TNGenWeb Project
The Goodspeed Publishing Co., History of Tennessee, 1887
Biographical Sketches, Warren County

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        William H. Magness was born in Warren County, Tenn., February 15, 1824. Being reared on a farm his education was limited to the meager advantages of the free schools. At twenty he was engaged as salesman in a dry goods store at Smithville, DeKalb Co., Tenn. In 1845 he commenced business at the same place on his own account, continuing at this with much success until 1881 when he moved to McMinnville. With the profits of his trade together with valuable tanning interests he was enabled to invest largely in the stock of several of the leading banks in the State. In 1874 he established the National Bank of McMinnville. At the organization be was elected president which position he has held with honor ever since. On the 25th of June, 1845, he was married to Miss E. J. West of DeKalb County, and it is to her habits of industry, prudence and economy that he attributes much of his success. There were born to them seven children, four of whom are now living: W. H., Edgar, Ella and Cordelia, wife of Judge Smallman. Strict habits of exercise and temperance have given him a robust constitution and his general health is good. His sons are connected with the national bank, W. H., Jr., being assistant cashier and Edgar bookkeeper. The father of our subject, P. G. Magness, was born in Spartanburg, S. C., in 1796. He moved to Warren County when twelve years of age and at eighteen was married to Mary Cantrell. The result of the union was twelve children. His father was a farmer, merchant and trader and secured a fair competency of this world's goods. He was remarkable for his unexampled energy and perseverance. He was a thorough Democrat and a strict member of the Baptist Church. His death occurred on March 1, 1884. It was quite a pleasure to this exemplary man to watch, in his old age, the multiplication and growth of the large family he had founded; and it was truly an object of gratification for there were born in direct line from him over 600 children, grandchildren, great-grand and great-great-grandchildren. Mr. Magness is a Democrat in politics and an influential member of the Missionary Baptist Church; he is also a Past Master Mason. He wishes particularly to exhort the young men to be temperate. Then he thinks it will be revealed to them more clearly the wise words: "Do justice and love mercy."


        Phillip H. Marbury, planter, was born in Buncombe County, N. C. April 24, 1810. He is the son of Benjamin and Mary (Hoodenpyl) Marbury, of English and Dutch descent respectively. The father was born in North Carolina in 1784 and died of small-pox in Arkansas in 1836; the mother was born in Warm Springs, N. C., in 1795, died in Arkansas about 1840. They were married in Greenville, Tenn., about 1808. The father, a successful farmer, and Democrat, was a personal friend of Andrew Jackson. Both parents were Baptists. Our subject the oldest child, with exception of the time from 1820 to 1827 in Rhea County has since six years of age lived in Warren County. After completing his academic education he studied medicine one year under Dr. Hill, but abandoned it and in January, 1829, began a four years' clerkship for John Cain; then for twenty years after the spring of 1833 he was in partnership with Alexander Black as merchant at McMinnville. In 1852 Mr. Marbury was elected president of a railway stock company to build a road to McMinnville, and the road was built under his financial management, and as it was destroyed during the war, he, with the assistance of others, secured a grant of $400,000 in bonds and rebuilt the road. In 1844 he became a planter near McMinnville and now owns 700 acres of good land and 400 under cultivation. Before the war he was connected with the bank of Sparta. He has been married three times: first in September, 1833, to Rebecca Mercer, a descendant of Gen. Fenton Mercer; second, to Mrs. Mary E. Scott, whose maiden name was Grundy, a granddaughter of Felix Grundy of State farm: third, to Mrs. Liley T. Garner, whose maiden name was Estell, a descendant of ex-Governor. Thomas of Maryland. Mr. Marbury was an old line Whig before the war, but has since been a Democrat, and always a liberal public worker. He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


        E. G. Mead, of E. G. Mead & Co., barrel factory, McMinnville, was born in Warren County, Penn., February 3, 1824, the son of David and Climena (Owen) Mead, the former of English-German, and the latter of English French descent, and both natives of Warren County, Penn., in which county the father was the first white male child born, the birth occurring June 16, 1800. He died in his native county in the fall of 1862. The mother, born about 1802, died in that county on July 3, 1825. They were married about 1822, after which he was a lumber dealer and in his later years also engaged in farming. The grandfather Mend built the first grist-mill in Warren County, Penn. The parents of our subject were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the father a Jackson Democrat in politics. Having acquired a good education, our subject has been engaged in the lumber business most of his life. In 1868 he came to Warren County, and with his brother's assistance built the well known mills at Shellsford, in the spring of 1869. After running these mills successfully for fourteen years, he sold them in 1883, and in 1884 established his present prosperous manufactory. He is a liberal man, a Democrat, and a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Mead is his third wife.


        William M. Meadows, a prominent farmer and stock raiser of Warren County, was born near Sparta, White Co., Tenn., August 28, 1822, and is the son of V. and E. (Lawrence) Meadows. The father was born in North Carolina the 14th of February, 1800, and died the 25th of December, 1886. He was of English descent, a farmer, and after the war a Democrat in politics. The mother was born in Warren County, Tenn., and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Our subject was the eldest of six children; at the age of eleven he was bound out to James Woodlee, of Warren County, Tenn., and lived with him eight years. He then went to Cannon County, and worked on a farm for one year after which he returned to Warren County, and lived with George Etter, Sr., for six years. May 29, 1816, he went to Mexico with Col. Campbell's regiment and Capt. Northcutt's' company, and was gone four months. In January, 1849, he purchased his present farm, containing about 190 acres, but has since purchased 75 acres joining his land and 250 acres in the mountains. January 2, 1850, he married Miss Sarah J. Moffitt, a native of Warren County, Tenn., born January 15, 1831, and the daughter of Aaron and Harriet Moffitt. Mrs. Meadows is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and has a good common education. To them were born twelve children, nine of whom are living: J. J., E. Carlie, Ida E., Parizaide, Thulah B., Minnie L., William D., Aubrey D. and Francis M. The three children deceased are Virginia A.; born in 1850 and died in 1856; Augustus F., born in 1859 and died in 1860; and Deborah, born in 1863 and died in 1863. During the war our subject was elected captain of the Home Guards, first by the Confederates and afterward by the Federals. He is a decided Democrat and is a self-made man in every respect.


        L. D. Mercer, retired merchant, was born in Wayne County, Ky., November 23, 1810, the son of Richard and Mary (Mercer) Mercer, both of Scotch-Irish descent. The father, born in North Carolina about 1780, died in Wayne County, Ky., about 1855, and the mother, native of North Carolina, died about 1815 in Wayne County, Ky. They were married in Kentucky, and the father successfully passed his life as a farmer. He was a Democrat. Our subject was educated at Winchester Academy under Mr. Witten and his son and daughter. In 1827 he entered the firm of Bleck & Mercer, at Cedar Bluff, Ala., as a salesman, and after two years he spent one year in Kentucky. In 1881 he came to McMinnville, and with Alexander Blake established a store of general merchandise and for the next forty years in successful operation. Since 1879, when he closed out his business, as one of the most successful business men of the county, he has lived a retired life. June 2, 1840, he married Annie E. Hord, born in Hawkins County, Tenn., in 1821, and educated at McMinnville Female College. She died in 1851. Their only son, Foss H., born in 1847, is now a prominent member of the Pikeville (Tenn.) bar. Mr. Mercer is a decided Democrat, and a member of the Christian Church, to which his wife belongs.


        W. H. Moore, M. D., a leading physician of Warren County, is a native of Cannon County, Tenn., a son of T. W. and Nancy (Ashly) Moore. The father was born in Indiana in 1823, of English-Irish descent. He is still living and resides at Beech Grove, Tenn. The mother was of English-French origin, born in Tennessee in 1828 and died in 1884. W. H. was reared on the farm and received a good academic education in youth and in 1875 began reading medicine with Dr. A. Norville, and in the fall of 1876 attended the medical department of the Vanderbilt University at Nashville, after which he began the practice of his profession at Hillsboro, Tenn., remaining there two years. He then moved to Viola where he has been very successful in his practice. March 10, 1881, Dr. Moore wedded V. J. Witherspoon, daughter of A. B. and Jane (Neely) Witherspoon, of Beech Grove. To this union three children have bees born: Ores, born May 10, 1882; Lillie, born May 11, 1884, and W. H. born April 1, 1886. Dr. Moore is a Democrat and a member of the Christian Church. Mrs. Moore is a member of the Old Presbyterian Church.


        J. F. Morford, merchant, is a native of McMinnville, born August 9, 1829, a son of J. F. and Jane B. (Taylor) Morford. The father was born in 1799, in Princeton, N. J., where he received a collegiate education. In 1820 he immigrated to Tennessee, and settled in McMinnville, where he began the practice of law, and was soon appointed clerk and master of the chancery court and served in this capacity thirty-five years. His death occurred in 1869. The mother was a native of Warren County. J. F., the subject of this biography, was reared and educated in his native county, securing an academic education, after which he entered the clerk's office and acted as deputy twelve years. In 1859 Mr. Morford established a mercantile store, but at the beginning of the war suspended business until 1865, when he reopened his store and has been very successful in acquiring a competency. He is director and vice-president of the Peoples Bank and a worthy and influential citizen. In 1854 he wedded A. E. Lusk, a daughter of J. D. and Pauline Lusk of this place. Mr. and Mrs. Morford are the parents of three children: Josiah J., Florence M. (Mrs. D. B. Caraon) and C. M., of the firm of Morford & CO. He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and a Democrat, but prior to the war was an old time Whig.


        Ed W. Munford. The Munford family came from England, were early settlers in Virginia, and trace their lineage back to Simon De Montfort of Henry III time, of whom Green in his history of the English people thus speaks: " His life was pure and singularly temperate; he was noted for his scant indulgence in meat, drink or sleep. Socially he was cheerful and pleasant in talk, but his natural temper quick and ardent, his sense of honor keen, his speech rapid and trenchant." He also records an anecdote which displays this high sense of honor and promptness to repel any assault upon it. Green says that having for four years been seneschal of Gascony (one of the kingly provinces on the continent) and in that service advanced a large sum of money on the king's promises to repay it; upon reminding the king of this promise " Henry hotly retorted that he was bound by no promise to a false traitor. Simon at once gave Henry the lie " etc. (Vol. I, paragraphs 221, 223. ) It is not known when or why the spelling of the name was changed into its present form of Munford, but the original " Montfort " is still adhered to by collateral branches whose blood relationship is known. Born near Danville, Ky., on the 16th of October, 1820, the subject of this sketch was the youngest child of William Munford, a "blue-grass farmer," and received at Centre College a classical education, but did not graduate. His father was the son of Thomas Bolling Munford, of Amelia County; Va.., who on account of his high personal character was elected to a position of public trust by his fellow citizens without his ever having been a candidate for office. That, however, was in the good old time when "office sought the man," an amiable state of public sentiment which has long since been swept out of existence with other political excellences which had they been pursued might have prevented demagogues from supplanting the statesmanship of the country. A near relative of Thomas Bolling was the State reporter, William Munford, a ripe classical scholar who has enriched our literature by a translation of Homer's "Iliad," which critics, both American and European, have pronounced to be the most accurate and faithful in the English language. George Wythe Munford, the librarian, and secretary of the commonwealth for so many years, and the late excellent William T. Munford were his sons. Thos. Bolling Munford invested in lands in Kentucky, for his sons, and four of them, James, Thomas, Richard and William, when quite young men settled upon their respective plantations in that State when it was still called the wilderness. William removed toward the latter end of the last century and the others not long after, Richard giving the name to Munfordville on Green River. William married Lettice, a daughter of Thomas Ball, a prominent citizen of the vicinity of Danville, and for his young wife's sake purchased a farm adjoining that of his father-in-law, and removed to it. Here his family of nine children were born and only after the mother's death was the farm sold. This was while Edward was a very little boy, so young that while he remembers his mother's habit of taking his brother Richard, his little sister and himself to secret prayer three times every day and other evidences of her deep piety, he has only a dim recollection of her features or appearance. Through her he is related to the Marshall and Breckinridge families of Kentucky. His father brought Edward with him in 1835 to Tennessee on a visit to his daughters, Mrs. Dr. McCorkle and Mrs. James C. Jones (afterward governor), and his two sons, Thomas and William, who lived at Lebanon and in the immediate vicinity. He died there in the following spring, leaving his young son to the guardianship of his brother William. At Lebanon he completed his interrupted studies under the late Rev. Thos. R. Anderson, who after its establishment became president of Cumberland College. Anderson was a famous educator, stern in appearance and bearing he was the terror of all bad boys, a number of whom were sent to him to be " broken in." To well inclined boys, however, no man could be more fatherly and kind. When the course of his studies ended and Edward was about leaving with his books Prof. Anderson called him back and said: "You are about to leave me; before you go I want to say something to you to be remembered. I am a judge of boys and you will make a man who will have a good deal to do with the world and the world with you. Now remember this in all your after life. 'If a man looks mean he is mean' and this he never forgot. At the age of sixteen years he began the study of his chosen profession, the law, under the late Judge Robert L. Caruthers, but after one year so spent removed with his guardian to Clarksville, Tenn., where for two years more he prosecuted it under the accomplished lawyer, George C. Boyd. The Late senator, James E. Bailey, and himself were the only students Boyd would at that time accept saying that "most of the young men choosing the profession have no appreciation of its important and dignified duties and adopted it merely in the hope of leading lives of genteel vagabondage without labor." He had the spirit of the true lawyer, and inspired his two chosen protégés with his own aversion to pettifoggery, trickery and chicanery. Taking license at twenty at Mr. Boyd's earnest solicitation, he soon became involved in active practice. This so interfered with his regular studies that he adopted the plan of admitting no one to his office at night so that while the world slept he could dedicate the undisturbed hours to the acquisition of knowledge. For a long time 4 o'clock in the morning was his hour for going to sleep, and most dearly has he paid the penalty of this violation of the laws of health. Let all young men and women too be taught physiology and anatomy, and the great fact impressed upon them that not only is sound health the greatest of earthly blessings to its possessor and nothing can compensate for its loss, but that permanent success is more surely won by living in all respects according to enlightened rules of hygiene. In this particular there is great room for reformation and improvement in the method and matter of instruction in our schools. The Romans regarded the perfection of education to be attained only in "Mens sana in corpore sano," a sound mind in a sound body, and our boasted civilization has not yet attained this height of practical wisdom in the training and enlightenment of youth. The world would be made much happier by it, and it is now an accredited fact that much of the so called vice of the land originates in bodily disease rather than original depravity of heart. In 1849 he married Amelia A., daughter of Paul J. Watkins, of Alabama, wound up his business at Clarksville in 1850, and opened a law office in Memphis early in 1851, where he at once found full employment. Although his health was delicate his professional employment was such that his labors were unremitting and in 1853 he was advised by his physicians that he had but two choices, viz.: "go off to the country where neither books nor courthouses are, take all the outdoor exercise you can, or stay here and die." He went upon a farm, did his own overseeing and in less than two years was restored to health. In the winter of 1854-55, being strongly urged to return to the city and this accompanied by the offer of a most advantageous partnership, his craving for mental occupation became irresistible and he resumed his practice there. In 1855 his young wife died leaving him a son and daughter, the latter following her mother in a few months. This was a blow almost too hard to be borne, for though books have always been a source of inestimable happiness to him yet his sweetest or his tenderest joys were found in the endearments of home. He now lived for his boy, and his profession, which he pursued till 1860, when having amassed a sufficient fortune, he retired from business that he might devote himself to the education of his son. It was his purpose to take him to Europe where he could learn the languages, more especially of France and Germany, from the lips and thus acquire their correct pronunciation whilst the vocal organs were yet flexible. The year 1860 was devoted to closing up, his affairs and the spring of 1861 fixed as the time of his departure. By that time, however, the political troubles of the country, he saw must result in a sectional war, and under an imperious sense of duty, he remained to share the fortunes of the South. Nothing but a sense of duty could have compelled this course, for in all the steps up to that time he had opposed secession. He honestly believed the questions at issue should be settled by statesmanship and not the sword, and until Mr. Lincoln issued his proclamation for 75,000 men to invade the Southern States, he clung to the hope that some masterly genius in state-craft might, even amidst the wild confusions of the hour, devise some plan by which war might be averted and the true interests of the country subserved. When that proclamation appeared he saw that "the time for debate was ended and the time for action had come" and at once devoted his energies and much of his means to assist the South in the coming struggle. When Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston assumed command of the Western Department he was announced in orders as a major on his staff and served by his side till his death on the field of Shiloh. Starting with the army of Bragg into Kentucky from Chattanooga in the fall of 1862 he was prostrated by disease and did not recover sufficiently to appear again in the field till the Dalton-Atlanta campaign under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. Lying sick in bed in southwestern Georgia a paper brought into his room announced the evacuation of Dalton without a battle. realizing that Gen. Johnston was short of men he started next day to rejoin the army and was so feeble that at about six miles on his journey, he was taken from his horse whilst in the act of falling off and laid in a roadside cabin for several days unable to rise. However he finally met the army below Resaca and served as well as his enfeebled condition permitted till after the battles of the 22d and 28th of July in defense of Atlanta when at the urgent solicitation of his superior officers he went to the city of Macon where all that kindest friends could do to alleviate his sufferings was done. His condition and positive refusal of an honorable discharge from service were represented to the president, who nominated him as one of the judges of Gen. Richard Taylor's Departmental Military Court with the rank of colonel of cavalry. The senate confirmed the appointment, and he served in that capacity till the surrender. On being asked one day long since about his services during the war he laughingly replied: "Well, sir, since it now is all over I look back with pleasure upon the fact that I never killed more of the Yankees than they did of me, and as judge, never had a man either shot or hanged." His services, however, were more highly appreciated by others than they seem to have been by himself. Returning to Memphis after the war with a feeble frame, he eschewed all business and devoted himself to the restoration of his health and the care of the orphaned children of his brother, William, and their own and his sons' education. In the fall of 1867 his health was so far restored as to justify his marriage, and in November of that year he espoused Mrs. Mary E. Gardner, widow of Lieut. William Ross Gardner of Augusta, Ga., formerly of the United States Navy. She is a lady of rare grace and culture, the model, as he says, for a gentleman's wife. Once more blessed with love and home his health grew gradually stronger, and in 1872 he was offered and accepted the presidency of A company composed for the most part of Northern men who purposed investing large sums of money in mineral interests in Tennessee. This led him to remove to McMinnville, where he has since resided. In that bracing and invigorating climate he has built up and now enjoys comparatively good health, but does not hesitate to say that to his gentle, affectionate and intelligent wife he is more indebted for this blessing than to all else besides. They are possessed of ample fortune for their wants, and in the midst of picturesque scenery, friends and books, the evening of their lives is being passed with more than the usual amount of human happiness. Col. Munford's conversation abounds in reminiscences of what he has read and whom he has known. He says that beyond doubt Albert Sidney Johnston, take him all in all, was the greatest man he ever knew, and he means true greatness, that rare and harmonious union of sound intellect, incorruptible integrity and large-hearted goodness, enlightened by culture and perfected by experience. He tells that since the war while he was a director in the Carolina Life Insurance Company, of which Hon. Jefferson Davis was president, one day in conversation he remarked that he believed Gen. Johnston was the ablest general the Confederacy had, when Mr. Davis with great animation, replied: "Ah, sir, he was the greatest man we had in or out of our army, the very greatest." Col. Munford retains as one of his most cherished memories that of the confidence and friendship with which Gen. Johnston honored him up to the hour of his lamentable death.


        W. T. Murray, attorney at law, was born January 18, 1854, in Sparta, White Co., Tenn. He is the son of Thos. B. Murray, who was born in Jackson County, Tenn., and who was an able and successful attorney. The father died at McMinnville January 15, 1878. The mother, Mary Murray, daughter of William P. and Jane (McKinney) Goodbar, is a native of Tennessee. Our subject is of Irish ancestry. He was reared in McMinnville, and on account of delicate health was unable to attend school closely, so he received but a limited education. He read law in the office of his father, however, and began practice at McMinnville, in May, 1872, and has acquired the leading practice of this bar. November 3, 1883, he married Fannie L. Snodgrass of Sparta, Tenn. the daughter of Jos. and Lue Snodgrass. Our subject is a self-made man, and is now worth about $15,000. He is a member of the Methodist Church, of the F. & A. M.., K. of H., and K. & L. of H. orders. Politically he is a Democrat.

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