The Lauderdales

Written by Jay Guy Cisco
From Historic Sumner County, Tennessee

The original name of the Lauderdale family was "Maitland," but many generations back the "Laird of Maitland" was made Earl, or Lord, of Lauderdale, for military services rendered his country, and a landed estate was given with the title. James Maitland was the grandfather of Isabella Marr, who married Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, and Helen Marr, Isabella's sister, who married Sir William Wallace.

Sir Richard Maitland, an early Scotch lawyer and poet, was born in 1496. His father, William Maitland, of Lethington, fell at Flodden. His mother was a daughter of George, Lord Seton. He studied law at the University of St. Andrew and afterwards in France. He was knighted about the year 1552, and about 1554 was made an Extraordinary on Session. In 1561 he admitted an Ordinary Lord of Session by the title of Lithington. In 1562 he was nominated Lord Privy Seal, which office he resigned in 1567 in favor of John, Prior of Codingham, his second son. He died in 1586, aged 90 years, seventy of which had been spent in public life. His son John was made a Lord of Parliament in 1590, by the title of Lord Maitland, in which he was succeeded by his son John, who was made Earl of Lauderdale in 1624. His son John became Duke of Lauderdale. One of Sir Richard's daughters, Mary, assisted her father in his literary work and also wrote verses. Their works were collected in two volumes, a folio written by Sir Richard and a quarto by his daughter. These volumes are now in the Pepysian library, Cambridge.

John Maitland, Earl and afterwards Duke of Lauderdale in the peerage of Scotland as a great-grand son of Sir Richard. In his early life he was a Presbyterian, and was a party to the surrender of Charles I to the English army in 1645. Soon afterwards he became a supporter of the royal cause. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Warchester, and after being liberated accompanied Charles II to Scotland. In 1672 he was made Duke of Lauderdale and a Knight of the Garter, and he had also an English peerage conferred upon him with the title of Earl of Guildford in 1674. He was one of the administrative council known as "the Cabal." His dukedom and his English title expired with him. The earldom of Lauderdale passed his brother Charles and is still in possession of his descendants. One branch of his family settled in Ireland. In 1714 one of them came to America and located in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but soon afterwards removed to Botetourt County Virginia. He had a large family, seven sons and three daughters. The daughters married with the McClellans, Logans, DeShas, Franklins, Gillespies, Alcorns, and Henrys. The sons, John, James and William all served in the Revolutionary War, one of them as a commissioned officer.

James Lauderdale, mentioned above, was the founder of the Sumner County branch of the family. He married Miss Mills and moved to Tennessee about 1794, and acquired a large body of land adjoining the Greenfield tract, upon which he built his home. A part of this land is still in possession of some of his descendants. He has six sons and one daughter. Five of his sons served as commissioned officers under Jackson in the Indian wars and in the War of 1812. William was Quartermaster, with the rank of Major, James was commissioned a Major in a regiment in Coffee's brigade, and later was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of a regiment of mounted infantry. He fell at the first battle of New Orleans, December 23, 1814, while gallantly leading his regiment in a charge against the British. He was a brave and gallant soldier, and his death was lamented throughout the army. He was never married.

Sam D. Lauderdale, son of James, was a Colonel in the Creek War under Jackson, and had the confidence and esteem of his commander and his men. When the term of enlistment of his men had expired he was placed in command to lead them back to Tennessee. When the Choctaw Indians were removed to the West in 1833, Colonel Lauderdale was placed in command of the transportation without asking for the place. When the war with Mexico broke out, though past three score and ten, he was, with no little difficulty, persuaded from volunteering his services.

In 1830 Major William Lauderdale, with his Tennesseans, carried his country's flag farther into the Indian country than anyone else had done up to that time and established Fort Lauderdale in Southeastern Florida.

In 1836 James Shelby Lauderdale, son of Colonel Sam D. Was an ensign in a company of mounted rifles from Mississippi, which marched to join General Jessup's command on the Texas frontier to stop the Mexicans in case of the defeat of General Sam Houston. In the Mexican War William Lauderdale was a Lieutenant in Captain Blythe's company, Second Mississippi Rifles, from Lowndes County. John Lauderdale raised a company, but it was not accepted, because more troops were offered than were needed. He then served in the ranks. Gallant Same Lauderdale, who fell at Cerro Gordo, was a son of Major William Lauderdale.

Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas have counties named in honor of these Lauderdale heros.

When the Civil War broke out the Lauderdales rallied to the defense of our beloved land and bravely sustained the ancient reputation of the family. The bones of more than one of them were left to bleach on bloody battle fields. James Shelby Lauderdale, before mentioned, raised the first company in Texas fro the Confederate service. He gave his company its first drill on Christmas day, 1860. His company formed a part of the Tenth Texas Infantry and did gallant service. But few of the one hundred men who marched out with him in 1861 ever returned. Captain Lauderdale was taken prisoner and confined at Camp Chase, and then at Johnson's Island. During the latter part of the war he served on the staff of General J. B. Robertson. He now resides at Somerville, Texas, and though well advanced in years, is in the esteem of his fellow citizens. (Captain Lauderdale died at the home of his son, J. W. Lauderdale, in Somerville, Texas, January 27, 1909, aged 93 years and 6 months.)

The Lauderdales have been quiet, peaceable, law-abiding citizens, farmers and professional men. They have lived unostentatious lives, but when grim-visaged war appeared they sniffed the battle from afar and hastened to the front, where danger and honor were found.

The names of the children of James Lauderdale, the founder of the Sumner County family, were: John Lauderdale, who married Miss Wood and had six sons and three daughters.

J. Franklin Lauderdale, who married Miss Sewell.

William Lauderdale, who married Miss Head.

Sam H. Lauderdale, who married Miss Winchester.

Harry Lauderdale, who first married Jane Malone: second, Nancy Crenshaw.

Josiah Lauderdale never married, went to Texas, where he was a surveyor and Indian fighter. "A better, braver and nobler soul never lived."

Sallie Lauderdale married J. H. Brittain of Lebanon.

Elizabeth Lauderdale married John Patterson.

Clarinda Lauderdale never married.

Sam D. Lauderdale, son of James, married Miss Hawkins. Had five sons and one daughter.

James Shelby Lauderdale married Miss Adams and had seven sons and three daughters.

William C. Lauderdale married Miss Turner. No issue.

John Lauderdale married Miss Dodson, and after her death, Miss Jeffreys. Had a son and a daughter.

Cornelia Lauderdale married J. J. Lewis, and after his death, Benjamin Seale. Has a son by each: both served in the Civil War. The Lewis son was killed in battle.

David Lauderdale, son of James, married Miss Bledsoe; has three sons.

William Lauderdale, son of James, married Miss Hart.

Josiah Lauderdale, son of James, married Miss Hanna; had five sons and three daughters.

The daughters of James Lauderdale married John Hawkins; had five sons and three daughters; James Hawkins, Benjamin Hawkins, Harry Hawkins, John Hawkins (never married), Sam Hawkins. Sam Hawkins: Patsey Hawkins married Wesley Malone: Ella Hawkins married Dr. William Welsh: Harriett Hawkins never married.

Harry Lauderdale, son of John W. Lauderdale, who married Jane Malone, daughter of Hal Malone of Sumner County, had a son, John, who went to West Tennessee, where he married a Miss Ferguson. Their daughter, Miss Jennie Lauderdale, was for some years State Librarian, and is now Librarian of the University of Nashville.

After the death of his first wife, John Lauderdale married Miss Tipton of West Tennessee. They had two children, Amelia, who married Charles L. Davison of Nashville, and Harry, who married Miss Pilkering of Clarksville. They now reside in Beaumont, Texas, where he is treasure of the S.C.N.O. & P. Railroad.

After the death of his wife Jane (Malone), Harry Lauderdale married Nancy Crenshaw. They had one daughter, Mary J., who married Judge George E. Seay of Gallatin. Their son, Hon. Ed T. Seay, formerly Speaker of the State Senate, is now Assistant District Attorney for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad for Tennessee.

John Wood Lauderdale married Jane Sewell and moved to West Tennessee. Their granddaughter, Amelia, married John Skeffington, a lawyer of Dyersburg, for several years Attorney General for that district. Their daughters, Misses Mary and Jane, are respectively Librarian and Assistant Librarian of the State of Tennessee.

Josiah Lauderdale, who married Miss Hanna of Sumner County, moved to Wellington, Mo. Their sons, James William and Bledsoe, bore a conspicuous part in the Civil War. Bledsoe was cruelly murdered by Federal soldiers after he had been wounded and had surrendered.

Kimberland Spring, near the old Lauderdale home and from which the family procured its water, was a noted muster ground during the early days of Sumner County. It was a rendezvous for the people, and a place where the local militia met for drill and parade. The old stone spring house is still standing and in good state of preservation.

The Lauderdale graveyard, now overgrown with weeds and bushes, is an interesting spot. Beneath the wide-spreading branches of a mammoth ash tree reposes the remains of John Lauderdale, born September 16, 1768; died September 29, 1853. Cornelia Lauderdale, born 1769; died 1854. Jane Malone Lauderdale (daughter of Hal Malone), born January 13, 1811; married January 13, 1834: died January 16, 1836. Near her grave is that of her husband, Harry B. Lauderdale, born 1811: died 1847

Hallery Malone sleeps in the same lot. Many of the old grave stones are now prone upon the ground, and the sacred spot shows a sad degree of neglect. In another generation the tooth of time will have obliterated the marks on most of the older tombs.

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