By Jonathan K. T. Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1996

(Page 30)


DAVID WINCHESTER (1789-1844) and his family moved to Madison County, Tennessee, settling in old Civil District 2 about .3 of a mile west of the village of Medon, where he had bought land in August 1840.[1] The Winchesters had lived briefly in Pennsylvania, having moved there from Baltimore County, Maryland, where he was born and where he and family were living in 1830.[2] He was commissioned as a justice of the peace, a member of the Madison County court, qualifying as such April 1, 1844.[3] On a visit in Memphis, Tenn., he died in the home of his sister and brother-in-law. "Died. Suddenly last evening at the residence of David Armour, Esq., David Winchester of Madison. He fell from his chair and expired while sitting by the fire, having been ill only a day or two with chills, which it is supposed terminated in apoplexy, from congregation /pneumonia/.[4] His body was returned for burial on his homeplace near Medon. His son, Charles B. Winchester, qualified as administrator on his father's estate, February 1845.[5]

David Winchester married SARAH (Sally) FORNEY (1795-1872), in Maryland, November 6, 1817. They had children: CHARLES BURRILL WINCHESTER, whose estate his brother, W. D. Winchester, administered, February 1848 [6]; SARAH F. WINCHESTER (1821-1872), never married; WILLIAM D. WINCHESTER (Sept. 5, 1825- Dec. 21, 1871), who married Mary Ann Currie, February 6, 1858 and had two daughters, MARGARET ELLA WINCHESTER, born about 1859 and SARAH FRANCES (Fanny) WINCHESTER, born about 1863.[7] In his will, he left his estate to his wife but if she remarried, the estate was to have been divided among her and their two daughters.[8] GEORGE L. WINCHESTER, born 1834 in Pennsylvania.[9]

David Winchester was the tenth child of WILLIAM WINCHESTER (December 1, 1750-April 24, 1812), a leading merchant in Baltimore, Maryland, a sometime delegate to the Maryland Assembly. He was married to MARY PARKS (1753-1821), October 30, 1771. He was a child of WILLIAM WINCHESTER (December 22, 1710-1790), who had arrived in Annapolis, Maryland in 1729 and his wife, LYDIA (1729-1809). Another of their sons was General James Winchester (1752- 1826) of Cragfont, Sumner County, Tennessee, father of Marcus Brutus Winchester (1796-1856), first mayor of Memphis, Tennessee.[10]

The family graveyard of David Winchester, near Medon, is perilously located on a bluff overlooking Collins Road. Only three graves appear to be marked with tombstones, copied by Jonathan Smith in December 1995:

to the Memory of
David Winchester
Son of the late William & Mary Winchester
A native of Baltimore, Md.
Departed this life in Memphis, Tenn.
Dec. the 12th 1844
Aged 57 Years 4 Mo (Broken Off)


(top portion missing

Aug 28, 1821
MAR. 13, 1872
He took thee from a world of care
to everlasting bliss to share.

(This is the tombstone of SARAH S. WINCHESTER)

SEPT. 6. 1795
MAR. 25. 1872


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WILLIAM DAVID WINCHESTER (1825-1871) is buried in the old MT. TABOR CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH CEMETERY located about a mile south of Pope Road, north of Medon, where the writer read Winchester's broken, fallen tombstone, January 9, 1996. This old-time congregation was organized in 1835 in the log house of Harvey McCord south of Medon and "later built a shelter" in that village. It was named for Mt. Tabor Church on Broad River in Union District, South Carolina, suggested by one of the earliest members, Eunice (Black) Stribling, who had come from that district. The first elders were William Stribling, William Burns, Elisha Lowrance (sometimes spelled Lorance), Thomas Blair, John Black and Harvey McCord. In 1848 the congregation merged with the Mt. Pleasant congregation and moved to a place on the Benton farm off a main stage road, Jackson to Bolivar, now three miles north of Medon on the west side of Riverside Drive Extended.[11] In 1884 the old meetinghouse was given to the black congregation, ostensibly the nearby Mt. Tabor C. P. Church .1 mile north of the white church on the same side of the road.[12] In August 1884 J. O. Benton, member of the family that had actual ownership of the church site for many years, conveyed two acres to the Mt. Tabor congregation [13] and erected on the same site as the old meetinghouse a large, one room frame church-house, with several "long" windows, graced with shutters and a high-gable roof. There the congregation worshipped for many years with occasional religious-social events being held on the grounds and presbytery meetings (Madison Presbytery) held in the church. Membership dwindled so that religious services were last held in this old building late in 1951, after which a commission was appointed by the Presbytery to arrange for the formal closing of the church, the membership being transferred to First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Jackson; the pews and pulpit were donated to the nearby black Mt. Tabor Church and the church organ was sent to a lady in Texas.[14]

Madison Presbytery sold the Mt. Tabor church and land in July 1954 to Ethel (Mayo) Bond, "being also the lot upon which for many years was located the Mount Tabor Cumberland Presbyterian Church near Medon, Tennessee, but said church has disbanded. . . ."[15] The church roof was removed, replaced with one lower and it was occupied as a residence until it was demolished in the mid-1990s. In August 1869 William Stribling, an elder of the church, deeded to its trustees John A. Dunaway, T. N. Buchanan, John Black and Jesse Curry (Currie) two and a half acres including the "graveyard" on his 200 acre farm, with access to this burial ground, east and west, over a lane from the main local road, a short distance north of the church itself.[16] The church faithful were buried there for many years, although it is no longer used for burial purposes and is somewhat difficult of access.



  1. Madison County, Tennessee Deed Book 7, page 212. 160 acres bought for $1000; August 29, 1840. He appeared in the U.S. 1840 Census, Madison Co., page 42.
  2. 1830 U.S. Census, Baltimore Co., Maryland, page 212.
  3. Madison County, Tennessee County Court Minute Book 5, page 273.
  4. THE WEEKLY AMERICAN EAGLE, Memphis, Tenn., December 20, 1844.
  5. Madison County, Tennessee County Court Minute Book 5, page 368 (Feb. 3, 1845), page 381 (March 3, 1845). Sarah W., Sarah F., William D. and George Winchester, heirs of David Winchester filed a petition of administration on 13 acres owned by David Winchester in city of Memphis, October 29, 1852 (Shelby Co., Tenn. Probate File 64). William D. Winchester sold his entire interest in the estate of his father to George L. Winchester for $1200, January 1, 1856. (Madison Co., Tenn. Deed Book 19, page 328)
  6. Madison County, Tennessee County Court Minute Book 5, page 650. Feb. 7, 1848.
  7. IBID. Book 13, page 35. They were minors, November 4, 1874.

    (Page 32)

  9. Madison County, Tennessee Will Book A, page 126. W. D. Winchester's will executed December 15, 1871, probated in January 1872. In 1850, Winchester owned two slaves. U.S. Census, Madison Co., 1850, page 131. In 1860, he owned eight slaves. U.S. Census, Madison Co., 1860, page 22.
  10. George L. Winchester's birthplace given as Pennsylvania in both U.S. Census, August 31, 1850, Madison Co., Tenn., Civil District 2, page 470 and U.S. Census, June 27, 1860, IBID., page 95.
  11. DESCENDANTS OF WILLIAM WINCHESTER, by Louis Farrell, no date. David Winchester's age on his tombstone is 57 years, but this author, with access to complete records, gives birth date as July 19, 1789 (page 8).
  12. "Mount Tabor Cumberland Presbyterian Church," notes of Emma Inman Williams, in her collection of papers, filed under "churches", the Tennessee Room, Jackson-Madison Co. Library, Jackson; information she copied from a newspaper clipping in the scrapbook of Mary L. Short.
  13. Years after the black Mt. Tabor congregation had been organized, a black man, George R. Reid, on November 7, 1891 deeded his fellow-members a 2 acre parcel, facing Jackson-Bolivar road, f or its meetinghouse and although not so mentioned, a portion was used as a burial ground. Madison Co. Deed Book 49, page 382. Deed filed November 7, 1891.
  14. Madison County Deed Book 41, page 564. August 8, 1884.
  15. MINUTES OF THE MADISON PRESBYTERY OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, September 23, 1952, page 16. Cumberland Presbyterian Historical Foundation, Memphis, Tennessee. Conversation, Jonathan Smith with John Lucus Rochelle, born 1921, former member of the church.
  16. Madison Co. Deed Book 169, page 462. July 22, 1954; filed August 4, 1954. Reference made in deed to location sold to church in 1884.
  17. IBID. Deed Book 27, page 214. August 7, 1869; registered Sept. 21, 1869.


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