Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy
Biographical Sketches of Benton County, TN Members of the
1836 - 1970
The Tennessee State Library and
Archives began collecting biographical information on all
persons who have been members of the State General
Assembly. Preliminary sketches on individuals from Benton
County, TN were completed through 1970. There have been
twenty-eight persons to go to the legislature from Benton
County between 1836 and 1970. Information on some is
scant and on many not as full as desired. With their
permission, the following is based on this work.
W. Albert - House, 65th and 67th General
Assemblies, 1927-29 & 1931-33; representing Benton
and Decatur counties
Talmadge - House 1943-45; representing Benton
and Decatur counties
- House, 34th General Assembly (Reconstruction), 2nd Adj.
Sess.; elected to fill vacancy caused by expulsion of
Henry H. Marable; served from 5 November 1866 to end of
term 6 October 1867; elected to House, 35th General
Assembly, 1867-69; representing Benton and Humphreys
Monroe - Senate, 47th General Assembly,
1891-93; representing Benton, Carroll and Decatur
- House, 37th General Assembly, 1871-73, representing
Benton and Humphreys Counties
Farmer, John H.
- Senate, 44th General Assembly, 1885-87; representing
Benton, Carroll, and Decatur Counties
Benjamin B. - House, 31st General Assembly,
1855-57; representing Benton and Humphreys Counties
C., Jr. - House, 93rd General Assembly,
1982-84; Democrat; representing Benton, Stewart, Decatur,
West Humphreys, and East Carroll counties
Henry L. - House, 81st and 83rd General
Assemblies, 1959-61 & 1963-65; representing Benton
and Decatur counties in 81st and Benton, Houston and
Stewart counties in 83rd
- Senate, 49th General Assembly, 1895-97; representing
Benton, Decatur, Hardin, and Humphreys counties
Jones, Joseph E.
- House, 26th General Assembly, 1889-91; representing
Benton County, TN
Anderson - Priest, House, Sixth General
Assembly, 1899- 1901; representing Benton, Decatur, and
Lashlee, John Paton
- House 44th and 47th General Assemblies, 1885-87,
1891-93; representing Benton County
Lashlee, John Wyly
- House, 69th and 71st General Assemblies; 1935-37,
1939-41, representing Benton and Decatur counties.
Senate, 73rd General Assembly, 1943-45; representing
counties of Benton, Decatur, Hardin, and McNairy;
candidate for nomination for Senate, 74th General
Mildred Louella (Jolly) - Senate, 74th General
Assembly, 1945-47, representing Counties of Benton,
Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin and McNairy
Milton - House, 53rd General Assembly,
1903-05; representing Benton and Decatur counties
Robert J. - House, 40th General Assembly,
1877-79; representing Benton and Humphreys counties
Crawford - Senate, 75th, 76th, and 77th
General Assembly 1947-53; representing Benton, Decatur,
Hardeman, Hardin, and McNairy counties
L. - House, 48th General Assembly, 1893-95;
representing Benton, Decatur, and Henry counties
P. - Senate, 34th (Confederate) and 41st
General Assembly 1861-63, 1879-81; representing Benton,
Decatur, Perry, and Humphreys counties in 34th, Benton,
Decatur, Hardin, Henderson, and McNairy counties in 41st;
House, 43rd General Assembly 1883-85; representing Benton
Odle, Joseph Fry
- House, 57th, 61st, and 63rd General Assemblies,
1911-13, 1919-21, 1923-25
Odle, Joseph Fry,
Jr. - House, 77th General Assembly, 1951-53;
representing Benton and Decatur Counties
Blake - House, 59th and 79th General
Assemblies, 1915-17, 1955-57; representing Benton and
Robert Lee - Senate, 60th and 61st General
Assemblies, 1917-21; representing counties of Benton,
Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, and McNairy
Brown, Jr. - House, 55th General Assembly,
1907- 09; representing Benton and Decatur counties;
Senate, 56th and 58th General Assembles, 1909-11,
1913-15; representing counties of Benton, Decatur,
Hardeman, Hardin, and McNairy
K. - House, 45th General Assembly, 1887-89;
representing Benton County
W. Albert - House, 65th and 67th
General Assemblies, 1927-29 & 1931-33; representing
Benton and Decatur counties; Democrat.
Born in Benton County ca. 1884 the son of
Horace M. Bell and his wife Harriett C. Farrar. Extent of
schooling not known, but taught school at the Pleasant
Valley School in 1.912, also a farmer and International
Harvester Co. traveling salesman.
Married Lula Lashlee a daughter of Oscar
W. and Mary (Hawley) Lashlee. After serving in the
legislature moved, 1934, to Murray, KY and still living
there in 1955. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Modern
Woodmen of America.
Hobert Talmadge -
House 1943-45; representing Benton and Decatur counties;
Born in 1895 at Sugar Tree in. Decatur
County a son of Dr. John Iverson and Zana (Agnew)
Bradley. Attended Camden Seminary School, Benton County.
Married Sarah Norris at Terry, Hinds County, MS, 19 Oct.
1921. She was a daughter of Louis Carnahan and Nettie
Carneay (Harvey) Norris of that place.
Subject operated a dry-cleaning
establishment after being discharged from the army,
salesman for Standard Oil Company of Kentucky, returned
to Camden and established the; Camden Oil Company, also
insurance agency. Mrs. Bradley became owner and publisher
of the "Camden Chronicle," 1939-1961.
Hobert T. Bradley served in World War I,
Company B, 307th Supply Train, 82nd Div. from 28 November
1917 until honorably discharged 16 May 1919. Member of
American Legion, Veteran of Foreign Wars, Methodist
Episcopal Church, F&AM, and Knights of the Maccabees;
died at Oxford,, Lafayette County, MS on 9 October 1948;
buried in the Camden City Cemetery, Camden, TN.
David - House, 34th General Assembly
(Reconstruction), 2nd Adj. Sess.; elected to fill vacancy
caused by expulsion of Henry H. Marable; served from 5
November 1866 to end of term 6 October 1867; elected to
House, 35th General Assembly, 1867-69; representing
Benton and Humphreys counties; Unionist.
Born in Tennessee 30 April 1816; son of
Nicholas and Sara Brewer. Married Sarah McGlohon on 4
September 1844 in Benton County, TN. She was born 8
January 1824 and died in February of 1896. Their children
-- Mary Isabelle born 18 June 1846 and died 21 September
1865; Sarah Ann born 7 February 1848 and died 16 October
1935; John David; N. Cannon; Robert Monrow born 18 August
1853 and died 19 September 1875; Emily: Richard; and
Millard born in 1859.
Subject was a farmer in the 8th Civil
District of Benton County. Sheriff, 1844-48, 1854-56, and
1865-66: election inspector in 8th Civil District in
David Brewer died 25 August 1870; buried
in the David Brewer Family Cemetery, Benton County, TN.
James Monroe -
Senate, 47th General Assembly, 1891-93; representing
Benton, Carroll and Decatur Counties; Democrat. Born in
Benton County 25 December 1842; son of Eli and Mary
(George) Castile. Education slight, because of early
death of father, and was "bound out" at age of
eight to work on farm.
Married Amy J. Cole on 27 September 1867
in Benton County; children -- Eugenia, Mary, Bette, Green
Ella, Walter Monroe, Littlie Belle and Lenora.
Subject was engaged in farming in 5th
Civil District of Benton County in 1887, operated a
sawmill and gristmill; four years later moved to south
Camden in Benton County and added a planing mill to his
holdings; bought another mill in 1904. Moved to
Johnsonville, Humphreys County, TN prior to death of wife
in 1922 and lived in semi-retirement.
Member of county court; county trustee,
1870-72; superintendent of county schools, 1875-79;
member of poor house commission in 1900. Although a
Democrat generally, ran unsuccessfully for state Senate
as candidate of Populist Party.
Served in Confederate Army as private,
Company A, 55th (Brown's) Tenn. Inf.; captured at Island
No. 10 on 8 April 1862; sent as prisoner of war to Camp
Randall, Madison Wis., and from there to Camp Douglass,
Ill. ; sent from there to Vicksburg, MS for exchange 4
September 1862; rejoined command and elected sergeant 25
September 1862; surrendered at Johnsville, Humphreys
County, TN 9 May 1865; subscribed to Oath of Allegiance
at Nashville, Davidson County, TN giving Benton County as
place of residence. Commander of Post No. 1014, United
Confederate Veterans, 190308. Member of Methodist
Episcopal Church; Farmer's Alliance; President Benton
County Farmers and Laborers' Union.
Died at Johnsonville 2 February 1923 and
buried in the Camden City Cemetery.
Icabod - House, 37th General
Assembly, 1871-73, representing Benton and Humphreys
Counties; party affiliation unknown.
Born 11 April 1819, probably in Humphreys
County; son of George W. and Catherine (Harmon) Farmer.
Married first Martha Davidson 11 March 1842 in Benton
County, TN, who was born in 1819 and died 19 August 1864,
buried in the (Old) Farmer Cemetery. Children by this
marriage: John, Kesiah, Andrew J., Lucinda, Mary and
Babe; married second Margaret Gillespie on 9 July 1869,
who was born 24August 1843 and died 17 February 1880, no
children by this marriage.
Subject was a farmer in the 5th Civil
District of Benton County, owning upwards of 1900 acres
of land. Constable in 1844; appointed justice of the
peace in 1854; revenue commissioner. Died 21 February
1885 and buried in the Camden City Cemetery, Camden, TN.
John H. - Senate, 44th General
Assembly, 1885-87; representing Benton, Carroll, and
Decatur Counties; Republican. Born 22 June 1822 in
Humphreys County (now Benton County) on Sulphur Creek the
son of George W. and Catherine (Harmon) Farmer. George W.
Farmer was born in Orange County, N.C. and later moved to
Humphreys County along Sulphur Creek.
Subject married Mary Jane Atchison on 27
November 1854, a native of Henry County, TN. No children.
John became a resident of Camden in 1851; engaged in
merchandising and managing his farm of nine hundred
acres, president in 1891 of Camden Bank and Trust
Company; Postmaster at Camden, 1855-56; sheriff of Benton
County, 1860-64; justice of the peace for several years
from 1865; named chairman of county court, 1865.
John H. Farmer volunteered into the State
Service on 20 May 1861. His company. was mustered into
Confederate Provisional Army on 9 August 1861 and
assigned to Company E, 5th Tennessee Infantry Regiment on
9 August 1861. Last on record in 1862.
Benjamin B. - House, 31st General
Assembly, 1855-57; representing Benton and Humphreys
Born Ca. 1825, exact date and place of
birth, names of parents, and extent of schooling not
determined. There is no evidence that he ever married.
Lived in Camden, Benton County, TN while in legislature.
In 1850 he was living in Henry County, TN an listed as a
physician, living alone, age twenty-five; living in
Memphis, Shelby County,. TN in 1866 and advertised self
as a cotton and tobacco factor or commission merchant.
Listed as census enumerator for Weakley County, TN in
1860, but no evidence that he ever lived in that county.
William C. Herndon, Jr.
Known as "W.C." by all who knew him
C., Jr. - House, 93rd
General Assembly, 1982-84; Democrat; representing Benton,
Stewart, Decatur, West Humphreys, and East Carroll
counties. He was elected to the Tennessee House of
Representatives 2 November 1982 and served in this
position until his death 7 May 1984; having died while
introducing a bill on the House Flour; suffering a fatal
heart attack just minutes after an emotional speech.
Paramedics carried Herndon from the House chambers to a
waiting ambulance, his stunned colleagues adjourned for
the evening, remaining in session only long enough for
Rep. Bob Wood (R - Chattanooga) to lead them in prayer
for "a miracle."
Herndon was completing his first two year
term in the General Assembly. Governor Lamar Alexander
(R) said of him, "W.C. Herndon was one of the finest
members of the legislature. He was principled and
conscientious. In his quite way he played a crucial role
in the passing of the Better Schools Program. Honey
(wife) and I extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Herndon
and to the Herndon family."
William C. Herndon, Jr.,
"1W.C." as he was called, was born 2 October
1923 in Benton County; son of the late William C. and
Elba Eunice (Hollingsworth) Herndon, both natives of
Benton County. William C. Herndon, Jr. graduated from
Camden Central High School and the University of
Tennessee; served in the U.S. Army during WW II, a former
prisoner of war in Germany; escaped his captors and
identified himself to Russian soldiers, allies in the war
with the Nazi forces. He also served in the Korean War;
retired from U.S. Army Reserve in 1983 with rank of
Colonel; an engineer, he had taught many officers in the
Army War College. He was a school teacher; former
chairman of the Benton County School Board; rural mail
carrier; postmaster of Camden Post Office 1962 - 1980. In
1974 he was named National Postmaster of the year. He was
a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American
Legion and had served as state vice-commander of the
He also was a member, Deacon and Sunday
school teacher at the First Baptist Church in Camden, TN.
Subject married Peggy Mclllwain 10 April
1951. She is the daughter of the late Fibert Guy
Mclllwain and the late Martha Barnes, both of Holladay,
Benton County, TN. They have son -- Joseph Neal born 7
January 1953, married Teresa Lynn Hudgens; and daughter
Martha Anne born 15 March 1957, married Chester R.
Hollingworth, Henry L.
- House, 81st and 83rd General Assemblies, 1959-61 &
1963-65; representing Benton and Decatur counties in 81st
and Benton, Houston and Stewart counties in 83rd;
Born in Benton County on 19 January 1907;
son of James Tolbert and Dora (McMackin) Stigall
Hollingsworth. Attended Lambuth College, Jackson, Madison
County, TN. Married Mary Lester, no children. Employed
several years by U.S. Department of the Interior; by
Kaiser Co.; by Aluminum Company of America as
construction foreman and superintendent of outfitting and
chief inspector; at time of death was employed as
assistant fire marshal in Tenn. Department of Insurance
and Banking. Justice of the peace and member of Benton
County Court for six years; member of planning commission
for Camden, Benton County; on water and sewer commission
of Camden nine years; served on several building
commissions for county; delegate to Tennessee
Constitutional Convention in 1965; one of the instigators
of Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park; member of United
Methodist Church; Tenn. Conservation League; Camden
Died at Nashville, Davidson County, TN on
8 July 1969; buried in Camden City Cemetery, Camden, TN.
James - Senate, 49th General
Assembly, 1895-97; representing Benton, Decatur, Hardin,
and Humphreys counties; Republican. Born in Clinton
County, KY on 7 April 1853. Attended "common
schools"; studied law and medicine but practiced
Married Eva McElyea on 1 June 1886 in
Benton County, daughter of F.G. and Mary McElyea.
Children -- James Lowell and Reba. Farmer and became a
traveling salesman in 1876 with headquarters at
Nashville, Davidson County, TN; returned to Camden in
1880 to enter merchandising business; publisher and
manager of the "Veddette", a Republican.
Appointed deputy U.S. Marshal in 1889, resigned a few
months late to accept position with U.S. Internal Revenue
service; appointed by President William McKinley in 1897
allotting agent in Bureau of Public Lands; later became
chairman of Ute Indian Commission, with headquarters in
Utah; later accepted appointment by President McKinley to
position of Surveyor of Customs at Memphis, Shelby
County, TN; appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt in
1902 to same for four years. Member and secretary in 1892
of State Republican Executive Committee;
delegate-at-large to Republican national convention in
1896. Member Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Benevolent
and Protective Order of Elks. Died at Memphis, Shelby,
County, TN on 13 March 1908; buried in the Camden City
Cemetery, Camden, Benton County, TN.
Joseph E. - House, 26th General
Assembly, 1889-91; representing Benton County, TN.
Born in Carroll County 29 October 1857;
son of Thomas E. and Sarah Jones. Read law at Camden,
Benton County, TN; admitted to bar in 1878. Married Ella
Hill on 16 November 1881 at Camden, daughter of W.T.
Hill. Children: Harry E., Arthur F. and Herbert J. Jones.
Moved to Dresden, Weakley, County, TN;
Attorney General of 12th Judicial Circuit, 1884-86;
presidential elector, 1904, on Democratic ticket of Alton
B. Parker and Henry G. Davis; appointed, 1908, judge of
14th Judicial Circuit of Tennessee, to fill vacancy and
re-elected in 1910; appointed judge of Tennessee Court of
Civil Appeals, and elected to succeed self, 1910, for
term of eight years. Member of Methodist Episcopal
Church. Died at Dresden 8 August 1922, buried in Dresden
Anderson - Priest, House, Sixth
General Assembly, 1899- 1901; representing Benton,
Decatur, and Henry counties; Democrat. Born 9 February
1852; son of William Pinkney and Emely Catherine
Married first Sarah Hill on 10 December
1872; two daughters, Ida and Eula; Sarah died 28 May
1903; married second Mary McElyea on 1 June 1904, no
children by this marriage.
Subject engaged in farming in 10th Civil
District; purchased a livery stable in partnership with
brother, John Paton Lashlee in 1895. Elected county
coroner in 1892; Democratic nominee in 1894 for state
Senate but declined to serve; foreman of grand jury in
1897; secretary of county Executive Committee in 1891;
delegate to Democratic state convention in 1894; Chairman
board of stewards, Methodist Episcopal Church in 1896-97;
member Knights of Honor; West Tenn. Farmers Institute and
delegate to state convention of Institute in 1902. Died
at Benton County 31 January 1926; buried in Bethleham
Cemetery, Benton County, TN.
John Paton - House
44th and 47th General Assemblies, 1885-87, 1891-93;
representing Benton County. Democrat.
Born 1 November 1845 in Benton County;
son of William Penkney and Emily Catherine (Johnson)
Lashlee. Attended Benton Seminary, Camden, Benton County,
TN. Married Martha Ann Robinson on 26 December 1860,
daughter of J.B. and Eliza (Beasley) Roberson. Children
-- Orlando Priestly, Theresa Willard, Florence Adelia,
William Henry, Linnie, Hugh Bartlett, and Beulah.
Engaged in farming in 10th Civil District
of Benton County, owned and operated livery stable in
partnership with brother, Anderson Priest Lashlee, in
1895; Sheriff of county, 1880-84; justice of the peace
and member of county court; elected commissioner in 1913;
delegate to Democratic state convention, 1894 and 1904.
Member Bethlehem Methodist Episcopal Church;
vice-president Tennessee Agricultural Ass'n. in 1893;
president Farmers Institute in 1900.
Died at Nashville, Davidson County, TN 21
October 1916; buried in the Bethlehem Cemetery, Benton
A Special Thank you
to E. J. Sims
for compiling and submitting all of the Biographical