Benton County Tennessee

Goodspeed Biographies

H. Rushing, commission merchant and farmer at Point Mason was born in 1825 in Benton County, Tenn., son of Robert and Lively (Webb) Rushing. The father was a native of North Carolina, was of Welsh origin and in 1824 left his native State and immigrated to Benton County, W. Tenn. He located on Rushing Creek, it being named after brother Able and his cousins, Willis and Dennis Rushing, who had settled here as early as 1818. Robert was one of the pioneer settlers and was quite successful as a tiller of the soil, owning upward of 800 acres. He died in 1854, aged about sixty-four. His wife, Lively Webb, was a native of South Carolina; she died in 1866 about seventy-six years of age. Our subject received his education in the country schools and at Camden He remained with his parents till thirty-one years of age. In 1855 he located at Point Mason and engaged in his present business. In April of the same year he married Elizabeth Lashley, a native of Benton County, Tenn., born March, 1835, and the daughter of Anderson and Eliza Lashley. To our subject and wife were born six children: Robert, Horace, Eliza (Mrs. Goodlin), Lillie, Lucy and Lizzie. Mr. Rushing has lived at Point Mason for the past thirty-six years, where he has been actively engaged in merchandising and superintending his large farm. In 1870 he erected a two-story brick store-room at a cost of $3,000. Mr. Rushing is the possessor of upward of 5,500 acres and is the largest land holder in Benton County. In politics he has been a life-long Democrat, casting his first vote for Lewis Cass in 1848. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Camden Lodge, and also a member of Methodist Episcopal Church South. Mrs. Rushing is a member of Presbyterian Church.


W. C. Rushing, farmer of the Eighth District, was born in Benton County in 1826, and is one of a family of ten children born to Willis and Mary (Rasberry) Rushing. The father was of Welsh origin, born in Anderson County, N. C., about the year 1790, and was a farmer by occupation. In 1818 he immigrated to Benton County, W. Tenn., and entered 80 acres of land in the Fifth District, where he located and passed the remainder of his days. Rushing Creek was named for him, his brother Dennis and his cousin, Able Rushing. At the time of him death which occurred in 1855, he owned 1,000 acres of good land. His wife, Mary, was a native of North Carolina, and died in 1862 at about the age of sixty-five years. W. C. Rushing was reared at home, receiving his education in Benton County, and making his home with his parents until he was twenty-five years of age. In 1855 he married Miss Sophiah Rushing, a daughter of Robert Rushing, born in 1834 and a native of Benton County. They have twelve children: Dora, wife of Silas Bullock; Robert W., Lee, Walter, John, Ida, Etta, Sophiah, Rachel, Holden, Nat and Finis. Mr. Rushing has always been a resident of Benton County, and during the many years has proven to be a man of honesty and integrity. By his energy, industry and good management he now owns upward of 1,000 acres of land and has a good home well improved. lie is a life-long Democrat, casting his first vote for Lewis Cass in 1848. Mr. Rushing is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Lodge No. 179 of Camden, and he and wife are influential members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


Alexander H. Smith, M.D., was born August 17, 1841, in Lauderdale County, Ala., and is the oldest of a family of seven children born to John A. and Margaret C. (Wood) Smith, of which our subject, one brother and two sisters are the only surviving members. The father was born in Wake County, N. C., came to Nashville when young and here remained several years. He then went to Florence, Ala., about 1839, and from 1840 to 1850 was interested in the stage and mail line from Nashville to Florence, via Boliver, Jackson, etc. At Florence he met and married the mother of our subject. She was of English and Welsh extraction. The parents of our subject were citizens of Florence and there died in 1864 and 1865 respectively. The father was engaged in the mercantile trade there for several years, and at the breaking out of the war was postmaster of the town. Our subject remained with his parents till the beginning of hostilities between the North and South, when he enlisted in the Sixteenth Alabama Confederate Infantry, with which he served throughout the war. He then engaged in the drug trade at Florence till 1868. He attended session 1868-69 of the medical department of the University of Louisville, and located at Patriot Landing, Perry County, where he followed his chosen profession till 1875, at which date he located at his present residence in Benton County, near Sugartree Postoffice, Decatur County, and has since enjoyed a lucrative practice. March 2, 1870, he married Isabel Vise, a native of Perry County, by which union three sons and four daughters have been born, all but one son still living. Mrs. Smith is a member of the Methodist Church and Mr. Smith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and also of the F. & A. M. Politically he is identified with the Democratic party.


James M. Spencer, farmer, was born November 14, 1827, in Maury County, Tenn., and is one of a family of six children born to Frederick and Ellen (Wheat) Spencer, our subject, two brothers, and two sisters being the surviving members. The father was a native of North Carolina, came to Maury County when young, married there, then moved to Hickman County about 1830 and resided there till his death, 1837. The mother reared the family there, and moved to Perry County, 1853, where her death occurred in 1870. Our subject remained at home till twenty-three years old, then married Mary Williams, a native of Smith County, and followed farming in Perry County till 1884, at which date he moved to Benton County locating at his present residence, a farm of 270 acres, four miles south of Camden. He served in Cox's Regiment from 1863 till the evacuation of Shelbyville, then returned home and has since continued farming. To the marriage above referred to, four sons and five daughters have been born, four sons and three daughters still living. Mr. Spencer and family are members of the Methodist Church, and politically he is a Democrat.


Jeremiah Thompson, merchant of Camden, Tenn., and a native of Benton County, of that State, was born April 2, 1839; son of William and Penelope (Holland) Thompson, natives respectively of Virginia and North Carolina. The parents both came to Tennessee in their youthful days, at the beginning of the present century. They married in Dickson County and came to Benton County a year later. The father followed agricultural pursuits until his death in 1842. The mother is still living at the advanced age of eighty-nine. Our subject grew to manhood on the farm and secured but a limited education in boyhood. He farmed until 1877 when he came to Camden and engaged in mercantile business in the present firm of McDaniel & Thompson. He has contributed largely to the success of this well known and leading firm in Benton County. June 2, 1882, he married Frances Cowell of this city. He has seven living children by his former marriage with Emily J. Thompson (now deceased). Our subject is a staunch Republican in politics, was a participant in the late war, but was a firm supporter of the Union. He is a Master Mason and held the office of deputy sheriff of Benton County in 1868-69.


Robert B. Travis, M. D., of Camden, is a native of Henry County, Tenn., born May 18, 1832, and a son of Silas and Virginia (Caruthers) Travis, both natives of North Carolina. They came to Tennessee as early as, or before, 1825, locating first in Middle Tennessee, and some four years later removed to Henry County, where they died. The Doctor was reared to manhood on a farm in his native county, and received an academical education. In 1854 he began the study of medicine, and attended Memphis Medical College one course, of lectures. He began practicing in Missouri where he continued two years; he then entered a drug establishment at Lake Providence, La., and studied chemistry and pharmacy, after which he accepted a position as professor of languages in Carroll Institute of that city two terms; later he held a similar position in Conyersville (Tenn.) High School. November, 1856, he came to Camden, was in charge of the academy ten months, when he attended a course of medical lectures at Memphis, Tenn. He then engaged in the practice of medicine which he has continued to the present time. He conducted the Benton Banner two years and later established the Camden Herald in company with E. M. Travis, which they conducted eighteen months. Dr. Travis has been twice married. In November, 1858, he married Mary J. Gillespie, who died April 26, 1860, leaving one child, James V. February 10, 1861, he married Sarah J. Cowell. They have three children Charles N., Viola F. and Eugene E. The Doctor is a Democrat, a Mason and he as well as wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.


Christopher K. Wyly, a prominent and highly respected pioneer citizen of Camden, Tenn., was born in Sequatchie Valley, Tenn., February 2, 1807, and is a son of Harris K. and Arty (Taylor) Wyly, natives respectively of the Old Dominion State and Tennessee. The father came to Tennessee when a young man in the year 1790, and located at Jonesboro, Tenn., where he married. He followed mercantile pursuits in Georgia a few years and spent twenty years or more in agricultural pursuits in Alabama. He died in East Tennessee about 1835. Our subject passed his youthful days in Alabama in securing a limited education in the primitive log schoolhouse of those early days. At the age of nineteen be came to Tennessee and located on the Tennessee River at Old Reynoldsburg, where he began life as a clerk in a mercantile establishment. In 1838 he came to Camden and engaged in the mercantile business for himself, and has devoted his entire life to that business ever since. Mr. Wyly has been one of the few very successful business men of Benton County. He started in life with but little if any capital, but by indomitable industry has succeeded in accumulating a handsome competency, notwithstanding the fact that he lost over $100,000 during the late war. Before the war Mr. Wyly was an old line Henry Clay Whig, and he was strongly opposed to the Rebellion, but after the State was voted out and the Union virtually dissolved, his sympathy and means were extended to the people of the South. In 1839 he married Lemira C. Pavatt, a sister of old Chancellor Stephen C. Pavatt. She died in March, 1876, and left these children: Harris K.; Carrie C., wife of J. S. Bartlett of Texas, and Eva G. Mr. Wyly is not a member of any fraternal or sectarian institution, but is a believer in the Christian religion. He is one of the county's most reliable and successful citizens.


Dr. J. R. Young, whose residence is eight miles northeast of Big Sandy, was born in Stewart County, Middle Tenn., in 1836, and is a son of Elisha and Sarah (Scarborough) Young. The father was born in Dickson County, Tenn., in 1803, and was of English extraction. He was a collier by trade and in connection did farming. At the time of his marriage he was living in Stewart County, and in 1844 he moved to Decatur County, W. Tenn., where he died February, 1845. His wife was born in Stewart County, Tenn., in 1813, and died in 1877. The subject of this sketch was reared at home and received his literary education in the common schools of Stewart and Benton Counties. At the age of fourteen he started out on life's rough road for himself. He worked for some time on the farm as a day laborer. In 1856 he came to Benton County, and soon commenced the study of medicine, his preceptor being Dr. P.B. Adams. He followed the Doctor's advice for nearly a year, and in 1858 engaged in the practice of his chosen profession. October 9, 1860, he married Jane Ross, and to them were born two children: David E. and Mary Jane (Mrs. B. F. Stockdale). Mrs. Young died in 1867, and November of the following year he married Nannie Askew, who bore him seven children: William W., Sallie, Vibella, Elbert and Gilbert (twins), Walter and Flora. The Doctor lost his second wife July 20, 1885, and May 26, 1886, he married Parlee (Wyatt) Metheny. He has been a resident of Benton County since 1856, and since 1858 he has constantly practiced his profession. He has also carried on his farming interests and has 600 acres of good land. In politics the Doctor is a Democrat, and cast his first vote for Breckinridge. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Big Sandy Lodge, No.290, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, the Doctor being a member for the past thirty-eight years.



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