June 30, 1955
Transcribed by Dora L. Tomes
* CAL’S COLUMN *
The Gammon Family
Below is a copy of a letter recently written to Rev. William J. Gammon, in Montreat, N. C.
June 25, 1955
Rev. William J. Gammon,
Montreat, N. C.
Your letter came to me some time ago and should have been answered earlier. I have been extremely busy for months and have not had time to answer my correspondents promptly.
As to the time of the resumption of the publication of the old records of Smith County, it seems now that it will be August before I can resume their publication. I am about to begin my revival season which always adds to my being busy. So I expect to take up the publication of the old records of Smith County in August with more zeal and dispatch than I have had heretofore.
Following are the Gammon heads of families in Smith County, Tenn., in the year 1820: Jeremiah Gammon, three males under ten and one between 26 and 45 years of age, Jeremiah himself, we are sure. Females, one between 16 and 26, his wife, the former Miss Susan Lovelady, we are sure. We might add here that the above, except for our “surmisings,” are from the census records of Smith County in the year 1820.
John Gammon, head of the family, had one male from 10 to 16 years of age, two males from 18 to 26; and two males above 45 years of age, one of whom was John Gammon. Females: One from 10 to 16, and three over 45. One other Gammon head of a family is listed in the 1820 Smith County census, Levi Gammon, head of the family, and sons under ten, and one from 18 to 26, Levi, we are sure. There was but one female in the family, and she was between 16 and 26. Perhaps you are aware that the census record before 1850 gave only the names of the heads of the families and the others are listed by age groups.
The greater part of the present Macon County was in Smith County until the formation of this county in 1842. The west end of the county was in Sumner County before being made into a part of Macon County. In the Smith County census records of 1830, the following heads of Gammon families are listed. Jeremiah Gammon one male from five to 10, one from 10 to 15, one from 15 to 20; and one from 30 to 40, Jeremiah, we are sure. Females: Two under five, two from five to 10; and one, Mrs. Gammon, we presume, was between 30 and 40. We are sure that this was the former Susan Lovelady. Near neighbors of the family were: James Parker, Thomas Wilborn, William Payne, James Hammock, William S. Willis and Robert Wilburn. We would judge from the neighbors mentioned that Jeremiah Gammon lived on the waters of Dixon’s Creek, some 12 miles south of the present Lafayette.
Next listed in the 1830 census was Jehu Gammon, who had one male under five, one from five to 10, one from 10 to 15, and one Jehu, we judge, from 30 to 40. One female, from 20 to 30, makes up the remainder of the family. Near neighbors were: James Roark, Daniel Stinson, Pleasant Payne, Jesse Driver, Henry Vanover and Pleasant Driver. We would judge that this man Gammon lived in the north side of the present Macon County, but we have no idea as to whose son he was.
Next on the list is John Gammon, who was evidently a young man. He had: One male under five, one from five to 10, and one between 20 and 30, presumably John himself. Females: One under five, and one from 20 to 30, his wife, we suppose. Living next door to John in 1830 was Eli Gammon, also a young man. He had: One male under five, and one from 20 to 30, Eli, himself. Females: One under five, and one from 20 to 30. Near neighbors of these two families were: John Stafford, Thomas Smitherdick (Smithwick?). Mary Nowles (Knowles?), Caleb Stafford, John Freeman and Frances Cook. These families are presumed to have lived in 1830 on Dixon’s Creek.
James Gammon is next listed. He had: One male under five, one from 15 to 20, one from 20 to 30, and one from 60 to 70. Females: Two from 15 to 20, and one from 60 to 70. The reader’s guess is as good as ours as to who the five-year-old boy was, whether he was the son of the 20 to 30 year-old male. We would suppose that Mr. and Mrs. James Gammon were the older members of the family. Living next door to James Gammon was Lewis Gammon. He had: One male under five, one from five to 10, two 10 to 15, and one from 30 to 40, supposed to have been Lewis himself. Females: Two under five, and one from 20 to 30, supposed to have been Mrs. Lewis Gammon. Near neighbors of these families were: James Nelson, William Harris, John Luck (Tuck?), John Baker, Hickerson Parker, Henry McWhorter and Daniel Griffith. We have no way of knowing from these neighbors in just what part of Smith County they lived in the year 1830.
Next listed in the Smith County census of 125 years ago, was Robert Gammon. He had: Males, one under five, and one from 20 to 30, presumed to have been Robert himself. Females; One from five to 10; and one, 15 to 20, supposed to have been his very young wife. Neighbors of the family were: Joseph Cartwright, Thomerson families, Elijah Cocks (Cox), Archibald Parker, Allen Smith and Robert Cothron. We are almost certain this Gammon lived in the Ebenezer section of this county, which is not a great way from the community in which Jeremiah lived. Allen Smith married a Miss Mary Wilburn commonly called Polly Ann Wilburn. One aged grandson of Allen Smith is the present Allen Smith in the west end of Macon County. Robert Cothron, or as the census records have the name “Cocoan,” with a question mark after this misspelled name, long, long ago came to the present Macon County from White County, North Carolina, and became the ancestor of all the numerous members of the Cothron family in this and many other counties in Tennessee and elsewhere.
The last head of a Gammon family listed in the Smith County census records of 1830 was John Gammon, who was in that year between 70 and 80, and his wife, we would judge, was between 50 and 60. Near neighbors were: John Lovelady, possibly the father of Susan Lovelady, mentioned above as having married Jeremiah Gammon; Evans Ligon, William Ligon and Gideon Gifford, supposed to have lived on Dixon’s Creek, not far from Jeremiah Gammon.
We take up next the list of Gammon heads of family as given in the census records of Smith County for 1840. One of those listed in John H. Gammon. He had two males from five to 10, one from 20 to 30, and one from 30 to 40, supposed to have been John H. Gammon himself. Females: One under five, one from five to 10, and one from 60 to 70. Near neighbors of the family were John Merryman, Thomas Leath, Moses Linville, Carroll Shrum, Dennis Hargus, T. D. Hargus and William Hargus. We presume that this Gammon family was living on the present Dry Fork, about five miles southeast of Lafayette. Another member of the same family was a young married man, Thomas Gammon, who was the only male in his family in 1840. Females were: One under five, and one from 20 to 30, presumed to have been his wife. Their near neighbors were: Caleb Stafford, John Stafford, Polly Stafford, Mary Reed, John Gammons, William McIdana (McClard?), John B. Gammon, William Gammon and Richard Uhles. We would judge that this group of member of the Gammon family lived on the waters of Big Goose creek which rises at the south side of Lafayette, and flows into the Cumberland River.
John B. Gammon, next listed and who lived near John H. Gammon, had: Males, one under five, one from five to 10, one from 10 to 15, one from 15 to 20; and one from 30 to 40, presumed to have been John B. Females were: One from five to 10, one 10 to 15, and one from 30 to 40.
William Gammon lived next to John B. Gammon. William had: One male from five to 10, two from 10 to 15, one from 15 to 20, one from 20 to 30; and one, William, we would judge, 50 to 60. Females: One under five, one from five to 10, one from 15 to 20, and one from 40 to 50, presumably his wife. Robert Gammon is the last we have found so far in the 1840 census of Smith County. He had: Two males under five, one from five to 10, and one from 30 to 40, Robert himself; and two females from five to 10, one from 10 to 15; and one 20 to 30, supposed to have been the wife of Robert Gammon.
We are sorry to report that the record of the census of Smith County for 1840 is rather poorly made out, the takers of the census seemingly having been very poor “scribes,” as there are many errors that are observed by one who is 115 year removed from that day and time.
In 1842 the county of Macon was formed, which embraced the larger part of the Gammon family. We are sorry to have to report that we do not have the Macon County census record of 1850. The price seems too steep for us to pay $100 for same. However, we do have the Smith County census records for 1850. In them are listed the following Gammon families and the members of each family: Eli Gammon, born in Virginia in 1797, his wife, Frances, born in 1803, in North Carolina; Mary Gammon, born in Tennessee in 1831; Elizabeth Gammon, born in 1836, in Tennessee; Caleb Gammon, born in Tennessee in 1839; and Sarah F. Gammon, born in Tennessee in 1842. Near neighbors: Charles C. Coker, Moses Lay, James L. McClard, James Jones, Mat Logan, John Stafford and Mary Reed. We would judge that his Gammon family lived 105 years ago on the waters of Dixon’s Creek, not far from the present village of Cato.
Next listed is Jerk Gammon. We are sure that this was meant for Jerry or Jeremiah Gammon, mentioned above as having married Susan Lovelady. The 1850 census reports his wife as having been Susannah Gammon, and this would be in line with Susan. We are going to consider him Jerry instead of “Jerk” Gammon. He was born in Virginia in 1793, and his wife was born in South Carolina in 1795. Children in the home were: James R. Gammon, born in Tennessee in 1831; Sarah Gammon, born in Tennessee in 1827; Leroy C. Gammon, born in Tennessee in 1834; and Jane Gammon, also born in Tennessee, in the year 1823. They same family was Lethy Ray, born in 1780 in North Carolina.
Living next door to “Jerk” was William Gammon, born in 1817 in Tennessee. His wife was Mary M. Gammon, born also in Tennessee, in the year 1823. They had a year-old daughter, Susan C. Gammon, born in Tennessee. Near neighbors of these two Gammon families were: Willis W. Oldham, William A. Garrett, Mary Hammock, John Robinson, William M. Robinson and Gunery Wilburn.
From these neighbors we are sure that “Jerk” lived on the waters of Dixon’s Creek, not far from the present Cato.
The last Gammon family mentioned in Smith County in 1850 was that of John J. Gammon, born in 1816. His wife was Nancy Gammon, born in 1819. She and her husband were both born in Tennessee. Children were all born in Tennessee. They are listed as follows: Rebecca Gammon, 15 years of age; William G. Gammon, 14; Agness Gammon, 11; Lucinda Gammon, six; and Eliza I. Gammon, four.
Mrs. R. E. Garrett, of Dixon Springs, Tenn., a genealogist of note, reports that a John Gammon, a soldier of the American Revolution, is buried most probably on Dry Branch of Goose Creek, some few miles south of Lafayette, but we have no additional record of this John Gammon.
In the marriage records of Knox County, Tenn., is found the name of Ann Gammon, who married Jacob Bishop in 1797. In the same county records is found the account of the marriage of James Cox to Betsy Gammon, on Oct. 8, 1810. Wilson Manly was married in the same county to Vin Gammon on Jan. 5, 1813. In the same county on March 28, 1814, Henry Gammon, Jr., married Polly Stephenson. In the same county in 1815, John Cox married Alice Gammon. On Oct. 13, 1817, Dozier Gammon married Lavinia V. Turbeville.
We hope to be able to present in another letter a little later some of the facts and figures on the Gammon family in this part of the world from a standpoint of their descent. We have a lot of additional information, but are so pressed for time that it will have to wait for a time.
We appreciate the various inquiries of Rev. William J. Gammon as to what lines certain of the living members of the Gammon family are descended. We hope to give him from time to time, such additional information as may enable him to compile a history of the family. We admit that our information is not as full as we could wish, but we are doing about the best we can to carry on our work and also to give out some information on family history.
With every good wish, I am
(To be continued)