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Location: Smithville Tennessee

Biography of Alvin Avant

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 years. January 1881, he became superintendent of public instruction, holding the office four...

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Biograpy of Hon. James M. Allen

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 Co., Tenn., who was born January 2, 1830. To this union ten children...

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Biographical Sketch of D.T. Harrison

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 Democrat and is a member of the I. O. O. F., Pure Fountain...

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Biographical Sketch of J.R. Corley

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., James R. (deceased), Carrie L., William M., and John R....

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Biography of Prof. T. B. Kelly

Prof. T. B. Kelly, A. M., LL. B., president of Pure Fountain College, Smithville, was born in Columbia, Maury Co., Tenn., in 1852. His parents were Thomas J. and Elizabeth (Hardwicke) Kelly. The father was of Irish descent, born March 9, 1810, in Dickson County, Tenn., where his father, Thomas Kelly located after emigrating from Ireland, about 1800. Thomas J. married in 1838, and about 1844 moved to Columbia, where he established a queens ware store, which he managed successfully until the year of his death, 1861. His first wife was of French extraction, born in 1817, in Buckingham County, Virginia She died in January 1854. There were eleven children, only two of who are living: George M., a farmer of Maury County, and our subject. Prof. Kelly received his early education in his native county, at Jones’ Academy. In 1837 he entered the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, remaining five months. In the winter of 1873 he began the study of law at Nashville, his preceptor being Hon. F. C. Dannington. He also assisted in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court. In the fall of 1874 he entered the law department of Cumberland University at Lebanon, graduating the following June. He located in his native town. In September 1876, he commenced teaching in the Lewisburg Institute. For fifteen months he was assistant principal, at the...

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Biographical Sketch of E.J. Evans

E. J. Evans, commercial traveler for Weel, Connell & Riddle, dry goods, shoes, clothing, etc., Nashville, was born in 1850 in the District of Columbia, and now resident of Smithville. He is the son of John G. and Lucinda (Vick) Evans. The father, born in 1819, in Dekalb County, Tenn., is the son of Joseph Evans, a native of Maryland, who, when a boy, came to Tennessee and settled where Liberty, Dekalb County, is located, among the very earliest white settlers. John G. had learned the carpenter trade under his father, and after his marriage in 1844, he settled in Liberty. In 1861 he moved to Dry Creek, and in 1881 to Smithville, where he was elected to his present position of register in 1866. His wife, born in 1822, in Dekalb County, is still living. Our subject, educated in Liberty, began reading law in 1872 under Hon. J. B. Robinson, and was admitted in 1873. The following year he was elected county clerk of Dekalb County, and served one term. In 1879 he established a dry goods store in Smithville, and after two years sold out and became traveling salesman for Settle & Kinnard, and two years later for Pigg, Manier & Co., then twelve months after for Tracy & Co., with whom he remained until he was employed by his present firm. In August 1875, he married...

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Biography of W.W. Wade

W. W. Wade, Judge of the Fifth Chancery Division of Tennessee, is a native of Dekalb County, born in Smithville in 1848, a son of Wm. M. and Caroline (Eastham) Wade. The Father was of Scotch-Irish descent, born in Virginia in 1826. His Father (grandfather of our subject), Wm. H., also a native of Virginia. He was a hatter by trade. After residing in Wilson County for a few years he located, in 1840, in Smithville, Dekalb County, where he passed the remainder of his days. Wm. M. studied law when a young man with Judge M. M. Brien, who afterward became his partner. About 1855 he entered into partnership with Judge Robert Cantrell, now of Lebanon, continuing until his death in 1858. His wife was born in Wilson County, Tenn., in 1828. After Mr. Wade’s demise she went to Nashville, in 1869, where she now resides. Of her five children three are living: Timothy W., a lawyer of Smithville; Louella, wife of Winfield Graves, a resident of Nashville, a produce dealer, and our subject who is the eldest living. He received his literary education in the Fulton Academy at Smithville, and at the age of nineteen began the study of law, under John B. Robinson. In December 1876, he was admitted to the bar and immediately entered upon his practice. In 1873 he formed a partnership with Hon....

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Biography of John M. Mason

John M. Mason, a well-known farmer of the Fifteenth District, was born October 22, 1819, in North Carolina, and came to Smith (now Dekalb) County in 1827. He was the seventh of thirteen children born to Wiley and Nancy (Bensy) Mason. The father was born January 31, 1785, in Virginia. He served in the war of 1812, and was mustered out at the close of the war at Norfolk, Virginia. He moved to Caswell County, N. C., and from there to Smith County in 1827. He was a man of considerable intelligence, well versed in the Bible, in which he took a deep interest. He was also thoroughly posted on all political subjects. His death occurred in 1840. His father was a native of Whales. Mrs. Nancy Mason was born October 4, 1783, and died in North Carolina. Our subject had but limited educational advantages until after his majority. He attended the common schools of the county. He worked as an overseer and manager for several years. He then farmed on rented land until he was able to purchase forty-two acres near Riddleton, Smith County. From time to time he has added to his place, and now owns 400 acres, well cultivated and improved, and a house and lot in Smithville. For nine years he has been magistrate, and trustee of the Earl Academy two years. From 1859 to...

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Biography of R.C. Nesmith

R. C. Nesmith, attorney at law of Smithville, was born in Dekalb County in 1837, a son of William A. and Elizabeth M. (McDowell) Nesmith. The father is of Scotch- Irish decent, born in 1799, in York District, South Carolina. In 1809 with his father, William Nesmith, immigrated to Blount County, E. Tenn. A year later they went to northern Alabama, where for a number of years they lived among the Cherokee Indians. In 1824 he came to Dekalb County, and three years later married. He settled in the Nineteenth district, where he engaged in wagon making and farming. There were but two wagons in the county when he settled there. He has lived in various portions of the county, but for past few years has made his home in Smithville. From 1859 to 1862 he was county tax collector. He is the oldest living man in the county, and until the last seven years was unusually vigorous and active. He is rather eccentric, witty and humorous. He is now quite feeble. His wife was born in Wilson County in1803, and died April, 1885. She was the mother of eleven children, of whom nine are living, our subject being the seventh. He attended the common schools but a short time. At the age of seventeen he began teaching, continuing four sessions. In 1862 he enlisted in Company G, Forty-fifth...

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Biography of W.R. Smith

Smith, W.R, of the firm Smith Bros., the well-known proprietors of a general store of Smithville, established their house in the fall of 1877. He is the sons of William S. and Catherine J. (Tippitt) Smith. The father was of English-Irish descent, born in Wilson County, Tenn., in 1823. His father, John Y. Smith, was a native of Virginia, and located in Wilson County when a small boy. He died in 1865. William S. married in 1842, and settled in the Eleventh District, where he became the possessor of 175 acres of land. He was a farmer and stock raiser. In 1876 he moved to Trousdale County, near Hunter’s Point, where he now owns 250 acres. His wife was also born in Wilson County in 1826, of English-Dutch origin. They had eight children, seven of whom are living, our subjects being the second and third. J. J. was born in 1845, and was educated at the New Middleton Academy, under the management of Profs. J. P. Hamilton and N. J. Finney. At his majority he began teaching, first near Statesville, Wilson County. In 1837 the two brothers took charge of the Fulton Academy, at Smithville, remaining two years. They commenced with twenty pupils, and closed with one hundred and thirty; the average was eighty-six, which is the largest average of any school ever taught in the county. It was...

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Biography of J.J. Smith

J.J. Smith, of the firm Smith Bros., the well-known proprietors of a general store of Smithville, established their house in the fall of 1877. He is the sons of William S. and Catherine J. (Tippitt) Smith. The father was of English-Irish descent, born in Wilson County, Tenn., in 1823. His father, John Y. Smith, was a native of Virginia, and located in Wilson County when a small boy. He died in 1865. William S. married in 1842, and settled in the Eleventh District, where he became the possessor of 175 acres of land. He was a farmer and stock raiser. In 1876 he moved to Trousdale County, near Hunter’s Point, where he now owns 250 acres. His wife was also born in Wilson County in 1826, of English-Dutch origin. They had eight children, seven of whom are living, our subjects being the second and third. J. J. was born in 1845, and was educated at the New Middleton Academy, under the management of Profs. J. P. Hamilton and N. J. Finney. At his majority he began teaching, first near Statesville, Wilson County. In 1837 the two brothers took charge of the Fulton Academy, at Smithville, remaining two years. They commenced with twenty pupils, and closed with one hundred and thirty; the average was eighty-six, which is the largest average of any school ever taught in the county. It was...

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Biography of Hon. Bethel Magness Webb

Hon. Bethel Magness Webb, attorney at law, Smithville, Tenn., was born in Warren County Tenn., September 21, 1847. He is the sixth of thirteen children born to D. W. and Sarah (Magness) Webb. His father was of English descent, Born in Warren County in 1815, a son of Julius Webb, who was a native of North Carolina and came to middle Tennessee in his youth and settled in what is now Warren County. He was on of the pioneers of that section. After marriage D. W. Webb located in the northern part of Warren County, where he lived till his death in 1866. He was a prosperous merchant and a large slave and landholder up to the late civil war. He was a Democrat and went with the South in that unfortunate struggle, and sustained heavy losses during the war. At his death there were eight of his children single and living with him, of whom Bethel was the oldest, and some of them were quite young, and owing to the ravages of the war, they and their widowed mother were left with meager resources for support. Mrs. Webb was of Scotch-Irish descent and was born in 1820 in what is now Dekalb County, Tenn. Her father, P. G. Magness, Sr., was one of the pioneer settlers of that section. He was a strong Democrat and an active influential...

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Biography of I.C. Stone

I. C. Stone, is of English, Irish and Scotch descent. His ancestors settled in the colony of North Carolina. Their descendants mainly kept pace with the tide of immigration to the new States and Territories. The paternal grandfather, Thomas Stone, probably of English, and Scotch origin, married Miss Sally Corder,of Scotch family, about 1789 in North Carolina on the waters of the Yadkins River, and not long after settled in Tennessee, where the father, C. H. Stone, was born December 22, 1796. The maternal grandfather, Joseph Allison, supposed to be partly of English and known to be partly of Irish origin, married Jane Donaldson, a native of Ireland, and settled in Orange County, N. C., about twelve miles northwest of Hillsboro. Here the mother, the youngest child of her parents, was born about 1793. Here she lived until maturity and obtained an ordinary education. The grandfather Allison had settled in White County and grandfather Stone had settled in Jackson County, Tennessee, before 1818. At the home of the former in White County, the father and mother were married in October 1818. They had five children of whom our subject was the fourth and the only son. In 1826 our subject was taken to Smith County, two miles from the mouth of Hickman Creek, and they’re reared, and received a county school education. The father was an independent farmer of...

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