Benton County Tennessee
Early Settlers Biographies
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Henry Franklin Abbott, b. 1848 at Crockett Gully's/Holiday/Benton County.
Buried in the Plesant Hill Cemetary. Henry was m. 4 times.
1st: Caroline Poleston. b. 1846. d. 9-1860. Buried at Plesant Hill Cemetary.
2nd wife: Martha Elizabeth Norwood b. 1860. d.12-9-1887(myggandma).
3rd wife: Amanda Louise Allen. b.10-18-1865. d. 5-10-1906. buried at Plesant
Hill Cemetary. (he was married the 4th time but I don't know her name but she
too was buried in Plesant Hill).
Crockett Gully's was located approximately 14 miles west of the Tennesse
river & Sugar Tree. Approx. 3 miles north of Natchez Trace Park. When Davy
Crockett and family were on their way to the Almo in Texas in 1932, they
stopped and camped along the beautiful white sand at a large gully. His
cousin and family became ill and could not continue on. they built a cabin.
Afetr that other settlers came along. It was a good place to camp. Henry
Abbott's family came and whne he married his 2nd wife,my greatgrandmother
Martha Elizabeth Norwood, they had the first griss mill.
Henry Franklin Abbott, born 1848. Died 12-7-1914. Buried at Pleasant Hill
Missionary Baptist church cemetary on Eva road. Henry was married 4 times.
1st wife: Caroline Poleston, born 1846. Died 9-1860. Buried at Pleasant hill
2nd wife: Martha Elizabeth Norwood born 1860. Died 12-9-1887. Buried at
Pleasant Hill cemetary.
3rd wife: Amanda Louise Allen. Born 10-18-1865. Died 5-10-1906. Buried at
Pleasant Hill Cemetary.
4th wife: Don't have any information on her(if you know J.C. Hedges, he's my
first cousin. His daddy and my daddy were halfbrothers and is mother is my
great aaunt and half sister of my grandma Courdie Kee and daughter of Henry's
3rd wife Amanda Louise Allen.
Thomas Kee and wife Elizabeth Allen. Brother of Luther kee. Thomas Kee was a
horseman. He raced horses and sold them. All are buried at Cross Roads
Baptist church cemetary.. Don't know the date. Maybe some of our family will
see this, go to the cemetary and get the info for you.
Thomas and Elizabeth had 3 children. Polly, Luther and Albert Arthur. Polly
married a Smothers (relatives of Smothers that owned the Camden theater).
Luther Kee is the father of Emma Kee Smothers, married to Albert
smothers.Iver Kee Hicks was married to Marvin Hicks(I believe all have died.
maybe their family can give info.).
Albert Arthur Keewas born 9-23-1884 in Crockett Gully's.
Cordia Abbott, daughter of Henry and Martha Elizabeth Norwood, was born
3-3-1886 at Crockett Gully's.
Cordie Abbott & Albert Arthur were married in 1900. They had 7 children.
Thomas, Flora may, Ray, Carlie, Albert, Jewell and Bernice.
Thimas(9), Ray(12) Carlie (18 months) & Albert(21) are the ages when they
died and were buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetary. Albert was the father of
Dennis Earl Kee of Camden.
Thomas Jackson Kee, son of Charles Kee and Amy Sykes born in 1826. Died in
Benton County. Charles Kee was the son of Holloway Kee Sr. and Elizabeth
Williams, daughter of Charles Williams. All of the Kee's are buried in Pleasant Hill Baptist church cemetary.
Children of Thomas Jackson and Elizabeth Kee are: Albert Author(my grandpa),
Sarah, Mary Elizabeth, Daniel Jackson, Luther A., John Allen, Nora
Martha Yarbo "Mattie" Kee(Wimberley/Baker), and Ada Bell.
Elizabeth Allen Kee (my ggrandma)' s father was John "Jack" Allen.
Martha Elizabeth Norwood Abbott was the mother of my grandma Cordelia D.
Abbott Kee (b. 3-3-1886 at Crockett Gully's. d. 9-6-1963 at home(Camden,Tn)
Buried at Pleasant Hill Baptist church cemetary.
Albert Author Kee b. 9-23-1883 near the old home place where I was born on
Natchez Trace road, 9 miles south of Camden. Died 9-6-1959 at home.Buried at
Pleasant Hill Baptist church cemetary.
Flora Mae Kee Hedges Wade(my mom) b. 8-3-1904 on N. T. Rd. d. in
Whitesveille,Ky 3-10-1981. Buried at Cross Roads Cemetary.
Washie Green Hedges(my dad) B. 11-24-1895 at Crockett Gully's/Holiday,Tn. d.
9-22-1963 at Camden Clinic. B. in Cross Roads Cemetary.
My brother Leonard D. Hedges b. 8-14-1925. d. 4-30-1969 at Camden. Buried by
mom and dad at Cross roads cemetary.
Jacob Browning Florence was born on December 23, 1838 in Benton County,
Tennessee, son of Josiah Turner Florence and Avis Simmons.
He was named after Josiah's friend and neighbor, the Elder Jacob
pioneer Baptist preacher of Benton County. Our Jacob Browning Florence was
educated and was a Phycian in Benton County for several years. Although he
as "Doctor" Florence, Jacob never had a medical degree, but his study and
medicine was widely sought by many who had aches and pains in Benton
Records show that Jacob was still delivering babies around the County in
1909 and 1910.
State of Tennessee, Benton County: December 30, 1841;
Jacob B. Florence assignee____of Sam'l Douglas by Virtue of certif
_18 NC warrant
No. 3661 issued by the Secretery and Camp of West Tennessee for forty-eight
enters one fourth acre of the same in B. County in range 74 Section 5
beginning at the
South East Corner of occupant entry in the name of Franklin Rushing on
Pierce now lives runs North five poles thence East 46 for complimant.
Josiah T. Florence
December 30, 1841
Filed December 30, 1841
Jacob Browning Florence married Cynthia Jane Greer in the Rocky Ridge
Benton County on October 16, 1862. Cynthia was born on January 17, 1843 in
County, in the area called Rocky Ridge. She was the daughter of Hezikah
Greer who was
born April 4, 1807 in Stewart County, Tennessee and died in Benton County
28, 1862. Her Mother was Mary Wyatt, born on December 27, 1805 in South
and died on May 24, 1865 in Benton County. Jacob and Cynthia's marriage
bond reads as
"16 Oct 1862, J.B. Florence & Cinthia B. Greer Md: 16 Oct 1862, I
Jacob served the Confederacy during the Civil War. He enlisted on May
20, 1861 at
Paris, Tennessee. He was a part of Company E, 5th Tennessee Regiment,
Infantry. He was
to have taken part in the terrible Battle of Shiloh, but his first day out,
Jacob came down
with a bad case of measles, and was delirious with fever. After the battle
Shiloh," it was time for his Company to move on. They left Jacob to recover
at the home
of an old couple who lived at the edge of the battlefield. When Jacob got
well, he had no
idea where his Regiment had gone. So Jacob started to make his way back to
Benton County. He got a ride on a stagecoach that was stopped on the Union
lines. The Union
was stopping people to look for southerners to sign their allegence to the
stage coach driver convinced the Union soldiers that Jacob was not a
Confederate, but an
extra driver on the coach. This got him safely though the Union lines and
On April 22, 1867, a document shows that Jacob and his wife, Cynthia,
selling 80 acres
of their land to Samuel H. Madden in consideration for the payment of
$500.00. They also
sold a parcel of land containing 20 acres in Benton County to a James M.
the sum of $50.00. This was dated on October 26, 1871.
On October 15, 1879, J.B. Florence sold another tract of land,
containing 10 acres to
C.C. Vicke for the consideration of the sum of $100.00.
Jacob Browning Florence served as a member of Camp 1014, of the United
Confederate Veterans. He was also a Delegate to the Populist State
Nashville, Tennessee (this information is out of a paper dated, April 20,
1900). During a
period of agricultural depression, many farmers formed alliances designed
themselves a stronger element in national, state and local politics. A
natural sort of
outgrowth of this political activity was the Populist Party which fostered
programs but failed because of it's limited appeal. Dr. J.B. Florence was
strongest supporters and leaders in Benton County. For a time, around the
turn of this
century, the local Populists were a group to be heeded somewhat as some of
represented a better class of farmer folk.
Jacob died on September 30, 1911 of heart failure. After Jacob died,
his wife Cynthia
filed for his Civil War Pension. In the application, Cynthia stated that
Jacob came home
from the war to recover from a severe sickness. After a year at home, he
service and joined Forrest's Command, and fought in the battle of
returned home after only a few days due to his health. She filed for the
pension on June 1,
1913. It was rejected on July 10, 1913, because J.B. Florence had deserted
on May 23,
1862 from Company E, and no later record of his sevice. There was another
Record that showed the following:
Confederate Soldiers Service Records, North Carolina Troops F 976 M 22C:
Florence, J.B., 2 Co. C. 5 Tenn Inf.
In the appllication, she stated that she had a life estate of about 90
acres of thin hill land,
about 30 to 35 acres open, and the place was valued at $600.00. This was
all the land
Jacob owned at the time of his death.
Cynthia Jane died on March 9, 1914 of paralysis. Jacob and Cynthia are
together at Rushing's Creek Missionary Baptist Churchyard in Benton County.
Cynthia Jane Florence's tombstone at Rushing's Creek Churchyard is
misspelled. It reads,
"Cynthia J. Florrence."
Artie Miss Florence was born on August 29, 1863. She was the first
child born to Jacob
and Cynthia. She married Lucian Thomas Elmore on September 17, 1879 in Benton
County. Lucian T. Elmore was born on April 20, 1856, and was the son of Edward
Elmore and Caroline Boswell. Artie was known as the "shouting Methodist."
She died on
March 18, 1943. Her husband died three years earlier on March 15, 1940.
They are buried
at Liberty Methodist Church in Benton County, Tennessee.
The children of Lucian Thomas Elmore and Artie Miss Florence were:
1. Napoleon "Polie" Elmore Born: July 11, 1880
2. Clara Elmore Born: Sept. 4, 1885
3. Luther Elmore Born: May 17, 1892
4. Carlos Elmore Born: Oct. 1, 1894 Died: July 19, 1969
5. Lavonie Elmore Born: Oct. 28, 1897 Died: Nov. 14, 1978
6. Ernie Elmore Born: April 13, 1900
7. Tommy Elmore Born: Jan. 19, 1905 Died: 1961
Mary Avis Florence was born on December 2, 1865. She married on
1882, to Asbury Newton Presson, who was born November 4, 1863 and died in
parents of Asbury N. Presson were Ellis Presson and Catherine Spars
Rushing. He was
known as "Pa Newt," son of a Union Soldier. There has been conflicting
information if his
name was William Asbury Newton Presson or Asbury Newton Presson - I have no
written proof of either. Mary Avis died in 1954. They are buried in Benton
County at an
unknown location as of this writing.
The children of Asbury Newton Presson and Mary Avis Florence were:
1. Effie Presson Born: Feb. 1885 Died: Jan. 10, 1967
2. Nora Presson Born: Aug. 13, 1887
3. Arthur K. Presson Born: March 25,1890
4. Herman Winfred Presson Born: April 22, 1893 Died: Sept. 28, 1968
5. Cloris or Clovis Presson Born: July 18, 1895
6. Ida C. Presson Born: Sept. 5, 1897
7. Ellis Wilbur Presson Born: Sept. 11, 1901
8. Cloie Presson Born: Nov. 13, 1903
9. Eugene Cyrus Presson Born: Nov. 20, 1906
10. Child Presson ( Mary A. Presson was listed in 1910 as having 10
children, 9 living.)
George Washington Florence was born in 1867 in Benton County. (See
Sarah Elizabeth Florence was born on December 25, 1869. She married
Alvin H. Bain
on November 2, 1886 in Benton County. Alvin was born in July of 1871. Sarah
died in August of 1955. She and Alvin are buried at Pleasant Hill Methodist
Benton County. The only child known born to them was a daughter born about
name is not known.
Rebecca Cordelia "Delia" Florence was born in Benton County on, April
13, 1871. On
November 26, 1887, she married William Alexander Sparks in Benton County.
(Bill) Sparks was born in May 13, 1866 and died in December 28, 1947 in
Tennessee of a Stroke. He was the son of Dr. James Thomas Sparks and Nancy
Weatherly. William Alexander Sparks was known by his friends as "Bill"
Sparks, by his
children and grandchildrenas "Pappy Bill" Sparks and as "Mr. Bill" by his
was tall in statue, standing over 6 feet and weighing more than 250 pounds.
He had a deep
rough voice that demanded attention from his children and grandchildren.
Pappy Bill was
always seen wearing his big black hat. He was a heavy eater with a passion
for home cured
country ham. He often ate ham three times a day, and he expected "Mammy
Dee" to have
a dessert on hand to finish off his meal.
Bill Sparks made farming his lifes work. He owned automobiles but never
took the time
to learn to drive. The driving was left to one of the children, usually his
son, Ray. Today,
he would be known as a back-seat driver as he would ride in the rear seat
driver directing the speed, turns and direction. Rebecca Cordelia
Dee," was well known for her good cooking and each summer she canned many
fruits and vegtables. Bill and Cordelia had a strong belief in God and they
members of the Rushing Creek Baptist Church located in the Rushing Creek
of Benton County. It was said that Bill, along with his brother's, Sam and
Jake, were the
pillars of the church.
Rebecca Cordelia died October 27, 1951 in Benton County of a Heart
burial place is in Rushing Creek Cemetery.
The children of William Alexander Sparks and Rebecca Cordelia Florence
1. Virgil Harrison Sparks Born: October 30, 1888 Died: Nov. 29, 1948
2. James T. Sparks Born: March 7, 1891 Died: June 3, 1967
3. Jacob Roy Sparks Born: Jan 11, 1894 Died: June 30, 1962
4. Ida Sparks Born: August 16, 1896 Died: Feb. 25, 1979
5. Ada Sparks Born: April 14, 1899
6. Zula M. Sparks Born: November 27, 1900 Died: April 18, 1988
7. Beulah Sparks Born: April 3, 1904 Died: Nov. 1, 1969
8. Lovie Sparks Born: April 27, 1907 Died: Oct 22, 1958
9. William Ray Sparks Born: Jan. 27, 1909 Died: Jan. 19, 1992
10. Allie Marie Sparks Born: Jan. 18, 1913
11. Cynthia Ophelia Sparks Born: April 21, 1918 Died: Nov. 4, 1970
Elbert H. Florence was born on July 17,1875. The 1900 Census of Benton
showed Elbert living as a boarder of Charley Hubbs. He married Lena Beaver
Crockett County, Tennessee in 1917. Lena was born about 1876 in Tennessee.
considered a well educated man who taught school in Benton County, as well
counties. It is believed he met his wife while teaching in Crockett County.
They moved to
El Paso, Texas, where Elbert commited suicide in 1929. They had only one
son, who is
also deceased. He was John W. Florence, who was born circa 1908 in New
1910 Soundex of Texas showed that Elbert was raising 4 stepchildren that
his wife Lena. They were, Eva, age 16, Willie, age 12, Conrad, age 9, and
Nina, age 7.
They were all listed as being born in Tennessee, and carried the last name
showing that Lena's maiden name was not Ballentine as always been thought,
but that of a
possible first marriage.
Robert Gillian Florence was born in Benton County on July 20, 1878. On
1900, he was wed to Jeannie (Genie) L. Davidson. While doing a marriage
I found two marriage bonds with Jeannie Davidson listed just a day apart.
The first one
was recorded on September 4, 1900. She was listed as going to marry Martin
On the 5th of September she was listed again to marry R.G. Florence. The
story on this
that was told was that Jeannie was in love with both men, and could not
decide which one
to marry. So, she set both men in a room with four chairs that faced away
from the door.
The men were to sit in two of these chairs and she would enter the room
and whoever she sat down beside of would be the one she would wed. She sat
to Robert Gillian Florence and they were married. Robert also was a Benton
Magistrate, (the dates of his service is not yet known), following in the
footsteps of his
grandfather, Josiah Turner Florence. he also was elected to the Benton
Commitee at the July term in 1907. Robert was a democrat. Eugenie Davidson
in 1885 and died in 1933. She was the daughter of James B. Davidson and
Robert Gillian died on October 1, 1932. Both are buried in Camden City
The Children of Robert Gillian Florence and Eugenie Davidson were:
1. Emory Carmack Florence Born: Sept. 17, 1907 Died: Oct. 10, 1946
2. Olive C. Florence Born: 1910
James Oscar Florence was born on August 29, 1880 in Benton County,
was a Telegraph Operator by trade. James was employed with the
Railroad. Later he was a station Master at McEwen. He married Maude
on January 2, 1904 in Benton County, Tennessee. He went by "Oscar" all of
Maude was the daughter of George Farmer Garner and Josephine Katherine
Maude Garner was born September 16, 1883 in Sulphur Creek, Benton County,
Tennessee, which is now in the Big Sandy Postal area. Maude was a member of
Methodist Church of the Eastern Star. She died on January 24, 1976 in the
Green Valley Medical Center, in Dickson, Dickson County, Tennessee. She is
buried on January 25,
1976 in McEwen Cemetery in Humpreys County.
James Oscar Florence died on June 23, 1958 in McEwen, Humphreys County,
of a Stroke at his home after doing yard work during the heat of the day.
He is buried in
The children of James Oscar Florence and Maude Garner were:
1. Mary Lucille Florence Born: November 14, 1904 Died: March 30, 1990
2. Measie Florence Born: 1906-1907 Died: 1906-1907: in infancy.
3. Basil Eugene Florence Born: June 7, 1906 Died: 1992
4. Thomas Harold Florence Born: May 23, 1908 Died: Sept. 1982
5. Moselle Marguerite Florence Born: Jan. 25, 1911
6. James Blount Florence Born: March 1, 1913 Died: June 22, 1995
7. Cynthia Josephine "Jo" Florence Born: May 29,1915 Died: September
8. John Pershing Florence Born: April 6, 1918 Died: July 19, 1997
9. George Browning Florence Born: June 22, 1923 Died: August 19, 1939
Finis Uing Florence was the last child born to Jacob and Cynthia. He
was born on
March 24, 1883. He was named Finis because of being the last child born. It
is the Latin
word for "Finished." On November 28, 1917, he married Ona Whitfield, who
December 9, 1890. She was the daughter of Obediah and Emiline Whitfield.
Ona was a
school teacher at the Liberty School in 1910. The Whitfield heirs donated
the land to the
Benton County Education Department in 1921, to build a new school.
The old Liberty school had became run down, so the new building was
built on the
Whitfield property, ajacent to the to the old one. Finis Florence was one
of the teachers at
Liberty, and is probably were he met his wife. Finis ran a street car in
Memphis for a time,
and returned to Benton County to care for his ailing mother, Cynthia Jane,
who died soon
In later years, Finis became a mail carrier in Camden. There is a
street in Camden called
"Florence Street." It was named for Finis Florence, who once owned the
tract of land the
street and surrounding neiborhoods are on. Finis and Ona never had any
Florence died in July 18,1970, and Ona died of congestive heart failure on
1986 (month and day are not on her tombstone). He and his wife are buried
Methodist Church Cemetery in Benton County.
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