TNGenWeb Project
The Goodspeed Publishing Co., History of Tennessee

Pages 1307-1312

Sullivan County Biographical Sketches
Surnames J thru T

Transcribed by Fred Smoot

          Dr. W. E. Jones was born on April 22, 1832, in Franklin County, Ga., and was educated at Dahlonega, Lumpkin Co., Ga. He began the study of medicine in 1852, and in 1860 completed a course at the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, and received his diploma. He had practiced from 1854, in Georgia, as a local physician, but after this he turned his attention, and practiced a specialty in chronic diseases, and has had very wide patronage in Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina and Kentucky, and with marked success. He is one of the leading citizens of Kingsport. He is the son of Bartlett and Dicey Jones, who were the son and daughter of Tignal Jones and William Mangum, the former an Englishman and the latter of Dutch descent. Tignal Jones was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and after the establishment of peace was a farmer, and lived in Virginia for several years; then moved to North Carolina, and finally to Georgia. He had only one son and one daughter. The father was born in North Carolina in 1817, and the mother in 1815. He was by occupation a school teacher, and, for a few years of the latter part of his life, was a gold miner in Georgia, County of Lumpkin. He raised five sons and four daughters, and died in 1863, and the mother in 1864. Our subject married Sarah Logan in 1850, and has three sons and four daughters. She was born in Hall County, Ga. in 1831. The entire family are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and are most exemplary and excellent people.
          Joseph H. Ketron, A. M., principal of Kingsley Seminary, at Bloomingdale, was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., November 12, 1837. He is the eldest son of Watson and Mary (Cookenour) Ketron, the former born in this county, April 22, 1809, the son of Henry and Susannah Ketron, the former the son of Michael Ketron, who was a native of Germany. The father is one of the oldest and best farmers of his county. The mother, born in Wythe County, Va.. August 29, 1817, is the daughter of Jacob and Mary Cookenour, both of German origin. Our subject, one of seven living children, received country school advantages, and in his eighteenth year became a public school teacher. Later he received a high school education. Early in 1874 he became a student and tutor in what is now Grant Memorial University, at Athens, Tenn., and afterward attended the Illinois Wesleyan University, at Bloomington, Ill., where he was graduated in 1876. Two years later he received the degree of A. M., at Athens. In 1879 be received the same degree from his alma mater. In 1876 he taught in Holston Seminary, at New Market, Tenn., and a year later came to his present position, where he has since been one of the leading educators of the State. Kingsley Seminary has won an enviable reputation under the management of our subject. A normal class was organized in 1883, a very popular department. The attendance for 1886-87 was 162. Our subject has long been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in 1884 was a lay delegate to the general conference, at Philadelphia, Penn.
          C. T. Longmire, farmer, was born in Washington County July 12, 1844, the son of William and Trephena (Williams) Longmire. The father, a native of the same county, is a farmer near Johnson City, and the mother is a native of Carter County. She reared ten sons and five daughters. Our subject was fairly educated, but left school and became a Confederate soldier for about three years. He then went to Virginia, where for seventeen years he was engaged in the construction and repair of railways. He moved to this county about 1882, and has been engaged in farming. He began without capital, and now owns a fine estate of 275 acres in this county, where li~e has lived the quiet life of a farmer, without any aspiration for office. September 27, 1871, he married Alice R. J., a daughter of William Dungan.
          J. T. and B. F. Masengill, proprietors of Masengill’s livery and feed stable and dealers in live stock and grain, are the sons of F. D. and Deborah (Webb) Masengill, the former born in this county April 30, 1815, and one of its oldest residents. The grandparents were Henry and Elizabeth (Emmert) Masengill, the former a native of South Carolina, and a pioneer of East Tennessee. He was a soldier of the Revolution and a distinguished Indian fighter. His first wife was a daughter of William Cobb, a pioneer of this State, and the marriage was among the first in this State, and occurred in the old Wommach fort. The Masengill farm was the one on which Gov. Blount called a meeting to organize the territory of Tennessee, and the farm was owned by Henry and his father-in-law. Henry’s second wife was a daughter of Jacob Emmert. Their children, are F. D., John and Joseph. F. D. received the usual country advantages, and besides farming, boated down the Tennessee and Holston Rivers, but is now engaged as a farmer in the Sixteenth District, About 1856 he represented his county in the Legislature, and has been a prominent Democrat more or less all his life. His first wife, Deborah, to whom he was married May 17, 1836, was a daughter of Nathan Webb, of the distinguished family of Revolutionary times. She was born March 19, 1811, in this county, and died March 24, 1874. December 16, 1875, he married Martha, a daughter of E. T. Mauk, who was born May 1, 1844, in this county. By his first marriage he had seven sons and one daughter, and by the second one son and two daughters. J. T. was born July 23, 1849, in this county, and was educated at King’s College, Bristol. In 1872 he married Mary A., the daughter of George P. Faw, of Washington County. They have two sons and two daughters. B. F. was born in this county August 11, 1854, and was educated at the Bluff City High School, and at King’s College. In 1874 he married Fannie, a daughter of J. B. Worley, and has three sons and two daughters.
          William McClellan, farmer, was born in Sullivan County October 14, 1809, the son of Abraham and Nancy (Moss) McClellan, the former born in this county in 1788, the son of Abraham, Sr., a Scotchman, whose occupation was farming. The father, a prominent farmer, was State senator for two terms, and a member of the convention to revise the state constitution. He was in the Indian war of 1836, and the following year became a Congressman and served three terms, during which time our subject was with him at Washington as his private secretary. In 1866 he died after several years of retired life~ The mother was born in 1788 in this county. The parents were of Irish origin.. Our subject attended college for a time at Elizabethton and Blountville. He began early as a farmer, and when twenty-two years old became a merchant so successful that he is now retired from active business, and is one of the leading citizens of his county. June 14, 18M, he married Hannah, a daughter of Jonathan Bachman, a prominent pioneer of this State and of German origin. They have four sons and four daughters. He and his wife are Presbytdrians.
          Jonathan M. Morton, county trustee and farmer, was born in this county May 6,1837, and is the son of Stephen G. and Mary (Morrell) Morton, the former born in North Carolina on July 5, 1811, who in turn was the son of George, a North Carolinian, who came to Tennessee when Stephen was a child. The father was a farmer, and came to this county and settled on the Houston River. He began with no capital, but at the time of his death, May 25, 1880, he was considered wealthy. The mother, born in this county in 1815, was the daughter of Nathan Morrell, and died in 1877. Our subject, the eldest of five children, received a fair education, and followed farming until October 17, 18829, when he, joined Company E, Sixty-third Tennessee (Confederate) Infantry, and was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga. He served throughout the war, and then resumed farming. Besides a fine estate of 256 acres, he owns other tracts of 280 and 110 acres, respectively., He became a magistrate in 1870, and served for six years, and in 1884 was elected county trustee, and has served ever since. In 1860 he married Sarah A., the daughter of Henry and Louisa Bullock; she was born in this county February 12, 1844. Of their eleven children, one is deceased. He and his wife are members of the Christian Church.
          Dr. J. A. Murphy was born in Juniata County, Penn., in 1824, being the son of John and Sarah (Beidleman) Murphy, also of the same State; the former a trader, born April 16, 1793, and (Jeceased February 1, 1856. The mother was born November 11, 1794, and died July 1, 1824. Our subject was reared in Mifflintown, Penn., and was educated in that place, and studied medicine under Dr. Freu, and graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1848. He practiced for two years, and in 1849 located in Sullivan County, where he now resides, and has practiced with marked success. On December 14, 1852, he married Elleanor V., the daughter of Jacob and Sophia (Speece) Teeter, the former born in Washington County, Va., and the latter in Campbell County. The father died September 11, 1848, and the mother February 3, 1861. Our subject’s children are Edwin S., born March 28, 1854, and deceased July 29, 1874; Mary S., Sarah F., Henry C. and Joseph L. Henry C. was educated in King’s College, and graduated in 1882, and in 1886 from Jefferson Medical College. He is now practicing medicine at Bluff City, Tenn. Joseph L. is a student at Roanoke College, Virginia, where he is preparing for the ministry. The entire family are Lutherans.
          James A. Neil, was born in Scott County, Va., February 22, 1825, the son of Grimes and Elizabeth (Bond) Neil, the former a Virginian of Scotch-Irish stock, the son of Hamilton Neil. The father, a hatter by trade, became a wealthy farmer, and died in 1839, at the age of fifty-two years, a highly esteemed man. The mother was born in this county, the daughter of William Bond, who was of Irish origin. She was a devoted Christian, and died in 1876, at the age of eighty-nine years. Our subject was educated at Emory and Henry College, Virginia, and in early life was a merchant. For the last thirty years he has been successful as a farmer, and now owns 300 acres of land. In 1853 he married Mary W., daughter of Benjamin Cloud, of Sullivan County. Their children are Nannie E., Anna B., James C. and William D. Our subject is a Presbyterian and an earnest Republican.
          S. A. Newland, farmer, was born in Sullivan County, June 11, 1852, the son of Joseph and Rebecca (Anderson) Newland, the former born November 13, 1809, in this State, the son of Joseph, Sr., a Virginian of Irish origin. The father was an extensive farmer and stock dealer, and also a successful financier and merchant. Although beginning a poor man he was at his death, October 27,1867, a wealthy man. He was a Presbyterian. The mother, born in Scott County, Va., June 2. 1818, is the daughter of Isaac O. Anderson, and is still living in this county. Our subject, the third son of four sons and six daughters, was educated at King’s College, Bristol. Our subject was left fatherless at fifteen, and when eighteen began for himself, and the following year took charge of the home farm, which he has since cultivated, with excellent results. January 6, 1886, he married Helen, a daughter of Jesse Brown. They have had one daughter. He and his wife are Presbyterians.
          Samuel Pearce, farmer and stock raiser, was born in Sullivan County, September 25, 1818, the son of William and Elizabeth (Smith) Pearce, the former born in Baltimore, June 17, 1788, the son of Joshua, who was of English origin. The father came to Tennessee in his tenth year, and was a farmer of this county. The grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution. The mother was born December 29, 1788, the daughter of Caleb Smith, an Englishman and a pioneer farmer of East Tennessee. The parents were Baptists. Our subject was reared near his present home with country advantages, and has always been devoted to agriculture on an extensive scale. December 15, 1836, he married Elizabeth, a daughter of David Roller. They have reared many adopted children. He and his wife are highly respected and esteemed people.
          John Pearce, farmer and stock raiser, was born in Sullivan County, January 31, 1851, the son of Jacob and Elmira (Duncan) Pearce, the former a native of this county, the son of William Pearce. The father was a thriving farmer, and died at the early age of twenty-eight years. The mother, a native of this county, is the daughter of Alfred Duncan, a prominent citizen. She reared five sons and one daughter. Our subject, the eldest, received few advantages, and on account of his father’s death when he was three years old, he has always been dependent on himself, but has made a success as a farmer. In 1876 he married Mollie E., a daughter of W. E. Jones, of this county. She was born December 22, 1860, and their children are Samuel W., John E., Anna L. and Alvin G.
          N. H. Reeve was born in Greene County, February 20, 1847, the son of Jesse S. and Naomi (Worley) Reeve, the former born in 1814, in this State, and of Scotch-Irish origin. For ten years he was a merchant at Rheatown, and in 1863 went to Abingdon, Va., on account of his Southern sympathies, but in 1868 returned to Blountville as a merchant, and died in 1872. He was a prominent member of the, Methodist Episcopal Church South. He sustained a loss of about t20,000 by the war. The mother was born near Bristol in M2, and was the daughter of Nathan Worley. She died in 1859, a devout Christian. Our subject, the eldest of four children, was reared in Rheatown, Abingdon and Blountville, and was educated at Jefferson Academy, at the latter place. In 1869 he began the study of medicine with Dr. N. T. Dulaney, of Blountville, and in 1874 graduated from the Medical department of the University at Nashville. He then began practice with -his preceptor, at Blountville, and two years later removed to what is now Bluff City. In 1886 he removed to Bristol and established himself in his present extensive practice. Adelia M., a daughter of Jacob K. Snapp, became his wife in 1874. She was born March 25,1847, near Blountville, and was the youngest daughter of her parents, who died in her infancy. She was educated at the Martha Washington College, Virginia, graduating in 1866, and was under the care of her brother, Col. James P. She early became a member of the Methodist Church, and was an esteemed and cultured lady. Four of their six children are living.
          Will Roller, farmer and stock raiser, was born in this county, December 15,1855, the son of Martin and Elizabeth (Pearce) Roller, the former a native of Sullivan County, but now a farmer of Washington County. The mother, a native of this county, is the daughter of William Pearce, and has reared four sons and three daughters. Our subject was educated at Washington College, and since early life has been a successful farmer, and dealer in stock. In the former occupation he is associated with his brother, and they carry on the business on an extensive scale.
          John W. Sells was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., April 14, 1823. His father, born in Washington County, Va., was the son of John Sells, also a Virginian. His mother was a native of this county, and was the daughter of David Bushong. Of a:, family of live sons and four daughters, two sons are deceased. The father died in 1862, After receiving the educational advantages offered by the county at that time, Mr. Sells was for several years a farmer; but, following in the footsteps of his father, be became a farmer, and now has an estate of 230 acres, located on the banks of the Holston River. He was married in 1847 to Rebecca, daughter of William Bond. They have three sons; and four daughters. Mr. Sells is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and is in favor of prohibition. His residence is one of the old land-marks, being noted as having been the house in which the first Methodist conference west of the Alleghany Mountains, was held. It commands a view of the building in which the famous David Crockett spent his childhood. George W. Sells, sheriff, was born in this county, April 9, 1826, the son of Samuel and Sarah (Bushoug) Sells, the former born in Washington County, Va., in 1795, the~ son of John Sells. The latter was a farmer, millwright and carpenter, and came to this county when a young man, and died in 1861. The mother, born about 1802, in, this county, was the daughter of David Bushong, and died about 1847. Both parents were Presbyterians, of which church the father was an elder. The father afterward married Cynthia Willoughby. Our subject, the fourth of nine child4en, was educated at Paperville, and remained on the farm until his election as constable, in which capacity he served seven years. After the war he became deputy sheriff, and a year later was elected sheriff, and served two years. After farming until 1886, he again became sheriff, and in September moved to Bristol. In 1867 he married M. M., a daughter of Samuel McCrary. She was born in 1847. Their children are Lucy E., Samuel R. and George C. Our subject and his wife are Presbyterians.
          W. A. Sparger, proprietor of the Bristol Cotton Mills, was born at Mount Airy, N. C., in 1844, the son of Murlin and Bethania (Cook) Sparger, the former born in North Carolina. in 1817, the son of William, and was both a farmer and millwright, wheelwright and wagon maker. He also operated a saw and grist mill, and was a prominent magistrate, and chairman of the board of county commissioners for several years. He died in 1878. The mother was born in Surry County, N. C., in 1816, the daughter of John Cook, and deceased April, 1884. Both were Methodists, and the former a class, leader. Our subject is the third of ten children, and began a three years’ course in college, but his plans were changed owing to the war. After the war he farmed in North Carolina, for two years, and then, with his father-in-law, engaged in manufacturing tobacco near Mount Airy. In 1874 he began the erection of the Bristol Cotton Mills, which have been in operation since 1875, the second venture of the kind in this county, The mill consumes about 500 bales of cotton annually, and about thirty hands are employed, and a capital of about $40,000. Besides this he owns and farms 300 acres of land. In 1867 our subject married Mary E., a daughter of Winston and Mary Fulton, of Mount Airy, N. 0. Eight of their nine children are living. He and his wife are Methodists.
          Judge C. J. St. John, of the law firm Taylor & St. John, was born in Smyth County, Va., December 18, 1836, the son of Berry and Hannah (Dungan) St. John, the former born in Campbell County, Va., in 1793, the son of George, also a Virginian, who removed to Smyth County. The father was a farmer, and died in 1869; and the mother, born in 1800, in the latter county, was the daughter of John Dungan, and died in 1876. Our subject, the ninth of thirteen children, was educated at Liberty Academy, in Smyth County, and in 1859 spent a year in reading law at Jonesboro. He was admitted to the bar there, and practiced until 1861, when he joined Company C, Nineteenth- Tennessee Infantry, and became first lieutenant. This was the first Confederate company of this county. Since the war, he has been practicing in Blountville. In 1884 he was appointed chancellor for the unexpired term of Judge Smith, of the First Chancery Division, serving two years. He was quartermaster-general of State militia under Gov. Porter. April 30, 1861, he married Carrie, a daughter of Dr. Dulaney, deceased, and a sister of Dr. N. T. Dulaney, and a cousin of the present governor. She was born in 18,39, near Blountville. Mary Taylor, the grandmother, was a daughter of Gen. Nathaniel Taylor, grandfather of the present governor.
          N. M. Taylor, the oldest lawyer in Sullivan County, was born in Carter County, September 23, 1826, the son of Sanford W, and Elizabeth (Duffield) Taylor, the former born in Carter County, the son of Gen. Nathaniel Taylor, a native of Rockbridge County, Va., and who became a pioneer of Carter County, and served in the war of 1812. He was brevetted major-general for gallantry in the battle of New Orleans. He was a greatgrandfather of the present governor of Tennessee. The father was a prominent lawyer, and served in the Legislature. He died October 11, 1856. The mother was born in Carter County, the daughter of Maj. George W. and Sallie S. (Carter) Duffield, the former a Philadelphian, who came to Tennessee at an early date, and served in the war of 1812 as a major. He was a lawyer, and a territorial judge, but soon resigned and came to Carter County. Our subject, one of the eight children, was educated at Elizabethton Academy and Washington College. He graduated from the law department of Cumberland University. He began practice at Elizabethton, and continued until after the war, when in August, 1865, he removed to Bristol, where he has been a successful practitioner up to the present. October 26, 1869, he married Mary K., a daughter of Dr. C. B. Jones, and born in Hanover County, Virginia. One of their five children is deceased. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, of which he is an elder.
          J. T. Thomas, farmer, was born on his present farm April 3, 1840, the son of Frederick S. and Hannah (Worley) Thomas, who are mentioned in the sketch of J. W. Thomas. Our subject was educated at Cedar Springs Academy, and in 1860 moved to Missouri, and taught school in Dade County. He joined Col. Walker’s Company, First Missouri Cavalry for six months, and then entered the quartermaster’s department, and filled the rank of captain, as a non-commissioned officer. He was captured in Indian Territory in 1868, and for five months imprisoned at Fort Smith. He joined his company at Stockton, Mo., and surrendered in 1865, in Indian Territory. He located in Texas in 1869, and then became the cultivator and owner of his present farm of 337 acres. He was deputy tax collector for two years, and collector for the same length of time as a Democrat. January 11, 1866, -he married H. C., a daughter of Jacob and Nancy Stanley, and born in Athens, Ohio, in 1850. They were married in Texas, where her parents had come as refugees from Missouri. They have ten children. He and his wife are Presbyterians, of which church he is an elder.
          James W. Thomas, farmer, was born July 25, 1851, the son of Frederick S. and Hannah (Worley) Thomas, the former born in the First District of this county in 1803, the son of John and Susan (Weaver) Thomas. John was born in this county, the son of Jacob, a Pennsylvanian, who became a pioneer of Sullivan County, over a century ago. The father was married in 1832, to a daughter of Nathan and Susan (Holtsaple) Worley, and who was born in 1814, near Bristol. The three ancestors were all farmers. The father died January 4, 1862, and the mother December 10, 1885. Our subject, the sixth of ten children, received the usual country advantages, and has been a successful farmer, now owning an estate of 300 acres. His farm is well stocked with improved sheep, shorthorn red Durham cattle and fine horses. He drives a span of bay mares, for which he has been offered $500. There is a magnificent mountain view, and attractive rural scenery from which his residence derives the name of “Magna Vista.” In 1875 Jennie D. Keller became his wife. She was born near Abingdon, in Washington County, in 1853, the daughter of Joseph and Dorcas (Lowery) Keller, both Virginians. Their children are Joseph Keller, born November 5, 1876, and James Frederick, born January 8, 1879. He and his wife are Presbyterians.

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This page last updated on Thursday, August 13, 2015