in Lawrence County, Alabama even if the state has no record of her death. Conversely that means that she lived. Yes, she lived and died in Lawrence County, Alabama. She was born in 1884 in Lauderdale County, Alabama. Her family originally resided at a community named Rawhide, but she was born in the area known now as Center Star near Gabriel Butler’s Bluewater Creek cemetery and on Chief Doublehead‘s former Reserve property. She lived there until
shortly after the 1900 Federal Census was enumerated. Then she moved with her husband to his stamping ground in Lawrence County, Alabama. It was there she died in 1939. But, The state has no death certificate on file for Willie Viola Casey Peebles. Numerous attempts to obtain an official death certificate has resulted in a response of are you sure she did not die in another state. I would stomp my little feet and say, I am SURE she died in Lawrence County, Alabama. I can take you to her grave and show you her marker. I can show you her obituary from the Decatur Daily Newspaper dated 4 December 1939. OH, yes, she lived.
In 1888 records of Goodsprings Church in Center Star, she is listed as a member of the church. That is the same church that Gabriel Butler helped establish. It was a lovely little white wooden church and should have been of great historical value but since then it had been added on to and now is bricked, so how much of its historical value is left is not for me to say. I just know that every time I have driven or gone by that little church, I always think of her.
Her maiden name was Willie Viola Casey. She was undoubtedly named after her father Willis Robert Lucas Casey. A measure of how much she was loved by family might be indicated by the fact that at least two descendants were named in her honor. My mother and other grandchildren lovingly called her ‘Willmaw.” She married George Washington Peebles (Maj) and became the mother of eleven known children.
One of her grandsons recalled her fondly. He stated that she was a very religious woman. His favorite memory of her was her singing. He stated that she could sing every bit as well as Loretta Lynn. He recalled that on bringing the family cow up for milking that she would be singing the song “Amazing Grace.” He cherished that memory.
My mother’s memory of her always seemed wistful if her body language was any indication. Mother talked of her having breast cancer. As she recalled the next part, her face would show the pain she felt at the recall of those memories. She stated that her grandpa told Willmaw that if she had her breasts cut off she could no longer live in his house. Mother said that Willmaw did not have her breasts cut off; and that her grandpa got his way of her not living, at least living very long, in his house. She said Willmaw didn’t live long after that in his house, and I shuddered at the thought. Perhaps this is the reason that in my grown up years I am so adamant that only a woman can govern her own body as it has never been Government Issue.
Mother would go on to talk about going to Willmaw’s funeral. If I recall correctly, it was Luke who drove an old school bus and took all those who cared to ride to Willmaw’s funeral at Cottingham Cemetery. The cemetery is located just off the highway. Back in the 1960s when I would take Mother and others around to the cemeteries Cottingham Cemetery would pretty much tear your car up if you drove back to it. There was a little loop around the cemetery that circles the cemetery. After a business located and built their shop near it, they improved the road and a car could easily maneuver back there and all around the little cemetery.
Getting there was likely an adventure for the kids like my mother, but nothing would compare with the return trip. She stated that Luke drove the bus and that Luther would lean out the door of the old decrepid school bus and hold a coal oil lamp to try to illuminate the way to drive back home. It must have been a long, long trip back home under those circumstances. It left a little tear in her heart for the rest of her life.
- You could tell they were all kin… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- Two pictures and one or two pieces of paper… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- He swam the river… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- What does Section Sixteen of Elkton and neighborhood… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
- Depression era… (rememberingsheffield.wordpress.com)
to court the one he would marry in 1897. George Washington Peebles was born, raised, and lived in Lawrence County. He lived in Hillsboro and in the Courtland area. Of course, this was before the Tennessee River had been dammed and some parts of the river were fairly shallow for at least certain times of the year. But, this knowledge kind of makes a soft spot in my heart for him. She must have been quite special in his eyes. The object of his affection was Willie Viola Casey, daughter of Willis Robert Lucas Casey and Mary Anna Manus Casey. They lived in Center Star located across the Tennessee River in Lauderdale County, Alabama. Willis Lucas Casey’s parents were Sarah Francis Lucas Casey and Jacob Duckett Casey. Sarah Francis Lucas’ father was a physician in Florence, Willis Lucas. Jacob Duckett Casey’s parents were Elizabeth Duckett Casey and Gen. Levi Casey. Elizabeth Duckett Casey, Jacob Duckett Casey and Sarah Francis Lucas Casey, among other relatives, are buried at the Casey Cemetery located now on private property, but which at the time was the property of Elizabeth Duckett Casey, widow of Gen. Levi Casey. The last photos featured in a Times Daily newspaper article showed the cemetery after it had been vandalized and stones broken. Elizabeth Duckett Casey lived at what used to be called Rawhide; her property was in close proximity to James Jackson’s Forks of Cypress which burned. Did you ever wonder where Cowpens Creek and such names originated? The progenitor of the Casey family goes back to Abner Casey. The following excerpt from a book provides some background to our Casey family history.
The following information is from: Casey Family History, compiled by Harold Casey and Robert Casey, dated July 15, 1980.
Our first ancestor in this country was from the North of Ireland, and his wife was a Welch woman; they immigrated to America and settled in Virginia; the date I am unable to ascertain; it must have been something like 150 years ago. One account is that he located on the Shenandoah River; another is that he settled on the Roanokes; most probably he resided first and last on both of these rivers. He seems at one time to have to resided near, and been an admirer of the Randolph family, as we find it running down through several generations, and until today.
My great-grandfather was Randolph Casey, but whether he was a son or grandson of the Casey who first immigrated to this country I am not certain. He is said to have been the eldest of seven brothers, born in Virginia, but afterwards residing in Spartanburg District, South Carolina.
I have no certain trace of all of Randolph’s brothers. But from 1820 to 1826, Gen. Levi Casey, of Revolutionary fame, represented the Spartanburg, S.C. District in the House of Representatives of the United States Congress, and died while a member of Congress at Washington City, and is buried in the Congressional burying grounds at Washington City.
Gov. Zadok Casey informed me that while himself a member of Congress, he saw the grave and tomb of his relative, Gen. Levi Casey, at Washington. My impression is that Gen. Levi Casey was a younger brother of Randolph Casey.
A venerable lady, Mrs. Roberts, in 1855 in Texas, who was the mother of the Hon. Oran N. Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and since Governor of said state, stated to me that she grew up in Laurens District, S.C., an adjoining district of Spartanburg, and that she knew Gen. Levi Casey in her younger days, and while he was a member of Congress that he was a man of great hospitality and popularity.
She stated his rule and custom was when he returned home from the “Federal City” he issued and sent out invitations ‘to all the people in his district, 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
Randolph Casey, my great-grandfather, as above stated, was born in Virginia, but was raised and grew up in Spartanburg District, S.C. where he married Mary Jane Pennington, a woman of superior mind and judgement. From the best information I can get, he must have married in 1765 to 1768. His children were seven sons and one daughter. The sons and daughter were born and named in the order following, so far as I can ascertain – viz: Levi, Isaac, Rebecca, Abraham P., Samuel, Randolph, Hiram, and Zadok. I am not able to state definitely the date of the birth of all Randolph Casey’s above named children. Levi, I think, was born some time in the year 1768 or 9, Isaac was born April 5, 1770. Abraham was born, I think, in Nov. 1, 1796 and he was the youngest and was born in Georgia.
My understanding was that Randolph, with most of his children, if not all of them, moved from South Carolina to Georgia about the year 1790 and perhaps earlier, and somewhere from 1800 to 1805 he and his children moved from Georgia to Tennessee and located in what was then Smith County, now embraced in Macon, as I am informed, on the “Long Fork” or “Dry Fork” of Barren River. And there Randolph Casey died and was buried somewhere from 1813 – 1815.
Randolph Casey was a soldier in the cause of the Colonies, and a part of the time under Gen. Marion. Gov. Zadok Casey told me, that while he was in Congress, about 1838, he searched the Military records of the War Department at Washington City and found his father’s name on the rolls and as having been in certain engagements, amongst them the battle of “Kings Mountain” and that he remembered to have heard his father tell about it in his lifetime. My information derived from members of our families that my great-grandfather, Randolph Casey, had a brother named Jesse, one named James, one named John, and one Christopher. What the others names were or what became of them, I am now unable to give a satisfactory account.
By correspondence and investigation, I find John B. Casey, a merchant of Covington, Ky., the son of Joseph Casey, that Joseph had four brothers – (viz) William, John, James and Samuel, all born in Baltimore County, Maryland, their father being from Ireland.
Benjamin Casey of San Jose, Calif. writes me that he is the son of Peter Casey, and that his great-grandfather’s name was Nicholas) who at one time owned the Dunkark Bottom on the South Branch of the Paromac, Va., and that Peter, the father of my correspondent, Benjamin, left Va. about the year 1806. Benjamin has a brother, Lewis, in California. J. M. Casey, a lawyer at Fort Madison, Iowa, writes me that his grandfather was Col. William Casey, a native of Virginia, moved to Kentucky at an early day, represented Adair County in the Legislature, and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of that State. His wife was Mary Jane Logan of Staunton, Va., and her brother, Montgomery, was a celebrated Indian fighter.
That Col. William had but one son, Green Casey, who was one of the first male children born in Adair County, Ky. My correspondent J. M. Casey, is the son of Green Casey, Casey County, Ky., which was named for Col. William Casey.
There is also a Casey family, the founders of Caseyville, Kentucky that are understood by our family to be distantly related. One of them, James, married a sister of Mrs. Gen. Grant; another Sam, has been a member of Congress from Kentucky; and another Peter, was Post Master at Vicksburg, Miss., and I am told is a little hard of hearing.
There are several Caseys in Montgomery and Shelby Counties, Ill. with whom we claim relationship – their names are or were: Levi, Thomas, Aaron, John and perhaps others. John has been a member of the Legislature from Shelby County,Ill.
Later information and investigation induce me to conclude that Randolph Casey’s father had a brother, who came to America with him, that they located in Virginia, and afterwards together moved to Spartanburg District, S.C., and there both their families grew up – and that Gen. Levi Casey who died at Washington City, a member of Congress from S.C., was a son or descendant of the brother of Randolph’s father’s brother.
The old stock of Caseys were mostly large men of action and physical endurance and in the days of Va. and S.C., where wrestling and fighting was fashionable at £eneral musters, elections, and other public occasions, took part and were rarely, if ever, vanquished. They were in the main, men of good judgement, and decided in their opinions. Some of them were churchmen and preachers, others
would drink, were fond of the sports, and would fight if necessary. Gov. Reynolds of Illinois said of the Casey family that he always knew where to find them as they were either in the pulpit or in the “Grocery.” While~this was not literally true, yet it doubtless, served to illustrate the idea that they were men of decided opinions. Being of Irish descent I think I may say they were in the main, warm in their attachments for each other and were perhaps inclined to stand by each other to the extent of being called “Clannish”
Willis Lucas Casey’s mother, now widowed, had come to Alabama ca 1820 with a Duckett nephew, John Duckett. The Duckett’s were from Frederick, Maryland and were quite wealthy and prominent. Elizabeth Duckett had married Levi Casey in Frederick, Maryland. They located to the Old Ninety-Six District in South Carolina in what was or became Newberry, South Carolina. The Levi Casey family was also a prominent family. Levi and brothers had fought in the Revolutionary War. Levi Casey held the rank of Brigadier General. He led his soldiers into the battles that were pivotal in winning the War for American Independence . His service is accounted for next.
Levi Casey, the sixth son of Abner Casey from Tyrone County, Ireland, held the rank of Brigadier General and served in Congress from the state of South Carolina died at age 59 in the year 1807 in Washington City (known now as D.C.). Early in the Revolutionary War, he received command of a company with which he gallantly assisted at the siege of Savannah. He was later a distinguished officer at the Battles of Rocky Mount, Hanging Rock, Musgroves, King’s Mountain, Fishdanford, Blackstocks and at Cowpens. At the Battle of Cowpens, Levi performed important services to General Morgan. Levi Casey participated in a campaign into Georgia and Florida.
Levi Casey was Justice of the peace, Justice of Quorum, County Court Judge, Commissioner and U.S. Senator (1800 – 1803) from the 96th District, Spartanburg, South Carolina. He also was Tax Collector (1786), served in the State House of Representatives as representative of Little River (1786 – 1788). Levi was representative for Newberry County in the State House (1792-1796). Another Shoals area citizen had an ancestor who fought under Gen. Levi Casey. A Times Daily newspaper article entitled “The story of a soldier boy in blue” published: Sunday, May 4, 2008 gives an account of young John L. Lindsey whose family later settled on the Tennessee-Alabama state line.
About the time Thomas Gainsborough was creating his famous work, The Blue Boy, in England in 1770, a young boy in Newberry County, S.C., could easily have been used as a model for his painting.
John L. Lindsey, born in Frederick County, Va., in 1764, persuaded his mother to cut out a coat that matched his father’s regimental colors.
This coat, along with a quilt, stitched together by John L. Lindsey’s daughter-in-law, remained in the Lindsey family until 1934, when they were both placed in the casket of David Lindsey.
Even though this lad was of the young age of 15 or 16, he served as an orderly for his father, Capt. Samuel Lindsey, in the Revolutionary War, especially during the raids of the British soldiers against the American colonists in Newberry County, S.C.
This occurred around 1779 and 1780. When his father marched away, under the command of militia Gen. Levi Casey and participated in the famous Battle of Kings’ Mountain, young John L. Lindsey was permitted to go along with his father as an orderly. It was remembered by members of the family he actually participated in the fighting that occurred during his father’s involvement in the King’s Mountain campaign.
Elizabeth Duckett Casey lost her husband when he was bug fifty something years of age and very unexpectedly from a heart attack. Unfortunately for her, he died intestate. She received only a child’s portion of the estate. And there were a lot of children. So, when her young nephew on the Duckett side planned an overland trip to settle in what would become the Shoals area, Elizabeth Duckett Casey and her then minor children also made the trip. Her settling in the Rawhide Community in Lauderdale County, Alabama is how those descended from the Casey side of the family got to be here. Elizabeth Casey had a married daughter in Newberry, South Carolina who later joined her mother in Lauderdale County, Alabama.
Meanwhile, back to Maj Peebles. At that time, George Henry Peebles’ land holdings were pretty large. The Peebles had thoroughbred race horses that were sought from afar for their pedigree. If I recall correctly the name of their horse farm was Hidden Fields because of the undulating territory of the area before modernization brought about so much leveling of the ground. After Willie Viola’s mother came to live in hers and her husband’s household they acquired the land that had belonged to her family as well. So, their land holdings spread from where the International Champion Paper Mill sits today across the river into Lauderdale County in the area of Center Star.
But an unimaginable event happened that sent the farm up in flames. Well, maybe not the land, but the stables…and with all the horses trapped inside. The events that led up to the unimaginable were heartbreaking. According to what I was told, one of the Peebles girls was raped. The Peebles men, determined as they were, forced the rapist to marry the girl. The couple went on to have two children, I have often wondered what hell the girl’s life must have been like with the unfolding of events as they were.
In retaliation, the man who violated the Peebles girl, set fire to the home and stables. No report was given that any humans perished in the fire, but the account was that the horses were burned alive in the stables. This is a true and accurate account; the perpetrator spent time in Kilby prison for his dastardly deeds.
My grandmother Peebles would tell of seeing the horses. She would tell how fine and beautiful those horses were and that people from all over the country would want to buy or breed them. If only. If only I had the where-with-all to record Mama’s accounts of the family over the years. If only.
- You could tell they were all kin… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)
without even knowing their names because their features were so prominent making them, perhaps, unforgettable. It seems the likenesses tended to carry through more in the males of the Peebles’ lines. I would bet if you had Uncle Dan, Uncle Henry, Gran, and Maj in a lineup you would know they were kin. Likewise, Luther, Luke and Polk.
William Henry Peebles was a brother to George Washington “Maj” Peebles, DANiel Edward Peebles and James Walter “Jim” Peebles. He was born in Lawrence County, Alabama, died in Morgan County, Alabama presumably at Decatur Memorial Hospital, and was buried at Cottingham Cemetery in Lawrence County as were numerous relatives. This family started out in Alabama in Lawrence County around Hillsboro, Mountain Home, Wheeler Basin or Trinity and over the years many of them migrated to Sheffield, Brick, Leighton, and other points in the Shoals. On the 1900 Federal Census Record for Lauderdale County, they all lived in Center Star, Lauderdale County, Alabama. This was due to the fact that WillMaw Willie Viola Casey Peebles’ family had land in Center Star. The Peebles’ land covered the area where Champion Paper Mill is today and crossed the Tennessee River to Lauderdale County into Center Star. Around the Center Star area relatives included Manus, Posey, Casey, and Laughlin surnames.
No matter where destiny took them, they were still one big, and I do mean, big family. The photo on the graphic below is the only one of Uncle Henry as mother used to call him that I know exists. If there are others maybe the owners will share.