Benton County Tennessee
Early Settlers Biographies
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George William Florence was born on September 16, 1832 in Caswell
County, North Carolina. He was the son of Josiah Turner Florence and Avis
Simmons. Josiah's brother, Toliver, also had a son by the name of George W.
Florance. One day, while the children were playing out in Toliver's yard,
the boys made a dog mad. It bit Josiah's son, George on the cheek and left
a bad cut on his face. George William had a thorough and liberal education
in Benton County. At the age of eighteen, he became a salesman at the store
of C.K.Wyly at Camden, Tennessee, remaining there for two years. When the
late Civil War broke out, George donned the gray, and enlisted in 1861. He
joined Company G, 55th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry. He took an active part
in the battles of Island No.10, Chickamauga, Knoxville and numerous other
minor engagements. He was captured twice, the first time, he was exchanged
immediatly. The second time was at the surrender of Fort Donelson to
General Grant on Febuary 16, 1862. He was a prisoner for about eleven
months. George William Florence was serving under the command of General
Robert E. Lee at the time of Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomatox,
Virginia on April 9, 1865.
General Grant allowed the soldiers to keep their mounts and leave after
the surrender. George was tired and a long way from home. He decided to
stop in North Carolina to see his family in Caswell County, and rest. In
those days, people would claim kin with anyone just to get a place to sleep
and some food. George rode into Yancyville, not remembering any of the
roads, only the name of his grandparents. After inquiring in town, he set
out to find his reletives house.
When he rode into the yard, his cousin George came out to see what the
dogs were barking about. It was a bearded Rebel Soldier worn and torn by
war. George dismounted his horse and probably asked, "Are you George
Florence?" The other one hesitated and answered, "Sure, what can I do for
you?" "I'm your cousin George, from Tennessee." Toliver's son George
thought for a minute and said, "If you are truly who you say you are, you
can prove it, and you know how I mean." George parted his beard and there
was the scar on his face were the dog had bit him as a child. Toliver's
son, George W., never fought in the Civil War due to heart trouble.
George William Florence returned to Benton County, Tennessee in May of
1865. The horse George rode during the war was kept in the family until it
died of old age. He resumed working in Mr. Wyly's store. Two years later,
he moved to Henderson County, in the town of Lexington. He got a job as a
clerk in the store of A.R. Hall. They became partners in 1879. In 1882,
George bought out the entire stock and conducted business on his own.
George named his store, "The Golden Rule," in which he carried an extensive
general stock. This included dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes,
furniture, wooden ware, and various other commodities. George was a
democrat and cast his first vote for H. Greeley in 1872. He was also a
Mason, belonging to Lodge No. 67 at Camden, Tennessee. George William
Florence never married, and died on January 22,1909, of heart failure. He
is buried at Lexington City Cemetery, in Henderson County, Tennessee.
The Cain family of the Holladay-Mcillwain area of Benton Co. are descendants
of Henry and Rachel Houston Cain. As far as we now know are not related to
the Marcellus Cain family of Camden. Henry born 1812 Rachel born 1817 in
Ireland. We do not know when they married but their first child was born in
1840. This family was still living in Ireland during the potato famine.
They had four children born in Ireland; Ellen, Samuel, Agnes and Henry. They
immigrated to America in 1847 arriving at Ellis Island New York after nine
weeks aboard a sailing ship. They then made their way to Dearborne County,
IN where four more children were born to them; John, Houston, Mary Jane and
Thomas. We do not know why they chose IN nor do we know why they chose to
move to Benton Co., TN. They arrived at McIllain about 1857. Their ninth
child Enas was born after arriving in Benton Co. The family lived on a farm
just north of McIllwain near Caney Fork church.
The children of Henry and Rachel married into the local families of the area.
Ellen the eldest child was a deaf mute and never married. Agnes married
Joseph Johnson. They in 1878 moved to Murray, KY where they raised their
family of ten children. This family lived on a farm near Murray and all the
children married and lived in the Murray area except for Lilly who married
Sanford Spence of Decatur County. Samuel married Mary Jane McIllwain. This
family also moved to Murray, KY in 1878. They lived on a farm just north of
Murray where they raised a family of ten children. There are still many
descendants of Agnes and Samuel still living in Calloway County, KY. Henry
married Tennefree Tippitt. They had four children two of which reached
adulthood. There are no living descendants of this family. John we cannot
acount for. He disappeared while a teenager, he may have died or moved away.
Houston married Elmedia who bore him seven children. All of these children
married in the McIllwain-Holladay area. There are still many descendants of
Houston and Elmedia Tippitt still living in Benton Co. Mary Jane married
Abraham Murdock Long. Soon after marrying they moved to Fife Texas where
they raised their family. They had two children. Thomas married Cordelia
Lawrance. Thomas lived at McIllwain. Two children were born to this union.
Enas the youngest child married Lillie Coble. Their home place was just east
of McIllwain where they raised two children.
Houston, Samuel and their brother-in-law Joseph Johnson went into the tobacco
business in the early 1870's. Their factory was located just east of
McIllwain where they made plug chewing tobacco. They used a large press with
which to mare the plugs of tobacco which was so popular at the time. The
business did well for some time however in the late 1870's they were forced
out of business by the tobacco monoply which at the time controlled most all
tobacco manufacturing. After the business failed they all three moved to
Murray, KY. Houston however soon moved back to Benton Co. where he became a
fairly successful farmer.
Information from Benton County Histories and Families Vol. 1
Obediah Bullock was born Dec 20, 1815 in NC, moved to Benton County, TN and was m. To Penelope Nobles (b. Apr. 15, 1821) in 1840, daughter of John Nobles and Milly Cherry Nobles, early settlers of the Old Seventh District. By 1850 their real estate was valued at $200; in 1860 it was valued at $1,000.
Their children were (1) Belinda (2) Milly (3) Mary Ann (4) James (5) Silas W. (6) John R. (7) Jeanette Louise (8) Margaret E. (9) Hulda Jane.
(1) Belinda Bullock m. In 1863 Dr. Elijah Alsup, d. Oct. 4, 1868, buried
Ramble Creek Cemetery., Benton Co. Their children: Ruth, Penelope Victory,
Ada E. Belinda re-married to Travis M. Davidson, son of early settler
Abraham Davidson. Belinda was buried in Bullock Cemetery on Sulphur Creek,
her body was removed to McRae's Chapel Cemetery in 1975.
(2) Millly Bullock m. E.A. Pierce in 1865, son of John Pierce Jr., early
settler of the Old Seventh District. Their children: Margaret 1867, Henry
Lee 1868, James N. 1870, Penelope Ann, Rachel 1871.(twins) Margaret m. Jack
McKenzie; Henry Lee m. F.C. Byrns, lived in TX, buried in Quail, TX; James
lived and died in Quail, TX. Penelope Ann married R.E. Farmer lived and died in Quail, TX. Rachel died at age 15, buried Mt. Zion Cemetery. (3) Mary Ann Bullock m. John Farmer and had 6 children. She was buried in Farmer Cemetery in Henry Co., TN. (4) James Bullock, d. 1929, m. Julia E. Brooks 1871-1933. Their daughter Lizzie, m. Nathaniel Rushing. All are buried in Rushing Creek Cemetery, (5) Silas W. M. Delia W. Lindsey in 1876. Buried in McRae's Chapel Cemetery. He spent one year in Texas and Arkansas prospecting, returned to
Big Sandy and followed the carpenters trade until 1881 when he began working
for William Caraway. In Jan. 1886 he engaged in the drug business with
George W. Cantree in Big Sandy, TN. He became postmaster of Big Sandy in
Mar. 1886, m. Dora Rushing on Feb. 18, 1886. They are buried in Rushing
Creek Cemetery. (6) John R. Moved to Texas, m. Had no children, buried in
Burleson, TX. (7) Jeanette Louise m. Thomas N. Garner in 1878. She was b.
1857, died Oct 1, 1936, he was b. Oct 9, 1857 died in Jan 10, 1946. Their
first child was b. Sept. 27, 1880. They are buried in McRae's Chapel
Cemetery. (b) Joseph M. Garner b. Jul 21, 1883 d. Jul 20, 1890, buried
Bullock Cemetery, removed to McRae's Chapel Cemetery in 1975. (c) Ola H. b.
Sept 27, 1880 (d) Katie C. B. Sept 29, 1885 buried in Bakers Chapel Cemetery.
(e) Elbert O. b. Aug 22, 1888, d Oct 7, 1918 in France, buried Arlington
Cemetery, VA (f) Esther b. Oct. 14, 1896 (g) Maude Jeanette b. Dec 26, 1898
d. May 18, 1977, buried McRae's Chapel Cemetery (8) Margaret E. d. Apr 4,
1952, buried Vernon, Collingsworth Co., TX. (9) Hulda Jane d. Feb 2, 1936,
buried Vernon Collingsworth Co., TX.
Obediah Bullock came to Tennessee in 1838-1839, locating in the first year in
Haywood County, TN, then located on Sulphur Creek near Point Mason in Benton
Co. He engaged in farming until his d. On Dec. 25, 1885.
Information from Benton County Histories and Families Vol. 1 Page 83
Elijah Green Flowers was born in Benton County Dec. 10, 1857 and died Mar 25,
1936. He was the son of Green Flowers who was one of the early settlers of
Benton county and served on the first County Court.
He married Belle Barnes and they were the parents of three children: Uris who
lived in AK, Eula who moved to TX and Walter who settled in Henry County, TN.
Belle died at the age of 24. He later married Eva McCullough of Camden.
She was the sister of Ernes McCullough who operated a store in Camden for
many years. Elijah Green and Eva became the parent of six children, three
girls who died before the age of six and three boys; Ernest, born in 1895 and
twins, Tom Rye and Doss Hudson, born in 1900.
Ernest married Ollie Beecham and they spent most of their married life in
Paris, TN. Their only son, Karl Thomas, was killed while raising the flag on
the island of Iwojima during World War II and was buried at sea.
Tom married Thelma Herrin of Camden but six months later he died from lead
poisoning caused from working in a paint factory in Kansas City, MO.
Doss married Nellie Barnes at Big Sandy on Oct. 1, 1921. They had six
children, one girl and five boys; Mary Viola who married Gerald Rushing from
Big Sandy and moved to Detroit, MI; E.G. married Dorothy Irwin of Lafollette,
TN. She passed away in 1985. Doss Wesley married Billa Jean French of Big
Sandy and they stayed in the area; Thomas Lee married MaryBelle Bevill of Big
Sandy; Kenneth Franklin married Laura Church of Shelby, NC and they made
their home there; Robert Dean married Betty Williams of KY and they made
their home in IL.
Ilijah Green Flowers served two terms as Benton County Sheriff as being a
Deputy Sheriff and Town Marshall for both Camden and Big Sandy. His first
term as Sheriff was around 1880 and served his second term in 1922 and 1923.
During the second term, a lynch mob attacked the jail, overcame the Sheriff
and took two prisoners from the jail. They hung them from a tree behind the
jail and shot them.
Elijah Green moved back to the Big Sandy area and lived there for several
yars. He and his wife moved just across the river to Henry county where he
died in 1936. He and both of his wives are buried in Bakers Chapel Cemetery
in Benton County.
Information from Benton County Histories and Families Vol. 1 Page 136
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