Benton County Tennessee
Gilbert McKenzie, farmer and old resident of District No.8, was born in Houston County, Tenn. (then Stewart County), in 1820, and is one of a family of ten children born to Malcolm and Nancy (Beaton) McKenzie. The father was of Scotch origin and a native of North Carolina, born in 1774. He was a farmer by occupation, and about 1810 left his native State and immigrated to what is now Houston County. He married here and located near where Erin now is. In 1824 he came to Benton County and settled in the Eighth District. He died in 1834. His wife, Nancy (Beaton) McKenzie, was a native of North Carolina and died about 1870. Our subject has been a resident of Benton County since he was four years of age. He remained with his mother till twenty-six years of age and in 1846 married Easter Pitt a native of Stewart (now Houston) County, Tenn., born 1820, and the daughter of Arthur Pitt. To our subject and wife were born seven children: Catherine (Mrs. W.J. Cooper), Nancy (Mrs. B. F. Peeler), John P., Caroline (Mrs. D. W. Stockdale), Jethro, Martha A. and Easter. When about twenty-one years of age our subject entered forty acres in District No.8, where he located after marriage and where he has always resided. He now owns 2,700 acres and is a well-to-do farmer. He is one of the county's oldest citizens and is highly esteemed for his honesty and integrity. In politics he is a Republican, casting his first vote for Henry Clay in 1844. Mr. McKenzie lost his wife December 13, 1882, since which time his daughters, Martha and Easter, have been keeping house for him. Mr. McKenzie is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Hon. William P. Morris, a prominent and well known business man and citizen of Camden, Tenn., was born in Sumner County, Tenn., January 12, 1817; son of Isaac and Elizabeth (Brown) Morris, both natives of North Carolina. The parents married in North Carolina and came to Tennessee as early as 1810. In 1820 they removed from Sumner to Dickson County, and in 1822 to Henderson County. The father died while on a visit in Carroll County, in 1826. Our subject attained years of manhood on the farm and secured a limited education in the log schoolhouse of that early day, undergoing many of the hardships incident to pioneer life. At the age of seventeen he began the mercantile life as clerk in Perryville, Tenn., where he continued over two years. He then repaired to a farm in Decatur County, and from there to Benton County in 1841, locating two miles north of Camden on a farm. In March, 1843, he was elected clerk of Benton County Court, and removed to Camden where he served in the clerk's office nine years. In 1850 he engaged in the mercantile business at Camden in the building he is now occupying, and has remained in the business continuously up to the present time. In politics Mr. Morris was originally an old line Whig but since the war he has been a firm and unswerving Democrat. In 1861 he was elected to the State Senate during the memorable session of 1861-62. Again in 1879 he represented his district in an able manner in the State Senate serving with honor and distinction, also in the House of Representatives in 1883-84. Mr. Morris was not a participant in the war and was strongly opposed to secession, but after the State seceded his sympathies were enlisted with the South from a conscientious sense of duty and right. Mr. Morris has been one of the few very successful business men of Benton County. He started here with little or no capital, but by industry, close application to business and strict integrity has accumulated a very handsome competency. The war caused him great loss of property as it did many others, but he has recovered almost wholly from its ravages. July 2, 1838, he married Elvira Jane Johnson, a native of Perry County, Tenn, and to this union were born these children: John Pitts, of Fulton, Ky.; Dr. Granville T. of Paris, Tenn.; Adelaide the wife of W. F. Maiden; Louisa C., wife of William Carraway, of Big Sandy Tenn.; Virgil F.; Leehentz, wife of Joshua Bowles of this county, and William L. of Big Sandy. Mr. Morris is a Master Mason, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He has always taken an active and leading interest in all public and private enterprises that tended to the welfare of the town and county, in which he has been a highly successful and respected citizen for almost half a century.
Dr. James M. Moses, of Big Sandy, Tenn., and a native of Benton County, was born July 1, 1853, at Camden; son of James M. and Mary (Wyly) Moses, natives, respectively, of Humphreys and Benton Counties, Tenn. The father, who was one of the leading and prominent medical practitioners of Benton County, practiced his profession successfully at Camden until his death in 1860. He was a student of old Dr. Marable, of Humphreys County. Our subject was reared to manhood in Camden, securing an ordinary English education, and at the age of twenty-five years began the study of medicine under Dr. R.B. Travis of Camden. Attended lectures at Nashville in 1881-82 in the medical department of the University of Tennessee. He then began practicing at Camden and in May, 1883, came to Big Sandy and has remained exclusively in practice of his profession to the present time, having met with good and well deserved success. October, 1875, he married Miss Ida Hill, of Camden, and to them were born two children: Nellie and James Hill. The Doctor is strictly independent in his political views although formerly a Democrat. Himself and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church and he is justly recognized as one among the enterprising and reliable citizens of Benton County and a medical practitioner of experience and decided ability.
Alexander C. McRae, county court clerk of Benton County, Tenn., and a native of the same county, was born February 4, 1843, son of Alexander and Lavina (Rumbly) McRae, natives, respectively, of North Carolina and West Tennessee. The father, who was born in 1786, came to Tennessee when a young man, about the beginning of the present century, locating on the river near where Point Mason now is, and later removed to Sugar Creek where he reared his family of two children by his first wife, and later married our subject's mother, by whom he had ten children. nine of whom are still living. He followed farming successfully in this county until his death August, 1877. The subject of this sketch was reared and educated in Benton County. In 1861 he enlisted in Company A Fifty-fifth Regiment Tennessee Infantry Confederate Army, and served as private until the close of the Rebellion. He was wounded in the arm at Atlanta from which he still suffers on account of gangrene. After the war he followed farming near Big Sandy and also followed carpentering, assisting largely in building up the town. In 1878 he was elected county court clerk and removed to Camden where he has since resided. He has held this office continuously by re-election up to the present time, and is now serving on the third term, having discharged the duties of this most important public trust in a faithful, efficient manner. January 1, 1868, he married Lenora Ann Brown, a native of Madison County, Tenn., and has five children: William E., Ida A., Anins D., Marvin C. and Herman. Mr. McRae is, and always has been a firm and unswerving Democrat in his political views. He is a Mason and I.0.0. F. and himself and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He is one of the public-spirited and enterprising citizens of Benton County and a justly popular official He has been a local preacher in the Methodist Church South since 1871 and has given a great deal of time and means to the promotion of the cause of Christianity.
H. R. Pierce, farmer and old resident of District No. 7, was born in 1836 in Benton County, Tenn., and is the son of John and Rachel (Ross) Pierce. The father was a native of North Carolina, born in 1801 and of English-German descent. In 1819 he left his native State and came to Benton County, Tenn., erected a log cabin, cleared an acre of ground, went to Kentucky to get married and then returned to his western home. It is said that Mr. Pierce erected one of the first houses west of the Tennessee River. He died in 1862. His wife, Rachel Ross, was born in the State of Kentucky on the Cumberland River in 1806. She was of Irish origin and died in 1871. They had ten children, five of whom are living. Our subject was reared at home and received his education in the common schools of Benton County. At the age of twenty-two he left the parental roof and December 10, 1857, he married Nancy J. Stockdale, a native of Benton County born 1836 and the daughter of Dennis and Christia Stockdale. To our subject and wife were born eight children: Mary C. (Mrs. H. A. Phifer), James F., Martha (Mrs. H. Melton), Rachel A., John W., Henry H., Roena B. and Victoria C. Mr. Pierce has resided in his native county since his birth. In 1861 he located where he now resides on a fine farm of 283 acres. In politics he has been a life-long Democrat and in August, 1876, he was elected magistrate of the Seventh District and from that date to the present has adjusted his neighbors' difficulties with judicial fairness. He has been a Mason since 1855 and he and wife and six children are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Mr. Pierce has been a member of that church since he was thirteen years of age and has been a class leader in the same for twenty-eight years.
Uriah A. Potts, clerk in the mercantile establishment of William Caraway, Big Sandy, was born in Davie County, N. C., February 9, 1861, and is a son of William S. Potts, a former citizen of the Eighth District of Benton County (see sketch of father). Uriah came to this country with his parents in 1869, was reared here on a farm and secured a English education in the academical department of the Big Sandy school. He prepared himself for teaching, which profession he followed for years in this county. In January, 1884; he accepted a clerkship Dr. T. Morris, where be remained a year. He then entered the employ of Mr. Caraway, where he has remained ever since. He is a Master Mason and a member of the Sons of Temperance. He is a Democrat, a member the Methodist Episcopal Church and an estimable young man.
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