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Friday, January 30, 2015

The Whittingtons, Part 5: George Arthur, Solomon Yancy, and Othaneil

These are the stories of the three sons of James and Frankie Whittington who stayed in Tennessee where their parents had migrated from North Carolina. One son stayed in North Carolina. Five other sons migrated on to Texas.This is Part 5 of the series.

Part 1: The James and Frankie Whittington Family
Part 2: William and Richard
Part 3: Agatha and Telitha
Part 4: Gibson and Weston
Part 6: Cason Coley, James Henderson, Quintillian, and Frances Ann


George Arthur Whittington

George Arthur Whitenton (as he spelled it) was born in Wake County, North Carolina on 1 or 27 June 1811.  His older siblings at the time of his birth were William (12), Richard (10½), Agatha (8), Telitha (6), Gibson (4), and Weston (23 months). He grew up in Wake and Johnston counties, being counted with his family on the 1820 and 1830 Census records in Johnston County. Interestingly, when he was 9 years old, his age must have been rounded up to the next census category. By the time he was a teenager he was probably helping with the family farm work, even though the family had slaves too. He moved with his parents when he was in his 20s to Tennessee, settling near Jackson in Madison County. He was enumerated there with his parents’ family in the 1840 Census. 

When he was 35, he married 19-year-old Martha Elizabeth Bledsoe on 5 February 1846. They had the following children, all in Madison County:

  • James Marshall Whitenton, 1847
  • Mary Frances Whitenton, 1848
  • Thadeus Erastus “Rock” Whitenton, 1850
  • Coley Horace Whitenton, 1852
  • Lucius Edward Whitenton, 1853
  • Virginia Elizabeth Whitenton, September 1856
  • George Quintillian Whitenton, 1859
  • William Louis Yancy Whitenton, 1862
  • Robert Lee Whitenton, 1864
  • Alethia Phidelia Ann Whitenton, 1866
The 1850 Census for District 17 of Madison County, Tennessee, shows that on November 14th George and Martha had James M, Mary F, and Thadeus, and that George’s farm was worth $300.

The 1860 Census for District 17, Madison County, Tennessee, shows their family with George at age 49, Martha age 33, James 13, Mary 12, Thadeus 10, Coley 8, Lucius 6, Lizzie 5, and Quince 2. Mary and Lucius were reported to have attended school within the year; none of the other children did, though, which seems a bit curious. George’s farm was worth $1100 and personal property $300. He owned no slaves and his two eldest boys were 13 and 10, so they were of limited help with the farm work. Either George had hired help or he did not have much of his land under cultivation. Still, with a total worth of $1400, George was doing quite well for himself.

During the Civil War, George’s tax assessment for June 1862 was for 1.75 on $500 for 110 acres of land. He had a penalty of 88 cents assessed for nonpayment of taxes for a total of $2.63 owed. He had a lot of company in not paying his taxes—most of the tax assessments on that page were unpaid, including his brother Solomon’s, but their brother Othneil had paid his tax. No doubt the War was making things more difficult for those with less wealth than others. Othneil had twice as much wealth as his brothers who were his neighbors; he also owned slaves. George never owned any slaves and did all his work himself, of course probably having the help of his sons.

Of course George and his family sympathized with the Confederates. When their last son was born in 1864, he was named “Robert Lee” after the great Confederate general.

George didn’t live long after the Civil War ended. He died on 10 March 1867 and was buried in the Whitenton Cemetery there in Madison County near the Whittenton farms at a place called Beech Bluff, next to his parents.

The last two of George’s children died young: Robert Lee Whitenton in 1880 at the age of 16; Alethia Phidelia Ann Whitenton in 1888 at the age of 22.

The other children married and gave George and Martha 46 grandchildren. George and his wife had the following descendants:

  • James Marshall Whitenton married Mattie Ann Moore on 4 January 1870 in Madison County, Tennessee. They had nine children:
    a. Minnie Hollan Whittington (1870) married John F. Cousens and had a daughter, Mary Frances.
    b. Laura Elizabeth Whitenton (1872) married Erbin Jared Cooper and had a daughter, Mary in 1912.
    c. George Stephen Whitenton (1874) married Mary Louis Newton and had Lillian Pauline in 1901, Percy and Marie in 1902, and Ruby in 1919.
    d. Walter Horace Lorraine Whitenton (1877) married (1) Sarah Louise Lallamand and had Marshal Edward in 1902 and Claudia in 1903. Walter m. (2) Abbie Rozella Gould and had Delta Valentine in 1913 and Emily LaRue in 1918.
    e. Laura Ruth Whitenton (1880), died at age 21 or 22.
    f. Robert Oscar Whitenton married Nell Crossan and had William in 1915, Mary Elizabeth in 1916, and Wilson Burton in 1924.
    g. Sallie Mae Whitenton (1885) married Oscar Joe Thorpe. No further details.
    h. Milton Marshal Whitenton (1888), wife unknown.
    i. Charles Lee Whitenton (1891) married Rose Katherine Gates. No further details.
    After Mattie died, James married Lucy Jane Roberts, and after she died, he married Effie Newman. James died 15 June 1936 in Benton, Kentucky at the age of 88.
  • Mary Frances Whitenton married John Brown. They had ten children:
    a. Martha Lula Brown (1871) married Charles Leonard Weir and had Joseph Leonard in 1894, Bertha in 1896, Roy in 1897, Annie M in 1900, Mary Lou in 1904, Jonnie Ione in 1906.
    b. Cora Lee Brown (1873), died unmarried at age 21.
    c. John Milton Brown (1874) married Ada Jester and had Alberta in 1904, Folger Irwin in 1907, and Laverne in 1910.
    d. Anna E Brown (1876) married Benjamin David Wimpee and had Mark in 1903, Cora in 1909, Benjamin in 1912, and Birdie in 1915.
    e. Neil Horace Brown (1878) married Martha Evaline Norwood and had Sadie Fern in 1905, Horace Corn in 1907, John Oakley in 1909, Neil Clyde in 1914, and Earl Wilson in 1917.
    f. Elba N. Brown (1880) died unmarried at age 24.
    g. Earnest Marshall Brown (1884) married Lula Mae Mason and had Mason in 1909.
    h. Bertha Ione Brown (1886) died at age 2 years.
    i. James D Brown (1888), no further details.
    j. George Frank Brown (1889) and/or Frank L Brown (1892). Possible marriage to a Lucille but no known children.
    Mary Frances died 9 January 1933 at the age of 85.
  • Thadeus Erastus was nicknamed Rack Whitenton. He married Margaret Isabelle Hendrix. They had eight children, three of whom died as unnamed infants. The others are:
    a. Nancy Rebecca (1872) died at age 2 years.
    b. Ida Belle (1875) died unmarried at age 19 years.
    c. Flora Kendall (1877) married James Calvin Walker and had Madge Irene in 1904, Idella in 1907, Martie in 1908, Jay in 1911, Earl in 1915, Cecil in 1918, and Marshall in 1919.
    d. Edgar Cleveland (1884) married Ora Allison and had Roy in 1906, Marvin in 1907, Ruby in 1908, and Rosie in 1910.
    e. Grover Horace (1886) died at the age of 14.
    Rack died 31 January 1923 in Maple Grove, Tennessee at the age of 73.
  • Coley Horace Whitenton married Sarah Jane Parham. They had two children, one of whom died as an infant. The other was Sarah E Whitenton, born in 1880. No further details.
    He died 13 April 1932 in Madison County, Tennessee, a few days before his 80th birthday.
  • Lucius Edward was nicknamed Ned Whitenton. He married Joseph Cordelia Sammons. They had five children:
    a. Joseph Edward (1882), no further details.
    b. Robert Taylor Whitenton (1886), no further details.
    c. Norvelle Whitenton (1890) married George Alfred Carter and had Maxine in 1911.
    d. Enloe Whitenton (1894), no further details.
    e. Dewey Whitenton (1898), no further details.
    But in the same cemetery with these people are Lorena Craft Whtenton (1902), and Dewey Craft Whitenton (1934), probably relatives. Ned died 30 December 1938, five days after his 85th birthday.
  • Virginia Elizabeth “Jennie” Whitenton married William J Nolan and had no children. She died in 1931 at the age of 75.
  • George Quintillian Whitenton married Anna Hatton. They had three children, two of whom were:
    a. Elma (1888)
    b. Guy (1893)
    The third child was likely a daughter who had married before the census was taken that showed the other two children in their early twenties and late teens. After Anna died, George married Cora Hunt. They had no children together. He died 23 April 1933 at the age of 75.
  • William Louis Yancey Whitenton went by the name of Yance. He married Maggie Lee Moore and moved to Arkansas. They had nine children, two of whom died young. Here is what is known of them:
    a. Lotta Whitenton (1890) married Henry M Wakefield and had Helen in 1909.
    b. George Turney Whitenton (1892), no further details
    c. Myrtle Whitenton (1895), no further details.
    d. Iva Bett Whitenton (1897), no further details.
    e. male child, 1900-1910, no further details.
    f. Louis Yancy Whitenton (1908), no further details.
    g. Norma Whitenton (1910) married Bruce Eugene Lewellen, no further details.
    h. Julius Whitenton (1913), no further details.
    Yance died in Marianna, Arkansas on 20 February 1929 at the age of 66.

Solomon Yancy Whittenton

Solomon Yancy Whittington (his name was spelled Whittenton in later records) was born in Wake County, North Carolina on 20 July 1813. He was born into a large family consisting of his parents, James and Frankie Whittington, and his siblings William (age 14), Richard (age 12), Agatha (age 10), Telitha (age 8), Gibson (age 6), Weston (age 4), and George (age 2).

When Solomon was still a little boy, perhaps about 5 years old, the family gained a slave named Dolly from Solomon’s maternal grandfather’s estate. Soon his father purchased another slave, a young man, who helped in the fields.

Solomon grew up helping his father with the farm work. He appeared on the 1820 and 1830 census records living with his father’s family in Johnston County, North Carolina. The family moved from North Carolina to Madison County, Tennessee, in about 1838 when Solomon was around 25 years old. He was living in Madison County near Jackson in 1840 with his father’s family when the census was taken that year.

The young man seemed to have gotten into some trouble over a young lady just after the move, for in 1841 Solomon had to appear on a charge in civil court that he was the reputed father of the child of a woman named “Louvisey Manor” in McNairy County, which was not far south of the Whittington home in Madison County. However, the court ruled that since the woman and child in question had been continuously residing in McNairy County for the two years since its birth, the Madison County Court refused to have jurisdiction over the case and it was dismissed. Nothing more is known of whether this really was Solomon’s child, and it is further not known whether he ever paid anything to the mother. There could be some truth to the story—probably Solomon did have some relationship with the woman at least, but he never did acknowledge the child as his and nothing more was ever heard about it, so perhaps he was not the child’s father after all.

Still, Solomon ceased living in the family home after that and his sister Agatha, whose first marriage is something of a mystery, came to live with and keep house for him, resuming her maiden name, but bringing a girl with her whose last name is the same as her first husband. We don’t know if this girl was Agatha’s child or not, nor anything else about her, except that she was reported to be 13 years old in the 1850 Census when she was living with Agatha and Solomon. In that census, Solomon was reported to be 32, which shaved five years off his age. He had no property reported but was a farmer, so it is likely that he was working for his father, who lived next door.

Solomon seemed to be poorer at this point than the rest of his brothers except Weston, who had just moved to Texas and was struggling to get established there. Even the younger brothers had more property than Solomon. Was he the family “black sheep” for having been hauled into court over a matter that was seen as staining the family honor?

It seems likely that Solomon was courting at the time the census was taken, because he must have married Mary A. Hogins very soon afterward. Their first child, Valerie, was born the next year. 

Mary Hogins is a mystery to us. She was born in either North Carolina or Tennessee in about 1820. Her last name comes from Valerie’s death record, so it is the memory of a granddaughter trying to recall what her mother (Valerie) had told her, and who knows whether what Valerie said was an accurate reflection of what her own mother had told her many years before. There are several Hogins families in 1840 living not too far away in Dickson County, northeast of Madison County, and one of them could be Mary’s family. All contain females of the right age, but all is pure guesswork. There is a Hogan family in Madison County in 1850, but they were not listed on the population schedule, only on the agricultural schedule. More research is needed to determine whether anything more can be known of Mary’s family and origins.

The next year, on December 20, 1851, Solomon’s father gave him fifty acres of land in Madison County, Tennessee. But a month before that, his father had given his younger brother more than twice that amount of land. It was registered on August 10, 1853 (probably right after his father’s death).

Solomon and Mary had the following children:

  • Valerie Jane Whittenton, born March 1851 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • William Whittenton, born 1853 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Mary Ann Whittenton, born 1854 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Frances Elizabeth Whittenton, born May 1855 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Mary Jane Whittenton, born 1857 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Jos Laney Whittenton, a daughter, born 1860 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Thomas Jabe Whittenton, born 1861 in Madison County, Tennessee.
  • Bedford Forrest Whittenton, born 1864 in Madison County, Tennessee.

In 1860 Solomon had a farm worth $1000; he had one man age 50 living with him and working on the farm. He had no slaves. Solomon had 30 of his 100 acres under cultivation. He had a horse and 2 working oxen. He had 3 milk cows and 3 other cattle, and 20 pigs. He had grown 250 bushels of Indian corn, two bales of cotton, and 19 bushels of wheat. He had 25 pounds of sweet potatoes, had made 150 pounds of butter, his home manufacturing was worth $40 and the value of slaughtered animals was $72. Solomon’s farm was valued at $1400 on that form. He must have had hired help, because his children were too young to help and he had a lot of work put in on that farm to have that much wealth.

The effects of the Civil War on Solomon and his family are unknown, but it is apparent that their sympathies lay with the Confederate side of the conflict, as can be seen by the name of their last son, born in 1864, who was named after the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. One effect seems to be that Solomon came out of the war poorer than he went into it, which is not at all surprising for the area.

Researcher Diane Bollert with the website “Too Many Branches” found that Solomon was listed as a member of a church in Jackson, Madison, Tennessee, as of August 1869. Presumably this was the Primitive Baptist Church, but the record is not available to us.

In 1870 the county census taker for population missed Solomon and his family, but the census taker for the agricultural schedule came to the farm and found Solomon doing well, but with only half the land he had owned ten years before. In 1870 he had only 50 acres of land, of which 25 were under cultivation yielding 250 bushels of Indian corn, and 25 were woodland. The value of his farm was $800, and Solomon had paid out $50 in wages to his workers. His livestock, worth $800, consisted of  three horses, two mules or asses, one milk cow, three other cattle, eight sheep,  and twelve pigs. Inflation had hit, and although Solomon’s farm was half what it was in 1860, it was valued at more.

Solomon’s death was reported 8 December 1874 to the county court as follows: “Solomon Whittenton died about November 2, 1874; left wife and six children.” He was 61 years old.

His wife, Mary, died 20 December 1886, at the age of 66. His children William, Mary Ann, Jos Laney, and Bedford had all died before November 1887, and two of those children must have died before their father. Only four of the children grew up to marry and have children of their own:

  • Valerie Jane married James Hart and had four children.
  • Mary Jane married first Barney Johnson and had two daughters. After Barney’s death, she married William Lester Munroe and had eight more children.
  • Frances E married George D. Pond and had a number of children, only one of whom lived to adulthood, but he died soon after his marriage and left no children.
  • Thomas Jabe married a younger sister of George D. Pond, Narcissus Jane Pond, and they had a number of children.


Othaniel Whittington


Othaneil Whitenton (as he spelled his name in later records) was born 10 January 1816 in North Carolina. He was the ninth child of James and Frankie Whittington, who had six other sons and two daughters when “Othnell” (as he was often called) was born. They were: William (17), Richard (15), Agatha (13), Talitha (10), Gibson (8), Weston (7), George (4), and Solomon (2). Something about Othnell set him apart from the rest of his siblings. He ended up being the major heir of his father, and he probably was the wealthiest of them all too. Maybe he was just that much more capable than all his siblings, who knows? One interesting fact about him is that he is the only one of all the children to own slaves when he grew up. He inherited his father’s slaves, but he seems to have sold them and bought others. Others of his siblings were wealthy enough to afford slaves, but they chose not to.

The first records of Othnell are the 1820, 1830, and 1840 Census records, where he is counted among the males in his father’s family in North Carolina and Tennessee. The family moved to Madison County, Tennessee, in 1838 when he was about 22 years old. He probably grew up helping with the house and farm chores, and he learned farming at an early age along with his brothers, even though his father had slaves who doubtless worked in the fields too. There was usually only one slave in the family working on the farm; the other would have been working in the house where Othnell’s mother was probably overworked anyway. She died immediately after the family reached Tennessee, and Othnell’s father remarried five years later.

In 1850 when the Census named everybody (except the slaves), Othnell was listed in his father’s household as the last person, behind his younger brother Quintillian and older sister Talitha. His age is given as 30 which is off by four years, and his occupation is farmer. He owns no property and is probably working for his father.

At the end of the next year his father deeded him 110 acres of the family farm. The date was November 28, 1851. A month later, on December 20, 1851, his father deeded his older brother Solomon 50 acres. Why the amounts are unequal, and why all the rest of the sons got nothing comparable is one of the mysteries of this family. Maybe Othenell was the favorite son; maybe the rest were given money rather than property; who knows?

Othnell married Christena Rebecca Cox on January 13, 1858 in Madison County, Tennessee. She was born in Wilson County, Tennessee on January 5, 1834. She was 24 when they married; Othnell was 42.

Perhaps James had left Othnell with instructions to “take care of” his siblings remaining at home, for five years after James’s death, Othnell gave 50 acres of the land he got from his father jointly to his brother Quintillian and his sister Telitha on November 28, 1858. From somewhere he acquired another 50 acres though, because in 1860 his farm was reported to be 100 acres.

Othnell in 1860 had three slaves, a woman age 38, and two little boys ages 6 and 3. Othnell’s family in 1860 consisted of his wife, Christine, and a one-year-old son. His sister Telitha lived with them. His farm was worth $1000 and his personal estate $3000. He was working only 20 acres out of his 100-acre farm. He had 1 horse, 2 milk cows and 4 other cattle, and 12 pigs. He had grown 250 bushels of Indian corn and harvested 1 bale of cotton weighing 400 pounds.

His farm would today be worth over $300,000, not counting the home and personal worth. Add in his slaves and personal estate, and he was worth about $490,000–$550,000. He was wealthy for his time indeed.

His children were:
  • James Arthur Whitenton, born 1859.
  • Martha Ellen Whitenton, born March 10, 1862.
  • Frances E Whitenton, born 1866.

During the Civil War Othnell lost part of the value of his farm, and of course after the war his slaves were free. We have only a small glimpse of his situation during the war years; the tax assessment of 1862 showed that his farm was worth $1100 and of the $3.85 he was assessed for taxes, he paid $2.10 within 60 days. He did not pay the remainder until April 16, 1866, and then he had to pay $43.95.

In 1870 the agricultural schedule showed that Othnell’s farm had shrunk by half. He had 25 acres planted with crops and 25 acres of woodland. He had 4 horses, 2 milk cows and 3 other cattle; 10 sheep, and 50 hogs. He had harvested 25 bushels of winter wheat, 250 bushels of Indian corn, and 1 bale of cotton. His farm was valued at $1000, his farm implements and machinery $50, his livestock $500, and his crops $350, for a total of $1900. Despite inflation and the war, Othnell was not doing poorly at all. He died 29 March 1875 at age 59. His widow, Christine, invited her older brother, who was divorced, to live with her and the two girls, while James Arthur began going out to work for other farmers, boarding where he worked. Christine apparently lost the farm, and the family became very poor.

Christina Whitenton died April 7, 1885 at the age of 51.

In a few years James Arthur moved to Alabama, and there he met a young widow, Josie Brewer (nee Jones), who had three children, Charlie, James, and Annie. They set up housekeeping and were married July 19, 1895 in Lauderdale County, Alabama. They had the following children:
  • Alonzo E. Whitenton, b. November 11, 1894
  • Bessie Whitenton, b. November 1897
  • Walter Whitenton, b. September 1899
  • Mattie Whitenton, b. 1904
  • Jesse O. Whitenton, b. May 18, 1907
  • Luther Whitenton, b. July 8, 1909

James Arthur Whitenton supported his family all his life by doing farm work, but he never did own his own farm. He was able to advance from hiring himself out to renting a farm. His family all moved to Poinsett County, Arkansas in the 1920s and there James died in 1928.

His sister Martha, meanwhile, met a man named Barney Beauregard Williams and married him in 1887, when she was 25 years old. Barney was a year older than Martha and was a farmer born in Tennessee to North Carolina parents. They had the following children:
  • Ernest E, born in March 1892
  • Ben H, born in June 1895
Barney owned his own farm, so the family were comfortable throughout their lives. Martha died from complications of a gall stone in June 1929 at the age of 67.

Nothing is known further about the youngest sister, Frances.


Note: If you would like to purchase a complete book of the series with updates, sources, and more, please send me a message.

1 comment:

  1. It turns out Othnell was not such a model person after all. Like his brother Solomon, Othnell was taken to court and ordered to pay the expenses of a bastard child whom he refused to claim. He did pay the fine to the mother though. This happened before he married Christina Cox.

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