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Location: Dekalb County TN

Biography of Alvin Avant

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Alvin Avant, Attorney at Law, of Smithville, was born in Dekalb County in 1856, a son of William C. and Nancy (Williams) Avant. The father is of French descent, Born in 1822 in Dekalb County. His father, Benjamin Avant, was a native of Virginia, who immigrated to Dekalb County at an early date. William C. married and settled in the Twelfth District of his native county, where he is a prosperous and respected farmer and possessor of 300 acres of valuable land. His wife was also born in Dekalb County, of English descent. She is now sixty-two years of age. Of their eleven children, Alvin is the fifth. His early education was received at Fulton Academy in Smithville. At the age of eighteen he commenced the study of medicine under the care of Dr. J. S. Harrison. In 1873 he entered the medical department of the university at Louisville, Ky., graduating in March of the next year as M. D. For one year he practiced in Smithville, at the expiration of which time he abandoned medicine and took up the study of law. His preceptor was M. D. Smallman, now judge of the Sixth Circuit of Tennessee. Mr. Avant was admitted to the bar in 1879. The same year he was elected county attorney, serving two...

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Biographical Sketch of D.T. Harrison

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now D. T. Harrison, druggist, was born in 1856 in Dekalb County, the son of John and Mary (Kelley) Harrison. The father, born in Ireland, came to America with his parents when eight years old, and when eleven left home and in some way settled in White County, Ill. He married in White County and learned the tanner’s trade. He was in the late war about one year, and in 1865 came to Smithville and bought a tan yard of W. H. Magness, at which he continued until 1880, when he was elected register. He served four years and in 1886 moved to his present residence near Temperance Hall. His wife was born in White County, and died in 1881. Their six children were James B., in Harrison, Arkansas a merchant; our subject, Cora, John H. (deceased), Robert S., and William (deceased). Our subject was educated in Fulton Academy and Pure Fountain College, Smithville. In 1879 he and his brother, J. B., established a tobacco factory at Smithville, and since 1882 when his brother withdrew, he has been running it independently. He manufactures about 15,000 pounds annually. In March 1886, he bought a drug store of his brother and has since carried on both lines of business, and is a promising young businessman. Politically he is a...

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Biography of D.W. Dinges

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now D. W. Dinges, a notary public, and a leading business man of Alexandria, was born in 1836, in Warren County, Va., the youngest of five children of Wm. M. and Clara P. E. (Lincoln) Dinges, both natives of Virginia. The father was born about 1810, of Scotch- Dutch decent, a son of Mortica Dinges. He was a blacksmith, and spent his entire life in his native State, where he died in 1837. His wife was born about 1814, and is living in White County. She moved to Tennessee soon after her husband’s death. She has been three times married; is a consistent member of the Christian Church. Our subject received rather limited educational advantages at Sparta. He taught school about three years. In 1861 he enlisted in Company K, Sixteenth Tennessee Infantry, serving principally in Tennessee, West Virginia and South Carolina. In 1862 he took part in the battle of Perryville, and was captured near Barbersville, Ky.; in a few hours was paroled, returned home and about three months later joined the Eighth Tennessee Cavalry under Gen. Dibrell. He participated in the battle at Sparta, was again captured and paroled, and returned home after serving his country gallantly, for three and a half years. In 1865 he moved to Alexandria and began merchandising, in partnership with...

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Biograpy of Hon. James M. Allen

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Hon. James M. Allen, one of the prominent citizens of the county, was born September 25, 1822, at Allen’s Ferry on Caney Fork, seven miles from Smithville, the county seat of Dekalb County, Tenn. He is the youngest of eleven children born to Jesse and Nancy (Walker) Allen, both of whom were natives of Virginia. The father settled in what is now Dekalb County in 1801, being one of the oldest settlers. He died in 1857, and the mother in 1840. Both were members of the Baptist Church. Our subject was reared on the farm and became interested in agriculture. His education was acquired in the country schools and at the Fulton Academy in Smithville, his present home. He studied law, and in 1876 was licensed to practice. His public services began as a constable in the Ninth District of his native county, which position he held for twelve years. He was justice of the peace for twenty-two years, was engaged in the mercantile business in Smithville for five years, and also served as deputy sheriff. In 1884 he was elected to the State Legislature. The term was so satisfactory to his constituents that he was re-elected in 1886. October 22, 1846, he wedded Elizabeth M., daughter of Spencer and Araminta (Eddings) Talley, of Statesville, Wilson...

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Biography of William T. Hale

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now William T. Hale. This gentleman is a merchant, Lawyer and literature of Liberty; was born in 1857 at Liberty, Dekalb Co., Tenn., and is one of three boys of C. W. L. and Malissa (Overall) Hale. He received his education at the Masonic Academy, at Liberty, and has been a close student at home. At the age of seventeen he began business life as a partner with his father in the mercantile firm of Hale & son, and has continued in the same business, in connection with his profession, which he entered in 1884, having at the same time found leisure enough to indulge his literary tastes. In 1876 he married Lula Lewis, who was born in 1860, and who was the daughter of G. W. and Sophie (Allen) Lewis, of Lebanon, Tenn. He has two children: Charles and Herbert. Since finishing his studies under James A. Nesmith he has built up a flattering practice in Dekalb and adjoining counties. He is best known as an author, being the author of “Vernon Wild,” a novelette, which had a considerable local reputation, and of the two poetical volumes, “Violets,” and “Swallow Flights”; while his ephemeral pennings for the press would fill volumes. His poems are dainty, finished and full of feeling, and have been praised by Joaquin...

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Biographical Sketch of Dr. Thos. P. Davis

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Dr. Thos. P. Davis, one of Alexandria’s most respected citizens, was born in Smith County, August 31, 1858. He is the youngest of ten children of Benjamin and Kittie (Whorley) Davis. The father was born in North Carolina about 1817, and moved to Tennessee when a young man; afterward married and settled in Smith County. He was one of the most substantial, enterprising and industrious farmers in the section. His death occurred about the close of the late war. His wife was a native of Virginia and came to Tennessee with her parents; she died when the Doctor was an infant. Of her children eight are living. Her mother lived to the unusual age of one hundred and two. Her father was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Mr. and Mrs. Davis were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Our subject was raised by the elder members of the family, receiving his literary education at the country schools and Alexandria. In 1876 and 1877 he read medicine with Dr. E. Tubb, and entered the medical department of the Vanderbilt University, graduating in 1879. He immediately returned to Alexandria and began to practice. He has received an extensive and liberal patronage, and is now recognized as one of the leading physicians of the...

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Biographical Sketch of Prof. H.L.W. Gross

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Prof. H. L. W. Gross, Principal of the Masonic Normal School, Alexandria, and the associate principal, Prof. James L. Boon, are well and favorably known throughout the country. Prof. Gross is the son of Milton and Clara P. C. (Lincoln) Gross , and a native of White County. The father was of German descent, Born in Sullivan County, Tenn., and a son of Jacob Gross, a native of North Carolina and pioneer settler of Sullivan County, where he was engaged in farming and gunsmithing. He died about 1880. His widow, who is ninety-five years of age, enjoys the best of health, is robust and vigorous as a young woman, and never had a serious illness in her life. Milton went to Sparta when about eighteen years of age, and engaged in the saddler’s trade. He married about 1838, and died about 1854. His wife was born in Hardy County (now West),Virginia in 1815, is still living at Sparta, where he received his early education. After attending Burritt College at Spencer, lacking only a term of five months, finishing the course, and two years’ teaching in Alexandria , he entered the Vanderbilt University course in English. He returned to Alexandria and entered upon the duties of his present position, which he has discharged to the satisfaction of...

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Biographical Sketch of J.R. Corley

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now J. R. Corley, a well-known farmer and stock raiser of the Fourth District, was born in Dekalb County in 1848. He is one of seven children of John and Elizabeth (Upton) Corley. The father was born in Virginia in 1802, and immigrated to Dekalb County when a young man. He was a farmer. His death occurred in 1875. His wife was born in Smith County in 1816 and died in 1880. Our subject received his education in the common schools of Dekalb and White Counties, and attended the Cumberland Institute. At the age of nineteen he began clerking in the dry goods store at Temperance Hall, where he remained five months. The next four years were spent in Putnam County in same business. He then returned to his native county and gave his attention to farming. He has been very successful, and owns 185 acres of highly cultivated and improved land. He is a stanch Democrat; cast his first presidential vote for Horace Greeley. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and respected, worthy citizen. In 1869 he married Sarah F., Daughter of James A. and Eliza Scruggs. Mrs. Corley was born in Smith County in 1846. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. To their union have been born George S.,...

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Biography of Pat Geraty

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Pat Geraty, a merchant of Dowelltown, was born in 1832 at Castle Bar, County Mio, Ireland. He is one of six surviving children of a family of nine born to John and Catherine (Conway) Geraghty. The father was born in 1795, same place where Pat first saw the light. Early in life he was a carpenter, afterward a farmer. He died about 1880, in the vicinity in which he had always lived. The mother was born about 1798, in the same county, at Clare, and died in 1883. Our subject was educated in the common schools of his childhood’s home he was in Company G, Fourth United States Cavalry. He took part in the famous battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Lookout Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, and Atlanta and in numerous skirmishes. He was honorably discharged at Gravely Springs, Ala., March 13, 1865, from the army in which he had so bravely fought for the preservation of the stars and stripes. He was very much enfeebled in health, from the hardships and exposures common to a soldier’s life, and remained delicate several years. Immediately after the restoration of peace, he established himself in the mercantile business in Clear Forks, Cannon County, Tenn., where he remained fourteen years, when he sold out and moved to Dowelltown, again embarking in the...

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Biography of W.G. Bratten

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now W. G. Bratten, Farmer, was born in 1823, in Smith County (now Dekalb), the oldest of two sons of Henry and Nancy (Givan) Bratton, The former of Irish origin, born in Maryland about 1798, and the latter of Scotch origin, born in the same State about the same year. The mother’s parents came when she was a year old to Nashville by boat after reaching the Ohio River, and where three weeks in cutting a road to Liberty, which was named by her father in honor of their old home in Maryland, as he was something of a leader in the forty families which came there. The father’s people were among the number, and about 1820 they were married, and in 1823 the father died. Joel Bratton, an ancestor, was one of the Mayflower Pilgrims. The mother afterward married Osburn Munlacks. Their three children were Mary, Sarah and Joseph. She died about 1831 near Liberty. Our subject, reared by his uncle, and with little education, married when twenty-two, Caroline, daughter of James and Lucretia Groom, of North Carolina, and began farming in Cannon County. After eight years he sold and bought his present farm near Liberty. Mrs. Bratton was born in 1826 on our subject’s present farm and died in 1859. But one of their eight...

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Biography of J.L. Colvert

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now J. L. Colvert, retired merchant, was born in 1828 in Culpeper County, Va., the son of William I. and Harriett (Weedon) Colvert. The father, born in the same county in 1791, was a farmer and a soldier in the war of 1812, on duty in his native State. In 1828 he came to Warren County, Tenn., Thence to Alabama for a few years, and about 1840 returned to Cannon County, Tenn. He finally settled in Dekalb County in 1848 and bought a home of 150 acres, where he lived the greater part of his life. He died in Nashville in 1859. The mother, born in 1801 in Fairfax County, Va., is still living, receiving a pension for her husband’s services in 1812. Our subject, one of seven children, came to Tennessee when an infant, and was reared and educated in Cannon County. At the age of sixteen he served a year’s apprenticeship in a tannery, then farmed a year, and in 1848 sunk a tannery in Dekalb County with his brother as partner. In April 1846, he Married Johanna Matthews, born in Cannon County in 1830. Their two children are Mary E., wife of S. D. Blankenship, and Harriett. In 1852 he engaged in farming and merchandising besides tanning. In 1854 he sold his tan yard...

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Biography of Hon. John A. Fuson

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Hon. John A. Fuson, an eminent practicing physician and surgeon of the Fourth District, was born in 1815, in Champaign County, Ohio. He is the third of seven children (three living) of James and Martha (Sneed) Fuson, both of whom were natives of Patrick County, Virginia. The father was of English descent, born in 1792. Two years after marriage he moved to Champaign County, Ohio, where he engaged in farming, occasionally preaching. He died in 1863. The mother was of French origin, born about 1795, and died in 1885. The subject of this sketch received a limited education in the common schools of his native county, remaining with his parents until he was twenty-two, when he came to Tennessee, and settled at Alexandria, Dekalb County, where for three years he studied medicine under direction of Dr. Thomas J. Sneed, at the expiration of which time he began practicing at Liberty, in 1842. In 1847 he married Martha L., Daughter of John W. and Lucy W. (Flowers) Allen, near Rome, Smith County. Mrs Fuson was born in White County, in 1826, and became mother of eleven children. The eight surviving ones are James; Lucy Jane,Wife of Chas. McCaverty of West Virginia; John A.; Elizabeth, Wife of Isaac N. Fite; George M.; Wm. Francis; Josephine, Wife of Chas....

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Biographical Sketch of N.M. Brown

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now N. M. Brown, of Brown & Donnell, Millers, was born in Dekalb County in 1856, the youngest son of six children of Isaiah and Rachel A. (Wood) Brown, both natives of Virginia. The father, of Dutch origin, was born in 1818 and died in 1885. He was the son of John Brown, a tanner. Isaiah was reared and married in his native State, and in 1854 removed to Dekalb County, Tenn., Where he worked at his trade as cooper. The mother, born in 1823, is still living with our subject and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Our subject was educated at Alexandria, and at the early age of thirteen began life as an engineer, to which he has since devoted most of his time. He has had a varied practice under different persons and is a skillful engineer. During 1881 he was a merchant, but since then he has been in charge of the Alexandria mills, in which he has an interest and which are doing a profitable business. He and his brother are also owners of a sawmill in Warren County. June 18, 1885, he was married to Julia, a daughter of John and Julia Rollings, of Alexandria, where Mrs. Brown was born in 1861. She is a member of the Methodist...

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Biography of H.D. Foust

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now H. D. Foust, of Foust & Jones, carriage manufacturers at Alexandria, was born in Wilson County in 1845, a son of William E. and Betsey (Luster) Foust. The father, born in Wilson County about 1818, was the son of William Foust, a native of Germany. William E. was married in 1844, and was all his life a blacksmith and carriage manufacturer in his native county. He was sheriff of the county four terms. The mother was born in the same county about 1829, and both were members of the Missionary Baptist Church. Educated at Lebanon, our subject at fifteen entered Company A, in the Forty-fifth Tennessee Infantry, and operated in the extreme South for about eighteen months, when, under the conscription act, he was rejected on account of age. He then returned home, and soon after joined Gen Forrest’s command, and afterward Gen. Morgan’s on his Indiana and Ohio raid, but was captured on reaching the Ohio River. He was soon recaptured, and went home and south to join Gen. Wheeler at Dalton, Ga., with who he remained until his surrender at Raleigh, N. C., and then returned home. In December 1865, he married Catherine, daughter of W. A. Robinson of Lebanon, where she was born in 1844. Their six children are living: William E., Jr.,...

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Biography of Hon. J.J. Ford

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Hon. J. J. Ford, attorney at law, was born in Dekalb (then Smith) County November 22, 1822. He is one of ten children of Daniel and Mary (Fite) Ford, the former of Irish origin. The father, born about 1794 in South Carolina, was the son of Daniel Ford, Sr., of Virginia, who became one of the earliest settlers of Tennessee, when Daniel, Jr., was but a small boy. He settled in Smith County near what is now Temperance Hall, where he remained until his death. With ordinary education in his youth, Daniel, Jr., married about 1818 and spent his life in Smith and Dekalb Counties. He was an able man and served as magistrate and constable several years. He died in 1864. The mother, a native of Tennessee and of Dutch decent, died in 1836. She was a daughter of Rev. J. Fite, an early Tennessee settler from New Jersey, who spent the early years of his settlement in a cane tent on Smith Fork, and who with his brother cut a road through the cane to Nashville. He made some money by dealing in the skin and flesh of bears. He was a Baptist minister for nearly sixty years and a historic character of early Tennessee. With no educational advantages our subject began the blacksmith...

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