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Fayette County, Alabama
~  Waldrop Family of Wesley Chapel ~

Generously contributed by
Lynn Fusinato

William Wilburn WALDROP and his wife Jane Amanda RAINWATER were settlers in Fayette County, Alabama, in the mid to late1840s.  They were of Scotch-Irish descent and both were born in Spartanburg, South Carolina - William on December 15, 1822, and Jane on July 14, 1826.  Not long after they were married in Spartanburg on March 20, 1845, they traveled by wagon train with a group of Jane's relatives to Alabama where they settled on land that was located in the vicinity of Covin and the Wesley Chapel community.  In 1867 that land became part of a newly formed county called Jones County, which was renamed Sanford County in 1868 and finally Lamar County in 1877.

The group of relatives probably included Jane's mother Nancy EDWARDS RAINWATER, her brothers Miles and Silas Mercer RAINWATER, her sisters Sarah Rainwater BOBO, Mary Rainwater BOBO, Vashti Rainwater CROSSLEY and the families of these siblings. In addition, William's younger brother Robert Waldrop and his wife Joanna may have traveled with the group when they first left SC.

It is not known for sure that all these members of the Rainwater family traveled in a single group in 1845.  However, census data seems to indicate that they all left SC in the mid 1840s and that by the fall of 1850 they were all living in Fayette County (and most were living quite close to each other).  The census data even hints that at least some of the group may have stopped in Georgia for one or more years before completing the journey to Alabama.

William W. Waldrop's brother Robert WALDROP was born in South Carolina around 1828 and married a much older woman Joanna (or Jona), who was born in South Carolina in 1807.  Robert and Joanna left SC in the mid to late 1840s and may have traveled with William W. Waldrop and the Rainwater family group.  However, Robert and Joanna stopped in north Georgia and remained there for some 16 years or more before moving on to Alabama.  Their son Samme (Samuel) WALDROP was born in GA around 1848 and in 1860 the family was living in Paulding Co., GA.  During the Civil War, Robert served with a Georgia regiment of the CSA.  It is not known what happened to Samme but it is suspected that he may have died either during or soon after the Civil War.  Possibly his death is the reason Robert and Joanna moved to AL.  1880 census records show Robert and Johanna had settled near Jane and William Waldrop and the other Rainwater family groups by that year.  Joanna died in early 1894 and a few years later Robert married a 20-year-old woman whose name (probably Willie H.) is difficult to read in the 1900 Census of Lamar Co., AL.  In October 1899 he and his new wife were blessed with a daughter Alma WALDROP (see photo here), just about fifty years after the birth of Robert's first child.  When Robert died a few years later, he was buried alongside Joanna in the Wesley Chapel (Methodist Church) Cemetery located near Covin in Fayette County

According to the 1860 Census, a Francis WALDROP, his wife Julia and their four small daughters (Bidda?, Elizabeth, Malissa and Nancy WALDROP) lived next door to William W. and Jane Waldrop.  Francis was born in SC around 1824 and may have been another brother or cousin of William W. Waldrop.  But there is no family record of a blood relationship with Francis like there is for Robert.

While it is known that brothers William and Robert came from the Spartanburg area of SC, it is not known whom their parents were.  One possibility is a Samuel Waldrop who was listed in both the 1830 and 1840 censes data for Spartanburg Co. SC and had sons the right ages to correspond to William, Francis and Robert Waldrop.  Possibly the reason both William and Robert named sons Samuel is because that was their father's name.  Unfortunately, census data for those years only lists the head-of-household by name and dependents are listed by count in age brackets for each sex.  So, there is as yet no definite proof as to whether or not that Samuel Waldrop in those Spartanburg censes was the father of William and Robert.

~ William and Jane Waldrop ~
William and Jane Waldrop
After arriving in Fayette County, William and Jane Waldrop built a large log house on their 240-acre homestead and cleared some of their heavily wooded land in order to farm it.  There they raised a family of eight children (who reached adulthood) despite the fact that the poor, sandy soil of their homestead made farming difficult.  Even though farming of their land required the help of all of the family, their children attended the little one-room schools in the community a few weeks each year because William and Jane believed in the importance of educating their children.

At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, William enlisted in the Confederate army where he attained the rating of Sergeant in Company I, 8th Alabama Calvary Regiment (later the 9th when the 8th was absorbed into the 9th Alabama Cavalry Regiment).  While he was gone, his wife and their six children had to work hard to make a living on their farm and suffered hardships and deprivations in those difficult times.  However, William must have made it back home several times during the war as two more children were born before he was honorably discharged from military service at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, in 1865.  During the four years he was fighting the war, he received two flesh wounds in his legs and he might have been given furloughs to go home to recover which was common practice during the war.

Jane died May 25, 1896, and was buried at the Wesley Chapel Cemetery.  William lived with the lively family of his daughter Nancy C. SMITH for about five years after his wife died.  Then, on December 8, 1901, William married his second wife Bethany EARAHART, a widow with a young son.  They had no children together.  William died four years later at age 81 on September 15, 1905, and is buried next to Jane at the Wesley Chapel Cemetery.

Children of William Wilburn Waldrop and Jane Amanda Rainwater:

Silas M. Waldrop family
  1. SILAS MILTON WALDROP was born May 20, 1848, in Fayette Co., AL, and died January 08, 1927, in Lamar Co., AL.  Silas was not only a farmer, but also a preacher.  He married Nancy YARBROUGH on Oct. 19, 1871, and, before Nancy died at age 39, they were blessed with five children (Dela, Coleman, Milton Miles, Sara Bertha and Samuel Murphy).  Silas soon married second wife Mary Jane STILLMAN and they had two more daughters (Elora and Mary Jane).  After Mary Jane died, Silas married a third time to Nancy Ellen DENNIS but this last union produced no children.  Silas' children all married and many grandchildren resulted from these unions.  Dela married a LASTER.  Coleman, who lived near Bluff, married first Virginia RAY and then Ethel COLLINS.  Sarah Bertha was married to William Bailey HOLLIMAN and they also lived near Bluff.  Milton and Samuel married girls from the Wesley Chapel area, Alice LASTER and Mattie COLLINS, respectively.  Both couples raised their families in the Covin area.   The two youngest daughters Elora and Mary Jane married Toliver Walton SHELTON and Murray TRIMM, respectively.

  1. MARY JANE WALDROP was born May 30, 1850, in Fayette Co., AL, and died November 28, 1930, in Lamar Co., AL.  Mary first married a WINDHAM and later married William "Billy" THOMAS.  Mary Jane and Billy lived for a while in Guin, AL.  Around 1920 a widowed Mary Jane lived next door to her brother Starling's family in Sulligent, AL.

  1. SARAH WALDROP was born April 15, 1852, in Fayette Co., AL, and died just a few years later on September 13, 1855.  Sarah was only three when she died.

Miles C. Waldrop family
  1. MILES CALVIN WALDROP was born April 02, 1854, in Fayette Co., AL, and died Jan. 14, 1929, in Lamar Co., AL.  Around 1883, Miles married Elizabeth McKenneth TRULL, daughter of Griffin H. TRULL and Sarah SHEPHERD.  They lived on their farm near Kennedy, AL, and raised three girls and two boys (Winona Irene, Henry Griffin, Charles A., Kitty Lou and Sarah Jane "Sally").  Irene married Walter HOLLOMAN of Missouri and had six children while they lived in Kennedy, AL, during the first thirteen years of their marriage.  Their seventh child was born after they moved to Mississippi.  Henry became a doctor and married Winnie HODO of Alabama.  Winnie and their newborn child died during WWI and, after the war, Henry married Isabelle AGNEW of Mississippi.  They settled in MS where their three children were born.  Charlie married Mattie MCDANIEL and they raised their seven children on a farm close to his parents' home out from Kennedy.  Kitty married James Wafford "Judge" RICHARDS and they raised their eight children in Kennedy in the house they bought from Irene and Walter when the Hollomans moved to MS.  Sally married Floyd MILLER from Millport and lived in LA, AR and MS before they settled in OK with their two children during the Great Depression.

  1. LUCRETIA MARIAH WALDROP was born April 01, 1856, in Fayette Co., AL, and died July 04, 1934, in Lamar Co., AL.  Lucretia Mariah, called "Aunt Lou", was a midget and she never married.  Many of her nieces were named "Lou" after this tiny lady and she definitely left a lasting impression on her many nieces and nephews.  She usually lived with her brother Starling's family but she often visited with her other siblings' families, especially at Mary Jane's when she lived next door to Starling in Sulligent, AL.  (Pictured below with Starling's family.)

  1. WILLIAM SAMUEL WALDROP was born January 31, 1858, in Fayette Co., AL, and died around 1893 in Lamar Co. AL.  William never married and died young at age 35.

Starling V.B. Waldrop family
  1. STARLING VAN BUREN WALDROP was born March 03, 1860, in Fayette Co., AL, and died August 01, 1944, in Sulligent, Lamar Co., AL.  Starling married Roxanne "Annie" GODFREY in 1886 and they raised twelve children who reached adulthood (William Carey, Virgie Lou, Thomas Madison, Madorah "Dora", Elizabeth, Delia Jane, Sam Ray, Noah Miles, Herman Brian, Lucy Irene, Chester Starling, Annie Grace and Arvel Gray).  For many years the couple lived near the old Waldrop homestead, close to his parents and his uncles Robert Waldrop, Miles Rainwater and Silas Rainwater.  Starling farmed and taught school in the area.  Between 1910 and 1920, Starling and Annie finally moved to Sulligent in order for their children to attend good schools.  He helped his children to get higher educations: seven became teachers and three graduated from business school.  William Carey married Gladys WILLIS and they raised seven children in Sulligent, AL.  Virgie was a favorite of everyone in the family.  She never married but she did become an elementary school teacher and taught in Fayette, AL.  Dora married Zeb ROLAND and they raised four children in north AL.  Delia married Reuben Leon MOSLEY Sr., and for many years she taught school in Fayette where she and Reuben raised their two sons.  Lucy, who married James Gaston GOLSAN, also lived in Fayette and had two sons.  Chester married Vivian MACFARLAND and they had one son.  Annie Grace married Lura Austin SHEPHERD and raised two sons.  Arvel married Frances LEE and they raised their family of two boys and one girl in north AL.

John Thomas Smith family
  1. NANCY CATHERINE WALDROP was born June 16, 1862 in Fayette Co., AL, and died November 18, 1957, in Lamar Co., AL.  Nancy married farmer John Thomas SMITH in 1886 and gained an instant family since Thomas already had two small children (Felix and Deana SMITH).  Then, Nancy and John had seven more children of their own: son Manly and daughters Tulie, Wilma, Johnnie Flora, Frankie, Naomi and Lois SMITH.  After Nancy’s mother Jane died in 1896, her father William W. Waldrop moved in with Nancy and her growing family for about five years before he remarried a young widow and set up housekeeping in a quieter household.

    new  Nancy’s children grew up and all of them married.  Son Manly married Ellie JOHNSON and they had six or seven children.  Tulie married Melton FRAZIER and Naomi married Charlie QUARLES, but it is not known if they had any children.  Johnnie Flora married Henry Grady BRYANT and had a large family of nine children.  The other three daughters had more modest families.  Wilma, who married Arthur O’Vollie BLAKENEY, and Frankie, who married Robert ESTES, each had four children while Lois, who married John William SMITH, had one son.   

Simeon Martin Thomas family
  1. ALBERTHA ELIZABETH WALDROP was born November 14, 1864, in Fayette Co., AL, and died July 11, 1902, in Vernon, AL.  She was called "Bettie" and was the last of the Jane and William Waldrop's children.  In December 1888, Bettie married Simeon "Semme" Martin THOMAS (nephew of Mary Jane's husband Billy THOMAS) and they had six children before her untimely death in 1902.  The children were Edna Lenore "Nonnie", Jennie Bell, Effie Lunnie, Silas Martin, Mittie Lou and Berta Estelle THOMAS.  Nonnie married James Allen SHACKELFORD; Jennie married Daniel Wells SIZEMORE; Effie married Edgar Dennis MCDANIEL; Silas married Maudie SORRELS; Mittie Lou married Bluford Bradley McDANIEL; and Berta married Dewey RUSHING.

Please send additions/corrections to
Lynn Fusinato


1.  Federal Census data for SC, GA and AL.
2.  Sharlene McGee Foster Stough, article written in 1977 on the Waldrop family for her "Winding Trails"
     genealogy column published in The Fayette County Broadcaster.
3.  FamilyTreeMaker files posted online.
4.  Gildie Mobley (Rainwater family researcher).
5.  Steve Richards, Billy Shepherd, Malinda Jane Mosley Pope, Faye Walker, Flora Bryant McCool,
     Sammie Lee McDaniel Elliot, Norma Jean McDaniel Pinkerton and Sara J. LaDuew (Waldrop descendents).

Return to Fayette County Family Records
Return to Fayette Co., AL

This page last updated 07 Feb 2005.