Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy
Biographical Sketches of Benton County, TN
Members of the General Assembly
1836 - 1970
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 Assembly, but died before primary election;
succeeded by widow, Mrs. Mildred (Jolly) Lashlee.
Subject was born 20 December 1900; son of
Orlando Priestly and Minnie (Barnes) Lashlee. Married
Mildred Louella Jolly, a native of Huntingdon, Carroll
County, TN, on 28 December 1925, daughter of J. Frank and
Lydia (Warbritton) Jolly; Children -- John Wyly, Jr. and
Farmer and stock dealer with home near
Camden; owner of Trotter's Ferry and large land holdings
in Tennessee River bottoms. County highway commissioner
several years, serving as chairman number of times;
chairman of county jury commission and of county
rationing board; chairman of county Democrat Executive
Committee and Roosevelt-Walace Club. Chairman board of
stewards, Methodist Episcopal Church. Died at home four
miles east of Camden 10 July 1944; buried in Camden City
Cemetery, Camden, TN.
Husband of Mildred (Jolly) Lashlee;
father of Frank P. Lashlee; grandson of John Paton
Lashlee, sometime members Tennessee General Assembly.
Mrs. Mildred Louella (Jolly) - Senate,
74th General Assembly, 1945-47, representing Counties of
Benton, Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin and McNairy; Democrat;
her husband was a candidate for renomination' in
Democratic primary of 4 August 1944, but had died 10
July, preceding; Mrs. Lashlee was nominated without
opposition and was elected.
Subject was born 24 April 1906 at
Huntingdon, Carroll County, TN daughter of J. Frank and
Lydia (Warbritton) Jolly. Married in Benton County 28
December 1925 to John Wyly Lashlee; children: John Wyly,
Jr. and Frank Priestly. Came to Benton County as teacher;
after marriage assisted husband in operation of farm;
after 1960, was employed in office of state Department
Employment Security, Nashville, Davidson County, TN.
Appointed 1946, campaign director of county fund raising
campaign for American Cancer Society. Member Methodist
Episcopal Church and of numerous women's clubs. Died at
Nashville, Davidson County, TN 23 February 1966; buried
in Camden City Cemetery, Camden, TN.
Wife of John Wyly Lashlee, mother of
Frank P. Lashlee sometime members of General Assembly.
George Milton - House, 53rd General
Assembly, 1903-05; representing Benton and Decatur
Born in Benton County 9 May 1867; son of
Dr. Hugh and Mary Ann (Johnson) Leslie. Attended public
schools; Normal School at Holladay, Benton County, TN,
and at Dickson, Dickson County, TN. Married Kate Matthews
1 May 1888 in Benton County, TN. No children of own but
adopted a son, Frank C. Leslie.
Taught in schools of Benton County a
number of years and was principal of an independent
school in 1894. Enrolled in Bible School at Nashville,
Davidson County, TN, to prepare for ministry; delivered
first sermon in April, 1898; entered the insurance
business at Holladay and continued to 1926. Elected to
county commission in 1896; county superintendent of
public instruction; appointed clerk and master of
chancery court in 1907, and served fourteen years; served
briefly as U.S. inspector of alcohol for West Tennessee;
elected county judge and served nine years.
Member county Democratic Executive
Committee in 1905-06; Democratic nominee for mayor in
1913, but declined to serve; appointed assistant
prohibition commissioner in 1920 under U.S. Bureau of
Internal Revenue; a leader in Democratic party thirty
years, serving as chairman of county committee ten fears.
Member Church of Christ; Independent Order of Odd
Fellows; Woodmen of the World; Chancellor Commander,
Knights of Pythias in 1912. Died 25 December 1935 at
Camden, Benton County, TN; burial in Camden City
Cemetery, Camden, TN.
Robert J. - House, 40th General
Assembly, 1877-79; representing Benton and Humphreys
Born in North Carolina ca. 1820; Married
Susannah Hayes on 23 March 1845 in Benton County, TN;
Children -- William, Henry, Thomas D., Cordelia, Robert
J., Jr., Sarah.
Farmer, made their home in the 1st Civil
District, Benton County, TN; later moved to Holladay,
Benton County, TN, where he was a ruling elder in the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Deeded land in 1848,
three acres, to Mount Carmel Church for building site and
campground. Postmaster at Camden 5 February to 15
November 1875; justice of the peace. Member of Cumberland
Presbyterian Church; Worshipful Master Mount Carmel
Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons at Holladay. Died prior
to 10 June 1893, exact date and burial place not
Wyly Crawford - Senate, 75th, 76th,
and 77th General Assembly 1947-53; representing Benton,
Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, and McNairy counties;
Born 22 September 1904 at Wyly, near
Camden, Benton County, TN; son of Samuel Wyly and Sophia
Ann (Rushing) Lockhart. Attended public schools of Benton
County; Fitzgerald and Clark Preparatory and Military
Academy, Tellahoma, Coffee County, TN in 1922. Married
Leila Ruth Priestly 8 June 1929 at Conway, Faulkner
County, AK; daughter of John M. and Minnie Lodusca
(Reeves) Priestly. Engaged widely in economic, political,
and civic affairs. Automobile dealer; distributor of
petroleum products, motor court owner, tractor dealer;
business and residential rental property owner; farmer,
with emphasis on livestock, owner and operator of a
restaurant; president and later chairman board of
directors of Bank of Camden; Tennessee Automotive
Association; vice-president Citizens Ice and Coal Co.;
Alderman, City of Camden 1937-44, 1957-59; mayor of
Camden, 1944-51; member Presbyterian Church; member and
officer, Lions Club; Sportsman Club. Died 14 March 1966
at Camden and buried in the Camden City Cemetery, Camden,
Wyly Crawford Locart, son-in-law of John
M. Priestly, sometime member Tennessee General Assembly.
William L. - House, 48th General
Assembly, 1893-95; representing Benton, Decatur, and
Henry counties; Democrat.
Born 24 May 1864 in Benton County, TN;
son of William P. and Elvira Jane (Johnson) Morris.
Attended school at Camden, Benton County, TN; studied
Married Nancy Stigall 13 October 1895 in
Benton County; daughter of H.F. and Martha Stigall;
children -- Roy and Lorine. Described as financier and
lawyer; operated a general store at Big Sandy, Benton
County, TN in 1891; secretary and treasurer of Benton
Seminary; president of Benton County Bank when
established in 1900; president Camden Telephone Exchange
in 1903; member of county court in 1894; sergeant-at-arms
of Tennessee Senate, 1895-97; member of county election
commission, 1898; clerk and master of Chancery Court in
1900. Member of Methodist Episcopal Church, serving as
secretary and treasurer of Sunday School; member Free and
Accepted Masons, serving as Worshipful Master of Lodge in
1908. Died 19 December 1918 at Camden; buried in the
Camden City Cemetery, Camden, TN.
Son of William P. Morris, sometime member
Tennessee General Assembly.
William 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 County; had been old-line
Whig; of Confederate Party in 1861, Democrat in postwar
Born 12 January 1817 in Sumner County,
TN; son of Isaac and Elizabeth (Brown) Morris. Married
Elvira Jane Johnson 2 July 1838 in Perry County, TN.
Children -- John Pitts, Granville T., Adelaide, Louisa
C., Virgil F., Leehentz, William L., Lilly, and Alvin.
Began clerking in a store at Perryville,
Decatur County, TN at age of eighteen; moved to Benton
County, TN two years, later to engage in farming and
merchandising; moved next to farm in Decatur County;
moved back to Benton County in 1841 and located on farm
two miles north of Camden; finally established a store at
Camden in 1850 and made that town his home until death.
County Court Clerk, 1843-52; constable
and probated clerk; postmaster at Camden, 1845-47; member
Methodist Episcopal Church; donated a lot on which Morris
Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1890. Died
22 April 1893 at Camden; buried in Camden City Cemetery,
Father of William L. Morris, sometime
member of Tennessee General Assembly.
Joseph Fry - House, 57th, 61st, and
63rd General Assemblies, 1911-13, 1919-21, 1923-25;
representing Benton and Decatur counties. Democrat.
Born 29 May 1880 at Coxburg, Benton
County, TN; son of Hiram Dorsey and Victoria A. (Fry)
Odle. Attended Benton County schools; McTyeire Institute
, McKenzie, Carroll County, TN; studied law at Cumberland
University, Lebanon, Wilson County, TN in 1908.
Married Roberta E. Paschall 24 November
1913; daughter of J. Frank and Ella (Clark) Paschall.
Children -- Virginia Madeline, Mildred Clair, Joseph Fry,
Jr., and Frank Paschall. Taught school in early life;
practiced law in Benton and surrounding counties, with
home at Camden. Alderman for Camden in 1917; postmaster
at Camden, 1935-50; presidential elector in 1932; on
Democratic ticket of Franklin D. Rosevelt and John
Garner. Chairman of county Democratic convention.
Appointed to represent U.S. War Department in Benton
County, having charge of enrollment campaign for Citizens
Military Training Camps in 1927. Member official board of
Methodist Episcopal Church and teacher of a Sunday School
class for forty years; Free and Accepted Masons;
Chaplain, Royal Arch Masons in 1939; Worthy Grand Patron
Order of the Eastern Star; Woodmen of the World; Farmers
Died 6 February 1965 at Nashville,
Davidson County, TN; buried in Camden City Cemetery,
Father of Joseph Fry Odle, Jr., sometime
member of Tenn. General Assembly.
Joseph Fry, Jr. - House, 77th
General Assembly, 1951-53; representing Benton and
Decatur counties; Democrat.
Born 15 March 1919 at Puryear, Henry
County, TN; son of Joseph Fry and Roberta E. (Paschall)
Odle. Attended Murray State Teachers College, Murray, KY;
Lebanon Law School, Wilson County, TN; graduated in law
from University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
Married Mauhee Knuckles of Beverly, KY on
12 July 1959, daughter of George M. Knuckles; no known
children. Taught school in early life, practiced law,
with home at Coxburg, Benton County; employed by office
of Price Stabilization Board in 1953, Memphis, Shelby
County, TN; employed since 1959 by Federal Government in
Cincinnati, OH. Veteran of World War II, enlisted in U.S.
Marine Corp 18 June 1940; honorably discharged because of
disability 6 April 1943; served in Pacific Theater and
Battle of Solomon Islands. Past vice-commander, American
Legion Post, Camden; helped organize 2109, Veterans of
Foreign Wars, Camden; elected State Judge Advocate,
Department of Tennessee, Veterans of Foreign Wars. Member
United Methodist Church; Sigma No Phi and Sigma Phi
Epsilon fraternities; Chairman Benton County Chapter,
American Red Cross in 1950. Last known address: 1441
Hillcrest Drive, Cincinnati, OH. Son of Joseph Fry Odle,
Sr., sometimes member Tenn. General Assembly.
Henry Blake - House, 59th and 79th
General Assemblies, 1915-17, 1955-57; representing Benton
and Decatur counties; Democrat.
Born 12 February 1886 at Camden, Benton
County, TN; son of Thomas W. and Elizabeth (Alsup)
Pafford. Attended public schools of Benton County; Benton
Seminary, 1906-09; University of Tennessee, Knoxville,
Knox County, TN, 1911-13.
Married Rachel A. Phifer, date and place
not indicated; one son, Henry Clay. Described as a
retired teacher, retired contractor, and cattle farmer.
Delegate to Tennessee Convention of 1953; represented
county in White House conference on Education, held at
Nashville 14 September 1955; member and at time of death
chairman board of directors Benton County Public
Utilities Commission; long-time member and chairman
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park Commission. Member
Methodist Episcopal Church; Free and Accepted Masons;
Woodmen of the World. Died 17 October 1957 at Paris,
Henry County, TN; buried in Churchyard of Flatwoods
Methodist Church, Benton County, TN.
Robert Lee - Senate, 60th and 61st
General Assemblies, 1917-21; representing counties of
Benton, Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, and McNairy; Democrat.
Born 16 May 1879 near Napier Furnace,
Lewis County, TN; son of William James and Eugenia
(Voorhies) Stockard. Attended "common schools"
of Lewis and Lawrence Counties, TN. Married Myrtle
Harlan, native of Williamsport, Maury County, TN;
daughter of J.W. and Minerva (King) Harlan; one son --
Robert Lee, Jr.
In gravel business and distributor of
other road supplies at Camden, Benton County, TN; moved
to Nashville, Davidson County, TN by 1920, where he was
employed by State Highway Department for a few years;
established, c. 1925, firm of Robert L. Stockard, dealing
in road supplies, machinery, etc.; firm became Robert L.
Stockard and Son and continued in business until
retirement some two years before death.
Senator Stockard had been chairman
of the Benton County Roads Ass'n in 1911; mayor of
Camden, 1911-15; member county Democratic Executive
Committee. Member Presbyterian Church; Free and Accepted
Masons; Knights of Pathias; Woodmen of the World. Died 22
September 1942 at Nashville; buried in Mount Olive
Son of William James Stockard;
brother-in-law of Charles Thomas Crawford, sometime
members of Tenn. General Assembly.
Dorsey 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; Democrat.
Born 9 January 1870 in Benton County, TN;
son of Dorsey Brown and Lucy Jane (Robinson) Thomas.
Married Lola Lowery 28 April 1897 in Benton County,
daughter of T.J. Lowery; one son -- Wade Lowery, who died
at early age.
Began career as farmer and livestock
dealer; moved to Camden in 1901 and ran unsuccessfully
for county court clerk; was living at Eva in 10th Civil
District of Benton County during service in legislature;
soon after close of 1913 session, clerk in the office of
State Treasurer and lived in Nashville for six years,
afterwards returned to Eva; moved back to Nashville in
1926, to become secretary of the state's Railroad and
Public Utilities Commission, until 1939, when retired to
Eva. Secretary of Benton County Democratic Executive
Committee, 1892-94, and chairman of that committee,
1894-1904; member of Democratic State Executive
Committee, 1922, 1930; member of Democratic Primary Board
in 1946. Member Baptist Church; Free and Accepted Masons,
32nd Degree; Knights of Pythias; being a delegate to
Grand Lodge of that order in 1911; member Farmers
Institute; county chairman Auti-Saloon League. Died 15
June 1950 ; buried in the Camden City Cemetery, Camden,
Nephew of Atha Thomas; cousin of Battle
Robinson Thomas, sometime members Tennessee General
James K. - House, 45th General
Assembly, 1887-89; representing Benton County; Democrat.
Born 26 October 1837; son of W.W. and
Mary Wheatley, both natives of N.C. Married Judy Dennis
on 26 January 1852 in Benton County, TN; born Ca. 1836
daughter of Mary Dennis, native of KY.; six children --
William D., Belona, Dillard, John F., Gildora G., and
E.F.; second marriage to Mary Louella Phifer; no children
by this marriage.
Subject was living at Flatwoods in 1887,
and at Sulpher Creek in 1892. He was a farmer; Mason;
Justice of the peace; census enumerator in 1880.
Mustered in Confederate Army on 22
September 1861 and assigned to Co. B, 55th (Brown's)
Tenn. Inf., elected 1st lieutenant same day: captured
with command 8 April 1862 at Island No. 10; sent to
prisoner of war first to Camp Chase, Ohio, transferred 1
May 1862 to Johnsons Island, Sandusky, Ohio; exchanged
and returned to command; submitted resignation on 11 July
1863 near Cannon, MS "because of protracted ill
health," which army surgeon described as chronic
rheumatism and dyspepsia with "no possibility of his
recovering his health while in the army."
Resignation effective 17 July 1863; subscribed to Oath of
Allegiance at Nashville after 4 August 1864.
Died 2 April 1888 (Although not stated,
he apparently died while in office); buried in the
Wheatley Cemetery, Benton County, TN.
A Special Thank you
to E. J. Sims
for compiling and submitting all of the Biographical
If you have
suggestions and/or additions for these pages, please feel
free to write County Host Ken
Please come back again! Happy Hunting!!! Return to
County Select page