation, in behalf of the two associated states.A powerful Cherokee chief had refused to join in the treaty, persisting in his attachment to the British; and, with a few adherents, went down the Tennessee River, dissatisfied, and commenced a new settlement at a place called Chickamauga. Numbers followed him, prompted by a disposition to plunder and carnage. Discord ensued; and injuries to the whites, perpetrated by this mischievous party, became so frequent, following almost in contact with each other, that chastisement could no longer be delayed. Accordingly, in 1779, an expedition for that purpose was undertaken commanded by Isaac Shelby, the late governor of Kentucky, then a resident of Washington County. It was directed especially against Chickamauga. Peaceable Indians were not to be molested. It proved effectual. Chickamauga fell; and the hostile wretches, partly disabled and partly intimidated, were for the present innocuous.Th e Watauga Association was semi-autonomous government established in 1772 by pioneer settlers in what is now northeastern Tennessee. The settlers, having leased their lands from the Cherokee, were beyond the bounds of an organized government. They organized a homespun authority under what was called the Watauga Compact; it is believed to be the first written constitution adopted by native-born Americans. The document was not preserved but seems to have provided for a court of five judges, a clerk, and a sheriff. In 1775 the Wataugans were able to transform the lease of their lands into an outright purchase. With the beginning of the American Revolution that year, they supported the patriot cause and created a 13-member committee of public safety. Faced with the threat of attack by Native Americans in 1776, the Wataugans asked for and obtained annexation by North Carolina. They were thus included in Washington County, which was created the next year for all of the state’s western claim.  Washington County was erected by the General Assembly of North Carolina, in November, 1777. It was formed from Washington District which had been detached from Wilkes and Burke counties and included all the present State of Tennessee, although a part of it, as we have seen, was thought at the time to belong to Virginia. This county has the distinction of being the first political division in the United States which was named in honor of George Washington. From it all the other counties in Tennessee have been carved. It is, therefore, the oldest county in the state and was the theatre of the important events which occurred in its early history.At this session of the Legislature, provision was also made for opening a land office in Washington County, permission being given that each head of a family might take up six hundred and forty acres, his wife and his children one hundred acres each, all at the rate of forty shillings per hundred acres. The facility with which settlers might obtain lands caused a large influx of pioneers immediately, although no wagon road had been opened across the mountains.John Carter, who had been chairman of the court of the Watauga Association, appointed colonel of Washington County.The county was organized on February 23, 1778, with the following named magistrates in attendance: John Carter, chairman, John Sevier, Jacob Womack, Robert Lucas, Andrew Greer, John Shelby,  George Russell, Wm. Been, Zachariah Isbell, John McNabb, Thomas Houghton, William Clark, John McMahan, Benjamin Gist, John Chisholm, Joseph Willson, Wm. Cobb, Jas. Stuart, Michael Woods, Richard White, Benjamin Wilson, James Robertson, and Valentine Sevier. On the next day the officers were elected as follows: John Sevier, clerk; Valentine Sevier, sheriff; James Stuart, surveyor; John Carter, entrytaker; John McMahan, register; Jacob Womack, stray-master; and John McNabb, coroner.When that claim was ceded and then taken back in 1784, the Wataugans took the lead in organizing the short-lived state of Franklin.The State of Franklin was an autonomous state, now included in the eastern part of Tennessee, formed in 1784 and dissolved in 1788. In 1784 North Carolina ceded to the U.S. government the western lands, a portion of which had originally been governed by the self-constituted Watauga Association. The cession was to be accepted within one year, but North Carolina repealed the cession before the year expired. Before learning of the repeal, however, the settlers in the eastern counties had organized the state of Franklin, named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, and elected John Sevier as governor. North Carolina attempted to conciliate the westerners by creating a Washington District with Sevier as brigadier general and David Campbell as judge, thus removing the necessity of taking court cases across the mountains for trial; the settlers, however, decided to continue the separate-state movement. The U.S. Congress failed by two votes to gain the two-thirds majority necessary for passage of a resolution to accept the North Carolina cession. North Carolina refused, until 1789, to remake the cession and encouraged opponents of Sevier, led by John Tipton, to maintain North Carolina government in the Franklin area. For three years the governments of North Carolina and Franklin attempted to govern the same people and region. The government of Franklin had a constitution providing for the payment of taxes and salaries in the produce of the country. An even more democratic constitution, which would have renamed the state Frankland, was rejected through the influence of Sevier. The feud between Sevier and Tipton reached the point of hostilities, and Sevier was arrested by North Carolina on a charge of high treason. The charge was later dropped, and Sevier was seated in the North Carolina legislature and in Congress. The legislature ceded the Tennessee country a second time; Congress accepted the cession in 1790 and created The Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio (commonly known as the Southwest Territory), which became the state of Tennessee in 1796.

During the spring of 1835 William M Isbell enlisted in Captain Robert M Williamson’s company of Colonel John H Moore’s regiment at Gonzales, Texas. Captain Williamson was referred to as “Three-legged Willie”. The enlistment was for a two month campaign against the Indians on the upper Brazos River. In October of the same year he joined Captain Thomas Alley’s company and was engaged in December in the Siege of Bexar.

He then went about his business and planted a crop of corn on Mill Creek in Guadalupe County, Texas. He then joined Captain Moseley Baker’s regiment as a soldier in Company D. That was part of Colonel Edward Burleson’s First Regiment of Texas Volunteers. He participated in the battle of San Jacinto as a private. His older brother, James H Isbell, served in the same unit as a private. James H Isbell enlisted in Nacogdoches on the 14th of January 1836. There is documentation located to prove James H Isbell’s service. It follows:

      Soldiers of the Battle of San Jacinto

ISBELL, JAMES H. — Born in Tennessee. He was a son of James R. Isbell who died in Austin County, September 6, 1840. In the Headright Certificate issued to him February 3, 1838 by the Harrisburg County Board for one-third of a league of land, it is stated that he come to Texas in January, 1836. He subscribed to the oath of allegiance to Texas at Nacogdoches, January 14, 1836. He was issued Bounty Certificate No. 1380 for 320 acres of land June 23, 1840 for having served in the army from March 1 to June 1, 1836. He was a member of Captain Moseley Baker’s “San Felipe Company” at San Jacinto. On August 20, 1838 he received Donation Certificate No. 516 for 640 acres for having participated in the battle. On January 31, 1838 he received a Bounty Certificate, unnumbered, for 320 acres of land for having served in the army from July 20 to November 20, 1836. The Deed Records of Fayette and Harris Counties show Mr. Isbell as living in Fayette County in 1845 and Harris County in 1853. Isbell died in Bell County in 1858. Mr. James H. Isbell left a widow, Mrs. Amanda Isbell, and three minor children, Ann, Kate, and James Isbell.

According to Johnnie Belle MacDonald in her book, The Soldiers of San Jacinto published in 2008, this is recorded: At four o’clock one April afternoon 172 years ago, 934 men, unwashed, underfed, caked with mud and dressed in rags, began a slow walk through knee-high grass. A half hour later they crested a low hill. What they did in the next eighteen minutes made our world possible. These were the Soldiers of San Jacinto.

James H Isbell is buried at South Belton Cemetery in Belton which is in Bell County, Texas. William M Isbell is buried at Tehuacana Cemetery in Mexia which is in Limestone County, Texas, USA

Having left the army, William Isbell, went back home to Mill Creek and dutifully harvested his crop. During the winter of 1836 he worked at Jan Long’s tavern in Brazoria. There he tended bar. During the period of time he lived in Houston, Texas (1837-1840) he “wagoned” west for Major Bennett” and in 1841 William Isbell campaigned against Indians under Mark B. Lewis and Thomas Green. After returning to San Antonio he served for six months as a Texas Ranger under John Coffee Hays.

William Isbell removed to Washington County, Texas sometime during the winter of 1842; and then removed to Caldwell, Burleson County, Texas. In Caldwell by 1860 he owned a farm valued at $600 and $2,700 in personal property.

Isbell married Olivia Elvira Jackson on January 13, 1843. They had eight children, three of whom died at an early age. Olivia died in 1865, and in 1867 William married Mary Jane Woods Franklin, a widow. They had six children, three of whom died young. Isbell was blinded in an accident in 1856. “I have never seen my present wife and younger children,” he ended his personal narrative, published in the 1872 Texas Almanac, “as I have been entirely blind for fourteen years.” He died at the Burleson County community of Prairie Mound on December 11, 1877.

The known children by his wife Olivia Elvira Jackson Isbell are: Martha Jane Isbell 1846-1900; Emily Cemantha Isbell 1848-1848; James Reed Isbell 1850-1865; Euphemia Catherine Isbell born 1852; William Douglas Isbell 1855-1866?; John Isaac Isbell 1857-1928; Alexander Marens Isbell born 1861; Julia Isbell born 1864. The known children by his wife Mary Jane Wood Franklin (widow who was half his age) are: William Isbell born 1867;  James Isbell 1869-1880; Greenville Tennessee Isbell 1870-1951; Simon M Isbell 1873-1886; Kittie Isbell 1875-1886; Lucinda H Isbell 1877-1888.

San Jacinto Memorial plagueWilliam and James H Isbell names on Soldier of San Jacinto plague




William Banta and J. W. Caldwell, Jr.., Twenty-seven Years on the Texas Frontier (1893; rev. by L. G. Parks, Council Hill, Oklahoma, 1933).

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986).

Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto(Houston: Anson Jones, 1932).

Homer S. Thrall, People’s Illustrated Almanac: Texas Handbook and Immigrants Guide for 1880 (St. Louis: Thompson, 1880). Homer S. Thrall, A Pictorial History of Texas(St. Louis: Thompson, 1879).


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Thomas W. Cutrer, “ISBELL, WILLIAM,” Handbook of Texas Online(, accessed July 05, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Lest we forget the least of these…

Obituary for Fred Walter Bradfordthat may have been down on their luck in hard times, the names of those in the Colbert County Almshouse enumerated as part of the 1920 Federal Census by Melvin H Elkins from the 29th to 31st of January in 1920 will be included here.

The Almshouse, or Poor House as many called it, was in the Camp Smith area of Colbert County; in District: 0013. There was a lot of shame that stigmatized those who were in a circumstance to warrant housing and care in such a facility. But, truly back in those days, if it was necessary to be in an Almshouse, one really needed the help and were likely elderly and sometimes without family to look after them.

Fred W Bradford was the keeper of the Almshouse in 1920. Some give his middle name as Washington while others give his middle name as Walter. His obituary gives his name as Fredrick Walter Bradford; his parents were David Washington Bradford 1836-1866 and Julia Jarmon Bradford Grey 1844-1900.

Fred Walter Bradford married four times. His first marriage circa 1885 was to Nancy Caldona Tharp. They had the following known children: Fredrick Washington Bradford 1892 -1957, Callie Fredonia Bradford 1896, Julia Dovia Bradford Cantrell 1887 – 1973, Ida Virginia Bradford Stonecipher 1889 – 1928 and Massie L Bradford 1897.

His second marriage in 1901 was to Louvicey Lindsey. They had the following children: Willie E Bradford 1905-1935, William S Bradford 1906. There may have been other children.

His third marriage in 1908 was to Sarah Josephine “Josie” Duncan Sledge. Her first marriage was to Thomas Ervin Sledge (son of William Henry Sledge, grandson of Macklen Sledge). Two Sledge children were from her marriage to Thomas Ervin Sledge: Thomas Grady Sledge and Bessie Ernestine Sledge Green. Fred Walter Bradford and Josie Duncan Sledge Bradford had the following children: Lillian g Bradford born and died 1909,  Johnie E Bradford 1911, and Walter L Bradford 1914-1952. Josie Duncan Sledge Bradford died in 1931.

The fourth marriage for Fred W Bradford was in 1936 to Odell whose last name is not known. Fred W Bradford died in 1947 and she is listed as his wife in his obitary

Thomas Grady Sledge and Mamie Hand Sledge lived beside his mother and stepfather on the 1920 census. The age of Grady was 18 and his young wife’s age was 15. Next to them was the Colbert County Almshouse of which Fred W Bradford was the keeper. Listed in the household of Fred W and wife Sarah J Bradford were sons Willie E Bradford age 14, Johnie E Bradford age 9, Walter L Bradford age 5 and Fred’s stepdaughter Bessie Sledge age 19 and single.

Those listed as living at the Almshouse were:

Darty, Bill – age 55, married, born in Georgia;

Darty, Sarah – age 66, married, born in Alabama;

Sharp, Callie – age 81, widowed, born in Georgia;

Briley, Fronia – age 70, single, born in Alabama;

Shield, Julia – age 60, widowed, born in South Carolina;

Clovel, Ada – 64, widowed (naturalized and immigrated 1865), her spoken language is French, born in France;

Marony, Alt – age 38, widowed, born in Alabama;

Stidham, Wesley – age 71, married born in Alabama;

Walter, Will – age 60, single, born in Arkansas;

Birnlsadde, James – age  75 , born in Alabama, and

Shaw, Henry – age 76, black, married, born in Tennessee.

Most of those inmates of the Almshouse do not have a surname that I am familiar with in our Shoals area. Perhaps some of their descendants are searching for them.

There are a lot of unique things about the Shoals area…

and they are all good. The family of Dale Robertson had a most unique gravemarker made custom just for him, a motorcycle enthusiast. Dale is buried at Richardson Chapel Cemetery in Lauderdale County, Alabama. His family members say, he would love it. Here it is:

Dale Robertson gravemaker

Generals friends of Generals…

in the Revolutionary War and forward…hmmm now how could that impact a family heritage?

Colonel and then Lieutenant Levi Casey and likely his brothers and father fought alongside of some of the most famous generals in history. General Francis Marion “The Swamp Fox” and General Thomas Sumter to name two. General Thomas Sumter and Levi Casey were close friends.

South Carolina Generals

Francis Marion (1732 – 1795) was born in Berkeley County, S.C. A planter, he had fought against the Cherokees in 1759 and 1761, and when the American Revolution began, he volunteered and led “irregulars” in several engagements; because his sprained ankle had led him to leave Charleston, S.C., before its surrender to the British, he was available to command the remaining resistance in South Carolina after the colonials’ loss at Camden, S.C. Known as the “Swamp Fox” because the British Col. Tarleton called him “this damned old fox” and because he operated out of a secret hideout on a river island, he used guerrilla tactics to strike at stronger British and Loyalist forces, disrupting enemy communications, capturing supplies, and freeing prisoners before disappearing into the wilderness. From 1781 on he led his troops under Gen. Nathaniel Greene. After the war, he served in the South Carolina senate and commanded Fort Johnson in Charleston harbor (1784–90).

William Washington was born on February 28, 1752 in Stafford County, Virginia. His parents intended him to join the ministry and sent him to study with a theologian. However, in early 1776 he accepted a captain’s commission in the Continental Army commanded by his cousin, George Washington, and then fought at Long Island, Trenton (where he was wounded), and Princeton. In 1780, he transferred to the Army’s Southern Division and fought in a series of skirmishes around Charleston. The following year, he led his cavalry to victory in close combat with British regulars at Cowpens. His success there, in particular his hand-to-hand saber battle with the British commander Tarleton, earned Washington a Congressional medal. He then joined the American forces in North Carolina for battles at Guilford Courthouse, Hobkirks Hill, and Eutaw Springs, where he was wounded and captured. He remained a paroled prisoner-of-war in Charleston until the city’s evacuation by the British at the end of 1782. After the war, Washington stayed in Charleston, where he served in the state legislature. He later refused a gubernatorial nomination, but in 1798 returned to public service as a brigadier general for service in America’s undeclared naval war with France. Washington died on March 6, 1810.

Thomas Sumter (1734 – 1832) was born in Hanover County, Va. Raised on the frontier, a veteran of the French and Indian War, he settled in South Carolina in 1765. During the American Revolution he led a partisan campaign against the British in the Carolinas and the success of his small force gained him the nickname, “Gamecock of the Revolution” (and led to his name being given to the island-fort off Charleston where the Civil War began). After the war, Sumter sat in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

Andrew Pickens, 1739 — 1817 was born near Paxtang, Pa. The son of Irish immigrants, he settled in South Carolina in 1763. In the American Revolution, he helped defeat the Loyalist forces at Kettle Creek, Ga., contributed to the decisive victory at Cowpens, S.C. (1781), and commanded the forces that captured Augusta, Ga.

Here is an excellent example of why our children need to…

be taught cursive writing in school. Lt Levi Casey issuing orders to troops during the Revolutionary War. This document is the actual handwriting and signature of Lt Levi Casey issuing an order to his soldiers during the Revolutionary War. It is dated 7 Aug 1782. Levi Casey rose in rank from Colonel to Lieutenant to Brigadier General during his tenure in the Revolutionary War. He was one of the reknown OverMountain men as was David Crockett.

Br General Levi Casey served terms as a House of Representative and then had been re-elected Senator but did not get to serve his last elected term because he had a massive heart attack and died Feb 1807. He was first interred at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC and in circa 1832 he was re-interred in the Congressional Cemetery.

His widow, along with her Duckett nephew came to Alabama before 1820 and settled in Lauderdale County, Alabama in the community of Rawhide. She, some of her children, and other relatives are buried in the Casey Family Cemetery on what used to be her property.

I desire you will draft or other ways order one third of your company to hold themselves in readiness to march by the fifteenth of this instant to the Cherikees you are to provide flower/flour for sixty days provisions for each man and two good beef cattle and as pack horses a[re] not to be had would recommend that each man take horse and that one half carry forward and the other half act as horsemen and change as they can agree or be ordered and any that have not any horses of their own you are to impress in the bounds of your own company you are to collect all the swords you can and put them into the hands of the men.

August [symbols] 7th 1782                                                                                                                Cap [symbols] Saxon

I am ____and hum [symbols]
(take this to mean your humble servant)
Lt Levi Casey

Official Orders 7 Aug 1782

Official Orders 7 Aug 1782

Vandivers of Colbert County…

James Henry Vandiver and Nancy Emma Pennington Vandiver
  • James Henry Vandiver and his wife Nancy Emma Pennington
    James Henry Vandiver born 20 Sep 1869, died 15 Oct 1952 Colbert County, Alabama. His wife, Emma Pennington Vandiver born 23 Oct 1875 and died 5 Nov 1967. They are buried at Vandiver Hollow Cemetery in Colbert County, Alabama.

Another tidbit of history from our Peebles line…

and is quite unexpected.  Adelaide Xantippe Abernathy was born 16 March 1848 and died 24 June 1912 in Giles County, Tennessee. Her parents were Colston Coalson Abernathy 1808-1899 and Annabelle Bass Abernathy 1814-1896. Her known siblings were: Mary Jane Abernathy Cardin 1831-1909;Martha Ann Abernathy 1833-1833; Eliza James Abernathy McCormick 1834-1916; Narcissa Richardson Abernathy 1837-1842; Malissa Farington Abernathy 1838-1850;   Sarah Frances Abernathy 1840-1850; Richard Farington Abernathy 1842-1850; Sgt. Thomas Clayton “Cape” Abernathy 1844-1923; Nancy Elizabeth Abernathy Elder 1846-1915; and John Wesley Abernathy 1851-1905; and Augusta Ann Abernathy Cox 1853-1924.

Adelaide Xantippe Abernathy Birdsong is relevant to our family. She is from a large family of children and one of her brothers was  Thomas Clayton “Cape” Abernathy who was born 26 July 1844 at Indian Creek in Giles County, Tennessee; and he died 22 Dec 1923 also in Giles County. Cape Abernathy was married among his wives two Upshaw sisters: Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Upshae 1854 – 1880 and Lucinda Octavia “Arkie” Upshaw 1852 – 1895. The parents of the two Upshaw sisters were: Lewis Green Upshaw and Priscilla (Mc)Laughlin Upshaw. Lewis Green Upshaw was born 1785 in Essex County, Viriginia and died 1860 in Giles County, Tennessee. Prescilla M Laughlin was born ca 1811 in Giles County, Tennessee; date of death is unknown but she as a widow was on the 1870 census for Pulaski, Giles County, Tennessee. In her household were her children Louis Upshaw 22, Octavia Upshaw 18, Bettie Upshaw 16 and her mother Lucinda Octavia Menefee Laughlin who is aged 87.

She married Thomas Logan Birdsong 1845-1911 and he had died the preceding year. Logan and Adelaide Abernathy Birdsong had the following known children: John Thomas Birdsong 1866-1953; Clarence Birdsong 1868-1892; Tully Birdsong 1871-1815; and Neil Cowan Birdsong 1873-1959. The Pulaski Citizen ran an article about Adelaide Abernathy Birdsong’s death.

The text of that article follows:

BIRDSONG, Adelaide Xantippe Abernathy The Pulaski Citizen 04 Jul 1912
Mrs. Logan Birdsong, a prominent citizen of Giles County, was found dead in a barrel of water, at her home on Monday afternoon, June 24. For some weeks, Mrs. Birdsong had been in poor health, and in a very despondent mood, but was up and able to be about. Some of her children or relatives had been staying with her and her son had just left her. The cook, who lives on the place, went up to be with her and found her in the barrel, head foremost. The alarm was given at once and neighbors came to the rescue, but she was dead when taken out.
Mrs. Birdsong was the widow of Logan Birdsong and leaves several children, two of whom are Messrs. Neal (Neil) and Tully Birdsong of Pulaski. She was a good woman, highly respected by all who knew her. Services were conducted at the home and the burial took place in the family burying ground.

Have you heard words in the south pronounced…

differently? For instance, heered, skeered, kivers and such. And words you heard older  generations speak like much obliged, pshaw and the like? Well, it just could be that the modern world bypassed all us Appalachians and Ozarkians. Below is a reprint of an article from White River Valley Historical Magazine that just above kivers it all:

Volume 1, Number 11 – Spring 1964

By Steve McDonald

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, after her victories over Spain, England was becoming greatly overcrowded. With returning soldiers and the hard times of the working classes, people began to look for opportunities elsewhere. So there began a big migration to the new world. At this time, there was very little communication between England and her colonies, and the conditions in the colonies for literary development were very poor. They fell behind in the growth of the English language. One critic reported that the Harvard college library in 1723 had “nothing of Addison, Steele, Bolingbroke, Dryden, Pope, and Swift” and had only recently obtained copies of Milton and Shakespeare.

Therefore, although the English language was changing rapidly during this time, very little of it affected the American usage. By the end of the eighteenth century it was already being pointed out that many Americanisms were just survivals of old or provincial English. Since that time, how ever, American English has started more or less imitating the current English spoken and, as the western states followed the eastern, English began to catch up everywhere.

But when the great tides of immigration swept westward, the backhills section of the Ozarks was passed by. Here there was no melting pot. The people retained their original purity, and remained that way for some time before the outside world began to influence this part of the country.

It is not surprising, then, that people from the cities are often struck by the frequent uses of archaic words and phrases used by the hill folk. Many enthusiasts have called the Ozarks speech “Chaucerian”, and made references to “Shakespeare’s America” and “our contemporary ancestors.” I am inclined to think that this is a bit of an exaggeration. Thomas Hart Benton once said, “The Ozarks people do use a lot of Elizabethan expressions, but the general effect is not Elizabethan because their speech is mixed with modern slang and wisecracks.” This, too, may not tell the whole story. The old usages have drifted out, but there is no denying that the pure Ozark dialect is a survival of older English usage–what basically was once the common country and village speech of old England.

So many of the archaic words and phra-


ses, as well as many of the tall tales and folklore and even folksongs, are the same as those used and heard in England that it is quite surprising.

Living instances keep pouring in. Many Ozarkers still tarry awhile to spend an opinion as Hamlet did. Our common word varmint, for example, is derived from vermin, and preserves an older English pronunciation. Surely the hillman’s pronunciation of wrestle—he makes it sound like wrastle– is very near Chaucer’s wrastelying and wrasteleth in his Canterbury Tales. The word dare, often pronounced dar is standard in England and also was used in the Canterbury Tales spelled dar.

The word et, which is considered bad English but which is often heard in Ozark speech, is a pronunciation still common among Englishmen, and is defended by the Oxford Dictionary, which gives the pronunciation as et. In the hillsman’s speech, one almost always hears the participle et instead of eaten, and it has been in good use for centuries as found in the literature of Shakespeare, Pope, Dickens, Tennyson, and many others.

Chew is almost always chaw to the Ozarker as it was to seventeenth century England; poor is pore as it was to old England; slick was used for sleek by Beaumont and Fletcher as it is used in the Ozarks today. Both heerd and deef are common pronunciations today as they were, and still are, in some county dialects in Eng land.

The words boil and join are often pronounced bile and jine as Shakespeare used them, and the same vowel substitution occurs in point–p’int and disapp’int; also in poison which was commonly p’ison in old England. And it is said that English noblemen almost always pronounced yellow as yaller.

The Ozarker will often use an “l” sound instead of the “n” in chimney so that it sounds likechimley or chimbley. This is an old pronunciation, for Sir Walter Scott in Rob Roy refers to a “kirk with a chimley in it.”

The noun gal, replacing girl, is still used in some parts of England. Where most Americans use “anyway”, an Ozarker uses the adverbial genitive anyways, and is soundly condemned by many grammar books. Yet the Book of Common Prayer published in England in 1560 has: “All those who are anyways afflicted… in body, mind, or estate.”

The Ozarker has a tendency to use weak verbs rather than strong ones, and from this comes such words as beared, ketched, drinked, throwed, and many others. The same thing can be seen in the Canterbury Tales with growed; in Wyclif’s Office of Curates with costed; in Caxton’s Sons of Aymon with hurted; in The Tempest with


shaked, becomed, blowed; and in Milton’s Paradise Lost with catched.

In Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, we find: “Let your highness lay a more noble thought upon mine honor, than for to think I would leave it here.” In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: “…the holy blissful martir for to seek”, and “. . .well loved he for to drink strong wyn.” And in the Bible in Luke 7:24, we read, “What went ye out…for to see?” Often we hear this use by the hillsman, as in “Why for did you come?”

The Ozarks verb doesn’t always agree with its subject in number, but a like disagreement is often found in Elizabethan English. Spenser said in Faerie Queene, referring to people “…whose names is hard to read.” In Shakespeare we find such sentences as “…here comes the townsmen”, “…his tears runs down his beard”, and “… my old bones aches”.

Other uses of words can be found in Shakespeare’s writings which are often used by Ozarkians. Mind in the sense of intend, misdoubt and disremember; the use of ruinate for ruin; and the word which is often given as ary is the pronunciation of e’er a as in “Has the old man e’er a son?” So it is with nary, a corruption of ne’er a.

Shakespeare’s works are full of such adjective forms as worser, more hotter, more unkindest, more worst, certainer, as well as others which are common with the Ozarker.

And so one can go on for several volumes of likenesses between the speech of the Ozarks and old England. You can find in the Ozark hills, among its true natives, some of the most beautiful and most true-to-life tales and stories to be heard. It has been said that the true Ozark storyteller puts across his tale with a song of words which have the quality of oaths at times, and at other times the quality of tears.


“Ozarkers Speak English” by Nancy Clemens, Esquire, April 1937; John S. Kenyon’s American Pronunciation 1942; The American Spirit in Literature by Perry Bliss, 1918; Randolph Vance’s The Devil’s Pretty Daughter, 1955; Down in the Holler by Randolph Vane and George P. Wilson, 1953; A History of the United States, Vol. 1, by R. G. Thwaiter and C. N. Kendall, 1922; Charles Morrow Wilson’s The Bodacious Ozarks, 1959.




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