WILLIAM R. CRAIG, grain dealer, was born a few miles west of Pulaski, Tenn., November 21, 1852, son of W. J, and Virginia (Abernathy) Craig, and is of Scotch-Irish lineage. His father and mother were born in Tennessee and Virginia in 1820 and 1831, respectively. The Craig family came to Tennessee in 1815, and settled in Williamson County, and in 1840 came to Giles County, Tenn., and here the father died in 1884. William R. was the eldest of his six children. He was educated in Woodlawn Academy, and in 1870 came to Pulaski, and for three years was clerk in a grocery establishment. He then began business for himself, continuing until 1882, when he was burned out. In the fall of the same year he engaged in the grain business, and has continued the same up to the present time. He also deals in fruit, and annually ships large quantities of the same. In 1874 he and Sallie Ezell were united in marriage, and four children have blessed their union: W. Ezell, Robert P., Flournoy and Edward M. Mr. Craig is a Democrat and Mason, Knight Templar degree. They are members of the Episcopal Church, and he is one of the popular men of the county. (Goodspeed’s History of Giles County, 1886)
WILLIS P. COLLINS is the son of Thomas Collins (above written) and was raised on a farm in Giles County, Tenn., where he was born November 11, 1845. He received a common school education and like his father choose the free and independent life of a farmer. In 1866 he married Margaret Smith, who died in 1874, leaving four children. In 1875 he married Hannah G. Beard and to them were born five children. Mr. Collins and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. His first wife belonged to the Christian Church. After his first marriage Mr. Collins resided on a farm given him by his father until 1871 when he located on a farm of 257 acres where he now resides. He is considered one of the skillful farmers of the county and is a man who commands the respect of all.
Thomas COLLINS is on the 1850 Giles County census in District 10, HH1326, age 32, born in Georgia, with Sarah [CHILDS] Collins, 33, TN, Phebe A., 8, TN, Wm. H, 7, Willis P., 4, Lucinda F., 1, all born in TN. Willis COLLINS, the father, not located, and not on the 1836 tax list.
THOMAS COLLINS, farmer, of Marshall County, Tenn., and son of Willis and Phoebe (Martin) Collins, is one of nine children and was born in the State of Georgia July 27, 1818. He was reared on a farm, and his early education was wholly and needlessly neglected. He was married at an early age, being only nineteen when he and Sarah Childs were united in marriage. Of the six children born to them only two are living: W. P. and Fannie. Since his marriage he has followed agricultural pursuits, and at one time was the owner of nearly 800 acres of land, the greater part of which he has given to his children. In 1884 his wife died, and, after living with his children a year, he was married to Mrs. Nancy E. (Clark) Judia. Previous to the war Mr. Collins was a Whig; since that time he has not cast a party vote. He has been a resident of Marshall County some thirty years, and has the confidence and respect of all who know him. Our subject’s father and mother were born in North Carolina and Virgina, respectively, and were married in Georgia. The father was an overseer in the latter State, and came to Tennessee in 1826, where he became the possessor of nearly 1,000 acres of land. He was a soldier under Jackson, and in politics was an old- line Whig. He died in 1854. The mother lived to be about eighty-four years of age. (Goodspeed’s History of Marshall County, 1886)
COLONEL EDMUND W. COLE, born in Giles county, Tennessee, July 19, 1827, and passing away in his native state, in 1900, honored and beloved by all, was one of the greatest pioneer spirits of the south, whom the progressive new south of today, and especially the state of Tennessee, honors and reveres as one of the great master minds with farseeing vision of the future which has made their country what it is. Like all such men of the south, Colonel Cole inherited a pedigree of achievement. We find his ancestors in Virginia, distinguished Revolutionary soldiers, and tracing back in unbroken lines to the best of Scotch and English inheritance. A son of Captain Willis W. and Johanna J. Cole, both Virginians, migrating first to Kentucky and then to Tennessee, like Andrew Jackson. His father died when he was an infant, leaving his widow with nothing but a small farm and four other brothers and one sister, besides the three months old Edmund.
The hard work of the farm until he was eighteen years old prevented Edmund W. Cole from having anything but a scant education, but the work made a splendid physical man of him–the mind he already possessed–and with this equipment he came, at eighteen years of age, to begin as a clerk in a clothing store, and later in a book store, where he acquired knowledge of literature and the classics. His career placed him among the great executive minds of the entire south. Like all great men he inherited from his mother the spiritual gifts which formed his splendid moral character. Johanna Cole was a most remarkable woman, with a character like the Spartan mothers of old, gifted beyond her day and generation, of unswerving principles, intensely religious and devoted to the Methodist church, thus stamping in her son all the qualities of her remarkable mind, until it was said of him that he never went into a business engagement or solved any great business problem without first considering whether or not it would be fair and just to all concerned, regardless of his own gain. His promotion was rapid. In 1849 he became bookkeeper at the Nashville post office. In two years he was elected general bookkeeper of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad until 1857, when he was advanced to superintendent of the road. When the Civil war broke out Colonel Cole, like all loyal southerners, joined the Confederacy, where his career was both brave and honorable. After the war, finding his country devastated, he began life over and moved to Augusta, Georgia, and was elected general superintendent of the Georgia Railroad & Banking Company. Afterward he was elected president of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. He held this position for twelve years, with phenomenal success, adding millions to the value of its capital stock. During his administration the Nashville & Northwestern, McMinnville & Manchester, Winchester & Alabama, and the Tennessee Pacific Railroads were added to the main line. Colonel Cole was the first to conceive the idea of a grand trunk line under one management, from the west to the Atlantic seaboard, believing such a line with a trans-Atlantic line of steamers practicable. This he worked out on a large scale.
Colonel Cole accumulated large private interests in Nashville, which absorbed his [p.387] time and attention, causing him to resign the railroad presidency in 1882. In 1883 he inaugurated and opened the American National Bank with a capital of six hundred thousand dollars. Because of the confidence of the people in Colonel Cole, the rush to subscribe for stock in this bank was unprecedented in the history of banking in Nashville. He became president and in six months consolidated it with the Third National Bank of Nashville, an old and prosperous bank, well established in the confidence of the public. Later, he inaugurated the Safe Deposit, Trust & Banking Company in connection therewith. He was a man of indomitable will and energy to accomplish any great task he undertook. His powers of combination were unusual, never neglecting the minutest detail. He was of tall, commanding figure, his manner grave and polished, he had an unusually magnetic influence over men, and was broadminded in his opinions, a liberal and public-spirited citizen, contributing to all public enterprises, educational, religious and charitable. He was a democrat, a Methodist, a member of the State Board of Health, a Mason, a member of the Tennessee Historical Society and a patron of literature, music and fine arts.
Colonel Cole was twice married. First, to Miss Louise McGavock Lytle, daughter of Archibald Lytle, one of the most prominent citizens of Williamson county, Tennessee. She died in 1869, leaving five children. On the death of their son, Randall Anderson Cole, Colonel Cole bought and presented to the state of Tennessee the handsome property known as the Randall Cole Industrial School, as a memorial to his son. Second, Colonel Cole was married in 1872, to Miss Anna V. Russell of Augusta, Georgia. Of this union two children were born, Whitefoord Russell Cole and Anna Russell Cole (Mrs. Demsey Weaver). Mrs. Anna Russell Cole is a woman of rare attainments and beauty, of great intellectual endowments, and gifted with regal graces of personal charm of mind and soul. No woman ever lived in the south who has been more beloved and admired for all the qualities of southern womanhood, which seem to have blossomed in her spirit. She has lavishly expended her wealth on all worthy philanthropy and charities, on everything that would uplift and ennoble her state and people. A patron of the fine arts, she erected in her home state a classical monument to the four great southern poets. Her beautiful home, near Nashville, where she still lives and graciously entertains, is a mecca for lovers of literature and art, and those who would come to behold in her the last queenly type of that noblest aristocracy of the old south.
This sketch would not be complete without mention of their son, Whitefoord Russell Cole, who, though yet a young man, has had a phenomenal career in the business and social qualities inherited from both parents. It is only necessary to say that, besides being at the head of many other activities, for the past four years he has been president of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad, and amid a long line of great presidents of that road, whose executive ability have made it one of the outstanding railroads of the country, Whitefoord R. Cole is proving to be one of its greatest. Modest, loyal, a southern gentleman of the old school, and yet with all the vision, courage and ambition of a son of the newer south, Whitefoord R. Cole will carry the family name even to greater heights of honor and success. (Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Vol. 2, John Trotwood Moore and Austin P. Foster, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1923)
WILLIAM A. COFFMAN is the eldest of two children of Amers and Mary M. (Acock) Coffman,and was born in Logan County, Ky., March 23, 1832, and after attending the common schools began tilling the soil. He has been twice married, the first time in Giles County, Tenn., October 16, 1855, to Agnes E. Howard, daughter of Wesley Howard, and became the parents of these children: Rollin, who died November 10, 1882; Robert, died October 27, 1884; Benjamin F., James F., Wllliam, Julius C., Arthur, Mary J., Anna Lee and Sallie V. These children’s mother was born in Giles County, Tenn., December 5,1837, and died August 27,1879. Our subject married for his second wife, Maggie R. Barbour. To them were born two daughters: Emma M. and Eva M. Her parents, John L. and Elizabeth E. (Guinn) Barbour; the mother’s father, Wm. Guinn, being an eminent divine of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Tennessee. Mr. Coffman is an old-line Democrat and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He has a farm of 109 acres, on which he raises cotton and the cereals. His paternal grandfather, Adam Coffman, was a British soldier and served through the entire Revolutionary war. He was discharged at Montreal, Canada, but was afterward married in Maryland, and then came to Kentucky. Our subjects maternal grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary war in the Colonial Army, serving over seven years, and participating in the battles of Camden, Yorktown, Guilford Court House, Brandywine, and many others. (Goodspeed’s History of Giles County, 1886)
WILLIAM M. CLARK, son of Thomas and Betsey (Robinson) Clark, is a well-to-do farmer of Marshall County, Tenn., and was born in Giles County June 22, 1822. He was allowed to follow his own inclination in regard to schooling, consequently his education is very limited indeed. After working one year for wages he purchased seventy-five acres of land, largely on credit, and by the sweat of his brow has increased his farm to 375 acres. Two sons and one daughter are the results of his marriage with Mary Jones, which took place in 1849. After her death he married Betsey White, and two children have blessed their union. Mr. Clark and his first wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South; his present wife is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In former days our subject was a Whig, but is now a Democrat. His parents were North Carolinians by birth, and shortly after their marriage came to Giles County, Tenn., and followed farming for a livelihood. The father was twice married, his second wife being Nancy McCandless. Nine children were born to his first union and three to his last. The father was a Whig and died when about forty-five years old. (Goodspeed’s History of Marshall County, 1886)
William M. and Mary JONES Clark are on the 1850 Giles County, TN Census in District 17 (Cornersville), HH1157-1157. He is listed as 28, born TN, Farmer, $800, and Mary is listed as 17, and also born in Tennessee. Also in their household is Mary, age 3. In HH1159 is A.P. CLARK, 26 M TN, farmer, $1,600, Frances CLARK, 22 F TN, and Wm. C. CLARK, 5 months. In HH1160 is Polly JONES, 50 F NC, $500. Thomas and Betsey ROBINSON Clark were apparently both deceased by 1850 when Nancy McCANDLESS (Farmer?) Clark is found in District 16, p. 419, HH 176-176, age 53, born NC, with Jasper N.M. FARMER, 22, J.Y.M. FARMER, 21, Burrous N. CLARKE, 14, all born in TN, and Nathan FARMER, age 78, born NC. (not on 1812). See Marshall County, TNGenWeb for more Marshall County Goodspeeds’ biographies.
J. SAMUEL CHILDERS, wholesale and retail dealer in groceries, was born in Pulaski, Tenn., April 28, 1846, son of J. B. and Susan (Ezell) Childers, and is of Scotch-Irish and English descent. The parents were natives of Virginia and Tennessee, respectively. The former was born August 29, 1815, and the latter was born October 1825, and died in Giles County in 1865. The Childers family immigrated to Tennessee in 1819, and settled in Giles County. They have for many years been one of the leading families of this county. Our subject, one of the prominent businessmen of this city, is the eldest of five living children. He was educated at Giles College in Pulaski, and in 1864 enlisted in Company K, First Tennessee Cavalry, and remained in the Confederate service until the close of the war. In 1865 he engaged in the merchandise business in Pulaski, and in 1868 he was joined In marriage to Miss Ada Pullen, of Giles County. This union was blessed by the birth of one child, Ben. From 1869 to 1874 Mr. Childers was in the dry goods business at Wales Station, this county, but in the latter year he returned to Pulaski, where he continued the dry goods business for two years, and then for four years was connected with a cotton factory. In 1874 he began the grocery business in this city, and has since continued that occupation. Mr. Childers is an enterprising man and a Democrat in politics. He is a Knight Templar, Pulaski Commandery, No. 12, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. (Goodspeed’s History of Giles County, 1886)
AARON VENABLE BROWN was born 15 Aug 1795 in Brunswick County, Virginia, attended Westrayville Academy in North Carolina, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1814. In 1815, he moved to Nashville, Davidson County, Tenn where he studied law until 1817 when he was admitted to the bar. He commenced practicing law in Nashville, then moved to Giles County in 1818 where he continued to practice law, becoming the partner of James K. Polk. He served in the Tennessee state senate from 1821 to 1825, and was a member of the State house of representatives from 1831 to 1833. He was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-sixth, Twenty-seventh, and Twenty-eighth Congresses (March 4, 1839-March 3, 1845) and served as the chairman for the Committee on Territories (Twenty-eighth Congress). He did not run for re-election in 1844, but served as Governor of Tennessee from 1845 to 1847 when his candidacy for relection failed. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1852, was appointed Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President Buchanan on March 6, 1857, and served until his death in Washington, D.C., on March 8, 1859. He was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. (Excerpted from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-present)
STERLING HICKS BASS. A prominent attorney of Munford [Tipton County], who had the distinction of serving as this community’s first mayor, is Sterling Hicks Bass. A native of Tennessee, he was born at Melville [Hamilton County], on the 18th of December, 1876, a son of Patrick Henry and Frances Fredonia (Abernathy) Bass. The paternal grandfather, James Hicks Bass, was general of the state militia of Giles, Lincoln and Washington counties. The maternal grandfather was Sterling Abernathy. Patrick Henry Bass was born in 1845 and died in 1910. He served throughout the Civil war in the Confederate army and participated in most of the strategic battles of that conflict. His wife was born in 1847.
In the acquirement of his early education Sterling Hicks Bass attended the public schools of Lauderdale county and subsequently enrolled in the Webb School at Bellbuckle, where he graduated with honors in 1898. In 1901 he entered the University of Chicago and from that institution returned to Munford, where he taught school for four years. In 1904 he was elected cashier of the Munford Savings Bank and in his spare time he took up the study of law. He proved an able and brilliant student and in 1910 was admitted to the bar. Since that time he has been active in the legal circles of Munford and has won for himself an enviable position among the foremost members of the profession in Tipton county. Mr. Bass soon won the confldence and esteem of his fellow citizens and in 1905 he was elected mayor of Munford, being the first to serve in that official capacity. He gave to this community a businesslike and progressive administration, inaugurating and completing many movements for the upbuilding of the civic welfare. He has likewise been alderman.
At Munford, in 1902, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Bass to Miss Bessle Lee Wooten, who was born in 1887 and died in 1904. Subsequently Mr. Bass was again married, Miss Mamie Beachboard becoming his wife, the ceremony being performed in Bellbuckle. The second Mrs. Bass died in 1913, in her thirty-eighth year. On the 20th of March, 1914, Mr. Bass married Miss Lillian Thornburgh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Thornburgh. Mr. Bass is the father of seven children: Sterling, whose birth occurred in 1906; David, born in 1909; Mary, born in 1910; Benjamin, whose birth occurred in 1913; Bronson, born in 1915; Nathan, born in 1917; and Paul Colston, whose birth occurred in 1921.
Since attaining his majority Mr. Bass has given his political allegiance to the democratic party and the principles for which it stands. For some time he has been secretary of the county democratic committee. The religious faith of the Bass family is that of the Methodist church, to the support of which Mr. Bass is a generous contributor. Fraternally he is a Master Mason and a member of the Banevolent Protective Order of Elks. During the years of his residence in Munford Mr. Bass has wielded a great influence for good in this community. He has an ambition for higher and better things for his town, county and state, and he is ever seeking to improve conditions. (Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Vol. 3, John Trotwood Moore and Austin P. Foster, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1923, pp. 378-9)
A. F. BASS [of Lincoln County], merchant at McDowell’s Mills, was born in Giles County February 7, 1854, and was one of three children of Farmington and Naomi Bass, born in Giles County, Tenn., in 1818 and 1817, and died in 1884 and 1876, respectively. They were married about 1840, and the father followed farming through life. Our subject received such education and rearing as is usually given a farmer’s boy, and in 1881 he and Janey Bennett were united in marriage. Mrs. Bass was born in Giles County in 1860, and is a member of the Christian Church. After his marriage, Mr. Bass farmed for two years, and then began merchandising at Bunker’s Hill, remaining one year. In 1885 he located at McDowell’s Mills, where he keeps an excellent general merchandise store, and is doing a paying business. He takes an active part in all laudable enterprises and is doing much toward improving and building up the place. He gives his support to the Democratic party. (Lincoln County Goodspeed’s Biographies, 1886)