Goodspeed's Biographies of James County

Back to James County

 

Anderson, John

John Anderson, Esq., a prominent citizen and planter of the Fourth District, James County, was born in Bledsoe County, December 2, 1814. He is the youngest and only surviving one of six children of Col. John and Betsy (McNair) Anderson. Both parents were of Scotch descent. The father was born in Scott County, Va., October 5, 1778, and died October 27, 1814, while on a march with his regiment to New Orleans. He was colonel of the State militia. He was by occupation a farmer and merchant. The mother was born near Knoxville, Tenn., March 31, 1783, and married in Knox County, November 5, 1805. Her death occurred August 13, 1859, near Pikeville, Bledsoe County. They were devout members of the Presbyterian Church. Our subject received a good education in his native county. In his early days he dealt in corn on the Sequatchie River. In 1835 he moved to Hamilton (now James) County, and was one of the first settlers. He opened the first store at Georgetown, where for a few years he engaged in mercantile business. In 1838 he purchased and settled upon the farm where he now resides. Since that date he has given his attention to agriculture and live stock trading. From 1836 to 1886 he was postmaster at Georgetown. The office was for a time in the village, and then at his residence. For forty years he was justice of the peace. He resigned in 1886. He is a warm Republican. In the latter part of 1835 he married Miss G. Allen, who bore him two children; she died in 1838, an earnest member of the Methodist Church. January 16, 1840, our subject wedded Purlymly Luttrell, by whom he has had ten children. Five of his sons served in the Federal Army. J. M. received a mortal wound September 27, 1864, at Pulaski, Tenn., while engaged with Forrest's forces. He was brought home by his father, and died the following 24th of December. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson are active members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Burell, Thomas S.

 Thomas S. Burell, an enterprising planter of the Fifth District, (James County), was born in Towns County, Ga., March 3, 1849. He is the second of five children born to Butler and Malinda (Hooper) Burell. The father was born about 1818 in South Carolina. He was a successful farmer, but lost his property by the late war. He was a stanch Democrat, and a prominent member of the Baptist Church. He was killed instantly by a shot at the battle of Seven Pines, in 1863. He belonged to the South Carolina troops, and was first lieutenant of his company. The mother was born in 1819, in Towns County, Ga., where she now resides, a respected member of the Baptist Church. Our subject received his education in the common schools of his native county. At the age of fourteen he was bereft of a father, and left almost penniless. He engaged as a farm hand. In 1872 he went to Kansas, where for eight months he served in same capacity on the farm of John Maddox for $15 per mouth. In March, 1873, he came to Tennessee, and settled in James County, where he continued farming. July 18, 1878, he married Miss Eliza Russell, a native of Hamilton County. She owned 217 acres of land, to which our subject has added 380, making a total of 597 acres. He is an industrious, energetic man, and a Democrat. He is not connected with any church, but is a firm believer in religion, and has a high moral character. Mrs. Burell is the daughter of James and Mary (David) Russell. Her father was born in North Carolina, July 6, 1780, and was reared in Washington County, Va. Her mother was born in Campbell County, Va., November 19, 1794, and was reared in Rockingham County, N. C. They were married in Hamilton County , Tenn. , November 6, 1834, and in that county spent the remainder of their days.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Chesnutt, John C.

John C. Chesnutt, a thrifty and enterprising farmer of James County, and now a resident of the Eighth Civil District, was born at his present place of residence, October 6, 1851. He is the son of John and Matilda (Cleveland) Chesnutt. (For the sketch of parents see the biography of J. D. Chesnutt.) Our subject was the eighth of nine children; he secured an academic education at Blue Springs, Bradley Co., Tenn. After his education was received he worked on his father's farm until in 1880, then went to Texas and Indian Territory. After five years he returned to James County, and turned his attention exclusively to the farming interest at his present location. March 16, 1882, he married Miss Eva Shugart, who was born in Bradley County, Tenn., October 30, 1854, and died in James County, Tenn., September 6, 1884. She had a good education. Though not a member of any church, she was a firm believer in the Christian religion. She was the daughter of Lemuel and Eliza Shugart. The result of this marriage was one child, Mary E. Our subject received as a present from his father of 225 acres of land, his present place, which by judicious management and industry he has increased in value to a great extent. He always supports the cause of education, good morals, and all public enterprises, and is a Master Mason, and a Democrat.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Chesnutt, Joseph D.

John C. Chesnutt, a thrifty and enterprising farmer of James County, and now a resident of the Eighth Civil District, was born at his present place of residence, October 6, 1851. He is the son of John and Matilda (Cleveland) Chesnutt. (For the sketch of parents see the biography of J. D. Chesnutt.) Our subject was the eighth of nine children; he secured an academic education at Blue Springs, Bradley Co., Tenn. After his education was received he worked on his father's farm until in 1880, then went to Texas and Indian Territory. After five years he returned to James County, and turned his attention exclusively to the farming interest at his present location. March 16, 1882, he married Miss Eva Shugart, who was born in Bradley County, Tenn., October 30, 1854, and died in James County, Tenn., September 6, 1884. She had a good education. Though not a member of any church, she was a firm believer in the Christian religion. She was the daughter of Lemuel and Eliza Shugart. The result of this marriage was one child, Mary E. Our subject received as a present from his father of 225 acres of land, his present place, which by judicious management and industry he has increased in value to a great extent. He always supports the cause of education, good morals, and all public enterprises, and is a Master Mason, and a Democrat.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Childers, James C.

  James C. Childers, a well-known farmer of the Fifth District, (James County) was born in Cook County, Tenn., April 28, 1830. He is the seventh of eleven children born to John and Mary (Campbell) Childers. The father was of Irish-English descent, born in Virginia about 1780, and died near Little Rock, Ark., October, 1859. He was a successful farmer, and a Whig. The mother was born in Cook County, Tenn., and died at Harrison, Hamilton Co., Tenn., in August, 1860. They were married in Cook County about 1810. Both were members of the Missionary Baptist Church. The subject of our sketch received a good academic education. He began farming at an early age. In 1872 he moved to his present place of residence. In 1871, at the organization of James County, he was appointed by the Legislature as county commissioner. The same year he was elected county court clerk, and held that office until 1874. He was then made deputy county trustee, under S. J. Blair. In August, 1878, he was elected to this office for one year, to fill the unexpired term of  J. W. Smith, who had resigned. Our subject is a decided Democrat and worthy citizen. January 7, 1852, he was married to Miss Rebecca A. Reynolds, who was born near Greeneville, Green Co., Tenn. , January 2, 1825. This union resulted in the birth of six daughters, all of whom are living. Mr. and Mrs. Childers are earnest members of the Missionary Baptist Church. Later: Since the above was written and set in type Mr. Childers died, May 6, 1887.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Eldridge, Jessie C.

   J. C. Eldridge M. D., a prominent practicing physician of the Second Civil District, James County, Tenn., was born near his present location July 9, 1846, and is the son of S. M. and Nancy Eldridge. The father was born in Roane County, Tenn., about 1811. He came to this location in 1835. He is a farmer, and has been very successful. The mother is also still living. Our subject is the eldest of nine children; he has an academical education, secured at Savannah Seminary, and afterward at Riceville, McMinn Co., Tenn. He studied medicine under Dr. T. H. Roddy, at Ooltewah, James Co., Tenn. In the summer of 1863 he enlisted in Company H of the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry (Federal Army), and was elected corporal. He was in active service until February 16, 1865, when  he lost his left arm at Memphis, and was in the hospital until October 18, 1865, when he returned home. In 1871 he attended lectures at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, and in 1874 began the practice of medicine at his present location, continuing two years, when he went to Igou's Ferry, but returned to his former location after five years. He has secured a large and increasing practice by untiring energy. He is also engaged in farming. March 10, 1875, he married Miss Mary E. McGill, who was born in Hamilton County, Tenn., November 23, 1857. She has a good education, secured at Soddy Seminary. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and is the daughter of D. N. and Mary A. McGill. Our subject's union has resulted in the birth of six children, all living, their names being James W., Simeon A., David N., Mary C., Betty G. and Isaac C. Our subject is a member of the Baptist Church. In politics he is a Democrat.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.
1880 US Census, District 2, James Co., TN; Page 319.

Green, Jesse A.

Jesse A. Green, sheriff of James County, and resident of Ooltewah, was born eleven miles east of Knoxville, Knox Co., Tenn., January 17, 1828. He is the second of eight children born to Samuel and Martha (Ferguson) Green. The father was born in Knox County, Tenn., about 1789, of English-Irish descent. He died in Hamilton (now James) County, October 15, 1855. He was married in his native county, and a few years later went to Roane County. Shortly afterward he located in Hamilton County, being among the early settlers. He was a farmer by occupation. He served in the war of 1812. He was an ardent admirer of Andrew Jackson, and a stanch Democrat. The mother was born in East Tennessee, about 1791, and died at the residence of our subject, four miles north of Ooltewah, in 1858. Both were worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Our subject received a good education in Hamilton County. In 1850 he purchased a farm in what is now James County, upon which he settled the following year. For ten years he engaged exclusively in agricultural pursuits. In 1860 he came to Ooltewah, and, in partnership with E. W. Reagan, established a family grocery. Two years later, on account of the war, he was forced to abandon the mercantile business. With his wife, child, and an orphan whom he was raising, he returned to his farm, and remained there till two years after the war. In 1868 he came back to Ooltewah, and opened a store of general merchandise, in partnership with Elijah and N. A. Fitzgerald. The latter sold out to the other member of the firm. At the organization of James County, in 1871, our subject was elected high sheriff, and served five years. In August, 1886, he was again elected to the same office. He is a true Republican. He is not connected with any church, but is a believer in religion, and is a man of good morals. He began life comparatively poor, but by hard work and energy has accumulated a handsome property. He owns nearly 2,200 acres of land in James and Bradley Counties, the Green Hotel, a business house and dwelling, a half interest in a large flouring mill in Ooltewah, also a half interest in a valuable lot on which is a business house, on King Street, Chattanooga, and three-fifths interest in the Iron Ore and Caolin Mines, in Catoosa County, Ga., six miles north of Dalton. June 5, 1860, he married Miss Rebecca Ferguson, who was born in Grainger County, near Rutledge, about 1829. She died February 8, 1882. This union resulted in one son, Luther, born May 5, 1851, and now a resident of Ooltewah.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Heaton, Jackson C.

Jackson C. Heaton, a well known citizen of Ooltewah, James County, and county so court clerk of James County, is a native of Tennessee, and was born in what is now James County (though at the time of his birth it belonged to Hamilton County), May 1, 1843. He is the son of Jackson and Fatina Heaton, both of whom were of Dutch descent, and their ancestors originally came from Pennsylvania. The father was born in Tennessee about the year 1818, and died in Hamilton County about 1857. The mother was a native of South Carolina, was born in that State in 1812, and died in James County in 1883. She was of Anglo-German descent. The father was a farmer, and made life a success. Our subject was an only child.   He secured a liberal education in his youth, making mathematics rather a specialty. After continuing his education five years he engaged in teaching school in Hamilton County. In the meantime, at intervals, he gave his attention to farming and trading in live stock. In 1871 he was elected tax collector of James County, and was re-elected to the same office in 1872, and held this office until 1874, at which time he was elected county court clerk, and has     successively been elected to this office at every election since that date, and his last election, in August, 1886, was without any opposition. On May 15, 1874, he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Morgan, a cultured lady, and a native of Hamilton County, Tenn. She was born August 21, 1853. This excellent lady and wife died August 5, 1882. This union resulted in the birth of four daughters, all living: Tennie, Maggie, Lillie and Minnie. Our subject is a decided Republican, and is a worthy and consistent member of the Missionary Baptist Church. His wife was a member of the same church, and was a truly pious woman.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Matthews, Pleasant L.

Pleasant L. Matthews, Esq., a well known, enterprising planter of James County, and a resident of the Fourth Civil District, is a native of Tennessee, and was born in McMinn County, near Athens, August 17, 1825, the son of John and Nancy (Collison) Matthews. The father was of English descent, and the mother's ancestors came from Ireland. The father was a native of North Carolina, born in that State June 26, 1786, and died in James County, where our subject now lives, June 1, 1869. The mother was born in Tennessee, and died May 5, 1860. The parents were married in Blount County, Tenn. After their marriage they moved to McMinn County, and lived in that county about twenty years, then came to Bradley County, where they lived three years; then removed to what was then Hamilton County, but now James, about 1839, where they spent the remainder of their days. The father was by trade a mechanic, to which be associated the farming interest, and made life a success. He was a Democrat, and a worthy member of the Primitive Baptist Church about sixty years. The mother was a member of the same church. Our subject is the youngest of eight children, three of whom are still living. He secured a common-school education in his youth, at Georgetown. In 1845 be went to Blount County, and worked at the tanning business one year, and in the spring of 1846 he returned home and established a tanning business of his own, continuing nine years, and was successful. In 1855 he commenced farming at the old homestead, and since that date to the present he has given his attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits, and has been very successful, now owning 1,080 acres of land in James and Bradley Counties. He has been an active man. On October 30, 1856, he was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Williamson, a native of North Carolina, born in Mecklenburg County, April 17, 1839. Our subject was fortunate in his choice of a companion. To this union was born one daughter, Nancy E., born September 1, 1857. She was married to Mr. Edward Edwards, December 19, 1877. Our subject is a stanch Democrat. He is not a member of any church, but is a firm believer in the Christian religion, and is in sympathy with the Primitive Baptist Church. His wife, daughter and son-in-law, are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. He has three grandchildren: Louis R., born December 4, 1878; Margaret E., born October 4, 1881; Ina E., born April 13, 1884. Margaret E. died May 23, 1884. Our subject was justice of the peace twenty-seven years.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

McDonald, Wiley P.

Wiley P. McDonald, a well-to-do farmer, of James County, was born in McMinn County, January 2, 1826, being the son of William and Matilda (Kirkpatrick) McDonald. They were of Scotch and English descent, and both were natives of Jefferson County. The father was born in 1796, and died in what is now James County in 1858. The mother was born in 1798, and died in what is now James County in 1851. The parents were married in their native county about 1818. The father was a planter, and made life a success. He was a decided Democrat, and a worthy member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The mother was a member of the same church. Our subject is the third of eleven children. He secured a good academic education in his youth in what was then Hamilton County, though now James. Farming has been his chief occupation. In 1860 he purchased and settled where he now lives. He has never married. A sister who died last year has lived with him a great deal. Mrs. Eliza C. Thompson, another sister, and the widow of James Thompson, is now living with him. He is a Democrat, and a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

McCallie, William A.

   W. A. McCallie, a prominent merchant of Birchwood, was born near his present location, August 21, 1851. He is the second of seven children of John and Amanda McCallie. The father is of Scotch origin. He was born in Blount County, Tenn., January 28, 1829. He is a successful agriculturist of James County, and a Republican. The mother was born in Hamilton County, Tenn., November 16, 1828, and is still living. The subject of this sketch received a liberal education at the home schools and Chatata Seminary, Bradley County. He taught school in that county three years, and was a photographer two years. He then came to Birchwood, and engaged in the mercantile business. Three years later he went to Georgetown, Meigs County, and remained one year. He then returned to Birchwood. He is an. enterprising merchant, carrying a first-class stock of goods, worth $2,000. He has built up an extensive and substantial trade. He is a stanch Republican, and a highly esteemed citizen.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.
1880 US Census, District 3, James Co., TN; Page 324.

Robert, Philip M.

     Philip M. Robert, a prominent citizen of James County , is a native of Tennessee , and was born in Monroe County , September 6, 1830. He is the son of Philip and Nancy (Dougan) Robert. Both were of Scotch-Irish descent, and both were natives of Sevier County , Tenn. The father was born in 1797, and died in Monroe County , October 11, 1866. The mother was born April 23, 1795, and died in Monroe County , February 11, 1876. Our subject's grandfather, Robert, was among the first settlers of Sevier County . The parents of our subject were married in their native county about the year 1817. About 1829 they immigrated to Monroe County , where they spent the remainder of their days. The father was a popular and useful minister of the Missionary Baptist Church for over thirty years before his death. He was also a farmer. Our subject is the seventh of eleven children. He secured a good academical education in his youth, in his native county. He began life as a miner, and in 1853 he opened up the Soddy Coal Mines, in Hamilton County . In 1856 he purchased a farm on the Tennessee River , in Hamilton County , and in 1858 settled on this farm, and since that date to the present, farming has been his chief occupation. In the fall of 1886 he sold his farm in Hamilton County , and bought another in James County , where he now lives, one mile south of Ooltewah. Our subject has been a lively, active man. On June 8, 1854, he married Miss M. A. McRee, born in Hamilton County , February 23, 1840. Our subject is a Democrat, and a worthy member of the Presbyterian Church. His wife is a member of the same Church.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.
1880 US Census, District 1, Hamilton Co., TN; Page 8.

Roddy, Thomas H.

Thomas H. Roddy, M. D., a well known practicing physician of Ooltewah, and clerk and master of the chancery court of James County, is a native of Tennessee , and was born in Meigs County , December 28, 1830. He is the son of John and Elizabeth (Lane) Roddy. The father was of English descent, was born in Jefferson County, Tenn., about 1795, and died in Hamilton County, Tenn., in 1844. His father, James Roddy, was quite a prominent citizen of Jefferson County , and was a member of the constitutional Convention of Tennessee, in 1836. The mother of our subject was a native of Georgia, and was born in that State about 1800. She died in Hamilton County, Tenn., in 1863. The parents were married in Jefferson County, Tenn. The father was engaged in agricultural pursuits during life, and made the business a success. He was an old line Whig. Our subject is the youngest of eight children. He secured a good academical education in his youth, by his own effort, in his native county. At the age of fourteen his father died, and for the next ten years he gave his time and attention to the support of his widowed mother. In 1848 he commenced the study of medicine, by reading under Dr. John L. Yarnell, and for the four or five years, while clerking in Dr. Yarnell's store, he gave all of his spare time to the study of medicine, and in the fall of 1856 went to the medical department of the University of Nashville, where he duly received his diploma as doctor of medicine in the spring of 1858. After his graduation lie located at Harrison , Hamilton County , commenced to practice, and continued at that place until 1865, at which time he came to Ooltewah, where he has since been engaged in practice. At the organization of James County, or soon thereafter, he was appointed, by Hon. D. M. Key, clerk and master of James County, and six years afterward he was reappointed by Chancelor William M. Bradford to the same office, and now holds the same. Our subject is a self-made man. He now owns a farm in James County of 320 acres of good land, under a high state of cultivation, one improved lot and five unimproved lots in Ooltewah, and a half interest in sixty-five acres of iron ore land on White Oak Mountain. He has been married three times: First to Miss Zerelda Yarnell, who was a daughter of his old preceptor in medicine. This marriage occurred in April, 1851; this lady died in March 1854. Second to Mrs. E. D. Watkins, whose maiden name was Martin, in 1871; died in August, 1874. Third to Miss Sidnah C. McDonald, December, 1876; this lady is still living, and presides over his hospitable home. One son was the result of the first marriage; two daughters of the second, and four by the last marriage. One daughter, Pearl , by the second marriage, died in August, 1874. Our subject before the war was an old line Whig, and is now a Democrat. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. His first wife was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; his second wife of the Missionary Baptist Church , and his present wife of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Runyan, Simeon P.

      Simeon P. Runyan, a prosperous farmer of the Fourth District of James County, was born in Bledsoe County, June 26, 1821. He is the sixth of nine children of John and Nancy (Mullendore) Runyan. The parents were natives of Sevier County, Tenn., of Welsh and German descent. The father was born about 1778, and died in Hamilton (now James) County in 1854. He was a successful farmer and stanch Democrat. The mother was born in 1794, and died at the home of our subject, August 27, 1875, in her eighty-first year. They were married in their native county, and spent their lives in Sevier, Rhea and Bledsoe Counties, East Tenn. Our subject received a liberal education. He taught school several years, in connection with his farming interests. At twenty-two or twenty-three years of age he purchased and settled on a farm in Hamilton (now James) County. He lived there fourteen years. In 1858 he moved to his present place of residence. He served one year in the war with the Cherokee Indians, in Col. Powell's Regiment. He was quartermaster sergeant of the Fifth Tennessee Regiment, Mounted Infantry, Federal Army, for one year, during the late civil war. He is a Republican and a worthy citizen. By his own efforts and judicious management has become the possessor of upward of 1,000 acres of valuable land. July 22, 1844, he married Miss Nancy C. Birgar, who was born in Roane County about 1825, and died September 4, 1860. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church (North), and mother of five sons and three daughters, of whom two sons and one daughter are dead. One son, recruited in the Federal Army, was in battle before he was mustered into service, and no particular account of him was given in the battle of Knoxville . February 8, 1871, our subject wedded Mrs. Susan J. Ezell, born in McMinn County in 1846. To this union one son and two daughters have been born. Mr. and Mrs. Runyan are members of the Methodist Church .

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Smith, John W.

Capt. John W. Smith, an enterprising planter of James County , and resident of the Fourth Civil District, is a native of Tennessee , and was born in Hamilton County near Harrison , June 2, 1834. He is the son of Rev. Noah R. and Fidily (Umbargo) Smith. The father was of English, and the mother of Dutch descent. The father was a native of Virginia, born in that State about 1810, and died in McDonald County, Mo., in February, 1876. The mother was one year older than the father, but the land of her nativity is not known. She died in Bradley County, in August, 1865. The parents were married in Warren County, Tenn., in the latter part of 1832. Soon after their marriage they settled in Hamilton County , where they lived about four years, then removed to Cannon County , and remained one year; then came to Bradley County , and his home was in this county at the time of his death, in Missouri . He was a popular minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Our subject is the eldest of five children. He secured a good academical education in his youth in Bradley County , and, having selected farming for an occupation at an early age, he began the cultivation of the soil. In August, 1861, he purchased eighty acres of land near where he now lives. In 1865 he made a purchase of eighty acres more, and built the improvement he now occupies. In 1871 he made another purchase of 240 acres. Our subject has been a live, active man. He began life rather poor, but by industry, economy and close application to business, he has secured a fair competency. In the spring of 1862 he entered the Federal Army, and served thirteen months as a private. In July, 1863, he received a commission as captain of Company G, Fourth Tennessee Cavalry. He served with credit until May, 1864, at which time, on account of ill health, he was compelled to return home. He took part in numerous battles, and skirmishes. After the close of hostilities between the States, he resumed the peaceful occupation of the farm. Immediately after the war he served as a civil officer seven years - five as constable, and two years as deputy sheriff in what was then Hamilton County . On August 2, 1852, he married Miss Martha C. Bower, a native of Hamilton County , born in January, 1834. This union has resulted in the birth of nine children-six sons and three daughters- three of whom are dead-one son and two daughters. Our subject is a decided Republican, and was an old line Whig before the war. He is a worthy and consistent member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; has been an elder in this church four years. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church (northern branch).

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Watkins, Zachary T.

Zachary T. Watkins, an enterprising merchant of Ooltewah, was born in Hamilton (now James) County, February 8, 1847. He is next to the eldest of six children, born to Finley P. and Tressie M.(Kelso) Watkins. The father was born in North Carolina about 1810. He was married in Monroe County about 1840, and a few years later moved to Hamilton County. He was an active member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and a Whig. By occupation he was a farmer and merchant. He established the first store in Ooltewah, and was the first depot agent. He held that position at the time of his death in 1861. The mother was born in Monroe County in 1812, and is now a resident of James County . She is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Our subject's education was required principally at the high school at Cleveland , and at the Jefferson College , Blount County . He was engaged in farming several years. In 1867, in partnership with G. B. F. Guthrie, he established a store of general merchandise at Ooltewah. In 1871 he bought his partner's interest. He has a first class stock of goods, and receives a liberal patronage. He owns considerable valuable property near and in the town. He is a true Democrat and popular citizen, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Mr. Watkins was appointed postmaster on the 23d of September,1885, and is still officiating in that position.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Wells, George P.

George P. Wells, a well known merchant of Ooltewah, is a native of Tennessee , and was born in what is now James County (though at the time of his birth it belonged to Hamilton County ), September 15, 1838. He is a son of Barnum and Mary ( Hopkins ) Wells. The father was of Scotch descent, and the mother of Dutch descent. His grandparents were Virginians, and his parents were natives of that State, and both were born in Smith County-the father about the year 1790, and the mother about 1794. Both died, when our subject was but an infant, in Hamilton County, though now James County. They were married in their native State about the year 1830. In 1837 they immigrated to Tennessee , and settled where they soon died of milk poison. The father was a farmer and stock trader, and though he was not very successful, he was a man of energy and industry. Our subject, an orphan, was reared by a first cousin, Flemming T. Wells, who watched over him in his infancy and youth with a father's care. He secured a good academical education in his youth, and after completing the same up to the age of thirty-three years (1871), he gave his attention exclusively to f arming. In the early part of 1872 he entered the firm of Stone & Read at Ooltewah as a salesman, and remained with this establishment until October, 1873. Mr. Read sold out to Mr. Stone in the spring of 1872, and Mr. Stone died in July, 1873. In January, 1874, he established a store of general merchandise at Ooltewah of his own, and from that date to the present he has been engaged in mercantile business at this place. Our subject is a first-class business man. He began life rather poor, but by industry and close application to business he has secured a fair competency. He now controls a business of about $7,500 dollars annually. October 17, 1877, he was united in marriage to Miss Rebecca E. Caruthers, a most worthy lady, born in what is now James County , March 17, 1848. This excellent lady died November 2, 1884. This union resulted in one son, Willie F., born July 12, 1882. Our subject is a decided Democrat, and always supports that party; is a worthy and consistent member of the Missionary Baptist Church . His wife was a member of the same church.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

Yarnell, Samuel I.

Samuel I. Yarnell, M. D., a prominent practicing physician of Ooltewah, was born in Hamilton (now James) County, December 30, 1852. He is the eldest of five children of Dr. Jackson B. and Sophronia T. Yarnell. The father was of English descent, born in Knox County about l8l5. For more than twenty years he was a practicing physician.. He was a believer in the doctrines of the Baptist Church , and was a Whig. His death occurred in 1865 at Nashville , whither he had gone to be treated for paralysis. His ancestors came to America with William Penn. The mother of our subject, is of Irish extraction, born in Hamilton County, Tenn., about 1832. She was married in her native County, in 1850. She is a resident of James County, and a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The subject of our sketch received an excellent education at Sequatchie College . In 1874 he was elected circuit court clerk of James County, and re-elected in 1878 and 1882. September 25, 1886, he became the Democratic nominee for joint representative of Rhea, Meigs and James Counties. He was defeated by only forty-nine votes, although the Republican nominee for governor carried the three counties by 253 majority. Subject devoted his spare time to the reading of medicine under Dr. T. H. Roddy. In 1878-79 he attended a course of medical lectures at the Vanderbilt University ; the fall of 1886 he returned to the university, and in the spring of 1887 received his diploma as an M. D. Since that time he has been actively engaged in the practice of his profession at Ooltewah. He is an esteemed and worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

“Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee,” James County , 1887.

 

Back to James County

Copyright 2009 - Hamilton County Tennessee Genealogical Society