Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy
Biographical Sketches of Benton County, TN
Members of the General Assembly
1836 - 1970

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 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 Frank Priestly.

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.

Lashlee, 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.

Lashlie, George Milton - House, 53rd General Assembly, 1903-05; representing Benton and Decatur counties; Democrat.

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.

Lawrence, Robert J. - House, 40th General Assembly, 1877-79; representing Benton and Humphreys counties; Democrat.

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 determined.

Lockhart, Wyly Crawford - Senate, 75th, 76th, and 77th General Assembly 1947-53; representing Benton, Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, and McNairy counties; Democrat.

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, TN.

Wyly Crawford Locart, son-in-law of John M. Priestly, sometime member Tennessee General Assembly.

Morris, 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 law.

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.

Morris, 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 sessions.

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, Camden, TN.

Father of William L. Morris, sometime member of Tennessee General Assembly.

Odle, 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 Institute.

Died 6 February 1965 at Nashville, Davidson County, TN; buried in Camden City Cemetery, Camden, TN.

Father of Joseph Fry Odle, Jr., sometime member of Tenn. General Assembly.

Odle, 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.

Pafford, 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.

Stockard, 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 Cemetery.

Son of William James Stockard; brother-in-law of Charles Thomas Crawford, sometime members of Tenn. General Assembly.

Thomas, 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, TN.

Nephew of Atha Thomas; cousin of Battle Robinson Thomas, sometime members Tennessee General Assembly.

Wheatley, 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 Sketches

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