Cocke County, Tennessee
Biographical Sketches

The Goodspeed Publishing Co., History of Tennessee, 1887
Transcribed by Kris L. Martin
Pages 1194-1199

C.F. Boyer, clerk of the circuit court, was born in 1846 in Cocke County, where he has since resided. He enlisted in August, 1863 in Company A, Third Tennessee Mounted Infantry. He was appointed sergeant but declined the appointment. He served until December, 1864 when he was mustered out at Knoxville. He then attended school two years at Parisville, when he engaged in farming and merchandising until 1876 when he was elected sheriff of Cocke County, and was twice re-elected to same office--serving in all six years. He was then elected Circuit Court Clerk and was re-elected August, 1886. He was elected justice of the peace in 1869, and served about three years, being elected to fill an unexpired term. He was married in 1872 to Miss Florence McNabb, a daughter of Alexander McNabb, a native of Monroe County, although he has lived in Cocke County most of his life. Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Boyer: Hester E., Henry S., Horace C. Jettie, George R., Creed Mc, and Franklin A. Mr. Boyer is a Republican in politics, and he is a Master Mason. He was the fourteenth of fifteen children of Isaac and Elizabeth (Simms) Boyer, a native of Virginia, who settled in Cocke County about 1817 with his family. Mr. Isaac Boyer was a farmer and tanner by occupation. Mr. C.F. Boyer began life in very moderate circumstances and the most he is now worth is the fruit of his own business ability. He owns a fine farm of 300 acres, which was formerly owned by his grandfather, Padgett. While sheriff Mr. C.F. Boyer hung two men--noted desperadoes, the only men ever hung in Cocke County by law, and otherwise rendered valuable service as a sheriff.

J.J. Burnett, a farmer in the First District, was born February 7, 1824, in North Carolina, near Ashville, and December, 1835, he moved to his present location. He began life for himself when of age as a farmer. He attended school at Holston College, Jefferson County, TN. He began with about $1,200, and what he is now worth is the fruit of his own industry and good management. He owns about 400 acres of land where he lives. He was married February 10, 1853, to Miss Mary E. Huff, daughter of Stephen Huff, who was a son of John Huff, who was a native of Virginia. Six children blessed the union: Jehu J., Stephen F., Jesse A., Frances E.C., Sissie Elizabeth J., Cynthia A. Mrs. Burnett died about 1863. He was married a second time October 10, 1867, to Miss Esther A. Lea, a daughter of Alfred Lea, a native of Jefferson County, or near the Jefferson and Knox County line. Five children blessed this union: Evalina, Henrietta M., Harriet C., Joseph J. and Swan A. Mr. Burnett is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and is a Democrat in politics. He was elected justice of the peace, and served six years. He cast his first presidential ticket for Gen. Taylor. He was eleventh of thirteen children of Swan R. and Frances (Bell) Burnett, natives of Virginia and North Carolina, respectively; Mr. Burnett coming to North Carolina when a boy. He began life for himself a poor man, and by his very successful farm management became quiet comfortably fixed. He was a son of Thomas Burnett, a native of Virginia. He was killed by a Tory, about the time of the battle of King’s Mountain, in which battle his brother Joseph was killed while fighting for his country. Mr. and Mrs. Swan Burnett were of English and Irish descent respectively. Mr. J.J. Burnett and possibly a sister in Missouri are the only children now living of thirteen.

J.J. Denton, a farmer near Newport, was born May 16, 1851, in Cocke County, where he has since resided. When nineteen years old he engaged in the grocery business, eight years, when he then engaged in farming, at which he has since continued. He began life a poor man, and what he is now worth is the fruit of his own industry and good management. He owns 270 acres of fine land. He was married in 1876 to Miss Lizzie Lloyd, a daughter of G.W. Lloyd, a native of Cocke County, now residing in Texas, and who is a tanner by trade. to this union four children have been born: George Lawrence, James Clarence, Dixie and Lloyd. Mrs. Denton is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. and Mr. Denton is a Republican in politics. He is the sixth of seven children born to Jefferson and Charity (Huff) Denton, natives of Cocke County. He was for many years justice of the peace of his district, and commanded a company in Longstreet’s command during the late war. His son, T.H. Denton, was in the Second Tennessee Cavalry and accumulated considerable property, but owing to his paying security debts, was twice broken up, but each time regained his feet. He is a son of Thomas Denton, a native of England, and at a very early date immigrated to America, and settled at the mouth of Cosby Creek, being one of the earliest settlers, having previously resided at the present site of St. Louis, Mo.

L.W. Hooper, M.D. was born February 4, 1939, in North Carolina, and when twenty years of age came to Dandridge, Tenn. He received a good academical education, and read medicine with Dr. J.C. Cawood, of Dandridge. He then graduated from Bellevue Medical College, of New York, and began his present successful career as a physician at Newport. Dr. Hooper, it should be mentioned, has earned the money to educate himself by his own efforts. He is the oldest settler on the site of Newport. On April 21, 1870 he married Sarah E. a daughter of William Norton, a native of North Carolina. Both are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, in which he has been deacon since the church at Newport was organized. He is a Republican, and a Master Mason, and is the youngest of fourteen children born to John and Margaret (Ledbetter) Hooper, natives of Georgia and South Carolina respectively, and of German-English and English origin. Absalom Hooper, the next ancestor, was a blacksmith, highly respected among the Indians, who gave him the name, “Steke Santone” i.e. “Little Keg” referring, to his small stature. He was seven years in the Revolution, part of the time as cannoneer at Charleston. S. C. Margaret Hooper’s father was also a soldier of the war for Independence. Our subject’s grandfather, Absalom Hooper, received two wounds in the Revolution, one in the knee which made him a cripple for life. His Grandfathers were the first settlers of Western North Carolina, and were only permitted to stay among the Cherokees by their being blacksmiths. His Grandfather Hooper made several hairbreadth escapes.

Capt. A.C. Huff was born in 1819, in Cocke County, where he has since resided. He is a son of Stephen and Elizabeth (Carson) Huff, his mother being a daughter of Andrew Carson, who was one of the early settlers, and an exemplary man. Capt. Huff’s Great-grandfather, John Corder, and grandfather, John Huff (both of Virginia), were the pioneer settlers of Greene, now Cocke County. They built a fort for the protection of the settlement from the Indians, who were quite hostile in those early days. In this fort Stephen Huff was born in 1796. He was of German and English descent, a substantial citizen and a man of fine judgement. The fort was afterward converted into a comfortable dwelling, in which Stephen died, at the age of seventy-three. Capt. A.C. Huff married, at the age of twenty, Narcissa, a daughter of Swan P. Burnett. To them were born twelve children: Stephen (deceased), Swan B., James T. (deceased), Frances J., John J. (deceased), Robert Jesse (deceased), Andrew F., Eliza C., William D. (deceased), Mary N., Flora G. (deceased), and Eva S. His wife, Narcissa, died in 1880. Capt. Huff, in 1863, commanded Company B, Second North Carolina Infantry (Federal) and was mustered out March, 1865. In 1883 he married Mrs. J.R. Shackleford, of Lexington, GA, a daughter of William and Elizabeth A. Latimer. Capt. Huff cast his first vote for Gen. Harrison, for president. He served as a justice for two terms; once by election, and once appointed by Gov. Brownlow. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church. He was a strong Union man, opposed secession, and has always voted with the Republicans.

Col. William Jack, a farmer and stock dealer, was born in 1817, in the “Irish Bottoms,” opposite the mouth of the “Chucky” river, on French Broad River. Since about 1825 he has lived on his present farm. In 1842 he married Elizabeth, a daughter of Richard De Witt, of South Carolina, who was under Gen. Jackson, in the Indian Wars. Their children are Samuel W., Harriet E. (now Mrs. Capt. George Stewart), Rowena (now Mrs. S.W. Cromer), Marcus D., Julia (a widow of the late John Young), Willliam and Charles. His wife died May 14, 1864. He is a democrat, a Master Mason, and in doctrine, a Presbyterian. He is the fourth of seven children of Samuel and Nancy (Rogers) Jack, the latter, a daughter of Alexander Rogers, a native of Ireland, and a pioneer of the “Irish Bottoms” where she was born. Samuel Jack, a native of Pennsylvania, of English Stock, was the next ancestor. Our subject has succeeded, by his executive and managing ability, in acquiring 550 acres of fine land.

O.M. Kelley, farmer, was born in 1846, in Greene County, where he lived until 1875, since which date he has lived at his present home. His first independent work was in farming and milling, at which he continued until January, 1887, when he abandoned the latter. In 1866, E.C. Susong, a daughter of John Susong, a native of Greene County, became his wife. Their children are Effie J., Willard E., Carrie R., Lee H., Jennie E., George S., Essie V. and an infant (deceased). He and his wife are Presbyterians, in which church he has been ruling elder for sixteen years. He is a Democrat, and first voted for Greeley. His fine farm of 150 acres lies near Parrottsville. He is the fifth of seven children of Wylie and Eliza (Kelley) Kelley, natives of Kentucky and Greene County, respectively, the former serving as justice many years both in Greene and Cocke Counties, and both of English-Irish stock. The father, a miller, and farmer was worth about $20,000, and excepting a year in Missourri and one year in Indiana, he always lived in the two counties mentioned above, in which he served as justice. He died in 1877, aged seventy years. The grandfathers were John Kelley and Andrew Kelley, the latter the paternal one. John Kelley, Sr., the grandfather, came from Ireland at his majority, in 1771, and on account of the captain’s pretense of having lost his bearings, but probably was because he had an eye on the slave trade, their vessel drifted so far south that the heat was intense, and they were thirteen weeks in reaching their destination, and then only because, after fourteen days in such heat that the ship’s chains would sizzle as they touched water, they persuaded the captain with the rather forcible argument that they would throw him overboard if he didn’t change his course. He landed on the North Carolina coast, taught school, and finally married Anna Hunter, by whom he became the father of three children: John, Joseph, and Andrew. He crossed the mountains at Kelley’s Gap, and settled in Greene County, where some of his descendents still live, and hold as a relic his old chest brought from his native land.

W.W. Langhorne, attorney at law at Newport, was born January 23, 1841, in Smithfield, Va. He received a good academical and collegiate education. He studied law under Robert Whitfield, of Smithfield, and under Taswell Taylor, of Norfolk, and was admitted to the bar in 1866, at Lynchburg. He enlisted, April 19, 1861, in company F, Sixth Virginia Infantry, and served until May, 1864, when he was disabled. After recovering, he served in different capacities until his capture at the fall of Richmond, when he was carried to Point Lookout, where he was retained until June 22, 1865. After his release he came to Newport and taught the first school ever held there. He is a stanch Democrat. He is a Master Mason. He was married October 8, 1868, to Julia R. Smith, a daughter of A.E. Smith, a native of Cocke County. Five children have blessed their union: Morris A., Willie D., Louisa (deceased), Julia E., and Lillian R. He is the eldest of nine children born to Maurice and Louisa (Drew) Langhorne, natives of Virginia, of Portsmouth and Smithfield, respectively. He was a minister of the gospel in the Protestant Methodist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Langhorne were of English descent.

J.C. La Rue, merchant and farmer, was born October 3, 1824, in Knox County, and came to Cocke County, when twelve years old. Up to his twenty-eighth year he was the main support of his father. In 1861, he married Margaret J. Parrott, a daughter of Samuel Parrott, a son of George Parrott, in whose honor the village was named. Our subject’s children were Samuel B., Selma A., Frank D., Fannie K. (deceased), James H., Charles W., Horace L., Hugh F., and an infant (deceased). The third and fourth, and seventh and eighth were twins. His wife is a Methodist Episcopalian, and he is a Master Mason, and a Republican, and first voted for Taylor for President. He was a constable four years, and county clerk for a similar time. He owns a fine farm of about 450 acres near Parrottsville, besides another tract of 498 acres, and a saw and grist-mill two and a half miles southeast of Parrottsville. He was the third of seven children of Francis and Nancy A. (Young) La Rue, natives of Knox County. The father was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was in politics an old line Whig. He was a Christian man, and devoted to agricultural pursuits. The La Rues were of French and the Youngs of English origin. George La Rue, a native of Knox County, was the next ancestor.

W.J. McSween, attorney at law at Newport, was born May 3, 1848, in Cocke County, where he has since resided. He attended school at Emory and Henry College, during 1866-68 and then graduated in 1871 in the law department at Cumberland University, and began immediately the practice of law at Newport, Tenn. He practices in courts of adjoining counties, and in the supreme court. He was married in November, 1876, to Miss Florence Kidwell, a niece of Judge William McFarland and a daughter of William Kidwell, a native of North Carolina, and who when ten years old (1820) came with his father to Cocke County, Tenn. Three children have blessed their union: William K., Mabel and Lillian. Mr. and Mrs. McSween are members of the Presbyterian Church, and he is a staunch Democrat. He represented Cocke County in the legislature of 1885 and 1886, being elected in a Republican county. He is a Master Mason. He is the youngest of five children of William and Catherine (Allen) McSween, natives of North Carolina and Cocke County respectively. Mr. McSween came to Cocke County in 1820, when ten years old. He was clerk of the county court and was circuit court clerk of Cocke County for twenty years, and was clerk and master of the chancery court for about ten years and represented Cocke County in the Legislature of 1840 and 1841. He was a son of Murdock McSween, a native of North Carolina. His father was a native of Scotland, who after the battle of Colloden, came to America under the protection of Flora McDonald.

W.F. Morris was born October 15, 1825, in Cocke County, where he has since resided. He began for himself when about twenty-one years old, and has acquired a reasonable competency. He lives on the old homestead of 307 acres, and has other landed interest in the county, part of which is timber and mineral land in the mountains. In 1866, he married Elizabeth Josephine Montgomery, of Greeneville, SC, a daughter of Chevis C. Montgomery who died in 1882. Their children are M. Bertie, Maggie A., Lillie Pauline, Katie Maudine. He and his wife are members of the Missionary Baptist church; in politics a Democrat, and first voted for Taylor and Fillmore, in 1849. In 1853-54 he represented Cocke County in the Legislature; in 1860 was census taker for the county. He is a Master Mason. He is the eldest of five children of William and Mildred (Driskell) Morris. His father came from North Carolina, his mother was born and raised in Cocke County, Tenn. James and Martha Morris, his grandparents, were natives of North Carolina. The Morrises were of Welsh origin, the Driskells were of Irish origin.

Darius Neas, M.D., was born January 5, 1849, in Greene County, Tenn. He graduated at Mosheim College, Greene, and then taught in the high school at Parrottsville and at Caney Branch, also reading medicine at the same time. In 1877, he graduated from the medical department of Vanderbilt University, and in 1878 from the University of Nashville, and has since had an excellent practice at Parrottsville. April 7, 1881, he married Ida M., a daughter of Dr. B.F. Bell, of Greene County, now of Cocke County. Their children are Vernie E., U. Roy, and Brent. He and his wife are Lutherans, and his is politically a Republican. He is tenth of eleven children of Phillip and Elizabeth (Bowers) Neas, natives of Greene, and of German descent; the former died March 2, 1873, and the latter in April, 1880. The grandfather, John Neas, Jr., a native of Greene County, was a farmer, and the son of John Neas, Sr.

Hon. J.H. Randolph, lawyer, was born October 19, 1825, in Jefferson County, Tenn. When two years old his father died, and his mother then moved to Grainger County, where he received his boyhood’s education. His mother then moved to New Market, Tenn., and there he and his only brother entered Holston College and through the energy of his mother and his own industry, they obtained their education. Shortly after this he read law by himself, and was admitted to the bar, after being examined by Judge Robert M. Anderson and Chancellor Thomas L. Williams, and began the practice at Newport, Tenn. He was elected to the Legislature in 1857-61 and to the State Senate in 1865-66. He bitterly opposed the secession of the State. He was elected circuit judge in 1870, over James M. Meek, and Walter R. Evans, and re-elected in 1872 over J.P. Swan, resigning at the end of seven years to become a Republican candidate for Congress, to which he was elected, and that is a Democratic district. He was identified with the remonetization of the silver dollar, making greenbacks equal to gold, repeal of the bankrupt law, and the repeal of laws unfavorable to the widows of soldiers, and making laws favoring them. In 1848 he married M.J. Robinson, a daughter of Maj. William Robinson, formerly a resident of Kentucky. Their children are William H.M.(deceased), Rolfe M. and Townsella. James M., his father, a native of Jefferson County, died early in life, the son of Henry, of Roanoke Va., who was a pioneer of Jefferson County, Tenn. Welsh, German and Indian blood flows in the Randolph veins.

A.W. Rhea, M.D. a prominent citizen of Newport, Tenn., was born in 1838, in Blountville, Sullivan County, Tenn. When small he was taken by his parents to Wautauga Bend, in Washington County. He attended the academy at Jonesboro, and also attended Washington College for some time. He studied medicine with Dr. Carson, of Jonesboro, and received his medical education at the University of Virginia. He began shortly afterward the practice of medicine at Newport, where he has since been when permanently located. He was surgeon during the late war for the Sixty-second Tennessee Confederate States Army serving during the war. He has an extensive practice and ranks with the best physicians of the country. He was married in 1861 to Miss Mary E., daughter of Gen. A.E. Smith, natives of Tennessee, two children have been born: Lucia M. and Archie W. Mr. Rhea is a Democrat in politics. He is the eldest of four children of Joseph S. and Sarah F.J. (Williams) Rhea, natives of Sullivan and Carter Counties, respectively. He was a son of Samuel and Nancy (Braiden) Rhea, natives of Scotland. Mrs. Sarah Rhea was a daughter of Archibald Williams, a native of Carter County, Tenn.

Charles Stokely, Sr., farmer and stock dealer, was born June 19, 1821, on the farm where he has since resided. Since he began for himself at his majority he has acquired a fine farm of 175 acres, his home, besides other tracts. About 1850 he married Sarah, a daughter of John Black, of South Carolina. Their children are Mary J., Sarah E. (deceased), Thomas (deceased), Rhoda E., Susan C., Royal J., Nancy A., (deceased), Steven D., John B.(deceased), James (deceased), Jesse, W.D., Cora B., Lilla (deceased). He and his wife are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, of which he has been a deacon for five years. He began with Henry Clay in his presidential voting, but is a Democrat. He is the seventh of ten children of Royal and Jane (Huff) Stokely, both of English and English-Dutch descent respectively. The father was a justice for twenty-one years, and the mother, a native of Virginia, when eighteen months old, came to Cocke County, where she died. The grandfather, Jehu, a native of England, was a sailor for seven years, and in 1747 settled in Charleston, S.C., and afterward lived in North Carolina and in Cocke County. the maternal grandfather, John Huff, a native of Roanoke County, VA, came to Cocke County about 1785. He was a soldier in the Revolution, and was a financial success as a hunter and trapper.

A.M. Stokely, a farmer in First District, was born in 1850 on the farm where he has since resided. He owns a fine farm of 450 acres. He was married, in 1881, to Miss Katie (Jackson) Murray, a daughter of J.C. Murray, a native of Greene County, but for the past thirty years has resided in Cocke County. To Mr. and Mrs. Stokely three children have been born: Jessie May, Hattie Evaline, Marvel Murray Jones. Mr. and Mrs. Stokely are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Stokely is a Democrat in politics, and cast his first presidential ticket for Horace Greeley. He was elected trustee of Cocke County in 1878, and was re-elected again in 1850. He is the sixth of thirteen children of Nathan Huff and Evaline (Jones) Stokely, natives of Cocke County. The father was justice of the peace for several years of his district, and was trustee of Cocke County several years. He followed farming very successfully. He was the son of Royal and Jane (Huff) Stokely.

George W. Susong, farmer and stock dealer, was born February 2, 1835, in Greene County, Tenn., and in 1867 settled in the “Fork of Pigeon,” but since 1870 he has been at his present home. A horse, saddle and bridle was the outfit his father gave him to begin his journey through life, and he now owns a fine farm of 1,700 acres in the “Dutch Bottoms,” and known as the Carter farm. In 1868 he married Susan, a daughter of Jehu Stokely and wife (nee Burnett), natives of Cocke County. The former died February 26, 1885, and was a son of John Stokely, Sr., who, with two brothers, were among the earlist settlers of Cocke County. The children of our subject are Jacob A., Mary J., Addie, Georgianna, John B.S., Susan E., Louisa K. and Hester C. His wife is a Baptist, and in politics he is a Democrat, and is also a Master Mason. He was the ninth of thirteen children of Andrew and Susan (Ball) Susong, natives of Lee County, VA, the former an old resident of Washington County, Va., and a soldier of the war of 1812, and the latter a daughter of William Ball. Nicholas Susong, the next direct ancestor, with his brothers Jacob and Andrew, came to America with Gen. Lafayette during the Revolution, and fought with that great General. The brothers first settled in Virginia, and afterward near Bristol, where they reared their families.

W.R. Swagerty, farmer and stock dealer at Newport, was born August 3, 1842, on the farm where he has since resided. He began life for himself when twenty-two years old and excepting some property received from his father, what he is now worth is mostly the fruit of his own industry and good management. He owns a fine farm of 396 acres near Newport. He was married in December, 1866, to Miss Lydia Allen, a daughter of James Allen, a native of Cocke County. He was a farmer, and served in the Mexican War. to Mr. and Mrs. Swagerty the following children have been born: Lora Anna, Fannie Dale, James M. (dead), Nannie Laura, Hattie Murray and Eunice. Mr. and Mrs. Swagerty’s oldest and third daughters are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and Mr. Swagerty is a Democrat in politics, and cast his first presidential vote for Horatio Seymour. He was elected justice of the peace in 1882, and his is a Master Mason. He is the sixth of ten children of James and Nancy (Clark) Swagerty, natives of Cocke County. He was for many years, justice of the peace, and was “High Constable” of the county for many years, and was a very successful farmer. He began life for himself a poor man, and before the Negroes were freed he was worth about $200,000, the fruit of his own industry and good management. Mr. and Mrs. Swagerty were of German descent. He was a son of James Swagerty, a native of Virginia, and was among the earliest settlers of Cocke County. He was for many years, justice of the peace. His first wife’s name was Delilah, who died March 22, 1844, aged about seventy-one years. He was married again November 22, 1844, to Nancy H. Johnson. He was born in 1773 and died about 1868. Mr. James Swagerty, Jr. was born in 1800 and died 1885. Mr. W.R. Swagerty enlisted June 1861, in company C, Second Tennessee Infantry, Confederate States Army, and Served until 1864, when after the battle of Mission ridge, he was captured and kept as a prisoner of was at Sevierville Jail until the close of the war. He was wounded at the battles of Murfreesboro and Chattanooga.

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