June 24, 1954
Transcribed by Janette West Grimes
* CALíS COLUMN *
315 West 44th St.
June 15, 1954
Macon County Times,
Cal's Column, Dear Sir:
†† Caught a brief glimpse of your Column in the Portland, Oregon, Library. I am glad to know about historical and genealogical material in Tennessee. Due to popularity of the Cal's Column, was not able to examine procedure required in obtaining information or presenting queries but will go ahead and writer you just the same. Membership in Portland Forum is 156 and as I'm out of town, I do not have frequent access to material belonging to the Forum.
†† Do you have material on Smith County, printed in past issues and are they available ? I am most interested in the MICHAEL and ELIZABETH HUMBLE family, who were born and reared in Smith County. MICHAEL had brother, Ike, and sister, Emaline... exact birth dates unknown. Michael and Elizabeth Humble had children: Jake, Jess, Polly, Liza, and John Lafayette Humble, was born November 9, 1847, Smith County, Tennessee. Do you have material on this family already printed ? If not, will you print query?
†† I realize there must be many inquiries every day in regard to your Column.... as I intend to be searching out much history, etc. on Smith County, do hope this request can be answered as my turn comes. Thank you for any attention you wish to give and please advise on fee required for query and cost of back issues as mentioned above.
††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††Most Sincerely,
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Carolyn Humble Fish
†† We appreciate this inquiry from Mrs. Fish. Although the writer is a native of Smith County, Tenn., we have never met a member of the family of Humble in my life, and neither do we know of any Humble now living in Smith County. Moreover we have looked through the Smith County census records for 1820, 1840, 1850, and 1870, and we find not one member of the family listed in either census. We have the 1830 census, but it is not indexed and we have not had time to look through the entire list of the names of heads of Smith County families 124 years ago. We are publishing Mrs. Fish's letter in the hope that some reader can supply the information she wants. As to regulations governing the use of our "Column", there is none. We try to give information when we have it; and when we have none, we just say so.
†† However, we find some little information on the family in our records. The following appears in Cathcart's Encyclopedia: " Rev. Henry Humble, a pioneer Baptist preacher in Louisiana, was born in South Carolina in 1765; settled in Catahoula Parish, La. in 1822; and in 1826 gathered the First church on the Quachita; was moderator of the Louisiana Association in 1828, and the following year died while attending the Association."
†† " Rev. Thomas J. Humble, the leading minister of the Ouachita Baptist Association, was born in Caldwell Parish, La. in 1829; has long been the efficient clerk of his association, and frequently its moderator."
†† We are sorry not to know anything more than brief accounts of these two ministers. We find that the following Humbles are buried in Liberty Cemetery, two and a half miles south of McMinnville, Warren Co., Tennessee, approximately 65 miles southeast of Lafayette: Margaret W. Humble, born Oct. 23, 1796, died April 22, 1861. Isaac Humble, supposedly the husband of Margaret, born Sept. 10, 1795, died Nov. 24, 1882. Zachariah Humble, born Jan. 26, 1847; died May 8, 1863. Willy Humble, March 16, 1862, _______. Members of other families buried in this Cumberland Presbyterian church cemetery include: Hopkins, Colville, Hackett, Smartt, McLean, Gwynn, McRamsey, Lauflin, Robinson, Ross, Locke, Carter, and Waterhouse.
†† In the Bible of James McCasland, in the possession of James Napier, are the following names of the Humble family: George Humble, born June 15, 1773, Humphreys County; Sarah Humble, Oct. 16, 1770; Margaret Humble, born Oct. 8, 1796; Jacob Humble, born July 30, 1798; John Humble, born Mar. 6, 1800; Mary Humble, born July 29, 1807; David Humble, born Oct. 6, 1809; Sarah Jane Humble, born Oct. 10, 1811.
†† George Humble and Sarah Humble were married July 31, 1795. William McCasland and Margaret Humble were married July 31, 1823. William died Aug. 21, 1844 and Margaret McCasland lived until April 6, 1860. Sarah Humble died in 1852. Some of the others mentioned in this Bible are the Wylys and Napiers. On Sept. 29, 1810, William F. Overall married Terry Humble in Wilson Co., Tenn., county seat, Lebanon. Nace Overall was surety or bondsman for Wm. F. Overall.
†† We are sorry that we have only this bit of information, but hope that we have started Mrs. Fish on the road to the information she seeks.
†† We have recently gathered some information on the Towns Family located largely in Smith County. Our information is far from complete but we give what we have so that it may help others to get a start on tracing the family back through the years. The first known member of the Towns family was Edmond Towns, born in North Carolina in 1784. He married Mary Ellis, born the same year in N. Carolina. He had one known brother, who went West, but we do not have his name. Edmond and his wife, Mary Ellis, were the parents of: A daughter, Betsy, who married Reuben Goad, Jr., and Benjamin E. Towns, born in N. Carolina in 1804, and married Martha Bransford, a sister of Elvira Bransford, who married Thomas Shoulders, son of Malachi Shoulders. In the census of 1850, Benjamin E. Towns, supposedly Benjamin Ellis Towns, lived near his fathe rand mother, on the old Charlie Goad farm about 3 miles northeast of Pleasant Shade, Tenn., near Russell Hill. The writer used to carry the mail by this old home in the years gone by.
†† Benjamin E. Towns and his wife, Martha Towns,the latter born in Va. in 1809, were the parents of the following in the year 1850: William Towns, 18; Nancy, 12; Sarah, 10; Edmond Lee, 8; Josephine, 6; Angeline, 4; and Benjamin Ellis, Jr., 2 years of age. William later married a Miss Day who lived only one week; he later married Hannah Parker; Nancy married John Dillehay, whom we knew quite well in our early life; Sarah, who married perhaps Day and later James Culbreath; Edmond Lee, born May 11, 1842, married Sallie Gifford; Josephine married Will Wakefield; Angeline, commonly known as Ann Towns, married Will Rose; and Benjamin Ellis Towns married the writer's father's first cousin, Miss Mary Gregory, daughter of Tom Gregory, son of Major Gregory, son of Jeremiah Gregory, son of John Gregory. Mary and our father were "double-first" cousins, their mothers having been sisters and their fathers half-brothers. There was still another daughter of Benjamin and Martha, Elizabeth being her name. She married Ira "Cap" Richardson, Still another son was James Towns, who died unmarried.
†† In our boyhood, Ben Towns, who married Mary Gregory, lived over the big hill to the northwest of our little home. We saw daily what was then called the Ben Towns Hill, a huge hill with one little scrubby beech tree standing almost on the very summit of the big hill which tree has since died. The hill is now largely covered with black locust trees. In our boyhood, the hill was almost entirely cultivated and was a landmark that could be seen for miles. We recall that Mr. Towns, who was a kind man, used to tell our mother to send to his hill and get peaches. We recall having fallen out of one of those peach trees about 50 years ago and our left hand was turned "back" over the wrist. This was very painful and would, perhaps, today break our wrist or hand. But "them were the good old days !"
†† We knew Edmond Towns as a small boy. We heard him say one day back in the dim and distant past that a certain piece of land he had cleared was "sixteen to one." Older readers will recall that there was a political cry of "sixteen to one," back in Bryan's early political life and meant a plea for 16 silver dollars to each gold dollar, or dollar in gold. We asked the elder Mr. Towns what was meant by his piece of ground being " sixteen to one." He replied, to our boyish question, "There are 16 rocks to one dirt." And we would judge that he had something there. We recall another episode of half a century ago on the same line. A farmer in offering some clover for sale, stated: "This hay is 16 to one." The purchaser later reported that the seller was right, that there were 16 white blossoms to one sprig of hay." White blossoms in hay are a pest.
†† We recall another thing said to Mr. Edmond Towns as to his size when he was born. He stated to the writer some 55 years ago that he was so small when he was born that he could have been placed in a half-gallon coffee pot. One other thing we still recall that he said. In speaking of his rather large number of daughters, he remarked, "The devil owed me a debt, and paid me off in sons-in-laws," one of whom was our uncle, Monroe Gregory. However, his remark was not literal, as he had a respectable group of sons-in-laws. Edmond Towns, above referred to, lived on the dividing line between Trousdale and Smith Counties, about a mile and a half from our childhood home.
†† In looking through some of our old records, we find the following concerning the Towns family: In the census for Smith County for 1820, we find the name Edmond Towner (Towns) as the head of a family. He had one male from 16 to 18 years of age, one from 18 to 26 and one from 26 to 45, no doubt himself. He had one female from 10 to 16 years of age, perhaps Elizabeth or Betsey who married Reuben Goad, Jr. and one female from 26 to 45, no doubt his wife. In the census of 1850, Benjamin E. Towns lived next to his father, Edmond Towns. Another neighbor on the other side of the place where Benjamin lived was the Hesson family. This was almost certainly in the vicinity of the present Russell Hill.
†† Edmond Towns, of our boyhood, was the father of three sons: Richard Towns married a Beasley and who still lives and gave us part of this information in this article; Will Towns, who married a Roark, and has been dead for a number of years; and Charlie Towns who still lives in Davidson County, Tennessee.
†† Ben Towns, out of whose peach tree we fell, had only one son, Donoho Towns who died in 1908 and was never married. One of Ben's daughters, Sallie, married Gid Earps, another married Lum Smith, another married Howard Piper, another married Calvin Beasley, and the youngest, Myrtle, married Will Cothron.
†† Daughters of Edmond Towns, who paid the compliment ( ? ) to his sons-in-laws, included one, who married Monroe Massey, two of them† married George Oldham, one of them our uncle, Monroe Gregory, one married a Richmond, and we do not recall any others.
This Article Appeared In The Times
But Was Not Actually In Calís Column
†† On Sunday members of the George Mince family and friends met at Old Hopewell Baptist Church in Sumner County in a reunion. About 150 persons were in attendance and a big dinner was enjoyed at the noon hour. G. O. Templeton Preached a good sermon.
†† The descendants of George Mince are in part living and the others have passed on. Present Sunday were Elder Lewis Mince, and Grover Mince; and sisters, Mrs. Ethel Fuqua, Mrs. Mary Faqua, and Mrs. Mattie Manning. Mrs. Neal Reid, another daughter, was not present. Two of the sons, Bobbie and Grover, have passed away.
†† George Mince was born in Georgia, the son of William and a Miss Banks, his wife. George Mince was one of the finest singers of oldtime revival songs we have ever known. He had a melodious voice, loved singing, and had a zeal that was rarely surpassed. He was a good man and had hundreds of friends in Trousdale, Sumner, Smith and Macon Counties. There is some reason to believe that he was related to Casper Mintz, a pioneer Baptist minister, who came to America in 1727. Casper Mintz was an English Baptist minister, and spent 30 years in the ministry. He was considered an able preacher for his day and time.
†† We knew George Mince well, his wife having been a first cousin of our father, Thomas M. Gregory. Her name was Elizabeth Gregory, the daughter of Robert Hawkins and Mary Gregory. George died in 1938 at the age of 72 years.