TNGenWeb Project
The Goodspeed Publishing Co., History of Tennessee
1887

Pages 1252-1261

Greene County Biographical Sketches
Surnames M thru W

Transcribed by Kris L. Martin

       Hugh D. Maloney, farmer, was born where he now lives, June 6, 1842, the son of William C. and Louisa (Cureton) Maloney, the former born in Greene County, on the homestead, July 13, 1813, the son of Hugh, who was born in Ireland in 1781, and became a pioneer farmer of Greene County, and from 1816 to 1836 a justice. He worked out the first road from Warrensburg to Greeneville, and died in 1849. The father was a farmer, and was county surveyor for several years. He was widely known, and died January 5, 1882. He was a half brother of Ambrose Hundley Sevier, the well-known Arkansas senator, and diplomat, also grandson of Henry Conway, who was an officer in the Revolutionary war, and who was stung to death by bees, and buried with honors of war upon the homestead, from which he had assisted in removing the cane. The mother was born at Cureton’s Ferry, Greene County, in 1820, a daughter of Richard Cureton, who was born at the above place. She was a Methodist, and died August 21, 1886. Our subject was educated at the Knoxville University, Greeneville College, and Tusculum, College, graduating from the latter in 1860. He then entered the law department of Cumberland University, and in 1862 joined Company H, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate). He served in various capacities through the war, until paroled at Charlotte, N. C., in May, 1865. While cut off from his command he fell in with Gen. John H. Morgan and staff, with whom he rode into Greeneville, the evening before Morgan was killed by the Federals. He was in the battle of Chickamauga, through the North Georgia campaign, and in the last skirmish in the streets of Columbia, when the city was evacuated by the Confederates. He has since been successfully engaged on his farm. February 16, 1871, Annie, a daughter of W. C. Scruggs, became his wife. She was born in Grainger County, June 8, 1853. They have four children.

       Henry G. Marsh, a merchant at Home Depot, Greene Co., Tenn., was born at Papersville, Sullivan Co., Tenn., January 6, 1850, and is the son of Eli and Harriet J. (Burkh art) Marsh. The father was born near Home, Greene Co., Tenn., December 5, 1805, and is the son of Gravner and Elizabeth (Oliphant) Marsh. Gravner was a native of Pennsylvania, and a son of Gravner Marsh, Sr., who immigrated to East Tennessee during its early settlement. The mother of our subject was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., April 1, 1813, and died in Greene County in 1862. She was the mother of nine children, six sons and three daughters. Our subject is the youngest but one, and was reared on the farm, and educated at Bristol and Tusculum. At the age of sixteen years he went to merchandising at Rheatown, Greene County, and has been merchandising ever since. In 1881 he married Minnie Ramsay, a daughter of William Ramsay, of Greene County. One daughter, Nina, and one son, Halbert, have blessed the marriage. Our subject is a self-made man, and is practical and successful in business. He is well respected by all who know him.

       Joseph W. McDannel, trustee, was born in Greeneville, Greene County, January 10, 1855, the son of Blackstone and Louisa (Britton) Me Dannel, the former born in Knoxville, January 15, 1811, the son of John McDannel, of Pennsylvania, born in 1787. Marcus McDannel was the next ancestor. John came to Tennessee in the early part of 1808, settled in Knox County, and on the 12th of July, 1809, married Sarah Whitson. He served in the Creek Indian war, in Capt. Rufus Morgan’s company and Col. Brown’s regiment, and returned to Knoxville in 1814, and died January 31, 1837. Blackstone, like his father, was a mechanic, reared in Knoxville, and resident of Greeneville, after 1829. He was first assistant of Maj. Samuel Milligan, a commissary in the Mexican war, and afterward engaged in the pension and claim agency of the wars of 1812 and 1846. President Lincoln appointed him United States marshal for East Tennessee, both terms, and he was re-appointed by President Johnson, but, on account of the health of his family, he resigned, and engaged in his old agency business at Greeneville. He had become intimately acquainted with Andrew Johnson when both were working at their trades, and they frequently engaged in public debate on the Indian and other questions, and this was the beginning of the latter’s career. The mother was born near Greeneville December 27, 1821, the daughter of James Britton, and granddaughter of Daniel Britton. She was married March 23, 1854, and died in Greeneville April 8, 1876. Our subject was educated at what is now Grant Memorial University, Athens, Tenn. In 1878 he became deputy register of Greene County, and then became deputy clerk and master, deputy trustee and deputy county court clerk, holding all the positions at the same time. In 1886 he was elected as a Republican to his present office. He is a Mason and an Odd Fellow, and is steward in the Methodist Episcopal Church. August 6, 1872, he married Emma C., a daughter of William G. Hortorb Sr., clerk and master of McMinn County. She was born August 22, 1855, in the latter county. Two of their five children are living.

       J. W. McDannald, of the firm of McDannald & Weems, at Mohawk Postoffice, was born in 1842, in Greene County, where he has since resided. He was captured in 1861, while crossing the mountains to Kentucky to join the Federal Army, put in prison on James Island, South Carolina, and kept two years, after which he went to New York, and from there to Kentucky, and from there to Indiana, where he worked as a hired hand on a farm. Be hired shortly afterward to the Government as a teamster, at which lie con-tinued until the war closed. He then engaged in farming for himself, and in 1882 he built and equipped a flouring mill in partnership with Joseph Lane, style, of firm name being McDannald & Lane. Mr. Lane retired from the firm in 1886. Mr. G. J. Weems was taken into the firm in 1884, the style of firm being McDannald, Lane & Weems, and upon Mr. Lane’s retiring in 1866, the style of firm name became McDanDald & Weems. The capacity of the mill is fifty barrels per day, and the mill is generally run day and night, so great is the demand for their flour. Mr. McDannald was married in 1867 to Miss Louisa Wisecarver, a daughter of Samuel Wisecarver, a native of Greene County, Tenn. Five children blessed their union: Corrie, James A., Samuel, Ernest and Emma. Mrs. McDannald is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and Mr. McDannald is a Republican in politics, and he is an 1. 0. 0. F. He is the third of six children of James and Leah (Coble) McDannald, natives of Jefferson and Greene Counties, respectively. Mr. McDannald died in, 1855,aged forty-three years. Mrs. McDannald is still living, and she is seventy- two years old. Mr, McDannald was Scotch, and Mrs. MeDannald was of Dutch descent. James McDannald was a son of Alexander and Hannah MeDannald, natives of Jefferson County, Tenn. J. M. McDannald began life for himself a poor man, and most of what he is now worth is the result of his own good management. Besides his splendid mill property he owns 200 acres of fine bottom land.

       D. W. Mercer, farmer, was born in 1836, in Blount County, but from infancy has led in Greene County. Since he began, in his twentieth year, he has acquired 162 acres ~at his home, besides eighty-one acres elsewhere. In 1863 he enlisted in Company A, Fourth Tennessee Federal Infantry, as sergeant, and was mustered out August 1, 1865, at Nashville, Tenn. In 1855 Priscilla, a daughter of John Hartman, became his wife. Their children were John F., Recina, Mary A., Robert (deceased) and Sarah (deceased). His wife died May 21, 1873, and September 30, 1883, be married Margaret, a daughter of Samuel Henry, of Greene County, Tenn. She is a Presbyterian, while his first wife was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He is a Democrat. His parents, Elbert F. and Rachel (Thompson) Mercer, are natives of this county. The latter died December 7, 1838. The father then married Mary A. Norwood, a native of Blount County, Tenn., and after her death, June 20, 1860, married Charlotte Hull, a native of Greene County. He died March 19, 1887. He was a deputy sheriff of Blount, and a trustee of Greene, County, several years. Mr. Mercer was of English-Irish origin, and followed carpentering and farming. He was a son of John Mercer.

       William E. F. Milburn, lawyer, was born at Milburnton, Greene County, November 15, 18U, the son of Rev. William and Martha (Frame) Milburn. The former was born near Winchester, Va., September 16, 1797, the son of Jonathan and Nancy Milburn, natives of Virginia. The former ’ was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, and a pioneer of Greene County about 1804. The father was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church for five years more than half a century. He was during the war of the Rebellion an avowed Union man, and was much persecuted, and imprisoned by the rebels for his Union sentiments. He was chaplain of the Eighth Regiment Tennessee Cavalry, Volunteers, United States Army. The mother was born Dear Harper’s Ferry, Va., April 10, 1802, and died February 14, 1861. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Our subject served as a soldier from November 20, 1862, to October 25, 1865, in Company B, Twelfth Regiment Tennessee Cavalry, Volunteers, United States Army, in the war of the Rebellion. He was engaged in the battles of Florence and Shoal Creek, and Sugar Creek, Ala.; Pulaski, Triune, Clifton, Spring Hill, Columbia, Campbellsville, Franklin and Nashville, Tenn.; and the fourteen days of continuous skirmishing with Gen. Hood’s retreating forces, from Nashville to Eastport, Miss. After the war be entered school, and was graduated with the degree of A. B., and won the highest honors of the class of 1871 in the East Tennessee Wesleyan University. For the two successive years, 1872 and 1873, he was professor of mathematics in his then alma mater. In the year 1874 he was graduated, upon examination, from the University of Michigan, with the degree of Master of Arts. He was president of the Holston Seminary for one year, 1874-75, in the meantime reading law, so as to be admitted to the bar in 1876 at Athens, Tenn., his license being signed by Judge Hayle and Chancellor Bradford. In 1879 he removed to Abilene, Kas., and early in 1880 he located at Greeneville, Tenn. From January, 18829, to July, 1885, he was special examiner of the United States Pension Bureau in the State of Kentucky, with headquarters at Bowling Green, after which be resumed the practice of law at Greeneville. In November. 1886, he was elected, as a Republican, to represent the county of Greene, and served with ability and distinction in the Legislature of 1887. He was a member of the executive committee of the State Temperance Alliance, and took an. active part in the canvass to adopt the constitutional Prohibition amendment in 1887. October 1, 1878, Florence Ella, daughter of Mr. John H. Williams, of Golden, Col., became his wife. She was born at Ducktown, Tenn., March 19, 1859. To this union, have been born three children, namely: Lulu Belle, Frank Emily and Blaine. Mrs. Milburn is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

       Rev. Jere Moore, A. M., was born at Tusculum, Greene Co., Tenn., November 6, 1845, the son of Anthony and Nancy P. (Holt) Moore. The next ancestors were Anthony, born June 26, 1803, in Greene County, and died July 20, 1885; David, born May 14, 1769, in Pennsylvania, and Anthony, Sr., born in 1732, in Pennsylvania, coming to East Tennessee with his family in 1778. The latter, detained a year to raise a company to go through what was then called “The Wilderness,” liked the country so well that he remained here, one of the earliest settlers of East Tennessee. The mother was born in Greene County, March 26, 1807, and died April 18, 1879. She was the daughter of David Holt, of Rockbridge County, Va. Our subject, the next youngest of eight children, was educated at Greeneville and Tusculum College, and graduated in 18711; then in 1874 graduated from the Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio. In September, 1874, he was ordained by the Holston Presbytery at Kingsport, and for a year was a Presbyterian missionary. He has since preached at Mount Bethel, Oakland, and other churches. He was a member of the General Assembly at Pittsburgh in 1878, and at Saratoga in 1883. He was giving his life to the ministry, when, in 1883, he was called to the presidency of the Greeneville and Tusculum College, which he accepted in June, 1883. On December 10, 1874, he married Belle R., a daughter of E. E. Mathes, of Washington County, where she was born September 4, 1850. Their children are Myrtie L., born February 8, 1876; David E., born October 7, 1877; A. Holt, born August 19, 1879; Melvin M., born February G, 1882; Maggie B., born September 21, 1883, and one boy unnamed, born April 23, 1887.

       J. S. Neilson, a farmer, was born April 16, 1831, in Greene County, always his home. When he was eighteen he began independently by managing his father’s farm, and in 1861 he began farming for himself. In 1858 he married M. E. Baker, a daughter of Allen ,Baker, a native of Greene County. Their children are James T. and Jesse B. She is a member of the Baptist Church, and in politics he is a Democrat, first voting for Scott. He is the fifth of seven children of W. D. and Eliza (Evans) Neilson, natives of Greene and Claiborne Counties, respectively. The father commanded a company in the war of 1812, and was afterward commissioned colonel. He followed farming most of his life, and the latter part was engaged in general merchandising. The grandfather, Hugh, was a native of Scotland, and one of the pioneers of Greene County, Tenn. The mother was of English stock. The farm of our subject consists of 375 acres of fine, mostly bottom, land, showing the hand of a successful agriculturist.

       Augustus H. Pettibone, one of the leading lawyers and citizens of Greeneville, Tenn., was born at Bedford, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, January 21, 1835, the son of Augustus N. and Nancy L. (Hathaway) Pettibone. The father was born in Vernon, N. Y., in 1802, and was the son of Elijah Pettibone, a soldier of the Revolutionary war. The father removed to Ohio early in life, and established the first woolen mills west of the Alleghany Mountains, at Newburg (now part of Cleveland), Ohio. He was a Whig, and a strong supporter of Henry Clay. He died in 1849. The mother was born near Burlington, Vt., about 1804, and was the daughter of Zepheniah Hathaway, a native of Taunton, Mass. She died in 1843. Our subject was educated at Hiram College, Ohio, and at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1859. He studied law with Hon. Jonathan E. Arnold, at Milwaukee, Wis., and entered in the practice at La Crosse, Wis. He entered the Federal Army as a private, in 1861, and was promoted to second lieutenant and captain of his company, and on December 7, 1862, was promoted to major of the Twentieth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers. He served through the war, and then located at Greeneville, Tenn., and resumed his law practice. He entered politics, and was first elected attorney general of the First Judicial Circuit, of Tennessee, and was a Grant and Colfax presidential elector in 1868. He served for several years as assistant United States district attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and was the Hayes and Wheeler elector ~for the State at large in 1876. He was elected to the XLVII, XLVIII and XLIX Congresses as a Republican. He is now a member of the law firm of Pettibone, Worder & Sharp, of Chattanooga, but resides at Greeneville. He was married, July 16, 1868, to Mary C. Speck, of Rogersville, Tenn., daughter of George C. Speck, deceased.

       W. H. Piper, county clerk, was born in Knoxville, Tenn., April 26, 1854, the son of Albert M. and Martha O. (Allen) Piper, the former born in Virginia, August 20, 1820, the son of Joseph, a native of Pennsylvania, and of German parents. The father became a Rogersville merchant about 1838. From 1846 he was in Knoxville as clerk, and from 1851 as partner, in the Coffin Brothers firm, with whom he had removed. In 1857 he became a partner of S. 13. Boyd, until 1859. He was mayor of Knoxville for a time. In 1859 he bought a farm. and up to 1867 was a Greene County merchant. In 1871 he became United States deputy revenue collector. He was in the Indian wars. He died June 11, 1873, the first victim of the cholera epidemic of that year. The mother was born December 9, 1824, in Greene County, the daughter of James Allen, of Irish descent. She died May 14, 1869. Our subject was educated at Clear Springs Academy, Greene Co., Tenn. He taught school and studied law with Maj. Pettibone, until 1882, and in May, 1881, was admitted. In August, 1882, he was elected to his present position, the first Republican to hold the office. January 17, 1883, Carrie Brannan became his wife. Their children were Bessie, Blaine (deceased) and Gracie. He is a member of the United Brethren Church, while his wife is a Presbyterian. During the war of the Rebellion the father, Albert M., and all the members of his family, were uncompromising Unionists.

       C. G. Rankin was born at Rheatown, Tenn., March 5, 1837, being the son of John and Louisa (Gray) Rankin, the former a tanner and merchant, who died at Johnson City, Tenn., in 1879, aged sixty-four, and a native of Greene County. The mother, a native of this county also, was the daughter of Benjamin Gray, and died in 1843. Our subject andtwo sisters were the only children. He left school at thirteen years of age, and clerked for his father until he was twenty-one. Since then he has farmed on an extensive scale. Jn 1858 he married Louisa, a daughter of Frederick DeVault, of Leesburg, Tenn. Three daughters and the mother are deceased. The sons are John A. and CharlesR. In 1872he, Ron. D. T. Patterson and W. B. Rush organized the Home Woolen Company, and located their mill a half mile north of Home Depot. At present our subject is the sole proprietor and manager, and employs about twenty-five persons constantly, the capacity of the mill being 30,000 pounds of wool per year. Blankets, yarns, cassimeres, jeans, flannels, etc., are sold directly to the consumer. He is a Master Mason, and a Knight of Honor. He has merchandised since 1867, first at home and later at his mills, where the old stone dam, the first in this region, gave its name to the historical camping grounds and a Methodist Church built there.

       D.W. Remine, a farmer in the Fifteenth District, was born in 1887 in Virginia, and came to this locality in 1847, where he has since resided. He received his education at Limestone Academy and Tusculum College. When eleven years of age he was thrown upon his own resources, a poor boy, and has followed f arming ever since. He was married in 1858 to Miss Phoebe Keizel, daughter of Enos Keizel, a native of Rockingham County, Va., who came to Washington County in 1856. To this union has been born fourteen children: Fannie L., Rebecca, Calvin K., Edward E. (deceased), Mollie E., Schuyler Colfax, Minnie B., Horace Maynard, Lummie Lynn, Carrie Bays, Frederick Fuller, Bell Carter, Annie Lee and Kate. The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Remine is a Republican in politics and a prohibitionist in principle, a Good Templar, and a Son of Temperance. He is the third of seven children born to Hiram and Nancy (Bays) Remine, natives of Virginia. Ile was a soldier in the late war, and was captured and detained in Castle Thunder, Libby, Abingdon, Jonesboro, Greeneville and Knoxville prisons on account of his views on Abolitionism, he being a pronounced Abolitionist, and very bold in declaring his views. Three of his sons were soldiers in the United States Army. He is a son of William H. Remine, a native of Tazewell County, Va., and was a stock dealer and distiller. He was justice of the peace for many years. Mrs. Nancy Remine was a daughter of James and Ruth Bays, either natives of or very early settlers in Russell County, Va. Mr. Bays was a prominent minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Bays Mountain took its name from this family, they being noted as great hunters. They have furnished a great number of very, excellent and able ministers.

       James H, Robinson was born two miles from Greeneville, on June 26, 1835, and is the son of James and Mary (Temple) Robinson. The father was born in Greene County, and was the son of David Robinson, who was a native of Virginia, and immigrated to Tenenessee at a very early date and was one of the pioneers of Greene County. The father was a farmer and a prominent citizen, and for a number of years served as magistrate. He died in 1863, his funeral occurring on the last day General Longstreet’s army passed through Greeneville, going into Virginia. The mother was born in Greene County, and was the daughter of Thomas Temple, a native of Greene County, who was the son of Maj. Temple, a native of North Carolina, who participated in the battle of King’s Mountain. She died in 1867. Our subject was reared on the farm, and attended school at Tusculum College. While in school his health failed him, and he visited California, where he remained for over two years. Returning home he studied law for a time and then re-entered Tusculum College, from which school he graduated with honor on June 7, 1860, he being the valedictorian of the graduating class of that year. He at once resumed his law studies in Greeneville under Maj. James Britton, and on February 18, 1861, was admitted to the bar, his license being signed by Judge David T. Patterson and ,Chancellor Seth J. W. Lucky. He was not sworn in at once, and the war coming up, upon advice of friends he did not take the oath until after the war. He enlisted in the Confederate service in 1862, and was appointed deputy agent at Greeneville, which he held until the latter part of that year. and then enlisted in Capt. Jackson’s Company of the Eighty-first Regiment of Confederate Tennessee Infantry, as a private. He was with his regiment but a short time until he was appointed provost-marshal and put in command of Greene County, with the rank of captain. He served in that capacity until the evacuation of East Tennessee by the Confederate troops. On leaving Greeneville he became a member of Col. Battles’ Cavalry Battalion, which organization was composed of a number of parts of different regiments. His health failed him after awhile, and he left the ranks, and purchased the newspaper outfit of the Southern Banner, which he removed to Wytheville, and published a weekly paper until the close of the war, and issued the last paper in the Confederacy, an issue being made after Gen. Lee’s surrender, the paper being common brown wrapping paper. He was with his command, however, at the surrender at Christiansburg, Va., in 1865. At the close of the war he went to Illinois and then to Louisville, Ky., where he was engaged for a few weeks as salesman in a wholesale merchandising house. From Louisville he went to Batesville, Ark., where he began the practice of his profession, he having previously been licensed to practice in the courts of Arkansas. He removed to East Tennessee in 1869 and settled in Greeneville, forming a partnership with Maj. A. H. Pittibone. He remained with Maj. Pettibone for about five years, and then formed a partnership and practiced with Thomas Maloney, and with him was counsel for four years for President Johnson’s estate, and conducted the noted case, before the supreme court, of Bessie M. Johnson, the widow of Andrew Johnson, Jr., against the administration of President Johnson’s estate, which case was argued four different times before the supreme bench of Tennessee. He began practicing by himself, and has continued up to the present, having built up a fine practice and established for life an excellent professional standing, and for six years was local attorney for the East Tennessee & Virginia Railway. He is a man of fine legal talent, and a progressive and public spirited citizen, broad and liberal in his views. He has always encouraged all public enterprises of a worthy nature, and is now president of the board of enterprise of Greene County. He takes an active part in politics, and, during recent canvasses, stumped a large portion of this section. He takes an interest in public schools and churches, and is a member of and an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Greeneville. He was married to Ellen Temple, June 7, 1860, only a few moments after he delivered his valedictory address at college. His wife was born in Greene County, April 19, 1843, and is the daughter of Col. M. S. Temple, one of the prominent citizens of Greene County, who represented his county in the State Legislature, and was also at one time superintendent of the East Tennessee & Virginia Railway. To this union eight children have been born, two of whom are dead. The eldest, Frank P., is a practicing physician of Cocke County, and Bird M., another son, is connected with the Indian agency at Standing Rock, Dakota, who read law with his father, and on November 6, 1883, was licensed to practice by the supreme court of Tennessee. June 6, 1873, our , subject was called to Tusculum College, and the degree of A. M. conferred upon him. He is, and has been for years, a trustee of Tusculum College. He was prosecuting lawyer in the celebrated case of Johnson vs. McHenry.

       D. L. Russell~ farmer and stock raiser, was born near his present home in Greene County, October 14, 1841, the son of John and Minerva (Thompson) Russell. The father was a farmer, and died at his home in Greene County, in February, 1885, aged seventy-two years, and the mother, also a native of Tennessee, was the daughter of Henry Thompson. Of nine children, those living are Daniel L., Samuel C., William F., Edward G., John and Alfred H. Our subject was reared on the farm, and educated at the common schools. When of age he joined the Confederate Army, was in service four years, and has since been successfully devoted to farming. He now owns a farm of 350 acres, well improved. In 1867 he married Mary V., a daughter of James Johnston. Their children are John W., James J., Sudie and William. She died December 30, 1876, and in 1878 Sarah R., a daughter of H. Wells, became his wife. Their children are Minnie, Humphries, Jennie and David C. Our subject is a Presbyterian.

       A. N. Shoun, lawyer, of the firm of Ingersoll & Shoun, was born in Johnson County, Tenn., November 1, 1851, the son of G. H. and Theodosia (Wilson) Shoun, the former born in that city in 1821, the son of Andrew, a native of the same, and he a son of Leonard, a pioneer of that county. The father, a successful merchant, is now retired at Rheatown, where he removed at the close of the war. The mother was born in 1824 in Johnson County, and is the daughter of Andrew Wilson. Both parents are members of the Christian Church. Our subject was thirteen years of age when the family moved to Rheatown, and he spent one year (1865) in Emory and Jefferson College, Knox County; then one year in the Rheatown Academy, and finally graduated from Emory and Henry College, Va., in June, 1871. He read law in the office of Judge H. H. Ingersoll two years, and was admitted to the bar in 1873, his license being signed by Judges Smith and Gillenwaters, and also by the master of the supreme court. For over three years he was engaged as merchant with his father, studying meanwhile, especially history. In 1878 he began his present law partnership. In 1873, Kate, a daughter of Thomas Johnson, became his wife. They have four children. She is a Methodist.

       R. J. Snapp was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., October 1, 1843, and is the son of W. C. and A. E. Snapp. In September, 1851, he entered Jefferson Academy, of Sullivan County, and attended this institution eight winters, laboring on the farm during the summer seasons, and passing his youth without noteworthy event. In 1859 he was placed under the control of Rev. J. J. Smith, of Shelbyville, Ind., who carefully directed his education for four years. In 1863 lie returned to Knoxville, and was there employed by Fishel & Elsas, as clerk in their dry goods establishment, but in 1866 obtained a position as clerk with Stokes & Waters, Lebanon, Tenn., also in the dry goods business. Two years later (1868) he removed with this firm to Cherry Valley, Middle Tennessee, but the following year (1869) returned to his father’s house at Rheatown, Greene Co., Tenn. In 1870, he attended Laurel Hill Academy one term, and, in 1872, entered H. G. Eastman’s Commercial College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., from the business course of which institution he graduated in four months. He then returned to his father, whose health was beginning to fail with the approach of old age, to take charge of the farm, and continued thus four years. From 1876 to 1877, he was engaged in the brick business at Greeneville, Tenn., and in 1878 embarked in the family grocery business, with W. D. Culver as partner, the firm name being Snapp & Culver. In the fall of 1879, he bought out Mr. Culver, and is still continuing alone, having in 1883 added to his business a tannery and a boot, shoe, harness and saddle manufactory. He manufactures more leather than he can use, and ships it in the rough to Eastern cities. In 1886-87, he built, under the supervision of J. F. Fields, architect, “Snapp’s Opera House,” the lower floor being used for stores, and the building being the most attractive in the place, and a credit to both owner and town. April 30, 1877, he was united in marriage with Miss Lizzie Lane, daughter of Thomas Lane, of Greeneville, which union has proven a very happy one, two bright boys, Earl and Clarence, having come to bless their parents. Earl is eight years old, and Clarence would have been four, had not God, for some wise purpose, seen proper last autumn to call him home.

       Lawrence P. Speck, farmer and merchant miller, was born in Rogersville, Tenn., October 28, 1841, the son of George C. and Mary D. (Russell) Speck. The father, a native of Augusta County, Va., was born in 1804, and died in 1847, and was of German-French origin. He was a tailor and also dealt in live stock, and about 1844 moved from Hawkins County to Morristown, where his death occurred. The mother was born in Greene County, Tenn., June 24, 1814, and died February 20, 1886. Her children are Thos. J., Mary C., Lawrence P. and George E. Our-subject was reared in Rogersville and Morristown, and received a limited education in common schools, and a few terms at McMinn Academy. He was a clerk in early life, and worked several years in a printing office. With the opening of the war, while residing at Camden, Ark., he enlisted in Company C, first Arkansas Volunteers, Confederate Army, and was paroled at the close at Jamestown, N. C. He returned to Rogersville and then moved to New Orleans, and was employed in the cotton trade, with a firm engaged in that business. In 1867 he married Elizabeth Robertson, of Kosciusko, Miss. Re then engaged in the newspaper business and merchandising at Morristown, Tenn. In 1880 he went to Rockford, Blount County, where he engaged in merchandising and manufacturing cotton goods, but in 1885 he began farm ing at his present home. His children are George C., born October 10, 1869; Hugh W., born January 10, 1872: Annie L., born January 6, 1874; Thomas A., born April 16, 1876; Eugenia A., born February 22, 1878; Mary P., born December 21, 1880; Bessie L., born January 29, 1883; and Laura B., born December 28, 1884. A. J. Stephens, sheriff, was born twelve miles south of Greeneville, in 1843, being the son of Samuel L. and Mary J. (Farnsworth) Stephens, the former born in this county April 2, 1805, the son of Andrew Stephens, of Pennsylvania, but a resident of Greene County since 1790. Samuel died April 26, 1974. The mother was born in Greene County October 13, 1820, being the daughter of Thomas Farnsworth. She is a Lutheran, and is .still a resident of this county. Our subject was educated in a mill, and attended Rich- land Creek Academy. In 1862 he joined the Fourth Tennessee Federal Infantry, and was captured while en route for Kentucky, and taken to Knoxville and put in the Confederate service, but ran away at the first opportunity, and helped raise Company E, Second Federal North Carolina Mounted Infantry, of which he was chosen Second Lieutenant, serving until August 16, 1865, when, by special order of the war department, he was mustered out at Knoxville. He then established a wool-carding machine at Little Lick Creek, running it for three years, and then engaged in iron mining for two years. He was then a farmer and mill-wright until August, 1886, when he became sheriff. He is a Republican. In 1867 he married Martha E., a daughter of John Susong. She was born in Greene County in 1843, and is a Presbyterian. They have had four children.

       S. J. R. Stephens, senior member of B. F. Stephens’ Bros., of the Greeneville Woolen Mills, is the superintendent of the weaving department. The mills were first established at Birdsbridge in 1879, and afterward moved to Greeneville by the present firm. They are the largest between Knoxville and the Virginia line, and have a capacity of 150 pounds of yarn, and 500 yards of jeans cloth per day, though a general variety of goods is manufactured. Twenty-two of the best looms and thirty-five hands are employed, and they do an annual business of about $75,000. Our subject was born in 1849, in Greene County, and was educated in Tusculum College. He began flour-milling and taking out iron ore from the furnace near Birdsbridge, then after a year on the farm, he and his brothers established their business. In 1864 he married Florence, daughter of Andrew Bowers. They have had four children. B. F. Stephens, the second member, and superintendent of the spinning department, was born in 1856, and educated at Mosheim Station, and then entered the flouring-mill and woolen-mills, removing to Greeneville in 1884. In 1878 he married Josephine, daughter of J. B. Bird. They have one child. Fox Stephens, junior member and book-keeper, was born in 1858, and was educated at Mosheim College, at Blue ~Springs, and began with his brothers on leaving school. In 1879 he married Josephine, daughter of Thomas N. Brooks. Samuel L., and Mary J. (Farnsworth) Stephens, the parents., were born--the former in Pennsylvania in 1805, and the latter in Greene County, Tenn, in 1820. The father was the son of John Stephens, a native of Germany, who came to Pennsylvania about 1809 or 1810. He was a farmer and blacksmith, and a Lutheran. He died in 1874. The mother, a daughter of Thomas Farnsworth, is also a Lutheran, and lives with the junior member of this firm, Fox Stephens.

       A. D. Susong, merchant, was born in Greene County, November 10, 1820, the son of Anndrew and Elizabeth (Eason) Susong, the former born in Rockingham County, Va., in 1777, the son of Andrew, Sr., a native of Germany, and a soldier throughout the Revolution, who became a pioneer of Greene County in 1817, and died in 1826. Andrew, Jr., was a successful farmer in Greene County, and died in 1832, universally esteemed. The mother was born in Montgomery County, Va., a daughter of Samuel Eason, a native of Virginia, and owner of the Virginia site of Bristol, Tenn. She died in 1856. Both were Lutherans but the mother after his death became a Presbyterian. Our subject was educated at Tusculum. College, and then engaged for three years in a hardware store at Greeneville, since which he has been in his present general merchandise store at Timber Ridge, in connection on with which he owns and cultivates from 700 to 800 acres of land. He was postmaster from 1847 to about 1859, and from 1866 to the administration of President Arthur. He is broad-minded man, and a Presbyterian. In 1868 he married Sarah, a daughter of Robert Cochran, of Greene County. She was born in 1840, near their present home. She is a Presbyterian. Three of their four children are living. He has been an elder of his church for the last thirty years.

       L. W. Tipton, merchant, was born in Crab Orchard, Ky., June 20, 1838, the son of Jonathan and Mary (McJimpsey) Tipton, the former born in North Carolina in 1811, the son of Jonathan Tipton, a native of Carter County, Tenn. The father, a farmer, was killed in 1864, by Confederate soldiers, in retaliation for his sons being in the Federal Army. The mother was born in Catawba County, N.C., in 1818, the daughter of William McJimpsey. She now lives in North Carolina. Our subject was educated at Burnsville, N. C., and in 1862 joined Company D, Eighth Federal Tennessee Cavalry, but June 11, 1863, he was transferred to Company A, Third United States North Carolina Mounted. Infantry, as second lieutenant. He was mustered out August 7, 1865, and has since been farming a mile east of Greeneville. He has also, since 1881, been engaged in the grocery business at Greeneville. He is a Mason, and a member of the Baptist Church. He is all intelligent and successful man. August 25, 1865, Clementine, a daughter of Eliza Headerick, became his wife, and five children have been born to them. She was I crn near Fall Branch in 1836.

       Col. J. G. Weems, farmer, was born July 4, 1829, in Greene County, where he has since resided. He was first engaged for seven years in the firm of Bailey & Weems, merchants and stock dealers, but since 1857 he has been farming. His father gave him $1,500, and he now owns about 500 acres of land where he resides, besides 267 acres elsewhere. May 15, 1856, he married Mary J., a daughter of William M. Williams, a native of Greene County. Their children were Laura E., George M., Eliza M. (deceased), Thomas B., Joel A., Charles P., John G. (deceased), Mary E., William M., James R. and Robert T. Both are Methodists, and he is a leader among Prohibitionists. Politically he was a Democrat until 1884, at which time he took up the cause of the Prohibitionists. He served four years as a justice, and then resigned. He is a Master Mason. He is the second of eight children of George and Matilda (Keele) Weems, natives of Greene and Jefferson (now Hamblen) Counties, respectively, the former deceased in July, 1839, aged forty-four, and the latter in December, 1863, aged about fifty-nine. John Weems, of North Carolina, was the next ancestor, and of Irish stock. Our subject was a colonel of State militia.

       G. J. Weems, farmer and miller, of the firm of Weems & McDannald, was born in 1838 in Greene County, where he has since resided. He began with $3,000 worth of property, and now owns a fine farm of 300 acres at his home, and two other tracts of 295 acres, besides a half interest in the valuable mill property. In 1862 he enlisted in Company D, Eighth Tennessee Federal Infantry, and served until June, 1865, when he was mustered out at Nashville, having received a severe wound at Kenesaw Mountain. In 1865 Mattie J., daughter of William Ross, of the county of Greene, became his wife. Their children are Mary M. (now Mrs. Barlow), William R., Charles E., Livy A. S., Rebecca J., Dollie O. and Nancy Alice. Both are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he a Prohibitionist.

       Joseph A. Williams, the subject of our sketch, is a farmer in the Ninth Civil District, and was born in Greeneville, Tenn., May 3, 1832, and is the son of Dr. Alexander and Catherine Douglas (Dickson) Williams. The father was a native of Surry County, N. C.. and was born in November, 1793, and died at Greeneville in August, 1852. The mother was born in Greeneville, Tenn., in 1802, and died in Greeneville in 1870. She was the mother of six sons and four daughters, of which children there now (1887) live only three sons, viz.: William D., Joseph A. and Thomas L. Joseph A., our subject was reared in Greeneville, and was educated in Greeneville and Knoxville, and early in life studied medicine and practiced the profession for a short time, and then began farming in Greene County, Tenn. He was farming when the civil war broke out, though he never enlisted, yet his sympathy was in favor of the Federal Army. In 1861 he married Lucy M. Rumbough, and it is said that Lucy betrayed Gen. John Morgan to the Union soldiers at Greeneville, but hereby the statement is denied. She was not the betrayer of the General, but was a sympathizer with the Union army, and never had an opportunity of betraying Gen. Morgan. In 1881 our subject was united in marriage with Mary Pattent for a second wife. She was an intelligent woman of noble character, and a devoted Christian, and her death occurred fourteen months after her marriage with our subject. Mr. Williams is a practical farmer, and owns and cultivates a portion of the Greeneville College farm. He is a man decisive in character, and is a faithful friend, and a well respected citizen.

       Thomas L. Williams was born in Greeneville, Tenn., September 7, 1838, and is the son of Dr. Alexander and Catherine (Dickson) Williams. The father was born in Surry County, N. C., in November, 1793, and died in Greeneville, Tenn., in August, 1852. The mother was a native of Greeneville, Tenn., and was born in 1802, and died in 1870. She was the daughter of William Dickson, an early settler of East Tennessee. She was the mother of six sons and four daughters, of which family there are now (1887) living only three sons, viz: William D., Joseph A. and our subject, who was reared in Greeneville, and educated at Greeneville, Knoxville and Chapel Hill, N. C. At the outbreak of the war, he left college at Knoxville, and entered the Confederate Army, in Company E, Sixteenth Battalion, Buckner’s Legion, and afterward was transferred to Vaughn’s Brigade. He became captain, and was paroled as such, and surrendered at Anderson Court House, S. C. Such was the prejudice against him in his native community, which was principally of Union sentiment, that he was forced to leave his native county, and went to Baltimore and elsewhere. About six years after the war he settled in Greene County, and has farmed ever since, He owns and cultivates a portion of the Greeneville College farm, and is a practical farmer. In 1870 he married Mary Simpson, daughter of Hon. Richard F. Simpson, of South Carolina. She was born March 1, 1842, and is the mother of nine children, of whom only six Dow (1887) live, viz: Eliza S., Richard F., William D., Thomas L., Maria L., and Anna Simpson.

       William Houston Williams, merchant, was born December 5, 1834, in Blount County, and is the son of W. B. and Elizabeth (Hubbell) Williams, natives of Smyth County, Va., the former born in 1796, being the son of Major Samuel Williams, a native of Rye Valley, Va., and a soldier of the Continental war. He was also an extensive iron works owner in his native state. He settled in Blount County in 1822, and was a farmer, a captain in the militia, and also a deputy sheriff, and died in 1852. The mother was born in 1806, being the daughter of Joel Hubbell, a farmer of Smyth County, Va. She died in 1826, when our subject was a child. Both parents were Baptists. Our subject was educated at Maryville College, Blount County, and Mossy Creek (now Carson) College, and taught for one year, when he joined Company K, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate), as orderly sergeant. In December, 1868, he was captured at Knoxville, but escaped near Richmond, while en route for Camp Chase, Ohio. He taught then two years in Kentucky, one in Alabama and three in Tennessee. In 1871 he began extensive wheat dealing in Greeneville for the Kenesaw (Ga.) mills, continuing up to 1882, gaining the title by which he is generally known, of “Wheat William.” Since that date he has been a successful merchant. He is a stockholder in the public schools, and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is also a Knight of Honor. In 1874 he married Mary J., a daughter of Lemuel White, a Methodist divine of Hawkins County, where she was born in 1844. She taught several years in Greene and Washington Counties, and at Weaverville, N. C. Two of their four children are deceased. His wife is a Methodist.


Goodspeed Greene County Biographical Sketches, A thru M

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This page last updated on Wednesday, August 12, 2015