Transcribed By Vada Sutton


This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually In Cal’s Column


March 9, 1950


The Sutton Family

Below is a letter we write to Mrs. H. A. Russell, wife of Elder Henry A. Russell, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, about ten years ago.  Since it is already written and as time is limited, we are taking the liberty of publishing it as it was written, for the benefit of others who might be interested in the history of the family, even though there are several personal matters contained in the letter, which is as follows:

Lafayette, Tenn., Aug. 3, 1940

Mrs. H. A. Russell

Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Dear Mrs. Russell:


At last I have found that record I made from information given me by your late father James M. Sutton, relative to the history of his family.  I put down what he told me largely in the form of a diagram and from it, I will give you most of the information I received from him.  If any part of it is not plain, please write me and I will do my best to make it all clear.  He told me that the first James Sutton of whom he had any knowledge was a native of Wales, coming to North Carolina about 1650.  Four brothers, names unknown, came with him.  This James Sutton had a son, named James, a grandson bearing the same name, a great-grandson named James and a great-great-grandson, James, all in a direct line of descent from the first James Sutton.  With this great-great-grandson the record becomes a little more detailed.  The great-great-grandson, born in 1736, was a second Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War, married Elizabeth Brown, weighed 550 pounds when last weighed and died on Defeated Creek in Smith County in 1836.  Three of his brothers are mentioned, although the name of one of them is unknown.  He left Tennessee for Scottsville, later moving to Indiana where one of his sons became Governor of that State. Another brother, Will Sutton, settled in Putnam County, Tennessee. The fourth brother, John Sutton, had two children, George Sutton and Ann, who married a Cooper.  This is the entire record I have of the family up to this point except the family record of the large man, James Sutton, whose date of birth was in 1736.  He married Elizabeth Brown, and the record shows that he was twice married; but the name of the other wife is not given, nor is the order of his marriage.  However, the children of his first marriage appear to have been: Colby, George, Abner, Logan Jonathan, Joel and Oneida.  His children by the second marriage were: Edmund Sutton, James Sutton, Demps Sutton, Mellie and Nellie Sutton.

I have nothing as to the wives or husbands of any of the children of the first marriage except George Sutton, who married a Cartwright, an aunt of Clark Cartwright, a Confederate soldier who died on the head of Defeated Creek about 25 years ago.  George went to Dade County, Georgia, where he died as a very old man in 1878.  He had one son, Leroy Sutton, who married an aunt of Judge Sam Young, for many years a prominent citizen of Dixon Springs.  Leroy’s children were, Howard Sutton, a Christian Preacher; James Sutton, another son whose name is believed to have been Will, and a daughter, Harriet.

Logan Sutton never married, but was a bachelor farmer on Peyton’s Creek, owning six slaves and 1,000 acres of land.  He left home with a drove of horses and was never heard from again.  Colby is the only one whose descendants were given to me by your father.  He had two children.  Wilkerson and Bernettie Sutton.  Wilkerson married Barbara Wix, and Bernettie married the father of Aunt Bide Russell.  Wilkerson’s children were: James, married a daughter of Levi Shoulder; David Colby Sutton, married Celia J. Austin; Jane Sutton, married Sherd Bailey; Mary Sutton, married Sam Shoulders; and one daughter whose name I do not have.  The offspring of James Sutton and the Shoulders woman, if any, is unknown to me.  David Colby and Celia J. Austin were the parents of Christian, Sallie, Eveline, James D., Clark, Philander and Cora Sutton.   Jane became the mother of two sons, Joe and Thomas Bailey.  Mary became the mother of one son, Matthew Shoulders.

Now back to the children of the second marriage of the old Revolutionary Soldier: Edmund, born in 1793, died in 1861, married Lucy Harris.  Their children were: John Sutton, who went to Illinois; Susan and Jane, about whom nothing else is known.

Demps Sutton married Betsy Donoho.  They moved to Arkansas and became the parents of Anderson and James Sutton.  I have nothing else about this line.

Mellie Married a Williams: Their children were: Anderson, Betsey, Layton, Fannie, Henderson, Martha, Haywood, Bailey and Eveline Williams.

Nellie Sutton married Spicer Brown.  Children: Sidney L., who married Elder Levi A. Smithwick in 1846, and became the mother of three children; Nancy, who married a Stewart; one whose name I do not have, Nelse and Joseph Brown, who married a Miss McDuffee, a relative of mine.  Joe Brown was the father of Lee Brown, for many years a resident of Ebenezer.  I might add here that I am also related to all the Shoulders mentioned in this sketch.

I now come to the remaining member of the family of the children of the Revolutionary giant and his name was James Sutton.  He was born on August 25, 1795, and died on April 5, 1864.  He married Miss Mary F. Cornwell.  Their children were: Martha, born February 21, 1820, and died in September, 1883; James Tyrel Sutton, born November 25, 1821, and died April 20, 1869; Mahala, date of birth or death not known; Betsy, no dates given; Johnson, born November 25, 1833, died February 19, 1914; and Campbell Sutton, born May 23, 1845 and died December 23, 1909.

Martha married Barnett Cornwell.  Their children were: Lee and Mary Cornwell, the latter marrying Silas Smith.

I do not have the name of the wife of James Tyrel Sutton, but it appears that he left Tennessee and went to Coldwater in Wayne County, Mo.  His children: Simpson Clay, married a Cosner; Ben F., Mary E., married an Oliver, James N., William Jasper, married a Bennett; Martha Susan; Joel Warren, and Jane, who married a Glover.

Betsy Sutton Kemp was the mother of Harvey, Mary Grissom, Carroll “Tobe”; Martha; Minerva; John Head; Ellis; Carey; and Leroy Kemp.

Campbell Sutton married Millie Kennedy.  Children: Bennie A. and Jeanie.

Johnson Sutton, your grandfather, married an Austin.  Their children were: Your father, James M. Sutton, born July 22, 1856; Sarah, born October 20, 1858 and died November 5, 1878; William T. Sutton, born May 22, 1862, and died April 14, 1907; and Jeff Sutton, born October 11, 1869 and died June 24, 1905.

You know who your father’s wife, your mother, was and  the children and I do not need to give them.  Your aunt Sarah married a Wright first, later a Seagraves.  Jeff married Louvella Canter.  William T. Married a Morrow.  They went to Texas.  Jeff’s sons are: Hugh and Tommie Sutton.  William T. Sutton’s children are: Barnett, Lucy, Ray and Ellen.

I have also the history of the Cornwell family if you need it.

I am sorry to have been so long in getting up these records for your use.  Did your father ever note down any of the history of the family so far as you know?  I had him in my home one night several years ago and I took the trouble to record the facts I am giving you herewith.  I am very, very glad I do so, for it is possible the record would have been lost if I had not put it down.

I trust you and your Reverend husband are both well and that the children are likewise enjoying good health.  We are doing very well at present although I have had the three hardest weeks’ work I can call to mind in all my life.  Come to see us some time.

With the best of wishes for you and your family, I am

Sincerely yours,

Calvin Gregory