Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Last week’s column began the story of Kizziah Souther Humphries and her husband John. This couple came to Union County to settle in the mid- to late-1830’s, and remained here until the 1850’s (exact time of departure unknown to this writer). By 1860 the family was recorded in the Monroe County, TN census, and later in Blount County, TN. In their life story, we observe the strong influence of family upon migration patterns. Kizziah’s brother, Joseph, had preceded her family’s move to Union County. Her brothers John, Jesse and Hix would also make the move from North Carolina to the 16th District of Union County. But it seems that Kizziah and John’s move to Tennessee was not precipitated by other family moves prior to theirs that we can pinpoint.
Kizziah was the mother of thirteen children. Part One of their family saga traced her children through the first four, and their marriages, namely Jesse who married Charlotte Duckworth, Jane who married Wiley Dean, Catherine, nicknamed “Katie”, who married John Hix, and Willis who married Mary Johnson. We saw how Humphries had various spellings in official records, mainly with the “H” (so often a silent initial letter) omitted, so that to find these children of Kizziah and John, I had to search not only the “H” section of copied records, but also the “U” section. We can get an approximate date of Kizziah and John Humphries’ move to Union by the births of their children. The first two, Jesse (b. 1833) and Jane (b. 1835) were born in North Carolina; the third, Catherine, was born in Georgia about 1837, which dates their move to Union prior to that date. The last three were born after their move to Tennessee.
Continuing with Kizziah and John’s children (the fifth through the thirteenth) in this Part 2 of their family saga, we will give highlights and where they scattered geographically.
James Humphries (1840-?) married Sarah Ann Alman. They lived in McMinn County, TN, moved to Cherokee County, NC for a period, where Sarah Ann died, and then James returned to McMinn County. When James’s next-to-youngest brother, Joseph, was interviewed in 1931 by Tennessee genealogist Will Parham of Blount County, TN, he told the historian that the family Bible in which Kizziah and John had recorded births and deaths of family members was in possession of his brother James in McMinn County, TN. It would be interesting to know if the family pages of this Bible have been preserved. James and Sarah Ann had children J.Harve, Jesse, Hugh, Georgia, Lillie and Paralee.
Phillip Humphries (1841-?) married Cordie Parker. He had an interesting life to say the least. A soldier (in the Confederate Army) during the Civil War, it is believed that the traumatic experiences there left him nervous and restless. He became an itinerant preacher and went from Arkaquah District in Union County all the way to Texas, returning on the long trek periodically to warn any who would listen along the way to the “coming catastrophe,” the end-times and the hardships to be endured. He was finally placed in a Soldiers’ Home in North Carolina where he died. Known children of Phillip and Cordie Parker Humphries were Joseph, James, Louise and Maggie, and perhaps others whose names were not known by his brother Joseph in 1931.
John Humphries (1843-1862?) remained single. Joseph stated this brother died in 1862. However, Mrs. Don (Ruth) Carroll, wife of one of Nancy Ann Humphries Carroll’s grandchildren who submitted Chapter 10 in Watson Dyer’s “Souther Family History” (1988) stated that she found a record of a John Humphries with wife Mary, and an eleven-month old son, Robert, in the 1870 Blount County, TN census. The age of this John would have about matched the age of Kizziah and John’s son, named for his father. Joseph Humphries was giving the family information when he was 80, and without benefit of written records. There is, therefore, a question about the John Humphries found in that 1870 census, with Joseph’s remembrance of his brother dying in 1862. Mysteries are rampant in the search for family history.
Noah, eighth child of Kizziah and John, (b. 1845) married first to Jane Wilkins and second to Rebecca Wilhoit. Joseph stated in 1931: “Noah’s two boys are working near the Pendergrass Marble Quarry near Knoxville, TN. He had five girls; one lives near Neubert’s Springs in Knox County.” (p. 289, Souther book). However, the Georgia Southers have a little different story. They say Noah went west to Texas and bought land for a farm there. Later, oil was discovered on Noah’s property, thus making him a rich man. He had at least five daughters, names unknown, by his first wife Jane Wilkins, and two sons, John and Benjamin, born to his second wife, Rebecca Wilhoit.
Sarah, ninth child of Kizziah and John, (b. 1847-?) married James Gooden on February 21 in Blount County, TN. They had known children, John, Thomas and Joseph. In the 1880 Blount County census, the Gooden family lived four houses from her brother, Joseph. In 1931 Joseph stated that Sarah and James Gooden moved later to Walker County, Georgia where they remained the rest of their lives.
Mary, known as “Polly” (b. 1848-?) married Tillman Walker Davis on February 14, 1873 in Sevier County, Tn. They had two known children, Theodore and Thomas. They may have moved to Missouri, because her brother Joseph stated in 1931 that Mary’s children lived in that state.
Nancy Ann Humphries (1851-1882) married William Pinkney Willis Carroll on September 17, 1874 in Sevier County, TN. Willis joined the Union Army during the Civil War. After Nancy’s death Willis married again. Nancy Ann and Willis had two sons, William Joseph and John Houston Carroll.
Joseph F. Humphries (1852-1936) married twice. His first bride was Mary Ann Carroll (1849-1910) whom he married January 6, 1872 in Blount County, Tn. He married, second, Rachel Walker. This is the son of Kizziah and John who gave an account of the family in 1931 to Will Parham, genealogist, and to whom we owe much credit for family tree information. With him, he and his descendants changed the spelling of their surname to the more-commonly used form, Humphrey. Joseph and Mary Ann had these eleven children: George, Sarah, John, Jacob Houston, James, Mary Belle, Samuel Henry, Josiah, Richard, William C., and Brown Melton. Joseph or his descendants did a masterful job listing Joseph’s family. Pages 296 through 304 of Dyer’s “Souther Family History” are replete with a listing of Joseph’s descendants.
David Humphries (1854-?) married but did not have children. In Joseph’s account of the thirteen children of his parents, John and Kizziah Souther Humphries, he did not elaborate on this youngest of their large family.
We can only imagine the uncertainties John and Kizziah Humphries faced in their multiple moves from North Carolina to North Georgia to the Monroe and Blount County, Tennessee area, and the hardships of survival, feeding, caring for and schooling a large family during the trying times of the Civil War and its aftermath. We salute them and their hardiness, a tribute to many like them who paved paths through the wilderness in the nineteenth century.
Jones; published Sept. 1, 2011 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]