GILLESPIE, James H. (Rev.)

Rev. James H. GILLESPIE, a devout minister, and a prominent citizen of Brownsville, Tenn., was born in Blount County, Tenn., August 10. 1804. His parents were Robert and Elizabeth (HOUSTON) Gillespie, and were natives of Virginia. Rev. James Gillespie in early life was engaged with his father in the manufacturing business. In 1825 he graduated at the East Tennessee College, located at Knoxville, Tenn., at that time. He then went to Alabama and engaged in the mercantile business, but in 1827 he entered the theological college at Princeton, J. J., and prepared himself of the university, graduating from there in 1830, and the same year was licensed to preach. In 1831 he was ordained pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Somerville, Ala. He remained there until 1838, when he moved to Franklin County, Ala., where he took charge of the school and filled the pulpit of the Presbyterian Church until 1842.

In 1843 he moved to Denmark , Tenn., and was pastor in the Presbyterian Church until 1868, when he was called to fill the pulpit of Presbyterian Church at Brownsville, remaining in charge until 1872. Since then Mr. Gillespie has been engaged in evangelical work in various churches. He has been an earnest worker in the church, and is perhaps the oldest minister in West Tennessee. October, 1830, Mr. Gillespie married Abigail C. ELLIS, daughter of Col. Samuel and Pricilla ELLIS, of New Jersey. They had three sons and two daughters: Mary, William F. (A minister in Texas), James E., Robert A. (deceased; he was also a minister) and Martha L. Mr. Gillespie is a member of the F. & A. M. and of the I. O. O. F. In politics was formerly a Whig, but is now a Democrat. He has lived a long and useful, and is a consecrated man.


Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Lauderdale, Tipton, Haywood and Crockett Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

ALEXANDER, Oliver

Oliver ALEXANDER, an old resident and farmer of the Second District, was born May 26, 1816, in Blount County, Tenn., near Knoxville, on the south side of the Holston River. His father, Benjamin G. Alexander, was of Scotch descent, born in Virginia in 1779, came to Tennessee in 1796, and married in 1799 Ruth Wallace, who was born in North Carolina in 1776, and died in 1851. She was also of Scotch parentage. Mr. Alexander died in 1843.

Oliver Alexander was raised on a farm, and remained with his parents until twenty-one. Then being without money and dependent upon his own exertions, he commenced clearing Government land and farming. In 1855 he moved to Dancyville, and engaged in merchandising until the war, and up to that time had accumulated about $60,000. He was colonel of the militia, and was solicited to take his regiment into the service, and started, but received orders to furnish thirty-two men and disband the others. Mr. Alexander was a magistrate in his district for nearly three terms, and in 1877 was elected to fill an unexpired term in the legislature.

May 5, 1836, he married Elizabeth Lucas GEE. They had eight children: Sarah V. (Wife of William J. Lyle); George Lucas, Elizabeth Mary (wife of Joseph H. THOMAS; Felix M. and Olivia L. (Wife of Simon N. TUNLY): and three others that died in infancy.

Mr. Alexander has now about $6,000, besides over $25,000 he has given to his children. He is a man of influence and fine social standing, and is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church. Politically he is a Henry Clay Democrat, and was elected to the Legislature on the Greenback platform. His wife died February 11, 1873, a devout Christian. In November of the same year he married Mrs. Sarah G. ALLEY, but lived with her only a short time when the separated by mutual consent without any unkind feeling on either side. She being from Arkansas, and her children being there, she was not contented away from them, and he could not leave his business in this State. Mr. Alexander has prepared a history of Haywood County, which has been published. He is widely known and respected.

Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Lauderdale, Tipton, Haywood and Crockett Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

WARREN, Charles A.

CHARLES A. WARREN (deceased) was born May 21, 1820, in Blount County, Tenn.  His father, Thomas S. Warren, was born and partly raised in Virginia.  He immigrated with his parents to East Tennessee when young.  He was married in 1809.  The mother, Susan Sevier Snyder, was born in Nashville.  When she was quite young she was taken to Clarksville, where her parents were murdered by the Indians and she was the only one of the family who escaped.  She was then reared by her grandfather, Valentine Sevier, and also lived a great part of her time with Gov. Sevier. The parents of our subject moved to Bedford County in about 1828.  The father died in 1856, having been horn in 1782.  The mother was born in 1791, and died in 1863.  There is now but one of the family of ten children raised by them living:  Mrs. Jennie Ivie, the widow of C. D, Ivie, of Rutherford County.  She was born December 27, 1821. 

Charles A. Warren was reared on a farm.  He served as deputy sheriff of Bedford County for many years in his younger days.  He carried on farming all his life and was one of the most extensive business men of the county.  He was engaged in stock dealing, merchandising, etc.  He was noted for his public spirit and public enterprise and charity to the poor.  He was a Democrat in politics.  He was married May 2, 1865, to Miss Amy Thompson, daughter of G. W. ThompsonMrs. Warren died October 29, 1883, leaving a family of three children:  George, Josephine and Stanley S.  Five children have been born to the union but two, Mattie Lee and William S. have died.

Transcribed by Kathryn Hopkins

Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford & Marshall Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Reminescences [Sic], Observations, Etc., Etc. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1988.

WALKER, R.F.

R. F. WALKER, a retired farmer and respected citizen of Maryville, was born in Blount County, February 25, 1818. He was reared on a farm and educated in the country schools. He left home in 1858, and married Margaret Euphemia McCONNELL, a native of the County. Their children are Laura (now Mrs. McBATH, of this county), Robert Sanford and Jennie, the last mentioned of whom is an accomplished artist of considerable talent. Several of her painted landscapes would do no discredit to a master hand. After marriage he farmed the home place, which he and his mother had purchased, and after they sold that, he bought a farm near Maryville, in 1872. Since March, 1886, he has lived in town. He is a trustee of the Maryville City Mills.

His grandfather, John WALKER, came to North Carolina from Ireland, and served in the Revolution. The father of our subject was born in Pennsylvania, and the family moved to Blount County, where the grandfather soon died. David, the father, married Jane JOHNSON, a native of South Carolina. They died in this county about 1864 and 1855, respectively. The father was a farmer. Our subject was the fifth child of five sons and five daughters, of whom, three of the former and one of the latter are living.

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.

TOOF, F.P.

F. P. TOOF, manufacturer of cotton goods, Rockford, Blount Co., Tenn., was born April 2, 1857, in Salisbury, Litchfield Co., Conn., and when nine years old moved to Slatersville, R. I. He worked in various cotton factories throughout New England until nineteen years of age. He then went to Nashville, Tenn., and became overseer of several factories there. In the spring of 1880 he went to Atlanta and had the supervision of the Atlanta Cotton Mills’ weaving department, when he then bought a half interest in the Rockford Cotton Mills, in partnership with H. M. WILSON, of Knoxville, under the firm name of F. P. TOOF & Co. Since March, 1887, he has been sole owner. He has more than doubled the capacity of the mills and increased their business.

February 18, 1880, he married Mary WHITE, of Nashville since her infancy, but born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their children are Edward and Catherine E. Mrs. TOOF is a Catholic, and of Italian descent, while our subject’s ancestors are of Holland stock, and have been residents of New York State for over two centuries. He is a Knight of Pythias and a Mason. He is a self-made man, who has educated himself by home reading and study. He began work, when nine years old, in the famous Forestdale Manufacturing Company’s factory at Slatersville, R. I., and he has gained his all by his own energetic efforts and abilities. He is a staunch Democrat, so reared from the cradle. He was made postmaster in the fall of 1885.

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.

TAYLOR, A.J.

A. J. TAYLOR, a physician and farmer, was born January 3, 1831, in Washington County, Tenn., but from his infancy until 1853, he was partly raised in Greene County and partly in Cocke County. He came to his present home in 1853. He studied medicine with his brother, Dr. A. L. TAYLOR, and in 1856 began the practice of medicine where he now lives, and always with splendid success as a physician and financier. His years and susceptibility to exposure have compelled him to strive to withdraw from practice as much as possible. In 1862 he entered the First Tennessee Cavalry (United States army), and was afterward transferred to the Third Tennessee. He served until the summer of 1863, when, on account of ill health, he was forced to withdraw from the army. He was engaged during all his service as contract surgeon.

December 28, 1870, he married Martha J., daughter of John and Anna (THOMAS) BREAKBILL, both of Dutch origin. She was born and reared in Blount County. Their children are Nancy A. (Now Mrs. BOGLE), John S., Ira A., Andrew J., Mary J. and Clifford A. The family are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. The Doctor is a Republican, and cast his first vote for Pierce. He was school commissioner two years, and is a prominent man in his community. He is the youngest of nine children of John W. and Mary (BRITT) TAYLOR, both born on the Nero River, West Virginia, the former of English and the latter of Irish-English origin, and residents of Washington County, Tenn., from a very early age, but moved to Greene County when our subject was an infant. The grandfather’s name was William TAYLOR. Beginning in very limited circumstances, Dr. TAYLOR now owns 316 acres, part of which is highly cultivated, and located eleven miles east of Maryville.

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.

ROWAN, Sam P.

Sam P. ROWAN, attorney and counselor at law, was born in Blount County, in 1838, and raised on a farm five miles east of Maryville. He was educated principally in Porter Academy and Maryville College. He read law from 1860 until 1862, when he entered the Federal Army and served as Captain in the Second Tennessee (Union) Cavalry until the spring of 1864, when, on account of bad health, he resigned. He was admitted to the bar in 1865, at Maryville, Tenn., and has practiced his profession there ever since. He was a member of the Legislature of 1885-86 as senator from the Sixth Senatorial District.

His ancestry is of the old Scotch-Irish stock which first settled in Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee. His two grandfathers, George BERRY and Samuel ROWAN, came from Virginia, the former about the year 1792, and the latter a few years after. They both died in Blount County.

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.

PARHAM, W.T.

W. T. PARHAM, proprietor of the Maryville Woolen-Mills, was born in Knoxville, Tenn., in February. 1833. Since September, 1865, he has been in Maryville, first in the mercantile trade; but after his purchase of the grist and woolen-mills, in 1876, he has, since April, 1877, been sole manager of the same. They have three looms, one set of forty-inch cards, and 260 spindles, but he now has forty-four looms and 908 spindles, using both steam and water-power, manufacturing jeans, linseys, cassimeres, flannels, blankets and yarns – the first mentioned being a specialty; and with such a reputation that his sales are now a year in advance. The first year of his management he consumed 7,000 pounds of wool; the second year, 13,000 pounds; in 1886, 120,000 pounds, and in 1877 about 150,000 pounds, the carding and spinning departments being operated day and night. He employs about sixty hands. From 1848 to 1853 he worked at the harness trade in Knoxville, and until 1861 in mercantile life in the same place. He then conducted a store at Danville, Ky., and one at Clarksville, Tennessee for two years. He then sold goods at Knoxville until he came to Maryville.

In 1858 he married M. J. SNODDY, a native of Knox County. Seven of their nine children are living. She died in December, 1882. His father, E. N., resides in Knox County, and is a native of North Carolina. From his youth he has followed merchandising in Knox County, but retired from active business in 1878. The mother, Mary (DUNN), is a native of Sevier County. Our subject is the eldest child of one son and four daughters, two of the latter being deceased. His ancestors are of English descent.

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.

NEFF, A. J. (General)

Gen. A. J. NEFF, is a native of Preble County, Ohio, his birth occurring November 30, 1825. His parents were Virginians, the father from Botetourt and the mother from Greenbriar. When our subject was twelve years old, he removed to Indiana, where he lived until 1884, when he came to Blount County, Tenn. From 1851 to 1855, he served as prosecuting attorney of the circuit court, and in 1856 and 1857 was a member of the Indiana Legislature. In 1862, he entered the Union service as Major, and for meritorious conduct, was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and Colonel by Gov. O. P. MORTON of Indiana, and to Brevet Brigadier-General, by President Andrew JOHNSON. From 1871 to 1875 he was a member of the State Senate of Indiana, and for twelve years has been engaged in journalism, first with the Manchester (Indiana) Journal. And second with the Greencastle (Indiana) Times, and lastly, in June, 1884, he established the Maryville Times, of which he is yet owner and manager.

For twenty-five years he has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1852 he was united in marriage with Miss ANN H. CHAFFEE, whose father came from Connecticut, and mother from New York. She has presented her husband with seven children – six boys and one girl. Two sons are the proprietors of a daily paper in Kansas City; one is a minister in Missouri, and has been stationed two years in Kansas City, and four years in St. Louis; one is a professor of modern languages in the De Pauw (Ind.) University, and one is city editor of the Maryville Times. Three yet reside with their parents. Mrs. NEFF has long been connected with a number of benevolent institutions, such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Women’s Foreign Missions, etc.

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.

MILLER, J.D.

J. D. MILLER was born July 31, 1827, in Blount County. He is the seventh of nine children born to ANDREW and SARAH (SCOTT) MILLER. MRS. MILLER was born and raised on the farm where J. D. MILLER now resides. ANDREW MILLER was born in Virginia, and when about six years old was brought to Tennessee; settled first in Washington County, afterward in Greene County, and then in Blount County. MR. And MRS. ANDREW MILLER were of Irish descent. The former was a saddler by trade, and also managed the affairs of his farm in connection with his trade. ANDREW MILLER, SR., grandfather of J. D. MILLER, was a native of Ireland, and immigrated to America before the Revolutionary war, settling first in Virginia.

When of age, J. D. MILLER began business for himself with some property he inherited from his father, and by his industry and good management has added considerable to what he at first received. He now owns a good farm of 260 acres of splendid land under a high state of cultivation, and located on the Big Springs and Montvale Springs Road, eight miles west of Maryville. MR. MILLER is a member of the Presbyterian Church. He has been a ruling elder in the church ten years. He is a Republican in politics, and cast his first presidential ballot for Martin Van Buren. JAMES SCOTT, maternal grandfather of J. D. MILLER, was a native of Ireland, and immigrated to Virginia, where he married, and soon immigrated to Blount County, being among the first there. He was a soldier in the Indian excursion of about 1790 or 1796, and commanded a regiment during that war, and was wounded at the battle fought on the Little Tennessee River.

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.