Benton County Tennessee

Early Settlers Biographies

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Lucas Eldridge Davis

Lucas Eldridge Davis received his early education in the public schools of Henry county and after putting his textbooks aside engaged in farming and teaching school for three years. At the end of that time he came to Benton county and taught school and farmed here until 1877, when he was elected a justice of the peace. Later he was elected chairman of the county court and in 1896 he became county and probate judge, which office he held for twenty years. Although he declined to serve any longer in that office his friends persuaded him to stand for election as justice of the peace and magistrate and he is now serving as such. During the twenty years of his service as county and probate judge Lucas E. Davis used his influence to promote many movements for the good of the community. He was the leader in tearing down the old courthouse and the construction of the new one and was chairman of the commissioners selected for this work. Benton county has one of the finest and most modern courthouses in West Tennessee and the Judge is very proud of it. In 1914 he was active in the organization of the Peoples Bank & Trust Company of Camden and has been [p.835] its president since that time. He also assisted in the organization of the Peoples Bank which was afterward merged with the First National, at which time the Judge disposed of his interest.

Information from Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 thru 1923 Volume 2,  page 835.

Stephen Alse Clement

In the acquirement of his early education Stephen Alse Clement attended the common schools of Benton county and then enrolled in the Huntingdon Southern Normal School. He read law and taught school until 1896, when he was licensed to practice at Camden. He continued to teach until 1904, since which time he has devoted his entire attention to his professional interests. Mr. Clement has won a prominent place among the representative members of the county and state bars, handling much important litigation before the courts. He holds to the highest of professional ethics and well merits the confidence and esteem which is accorded him by his professional brethren and fellowmen.

Stephen Alse Clement has contributed in a marked degree to the upbuilding of Camden and Benton county, and he is a representative member of the county and state bars. A native of Benton county, his birth occurred on the 19th of February, 1871, a son of Stephen Newton and Easter (McDaniel) Clement, both of whom are deceased. Stephen Newton Clement was born in Tennessee and in early life engaged in farming. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war he was quick to put all personal interests aside and, his sympathies being with the Union, he joined the Federal army, serving under Captain S. W. Harkins. His demise occurred in 1915 and came as a severe shock to his family and many friends. His wife's death occurred in 1905.

Information from Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 thru 1923 Volume 4

James Max Smyth, M. D.

A representative member of the medical profession in Benton county is Dr. James Max Smyth, who is enjoying an extensive and important practice in Camden. A native of Texas, his birth occurred in El Paso, on the 30th of April, 1883, a son of Michael James and Matilda (Cooke) Smyth, both of whom are deceased. The maternal grandfather, James Cooke, was a veteran of the Civil war, having served throughout the war as a member of the Arkansas Division under General Price's command. His demise occurred in 1898. Michael James Smyth was born in Missouri. He was a revenue collector in the service of the United States government for many years and was killed while performing his duty.

Information from Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 thru 1923 Volume 4

William Porter McGill, M. D.

In Benton county, on the 21st of October, 1881, was celebrated the marriage of Dr. McGill to Miss Cynthia Presson, a daughter of James F. and Cynthia (Holland) Presson, natives of Tennessee. To their union five children have been born: Hugh; Ruel; Glenn; Mary Agnes; and Ruth, who died in childhood.

Information from Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 thru 1923 Volume 4

Thomas Clarke Rye

Thomas Clarke Rye was born at Camden, Benton county, Tennessee, on the 2nd of June, 1863, a son of Wayne and Elizabeth (Atchison) Rye, likewise natives of this state. His father, who was born on the 25th of February, 1822, died on the 7th of February, 1904, and his mother died on the 4th of April, 1871, at the age of thirty-seven years.

Information from Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 thru 1923 Volume 3

William Daniel Cooper

Paris numbers among her representative and substantial citizens William Daniel Cooper, state senator. A native of this state, his birth occurred at Big Sandy, Benton county, on the 3d of December, 1869, a son of Thomas D. and Lucinda J. (DeBruce) Cooper. His paternal grandparents were John and Mary Fain Cooper. Grandfather Cooper came to this state with his parents from North Carolina. In early youth he located in Montgomery county and subsequently married Mary Fain. Soon after marriage he removed to Benton county and there they resided until about 1858. Grandfather Cooper was an extensive agriculturist and achieved substantial success in life. About 1858, however, he disposed of the land in Benton county and removed to Howell county, Missouri, leaving behind him in Tennessee, Thomas D. Cooper and a daughter, Jane Perkins. The maternal grandparents were Professor Robert DeBruce and Marguerite [p.101] (Buchanan) DeBruce. Mrs. DeBruce spent her early life in North Carolina and came to Tennessee with her parents. Professor Robert DeBruce was born and reared in Pennsylvania. He was a great scholar, completing his literary education in the colleges of England and France, and he was master of several languages. Professor DeBruce came to Tennessee as a pioneer school teacher and taught in Clarksville, Dover, Trenton and Camden. His marriage was celebrated in the early '20s. Thomas D. Cooper was born at Clarksvillc, Montgomery county. He lived at or near Big Sandy, having moved from Montgomery county in his childhood and he engaged in farming. He resided on that land, which he brought to a highly cultivated state, until a few years prior to his demise in 1910. During his life-time he was a most prominent man in the community and contributed to a great degree in its development and improvement.

William Daniel Cooper received his early education in the country schools of Benton county. At the age of twenty-two years he entered high school at Big Sandy and completed his course there in 1893, under Professor John T. Hill. Later, in 1894-5, he attended a part of one session at Murray Institute and for two years he was a student in the Southern Normal University, receiving the B. S. degree from that institution in 1898. During his high school and university career Mr. Cooper made a special study of pedagogy. He likewise studied law and in 1900 was admitted to the bar of Kentucky. In 1892 he began teaching in the schools of Benton county and he also taught in Henry county, Tennessee, and in Calloway county, Kentucky. These schools were in session from three to five months each year and the remainder of the year Mr. Cooper was active in the promotion of his own education. In 1899 he was elected principal of the city schools of Camden and held that position for four years, resigning in 1902 to enter the office of county clerk of Benton county, serving in that official capacity from 1902 to 1914. He has held many public offices. He was secretary of the city board of education of Camden, 1904-1910; a member of the city board of education of Paris, 1916-1920; served as secretary-treasurer of the latter body two years; was a member of the state board of education, 1918-1921; and he is now a member of the state legislature in the senate, representing the twenty-fourth senatorial district, composed of Henry and Carroll counties. Mr. Cooper is one of Tennessee's most popular public officials, having never been defeated, and he believes every public office to be a public trust. He has discharged his duties to the best of his ability and to the complete satisfaction of all.

Information from Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 thru 1923 Volume 3

John Randolph Holladay

Prominent in the business circles of Holladay is John Randolph Holladay, who was born in Benton county on the 17th of October, 1878. His paternal grandfather was George Washington Holladay and his maternal grandfather, Joseph Randolph Mathews, both natives of this state. His parents were John Milton and Rachael Blanton (Mathews) Holladay, both of whom are deceased. His father, John M. Holladay, was born in Carroll county, Tennessee, August 22, 1840. He was of German and English descent. He remained with his parents till the commencement of the war and then enlisted in the Fifty-fifth Tennessee Confederate Infantry, at the organization of which he was elected third lieutenant and served till captured at Island No. 10. After remaining in prison at Johnson's Island for several months he was exchanged and when his regiment was reorganized at Jackson, Mississippi, he was elected second lieutenant, which command he held till the cessation of hostilities. On July 28, 1864, he lost his right arm at Atlanta, Georgia, but still retained his command. At the close of the war he returned to Carroll county, where he remained about two years. In 1866 he came to Benton county. He entered the mercantile business in 1867 and continued in that business for more than thirty years. During this time he held the offices of county court clerk and tax collector of Benton county. He was married October 13, 1869, to Rachael B. Mathews, a native of Benton county, to which union two sons and two daughters were born: Lena M., George B., Meta K., and John R. John M. Holladay died February 18, 1898. His wife, the mother of John R. Holladay, was born November 5, 1842, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. She died January 7, 1887.

Information from Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 thru 1923 Volume 3

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