As a country music singer, he is best remembered as the “King of Country Music” and is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band and “hoedown” format to the star singer-based format that helped make it internationally renowned. He was a prolific songwriter and established Acuff-Rose Publishing that held the rights to a multitude of songs which were hits. Acuff-Rose signed acts such as Hank Williams, the Louvin Brothers, Don Gibson, John D Loudermilk, Boudleaux & Felice Bryant, Redd Stewart, Roy Orbison, and the Everly Brothers and Pee Wee King’s “Tennessee Waltz.”. In 1952 Hank Williams told Ralph Gleason this about Roy Acuff, “He’s the biggest singer this music ever knew. You booked him and you didn’t worry about crowds. For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God.”
His parents are Simon E Neill Acuff who was born 1877 and died in 1943 and Ida Carr Acuff who was born 1879 and died in 1969. His siblings included Paul Briscoe Acuff 1900-1984 and Claude Acuff 1909-1971.
He was born Roy Claxton Acuff, the third of five children, into a musical family. His father was a Baptist preacher and accomplished fiddle player and his mother played the piano. During his early years, the Acuff house was a popular place for local gatherings and at these events, he would often amuse people by balancing farm tools on his chin. He also learned to play harmonica and jaw harp at a young age. The Acuffs were a fairly prominent Union County, Tennessee family. Roy’s paternal grandfather, Coram Acuff, had been a Tennessee state senator, and Roy’s maternal grandfather was a local physician. The talent was passed through to Roy’s father and mother, and himself.
In 1919 his family relocated to Fountain City (now a suburb of Knoxville), Tennessee, where he attended Central High School and sang in the school chapel’s choir as well as performing in school plays. His primary passion was athletics and he was a three-sport standout at Central, and after graduating in 1925, he was offered a scholarship to Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, but turned it down.
He played with several small baseball clubs around Knoxville, worked at odd jobs, and occasionally boxed. In 1929 he tried out for the Knoxville Smokies, a minor-league baseball team then affiliated with the New York (now San Francisco) Giants. After a series of collapses in spring training following a sunstroke, ended his baseball career prematurely and the effects left him ill for several years to the point where he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1930. Not only was he attracted to the sport of baseball, he had a penchant for fighting – after his family moved to Knoxville, he was frequently arrested for fighting.
While recovering, he took up the fiddle, often playing on the family’s front porch in late afternoons after the sun went down. His father gave him several records of regionally-renowned fiddlers, such as ‘Fiddlin’ John Carson and Gid Tanner, which were important influences on his early style. In 1932 he hired on with Dr. Hauer’s Medicine Show as one of its entertainers where he met legendary Appalachian banjoist Clarence Ashley, from whom he learned “The House of the Rising Sun” and “Greenback Dollar,” both of which he later recorded.
In 1934 he left the medicine show circuit and began playing at local shows with various musicians in the Knoxville area. That year, guitarist Jess Easterday and Hawaiian guitarist Clell Summey joined Acuff to form the Tennessee Crackerjacks, which performed regularly on Knoxville radio stations WROL and WNOX. Within a year, the group had added bassist Red Jones and changed its name to the Crazy Tennesseans. The popularity of his rendering of the song “The Great Speckled Bird” helped the group land a contract with the American Record Company, for whom they recorded several dozen tracks (including the band’s best-known track, “Wabash Cannonball”) in 1936 and 1937 before leaving over a contract dispute.
Acuff headed north to Chicago for a recording session, which resulted in 20 different songs. In addition to “The Great Speckled Bird,” he recorded “Steamboat Whistle Blues” and “The Wabash Cannonball,” another Tennessee standard that featured the singer imitating the sound of a train whistle; he also made a handful of risqué numbers during these sessions, which were released under the name the Bang Boys.
In 1938 the Crazy Tennesseans relocated to Nashville, Tennessee to audition for the Grand Ole Opry and they were offered a contract. He changed the group’s name to the “Smoky Mountain Boys,” referring to the mountains near where he and his bandmates were raised. Shortly after the band joined the Opry, Clell Summey left the group, and was replaced by dobro player Beecher (Pete) Kirby, or “Bashful Brother Oswald.” His powerful lead vocals and Kirby’s dobro playing and high-pitched backing vocals gave the band its distinctive sound. By 1939, Jess Easterday had switched to bass to replace Red Jones, and Acuff had added guitarist Lonnie “Pap” Wilson and banjoist Rachel Veach to fill out the band’s line-up.
Within a year, Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys rivaled long-time Opry banjoist Uncle Dave Macon as the troupe’s most popular act. In 1940 he and his band traveled to Hollywood, California, where they appeared in the motion picture “Grand Ole Opry.” He also appeared in several subsequent B-movies, including “O, My Darling Clementine” (1943), in which he played a singing sheriff, and “Night Train to Memphis” (1946), the title of which comes from a song he recorded in 1940.
In 1943, Acuff was initiated into the East Nashville Freemasonic Lodge in Tennessee and he would remain a lifelong member. Later that same year, Acuff invited Tennessee Governor Prentice Cooper to be the guest of honor at a gala held to mark the nationwide premier of the Opry’s Prince Albert show. Cooper rejected the offer, however, and lambasted Acuff and his “disgraceful” music for making Tennessee the “hillbilly capital of the United States.” A Nashville journalist reported the governor’s comments to Acuff, and suggested Acuff run for governor himself. While Acuff initially did not take the suggestion seriously, he did accept the Republican Party nomination for governor in 1948.
In 1942 he and songwriter Fred Rose formed Acuff-Rose Publishing Company. He originally sought the company in order to publish his own music, but soon realized there was a high demand from other country artists, many of whom had been exploited by larger publishing firms. Due in large part to Rose’s ASCAP connections and gifted ability as a talent scout, Acuff-Rose quickly became the most important publishing company in country music. In 1946, the company signed country singer Hank Williams, and in 1950 published their first major hit, Patti Page’s rendition of “Tennessee Waltz”.
Later that year, he left the Grand Ole Opry after a management dispute. In 1948 he made an unsuccessful run for the governor of Tennessee on the Republican ballot. He then spent several years touring the Western United States, although demand for his appearances dwindled with the lack of national exposure and the rise of musicians such as Ernest Tubb and Eddy Arnold, who were more popular with younger audiences. He eventually returned to the Opry however, by the 1960s, his record sales had dropped off considerably.
After nearly losing his life in an automobile accident outside of Sparta, Tennessee in 1965, he contemplated retiring, making only token appearances on the Opry stage and similar shows, and occasionally performing duos with long-time bandmate Bashful Brother Oswald. In 1972 his career received a brief resurgence in the folk revival movement after he appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” paving the way for one of the defining moments of his career, which came on the night of March 16, 1974, when the Opry officially moved from the Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland, Tennessee. The first show at the new venue opened with a huge projection of a late-1930s image of Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys onto a large screen above the stage. A recording from one of the band’s 1939 appearances was played over the sound system, with the iconic voice of Opry founder George Hay introducing the band, followed by the band’s performance of “Wabash Cannonball”. Here is the access to his 1940 rendition of “Wabash Cannonball” on youtube (you will have to click on the link to go to youtube because the embed feature has been disabled):
Roy Acuff was called the King of Country Music, and for more than 60 years he lived up to that title. If any performer embodied country music, it was Roy Acuff. Throughout his career, Acuff was a champion for traditional country values, enforcing his beliefs as a performer, a music publisher, and as the Grand Master of the Grand Ole Opry. Acuff was the first country music superstar after the death of Jimmie Rodgers, pioneering an influential vocal style that complemented the spare, simple songs he was performing. Generations of artists, from Hank Williams to George Jones, have been influenced by Acuff, and countless others have paid respect to him. At the time of his death in 1992, he was still actively involved in the Grand Ole Opry, and was as popular as ever.
The beginning of the 1980s was a difficult period for Acuff, as he experienced the death of his wife and several longtime band members, including pianist Jimmie Riddle and fiddler Howdy Forrester. In 1987, he released his final charting record that was an inspirational duet with Charlie Louvin called “The Precious Jewel.”
In the 1980s, after the death of his wife, Mildred (Mildred Louise Douglas Acuff 1914-1981) he moved into a house on the Opryland grounds and continued performing. He arrived early most days at the Opry, performing odd jobs, such as stocking soda in backstage refrigerators. In 1991, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts and given a lifetime achievement award by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the first Country music artist to receive the esteemed honor. Additionally, in 1962 he became the first living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Two museums have been named in his honor, the Roy Acuff Museum at Opryland and the Roy Acuff Union Museum and Library in his hometown of Maynardville. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 1541 Vine Street. He died of congestive heart failure in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 89.
During his musical career, he recorded a total of 43 albums (from 1949 to 1987) and 20 singles (from 1936 to 1989). One son, Roy Neill Acuff was born 1943; and died in 2015. Roy Claxton Acuff is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery at Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. He rests in a plot in Hill Crest Garden.
What is so interesting about Roy Claxton Acuff is his kin to our Isbell line through his mother Ida Carr Acuff.
Ida Carr’s parents were: Alonzo Willett Carr born 1855 and Mary Paralee Sharp
Roy Acuff’s descent from Zachariah Isbell:
Zachariah Isbell born circa 1722 and wife Elizabeth Polly Miller. Zachariah Isbell and Elizabeth Polly Miller had a daughter Lovisa Isbell.
Lovisa Isbell was born 21 November 1743 in Charleston, Dorchester County, South Carolina and died 6 April 1808 in Jonesborough, Washington County, Tennessee. She married John Carr, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, in 1756 in Charleston, Dorchester County, South Carolina. John Carr was born 1737 or 1743 in Charleston, Dorchester County, South Carolina and died in 1818 in Washington County, Tennessee. His birth is given as 10 or 19 Jan 1737 by some researchers and as 21 Nov 1743 by other researchers. His death is given as 6 April or 11 June 1818 by other researchers. John Carr and Lovisa Isbell Carr are buried at Carr-Crumley-Krouse Cemetery in Jonesborough, Washington County, Tennessee.
Ralph Bolton Carr made application to DAR on the Revolutionary War service of John Carr, husband of Lovisa Isbell Carr, as a fourth-great-grandson of John Carr. John Carr’s service is documented in the South Carolina Archives as having served in Captain Thomas Woodward’s 8th Company of Rangers under Col William Thompson, and also having served later in Col William Thompson in the 3rd Regiment of South Carolina. John Carr’s Revolutionary service is documented through the genealogical line as provided by 1) the family Bible, 2) the family Bible in possession of Mrs Peter Naher (who is the aunt of Ralph Bolton Carr) of Johnson City, Tennessee, by by the Will of Alfred Carr, 3) by the family Bible in possession of Mr Paul Carr (uncle of Ralph Bolton Carr) in Johnson City, Tennessee and marriage records of Washington County on page 44 Marriage Records 1787-1840 by Mullins, 4) by Willis of Washington County, Tennessee, Book 1, page 302 of Richard Carr, and 5) Will Book 1, page 166 Will of John Carr, Washington County Will, State of Franklin DAR Publication.
The descent of Roy Claxton Acuff continues with the son of Lovisa Isbell and John Carr through their son John Carr who married Dorcas McCubbin. One of the children of John and Dorcas McCubbin Carr was James McCubbin Carr.
James McCubbin Carr was born 5 February 1801 in Claiborne County, Tennesssee and died 8 September 1889 in Union County, Tennessee. He was amarried to Sarah Sallie Rogers and one of their seven known children was Richard Jackson Carr. Richard Jackson Carr was born 26 February 1826 in Claiborne County, Tennessee and died 12 February 1899 in Maynardville, Union County, Tennessee. Some give his death year 1889, but it is likely that 1899 is correct. His burial place has not with certainty known. Richard Jackson Carr married Nancy Ann Marshall and one of their sons was Alonzo Willet Carr.
Alonzo Willet Carr was born 1 July 1855 in Union County, Tennessee and died 2 July 1933 n Clinton, Anderson County, Tennessee. He was laid to rest in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee. Alonzo W Carr married Mary Paralee Sharp and they had seven known children: Ormiston T Carr born 1876, Charles A Carr born 1877, James Carr born 1883, Ollie Carr born 1883, Nellie M Carr born 1891, Trula F 1896 and Ida Florence Carr. Ida Carr was born 21 October 1879 and died 17 September 1969 in Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee.
Ida Florence Carr and Rev Simon Ed Neill “Eddy”Acuff were married 25 September 1898 in Union County, Tennessee, USA, likely in Maynardville. By 1930 they were living in Knoxville, Tennessee. and later located to Nashville. There may have been a good reason for that re-location. Their known children were: Paul Briscoe Acuff 1900-1984, Nancy Juanita Acuff 1901-1985, Roy Claxton Acuff 1903-1992, Susie Lee Acuff 24 September 1905-22 December 1990, and Claud R Acuff 1910-1971. Nancy Juanita Carr married Harstell D Phillips. Susie Lee Acuff married Robert L Allen.
Roy Acuff’s ancestors with the surname Isbell included many Revolutionary War Soldiers and veterans of many of wars and boatloads of Ministers of the Gospel. The state of Tennessee was founded by Zachariah Isbell. He was a member of the Watauga Settlement and among the original 13 Commissioners who set up the settlement. Zachariah and many other Isbell kin were at King’s Mountain and some of the fiercest and most pivotal battles of the Revolution.
And the beat goes on with talent of the musical variety in our local Isbell family in northwestern Alabama. A local Isbell relative, Jason Isbell. He earned two Grammies this year. His group is known as Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.
Isbell cousin, Roy Acuff seems to have been the first to record “The House of the Rising Sun.” His rendition dates back to 1938.
Hmmm, the Crackerjacks are not just Tennessean, but Alabamian, too.
as evidenced even as far back as 1860.
Documented in the 1860 Lauderdale County, Alabama Slave Schedule for District 2 a 33 year-old female slave had five sets of twins in succession and all but three were alive at the time of the census record. The enumeration took place first day of June, 1860.
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
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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(http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fis03), accessed July 05, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
that 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.
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:
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.
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.
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
|James Henry Vandiver and Nancy Emma Pennington Vandiver|
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.
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.