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Marion County, Tennessee Genealogy

Goodspeed's Biographies of Marion County
T - Z

published 1886


DAVID M. TATE occupies a prominent place as a well-to-do and progressive member of the farming community of Marion county, in the Seventh district of which he has an elegant farm. He is one of that county’s public-spirited citizens and is always ready to lend a helping hand to everything that pertains to the interest of the county, and has become one of it’s leading politicians.

Mr. Tate was born near South Pittsburg, Marion county, Tenn., May 23, 1857, a son of Samuel M. And Catherine (Anderson) Tate. The father was born May 1, 1820, in Jackson county, Ala., and his wife was born in Franklin county, Tenn., June 5, 1824, and died March 21, 1895. She was a member of the M. E. Church. Samuel M. Tate is a son of John K. And Rachael (Alsup) Tate, the former born in Grainger county, Tenn., and the latter born in Lincoln county, Tenn. After their marriage they moved to Jackson county, Ala., but remained there but a short time until they moved near South Pittsburg, in 1829, bought a farm there and made that their home until their death. He was a soldier in the Creek war. Samuel M. and Catherine Tate, the parents of our subject, were married in Marion county, Tenn., and always lived on a farm in that county. He was a Methodist minister, beginning his ministry work in 1858, in Marion county, and has since followed that line of work in connection with his farming. Socially he is a Master Mason, and holds his membership at Jasper. Mr. and Mrs. Samuel M. Tate are the parents of a family of nine children, of whom we have the following record: Sina, deceased; Rachael, deceased; Anna, deceased; John K., a farmer living on Battle Creek, Marion county, and is the present nominee on the Republican ticket for sheriff; Abigail C., deceased; Margaret A., wife of Jasper Dawson, a merchant of South Pittsburg; David M., the subject of this sketch; Virginia, wife of T. W. Anderson, a prominent farmer living near Battle Creek; and James B., who died at the age of two years.

David M. Tate, the subject of this sketch, received his primary training in the public schools of the district in which his boyhood was spent and supplemented the same with a course in the William & Emma Austin College at Stevenson, Ala., and was married there April 8, 1879, to Miss Tennie R. Tate. She was born in Jackson county, Ala., July 13, 1860, the daughter of Judge David and Martha A. (Winn) Tate, both natives of Marion county, Tenn., the father born on Battle Creek, December 5, 1824, and the mother born May 11, 1835, in Swedens Cove. They were the parents of a family of nine children, as follows: Maggie J., Tennie R., wife of Mr. Tate; John K.; Edward C., deceased; Samuel, whose home is at Scottsboro, Ala., is the judge of the city court of that city and of Bridgeport; David M., deceased; George B., M. D.; Mary C. and Mack.

After his marriage, our subject made his home at Stevenson, Ala., until 1886, and for six years was at the same time a student, a teacher and a farmer. In 1889 he returned to South Pittsburg and settled on a farm. He was soon after elected, on the Republican ticket, to the office of trustee and moved to Jasper and performed the duties of that office two terms, or four years. He then bought a farm a short distance northeast of the city of Jasper, in June 1895, moved to it, and has since made that his home. Mr. Tate is a well-informed man, being particularly well-versed on topics of education and economy, and is widely and favorably known as a citizen devoted to his county’s best interests. Mr. and Mrs. Tate are both members of the M. E. Church, and Mr. Tate is also a Master Mason, holding his membership in the lodge at South Pittsburg. They are the parents of a family of eight children, whose names and the dates of their births are as follows: Clarence E., born July 27, 1881; John K., born August 16, 1883; Katie C., born August 25, 1885; Martha A., born February 26, 1888; Maggie J., born January 25, 1890; Miltie M., born March 20, 1892; and Una T., born July 16, 1896. David S., born April 18, 1898.

ELISHA TATE is one of the extensive land owners and successful farmers of Marion county. Often do we hear it said that success is the result of advantageous circumstances, but a careful study of the lives of successful men shows that it is the outcome of industry, well directed effort, perseverance and sound judgment, and such is the case with Mr. Tate, who started out in life empty handed, but has steadily worked his way upward to a position of prominence.

He was born on Battle Creek, Marion county, July 24, 1832, and is a son of John K. and Rachel (Alsup) Tate, the former born in Greene county, Tenn., in 1792, the latter in Grainger county, this state, in 1796. The paternal grandparents were David and Comfort (Knox) Tate, and the family is of Irish lineage. The parents of our subject married in Grainger county, whence they removed to Jackson county, Ala., and later took up their residence on Gizzard creek, Marion county, Tenn., where the father died December 20, 1853. His wife passed away March 4, 1870. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and at an early day services were frequently held in their home. The father was a Whig in his political predilections, and served as justice of the peace for many years and as trustee two years. In his family were the following named children: Edward, deceased; Rev. Samuel, a farmer and minister residing on Battle creek; James M., deceased; David, probate judge of Jackson county, Ala.; Abigail, widow of Berry Winn, and a resident of Jackson county, Ala.; John K., an agriculturist of Marion county; Elijah D. And Elisha twins, the former now deceased; Comfort, wife of William Rolston; and Margaret, twin sister of Comfort and wife of Spencer Anderson.

The father of our subject engaged in teaching school to some extent, and during his youth Elisha Tate pursued his education under his direction. After his father’s death he provided for his mother until her demise and thus discharged his filial duty, repaying her for her care of him in childhood. He has made farming his life work and about a quarter of a century ago purchased a part of his present farm. As his financial resources increased he added to this from time to time, until his landed possessions aggregate about fifteen hundred acres at the head of Battle creek. He has a fine spring of pure water at his door and a good cave in which to store fruit and vegetables for winter consumption. His business career has been a prosperous one, and today he is the possessor of a handsome competence acquired entirely through his own efforts. His business methods are honorable and straightforward and thus has he won the confidence of those with whom he has trade transactions. His eldest son, Ransom, is also a worthy citizen who is now engaged in the operation of a sawmill.

In 1872, Mr. Tate was united in marriage with Miss Jane Coppinger, and a native of the Sequatchie valley, born January 6, 1848. Mr. And Mrs. Tate became the parents of eleven children, seven of whom are living: Susan, wife of Forrest Parmley, who resides near Tracy City; Rachel, wife of Jack Martin; Elijah D., Austin, Frankie and David, all at home. Those who have passed away are Florence, John K., James and Ellen.

Early in 1862 Mr. Tate responded to the call of the south and joined the Confederate service as lieutenant of Capt. Alley’s company. Of the Thirty-sixth Tennessee Infantry. Later he was transferred to Company L., Fifth Tennessee Infantry, and during his service participated in the battle of Stone River and other important engagements. He has served as a member of the county court for eight years, and in the discharge of his official duties is ever prompt and faithful. In politics he votes independently of party ties, supporting the candidate whom he thinks best qualified for office. He and his wife hold membership in the Oak Grove Methodist Episcopal church, in which he is serving as steward, and their well-spent lives have gained them the warm regard of a large circle of friends.

DAN T. THACH, one of Marion county’s best and most prominent citizens, was born in Jasper, Marion county, Tenn., September 4, 1858, a son of Oliver Perry and Annie Caroline (Henson) Thach. The father was born May 4, 1819, and during childhood was brought by his parents to Marion county, the family locating in Jasper, where he grew to manhood and attended school. He was a saddle and harness maker by trade and as such was very proficient. He and his brother, George W. Thach, now living in Cameron, Milam county, Texas, were soldiers under General Scott in the war between the United States and Mexico. For a time during the Civil war, while located at Bridgeport, Ala., he worked at his trade in the employ of the Federal government. After the war he served three terms as tax collector of Marion county with credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the public, and was also a member of the county court for a time. His death occurred February 6, 1887, and after surviving him for two and a half years, the mother of our subject also passed away. She was twice married, her first husband being Andrew O’Neal, by whom she had three children: James L., of Gurdon, Ark.; Julia, wife of W. F. Gilliam, of Battle Creek; and Martha, wife of Jesse Thach, of Jasper. The children born of the second marriage are Millard Fillmore, who is engaged in farming three miles below Jasper; Jesse Johnson, also an agriculturist; Dan Trewhitt, of this sketch; and Oliver Perry, George W., Tennessee and Alice, who all died in childhood.

During his youth the subject of this sketch was provided with good school privileges, being a student in the Sam Houston Academy and other schools until nineteen years of age. After quitting his studies he successfully engaged in teaching for a time, and also learned the carpenter’s trade, at which latter he worked at times in both Arkansas and Texas, but throughout the greater part of his business career his energies have been devoted to agricultural pursuits, owning and operating a small, fertile farm, three miles west of Jasper, on the public road leading from Jasper to South Pittsburg, and midway between the two places.

On the 17th of April, 1881, Mr. Thach wedded Miss Sarah D. Doss, who was born in Marion county, Tenn., August 12, 1862, a daughter of John R. C. And Sarah Ann Doss. Six children blessed this union: Bertha Clark, who died in childhood; and Effie Lucretia, Alford Taylor, Vernon Johnson, John Oliver and Robert, all at home. The parents are earnest and consistent members of the Christian church, and Mr. Thach also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at South Pittsburg. Politically he has been identified with the Republican party since attaining his majority, and has taken an active and prominent part in local politics. He was appointed the first postmaster at Kimball, Tenn., June 9, 1890, which position he held to the satisfaction of all until he resigned. He has efficiently served as deputy county trustee under D. M. Tate, and under the present incumbent S. B. Raulston. He is a member of the board of trustees of Sam Houston Academy. At the Republican primary election held in Marion county, February 18, 1898, he received the nomination for county court clerk, which is equivalent to an election, as the Democrats did not see proper to oppose him in their convention at the time they nominated the balance of their ticket. It is safe to predict that he will prove a very popular and capable official, as he is at all times and under all circumstances prompt, reliable, energetic and courteous.

JESSE THACH, a well known harness and saddle maker, and a prominent citizen of Jasper, has been identified with the business interests of that city longer than any other man still residing there. He was born in Jasper, May 13, 1830, a son of Josiah D. and Lydia (Parks) Thach, both natives of North Carolina, the former born at Edenton, the county seat or courthouse of Chowan county, the latter in Buncombe county. When a young man the father learned the harness and saddler’s trade, which he continued to follow throughout life. With the Russie family he removed to Franklin county, Tenn., while his future wife went with her people from North Carolina to Grainger county, this State, then floated down the Tennessee river to Mattison county, Ala., where she remained until after her father’s death. She then went to Beene creek, in Franklin county, Tenn., where she gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Thach. In 1826 they came to the Sequatchie valley, where they resided until 1835. In the latter year they removed to Wauhatchie within six miles of Ross’ Landing, but after a short stay returned to Jasper. There the father died in 1840, at the age of forty-five years, but the mother, who was born September 20, 1792, long survived him, dying March 6, 1891, at the extreme old age of ninety-nine years. Until a short time before her death she was still quite active and well preserved. For many years she was a faithful member of the Methodist church. In politics the father was a Whig.

In the family of this worthy couple were eight children, the living being as follows: George, a farmer of Milam county, Texas; Jesse, of this sketch; Joseph, a farmer and carpenter of Alpine, Pulaski county, Ky.; Sarah, widow of John Mattox, of Butler county, Mo.; and William, a resident of Jasper. The deceased are Olliver P., who died at Kimball; Elizabeth, who married A. B. Johnson and died in 1842; and Caroline, who became the wife of William Guinn and died in jasper of recent years.

The schools of Jasper afforded Jesse Thach his educational privileges, and in early life he learned the trade of harness and saddle making. Prior to the war he and his brother O. P. engaged in that business in Jasper. In 1863 he went to Chattanooga and also to Nashville, where he worked for the Federal government. At the close of the war he resumed business in Jasper, and has successfully carried on operations in that place ever since.

Mr. Thach was married, October 8, 1871, to Miss Martha O’Neal, a daughter of Andrew O’Neal, who was born in Dublin, Ireland, and was a blacksmith by trade. He died in the Sequatchie valley and is buried at Jasper. Mr. and Mrs. Thach have five children: Samuel, chief mail clerk on the Louisville & Nashville railroad between Nashville and St. Louis; Julia, at home; Thomas, a baggage and express messenger on the Jasper branch of the Nashville & Chattanooga railroad; Patrick, who is studying law in Jasper; and Andrew, at home. The wife and mother is a devout member of the Methodist church. Socially Mr. Thach affiliates with the Masonic fraternity, and politically is identified with the Republican party.

MELVILLE TURNER, M. D., of Jasper, is one of the ablest and most successful physicians and surgeons of the Sequatchie Valley. He was born August 31, 1857, on a farm five miles above Jasper, and is a son of Washington and Mary E. (Haley) Turner, the former of French, the latter of Irish descent. The father was a native of Faulkner county, Va., born in 1816, and was a son of John Turner, also a native of the Old Dominion, who at an early day removed with his family to a farm in middle Tennessee, and there spent his life. When a young man Washington Turner came to the Sequatchie Valley, where he continued to make his home throughout life. He did not enlist in the Confederate army during the Civil war, but his sympathies were with the South and he did all in his power to advance the cause. He lost heavily by the Union soldiers stealing goods from his store in Jasper, and horses, mules, cattle and hogs from his farm, and they also burned his dwelling, destroying the Bible containing the family records. He also lost several slaves and was much crippled financially. Being taken prisoner by the Union troops, he was carried to Nashville but nearly died on the way. He finally made his escape, returned home, and took his family to Mt. Pleasant, Fla., where they remained for three years. On returning to Jasper, he resumed farming and merchandising. He affiliated with the Masonic lodge at Jasper, and was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. He died December 15, 1896, honored and respected by all who knew him.

Washington Turner was twice married, first at Battle Creek, Tenn., July 17, 1851, to Miss Mary E. Haley, a native of this state, who died in 1859, a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. Three children blessed this union: Laura A., wife of J. C. Kelly, who lives on a farm near Jasper; John, who married Lizzie Peck and is engaged in farming near Inman, Tenn.; and Melville, of this review. In 1860, the father wedded Miss Mary E. Horn, a native of Jackson county, Ala., and a daughter of Andrew and Dolly Horn. By the second marriage there were seven children, namely: South Carolina, wife of R. T. Simpson, a merchant of Jasper; Marion L., who lives on a farm five miles above Jasper; Calhoun B., born in Florida in 1865, who followed farming for several years, then engaged in merchandising in Jasper, but is now interested in agricultural pursuits; he is a stalwart Democrat in politics and cast his first vote for Grover Cleveland; Mollie E., wife of E. M. Prigmore, a real estate dealer of Chattanooga; Washington C., a farmer living five miles above Jasper; Thomas S., who married Lennie Gant and is engaged in farming five miles above Jasper; and Emma C., who lives with her sister in Chattanooga. The mother of these children, who also held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, South, also died in 1876.

Dr. Turner began his literary education in the public schools, and in 1880 entered Vanderbilt University at Nashville, where he pursued a medical course, graduating in 1882, with the degree of M. D. Returning home he opened an office in Jasper, but in 1890 took a six weeks course at the Polyclinic in New York City, where he was granted a certificate. He is a progressive member of his profession, who keeps abreast with the latest discoveries and theories in the science of medicine and surgery by constant study. His skill and ability is attested by the liberal patronage he enjoys, and he ranks among the leading physicians in this section of the state. His political support is always given to the Democracy, and both he and his wife are active and prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South.

On the 23rd of June 1888, Dr. Turner was united in marriage with Miss Mary Cook, who was born in Marion county, August 1, 1868, and is a daughter of P. H. and Mary E. (Alley) Cook. She was educated in the common schools of her native county. The Doctor and his wife have two interesting children: Mary B., born April 8, 1889; and Helen born August 22, 1891.

EMMIT M. VICK, switch-yard engineer at South Pittsburg, for the Tennessee Iron, Coal & Railroad Co., is one of the pioneers of that thriving city, locating there when the greater part of it was farm land and under cultivation. He has seen it in all its stages of growth and development and has held quite a conspicuous place among the thrifty and enterprising citizens who have built up South Pittsburg, and made of it one of the principal manufacturing cities of eastern Tennessee.

Our subject was born in Bledsoe county, Tenn., one mile east of Pikeville, July 26, 1856, a son of Robert and Manervia (Nelson) Vick. The father was born in North Carolina in the year 1810, and is now a resident of Knoxville, Tenn. The mother was born in upper east Tennessee, in the year 1822, and died in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1893. The Vick family were among the first settlers of Bledsoe county, having moved there when our subject’s father was a small boy. He grew to manhood there and, in 1874, moved to Bridgeport, Ala., and from there he moved to Knoxville, Tenn., which he has since made his home. During the war, he was in sympathy with the cause of the North, and in politics he is now identified with the Republican party. His wife was a member of the Baptist church. Her parents settled in Bledsoe county in a very early day. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Vick were the parents of a family of twelve children, of whom we have the following record: Martha, died in childhood; Emeline died in South Pittsburg; John died in Bledsoe county at about the beginning of the war; James is a carpenter and is in the employ of the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia railroad shops at Knoxville, having served in that capacity since the war; Edward was a soldier in the Federal Tennessee regiment, and died of the measles at Flat Lake, Ky., during his service; Mary died when a young woman; Rufus is a carpenter in the employ of the Nashville, Tellico & Charleston railroad shops at Nashville; Ash was a blacksmith and died in Jackson county, Ala.; Virginia is living with her father in Knoxville, Tenn.; Emmit M., the subject of this sketch; Alex died in childhood; Asbury is a blacksmith in Birmingham, Ala.

Our subject spent his school days near Pikeville, Tenn., and attended school in that city. In 1874 he went with his father to Bridgeport, Ala., and helped him on the farm until he was twenty-one years of age, when he entered the employ of the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co. His first service for this company was in their sawmill, but he soon was given a position at the furnaces. He next fired an engine for two years, after which he became engineer on the switch engine and was thus engaged for six years. He then went to Waxahachie, Ellis county, Texas, and after farming for four years in that vicinity, returned to his engine in South Pittsburg, Tenn.

December 19, 1888, Mr. Vick was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Childres, daughter of Mary Childres, who was a native of upper east Tennessee. Mrs. Vick was born in Washington county, Tenn., November 16, 1854. To this union have been born a family of six children, five of whom are now living: John was born September 22, 1879, and died January 13, 1880. The five living are all making their home with their parents, and the following is a list of their names given in the order of their birth: Ellen, Walter, Allie, Sallie and Rufus. Mr. and Mrs. Vick are both members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. Socially our subject affiliates with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is an officer in that lodge, and is also a member of the Modern Woodmen. Politically he is a Republican.

REV. ANDREW J. WILLIS, a well-known minister of the Primitive Baptist church, and a prominent citizen of South Pittsburg, Marion county, Tenn., was born July 1, 1849, in Jackson county, Ala., near the Tennessee state line, and is a son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Matthews) Willis, both of whom were born in Hawkins county, upper east Tennessee. The father was born in 1803, and a son of Larkin Willis and wife, who was a Miss Wilson prior to her marriage. Our subject’s mother was some years younger than her husband and in early life went to Jackson county, Ala., with her parents, James and Elizabeth (Hardin) Matthews. Her father was a very successful farmer and at one time owned all of Crow Valley, Jackson county, Ala. In 1823 was celebrated the marriage of Samuel Willis and Elizabeth Matthews, and of the fourteen children born to them the following reached man and womanhood. (1) Larkin, a veteran of the Mexican war, was for many years connected with the Nashville & Chattanooga railroad; was warden of the Alabama State penitentiary; and died in Jackson county, that state. (2) George W., also deceased, was a farmer of that county and was a soldier in the Confederate army. (3) Frances is the widow of W. W. Anderson, who was a farmer of Franklin county, Tenn., where she still resides. (4) James was a member of Bragg’s army, and being taken sick with measles was sent home, where his death occurred. (5) Michael was a teacher of ability, who died in Franklin county, Tenn., at the age of twenty-one years. (6) Wilson was also in the Confederate service and is now a farmer of Franklin county. (7) Andrew J. is the next of the family. (8) Alfred is a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, now located in Jackson county, Ala. The father of these children, who was a farmer by occupation, died in 1862, and the mother passed away ten years later, honored and respected by all who knew them.

Andrew J. Willis attended Cecilian College of Hardin county, Ky., in 1868, 1869 and 1870, thus completing his literary education. At the age of sixteen years he united with the Primitive Baptist church, two years later commenced preaching, and has now for thiry-two years labored as a minister of the gospel. He has preached in all the churches of his denomination within a radius of one hundred miles from his home, had charge of the Crow Valley church twenty years; the Swedens Cove fifteen years; and now has charge of the churches at Jasper and South Pittsburg. He has been an untiring worker in the Master’s vineyard, has received many into the church and has married thousands. For the past four years he has most creditably served as justice of the peace, and on his removal from Jackson county, Ala., to South Pittsburg in 1890, he was the choice of many for the office of postmaster. Politically he is a Republican, and socially is a member of the Woodmen of the World and the American Guild.

On the 25th of December, 1870, Mr. Willis was united in marriage with Miss Eliza, daughter of Rev. James Wagner, of Franklin county, Tenn., and they have become the parents of nine children, as follows: Mary, wife of a Mr. McCallis, of South Pittsburg; James S., who died in childhood; Rena Viola, wife of D. C. Janey, of South Pittsburg; and Luke W., Thomas Arthur, Willie Hudson, Alice Ethel, Ynectker and Ruth Falley, all at home.


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