April 24, 1952


This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually In Calís Column



Transcribed by Janette West Grimes






†† Below is a letter which the editor of the Times has written to Mrs. Louella Merryman Sullivan, of Route two, Hartsville, Tenn. She is now in her eighties, and has a remarkable memory. In the hope that she can help in giving needed family history, we have written to her the letter that follows.


†† We may add that Mrs. Sullivan is the daughter of Bud Merryman and his wife, the former Miss Mary Frances Gammon, who was born July 11, 1849 and died April 3, 1937. Mary Frances Gammon was the daughter of William Gammon, born about 1824 and died in 1853. He married Mary Ann Taylor, who was born Jan.1, 1827, the daughter of David Taylor, born in 1797. William Gammon was the son of John B. Gammon, familiarly know as Jack Gammon, who, as given below, married a Carman.


†† In Hartsville lives Miss Mayne Hammock, daughter of Wilson and Betty Allen Hammock. Wilson Hammock was the son of Lemuel and Mary J. Gammon Hammock, both of whom died early, leaving two children, the other being a daughter, Mary, who married Ridley Dean. Mary J. Gammon was born in Smith County, Tennessee in 1823, and died in 1858, perhaps in Texas, where her son, Wilson Hammock, was born in 1856. Whose daughter she was we do not know.


†† If any readers of the Times can give us additional light on this family, we shall be more than glad to publish it. We have a lot of data that we hope to publish as soon as we can get the various branches somewhat straightened out.


†† The letter to Mrs. Sullivan follows :

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† April 21, 1952

Mrs. Louella Sullivan

Hartsville, Tenn.


Dear friend :

†† You told me some days ago that you understood that four brothers made up the Gammon family on its first arrival in Tennessee. Their names, as you gave them to me, were as follows : John B. Gammon, called Jack, married Miss ______ Carman; Jeremiah Gammon, married Susan Lovelady; Billie Gammon, married Sallie _____ ; and Elihu, the father of Rev. Jeff Gammon and others, and whose wife's name you did not know.


†† In looking over the records of Dixon's Creek Baptist church, I find the following data on the Gammon family : Jeremiah Gammon, received by baptism, Dec. 13, 1833; Thomas Gammon, and we believe this was Jerry's son, received by baptism, Jan. 14, 1834. If so, he was then nearly 14 years of age, having been born Aug. 3, 1820; John Gammon, and we wonder if this could have been John L., another son of Jerry, was received by baptism on the same date that Thomas was received, Jan. 14, 1834. William C. Gammon, received on Oct. 26, 1837; and James R. Gammon, received by baptism on Oct. 14, 1848. James R. Gammon, we are quite certain, was another son of Jerry's and was known as James Riley Gammon.


†† The names of the early Gammon women who were members of Dixon's Creek church are as follows : Susan Gammon, baptized Nov., 1842, and we judge this to have been Jerry's wife; Nancy Gammon, received by baptism at the same time Susan was baptized, and we wonder if this could have been a daughter of Susan's known in our records as Jane Gammon, who married Spence Woodmore; and you are well aware that Nancy Jane was a very common form of given name in that day and time.


†† Nancy died in 1846. However, this could have been another member of the family, as Jane went to West Tennessee and then to Idaho later. Could the Nancy Gammon who died in 1846 have been the wife of Jack Gammon, and a Carman prior to her marriage? The next listed in the old records was Sallie Gammon. Could this have been the Sallie you mentioned to me as the first name of the wife of old Billie Gammon? You will also recall that Jerry had a daughter, Sallie, who married Willis Woodmore. The next name in the old list was that of Melinda Gammon, baptized in 1846. Do you recall anything about her? Sarah Gammon was baptized in October, 1853. Do you have remembrance of having ever heard of her before?


†† Here are some of the very earliest records I can find of Gammon men in Smith County. The first man of whom I find mention was John Gammon, chosen for jury duty on Aug. 14, 1816, and served on the petit jury in November, 1816.


†† The next reference to a Gammon is as follows : "On motion John Lovelady was appointed as administrator of the estate of John Parker, deceased, who qualified according to law, with Jeremiah Gammon his security, in the sum of $500." We would judge that John Lovelady was either a brother of Susan or perhaps the father. This occurred on Feb. 10, 1817. On Friday, May 16, 1817, Henry Shrum sold to Jeremiah Gammon a tract of three acres of land in Smith County.


†† On March 12, 1817 in Smith County, Tenn., "the Court ordered that the allowance made at last term of Court for the maintenance of Catherine Horner be paid to James Gammon for the use and benefit of the said Catherine." We wonder who this James Gammon was. It could not have been James Riley above referred to, for he had not then been born, we are quite sure.


†† Here is the list of the heads of Gammon families in Smith County, Tennessee, in 1820: "Jeremiah Gammon, head of family composed of three males then years old or less; one male 26 to 45 years old; and one female 16 to 26." Jeremiah's three first children were sons, and we would judge them to have been: Thomas Gammon, the great-great-grandfather of the writer's first wife, Mai Gammon; John L., married Lucinda Parker; and Billie Gammon, commonly called "Billie Dodd," who married Delanie Gifford. The female between 16 and 26 years of age, was undoubtedly Susan Lovelady, the wife of Jeremiah.


†† The next Gammon listed in the census of 1820 in Smith Couny, Tennessee, was John Gammon. The record shows: "John Gammon, head of family; one male between 10 and 16, two males between 18 and 26; two males from 45 years up; one female 10 to 16 years; and three females 45 years old and upward." This would indicate that John Gammon was quite a lot older than Jeremiah, and could have possibly been his father, as Jerry was then between 26 and 45, and John was above 45 years. Who the other male in the familyabove 45 years of age was, we do not know, and have no way of ascertaining. Apparently there were two young men in the family, and one girl between 10 and 16 years old. The three females above 45 included perhaps the wife of John Gammon, but we have no idea as to who the othe two women were. We are quite sure that this is the same John Gammon called for jury duty in 1816.


†† The next Gammon listed in the census record for Smith County in 1820 was James Gammon, and we would judge him to have been the man who was to care for Catherine Horner above mentioned, as the census was taken just three years after the Court ordered above referred to. The record of James Gammon's family as given in the census of 1820 is as follows: "James Gammon, head of family; one male ten years old or less, one male from 10 to 16 years old; one male, 45 years old or older; four females 16 to 26 years old, and one female from 45 years old and upward." The male above 45 was undoubtedly James Gammon, and the female in the same age group was very likely his wife. We would judge that there were two sons and four daughters, but this is conjecture.


†† The next on the census record slightly more than 130 years ago was Levi Gammon. The record follows: "Levi Gammon, head of family; two males under ten years of age, one male 18 to 26; and one female between 16 and 26." The male between 18 and 26 was undoubtedly Levi Gammon; and the one female, between 16 and 26, was almost certainly his wife. This would make Levi of an age to have belonged to the same generation as Jerry, and we wonder if they were not brothers. Can you give us any light on this matter? There seems to be general opinion among the living Gammons of today that one of their oldest ancestors or relatives was named Levi Gammon. So it looks as if John and James Gammon were brothers. It appears also that Jerry was the son of one or the other of these men, and also that Levi occupied the same status. Can you give me any light on this point?


†† Now there is another group of Gammons, the Elihu Gammon descendants. We know both groups lived in Macon and Smith Counties, as well as Trousdale County, in the years gone by and all say that they are related, but we have not been able to trace the connection. In the census record for 1820 there was a William Gammon in White County, Tenn. The record is as follows: "William Gammon, head of family; three males ten or younger, one male from 45 upward; one female 16 to 26." William Gammon was then 45 years old at least. Three males under ten, we suppose, were his children, and the female between 16 and 26, could have been his wife, perhaps 25 years old. This would have left a difference of at least 20 years in their ages.


†† We are told that the old preacher, Jeff Gammon, was born in White County, Tennessee , about 1810,and came to what is now Trousdale County as a young man. But his father's name is said to have been Elihu, wife's name unknown. Jeff was a wellinformed Baptist minister and died about 48 years ago. He had brothers as follows: Alex Gammon, married Martha Atkinson; Frank, married sisters, Jane and Margaret Ellis, daughters of James Ellis; Jerry Gammon, removed to Illinois; and Dr. William Gammon, who married Miss Emory Holland, and both died of small pox during the Civil War. There was one daughter of Elihu, of whom we have some information. She was Fannie Gammon, married Bill Rainey.


†† About two years ago the late Bud Woodmore, whose mother was Sallie Gammon, who married Willis Woodmore, informed the writer that old Jerry had a brother named Jack, according to the best of his information. This was given when Bud was about 85 years of age.


†† Now I want you to please write me as fully as you can on any line mentioned in this article, giving me all the information you can. I am very anxious to learn what the connection is between various branches of the family who still live here in Middle Tennessee.


†† Thanking you in advance for any help and with best wishes, I am


†††††††††††††††††††††††† Sincerly yours,

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Calvin Gregory

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† _________