July 7, 1955
Transcribed by Pat Stubbs
* CALíS COLUMN *
THE LAW FAMILY
†††† On Sunday, July 3rd, the reunion of the Smith and Jackson Counties Law family, sometimes known as the Law-West reunion, was held at Castalian Springs, in Sumner County, with approximately 100 present.† A fine dinner was enjoyed at the noon hour on the grass around the old sulphur spring that gave the name to the place.† It was only about 60 yards from the big hollow sycamore tree in which Thomas Sharpe Spencer lived in the winter of 1778.
†††† The gathering of this family has been an annual affair for a number of years.† Next year, on the first Sunday in July, it is planned to meet again at the same place.
†††† The gathering Sunday was composed largely of the descendants of Byrd or Birdwell Law.† The members of the family do not know the name of his father.† However, they informed the editor of the Times that he married first a Miss Carver, by whom he had the following children:† James or Jim, as he was familiarly called, who married Betty, daughter of Harrison and Mila Matthews West, Lem Law, who married Miss Clint Dixon, daughter of Billie Dixon; Morris Law, who married Fannie, daughter of Lon and Verna Brooks Holland; and Dixie Law, who married Hade West.
†††† By his second wife, the former Miss Martha Carter, daughter of Wes Carter, Byrd or Birdwell was the father of Bose Law, married Cora Wilson, daughter of John Wilson; John Law, who married Audie Richardson, daughter of Shaver Richardson; Helen Law, who never married; and Bee Law, who married Bedford Mosley.
†††† The descendants of Byrd or Birdwell Law understand that they are related to the numerous Laws of Macon and Allen Counties, but they do not know the exact relationship.† However, we shall be glad to publish any information that may throw light on the connection.
†††† Below is given some account of the Law families listed in the Smith County censuses for various years.† In the year 1820, they were as follows:† Jesse Law, with three males under ten, and one from 18 to 26, Jesse, we are sure.† Females:† One under 10 and from 17 to 25, his wife, we are sure.† As readers perhaps already know, census records prior to 1850, listed only the name of the head of the family, and others were placed in certain age groups, with no name or names given.
†††† Next listed in 1820 was John Law, with three males under ten, and himself above 45 years.† Females: One from 10 to 15, and two from 17 to 25.† William Law is the next listed.† He had in 1820, One male under 10, two from 10 to 15, and one above 45, William, we would judge.† Females: One from 10 to 15, one16 to 26, three from 26 to 45, and one from 45 upward, Mrs. Law, we presume.† This embraces all the Law families in Smith County, Tennessee, in 1820.† Readers should take into consideration that Smith County embraced then the greater part of Macon County.
†††† In the census Index for 1830 there is not one Law head of a family mentioned in Smith County.† In the year 1840 we find the following heads of Law families listed in Smith County:† Henry Law, with two males under five, one from five to 10, and one from 20 to 30, supposed to have been Henry himself.† He had one female in his family, between 30 and 40 years of age.† If this was his wife, she was older than her husband which was frequently the case in that day and time.† Near neighbors of Henry Law 115 years ago were: John Parker, Elizabeth Parker, Mincy Coleman, William Canady, Alfred Butler and John West.† We would judge, from the list of neighbors, that Henry Law lived on the waters of the present Defeated Creek, or the waters of Salt Lick Creek, to the east of Defeated Creek.
††† †Joseph Law is next we find on the lists for 1840.† He had:† Males, two under five, one from five to 10, and one from 30 to 40, Joseph Law, we judge.† Females:† One from five to 10, one from 10 to 15, and one from 20 to 30, presumably his wife.† Near neighbors of theirs were:† William Craighead, Stephen Craighead, Thomas Martin, Jink Kemp (we are sure this is incorrectly spelled), Burrell Kemp, Fielding Kittrell, a relative of the editor's.† These neighbors lived on Defeated Creek in the long ago.
†††† Next on these lists is the name of Elizabeth, who was either a widow or an old maid.† In her family all were females, with one between 20 and 30, one from 30 to 40, and three from 40 to 50.† Near neighbors were:† The same families mentioned as being near neighbors of Joseph Law.† So we would guess that Elizabeth Law lived in 1840 on lower Defeated Creek.† There is one other Law family listed in the census of 1840, but we feel that this is most probably Lane instead of Law, as there is a question mark after the name Law; and one other reason for believing that it should be Lane is because of the fact that Jesse Lane was a near neighbor of the William Law with question mark.
†††† In the census of 1850, the names of all the members of the various families, their age and places of birth are given.† In this group we find the following Law families:† William Law, head of the family.
His wife was Nancy Law, each of them being 46 years of age in the year 1850, and both born in Tennessee.† sons and daughters were as follows:† John H. Law, 19; Elizabeth Law, 15; Hugh L. Law, 13; Mary E. Law, 11; Tabitha Law, nine; Addison Law, seven; Adenette Law, twin sister of Addison; all of the sons and daughters of this couple having been born in Tennessee.† Living with them was Charles McClollan, born in South Carolina.† Near neighbors: John Reece, Randolph Reece, Hubbard W. Reece, Edwin Matthews, John Hines and John Reece.† From these neighbors, we would judge that the family of William Law lived somewhere east of the present Defeated in Smith County.
†††† The next Law family listed in the Smith County census of 105 years was that of Jesse Law, who appears in the census records in the year 1820 and was then in the age group of 18 to 26. In the 1850 census, 30 years later, he is listed as being 57 years of age, which would accord fairly well with the age shown in the 1820 census.† Some years the census was taken earlier than others and this would account for a small discrepancy which sometimes appears.† Jesse Law was born in Virginia.† His wife, Polly Ann, was born in South Carolina, in the year 1795.† Their children still at home were: Americus, Birdwell and Jesse Law, all born in Tennessee.† We are of the opinion that the report of Sunday that Byrd Law was born in Ireland was most probably in error, for we are of the opinion that Byrd Law and Birdwell Law were one and same.† In fact, we believe we have been informed that Byrd or Birdwell Law had a brother named Jesse.† In 1850 Birdwell Law was 16; Americus Law, 23; and Jesse Law, 10.† Their neighbors were:† Elam Russell, John Murray, Silas Russell, Elizabeth Dean, John Donoho and Zebulon McDowell.† These neighbors indicate that Jesse and Polly lived in the vicinity of Defeated Creek.
†††† In the same general section as Jesse lived was another Law family, Pinkney Law, aged 29 years, and born in Tennessee.† His wife was Martha Law, aged 23, and also born in Tenn. Children: Mahala Law, four; Mary A. Law, three; and James H. Law, a year old.† All were born in Tennessee.
†††† Elizabeth Law is next on the list in the year 1850.† She was born in Virginia in 1791.† There seem to have been four sisters in this family: Elizabeth, Rebecca and Tabitha Law, all born in Virginia; and Demarons Law, born in Tennessee in 1819.† They evidently lived on Defeated Creek or just east of that stream.† We note that their nearest neighbors included:† Harrison West, supposed to have been the same Harrison West mentioned earlier in this article; Fielding Kittrell, also mentioned above, James Ray and Edward Pate.
†††† Milton Law is next mentioned in the family.† He was in 1850, 33 years of age and born in Tenn.† His wife was Parthenia Law, born in Tennessee six years after her husband.† Their children were:† Orean, five; Martin, three; and William J. Law, two, all born in Tennessee.† This family is presumed to have lived 105 year ago on Defeated Creek.
†††† James S. Law, 32, and born in Tennessee, is the last listed in the census of 1850 in Smith County.† His wife was Mary C. Law, 30, and born also in Tenn.† They had three children in the year 1850.† They were: Martha A., five; Mary E., four; and Louisa Law, one.† All were born in Tenn.† This is another family on Defeated Creek judging from the near neighbors.
†††† It is our conviction that all the Law families mentioned were residents of the east side of Smith County, not far from Defeated Creek.† If any readers finds we are in error on any point, we shall be glad to make any correction.
THE EVETTS FAMILY
†††† On last Sunday, July 3, 1955, another Middle Tennessee family met in annual reunion was that of the Evetts.† They met about ten o'clock in the home of Harry Evetts, at Ridgetop, Tenn.† A big dinner was much enjoyed by the crowd of 55 persons.† They plan to meet next year at the home of Harry Evetts' sister, Mrs. Jimmie Hill, also a resident of Ridgetop, meeting on the first Sunday in July, 1956.
†††† As the editor of the Times has been asked to give something of the name of the various Evetts families, as given in the census reports of Smith County, Tenn., in the years long gone by, we shall strive to answer this request.† We may add that there seems to be many different spelling of the family name and we confess we do not know which is correct.† We know that part of family now spells the name as given at the head of this article.† Others spell it Evitts.† In the census records, we shall give the spelling as the records do.†
†††† Joseph Avetts is the first we find listed in the census of 1820 in Smith County, Tenn.† His family: One male under ten, and one from 18 to 26.† Females:† One, from 16 to 26, presumed to have been his wife.†
†††† Next was Joseph Avetts, Sr., presumed to have been the father of Joseph Evetts. listed in the preceding paragraph.† Joseph, Sr., had:† One male from 10 to 16, one from 16 to 18, one from 18 to 26, and one above 45, supposed to have been Joseph Avetts, Sr.† Females:† One under ten, two from 10 to 16, two from 16 to 26, and one above 45, supposed to have been the wife of the head of the family.†
†††† In the records for 1820, we find a name that we think is meant for Avetts.† It is spelled, however, Anetts.† Joseph was the first name. He had a family of ten persons, including Joseph.† There were males:† One from 10 to 16, one from 16 to 18, one from 18 to 26 and one from 26 to 45, Joseph, we suppose.† Females:† Two under ten, one from 10 to 16, two from 16 to 26, and one from 26 to 45, supposedly Mrs. Joseph Avetts.
†††† David Averett appears next but we do not know that this is another variation in spelling.† He had: Males, two from 10 to 16, and one above 45, David himself, we are sure.† Females:† Two under ten, one from 10 to 16 and four slaves.† So he was quite well-to-do for that day and time.† If any reader knows that this is an entirely different family or merely a difference in spelling, you will do the editor a favor by letting us have the facts in the matter.
†††† George Abbetts is next listed.† This is the spelling of the name when we first heard it nearly 60 years ago.† He had:† Males, three under ten, two from 10 to 16, and one over 60, George, we would judge.† Females:† Two under ten, one from 10 to 16, one from 16 to 26, and one from 26 to 45, Mrs. George Abbetts, we suppose.
†††† Moses Avetts is next.† He had one male under ten, and one from 18 to 25.† Females, one from 16 to 26.† Hannah Avetts is the last member of the family listed in Smith County in 1820.† She had males, one under ten, and one from 26 to 45.† Females: One from 26 to 45, and one above 45.† We do not know how Hannah could have a male in her family from 26 to 45 years of age and she still be the head of the family.
†††† In the census of 1830, it seems that the name is spelled Evetts in each instance.† The first of this family to appear in the records is Samuel Evetts, who had the following males:† One under five, one from five to 10, and one from 20 to 30, Samuel, we are sure.† Females:† One under five, and one from 20 to 30, Mrs. Samuel Evetts, we would judge.† John Clardy, Robert Duff, Manning Campbell, Basil Foley and Elizabeth Burdette were near neighbors, but we do not know in what part of Smith County they lived.† However, we would suggest that they lived in the vicinity of Dixon Springs.
†††† George Evetts is the next listed.† One male under five, and one from 20 to 30; and one female from five to 10, one from 15 to 20, and one from 20 to 30 made up this family of 125 years ago.† Near neighbors were:† John B. Johnson, Cain Stafford, John Johnson, Joseph Gifford, Mary Wallace and Thomas Stafford.† This indicates to the writer that George Evetts lived in the vicinity of the present Hillsdale.
†††† William Evitts is next on the list.† He had:† Two males under five, two from five to 10, and one from 30 to 40, William, we would judge.† Females in his family:† One female from five to 10, one from 10 to 15, one from 15 to 20, and one from 20 to 30, his wife, presumably.† Near neighbors were:† Elias Johns, Samuel W. McMurray, William Cleveland and Joseph Evitts.† These two Evitts families lived, we are sure, on Dixon's Creek in that day and time.† This Joseph Evitts is the same man listed ten years earlier as Joseph Avetts, Sr.† He had, in 1830, one male from 15 to 20, and one from 60 to 70, Joseph, we suppose.† Females:† Five between 15 and 20, and one from 50 to 60.
†††† Joseph Evetts is listed next.† He had, males:† One under five, three or five from five to 10, and one from 40 to 50; and one female from 40 to 50.† The fact that our own great-grandfather, Major Gregory, lived next to Joseph Evetts would indicate that he lived on the waters of the Young Branch, sometimes called East Fork of Dixon's Creek, near Mace's Hill.† In Major Gregory's family were two males under five.† One of them was our own Grandfather, Stephen Calvin Gregory, born October 30, 1827.
†††† George Evetts is next in the lists.† He had:† One male from five to 10, two from 10 to 15, one from 20 to 30, and one from 70 to 80, George, we suppose.† Females:† One from 10 to 15, three from 20 to 30, and one from 40 to 50.† Near neighbors were:† David Smith, George W. Anderson, William Canada and John Goodman.† We do not know where these lived in Smith County.
†††† James Evetts is the last listed in Smith County in 1830.† We are not sure that this name is correct for it has a question mark after it.† Besides James is a male name, and the list shows one male between five and ten, and one from 10 to 15; and females, one from 10 to 15, and one from 30 to 40.† We are sure that there is some error here.
†††† In the census of 1840, the writing of the census takers appear to have been very poor and many errors crept in because of poor writing and the inability of the copyists to read the name.
†††† The first listed in that year was Moses Abbetts, spelled as we give it.† He had:† One male from five to 10, one from 15 to 20, and one from 40 to 50, Moses, we judge.† Females:† Two under five, one from five to ten, one from 10 to 15, one from 15 to 20 and one from 30 to 40, supposed to have been Mrs. Moses Abbetts.† Bichner Cardwell, Thomas Hines, Richard Kemp and Benton Kemp were near neighbors.† They lived, we suppose on Defeated Creek in 1840.
†††† David Abit is next on the list.† He had:† One male from 20 to 30, David, himself, we are sure; and one female under five, and one from 20 to 30, supposed to have been his wife.† Neighbors were:† Reuben Turner, Binian P. Lipscomb, John Halliburton and William Andrews.† We would judge that this Abit lived on Little Peyton's Creek above the present town of Pleasant Shade.
†††† Samuel Abbitt is next listed.† He had:† Two males under five, and one from 30 to 40, presumed to have been Samuel himself.† Females:† One under five, and one from 20 to 30.† Thomas Dias, Elijah Carman, Lovett Dias, William Wooten and Joseph Abbitt were near neighbors.† We would judge that they lived most probably on Dixon's Creek.† Samuel Abbitt had:† Two males under five, and one from 30 to 40.† Females:† One under five, and one from 20 to 30, supposed to have been Mrs. Samuel Abbitt.
†††† Two farms above or below Samuel Abbitt was Joseph, with the following in his family:† One male from five to 10, two from 10 to 15, two from 20 to 30, and one from 40 to 50, Joseph.† Females:† One from 20 to 30, and one from 40 to 50.
†††† Moses Abbitt appears as the last in the Smith County in the year 1840.† He had:† One male from 20 to 30, and one from 60 to 70, Moses, we are sure. Females, †four from 20 to 30.† This man lived on the waters of Dixon's Creek, we are sure, from the names of the neighbors whose places of residence have been preserved.
†††† In the 1840 census of Smith County, there are three Averette families listed.† They are:† David Averette, with one male between 30 and 40; and one female between 20 and 30, possibly Mrs. David Averette, one from 60 to 70, and one from 70 to 80.† His nearest neighbor on one side was Martin I. Averette, with one male under five, and one from 30 to 40; and one female from 20 to 30.† This family appears to have lived on the South side of Cumberland River, in Smith County.† Apparently living in the same general section of Smith County 115 years ago was William Averitt, supposed to have been the same name.† He had: One male under five, one male from 20 to 30, and one from 30 to 40; and one female under five, and one from 20 to 30, supposed to have been Mrs. William Averitt.† Now we do not claim that this is the same name as that of the Evetts family in various spellings, but we are wondering if the Evetts family did not originally spell the name Averette.† Any information from our readers on this point will be appreciated.†
†††† We have other facts on the family which we hope to give soon.† But the above is all we have time and space for at present.
(To be continued)