Goodspeed's History of Stewart County: Biographies


Published 1886

Charles S. E. Coppedge John B. Crockarell Charles W. Crockett
Isaac F. Crow, M. D. Elisha Dawson Thomas B. Ellis
W. R. J. Free Christopher Gansner George W. Gatlin
Andrew J. Gray Frasier C. Gray  

Charles S. E. Coppedge

Charles S. E. Coppedge, the salesman in Walter Bros.' store, is one of the thirteen children of the marriage of Alexander H. and Emaline M. (Ellitt) Coppedge. The father was born in North Carolina, and when young came to Stewart Cunty, where he married Miss Ellitt, a native of this county. His chief calling was teaching, though in connection with that he carried on a small farm. Both are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The father only lived to see his fiftieth year; the mother still lives at the advanced age of seventythree. Charles first greeted the world in 1846 in Stewart County. His early education was neglected on account of the demand for his services at home in caring for the family. At the age of fifteen he began to clerk in the store of the Cumberland Iron Works. After staying there for some years and satisfying them of his ability he was promoted to book-keeper, holding that position five years. In 1878 he was elected trustee of Stewart County, and for six years held that responsible position. Thereupon he engaged with the firm for which he still acts. In 1870 he joined heart and hand with Fannie King, who bore him nine children, four of whom are living. Mrs. Coppedge is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Soon after marriage they located in Dover and have lived there almost continuously since. In addition to his mercantile business they own some 650 acres of land. His success is best told by the financial advancement he has made.

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John B. Crockarell

John B. Crockarell, a farmer of Stewart County, is the son of Barnett and Marth (Smith ) Crockarell. His father was born in Virginia, and in 1818 came to Tennessee, and after a residece of two years in Nashville located in Stewart County, where he married Miss Smith, a native of this county, and raised a family of five children-four boys and one girl. The father worked at the shoe-maker's trade till late in life and then took to farming. Both parents are identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church. In the late war they furnished two boys as soldiers who were killed fighting for home and country. The father was magistrate for some twelve years. He lived to be seventy-three years old, and she seventy-two. John inherits Scotch blood from his paternal ancestors and Irish from his maternal. He was born in 1829 in Dover. In early life he had very limited schooling and at the age of fourteen entered the store of Woods, Yeatman & Co., with whom he remained thirty-five years. In 1850 he married Catherine George, by whom he had seven children and of whom four are living. Mr. Crockarell and wife are also members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1876 the firm for which he worked having suspended, he purchased 500 acres of land where he now lives, and began his career as a farmer, and in connection therewith does a commission business at Bellwood Landing. Mr. Crockarell started a poor boy, and by economy and close attention to business has acquired a nice property.

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Charles W. Crockett

Charles W. Crockett, grandson of David and youngest son of John W. (of Tennessee) and Martha T. (Hamilton) Crockett, was born in 1849 in New Orleans. His parents were natives of this state, where the early part of their lives was spent. In their family were fourteen children- eight sons and six daughters. Of the boys only two live: Robert H., senator in the Arkansas Legislature, and Charles. Both father and mother occupied leading positons in the MethodistEpiscopal Church. As a lawyer John W. had few superiors in the State, and the positions he held say much for his varied ability. For two terms he represented thewestern district of Tennessee in Congress, being the same as represented by his father David. He held the position of superintendent of the construction of public buildings in New Orleans for several years, in which city he spent his winters, and during the summer he resided in Memphis. While on business at the former city he sickened, and soon after his return home died in the full strength of manhood. At one time he had been in good financial circumstances, but through liberality in endorsing for others in distress, he became involved. Politically he was a Whig. He was a man of fine address and superior accomplishments, the result of his own efforts. In 1861, the mother, having moved to Arkansas, also passed from among the living. Charles inherits Irish blood from his paternal ancestry and Scotch from his maternal. When a boy our subject received but little schooling, and at the age of seventeen left home to learn the printer's trade in the old Gazette office in Little Rock, Ark., and having worked as compositor, local editor, etc. unitl 1873, he returned to Paris, Tenn., the old stamping-ground of the Crockett family. There he employed himself in journalism, and finally in connection with A. G. Trevathan, became proprietor of the Paris Gazette. In 1877 he removed his field of activitiy to Dover, bought the Record, changed its name to Dover Courier, and has run it in the interest of the people of Stewart County since. The same year he married Mary E. Foster, by whom he had four children. Mrs. Crockett is a member of the Christian Church. Mr. Crockett, like his father and grandfather, has not escaped public notice, having held the offices, respectively, of magistrate, sergeant-at-arms of te Tennessee House of Representatives, chairman of the county court, assistant clerk of the House of Representatives, and United States Circuit Court Commissioner. The positions he has held indicate his standing in the minds of the people of Stewart County.

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Isaac F. Crow

Isaac F. Crow, M. D., first beheld the light of day in the balmy state of Alabama, Lauderdale County, in 1841. His education was confined to the common schools, and at the age of nineteen commenced teh mercantile business as salesman, but the stirring events of the war came on and he bolunteered in Company B, Seventh Alabama Infantry, C.S.A. Having served a year he was discharged, and joined the Tenth Tennessee Cavalry, continuing till the close of the war. In 1868 he commenced the study of medicine, and four years later graduated from the Louisville Medical College. Thereupon he formed a partnership with Dr. West of Indian Mound, and three years later went for himself. In 1874 he and Sallie L. Robertson enjoyed their weddding festivities. Of this marriage were born six children. Mr. Crow is a warm Democrat and an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife is also a Methodist. Mr. Crow began life with nothing, educated himslf, has worked up a good practice, and become owner of a fine farm. From his father's ancestors he inherits German and Irish blood, and from his mother's, Welsh and French. Mr. Crow's father, I. F. Crow was a native of North Carolina, and his mother, Mary F. (Locke) Crow, of Tennessee. When young both moved to Alabama, where they married and spent the remainder of their days. Both died ere old age had overtaken them.

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Elisha Dawson

Elisha Dawson, one of the early settlers of Stewart County, was born in 1809, of the marriage of Solomon and Rachel (Merony) Dawson. His father was a native of North Carolina and his mother of Delaware. Some time after marriage they moved to Georgia, where they followed farming till 1815, when they came to Stewart County. Both were strict adherents to the doctrines of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he was an old-time Democrat. Both lived to a ripe old age, he being seventy-nine when he died, she eighty-three. Though Elisha spend a few years of his early life in Georgia, his native state, the greater part of his life was passed in Tennessee. His early education was much neglected, but on reaching manhood went to school and studied privately, thereby acquiring sufficient knowledge to carry on his own business affairs. He was twice married, the first time in 18329, to Elizabeth Boyet, by whom he had four children. After the death of his first wife in 1860, he lived a lonely life for six years, and then married Harriety (Martin) Cook. Religiously considered he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Dawson has held several public positions, namely: sheriff, seven years; constable, nine years, and trustee, fourteen years, having filled all with ability and to the satisfaction of the people. As a financier he has been successful; having started with nothing he has risen to the ownership of some 600 acres of land.

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Thomas B. Ellis

Thomas B. Ellis, a farmer of Stewart County, is one of the eight children born to the marriage of Caleb and Margaret (Judkins) Ellis. both parents were natives of Virginia, and after marriage moved to Humphreys County, whre they lived until 1824, when they came to Stewart County. His occupation was that of a farmer. He was a soldier of the war of 1812, a Democrat and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as was also his wife. In the prime of life the father was killed. Whle driving a yoke of oxen they became frightened and turning from the road crushed him against a tree, from the effects of which he soon died. The mother then married Nelson Fletcher, and lived to be seventy years old. The immedicate subject of this sketch was born in 1818 in Sussex County, Va., raised on the farm and received a very limited education. Not satsified with his attainments in early life he went to school after he was grown. The step- father being a better hand to spend money that to make it wasted the means of the family, so that Thomas and his brother had to support them. In 1843 he and Mary Matthews took the marriage vows. To them were born five children. His first wife having died he took to wife, in 1854, Mary J. Coppedge, by whom he had seven children. Mr. Ellis is a Democrat and both he and his wife are Methodists. He has a fine tract of lant containing about 400 acres, nearly all of which he has made by his own iindustry and close attention to business.

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W. R. J. Free

W. R. J. Free, merchant, of Legate, was born in this county in 1852 to the union of Joseph and Temperance (Dinkins) Free. His parents were also natives of this county. For a livelihood the father followed farming. He was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church and a stanch Democrat. In 1852 the mother died and the following year he married Sallie Parker, who also died. Of his first marriage four children were born, and of his second seven. Though he has stood the blasts of seventy-five winters he still enjoys good health. Our subject was raised by his grandparents abd acquired a good common school education. At the age of eighteen he decided to live a single life no longer and as a result wedded, in 1871, Augusta R. Foster, who bore him six chidlren, three of whom are living. He settled upon his grandfather's farm and ran it successfully until 1880, when in connectiontherewith he opened a store of general merchandise. Mr. Free now has a farm of 300 acres, a store and a grist and saw-mill, all in full blast. For five years he has been postmaster of Legate. Politically considered he is a Democrat. Mr. Free is one of the most wide-awake young business men in Stewart County.

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Christopher Gansner

Christopher Gansner is the son of George and Celia (Flutch) Gansner. Both parents were born the same year in Canton Graubent, Switzerland. In their family were nine children, five of whom were born in the old country. The father farmed in his native country until 1844, when he came to this country. The father farmed in his native coutnry until 1844, when he came to this countyr and loccated in Stewart County. Both he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church. The are now seventy-five years old and have lived together fifty-five years. Christian's ancestors, as far back as can be traced, were natives of Switzerland. Our subject was born in the same canon as his parents in 1836, and when eight years old came to America. In early life he was educated in both the English and German language. Having staid with his parents until of age he began his career as a farmer on a capital of some $0 worth of personal property. Since, by close attention to business, he has arisen to the ownership of a farm of some 360 acress. In matimonial affairs he has been very successful, having been married four times. His first wife was Jane Andrus; his second Emily Powell; his third Jane Westerman; his forth Martha Daniel. He has been blessed wtih but two children and they were of his second marriage. He and his last two wives belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a very successful farmer and a warm Democrat.

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George W. Gatlin

George W. Gatlin, a son of Ephraim and Elizabeth (Bruton) Gatlin is one of the oldest native farmers of Stewart County. The father was born in North Carolina, and when a boy came to this county with his parents and settled at Gatlin Shoals in 1802. The mother came to this county about 1812. After marriage they made Stewart Coutny their home, and here raised a family of twelve children. For many years the father a minister in the Free-Will Baptist Church. A Democrat in politics, he was sent as a delegate from this state to consider the Missouri Compromise. After a life of great usefulness he passed abway at the age of sixty-seven. His widow lived to see the return of eighty-one winters. George's paternal ancestors were Dutch; his maternal Dutch and Irish. The subject of this biograhy was born in 1820 and received a very common education. At the age of sixteen he began for himself: having borrowed money of a widow to buy 200 acres, he paid for it by work; since he has increased it to 1,200 acres. In 1840 he married Lucinda M. Gray, by whom he had seven children, four of whom still live. Mrs. Gatlin was a Presbyterian in belief' she passed from the toils of earth in 1885. In 1861 he volunteered to serve in Company D, of the Fourth Tennessee Infantry and at the first attack on Donelson he received a wound in the head, disabling him for life. Mr. Gatlin has been very successful in business; having started on a small beginning he has become one of the heaviest tax payers in the county. He is a stanch Democrat.

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Andrew J. Gray

Andrew J. Gray, who was born in 1826 in Stewart County, is the son of Jam Annaford Gray. Both parents were natives of North Carolina, and when young came to this county. By trade the father was a hatter and in connection with his trade ran a large farm. Besides he was a man of public note, having been commandant of a frontier fort, captain of a company at the battle of New Orleans, magistratte, one of the framers of the constitution of Tennessee, and representative in the State Assemby for nine years. For twenty-five years he, as a minister in the Free-Will Baptist Church, proclaimed the truth of the gospel. During the late war he was three times hanged and then bound to a board, laid before a fire, and roasted till the flesh dropped from his feet, in order to extort from him the whereabouts of his money, but all to no purpose, the guerrilla band left without its spoil. Both he and his wife lived to an advanced age, he being seventy-nine when he died and she sixty-nine. Andrew's ancestors on his father's side were of English descent, being descendants of the family to which Lady Jane Gray belonged; on his mother's side he inherits Welsh and German blood. At the age of fifteen Andrew took chargeof his father's farm and later bought and shipped produce to New Orlesans. In 1862 he went to fight his country's battles and after three years of faithful service he surrendered at Gainesville, Ala. In 1872, he married Rebecca Clementine by whom he had six children.Mr. Gray is a staunch Democrat, as was also his father, and a member of the Christian Church. He owns some 2,300 acres of land and is accounted one of the stanch citizens of Stewart County.

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Frasier C. Gray

Frasier C. Gray, a farmer of Stewart County, was born to F.C. and Mary E. (Williams) Gray. Both father and motehr were natives of this state, the former of Stewart County, the latter of Henry. Some time after marriage they located in the latter county, where they spent the remainder of their lives, chiefly in agricultural pursuits. For many years he preached the doctrine of the Missionary Baptist Church. He aslo carried on blacksmithing and merchandising to a limited extent. After an active and useful life of sixty-six yers he passed from among the living. His widow still lives. Frasier is a native of Henry County, born in 1849. He was raised on the farm and acquired a common school education. Having farmed for some time he dealt in manufactured tobacco, and he clerked in his father's store. He was married, in 1876, to Cordie Scarborough. To this union four children were born, all boys. Soon after marriage they settled on the farm where they now live. Both husband and wife are communicants of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Gray was a Democrat as was also his father. For some four terms Mr. Gray taught school, though he is now a well-established thrifty farmer.

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