Goodspeeds History of Stewart County: Biographies


Published 1886

James H. Taylor William C. Weaks John S.P. Wimberley
William T. Thomas Ephraim P. Weaks Peter T. Wofford
Marvin Wait Tucker James H. Weaks William G. Wofford
Maj. Joseph Vaulx Thomas J. Weaver George W. Wynns
Ed Walter William A. West, M. D. Silas Yarbrough

James H. Taylor

James H. Taylor, one of the good farmers of Stewart County, is one of the seven children born to the marriage of Anderson and Mary (Ogle) Taylor. Their chosen occupation was farming, continuing that calling throughout life, being among the best farmers of the neighborhood. Having lost his first wife the father wedded Mary A. Graham by whom he had six children. The frosts of seventy-five winters having whitened his locks he was called to that bourne whence no traveler returns. Our subject first saw the light of day in Trigg County, Ky. In early life his schooling was wholly neglected, insomuch that he never learned to write and read. Having worked as a farm hand until 1858 he was married to Margaret M. Taylor, by whom he had five children-three girls and two boys. In politics he is a warm Democrat. In 1872, having saved his earnings, he purchased a small tract of land where he now lives and has since increased it to 240 acres. Mr. Taylor has been remarkably successful, to start with nothing, not even the rudiments of education, and rise to the ownership of a good farm.

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William T. Thomas

William T. Thomas, the leading merchant of Cumberland City, was born 1841 in that part of Stewart County now included in Houston. He grew up at the handles of the plow and had the advantages of a common school education. His parents were Tennesseans by birth. The father, John, was a school-teacher in early life, but after his marriage to Miss Nancy Allen betook himself to farming. In their family wre ten children-six boys and four girls. He was not a man who aspired to places of public trust, though he held the offices of sheriff and constable. In politics he was a Whig and in religious views a Methodist. The father died at the age of fifty, his wife at fifty-two. At the age of sixteen William entered the store of Allen & Stanfield as salesman, and in 1861 volunteered in Company B, Fiftieth Tennessee Infantry. He was one of the brave boys to defend Fort Donelson. Having been captured there, taken to Chicago and finally exchanged at Vicksburg, he was transferred to Company I in view of his eletion to the captaincy of that company. Having led the company two years he resigned his commission to take up more peaceful pursuits. In 1866 he began the mercantile business on a very small scale, being backed by some good friends. By economy and close attention to business he has arisen to the first rank as a merchant. In 1868 he and Miss Mattie Gray celebrated the festivities of wedlock. Both he and his wife are leading members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically he is a Democrat.

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Marvin Wait Tucker

Marvin Wait Tucker, one of the large land-holders of Stewart County, is one of a family of six children born of the union of M. W. and Nancy (Wright) Tucker. The father was a native of Connecticut and the mother of South Carolina. When a young man he with several companions, went to the latter State to work at the blacksmith's trade. There being a scarcity of skilled workmen and he being extra no difficulty was experienced in getting employment. While there he married Miss Wright. From South Carolina they moved to North Carolina and finally to East Tennessee where the mother died. He then married Mary B. Craddock, and in 1847 came to this county, continuing his trade throughout life. He is a rare instance of a man's changing his mode of life in old age. When some sixty years of age he united with the Baptist Church. He lived to be seventy-eight years old. Marvin's ancestors on his father's side were of English and Scotch descent; on his mother's of Irish. Marvin was born in 1832 in North Carolina. When young he had no schooling, not being able to read when twenty-three years of age. Since, however, he has taken to study he has made considerable progress. Having learned the trade of his father he worked at the same until 1861 and has since farmed. In 1857 he married Sarah A. Mann, by whom he had eleven children, of whom ten still live. He is a member of the Baptist Church and in politics a Conservative. Mr. Tucker owns some 1,300 acres of land, all of which he has made by hard work and shrewd trading.

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Maj. Joseph Vaulx

Maj. Joseph Vaulx, vice-president and executive officer of the Cumberland Iron Works Company, was born in 1835 to the marriage of Joseph and Susan E. (Hobern) Vaulx. The father was a native of North Carolina, and about the yar 1809 came to Nashville, where he married Miss Hobson. She was the daughter of Capt. Hobson, of Virginia, who was a family friend of George Washington. After clerking for some time in the store of Josiah Nichol he became his partner. Some years later he was elected president of the Tennessee Marine and Fire Insurance Company. When he took hold of the business it was in a chaotic state, but under his skillful management it became one of the best paying institutions in the State. After the war he lived a retired life. His wife having died at the age of twenty-seven, he was again married; this time to Eleanor Armstrong, daughter of Gen. Robert Armstrong. After a long and useful life the father died at the ripe age of eighty. The Major's ancestors on his father's side were of French and Scotch descent, and on his mother's of English and Scotch. Joseph is a native of Nashville, and when growing up had all the educational facilities that city afforded. A part of his early life was passed on the farm whre he holds he obtained some of his most useful training. For two years he attended the Western Military Institute of Kentucky; then, after clerking in a store for some four years, he went out in 1861 as captain of Company A, of the First Tennessee Infantry. Having held that office a year he was promoted to inspector-general of Cheatham's division, continuing till the close of the war. He was never disbled by wounds or sickness and as a result put in more days in official duty than any other man in the division. In the battle of Franklin all the commanding officers and the officers of their respective staffs of Gen. Brown's division (composed of four brigades) were either killed or wounded save Maj. Vaulx. Shortly after his return he engaged in the dry goods business in New York City, continuing some eleven years. In 1880 he became connected, as above indicated, with the Cumberland Iron Works Company, since which time he has held those postions. As to his business capacity nothing need be said; the fact that the company has intrusted such extensive interests to his care speaks louder for him than mere words can do.

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Ed Walter

Ed Walter, the leading merchant of Dover, is the son of Bernhard and Camille (Vintreaux) Walter. The father was born in Baden, Germany, and after reaching man's estate came to this county and located in Louisville, Ky., where he married Miss. Vintreaux who was a native of Paris, France. After marriage they remained in Louisville till 1840, when they took up their abode in dover. By trade the father was a shoe-maker. In politics he was a Democrat. His wife belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church. After the death of his first wife, in 1859, he again married and lived till 1881. The subject of this sketch made glad the hearts of his parents by his presence in the year 1842, being one of nine children. From his father he inherited the thrift of the German and from his mother the tact of the Frenchman. From this one could predict his choice in business. In 1863 he entered a store in Dover as salesman; three years later opened a store of general merchandise, in which he has since been engaged. In addition to that he handles leaf tobacco extensively and runs a custom-mill. He has six children born of his marriage with Letitia Smith in 1869. He is a supporter of Democratic principles. His wife belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Walter has always attended very closely to business, and as a result has met with extraordinary success.

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William C. Weaks

William C. Weaks, register of Stewart County, is the son of John F. and Delilah (Gatlin) Weaks. Both parents were natives of this State, and after marriage settled in Stewart County and there spent the remainder of their days in tilling the soil. The father was a warm Democrat and a zealous Mason. His wife belonged to the United Baptist Church. Both died when William was quite young. Of such parentage was born in 1826, in Stewart County, the subject of this sketch. He grew up on the farm and received a limited common school education. After clerking in a store for some time he began merchandising for himself, continuing there until the breaking out of the war. At the close of that struggle he resumed the mercantile business. In 1874 he made the race for county register, and was elected by a good majority. In 1855 he was married to Emily H. Wall. This union was bleassed with one child. Some two years later his first wife died and in 1859 he married Louisa A. Tucker. Of this union ten children wre born. For his third wife Mr. Weaks chose Mrs. Martha F. (Morris) Brandon. He is a Democrat, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife belongs to the Christian Church. For nearly fifty years Mr. Weaks has been a resident of Stewart County, and is one among its good citizens.

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Ephraim P. Weaks

Ephraim P. Weaks, one of the longest established merchants in Stewart County, and son of John F. and Delilah (Gatlin) Weaks, was born in this county in 1829, was raised on the farm and received a common school education. At the age of twenty he began the mercantile business as salesman for C & A Brandon of Tobacco Port. Having clerked for them some five years he bought out the firm, and has run a store of general merchandise ever since, with the exception of about three years during the war. In 1853 he and Mary J. Acree celebrated their wedding festivities. To this union five children wre born of whom four now live. Mr. Weaks is a Democrat and a wide-awake member of the Methodist Church, as is also his wife. When he began business he had comparatively nothing, but by close attention to business he has arisen to one among the large tax payers of Stewart County. For thirty years he has been a merchant in Tobacco Port, and the financial advancement he has made and patronage he receives speak louder for him as a business man than mere words can do.

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James H. Weaks

James H. Weaks, the oldest merchant of Dover and son of John F. and Delilah (Gatlin) Weaks, is a native of Stewart County, born in 1835. His early education was confined to the country schools, and at the age of fifteen entered the store of A. M. Wall, of Dover, as salesman. After three years' experience h, in connection with his brother, opened a store of general merchandise. In 1858 he became sole proprietor, continuing until the war. To his marriage with Mattie W. Robertson in 1861, seven children were born. For some time after the war he engaged in the hoop-pole and timber business, and then returned to merchandising, having been actively engaged thereat ever since. Both he and wife are active members in the Christian Church. In early life he was a Whig, but is now a warm supporter of the Democracy. As a business man he has been reasonably successful. Mr. Weaks has resided in the county for over fifty years, and thirty years of that time have been spent in active business in Dover, where he has a wide circle of friends.

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Thomas J. Weaver

Thomas J. Weaver, the merchant of Weaver's store, is the son of Jeremiah and Sarah B. (Major) Weaver. Both were natives of Virginia, where they wre married and lived till 1827, when they moved to Christian County, Ky., and there lived the rest of their lives. By occupation the father was a carpenter, and in connection with his trade ran a small farm. His wife was a member of the Baptist Church. In the full strength of manhood he was called away, being only thirty-three years old. Eighty times the mother saw the flowers come and go. Our subject was a native of Christian County, Ku., born in 1828. His educational advantages were very limited. He remained with his mother till 1851, when he married Henrietta J. Collins, by whom he had eight children, of whom five are now living. Mr. Weaver is of the Baptist faith, and his wife of the Methodist. For sixteen years he has filled the office of magistrate. Politically he was formerly a Whig, but is now a Democrat, as was also his father. Since 1857 he has made Stewart County his home. He now owns a fine farm and a store. He is also an extensive tobacco dealer. He is now one of the heaviest tax payers in the county, notwithstanding the fact that he began with nothing and lost some $30,000 during the war.

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William A. West, M. D

William A. West, M. D., and the leading merchant of Indian Mound, is one of the six children born to the marriage of William H. and Sarah L. (Outlaw) West. His parents were born, bred and died in Tennessee. The father followed merchandising and farming for a livelihood. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and in politics an old Jacksonian Democrat. Mrs. West held to the doctrines of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In the strength of manhood he was cut off by the frost of death. After his death the mother married Philip Nolin, whom she outlived, though she died comparatively young. Our subject was born in Stewart County, 1828, raised on the farm, received his early education in the county schools and later attended the Dover Academy. At the age of nineteen he began the study of medicine under Dr. J. T. Nolin. Having attended lectures at Louisville and New Orleans, he graduated in 1870 from the medical department of the Nashville University; thereupon he located at Indian Mound. In 1852 he married Margaret A. Hooks, but no children have blessed this union. She belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1869 Mr. West was called to represent the people of Montgomery and Stewart Counties in the lower house of the State Assembly, and was re-elected in 1875. About the year 1866 he opened a store at Indian Mound, where he has done an active business since. In addition to that he owns some 500 acres of land. In 1881 failing health caused him to retire from practice. Politically the Doctor is a warm Democrat.

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John S.P. Wimberley

John S.P. Wimberley, son of James and Louisa B. (Rowlett) Wimberly, is one of the farmers of Stewart County. His father, a native of North Carolina, when young came to this county and married Miss Rowlett, by whom he had eight children-two sons and six daughters, having settled on the farm where John now resides, and never moved from it. She was a Baptist in early life, but afterward united with the Christian Church. In politics he was a Democrat. In the prime of manhood he was cut off by the frost of death. His widow then married Benjamin Rowlett, and lived tot he age of seventy-one. The subject of this sketch is a native of Stewart County, born in 1841. At the age of twenty he volunteered to serve his country in Company E, of the Fourteenth Tennessee Infantry. At Gettysburg he was taken prisoner and paroled. After nearly four years of faithful service he betook himself to farming. He was married, in 1868, to Fannie Jones. To them eight children were born-four boys and four girls. Both husband and wife are members of the Baptist Church. In 1885 Mrs. Wimberly was called from among the living, since which time he has kept house with his children; politically considered he is a Democrat. Mr. Wimberly is quite a good farmer and owns 234 acres of land along the Cumberland.

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Peter T. Wofford

Peter T. Wofford, trustee of Stewart County, is the youngest of eight children born to John and Sallie (Gardner) Wofford. They were born and raised in North Carolina. After marriage they lived in their native State till about 1809, when they came to Tennessee, and some two years later located in Stewart County. For a livelihood the father followed farming. He was an old Jacksonian Democrat and a strict Methodist. His wife also was numbered with the followers of Wesley. Peters' paternal ancestors were probably Scotch; his maternal ancestors Irish. Of such ancestry was born in Stewart County the subject of this sketch in 1821. His boyhood days were passed on the farm and in the old log schoolhouse. In 1840 he and Mary A. Bufford were joined in happy wedlock. The union was blessed with one child, Robert F., who fell in the battle of Seven Pines. Mr. Wofford is a strong Democrat, though he voted the Whig ticket till the beginning of the war. Since that time he has been chosen to fill several county offices, namely, sheriff, revenue collector, and now holds the most responsible position in the county, that of trustee. Mr. Wofford is known all over Stewart County, and is reckoned one of its good farmers.

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William G. Wofford

William G. Wofford, a farmer of Stewart County is the son of James and Elizabeth (Wofford) Wofford. The father was a native of North Carolina, and in childhood was taken to Georgia, where he lived till 1811 when he came to Stewart County and married Miss Wofford who was also born in the same state. For a livelihood he followed farming. He was magistrate fourteen years and surveyor of the county twenty. Both held to the doctrines of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The father lived to the age of seventy-five; the mother died at fifty-three. William was born in Stewart County in 1826, raised on the farm and received but little schooling. At the age of twenty-one he began his career as a farmer and has since followed that calling. In 1850 he married Martha E. Andrews. To this marriage five children were born, four of whom, together with his wife, were taken away by scarlet fever. Nine years later he was married to Sallie E. Blanton, by whom he had six children. Husband and wife belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Like his father he is a supporter of the Democratic party, having cast his first vote for Elisha Dawson. He has made considerable financial advancement, notwithstanding many reverses.

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George W. Wynns

George W. Wynns, son of Albert W. and Fannie R. (Manly) Wynns, is one of the most promising young farmers of Stewart County. Previous to his marriage the father went to Texas, where he prepared himself for the legal profession. Having returned and practiced for a short time he betook himself to farming and merchandising. When quite young he made the race for representative in the State Legislature, coming off conqueror. On account of ill health he resigned and moved to Florida, where he died. His career was as short as it was brilliant. At the age of thirty-two he was called away. Both father and mother were members of the Christian Church. After his death the mother married John M. Randle who is still living. George received a vein of English blood from his paternal ancestors. He is a native of this county, born 1855. In boyhood he had first-rate advantages for education. He attended the common schools, an academy, and spent two years in college, and then turned his attention to farming. In 1876 he and Mary A. Sexton were united in the happy bonds of matrimony. The fruits of this union are four children. Mrs. Wynns holds to the doctrine of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a Democrat and his father was a Whig. Mr. Wynns has a nice farm on the Tennessee, a part of it lying on Sandy Island.

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Silas Yarbrough

Silas Yarbrough, a farmer of Stewart County, was born in this county, in 1827. He is one of eleven children born to the union of Nathan and Mary (Carter) Yarbrough. His parents were natives of North Carolina and about 1806 came to this county, and after marriage, spent their lives on the farm. The father was a soldier under Jackson on his campaign against the Creeks, of Georgia. Politically he was a Democrat and religiously a Missionary Baptist, as was also his wife. With long life they were especially blessed-he being seventy-seven when he died and she eighty-two. Silas' ancestors on both sides came from England. The immediate subject of this sketch grew up a farmer boy, received almost no schooling-not having attended more than eight months all told. After reaching manhood he picked up the carpenter's trade and worked thereat some fourteen years, being one of the first workmen of the county. In 1858 he married Julia Landrum, who bore him six children. Both he and his wife are zealous workers in the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Yarbrough is a staunch Democrat. He has met with good success; having started with nothing he has worked out a farm of 235 acres.

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