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

Carolyn Murray Greer

James Hamilton Isbell…

was a dedicated local, national and international leader much honored and an Isbell relative.

He was in military intelligence.  He was  48 years, 1 month, 19 days old at the time of his death.

His Birdwell and Isbell lineage follows:

>Rev. Levi Isbell and Sarah Birdwell
>>Elijah Miller Isbell and Jane Dowdy
>>>Wm Joseph Isbell and Annora Florence Hall
>>>>James Dolphus Isbell Sr and Jessie Lucille Payne
>>>>>James Dolphus Isbell Jr  and Maggie Neal Cox
>>>>>>Tommy Eugene Isbell  b. 6 Oct 1944  and m1 Sherry Walker
>>>>>>>James Hamilton Isbell  b.Jan. 29, 1970 Huntsville, Alabama,
  married first: Lara                           Anne Bashore b. 22 Nov 1970  (artist, Huntsville); divorced; and married                               second to Jennifer, his widow.

Lt Cdr James HAmilton Isbell copy

January 29, 1970 – March 20, 2018 James H. Isbell passed away on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. He is preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Carl T. and Carolyn Walker and Stepfather, Richard Dinges; paternal grandmother, Maggie Huser and Step grandfather, Frank Huser. Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Jennifer Isbell; 4 sons, Walker Isbell, Connor Laney, Elijah Isbell, and Ethan Isbell; mother, Sherry Dinges; father, Tommy Isbell; Stepmother, Patricia Isbell; sister, Tammy Bourque (Brian); 2 brothers, Michael Dinges (Victoria) and Brad Helton (Amy); and several nieces and nephews. Mr. Isbell served in the US Navy. James was a native of Huntsville and graduated from Huntsville High School in 1988. He graduated from Auburn University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and International Relations. He later earned a Doctor of Philosophy in U.S. Military and Diplomatic History from the University of Alabama in 2002. James served in the Alabama National Guard from 1993 to 1999 and was commissioned in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 2004 as a Naval Intelligence Officer, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander. James deployed twice, in 2007 and 2012, to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan. LCDR Isbell’s most recent military assignment was with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center, where he was awarded a Defense Meritorious Service Medal In addition to his military service, Dr. Isbell spent over 20 years serving his country as a civilian professional, conducting political and military research and analysis in support of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of State, and Department of the Army. His civilian career culminated in becoming the USASMDC/ARSTRAT Political and Military Advisor in April 2014. Dr. Isbell was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville since 1994, where he taught world history, strategy and policy, and military history. He was beloved by his students and fellow faculty. James was an ardent fan of Auburn football, a devoted and loving husband and father, and faithful friend. He enjoyed reading and spending time with loved ones at his family’s home on Smith Lake You may visit with the family at Valhalla Funeral Home on Saturday, March 24 from 12:00 to 2:00pm with services commencing at 2:00pm in Valhalla’s chapel. Interment will immediately follow in Rice Cemetery in Franklin County, TN.

Published in The Huntsville Times on Mar. 23, 2018

________________________________________________________________________________________

The True Location of the RICE Cemetery is in Franklin County, Tennessee.  The confusion is because the cemetery is located about one mile inside the Tennessee State line and the people who are Buried there are mostly from Jackson County Alabama. It is located in a large wildlife refuge mostly in franklin CountyTenn. so it is several miles away from any place or homes in Tennessee.

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, AL, UNITED STATES

04.09.2018

Story by Jason Cutshaw 

U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command  

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – A dedicated local, national and international leader was honored by his U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command team members during a memorial ceremony April 3.

Dr. James H. Isbell, who served as the USASMDC/ARSTRAT political and military affairs adviser since April 2014, passed away March 20.

“Everybody is here today because they admired, respected and in some cases loved James,” said Lt. Gen. James H. Dickinson, SMDC commanding general. “He made a very powerful impression to me. He was one of my most trusted advisers. Immediately, James established himself as a professional and as a person of trust. I can’t say enough good things about James,” he continued. “There isn’t anybody I know who could take complex issues that arise and figure out clear, practical solutions. When I think of James and what words may best describe him, they are: passionate, compassionate, devoted, loyal, exceptionally smart and a continual learner. He is a Soldier. He is a sailor. He is a gentleman, And I think everybody would agree in here, that he is a patriot.

“It is with great sadness, but fond memories, that we bid farewell to Dr. James Isbell,” Dickinson added. “May God bless you, James, and may God bless your wonderful family.”

Isbell was a native of Huntsville. Prior to joining SMDC, he spent 18 years conducting political and military research and analysis in support of the offices of the secretary of defense, the State Department and the department of the Army.

He served in the Army National Guard from 1993 to 1999 and earned his doctorate in 2002 from the University of Alabama.

In 2004, Isbell commissioned into the U.S. Navy Reserves as an intelligence officer, where he served until his passing. His Navy Reserve assignments include Navy Forces Central Command, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center, and two tours in Afghanistan.

“All of the things he did dovetailed together and really made him a perfect selection to be the international and political and military affairs adviser for the Army Space and Missile Defense Command,” said Dr. John Fairlamb, former SMDC political and military adviser.

In the command, Isbell had the responsibility of ensuring missile treaty compliance for the Army and his duties included interacting with the Kwajalein Atoll and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or RMI, leadership. Isbell worked to foster a positive relationship with the Marshallese government.

His recent efforts led to legislative protections regarding longstanding concerns in the RMI and the continuation of the Ri-Katak program at Kwajalein that allows Marshallese children to attend school with American children.

“Saying goodbye is very, very hard,” said James B. Johnson Jr., deputy to the SMDC commander. “One of the things about James that stands out to me is that he was the consumate professional. We could always count on James to provide sage advice, and he was passionate in his many endeavers as the command’s political and military affairs adviser.

“We spend a tremendous amount of time with our coworkers. In many respects our coworkers are like members of our family,” he continued. “We work together. We laugh together. We travel together; and we occassionally make each other mad, but the good times far outweigh the bad. With our coworkers we develop bonds and deep friendships, so losing our close friend is very hard.

“I would like thank Dr. Isbell for making a difference for our nation, for making a difference for this command, and he made a difference in my life,” Johnson added. “He will be greatly missed.”

During the ceremony, Dickinson presented Isbell’s family with the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his service to the nation.

Also, the Republic of Marshall Island Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade John M. Silk presented Isbell with the Distinguished Foreign Service Award for advancing “the mutual defense and security relations and cooperation between the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States of America and has proved his worth as a representative of his country in areas important to the foreign, economic and political policies of both nations.” It added that at all times Isbell showed the calmness, clarity, dedication and judgment that are the characteristics of an outstanding political and military adviser, and a true friend of the Marshallese people.

Isbell is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and their four sons; Walker, Connor, Eli and Ethan.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

James Hamilton Isbell comes from a long line of distinguished patriots. His forefathers served in the Revolutionary War and all wars since. Ancestors from both sides took part in major historical matters, to include the Watauga Settlement.

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So, Menefee women were important,too…

Mildred Emily Menefee was born in 24 May in Jonesboro, Missouri. She was the daughter of  Dr Buell Fountain Menefee and Flora Catherine Baker Menefee.

Mildred Emily Menefee descends from Revolutionary War Soldier, Jarrett Menefee. She became a Daughter of the American Revolution on Jarrett Menefee’s line back in

Jarrett Menefee was born 1721 in Spotsylvania County, Colony of Virginia. Jarrett Menefee died 7 March 1811 in Lincoln, Kentucky County of Virginia. He was the father of William Menefee, Jonas Menefee,

Jarrett Menefee gave service in Virginia with the rank of Private. He served under Captain Benjamin Logan.[3] He, sons,  and other family members served to gain America’s Independence. They were awarded land warrants for their service, first in Kentucky County, Virginia.

In her own right, Mildred Emily Menefee Warlow, made her own contributions to the greater good of society during her long lifetime. She was 93 years of age at her death. She married John Franklin Wardlow and had but one child, John Wardlow.

1940 Federal Census record

Name: Mildred Menefee
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1940
Event Place: Montgomery City, Montgomery Township, Montgomery, Missouri, United States
Sex: Female
Age: 25
Marital Status: Single
Race (Original): White
Race: White
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Daughter
Relationship to Head of Household: Daughter
Birthplace: Missouri
Birth Year (Estimated): 1915
Last Place of Residence: Same House
District: 70-16
Family Number: 178
Sheet Number and Letter: 8B
Line Number: 52
Affiliate Publication Number: T627
Affiliate Film Number: 2131
Digital Folder Number: 005460066
Image Number: 00214
Household Role Sex Age Birthplace
Buell Menefee Head M 52 Missouri
Flora Menefee Wife F 52 Missouri
Mildred Menefee Daughter F 25 Missouri[2]

Daughter of Buell Fountain Menefee and Flora Baker

Wife of John Franklin Wardlow

Obituary WARDLOW-Mildred Menefee Wardlow, age 92 , died at her home in Villa Gardens Apartments on June 22, 2006. A Pasadena resident since 1952, Mildred was born in Jonesburg, Mo., May 24, 1914 to Dr. Buell Menefee and Flora Baker Menefee.

She attended the University of Missouri, where she served as Mortar Board president and was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She graduated with a BS and a BA in 1938. During undergraduate school, she worked as an actuary with the State of Missouri Insurance Department. Mildred was among the first female executives of IBM. She graduated from the IBM School, and worked there from 1939-1946.

After marrying and having a son, she returned to college, obtained a Masters from CSULA, and attended USC to complete her teaching credentials. She served as a counselor at John Muir High School (1954-1957) before going on to work at Pasadena City College. Mildred Wardlow started working at PCC in 1957. She was Dean of Administration, later appointed Vice President of Administration, and retired from that position in June of 1980. A fountain dedicated to Mildred Wardlow is located at the Community Skills Center of PCC.

Mildred married Col. John Franklin Wardlow, U.S. Army, on June 11, 1942. Their son, John Wardlow, was born Jan. 29,1947. A devoted wife and mother, Mildred was widowed Dec.30, 1972. She never remarried.

Mrs. Wardlow loved Pasadena, PCC, and was active in the community after her retirement. She belonged to the Women’s City Club, the Women’s Civic League, the Fine Arts Club and the Pasadena Arts Council.

In addition to having been widowed, Mildred was preceded in death by her beloved son John Wardlow (Jan. 29,1947-Dec. 27,1997) an attorney who graduated from USC, and who practiced law in Tallahassee, FL.

She is survived by her adoring daughter-in-law, Susan Wardlow Anderson, Susan’s husband, Tom Anderson, and a host of very dear friends. A very good woman, Mildred will be missed by all who knew her. Cabot and Sons Funeral Home are handling her final arrangements. Her ashes are to be scattered at sea. A celebration of her life will be held at Villa Gardens, 842 E. Villa St., at Villa Vista. 2:30 pm, Wednesday, June 28.


Sources

  1. MEMORIAL ID 157153337
  2. Citing this Record: “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K77D-6BL : accessed 7 January 2018), Mildred Menefee in household of Buell Menefee, Montgomery City, Montgomery Township, Montgomery, Missouri, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 70-16, sheet 8B, line 52, family 178, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 2131
  3. Collins History of Kentucky , Volume 1, P 12

Sometime inlaws are outlaws…

or something to that effect.

Samuel Boulds Barron who was born  16 Oct 1808 in Greene County, Georgia and died 8 June 1886 in Nacogdoches, Nocogdoches, Texas married Phoebe C Barber born 1818 and died 1900. They had a number of children. Their known chidlren are:Sarah Elizabeth Barron 1838–1924, Mahala Ann Barron 1843–1910, Samuel B Barron 1844–1932, Tillitha Barron born 1845, J T Barron 1845–1880, Phineas Barron 1854–1939, Marcus LaFayette Fate Barron 1857–194, Louisa J Barron 1859–1891.

While Samuel B Barron have descendants that were residents and natives of the Shoals area, it is Samuel Boulds Barron’s daughter Mahala Ann Barron who married William Wilson Walker that is of interest at present.With all the bravery in the Revolutionary War, the Indian Wars, the War of Northern Aggression, and the Vietnam Conflict that Barron men fought in and Barron wives and families suffered through, it is the infamous that seem to catch interest.

Mahala Ann Barron was born about 1843 in Nacogdoches, Texas. Her parents were Samuel Boulds Barron and Phoebe C Barber. She married William Wilson “W.W.” Walker on March 18, 1886. They divorced on March 24, 1910.

They had several children:

Charles Samuel Walker (1866 – 1956)
Mary Elizabeth Walker Toms (1869 – 1930)
Susan “Susie” Virginia Walker Muckleroy (1876 – 1966)
Belle Zora Walker Briggs (1879 – 1962)
Walter Willis Walker (1880 – 1960)
Cumie Talitha Walker Barrow (1874 – 1942)
William Alexander Walker

Mahala Ann Barron Walker had a daughter named Cumie Talitha Walker. She was born 21 Nov 1874 in Nacogdoches, Texas. Cumie Talitha had siblings by the names of Charles Walker and Mary Elizabeth Waker Toms. Cumie Talitha Walker married Henry Basil Barrow. Cumie Talitha Walker Barrow died 14 Aug 1942 om Dallas, Texas.

Henry Basil Barrow and Cumie Talitha Walker were the parents of Elvin Wilson Barrow, Artie Adelle Barrow Keys, Marvin Ivan Barrow Sr, Nellie May Barrow Francis, Leon C Barrow, and Lillian Marie Barrow Scoma. And, they were the parents of Clyde Chestnut Barrow.

Clyde Chestnut Barrow was born on 24 March 1909, in Telico, Texas. He was the fifth of seven children born into a family lacking in worldly  riches but a close-knit farming family. His family’s farm failed due to drought and they eventually moved to Dallas, Texas. Clyde Chestnut Barrow, who was a small and unassuming boy, attended school until the age of 16 and had ambitions of becoming a musician, learning to play both the guitar and saxophone.

However, under the influence of his older brother, Buck, Clyde soon turned to a life of crime. Beginning with petty thievery, then graduating to stealing cars, Clyde soon escalated his activities to armed robbery. By late 1929, at the age of 20, Clyde was already a fugitive from the law, wanted by authorities for several robberies.

And then he joined with Bonnie.

Bonnie and Clyde

In January 1930, Clyde met a 19-year-old waitress named Bonnie Parker through a mutual friend and was immediately smitten. But after spending much time together during the following weeks, their budding romance was interrupted when Clyde was arrested and convicted on various counts of auto theft.

Once in prison, Clyde’s thoughts turned to escape. By this time, he and Bonnie had fallen deeply in love, and Clyde was overtaken by heartache. Sharing his sentiments, much to the dismay of her mother, a lovesick Bonnie was more than willing to help the man she called her soulmate, and soon after his conviction she smuggled a gun into the prison for him. On March 11, 1930, Clyde used the weapon to escape with his cellmates, but they were captured a week later. Clyde was then sentenced to 14 years of hard labor, eventually being transferred to Eastham State Farm, where he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by another inmate.

While Clyde was serving his sentence, he and Bonnie began a passionate correspondence with each other, and once again, Clyde’s thoughts turned to escape. Hoping to be relieved of his grueling work detail and paroled, Clyde had his big toe and part of another toe cut off in an “accident.’ (As a result, he would walk with a permanent limp and be forced to drive in his socks.) Unbeknownst to Clyde, his desperate scheme was unnecessary—his mother had already convinced the judge in his case to grant him parole. He was released two weeks later, in February 1932. Source: Clyde Barrow Biography.com

It did not end well for Bonnie and Clyde, even when the shootout happened and they were killed, they were so famous that souvenir seekers ravaged the scene, cutting one of Clyde’s ears for a take home souvenir. They wanted to be buried together or side by side, but their wish was not granted as they were buried separately.


Another Menefee man to be proud of…

Richard Hickman Menefee (December 4, 1809 – February 20, 1841) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky. Due to his oratory skill, he was dubbed “the young Patrick Henry of the West.” He was presumed the successor to Henry Clay as leader of the Whig Party until his death at age thirty-one.

Menefee received a meager education in his early life. A dispute with his stepfather caused him to leave home in his mid-teens. He worked as a teacher to support himself and pay to finish his education. He graduated from Transylvania University and studied law. In 1831, he was appointed Commonwealth’s Attorney for Kentucky’s eleventh district and was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives the following year.

In 1836, Menefee was elected to the House of Representatives. His best known speech in that body urged restraint in the Caroline affair with the British. His reputation, and that of fellow Kentuckian John J. Crittenden, were tarnished due to their involvement in a duel between Representatives William J. Graves and Jonathan Cilley in which the latter was mortally wounded. He did not stand for re-election following his term in office and returned to his legal practice. In 1841, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, but died five days later before he could take office. Menifee County, Kentucky, despite the spelling discrepancy, is named in his honor[1]


Eulogy given by Thomas F Marshall at the death of Hon Richard Hickman Menefee:

Hon. Richard H Menefee, the statesman and lawyer, in honor of when Menifee County was named, was born near Owingsville, Bath County, Kentucky, in the year 1810(1809). In early life he taught a school, to supply the means for obtaining a profession.His success at the bar was rapid and brilliant. He was barely eligible when he was elected to represent the county of Montgomery in the Kentucky legislature. In that body he served terms, 1835, ’37 and early established a character for ability which spread his name through the state. At twenty-seven years of age, as the Whig candidate he was elected to congress by 234 majority over Judge Richard French, one of the most popular and astute Democratic politicians of the day, and in a district where the latter had been elected two years before, by an overwhelming majority. He served but one term, 1837-39. His efforts on the floor of the house, bearing the impress of high genius and commanding talent, soon placed him in the front rank of debaters, at a time when congress was remarkable for the number of its able men. At the close of his term of service he removed to Lexington, as a larger field for the practice of his profession. Business flowed in upon him, and he was rapidly amassing a fortune which would have enabled him to re-enter public life, and accomplish those ardent desires cherished form his early boyhood. His career was prematurely checked by his death, Feb. 20, 1841, when only 31 years of age. Over the whole state his death cast a gloom. It has been the fortune of but few men, of the same age, to achieve a reputation so splendid. Born in obscurity, and forced to struggle in early life against an array of depressing influences sufficient to crush any common spirit, he had rapidly but surely attained an eminence which fixed upon him the eyes of all America, as one of our most promising statesmen,while at home his view of public policy were known to be at once liberal, comprehensive; and profound, he was great as a lawyer and greater as a statesmen.
The eulogy of Thomas F. Marshall upon Mr Menefee’s life and services —

the tribute of genius to genius, of brilliant but erratic genius to genius still more brilliant but self-poised and commanding — is one of the most graceful and eloquent in the whole field of panegyric literature.[1]

Richard Hickman Menefee’s son Richard Jouett Menefee contributed to the content of the book that honors his father.


Hon Richard H Menefee’s death date is given as 20 and 21 Feb 1841. Since his eulogy gives his death date as 20 Feb 1841, that is the date used here.


Let me tell you bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, and a thing called love…

I am your parents’ generation, and the world was ever ever so much better for my generation growing up. We did not suffer through the Great Depression like our parents and grandparents.I often say that we lived in a Norman Rockwell world. I miss my America. I want my America for my littles who are right now elementary age.
I grew up in southwest Sheffield, not exactly a privileged part of town, but we felt rich. Our community was safe even for girls to wander around on bikes. Our school system actually taught instead of indoctrinated. And in our neighborhood there were railroad workers, construction workers, business owners, and retired grandparents. We looked at families who did not have as much as us, but we were never really well off, with compassion. I recall the teachers dressing one set of kids every day who came to school dirty and ragged.
The uber left did a number on America during the Vietnam conflict; and the brave soldiers returning never to this day got the welcome back they deserved. There have been crooks in office, to note Richard Nixon aka Tricky Dicky. There was LBJ who was disastrous for America…whose wife was a slumloard; and useless Presidents like Carter who put the country into such a malaise that it still hurts your heart yet today. But there have been heroes, too. Our fathers WERE the Greatest Generation and shed blood and died to allow their children and future generations to have continued freedom. That seems to have dissipated today.
We knew the enemy of America, the biggest was Khrushchev who pounded his shoe on the table and said that he would destroy America. For a little girl that was frightening But it was equally as heartening when you saw that the adult generation was going to have none of that. In your lifetime there has been perhaps Bill Clinton who was not a great President and could not keep his pants zipped, but was forced into somewhat greatness by the like of Newt Gingrich who was Speaker of the House and Art Laffer…afterwards he declared that the era of big government was over, a balanced federal budget came to fruition, and America was prosperous and safe. Please take the time to study Art Laffer and the Laffer Curve, bet you Donald Trump knows it well. Then there was Obama under whom America has declined so much, to the point that it is at the brink of not existing. And now Hillary Clinton wants to double down on Obama’s mantras and implement many times as much misery. It is now that Trump has miraculously come upon the scene. He may have some warts, but nothing compared to his opponent. He is a doer, he is a results oriented man, and he is a patriot. The stark contrast between him and his opponent is so deep and wide; there is really only one choice for those who love America. For those who are religious, then it is a good thing if you pray for his safety (after so many political opposition people have suddenly felled dead in the past of your lifetime) and pray that he is righteous and stays that way, and pray that he makes America back to some semblance of what she was, even greater. There is a great service that Christians can do right now to protect their children, grandchildren and future generations and that is to put social issues aside this election and think about all the great things that can and will be accomplished for those who cannot yet vote…for elections are not about us (and unfortunately that is what most Obama voters believed…free phones, free stuff, going to pay my mortgage and put gas in my car)…or the me of you. Elections are always about making the nation better for the next generation. So stand up and make America better for the future generations. That is the America I see and the one I live in now is not nearly as great as the one I grew up in. I worked hard in the 2008 and 2012 elections to keep America from the brink, but the candidates were failed candidates. This election there is only one candidate that is failed….and she must defeated for the sake of our future generations. This is my studied opinion, made from research over almost a decade, lifetime. I love my America. I love my children and grandchildren. I will love my future generations if I get to meet them, but not likely will I get to meet them. We each have a civic duty to protect them and that means being politically informed and active.
Okay, so this treatise was not so much about the birds, bees, flowers or trees, as it was about a thing called LOVE. It was about LOVE for my nation. It was about LOVE for my family. It was about LOVE for my children, which is one less now; LOVE for my grandson and his wife, love for my two littles who are the twinkle in my eyes – my great-grandchildren. And how I am responsible to do everything possible to make my America as great for them as it was for me. And it was every bit as much about honoring our parents, the Greatest Generation, who fought to maintain the freedom that this country has almost thrown away; and the many sacrifices that past generations have made to provide the nation’s children a better future than their present.
What would be so nice would be for those of my generation to comment about how their world looked as they grew up and contrast it with today. I think that would be very instructive.

A peach of a man…

is our first known immigrant ancestor with the surname of Menefee. Carolyn Murray Greer wrote this biography which is posted on WikiTree for the progenitor of the Menefee family…which extends down to Giles County, Tennessee and into northern Alabama.

Name

George Menefee Esquire, spelled Minifye in earliest documents

Birth

Born: circa 1596
Devon, England, UK

Parents

Probable: George Minifie and wife Mary Pendleton

Siblings

Sister Minife who married John Bishopp
Sister Menife who married Roger Booker
William Minifie who George Minifye sponsored in 1639

Spouses

Jane Pierce
Mary Potts

Marriages

Married first to widow of John Rolfe whose maiden names was Jane Pierce
Married second to
Married third to
Married fourth to Mary Potts

Children

Elizabeth Minifye who married Capt Henry Perry by Mary Potts

Immigration to America

Name: George Minifie
Arrival Year: 1623
Arrival Place: Virginia
Source Publication Code: 3520
Primary Immigrant: Minifie, George
Annotation: From state papers in the Public Record Office, London, a census of the inhabitants of Virginia taken between January 20 and February 7, 1624 or 1625. Lists 1,232 names, with ages and ships taken. Item no. 1272, Colonial Records of Virginia, has many more[1]
Page: 31

Death

His death date is given as 1646 in records I have researched.

Burial

1645
Parish Church of Weston(Westover) Virginia

The name Menefee has had numerous spelling variations over the centuries. Some spelled the name: Minife, Minefie, Minifye, Menifye and other variations of the surname, but the most prevalent spelling has become the surname written as Menefee. Those Menefee men were important people to lend their name to the history and the formation of this country, the great United States of America.

First settled by the English colonists in 1607 at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, the County was formally created in 1634 as James City Shire by order of King Charles I. James City County is considered one of only five original shires of Virginia to still be extant today in essentially the same political form.

To further information on his immigration to America, George Menifie, who was born in 1596 or 1597, came to Virginia in 1623 on the Samuell from Wiltshire, England.

George Menefee is listed as counted among the living in James City on the first census taken in February of the year 1623. This first census was taken after the 1622 great Indian massacre who took the lives of a quarter of the 1,240 inhabitants within an hour of the start of the bloody ordeal.[2]

George Minify was listed among those in the VA Early Census Index in 1624. He lived in Virginia Pioneer Township, James City County in Virginia.[3]

George was born about 1596. George Menefee passed away in 1646. George Menefee was responsible for bringing over immigrants from England and with each sponsorship he received a grant of land.

In 1639 George Menefee sponsored William Minifie to be brought over to Charles City with a large group of people, and George received a bounty land warrant of acreage in Charles City.[4]

George Menifie arrived in Virginia in 1623, was Burgess for James City County, 1629, and member of the Council, 1635-1646.He was one the wealthiest men of his day in the Colony, and was probably the leading merchant.

In 1634 he lived at “Littleton,” or “Littletown,”‘ not far below Jamestown.His large garden here ” contained fruits of Holland and Roses of Provence.” His orchard was planted with apple, pear and cherry trees, and peach trees. George Menifie introduced the first peach trees to America as he cultivated the first peach trees.Around the house grew, in the fashion of the times, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.He took a prominent part in the deposition of Governor Harvey.

Later he removed to “Buckland,” an estate of 8,ooo acres in Charles City County. His only child, Elizabeth Menifie, married Captain Henry Perry of Charles City County. Captain Perry was a member of the Council. They left two daughters and co-heiresses. Daughter Elizabeth Perry married John Coggs, gentleman, of Rainslip, Middlesex, Esq. Daughter Mary Perry married Thomas Mercer, stationer, of London.

George Menifie helped raise an native american boy after he reached about ten years of age. It can be presumed that he took care of him after the death of William Perry. The following is an account:

Pg 281
[June 10, 1640.] Mr. George MeniFye, Esqr., this day presented to the court an indian boy of the country of Tappahannock, Christened and for the time of ten years brought up amongst the english by Captain William Perry, deceased, and […]”The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography”
Pg 282
Mr. George Menifye: the indian was examined and found to have been well instructed in the principles of religion, taught to read, instructed to writing: and whereas there hath formerly been given by will, a stock of three hundred pounds sterling by Nicholas Farrar, late of London, Merchant, deceased, by [for?] the Indians, whereof 24 pounds sterling was yearly to be paid to any person that should bring up three of the indian children the said Mr. Menifye for his better supportation in the education of the said indian boy desire certificate from the court of the bringing him up and instructing him in christian religion as is said: the governor and council approving and commending the care that hath been used towards this youth have condescended to the request of the said Mr. Menifye and have thought goo to recommend hereby his suit for the allowance of 8 pounds per annum, part of the said 24 pounds. towards the maintenande the said youth and to that purpose in testimony of the premises have thought good to cause the seal of the colony to be hereunto affixed.Given at James city the tenth day of June, a domini 1640.[5]

The site of old Westover Church, near the house at “Westover,” still contains a number of tombs formerly in or near the old building. The name John James supplies information as to one of the early ministers of the parish. John Bishop was an early resident of Charles City County, as was Walter Aston. Howell Price was once clerk of the county. Virginia Council, 1641.

George Menefye was present at Court held at James City October 13, 1641. Those in attendance were:Sir Francis Wyat, Knt., Governor, Captain John West, Captain Wm. Pierce, Mr. George Menefye, Mr. Wm. Brocas, Mr. Amb. Harmer, Mr. Richmond Bennet.

The land owned by George Menifye, at least at the time, might be located using the information from this source:

[…]The area of the plat of John Harvey being given, also its northern boundary. Back Street, its eastern boundary “the Swamp lying on the East side of the said New Towne,” its southern boundary, **upon the highway close to the banke of the Main river, the approximate position of the tract was ascer- tained after several trials.

From the descriptions of the Harvey and Hamor tracts the position of those of George Menefy J and Richard Stephens, and also those of the two cross streets, all of which are men- tioned in the descriptions of the two first named, were readily found, and finally the tract of John Chew, all as shown on the Map of lames City, Va., 1607-1698.

N. B. — Lines indicated on the *’ Plat of the Tracts ** by numbers I, 2, 3, 4, II, 10, 9, are part of Sherwood (5) survey. [6]

Will

GEORGE MENEFIE of Buckland in Virginia, Esquire.Will 31 December 1645; proved 25 February 1646-7.To be buried at discretion of my wife in parish Church of Weston [Westover]. All debts in Virginia to be satisfied.All Tobacco or money debts in England to be transferred to my books, “The shipp Desire now Iyeinge before Buckland may with all possible expedition be dispatched way for England, and to bee part loaded with what Tobacco is ready here above, and receive the remainder of her ladeinge belowe, vizt, tooe hundred Hoggsheads on the partable account” 100 hoggshead my own account and the rest by discretion of a note to be found in a small book of tobacco shipped and to be shipped.
My 100 hogsheads and my part in the ship Desire and cargo, and my 1-16 part of the William and George be consigned to Captain Peter Andrews, he to give an exact account to my heirs and executors.
To my daughter Elizabeth Menefie all my land at Weston, att James Citty, and at Yorke River.
To my brother John Bishopp, the money he owes me, and one-third part of my crop of Tobacco made the last summer at my plantation of Buckland.
My sheep at Buckland to be a joint stock between my daughter Elizabeth, and son-in-law Henry Perry.
To Mr. Jo. James £20 and 1000 lbs of Tobacco, he to preach a sermon at my funeral.
To Mr. Jo. Converse, Chirurgeon, 2000 lbs of Tobacco.
To my brother Roger Booker £50, he to assist Humphrey Lister in collecting my debts.
To Jo. White, Merchant, £50, provided he continue one year longer in Virginia and collect my debts as formerly.
Tobacco not able to go in the Desire to be sent in the Flower of London Goods consigned in the William and George to be returned in Kind.
Everything to my wife and daughter.Executrix and guardian to my daughter; my wife Mary.
Tobacco due to me from Captaine Tho. Varvell shall be Satisfied by Walter Aston. Satisfaction to be made to Mr. Humfrey Adlington for his care in my business concerning Chamberlaine, by Captaine Peter Andrews. Overseers friends Captain Peter Andrews, Richard Bennett, Esq.
Witnesses Howell Prise, Hunifrey Lister.Fines, 31.

Sources

  1. Source Bibliography: JESTER, ANNIE LASH, and MARTHA WOODROOF HIDEN. “Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia 1624/1625.” In Adventurers of Purse and Person; Virginia, 1607-1625. N.p.: Order of First Families of Virginia, 1607-1620 [Princeton University Press], 1956, pp. 5-69.
  2. Original Lists of Person of Quality, by Hotters
  3. Virginia, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1607-1890
  4. Complete listing of Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623-1666 (from book published 1912 by George Cabell Greer, now copyright-free)
  5. The Virginia Council & General Court Records 1640-1641 From Robinson’s notes, Virginia Historical Society Collection.
  6. Virginia Land Patent Record, Book I, p. 3. t /did, Book I, p. 5. J /did, Book I, p. 4.

Will you be my hero?

John Birdwell is one of my heroes and ancestors. John Birdwell led a very storied life. He is the son of George Birdwell and Mary L Looney Birdwell. His father was a Revolutionary War Patriot. He is likely one of yours, too, if your surnames include Allen, Looney, Harmon, Isbell, Murray, Birdwell, Gregory, Sparks, Lenz, and a myriad of others.

The featured image is where John Birdwell’s property was located in Mississippi Territory, later Madison County, Alabama. He owned property in Tennessee, and in the counties of Madison, Lawrence, Franklin County, and Fayette County, Alabama. He also owned property in Texas, Rusk County and possibly Nacogdoches County.

John Birdwell was born in the Bent of the James River (sound familiar Peebles family?) on 24 Sep 1770. He lived and owned property in the states of Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas. He died at Mt Enterprise, Rusk County, Texas on 16 Feb 1854 at the home of his son, Allen Birdwell. The account of his death is tragic.

The Birdwell descendants are eligible to join:

  • First Families of Tennessee
  • First Families of Alabama
  • Daughters of the Republic of Texas
  • Sons of the Republic of Texas
  • Daughters of the American Revolution (#A098196)
  • Sons of the American Revolution
  • Colonial Dames of the XVII Century

He first came to Texas in 1838 by some accounts [4] , while one reference gives a date as early as 1835, he did not move permanently until 1842 after the death of his wife, Mary Allen Birdwell. His son, Col. Allen B. Birdwell, wrote in his own notebook ledger that he moved to Texas in 1842 and that his father John Birdwell lived with him in Nacogdoches County[5]. John Birdwell was still living in Allen Birdwell’s household in Rusk County in the 1850 census. The Handbook Of Texas by the Texas State Historical Association, says: “Allen Birdwell’s father John may have moved to Nacogdoches County, Texas, in 1838, and Allen and his wife Lucinda (Ross) followed by 1842.” [6]

John Birdwell was in Houston on July 8, 1838, when he wrote a letter of recommendation for George Nixon which is preserved in the George Antonio Nixon manuscripts collection at the University of Texas Arlington [7]

A family history states that John Birdwell moved to Nacogdoches County in 1838 and “lived at Old North Church two years,” then moved twelve miles to Mt. Enterprise in what became Rusk County when Rusk was formed from part of Nacogdoches.

John Birdwell signed his will Jan. 24, 1854, and it was entered in Probate Court April 27, 1854.Will is provided as image in this narrative.

John Birdwell died Feb. 16, 1854. The estate included $1,400 cash and included slaves and possibly other property since Col. Allen B. Birdwell posted a $4,000 bond with the Rusk County Probate Court to serve as administrator of his father’s estate, a considerable bond in those days.[8]

FIRST FAMILIES OF TENNESSEE Descendants of John and Mary Birdwell are eligible for membership in the First Families of Tennessee, First Families of Alabama, the Sons of the Republic of Texas, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

1770 John Birdwell and Mary Allen grew up in Sullivan County, N.C., which later became Sullivan County, Tennessee. They married and lived there several years before moving to Alabama.

1781 John Birdwell (born 1770 Virginia, died 1854 Texas) and wife Mary Allen… in 1781 were in Sullivan County, North Carolina (now Tennessee), 1809 Madison County, Alabama; 1819 Lawrence County, Alabama.[9]

FIRST FAMILIES OF ALABAMA 1805 The Birdwells settled in Madison County, Alabama in 1805, where they were charter members of the Enon Baptist Church which later became First Baptist Church of Huntsville. John Birdwell was the first clerk. (Alabama Historical Society marker in Marshall County lists their daughter “Sarah Birdwell Isbell, one of the earliest settlers of Madison County, 1805.” His son Allen Birdwell stated in his ledger that his parents took him to Alabama in 1805, when he was three years old).

1808 “Birdwell Family Tree” by Velma Stovey Schonder, p. 59: “JHB thinks that JB was living in Madison Co., AL by 1808. He was one of the organizers and first clerk of The First Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL. …The church minutes for 6-1-1811 state that the church authorized Brethren Watkins, Pruet Brock, Birdwell and Powell to view a place for a meeting house (Dale Langston, from microfilm notes at Madison Co. Library Heritage Room, Huntsville). “JB is on the 1809 census Madison Co. Al/Ms Territory, p.7, with 2 males under 21, 1 male over 21, 6 females under 21 and 1 female over 21. According to JHB his last 4 children were born there, while his first 4 children married there.” Page 23 (different version, p.72): “John Birdwell…moved Tx 1838.”

1809 Enon Baptist Church Records (Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama), Sept. (2?), 1809:

1809 September (1st?) Saturday 1809. 1st The Church Met & after Prayer proceeded to Business– …5th The Church Appoints Brother Birdwell to Write the Association Letter & Bring the same to next meeting–

1810 Enon Baptist Church Records, Sept. 1, 1810: September 1st Saturday–1810 The Church met and after proceeded to business– 1st Opened a door for the reception of member– 2nd the church took up a reference from last meeting and laid it over till next meeting– 3rd The Church agree to delegate Bros. Hellums, Childress and Birdwell to The Association.

1818 Madison Co. DB E, p. 133 #500: item 500: dated 8-18-1818 Grantor, John & Mary Birdwell Grantee, George Oglethorpe Gilmer For the sum of $3300 Ind. SW/4 Sec. 18-2-E lying east of Briar Fork of Flint River, & 10 Ac. in 3/2 & 10 a. N/2 NW4 sec. 17-2-1E. Proven 11-3-1818 & DR (Pope) (Note: 10 a. in S/2) purchased by Birdwell from Joseph Powell. Witnessed by: Lewis B. Taliaferro, Jacob Pruett, and Levi Isbell.[10] 

1818 1818, Aug. 18 – Madison County, Alabama; John Birdwell and wife Mary deeded land to George. Oglethorpe Gilmer. Witnesses: Lewis B. Taliaferro, Jacob Pruitt, Levi Isbell. Levi Isbell was John and Mary Birdwell’s son-in-law.[11] 

1819 In January 1819 John and Mary Birdwell moved to Lawrence County, Alabama where they purchased large tracts of land and were also founders of this church,Birdwell Springs Baptist Church, which later changed its name to Enon Baptist Primitive Baptist Church. They were both established within the Mississippi Territory since Alabama was still a part of the native american nation and not yet a state.

The First 200 Years of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville [Alabama] gives the origin of that Enon Church as several years earlier: “All of Enon’s very first members were squatters since the government’s Nashville land office, which handled the sale of Madison County lands, did not even open for business in the Madison County area until August 1810, more than a year after Enon was established.[12]

Page 3: “After having met in private homes for two years, the church in June 1811 appointed a committee —- William Watkins, Jack Prewit, Isaac Brock, John Birdwell, and Joseph Powell –‘to view a place for a meeting house.’ That led to the start of construction of a log building on the western bank of the Brier Fork of Flint River, a few hundred yards north of the present terminal of the North Huntsville Executive Airport. The small building, exact location unknown, was close to the river bank…, affording a convenient place for baptismal services. For some reason, perhaps a shortage of funds, construction was halted short of completion. Almost two years later, Feb. 6, 1813, a new committee was named, consisting mostly of the first group plus William Hellums, to complete the work, and while there was apparently no fanfare to herald its conclusion, the structure was finished and in 1815 did accommodate the second annual meeting of the Flint River Association. …”with regard to the squatter hypothesis, it is interesting to note that the providers of Enon’s one-acre lot, John Birdwell and Joseph Powell, did not themselves receive title to their jointly-held property until April 1814, the church construction having begun on their proffered land three years earlier. But things were ‘looser,’ less formal in those days.”[13]

A History of Early Settlement: Madison County Before Statehood,” The Huntsville Historical Review (2008) by the Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society provides this information of the church and its: “The closest meetinghouse was Enon Baptist Church on the Briar Fork of the Flint Reiver. Established in 1809, one of its three founders, and its first pastor, was a preacher who lived and owned two pieces of property in the region, John Canterbury. There is no evidence that he was a slaveholder, but the second Enon pastor, Richard Shackelford, was a major landowner who at his death had more than a dozen slaves. He was called as a pastor in 1815 and served until his death in 1823. Enon’s first meetinghouse was a lot building constructed in 1813 on the Briar Fork. (This is on land of the present Madison County Executive Airport.)[14] “Joseph Powell and John Birdwell, charter members of the Enon Church, jointly owned the land adjacent to land owned by both Canterbury and Shackelford. The church building had been erected and in use for a year before Powell and Birdwell themselves received title to the property that they had provided to the church.”[15]

1819 1st Saturday January 1819 (Jan.2) “John Birdwell and Mary his wife” were granted letter of dismissal from the Enon Church in Madison County on the first Saturday in January, Jan. 2, 1819. (ref., First Baptist Church Minutes, James K. Harrison, First Baptist Church History Committee.)

They moved to Lawrence County near Moulton and established a new church.

1819 “F.W. Helmbold, Curator of the Society, in his historical presentation, revealed the fact that the Enon church was constituted originally as Birdwell Springs Baptist Church on the third Monday in June (June 21), 1819.”[16]

1820 The 1820 Federal Census Record reads: Lawrence County, AL.

John Birdwell & wife over 21,
3 sons under 21,
6 daughters under 21.

The 1820 Federal Census Record in Franklin County, Alabama has John Birdwell listed there as well. He owned property in many places.

The 1820 Federal Census Record for Giles County, Tennessee lists a John Birdwell, but this one is John Birdwell’s nephew John (son of Robert) and family His nephew was probably the John Birdwell in Giles County, Tennessee.

1820 John Birdwell was assigned by an act of the Alabama legislature to review the Flint River in Cotaco County (later Morgan) Alabama, from its junction with the Tennessee to its main fork, to see if it was navigable.[17]

3 Dec 1820 “On December 6, 1820, an act of the Alabama Legislature was approved which designated David Parker, Jonathan Burleson, and John Birdwell, or any two of them, to make a careful “review” of Flint River, from its mouth to the main fork therein, and report the practicability of its navigation, the distance examined, and the expense necessary to improve the river for navigation. On the 20th of December an act was approved to incorporate the Flint River Navigation Co. The incorporators were Fleming Jordan, George Taylor, James McCartney, John Sprowl, Stephen Pond, John P. Brown, John Grayson, Dial Perry, David Walker, Ebenezer Byram, Stephen McBroom, William Derrick, and David Cobb, and they were authorized to improve the navigation of the Flint River in Madison County, from Capt. Scott’s Mills to the Tennessee River. Section 2 of the act provided a penalty of $3 for each day a tree cut or felled into the stream so as to obstruct navigation was allowed to remain, the proceeds of such fine to be applied to the improvement of the river.”[18] The Act is quoted in Alabama Genealogical Quarterly, vol. 1, p.216, and also the Alabama Genealogical Society, Inc., Magazine (1976) vol. 18, issue 1-4, p.38.

Owen, op. cit., p. 595: “It does not appear that much, if any, work was done under either of these acts. In any event, there was none of sufficient permanence to affect the navigation or other characteristics of the stream at the present time. References.—Acts, 1820.[19]

1819 “Enon Church. This church is situated in Lawrence county, ten miles east of Moulton. It was originally called Birdwell’s Spring Church. It was one of the constituent members of the association. It was organized in July, 1819, on nine members, whose names are as follows: Stephen Penn, Mary Penn, John Birdwell, Mary Birdwell, Ezekiel Thomas, Jenny Thomas, George Keys, Elizabeth Keys, and Sarah Simpson.”[20]

They left this church for a few years and helped organize Hopewell Church near Danville.

Page 169: “Hopewell Church, Morgan County. This church was received into the association in July 1825. It was constituted on the first Saturday in December, 1824. The presbytery was Elders Featherstone, Walden, Stephen Penn and John Birdwell. …We suppose it is the place where the church house now stands, about two and one-half miles east of Danville.”

SOME EARLY ALABAMA CHURCHES (ESTABLISHED BEFORE 1870) (1973) by Mabel Ponder Wilson, Dorothy Youngblood Woodyerd, Rosa Lee Busby, Daughters of the American Revolution Alabama Society, p. 95: “Organized in 1819, this church was first known as Birdwell’s Spring Church. The nine organizing members were Stephen Penn,…John and Mary Birdwell….”

Page 130: “Hopewell Baptist Church (located two and one-half miles east of Danville) Hopewell Baptist Church was constituted… l824, with the Presbytery composed of Elders Featherstone, Walden, Stephen Penn, and John Birdwell.”

LIFE AND LEGEND OF LAWRENCE COUNTY, ALABAMA’, by Dorothy Gentry (Tuscaloosa, 1962): “Enon, originally called Birdwell’s Spring Church, located ten miles east of Moulton was organized in July, 1819 on nine members, whose names were Stephen Penn, Mary Penn, John Birdwell, Mary Birdwell, Ezekiel Thomas, Jenny Thomas, George Keys, Elizabeth Keys and Sarah Simpson.”

1823 In October 1823, one William Birdwell (1766-1823), age 57, was executed at Moulton, Lawrence Co., AL. for the murder of Mr. Rhea. Thought to be the son of John Birdwell’s older brother Robert Birdwell (1751-1815) of Giles County, Tennessee. The two had had a dispute 10 years before.

1824 The Morgan Baptist Association: “One of the oldest churches in Morgan County, Hopewell was organized on the first Saturday in December 1824. It is mentioned in Hosea Holcombe’s 1840 A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists of Alabama. The presbytery was composed of Elders John Birdwell, Stephen Penn, Walden, and Featherstone. Charter members were Barkley Ballard, Polly Ballard, William Johnson, Sarah McDowell, Martha Rodgers, James Simmons, Stacy Simmons, Elizabeth Simmons, Polly Simmons, Solomon Simmons, Mary Simmons, Nicholas Gillentine Sr., Jane Gillentine, Richard L. Gillentine Jr., Martha Gillentine. Annie Gillentine, Gideon Spalden, and Nancy Spalden.” The first deacon was Nicholas Gillentine and the first clerk was William Johnson. The first recorded pastor was Henry W. Hodges in 1827. The church was located on land deeded to the church by William Johnson, “near the well of Brother Simmons” about two and one-half miles east of Danville, eight tenths of a mile south of what is now Highway 36, between Hartselle and Danville. The church was received into the Muscle Shoals Association in July, 1825.”

1828 Lexington (KY) REPORTER, July 23, 1828, p.1 contains a letter John Harris of Moulton, Lawrence Co, AL., to Andrew Jackson on the character of his late father John Harris, Justice of the Peace of Lawrence County. Column 1 cites “John Birdwell, Esq.” among those vouching for him. Column 5 is signed by John Birdwell, Allen Birdwell, and others.

John Birdwell received letter of dismission from Enon in 1842 when his wife Mary died and he moved to Texas. He was known to have visited Texas already by 1838 and probably made several other trips between Texas and Alabama.

Alabama Genealogical Society, Inc. magazine, Volume 21, Issue 1-2 (1958), (reissue? 1989) p. 24: “The First Meeting House. On Saturday, June 1, 1811, the church appointed the following committee ‘to view a place for a meeting house’: …John Birdwell and Joseph Powell.” p. 25: “…west bank of the Brier Fork of the Flint River, on a triangular piece of land about one acre in size. It was in the Northwest Quarter of Section 17, Township 2, Range 1 East of the prime meridian. This entire section (160) acres) was patented (or deeded) by the United States of America to John Birdwell and Joseph Powell…” p.26: “John Birdwell was the son of George Birdwell and Mary. John Birdwell was born in 1770 in Virginia. He married Mary Allen in Tennessee. Some of his children were born there. He moved to Mississippi Territory, Huntsville Meridian about 1805. According to the minutes of Huntsville First Baptist Church, his last Sunday as clerk was January 2, 1819. From there he moved to Lawrence County Alabama where he donated land and helped form the Birdwell Springs Baptist. About 1836 he moved to Fayette County, Alabama, then into Walker County, Alabama. Around 1845, after the death of his wife, he moved with his son, Col. Allen Birdwell, to Rusk County, Texas, where he died in March 1854. He has many descendants in Texas.”

FOOTPRINTS (Ft. Worth Genealogical Society, 1979), vol. 23-23, p. 107 says John Birdwell moved to Rusk Co, Texas in 1845.

His will is published in Alabama Genealogical Society Magazine (Birmingham, AL: 1985), Vol. 19, Issue 1. (Reissue 1989?)

Isbell Country: Genealogy of an Isbell Family by Odessa Morrow Isbell (2000), pp. 11, 19-20: “John Birdwell was in Alabama by 1805; settling north of Huntsville in 1805. He owned land in Sullivan Co., Tennessee and kept two homes so he could homestead Alabama property. He came to Texas in 1842-43 with son Col. Allen Birdwell. …”

1842 George W. Birdwell administered the estate of Robert Bell estate in 1842 in Rusk County, Texas (one book states incorrectly it was John Birdwell). Robert Bell (27 May 1797 TN-13 June 1842 Rusk Co, Tx) was former sheriff of Cherokee County, Alabama. His wife Belinda Scott (b.4 Jun 1795 TN d. 1842) also died in 1842 not long after her husband.

Some Mallorys and Bells (Greenville, Tx.: 1950) by James Robert Mallory, pp. 21-22: “Robert Bell…sent down to Cherokee County, Alabama, for John Birdwell, who was County Judge when Robert Bell was Sheriff.” (Correction: Robert Bell was sheriff of Cherokee County when John Birdwell’s nephew George, son of Joseph Birdwell, was county judge there.) Page 22: “The three families, Bell, Gray and Birdwell came out to Texas together, arriving in 1839. Bell’s headright joined that of Houston….” The author recites his grandfather’s descriptions of Sam Houston visiting the Bell home when he was a young boy. p.26: “John Birdwell, who had come to Texas with Robert and Belinda Bell and had been very close to the Bell family since their days in Alabama, was made Administrator of the Estate of Bell, at Bell’s dying request. Creditors immediately asked for an accounting and Birdwell auctioned off the farm and all the personal belongings of the family for benefit of the creditors.” p.27: “Birdwell, who had taken a headright and then bought up several more from disgruntled settlers, saw that it was impracticable for the Howeths to try to take care of all these children, so he ordered that the two boys, James, fifteen, and William, eleven, be bound out to Robert Gray, who had married Cynthia Scott, a sister of Belinda Scott Bell.”

1854 Birdwell family records show that John Birdwell died Feb. 16, 1854, at age 83 years, 4 months, 23 days, in the home of his son, Col. Allen Birdwell, and was buried in the family cemetery on the site. A fairly large number of the Birdwell family was buried in the cemetery, along with some related families and a number of slaves. After the farm had passed out of the Birdwell family, the later owners rather callously plowed the cemetery under. Trees marking some of the graves were cut down, while the gravestones were thrown into a ditch and covered. A partial list of those known to be buried there was supplied by Mrs. Bohannon of Mt. Enterprise, and a descendant of the Birdwell family, and printed. Some burials were recorded in the Birdwell family bible and appear in the book The Mitchells of Linn Flat by Gwenneth Mitchell, including the notation that John Birdwell’s grave is there.

Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas, 1854-1857, by A.S. Ruthven, Grand Secretary and Past Grand Master, vol. II (1857), p.242: Mount Enterprise Lodge, No. 60. p.243: Past Masters. Master Masons. …Allen Birdwell, John Birdwell

The Mitchells of Linn Flat, by Gwenneth Aenone Marshall Mitchell (Austin, 1981), refers to the Birdwell Cemetery on pp. 174, 202, 214 and 215. Page 174: John Birdwell, his grandson John C. Birdwell, and John A. Birdwell Jr. were buried in a row, side by side, “at the Birdwell family burying ground on the Allen Birdwell place, not far from the family residence near Orton Creek,” three miles from Mt. Enterprise. On p. 202: “The cemetery has been abandoned for some years and pine trees grew over it. Some twenty years ago the ground was smoothed over and seeded in range grass.” From Gwenneth Aenone Marshall Mitchell (posted 10-29-1999 on Birdwell List, on Rootsweb.com): “Rusk Co., Texas History by the Rusk Co. Historical Society, 1982: page 112: John Birdwell, “old great-grandpap”, John C., his grandson, and John Birdwell (Old Uncle John) are all 3 buried in a row side by side. John C. in the middle, Grandpap on the southside, and Uncle John on the north side. Lucinda Ross Birdwell was most likely the first buried there.

1809 census shows 2 sons and 6 daughters born 1788-1809.

1820 The Federal Census record for Lawrence County, Alabama shows:

John Birdwell & wife over 21
3 sons under 21, 6 daughters under 21

1830 Federal Census for Lawrence County, Alabama shows:

John Birdwell & wife,
1 son (John),
2 daughters 15-19 (Lucinda & Ann),
1 dau 5-9 (Talitha).

1840 census shows all children gone from home.

The combined censuses of 1809, 1820 and 1830 show these children:

1 m b1788-1809 Moses 1796
1 m 1788-1809 Allen 1802
1 f Nancy 1795
2 f Eliz 1797
3 f Sarah 1799
4 f ?Mary Polly c1800-1804?
5 f Susan c1805-7
6 f Jane 1807
1 male 15-19 (1811-1815) John 1814
1 f 15-19 (1811-1815) Lucinda 1812
1 f 15-19 (1811-1815) Ann 1813
1 f 5-9 (1821-1825) Talitha 1821

Children of John Birdwell and Mary Allen:

1 Nancy Birdwell b Nov. 3, 1795 married James S. Romine
2 Moses Birdwell b 1796 married .1815 Sarah Duncan
3 Elizabeth Birdwell b Dec.31, 1797 (Jan. 1, 1800?) married 1813 James Isbell
4 Sarah H. Birdwell b Feb 14, 1799 married Levi Isbell
5 Allen B. Birdwell b Mar 22, 1802
6 ? Mary/Polly Birdwell c1800-5 (on some lists), (died young?)*
7 Jane Birdwell 1806- m. Samuel Neal (Jane Birdwell m. 10/27/1825 Samuel Neal (10/29/1825 recorded Lawrence Co. Marriage Book 1A, p.226; Gandrud, p.27); lived there 1830 w/ 1 son under 5. Lived in Panola Co., MS in 1850.
8 Susan Birdwell 1807- married Joel S Watkins
9 John Alexander Birdwell 1812-1871
10 Lucinda Birdwell 1809-1811 married James M. Vaught
11 Ann Birdwell Feb. 15, 1813-1868 married James B. Fowler
12 Son bc1816 (1810-20) on 1820 census, d 1820-30*
13 Talitha R. Birdwell June 18, 1821 married James Smyley Wright
  • It is possible that one of the married daughters and her husband (Romine or Isbell?) was living with them in the 1820 census and there was no son who died young. However, both James Romine and Levi Isbell were born well before 1800 and do not fit the 1810-20 age bracket.

Some lists of children online include these:

  • 1 Mary Birdwell 1800-1888 m1 John McCormack,2Josiah Phelps. This Mary was the daughter of John, son of Robert Birdwell
  • 2 George William Birdwell 1811-1831, some lists show him as another son, and some say died at Moulton, Lawrence Co., AL. (confusing him with Moses?), but he was not in the household in the 1830 census.
  • 3 Matilda Birdwell Jan 20, 1816-d 1895 Bristol, Ellis Co, Tx is on some lists as another daughter, but note that Talitha R. Birdwell’s name is incorrectly transcribed as Matilda by some researchers. The Matilda Birdwell of Bristol, Tx. was the daughter of John Birdwell of Giles Co., Tn.; granddaughter of Robert and Ellen (Sanford) Birdwell, Robert being the brother of John Birdwell who married Mary Allen. Matilda married in Giles CO., TN. 12 Dec 1834 Neal C. Dever (1802-1878).
  • 4 Judge Thomas Gaines Birdwell b1804 Giles Co, TN was not a son. He was a son of John Birdwell’s nephew John (son of Robert), and a brother of Mary and Matilda above. Interestingly, his son Thomas J. Birdwell’s daughter Pearl married John William Culver, son of Susannah (Culver) Isbell Culver, widow of Zach Isbell, son of Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell Conway.
  • 5 William McElree Birdwell 1837-1906 was a grandson (son of John A.), rather than a son as some lists incorrectly show.[21]

1912 “For My Children: Memoir of Rev. George Preston Birdwell” (1912): “My grandfather, John Birdwell,…died at my father’s house near Mt. Enterprise, Texas, at the age of 84 years. He was never sick in his life, never had a chill nor a fever. There were nine boys in the family, and all died between the ages of 84 and 90. My father, Colonel Allen Birdwell, was born in West Tennessee…moved with his parents to North Alabama and settled about one mile from Raleville in Lawrence County…. In 1838 he came to Texas to look at the country. He was well pleased and in 1841, he moved to Texas. He settled first near Old North Church in Nacogdoches County. I think he made two crops there before he bought his home, three miles south of Mt. Enterprise, in Rusk County. This was all Nacogdoches County then, in Rusk County. This was all Nacogdoches County then….”[22]
Family links: Parents:

George Birdwell (1721 – 1780)
Mary Birdwell (1742 – 1811)

Spouse:

Mary Allen Birdwell (1780 – 1840)

Children:

Nancy Birdwell Romine (1795 – 1885)
Moses Birdwell (1796 – 1832)
Sarah H. Birdwell Isbell (1799 – 1876)
Elizabeth Birdwell Isbell Conway (1800 – 1872)
Allen B. Birdwell (1802 – 1893)
Susan Birdwell Watkins (1809 – 1888)
Lucinda Birdwell Vaught (1811 – 1873)
John Alexander Birdwell (1812 – 1871)
Ann Birdwell Fowler (1813 – 1868)
Talitha R. Birdwell Wright (1821 – 1905)

Siblings:

Robert Birdwell (1745 – 1815)
George Birdwell (1760 – 1816)
Benjamin Birdwell (1765 – 1840)
Moses Birdwell (1769 – 1848)
John Birdwell (1770 – 1854)
William Birdwell (1772 – ____)

Sources

  1. Find A Grave Memorial# 50518424
  2. Find A Grave Memorial# 50518424
  3. Find A Grave Memorial# 50518424
  4. The Mitchells of Linn Flat by Gwenneth A.M. Mitchell, pp. 184, 201
  5. Col. Allen B. Birdwell Journal
  6. Jennifer Eckel, “BIRDWELL, ALLEN,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association
  7. Special Collections, George Nixon Collection, Box GA122, Document 00189
  8. Rusk County Deed Book N-O (1860), p. 367
  9. FOOTPRINTS, vol. 23-24 (Ft. Worth: Fort Worth Genealogical Society, 1979), p. 107:
  10. Madison County, Alabama Deed Books A-E, 1810-1819, by Dorothy Scott Johnson (1976)
  11. Madison County, Alabama Deed Book E Page 133
  12. The First 200 Years of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville by Joseph M. Jones, p. 2
  13. The First 200 Years of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville by Joseph M. Jones, p. 2
  14. A History of Early Settlement: Madison County Before Statehood, The Huntsville Historical Review (2008) by the Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society, p. 69
  15. A Dream Come True, The Story of Madison County and Incidentally of Alabama and the United States, Vol. 1, James Record. (Huntsville: Hicklin County, 1970), pp. 39-40.
  16. The Alabama Baptist Historian (1970), p.20
  17. History of Morgan County, Alabama by Knox, p. 54
  18. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, published 1921 by Thomas McAdory Owen and Marie Bankhead Owen page 595
  19. Betts, Early history of Huntsville, by Betts, 1916, pp. 33, 70
  20. History of the Muscle Shoals Baptist Association by Rev. Josephus Shackelford, 1891, p. 165
  21. Find A Grave Memorial# 50518424
  22. Birdwell Family, East Texas Families, pp.233-34, 279-80

LEVI CASEY – A MOST DISTINGUISHED FORGOTTEN MAN

Biography

Levi Casey had many names bestowed upon him during his short lifetime. He was an Overmountain Man,[1] Militia Man, Captain, Colonel, Brigadier General, Congressman, Senator, son, brother, husband, and father; most importantly of all was the title Patriot.

Levi Casey was born in the year 1749 in the state of South Carolina according to records submitted and accepted into the D.A.R. files.[2] That would seem accurate considering he died in the first day of February 1807 in his 59th year which would put his birth year at 1749, unless he died on his birthday. He was born in what was then the old Ninety-Six District in which he had a hand in dividing into what would become Newberry County.[3]

In the Revolutionary War, brothers Benjamin, Randolph and Levi lent service as did their father, Abner Brooks Casey. Abner gave service and provided aide to the cause. Abner Brooks Casey was awarded a Bounty Land Grant in Kentucky for his effort.

The Casey brothers were in the Second Carolina Regiment under Col. Elijah Clark and fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain. Levi Casey became a (started out as a Captain) Lieutenant, then a Colonel of South Carolina Troops, and finally a Brigadier General, commanding the brigade consisting of the Laurens, and Newberry regiments. He commanded a company at the attack on Savannah and distinguished himself at Rocky Mount, King’s Mountain, Hanging Rock, Musgrove’s Mils, Fishing Creek, Blackstocks, and Cowpens.

After the fall of Charlestown, the British authorities considered South Carolina under British control, and some of the rebels even went to the British camp and sought protection. Levi and others would not entertain taking that action for one second. They were true blue and staunch patriots of the American cause and would willingly take any risk to secure Independence.

US Congressman. Elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Eighth and Ninth Congresses, he served from 1803 until his death. Casey was a South Carolina native but very little is known of his early life.

During the Revolutionary War he was commissioned a Captain in the Continental Army and fought with distinction at the Siege of Savannah (1779) and at the battles of Rocky Mount (1780), Hanging Rock (1780), and Cowpens (1781).

At the end of the conflict he was a Colonel in command of South Carolina’s Little River Regiment, and subsequently became a Brigadier General of the State Militia.

He was a five-term member of the State Senate (1781 and 1782, 1800 to 1802) and served nine terms in the State House of Representatives (1786 to 1788, 1792 to 1795, 1798 to 1799), prior to his election to the US House.

In 1802, he was elected as a Republican to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives within the 8th and 9th Congresses representing the state of South Carolina. There he served the 7th District that included Abbeville, Laurens and Newberry Districts. He served in that capacity from 4 March 1803 until his death 1 February 1807.

He was elected to the 10th Congress before the close of the 9th Congress, but died, likely in the state house, in Washington D. C. on the first day of February from a massive heart attack.

He was the first elected dignitary in our nation to die while in office (followed closely by another elected official who was buried in the Congressional Cemetery before Levi Casey was disinterred) and was initially buried at the St. Paul’s Presbyterian Cemetery [Rock Creek Cemetery] in Georgetown. Being the first experience in our young nation of someone dying while serving in office, there was no official burying ground for dignitaries at the time and that fact created a little bit of a conundrum. Efforts were quickly made to secure and dedicate a spot for just such dignitaries, and thus the Union Cemetery known as the Congressional Cemetery came to fruition.

Levi Casey was reelected to a third term but died before taking his seat in the Tenth Congress. Originally buried in a cemetery outside the Washington city limits, he was re-interred with honors at the Union (Congressional) Cemetery on 10 August 1832. [4]

It must have been good to have been one of Levi Casey’s constituents when he served them, his state, and his country. They were fortunate that a patriot and politician like him would share his and his colleagues’ progress and lack thereof for the young nation and its citizens. His wife, Elizabeth from the respected Duckett family of Maryland, had a lot of influence on his service as a political figure. The rule and custom of the Caseys was when he returned home from the “Federal City” he issued and sent out invitations ‘to all the people in his district (covered several counties), to assemble at his house on a day named, at which Gen. Casey would have a large barbecue and ample provisions for man and beast, and his friends were required to spend a week as his guests, during which time he would render to them a full account of his acts in Congress; and the balance of the time was spent in feasting and dancing and such other amusements as suited the tastes and inclinations of his guests

Parents:

Abner Brooks Casey (1700 – 1796)
Harriet Green Casey (1700 – 1786)

Spouse:

Elizabeth Duckett Casey (1759 – 1839)

Children:

John A Casey (1775 – 1862)
Sarah Siner Casey Rhodes (1789 – 1872
Levi Garrett “Old Flynn” Casey (1791 – 1855)
Elizabeth Casey Johnson (1795 – 1872)
Jacob Duckett Casey (1796 – 1853)
Samuel Otterson Casey (1801 – 1866)

Sibling:

Christopher Casey (1755 – 1840)
Randolph Casey
Benjamin Casey

Part of Levi Casey’s Service Record

Name: Levy Casey
Event Type: Military Service
Event Date: 1782
Event Place: United States
Event Place (Original):
Age:
Military Rank:
Birth Year (Estimated):
Death Date:
Affiliate Publication Number: M246
Affiliate Publication Title: Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783.
Affiliate Film Number: 1
GS Film Number: 000830280
Digital Folder Number: 007196920
Image Number: 00109[5]

1783: Commissioners Appointed to Divide Districts into Counties

Levi Casey changed the landscape of our country in more ways than one. In the article written in The Edgefield Advertiser, a South Carolina Newspaper, Levi Casey is mentioned. The text that mentions Casey reads as follows:

“It is recorded in Judge O’Neal’s Annals of Newberry County that in 1783 an ordinance was passed appointing Commissioners to divide the Districts of Charleston, Georgetown, Beaufort, Cheraw, Camden, Ninety-Six and Orangeburg into counties of convenient size. In Ninety-Six the Commissioners were “Andrew Pickens, Richard Anderson, Thomas Braddon, Levy Casey, Philemon, Waters and Arthur Simkins.”[6]

Rank of Colonel in the Revolutionary War

Name: Livy Casey
Event Type: Military Service
Event Date: 08 Jun 1782
Event Place: South Carolina, United States
Event Place (Original):
Age:
Military Rank: Colo
Birth Year (Estimated):
Death Date:
Affiliate Publication Number: M246
Affiliate Publication Title: Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783.
Affiliate Film Number: 89
GS Film Number: 000830368
Digital Folder Number: 004171622
Image Number: 00326[7]

1768 South Carolina, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index: 1790-1890

Name: Levi Casey
State: South Carolina
County: Newberry (Old 96 District)
Township: No Township Listled
Database: South Carolina Census Index[8]

1790 Federal Census Record

Levey Casey
United States Census, 1790
Name Levey Casey
Event Type Census
Event Date 1790
Event Place Newberry, South Carolina, United States
Page 53[9]

1800 Federal Census Record

Name: Levi Casy
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1800
Event Place: Newberry District, South Carolina, United States
Page: 68
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records ::Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: M32
Affiliate Film Number: 50
GS Film Number: 181425
Digital Folder Number: 004955934
Image Number: 00136[10]

Levi Casey Burial

Name: Levi Casey
Maiden Name:
Event Type: Burial
Event Date: 1807
Event Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District Of ::Columbia, United States of America
Photograph Included: Y
Birth Date:
Death Date: 03 Feb 1807
Affiliate Record Identifier: 6984077
Cemetery: Congressional Cemetery[11]

“Gen. Levi Casey, Representative in Congress from this State died at the City of Washington, on the 1st inst. The usual mourning and funeral honours were voted him.”[12]

There are researchers who list Brigadier General Levi Casey’s death date as 3 February 1807, but his death occurred on Sunday, the first day of February in the year 1807. His obituary was published in The National Intelligencer on Friday, the 6th day of February 1807 and states that Levi Casey died on Sunday. This man must have been larger than life, for he was the first, or one of the first that received the high honor of a state funeral. The text of his obituary follows:

Died, in this city, on Sunday morning at 4 o’clock, 1st instant of a pulindnick disease, Brigadier General Levi Casey, of South Carolina, in the fifty-ninth year of his age.

The fatal illness of this amiable gentleman was but of short duration; his closing moments were passed with that serenity which arises from the reflection of a well-spent life; his last breath was drawn with a calmness, resulting only from true fortitude and virtue.

Early in the revolutionary war, General Casey received the command of a company, with which, he gallantly assisted at the siege of Savannah, in the attempt made by the Americans and French to storm the British works. He was afterwards distinguished as a brave and prudent officer in the battles of Rockey Mount, Hanging rock, Musgoves, King’s mountains, Fishdamford, Blackstocks and at the Cowpens, where, he performed very important services to General Morgan. Through the whole war he enjoyed, as a brave and valuable officer, the applause, friendship and confidence of General Sumpter.

During many years after the close of that war, in which his conduct was so important and successful, he represented Newbury district in the state legislature, both in the Senate and House of Representatives, and was, at the time of his death, on the fourth term of service in Congress, a representative from South Carolina.

The friends and family of no man have more cause to lament a loss of this land, than those of General Casey; for in sweetness and equanimity of temper, he was equaled by few; in the tenderness of affection, of domesticities, surpassed by none.

He was from the commencement of the revolution, a uniform patriot; he has left behind him, the surest testimony of public confidence and private worth, the universal love of his neighbors. Painful as the regrets of his family must be, they will derive some consolation from the marked respect which was paid to his funeral by the national legislature. In this too, will the old revolutionary soldier participate; because, he will be in it, the memory of the brave is not forgotten.

The following is the order of procession as it moved from the capitol.

1. Marine Corps
2. Chaplains of Congress
3. Ministers
4. Physicians
5. Corpse
6. Pall bearers, (six Generals)
7. Mourners
8. Speaker preceded by the sergeant of arms, and followed by the Clerk
9. Members of the House of Representatives
10. President of the Senate preceded by the sergeant at arms, and followed by the Secretary
11. Members of the Senate
12. Heads of Departments and officers thereof
13. Citizens.

When the procession arrived at Rock Creek, it was formed on foot, (two and two) the carriages following behind, and proceeded in that manner to the grave.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and the Pall-bearers, with white scarves over the right shoulder and white gloves. The chaplains of Congress and other ministers with white scarves over the right shoulder and round the hat, and white gloves.

The sergeants at arms, clerk of the House, and Secretary of the Senate, with white scarves over the right shoulder only.

The members of the House of Representatives, with black crape on the left arm.[13]

Sources

[14]

  1. The Overmountain Men, Publisher: Overmountain Press; Second edition edition (January 1, 1986)
  2. D.A.R. Patriot Index, Volume 1, page 467 as LCol PS SC)
  3. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=C000226
  4. Charleston Courtier, periodical published Monday, February 16, 1907
  5. Citing this Record: “United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2DG-4DS4 : 21 December 2016), Levy Casey, 1782.
  6. The Edgefield Advertiser, a South Carolina newspaper, year not known, page 2
  7. Citing this Record: “United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2DG-W77L : 21 December 2016), Livy Casey, 1782.
  8. 1768 South Carolina, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index: 1790-1890,
  9. Citing this Record “United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2DG-W7SD : 21 December 2016), Livy Casey, 1782.
  10. Citing this Record: “United States Census, 1800,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHRC-363 : accessed 14 June 2017), Levi Casy, Newberry District, South Carolina, United States; citing p. 68, NARA microfilm publication M32, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 50; FHL microfilm 181,425.
  11. Citing this Record: “Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVV3-3F96 : 13 December 2015), Levi Casey, 1807; Burial, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, United States of America, Congressional Cemetery; citing record ID 6984077, Find a Grave,http://www.findagrave.com.
  12. Charleston Courtier, periodical published Monday, February 16, 1907
  13. The National Intelligencer, February 6, 1807
  14. Research compiled and tribute written by a fourth great-granddaughter of the patriot Br. Gen. Levi Casey, Carolyn Murray Greer, completed on 15 June 2017

A journal of a life of memories…

has been written in parts by Beth Terry Murray. She has approved our posting some of them here. They will come in the parts as written. Enjoy.

My Daddy was killed in an accident…

For those of you that might be wondering what type of accident my daddy was killed in, then here is your answer. He had been using a drill earlier in the morning of October 3rd and it flew out of his hand because of a short in it. My daddy was used to being a jack of all trades so at lunch he went to the truck and “fixed” the drill. I can see him in my mind as I had watched him “fix” things many times. I’m sure he wiggled the cord, maybe even found a place where there was wire exposed and used electrical tape to fix it. My guess, not sure about that at all. Anyway, he wanted a color tv which were not cheap back in those days, so he was doing extra odd jobs for different people.

That afternoon he was under a ladies house in Leighton, lying on a piece of tin, which had water under it, whatever the job was he had finished and asked the lady to unplug the drill. As she was going into the house to unplug it, he reached for it, and was electrocuted. His death was instantaneous, and the palm of his hand had been burned where the electricity had entered. Later, probably years later, it occurred to me that this was a man that would not wear a wedding ring because too many electricians had been electrocuted that way. Yet on that day he was lying on a piece of tin, with water underneath, using a drill that had flown out of his hand earlier. Some might say “He had a bad day.”
I would have to say, “It was the day that had been appointed for God to take him home.” That day will come for all of us, I pray each of us will be ready.

A note to all of you that read these posts: they probably were not the most pleasant thing you have ever read, but I did not mean it to be that way. Daddy never felt sorry for himself, he always was very happy go lucky. He attempted to swim across the river one time and almost made it, before giving out. He was always cutting up with someone or pulling a prank on someone, he loved to laugh, and the only time he ever whipped me with a belt I think he cried more than I did. Anytime I was scared at night, I would run across the hall to my mother and daddy’s bed, my mother would tell me to go back to my room, but my daddy who was on the other side would call me over there, hold up the covers and let me lay down with my back to him. He would wrap his long arms around me and whisper in my ear that “everything was all right and he loved me”. He definitely was something special.

 


A Journal of a Life of Memories…

has been written in parts by Beth Terry Murray. She has approved our posting some of them here. They will come in the parts as written. Enjoy.

One Man’s Life

This post is about my Daddy’s life. He was born on April 6, 1925 to Thomas Benton Terry and Lula Elizabeth Mayes Terry, he was named Wilburn Drew Terry and was the baby of the family. When he was 6 years old his mother ran off to Texas with another man and left him and his 6 siblings with their daddy. They lived in Courtland near, what would later become the airbase. His daddy was a dirt farmer and could not take care of all the children, so my daddy roamed from house to house with what little clothes he had and he stayed with the different families until they told him he would have to move on because there was not enough food. As I recall he would stay with 6 different families: 1. Hoover Reding’s family, 2. Hollis Green’s family, 3. Fuzzy Terry’s family, I know the other 3, but I am drawing a blank at this time.

His mother came home periodically, mainly after the cotton had been picked and my grandfather had money. Why he would give it to her I have no idea, maybe she made promises she didn’t keep, I don’t know. She bought my daddy a pair of red cowboy boot’s one time and promised him he could go back to Texas with her, he just needed to run get his clothes together, which he did. When he got back to the bus stop she was at the back of the bus waving goodbye to him. (this story he told me himself and yet, he had no bitterness about it) When he got older he went to live with his sister Gladys and her husband in Gadsden. He even attended Emma Samson school for a while, but never graduated from any school. He joined the army and got his GED while there.

Helen and Hoover Reding were dating, and decided to introduce my mother to daddy. She was putting up a Christmas tree and I suppose it was love at first sight according to the stories she always told me. They dated for a while and he asked her daddy if he could marry her and of course, Papa Jenkins consented. However, after daddy had asked her and gone home, Papa called mother into the living room and asked her if she knew who Daddy’s mother was? She said yes, but she was not marrying his mother. My mother was also the baby of a family of 10 children and she and Helen had a job in Decatur and would ride a bus everyday to work.

My mother and daddy were married in a double wedding with Hollis and Amelia Green, at the Methodist Church in Town Creek.
So if you ever see where Susan Green Williams calls me her sister on Facebook this is the reason, our parents got married together and ran around together. I’m thinking the year they married was 1948, but I may be wrong. They lived in Courtland for several years before moving to Town Creek. Thomas Richard Terry (Ricky) was born on April 23, 1954 and a precious daughter Martha Elizabeth Terry (Beth) was born on September 5, 1956.
Life was good, laughter was plentiful, and soon a plan began to form for them to build a house on land mother inherited from her parents.

To be continued……….