Goodspeed's History of Tennessee 1887

Biographies of Weakley County

Biographies - L
Edmon P. LATHAM was born in Beaufort County, N. C., February 8. 1808, where he married Sabina Daniel in 1830 and moved the following year the rugged trip over the mountains to West Tennessee, and located on the North Fork of the Obion River in Weakley County, nine miles north of Dresden on the Dresden & Mayfield road. Here, with his indomitable energy and under embarrassments that few would have overcome, he erected an extension to the successful mills, the first established in the county, and operated them with great success until the date of his death on the 8th of November, 1862. He was, also a most successful farmer, having one of the finest farms in that section of the county.  By great industry and business capacity, he accumulated a handsome estate.   In 1857 he lost his faithful wife, no less noted in the field of her action than he.  They were the parents of four children -- Thomas J., James F., John D. and Fannie B., all of whom are now dead except the oldest two, Thomas and James.  Thomas J. is at present living in Memphis, Tenn., where he is highly esteemed, and has accumulated a handsome fortune, being the owner of large real estate, besides a large interest in the water works, of which he is president, and is said to have the finest mansion in the city.   James F. is engaged in orange culture in Florida.  Few men are more highly esteemed than the subject of this sketch.  He was an old line Whig in politics, though living in a county overwhelmingly Democratic.  He was, without his solicitation, elected sheriff, and to the mortification of all, refused to be a candidate for re-election.  His memory is still retained by his old neighbors and all who knew him as the charitable friend of the poor and needy.  No worthy applicant ever left his mill without bread.  Though a quarter of a century has closed since he passed away, his old neighborhood and a new post office, recently established, bear his honored name.

W. T. LAWLER, M. D., of Martin, Tenn., was born in Weakley County, Tenn., in 1838. His parents, Martin and Nancy Lawler, were born in Virginia and Tennessee in 1786 and 1802 and died in 1851 and 1885, respectively. The father was a soldier in the war of 1812, and came to Tennessee about 1823, locating first in Henry and later in Weakley County.  He was surveyor of the latter county thirty years and was well known  throughout this and the adjoining counties.   Our subject was educated in the schools near his home and in 1865 entered the office of Dr. D. W. Dibrell, of Mt. Pelia and remained with him two years.  He then took two courses of lectures at the Nashville Medical University and graduated from that institution in the spring of 1868.  He practiced in Mt. Pelia until 1880, building up a large practice.  At the latter date he moved to Martin, where he has a drug store, the cash sales of which amount to about $9,000 per year.  He has an interest in the planing-mill at Martin, and is president of the company.  He has a fine stock farm of 400 acres which is also adapted to growing grain.  Dr. Lawler is a man of fine business qualities and has acquired all his property since the late war.  Fannie McCain became his wife in 1871. She was born in Trigg County, Ky., in 1850, and is a daughter of John and Carrie McCain.   The Doctor and his wife became the parents of six children, only four of whom are living: Herbert, Mommie (sic)*, Johnnie and Carrie.  The Doctor moved to Martin in order to give his children better school facilities.  He is a Democrat and Mason and a member of the Christian Church.  In May, 1861, he enlisted in Company G, Ninth Tennessee Infantry, and upon the reorganization he was made second lieutenant of the company. He then served in Company I, Twenty-second Tennessee Cavalry, and was promoted to first lieutenant.  He was at Shiloh and many other hard-fought battles.  He was wounded September 24, 1864, so severely as to necessitate the amputation of the arm.   He returned home in November, 1864.
(*"Mommie" is in the original Goodspeed.  A descendant says her name was Mamie Trigg Lawler.)

Robert LEWIS, editor and proprietor of the Enterprise at Dresden, was born in 1856, in Chattanooga, Tenn. His parents, P. E. and Harriet N. (Rawlings) Lewis, were born in Virginia and Tennessee in 1824 and 1827, and were married in 1835.   The father learned the brick mason and plasterer's trade when a boy, but on coming to Tennessee, in 1851, engaged in the manufacture of brick.  In 1868 he moved to Union City, Tenn., where he now resides.   Of their four children, our subject is the only surviving member.   His sister Emma (Mrs. H. L. Park) died quite recently.  The mother had three children by a previous marriage, Victoria (wife of W. B. Giddings) being the only one now living.   Mrs. Lewis' father, Reason Rawlings, was a pioneer settler of Chattanooga, being a resident of the place when it was known as Ross' Landing.   He was also the founder of Rawlingsville, Ala., now known as Fort Payne.  Mr. Rawlings was appointed Indian agent of the Cherokees by the United States Government, acting in that capacity at the time the Cherokees were removed west of the Mississippi.   Our subject was educated at Union City, Tenn., and made his parents'  house his home until twenty-one years of age.  He taught school a short time and then began learning journalism.  He entered the office of   N. B.  Morton, editor of the Union City Reveille, remaining six months.   He continued that work, however, in Fulton, Chattanooma, Gadsden, Atlanta and Nashville. In April, 1882, he came to Dresden and became editor and proprietor of the Dresden Democrat.  In 1888 he established the Enterprise which is the leading paper of the county, having a circulation of 600 weekly subscribers.  November 3, 1881, he married Addie Cardwell, daughter of M. D. and P. A. Cardwell, and by her is the father of the following children: Ida Belle, Hugh Barr  and Roberta (deceased). Mr. Lewis is a Democrat and his first presidential vote was east for Hancock. He has fought   manfully for the suppression of the liquor traffic and was one of the leaders in banishing it from Dresden.  He is a member of the Presbyterian and his wife of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

Thomas I. LITTLE, clerk of the Weakley County Court, was born in Graves County, Ky., on the 15th of November, 1835, son of James M. and Nancy G. (Mobley) Little, who were of English and English-Irish descent, born in Tennessee and Kentucky in 1815 and 1817, and died in 1865 and 1846 respectively.   Isaac Little, grandfather of our subject, was born in North Carolina, and was a very early emigrant to Tennessee.   He was a soldier in the war of 1812.   James M. Little came to Weakley County, Tenn., in 1833, but moved to Graves County, Ky., where he was married in 1834, and there spent the remainder of his days.  He was twice married, and was the father of three children by his first marriage and two by his second wife, whose maiden name was Winiford Ann Barton, who is now deceased. Thomas I., our subject, was educated in the schools of his neighborhood.   At the age of nineteen he entered a dry goods store at Dukedom as clerk and remained about twelve years.    In 1870 he became a resident of Dresden, and in January of that year he was elected county surveyor and served by re-election eight years.  In 1882 he was elected to his present office and has proved to be an able and efficient officer, giving entire satisfaction to his constituents.   He has been a lifelong Democrat, and his first presidential vote was cast for John C. Breckenridge.  He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, Lodge No. 95; I.O.O.F., Lodge No. 5, and A.0.U.W.   May 22, 1860, he married Sarah L. Roberts, daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann (Clemons) Roberts. Mrs. Little was born February 4, 1844, and is the mother of the following family: Jefferson D., Thomas McEwen, John W., Koskiusko, Maud, Maggie, Richard M. and Mary Gray.

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