Benton County Tennessee

Early Settlers Biographies

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FLORENCE George Washington Florence was the third child that was born to Jacob Browning and Cynthia Florence. George was born in Benton County on Christmas day, the 25th of December of 1867. He married on November 3, 1887 to Ada Lee Elmore, who was born on Febuary 4, 1867. She was the daughter of Newton C. Elmore, born in 1845 and died December 16, 1878, and Nancy Ann Rushing, born, May 29, 1849, (Date of death not on her tombstone.) George Washington Florence was a cotton farmer and was licenced to preach in Lexington, Tennessee in 1893. He was the Pastor of some of the prominent Churches of the Central Tennessee Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church. He was at one time, Church Bishop and was elected Secretery of the Conference. In the years of 1928-1932, was elected Alternative Delegate of the Last Quadrennial Session of the General Conference. He professed his faith in Christ at the age of 27 and joined the Central Tennessee Conference in 1895. Between the years of 1916-1918, he was also District Superintendent of the Lawrenceburg District at Lexington, Tennessee in Henderson County. During the building of a Methodist Church in Benton County, George fell off of the steeply slanted roof into a ditch which resulted in his back being broken. He was carried on a bed sheet to the home of a local Methodist Minister where he spent several weeks in recovery. He retired in the fall of 1933 because of ill health. The last six years of his career was devoted to a pastorate in Lexington, Tennessee.

His wife, Ada, died of a cereabral hemmorage after getting overheated working with a calf. She died on July 13, 1934. George died the next year on July 26, 1935 of heart dropsy. They both are buried at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church Cemetery in Benton County.

George and Ada's first child was a son, Walter Newton Florence. He was born on August 2,1888 in Benton County. He married Lelia V. Stagner on December 23, 1906. Lelia was born on November 28, 1888 and died March 26, 1961. Walter died on October 12, 1965. They are buried at Peasant Hill United Methodist Church Cemetery. Walter N. also followed a family tradition by also becoming a Benton County Magisrate, (his dates of service are yet known).

The children of Walter Newton Florence and Lelia Stagner were:
1. Hershal Ray Florence Born: 1908
2. Melia L. Florence Born: Feb. 6, 1909
3. George Mathus Florence Born: April 27, 1912
4. Walter Newton Florence Jr. Born: Sept. 6, 1918 Died: July 6, 1974

Earnest Green Florence was born March 5, 1891. On December 19, 1914, he married Mary "Ella" Melton. They later moved up to Michigan, where they lived out their lives. Mary Melton was born in 1891 and died in 1954. Earnest died in Febuary of 1970. Social Security death records report Earnest (name spelled Ernest) was a long-time or retired railroad worker. Both are buried in Muskegan, Michigan. Due to continuing mental heath problems, Mary Melton was in and out hospitals the latter part of her life.

The children born to Earnest Green Florence and Mary Melton were:
1. Jacob E. Florence Born: April 4, 1917 Died: Febuary 2, 1998
2. Ray Florence Born: April 4, 1922 Died: Febuary 6, 1923

Earnest had two wives. One was named Anita (maiden name unknown), of Lexington, Tennessee. I do not know if she was his 1st or 2nd wife. They had one son to my knowledge:

1. Charles Florence

Ivy Lee Florence was born on Febuary 8, 1891 in Benton County. She married on March 24, 1912 to Bennie Coy "Boss" Watson, son of , Benjamin Samuel Pierce Watson and Sarah Ann Ogles. Boss Watson was born on January 30, 1887 and died in 1975. It do not have a date of death for Ivy Lee, but they are buried at Camden City Cemetery.

The children of Boss Watson and Ivy Lee Florence were:
1. Hooper Watson born: Circa 1915
2. Anada Watson
3. Eldonna Watson

Robert Elihu Florence was born in 1899 in Benton County. His life and family will be covered in the next chapter.

Cynthia Ann Florence was born on April 23, 1903 in Benton County. She died in Crockett County, Tennessee on July 11, 1909 from tonsilitis. she is buried at Pleasant Hill Churchyard in a tiny grave next to her parents. It is also believed Cynthia died of Kidney failure, due to the fact she suffered Kidney problems all her life.

Ardis Mae Florence was born on June 22, 1906. She was married to James Herbert Abernathy. The date and place of their marriage is unknown as of this writing. James Abernathy was born January 3, 1899 in probably Giles County, Tennessee. He was the son of Carson Lee Abernathy and Mattie L. Ezell. Ardis was teaching at Pulaski Elementary School in the 1940's. Herbert built Abernathy Lake and opened a restaurant--got himself in trouble with the Baptists for some reason, but his restaurant, was wonderful and Pulaski's showpiece during the 1950s. Herbert's restaurant had wonderful steaks and his lake good fishing.

At Ardis's death her home became the youth center for First United Methodist Church (It is believe she willed them the property). Ardis died on May 5, 1985 in Pulaski, Tennessee. Herbert Abernathy died on March 16, 1971 in Pulaski, Giles County, Tennessee. They are buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Giles County, Tennessee. Ardis Mae and James Abernathy had no issue of children.

Virginia Ruth Florence was born on March 9, 1909 in Crockett County, Tennessee. She married Herschell Ray Greer on May 29, 1929 in Lexington, County of Henderson, Tennessee. Herschell was born on July 24, 1909, and was the son of Hurdis Daniel and Ida Greer. Herschell died August 31, 1979 and in buried in Camden at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Churchyard. Virginia Ruth is still living in Benton County, but is in poor health.

The children of Herschell Greer and Virginia Ruth Florence were:
1. Fayoma Greer Born: Dec. 24, 1932
2. Leonard Greer Born: April 30, 1935
3. Eulas Ray Greer Born: July 16, 1937
4.Oscar Greer Born: Jan. 4, 1940

Avis Edna Florence was born on December 24, 1911. She died 6 months later of what is thought to have been Pheumonia. She is buried in an unmarked grave in Pleasant Hill United Methodist Churchyard next to her sister, Cynthia. Avis Edna Florence's grave has no tombstone and is marked only with flat stones to show the location of her grave.

Submitted by Dan Florence

Our family can look back on a series of western moves that started from Rockingham County in the early 1800s. There are eight generations from our grandson, Aaron B. Key born in 1982 in Portland, Oregon back to William Key of Rockingham County who we find first recorded in 1802.

William, born in 1770 to 1780, was probably a son or nephew of Thomas Key, a farmer on Hogans Creek. Thomas and Mary Key and their family were among the early settlers of the Hogans Creek area of Rockingham County. They migrated to the area about 1786 from the Nutbush Creek area of Vance County, North Carolina. Due to a progression of county line changes the various records of Thomas Key and his wife Mary are in the Grandville and Warren county records from 1769 to 1785. Apparently many of their neighbors also moved west. Names of Paschall, Sims, Hammock, Sartin, Tuggle and Bullock appear in both the Hogans Creek and Nutbush Creek areas.

There are Rockingham County deed records of Thomas Key witnessing a deed in 1787, purchasing 150 acres from William Washington in 1788 and purchasing 98 acres adjoining the Caswell County line in 1791. Thomas and Mary Key sold 40 acres to Samuel Watt in 1793 and Thomas Key bought 100 acres from James Watt in 1799. The last deed mentions the property "is on the waters of Hogans Creek by a certain tract of land where the said Thomas Key now lives". Local residents looking over the deeds suggest his property lay on the north side of the present Tate Road, on fourth mile east of Hogan Creek and about one-half mile west of the county line.

Besides William there were three other men of the Key surname that are of an age to be sons of Thomas. The U. S. Census, Rockingham County records Garland and John in 1800; Garland, John and Criswell in 1810; John and Criswell in 1820; and John in 1830. All lived near the residence of Thomas Key. William was not recorded in 1800 as probably he was not married until 1804 and was likely out of the county before the 1810 census. His son wWilliam was born in Tennessee in 1812.

Of the four men, Garland, John, Criswell and William, only Garland left a documented list of his family. In his will dated January 24, 1816 Garland Key lists his wife "Rebeccah" and children "Fanny (Frances), Dolly (Dorothy), Pheby, Linda (Malinda?), Sally, Betsy, Peton (Peyton, John, Garland, and Terry". As Key was an uncommon name in the area, the following North Carolina county marriage bonds are likely to be for the children of Garland. Rockingham: Frances Key and William Hall (Hale) 1824; Dorothy Key and Sweptson Wilson, 1816. Caswell County; Phoebe Key and Bird Covington, 1826; Sarah Key and James Harrison, 1831 Stokes County: Peyton Key and Elizabeth Harrison, 1831. Also Garland Key (Jr.) Is reported to have married Melissa A. Layton. Dorothy, Frances, Peyton, Terry and possibly Sarah moved to Henry County Tennessee in the 1830s.

Criswell (born 1770-1780) was married to Betty Canady according to family tradition. In 1831 church records his wife is listed as Phoebe. Criswell was received into membership of Lick Fork Primitive Baptist Church in 1802, and was an active faithful member for many years. In 1811 he was made a deacon. In 1831 Criswell and at least part of his family moved to Henry County, Tennessee near the town of Puryear. Here he and his wife Phoebe joined the North Fork Baptist Church which was formed three years earlier with help of Chriswell's brother William nd some of his former North Carolina neighbors including Jesse and Rebecca (Wilson) Paschall. Garland who married Frances Lynn and raised a large family in Henry County. Probably the William of the eastern part of the county and Criswell of Obion County were other son of Criswell.

William Key, our ancestor and the fourth possible son of Thomas, was born from 1770 to 1780. According to their grandsons, William and Criswell were born in Pennsylvania. If this is true it creates some doubt that their father could be Thomas as it appears he was in North Carolina by 1769. The only knowledge of William in Rockingham County comes from the church records. He joined Lick Fork Primitive Baptist Church by baptism in June of 1802 and left in 1807 after several request for a letter of transfer.

William had four sons; Thomas T. (Thompson?) Born in 1805 North Carolina; Garland Wash born 1807 North Carolina; William Welborn, born 1812 Tennessee, and John L. born 1815, Tennessee. Names of his wife and daughters have been lost. Movements of the family are a mystery from the time William withdrew from the church until the family surfaced in the recently opened land of Henry County, Tennessee. Again, it is the church records that help us spot him. Minutes of North Fork Baptist Church near the town of Puryear show William was received into membership in 1828. He held various position until 1832 after which there is no mention of him. His sons married and had children in the area.

Thomas T. Key (1805-1838) married Poly (Mary Ann) Paschall, the daughter of Jessie Paschall about 1829. Thomas owned and farmed a large tract of land near the Paschalls. He joined the North Fork Church in 1834 and gave property to the church for a building site. The children of Thomas were Rebecca, Sylvester, Franklin A. (1832-1864), Carroll J. and Elizabeth Ann. Franklin married Frances A. E. Jones in 1854 and moved to Obion County, Tennessee where he farmed until he lost his life as a soldier for the northern army. He left five children including Adoniram (1855-1927).

Adoniram struck out for the western frontier as had each generation of his forefathers and settled in Pierce City, Missouri. He married Flora Deisz and managed a hardware store. He was a respected man of the community and a Deacon of the Baptist church. He had four sons and of these, Clarence Norton (1895-1972) headed west with his wife Carrie (Linderman) for Seattle, Washington. They have two surviving children, Barbara (Mrs A. C. Hill and David W. Key (1927- ). Barbara remained in Seattle and David was transferred about the country. David and his wife Shirlee (Kinnane) have tow children, Eileen C. and Brian D., Brian married (1955-) married Susan Matheson and has a son Aaron.

It has been an absorbing task to sort out and follow my husband's family west from Rockingham County. They have always been on the cutting edge of the country's development and still put their faith in God as a top priority as William and Criswell did nearly 200 years ago.

Sources: Family tradition, county records, church minutes - Mrs Shirlee K. Key

Submitted by Bill Allen

1. George McDaniel


Birth Date: 1777
Birth Place: CANADA

Spouse: Elizabeth Long?
Birth Date: About 1787
Death Date: 1866
Death Place: Benton Co., TN

Children: Phoebe
James Mathew
Mary Ann
Mathew Neil

1.1 Phoebe McDaniel


Birth Date: 1824
Birth Place: Humphreys Co.
Death Date: 1853
Death Place: Benton Co., TN

Spouse: Benjamin Franklin Akers
Birth Date: 1817
Birth Place: Barren Co. KY
Death Date: 23 Oct 1856
Death Place: Crooked Creek Cemetery, Benton Co. TN
Spouse Father: Isaac Akers (1780-1839)
Spouse Mother: Lucinda Elliott

Marriage Date: 10 Feb 1841
Marriage Place: Benton Co., Tennessee

Benjamin Franklin
James M.
Isaac Newton
Mary Bell
George Washington Lafayette (Fate)
William Jackson "Jack"

1.1.1a Benjamin Franklin Akers*


Birth Date: 20 Oct 1837
Death Date: 12 Feb 1914
Death Place: Benton Co. TN
Burial Place: Crooked Creek Cmetery

Part I. Soldier Application for Pension: B.F. Akers of Faxon, Tennessee filed and accepted: Co. E 5th, Tennessee Infantry.

Born in Henry Co., Tenn. in 1837 and reared in Benton Co., Tenn.
Enlisted in May 1861, Corbitt Co. and Buck Travis' Regiment.
Venable? later served as Colonel.
Battles of New Madrid, Corinth,Mississippi, Shiloh, and other skirmishes. Was wounded at Shiloh.
"The wound in my shoulder did not break the bone, but it has been the cause of a kind of paralysis in this shoulder and arm."
"I was not (discharged), but was left at a private house till I recovered."
"I was left near Shiloh and after a few days came home and was not able to return."
Did not recall the surgeon's name.
Never in prison, paroled, or took oath to U.S. government.
"My wife is 68 years old."
"We have had five children, three girls and two boys."
Earned a scant living as a farmer on about eighty acres of poor land and sold off 100 acres of land plus two mules, cow, calf, and some hogs.

Sworn to on August 27, 1908 by B. F. Akers with witnesses of G? Hudson, physician, F? E. Young, M.S. Parker in Benton Co. State of Tennessee

Part II. Medical Examination: "...that he was wounded in the right shoulder in the Confederate Service from which he has never recovered the use of his arm. It is partially paralyzed, and he is not able to perform but very little manual labor on account of age? and other disbilities." W.D. Cooper, clerk, D.E. Young, M.S. Parker

Spouse: Mary Frances Wilson
Birth Date: 16 Sep 1841
Birth Place: Henry Co. TN
Death Date: 13 Mar 1917
Death Place: Crooked Creek Cemetery, Benton Co. TN
Spouse Father: James David Wilson (1821-1889)
Spouse Mother: Jane Brewer (1822-1870)

Spouse Notes:
Part I. Widow's Pension
Mary Frances Akers in her application for Civil War Pension stated that she lived in Faxon, Benton Co., Tenn. She lived in Tennessee all her life, was born in Benton Co., Tenn. in 1841 and her maiden name was Wilson. Her husband was Benjamin F. Akers, born in Benton Co., Tenn. They were married there by J. Davidson, Esq. Mr. Akers died Feb. 13, 1914. They had (?) children, ages thirty to sixty. Mrs. Akers lived with her daughter. Witness who was named for support was J. C. Parker, Faxon, Tenn. March 1, 1914, signed by Homer Parker.

Part II. Witnesses
James H. Reddick, resident of Faxon, Tennessee, stated that he knew Mr. and Mrs. Akers all of his life, and they both enlisted in the Civil War at Big Sandy. They were members of the same regiment 5 Co. E. Mr Akers performed military duty for two and a half years. He left after the Battle of Shiloh. Mr. Akers died in Benton Co., Tenn on February 12, 1914. Sworn to by J.H. Reddick and J.P. Atchinson on Feb. 27, 1914, Signed by Homer Parker.

Part III Relative to Services of B.F.Akers
J.H. Reddick on November 23, 1914 swore to the following statement before Homer Parker, Notary Public:
"I was personally acquainted with the applicant Mary F. Akers' husband during the years from 1862 to 1865, and know of my own personal knowledge that he joined the Confederate army near the beginning of the war of 1861 to 1865; that he remained in the service for several months, and that he came home disabled from duty; that he was not physically able for duty as a soldier during the remainder of the war. This disability as I have always understood has been attributed to a wound which he received at the battle of Shiloh.

Part IV Letter from J.C. Parker, Sheriff:
On October 28th, 1914, Mr. J.C. Parker, the sheriff of Benton Co., wrote to Mr. Frank A. Moses, Pension Examiner in Nashville: "I was a neighbor of Mr. Akers for the last twenty five years of Mr. Aker's life, and he was regarded as an honest, upright gentleman in every respect. And I do know further he drew a pension as an old soldier, and we cannot see why his aged widow can not draw it, as they were married in 1868, and is now very old and in destitute circumstances."

Part V The War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Washington, September 04, 1908:

"It is known by the records that B.F. Akers, private, Company E, 5th Tennessee Infantry, Confederate, States Army, enlisted May 10, 1861. On the muster roll of that organization dated August 16, 1862, the last on which his name appears, he es reported absent, with remark: 'deserted May 20'."

Part VI Benton Co. Tennessee, April 17, 1914:
" John R. Hawkins and John Garner (swear) that they have known the late B.F. Akers and wife Mary F. Akers for 45 years, that they were married sometime in the year of 1863 and lived together as husband and wife until his death."

Part VII Benton Co. Joseph Davidson, J.P.
"This is to certify that B.F. Akers and Mary F. Childress were united in Marriage by me at Little Creek on the 5th day of January in the year of our Lord 1863 in the presence of W.H. Wheatley and Henry Wynn."
"This is the best proof available as the county records were destroyed about the close of the war, and the witnesses to the marriage are all dead." Homer Parker, N.P.

Marriage Date: 5 Jan 1863
Marriage Place: Little Crooked Creek

Other Spouses Mary Frances Wilson

1.1.1b Benjamin Franklin Akers*


(See above)

Spouse: Mary Frances Wilson
Birth Date: 16 Sep 1841
Birth Place: Benton Co., Tenn.
Death Date: 13 Mar 1917
Death Place: Crooked Creek, Benton Co., Tenn.
Burial Place: Crooked Creek Cemetery
Spouse Father: James David Wilson (1821-1889)
Spouse Mother: Jane Brewer (1822-1870)

Spouse Notes:
Photo from Fred Aker, Mer Rouge, LA.

Marriage Date: 5 Jan 1862
Marriage Place: Little Crooked Creek, Benton Co., TN

Thomas Adam
Edith Ann
James Walter
Sophie Kirk

Other Spouses Mary Frances Wilson

1.1.1b.1 Thomas Adam Akers


Birth Date: 29 Dec 1872
Death Date: Nov 1944
Death Place: Jackson, Madison Co., Tenn.

1.1.1b.2a Edith Ann Akers*


Birth Date: 29 Sep 1868
Birth Place: Benton Co., TN
Death Date: 20 May 1938
Death Place: Benton Co., TN
Burial Place: Crooked Creek Cemetery

Spouse: Hubert Lindsey

Other Spouses M. L. Logon

1.1.1b.2b Edith Ann Akers*


(See above)

Spouse: M. L. Logon

Marriage Date: 20 Dec 1917

Other Spouses Hubert Lindsey

1.1.1b.3 Belzora Akers


Birth Date: 5 Jan 1876
Birth Place: Benton Co., TN
Death Date: 3 Dec 1878
Death Place: Benton Co., TN
Burial Place: Crooked Creek Cemetery, TN

1.1.1b.4 James Walter Akers.


Birth Date: 21 Aug 1878
Birth Place: Benton Co., TN
Death Date: 7 Apr 1911
Death Place: Benton Co., TN
Burial Place: Crooked Creek Cemetery

Spouse: Maggie M. Douglas?

1.1.1b.5 Minnie Akers


Birth Date: 12 Apr 1882
Birth Place: Benton Co., TN
Death Date: 15 Jan 1913
Death Place: Memphis, TN?

Spouse: Daniel Agy

Marriage Date: 20 May 1899

1.1.1b.6 Sophie Kirk Akers


Birth Date: 5 Sep 1884
Birth Place: Benton Co. TN
Death Date: 13 Nov 1961
Death Place: Benton Co. TN
Burial Place: Crooked Creek Cemetery

Spouse: Travis Hall
Birth Date: 15 Jun 1877
Birth Place: Benton Co. TN
Death Date: 13 Mar 1956
Death Place: Faxon, Benton Co. TN
Burial Place: Crooked Creek Cemetery
Spouse Father: Thomas Sidney Hall (1850-1885)
Spouse Mother: Mary Darcas Atchison (1855-1932)

Marriage Date: 1 Jun 1902
Marriage Place: Benton Co. TN

Willie Ann
Charles Franklin
Ada Bell
Edith Lee
Joseph Tillman
Ruth Helen

1.1.2 James M. Akers


Birth Date: 1842
Death Date: 1916

1.1.3 Isaac Newton Akers


Birth Date: 6 Jul 1846

1.1.4 Mary Bell Akers


Birth Date: 1850
Death Date: 1909

1.1.5 George Washington Lafayette (Fate) Akers


Birth Date: 14 Oct 1850
Death Date: 26 Dec 1915

1.1.6a William Jackson "Jack" Akers*


Birth Date: 16 Nov 1853
Death Date: 13 Sep 1929
Death Place: Benton Co., Tennessee
Burial Place: Flatwoods Methodist Cemetery, Way, Tenn.

Orphaned at young age.
His guardian at age 17 was David cheatem and Mary J. Scarborough (Benton Co. Family History Book).
1880 census, p. 153, house 29

RC, CJ, W, O, A, LB to Arkansas
RC to Ashley City, Ark.
Lee B. returned to Tennessee

Spouse: Mahala Jane Childress
Birth Date: 1 Jun 1857
Birth Place: Benton Co., Tenn.
Death Date: 5 Oct 1884
Death Place: Benton Co., Tennessee
Burial Place: Old Akers Cemetery, Crooked Creek
Spouse Father: James Allen Childress (-1862)
Spouse Mother: Mary Frances Wilson (1841-1917)

Spouse Notes:
Photo taken abt 1882

Marriage Date: 5 Oct 1875
Marriage Place: Benton Co., Tenn.

Children: Robert Clark
Celia Jane Frances
Wesley Dennis

Other Spouses William Jackson Akers
Mary Carter

1.1.6a.1 Robert Clark Akers


Birth Date: 18 Oct 1878
Birth Place: Big Sandy, Tennessee
Death Date: 6 Oct 1971
Death Place: Balstrop, La.

Ashley City, Arkansas

Spouse: E. J. Matheney

Marriage Date: 21 Jul 1886

1.1.6a.2 Celia Jane Frances Akers


Birth Date: 1881

went to Arkansas

1.1.6a.3 Wesley Dennis Akers


Birth Date: 1884
Death Place: Galveston, TX?

Went to Arkansas

1.1.6b William Jackson "Jack" Akers*


(See above)

Spouse: William Jackson Akers
Birth Date: 16 Jan 1853
Death Date: 13 Sep 1927
Spouse Father: Benjamin Franklin Akers (1817-1856)
Spouse Mother: Lovonia Wyatt

Other Spouses Mahala Jane Childress
Mary Carter

1.1.6c William Jackson "Jack" Akers*


(See above)

Spouse: Mary Carter

Marriage Date: 21 Feb 1885
Marriage Place: Benton Co., Tenn.

Grainger Dee
Simon Edgar
Lee B.

Other Spouses Mahala Jane Childress
William Jackson Akers

1.1.6c.1 Grainger Dee Akers


Birth Date: 1885

1.1.6c.2 Otis Akers


Birth Date: 1887
Death Date: 1920

Went to Arkansas

1.1.6c.3 Simon Edgar Akers


Birth Date: 1889

1.1.6c.4 Aaron Akers


Birth Date: 1891

Went to Arkansas

1.1.6c.5 Lee B. Akers


Birth Date: 1897

Went to Arkansas, but returned to Tennessee.

1.2a James Mathew McDaniel*


Birth Date: 1812
Death Date: May
Death Place: 1862

Spouse: Mariah Scarborough

Marriage Date: 15 Oct 1844

Other Spouses Malinda Gross

1.2b James Mathew McDaniel*


(See above)

Spouse: Malinda Gross

Marriage Date: 19 Jun 1850
Marriage Place: Benton Co., TN

Other Spouses Mariah Scarborough

1.3 Lewis McDaniel


1.4 Frances McDaniel


1.5 Mary Ann McDaniel


1.6 Alsey McDaniel


1.7 Martha McDaniel


1.8 Matilda McDaniel


1.9 Henry McDaniel


1.10 Mathew Neil McDaniel


Submitted by JPieke

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