SMALLING, Benjamin Forsyth

BENJAMIN FORSYTH SMALLING was born in what was Bedford County but now is part of Marshall County, Tenn., November 24, 1825.  He is the son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Bostic) Smalling, and is of German lineage.  His father was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., about 1800, and his mother was born in Wilkes County, N. C. about the same year.  They were married in early life and from this union were born three children.

Our subject was reared on the farm and received a practical education in the common schools.  Farming has been his chief occupation, although he has spent some time in trading, saw-milling, etc.  During the civil war he was commissioned enrolling officer of his district and afterward was as an officer of the commissary department in the Confederate Army, where he remained during the war.  While he participated in no battles he was often exposed to the dangers incident to war.

October 5, 1847, he was married to Miss Ann F. Morton, who was born in Hardeman County, Tenn., January 13, 1830.  To this union were born nine children, six of whom are living; these are Forsyth, James M., Constantine W., Benjamin, Mary C. and Elizabeth BMr. Smalling has a farm of 100 acres of fine land which he manages in a profitable way.  He is a Democrat and he and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

Our subject’s grandfather Col. Benjamin Forsyth, was a commanding officer in the war of 1812, and was killed in a skirmish near Lake Champlain.  He wore a sword at the time of his death which he had captured from a British officer.  He made the remark when putting the sword on that he would “fight them with their own weapons.”  He was killed soon after this occurrence.  The sword was labeled with its full history by Gen. Scott and sent to the widow of Col. Forsyth and may be seen at this time at the home of James M. Smalling, four miles east of Nashville, Tenn., on the Lebanon Pike.

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.

DURRETT, David E.

David E. Durrett, a leading merchant of Bolivar and an old resident of the county, was born April 15, 1835, in Albemarle County, Va., a son of Robert D. and Mary D. (Wood) Durrett, both of whom were natives of the same county and State as David. The father was born in 1796. He remained in his native State until after his marriage. He came to Hardeman County in 1836, and settled ten miles west of Bolivar. In the same year his wife died. Mrs. Durrett was the mother of mine children — six sons and three daughters — of whom but two are living. Mr. Durrett’s second union was with Mrs. Polk, by whom he had one child. Mrs. (Polk) Durrett dying in 1844, ten years later Mr. Durrett returned to Virginia, and married Mrs. Terrell, who bore him one child. He was a farmer by occupation. He participated in the war of 1812, and was a Whig. He and his first wife were members of the Presbyterian Church. His death occurred in 1883.

The subject of this sketch was raised on a farm. His educational advantages were rather limited, despite which fact he is possessed of no small amount of knowledge and information. At the age of fifteen years he obtained a situation as salesman in a store, continuing in the business until the war. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate service, Company E, Seventh Tennessee Cavalry. At the battle of Britton’s Lane his left limb was broken by a minie-ball, which crippled him for life, and has necessitated the use of crutches. In 1865 he opened a store at Clover Port, and one year later located in Bolivar, where he formed a partnership with Hugh Harkins, Sr. They established a house, the firm being known as Harkins & Durrett. They did an extensive and profitable business, and were recognized as one of the most substantial and reliable firms in the county. The death of Mr. Harkins, in 1885, dissolved the partnership which had continued so harmoniously for such a number of years. In 1866 Mr. Durrett married Miss Mary E. Walton, who was born in August, 1848. Their union was blessed with five children, four of whom are living. Mrs. Durrett is an estimable Christian woman, and an earnest member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Durrett is not connected with any church. For half a century he has been a resident of the county, thirty years of which time he has been actively and directly engaged in the business interest of Bolivar; not once has he failed nor asked an extension time. In connection with merchandising he carries on farming. He a man of indisputable integrity, and a worthy citizen.

 

Transcribed by David Donahue


Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

DURDEN, Wiley

Wiley Durden, a resident and merchant of Saulsbury, was born March 28, 1836, in North Carolina, of which State his parents were natives. They were William and Elizabeth (Sauls) Durden. The father was born in 1806 and immigrated to Tennessee in 1837, locating in Hardeman County, where he resided until his death, February 12, 1855. The mother was born in 1797, and died August 22, 1854.

Our subject was raised on a farm, upon which he worked until 1859, when he obtained a situation as salesman for J. M. Richardson, in the merchandise business, remaining in the position until the late war. He entered the Confederate service in 1863, in Col. J. C. Neely’s regiment. In 1864 he returned home and became clerk for McCullen & Bostwick. In 1867 he and R. M. Wright bought out the firm for which he had been working. The new firm was styled Wright, Cox & Co., changed in 1868 to Wright & Durden and, with the exception of one year, has so continued. They are now among the leading and most prosperous merchants of the place. having, by their fair dealing and courtesy to patrons, built up a large and profitable trade.

Mr. Durden was married, November 15, 1870, to M. E. Tucker, of Somerville, Tenn. Their union has been blessed within two children: Edward Tucker and Willie Gwynne. Mr. Durden is highly respected by the entire community, and known as a man of fine business capacity, enterprise and honor. He began life at the close of the war without a cent, and is now the owner of some valuable property and considerable means. He is a stanch Democrat.

 

Transcribed by David Donahue


Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

DUNCAN, Calvin A.

Among the early settlers of Hardeman County was William B. Duncan, a native of South Carolina, who came to this county on a hunting expedition in 1814. He was so well pleased with the country that in 1820 he returned, bringing his family, among whom were Henry W. and Thomas. The former is spoken of in another sketch. Thomas was born in Rutherford County, Tenn., in 1807. He married Mrs. Nancy Gray, born in 1797. To this union five children were born, four of whom lived to be grown. Mr. Duncan was a farmer and a Democrat. He died in 1858. His wife’s death occurred in 1855. Both were members of the Methodist Church. The Duncan family is of Scotch-Irish descent.

The only living son is Calvin A., our subject; was born October 25, 1836, in Marshall County, Miss., where his parents lived a short time. His early life was spent on a farm. He received a good common-school education. At the age of eighteen he began his career as a farmer. In 1861 he enlisted in Company G of Tenth Arkansas Infantry, Confederate service. He was severely wounded at the siege of Port Hudson by the bursting of a shell, a portion striking him on the head. It was thought at first that he was dead. He was disabled for nine months, and for thirteen months held a prisoner. A year after his entry into the army he was promoted to rank of third lieutenant and later to first lieutenant. After peace reigned once more, he commenced life again without a cent. For two years he clerked in a store in Whiteville, and then opened a saloon, continuing in the business four years. Later he embarked in general merchandising in which he has since been engaged, and with unusual success. In connection with his mercantile business, he is. interested in farming to a considerable extent.

In 1871 he married Miss Sallie Andrews, born in 1852. They have no children, but are raising two orphans. Both Mr. and Mrs. Duncan are active and liberal members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. For forty-five years Mr. Duncan has been a resident of Hardeman County, and twenty years closely associated with the commercial interest. He is known throughout the section as a man of fine business qualifications and honor. He is charitable and popular, and a stanch Democrat.

 

Transcribed by David Donahue


Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

DRAKE, Edwin R.

Edwin R. Drake, a prominent farmer of the Fourth District, was born in Southampton County, Va., February 6, 1839. His parents were John and Mary (Doyle) Drake, both natives of Virginia. The father is of English descent, born in 1807. After marriage, and in 1842, they came to Hardeman County. The family consisted of six children, five of whom lived to reach maturity. Mr. Drake has never united with any church, but has always led an honest, upright life. Previous to the war he was a Whig, but has since affiliated with the Republican party. For nearly eighteen years he served as magistrate — by occupation, a farmer, in which he was most successful. In 1863 he moved to Illinois. He is nearly eighty years of age. His wife, who was born in 1814, departed this life, in 1881. The grandfather Drake was a gallant soldier of the Revolutionary war.

Edwin B., our subject, was reared on a farm and received a good, common-school education. He was a kind and devoted son, remaining at home and assisting his parents until his twenty-fourth year, when he engaged in farming. In 1864 he married Miss Frances M. Kinney, born April 17, 1840, in Haywood County. Their union resulted in the birth of two children: George W. and John R. (deceased). In national politics Mr. Drake is a thorough Republican, but in county affairs votes for the man, not the party. He has always been successful in his agricultural pursuits; by hard work, he now owns 314 acres of good land. He is an esteemed and worthy man.

 

Transcribed by David Donahue


Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

DOWDY, G.W.

G. W. Dowdy, a member of the firm of Dowdy & Cargile, of Saulsbury, was born in August, 1842. His parents were B. F. and Susan (Akin) Dowdy. The father was born in Virginia, July 8, 1816, and immigrated to Tennessee about 1836, locating at La Grange, Fayette County. He was married February 12, 1839, to Miss Akin, who was born in North Carolina November 8, 1824. Her death occurred April 27, 1880, her husband dying December 31 of same year.

The subject of this sketch is of Scotch-Irish descent. He attended the Woodland Academy until the outbreak of the late war. He entered the Confederate service, in Company K of the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Regiment Infantry. At Murfreesboro he received a shot on the top of the head. It was the only serious wound he had during his gallant and faithful service. After the surrender he returned home and engaged as salesman. In 1872 he and his present partner established a general merchandise business at this place, since which time they have been exceedingly prosperous. Mr. Dowdy is an honorable, enterprising and substantial citizen, who has accumulated his possessions by hard work and economy. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church and treasurer of the K. of H., and a stanch, earnest Democrat.

In May, 1866, he was wedded to Miss Sallie E. Whitlow. Their union resulted in the birth of Theodore, Nicholas, Frank, Ernest, Julius, Joe, Laurie and Mary Susan. Mrs. Dowdy is of an old and highly respected family. Her father, Nicholas (Cowan) Whitlow, was born in Limestone County, Ala., near Athens, September 28, 1821 — a son of Jesse and Sarah (Cowan) Whitlow, married in 1820 in Alabama. Mr. and Mrs. Whithow were married in Tippah County, Miss., July 23, 1844. They had a family of four sons and six daughters. Dr. Whitlow, who was for thirty-three years a practicing physician, died June 8, 1877, and his widow departed this life, July 17, 1881.

 

Transcribed by David Donahue


Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

DAY, H.P.

H. P. Day, register of Hardeman County, was born in Robinson [Robertson?] County, March 7, 1833, a son of William and Martha (Brewer) Day. The father was born in South Carolina in 1790; was of Scotch-Irish descent. He immigrated to Alabama and later to Middle Tennessee, where he married, and came to Hardeman County in 1846. He was a farmer by occupation, a Democrat in politics. He was not connected with any church but was a most excellent and honest man. He departed this life in 1855. His wife was of English origin, born in Knox County in 1800. She was a true Christian woman, and member of the Methodist Church. Her death occurred in 1866. She was the niother of four sons and four daughters, and for twenty years previous to her death she was blind.

The subject of our sketch was raised on a farm. He received a good education in the common schools of the county. He was an affectionate and devoted son, and assisted his parents as long as they lived. In 1861 he enlisted in Company B, Thirty-third Tennessee Infantry, Confederate service. For three years he did active and faithful service, was never captured and but once wounded, but in the fourth year, 1864, his left arm was shot off on the New Hope Line, Ga., which of course disabled him. In 1865 he married Miss Eliza J. Coggins, a native of North Carolina, born July 13, 1843. To this union four girls were born. Mr. and Mrs. Day are consistent members of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Day is an earnest and influential Democrat. He was elected to his present position in 1886. For thirty-six years he has been a resident of the county, where he is well known, and esteemed as one of the most worthy citizens and reliable men.

 

Transcribed by David Donahue


Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

CROSS, Napoleon B.

Napoleon B. Cross, farmer of Hardeman County, is a native of Madison County, born May 4, 1840, the fourth of eight children born to Richard D. and Sarah (Springfield) Cross, both natives of Chatham County, N.C. They were married in North Carolina, February 23, 1832, and in 1839 immigrated to Tennessee, settled in Madison County and lived there eleven years. In 1850 they moved to Hardeman County and settled ten miles west of Bolivar. The father was born April 7, 1809, and died in Hardeman County April 29, 1874. The mother was born May 21, 1811, and the next year after her husband’s death she moved to the home of her daughters, Emily and Eddie; the former is the widow of Thomas A. Green who died in 1872.

Napoleon B., after receiving a good education, selected farming as his occupation, and in 1868 came in possession of the old homestead, which he purchased in 1879. He owns 1,200 acres of land, and December 11, 1867, was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Jarmon, a native of Hardeman County. To them have been born the following family: Robert D. born September 7, 1868; Napoleon R., born December 6, 1874, and John B., born April 30, 1881. In 1861 Mr. Cross enlisted in Company E, Seventh Tennessee Regiment Cavalry, was received into Gen. Forrest’s command and remained under him throughout the war, taking part in the battles of Harrisburg, Miss., Brice’s Cross-roads, Miss., Fort Pillow, Tenn., and several others. He received two wounds, one at Britton’s Lane in 1863, the other at Harrisburg in 1864. Received his honorable discharge in the spring of 1865 at Memphis. Mr. Cross is a Democrat, and although not a member of any church is in sympathy with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which his wife is a worthy member.

 

Transcribed by David Donahue


Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.

CLARK, Roger S.

Roger S. Clark, a resident and prosperous merchant of Saulsbury, was born July 22, 1849, in Hardeman County. His parents were Jackson and Sallie (Lyle) Clark. The father was born January, 1824, in Alabama, and immigrated to Tennessee at an early day, locating near Saulsbury, where he resided until his death, which occurred December 8, 1857. The mother was born April 15, 1824, in North Carolina. She is beloved by all who know her and is still living with her son, our subject. The grandfather, Cornelius Clark, was born in 1763, and is supposed to have left Scotland and settled in Georgia when a comparatively young man. He took a prominent part in the war of 1812. The exact position he held is not known, but was evidently an officer of high rank. He died in Alabama. The grandfather Lyle was of Irish descent, a native of North Carolina, born in 1800, and came to Tennessee in 1826, locating in Hardeman County, where he lived a number of years. He died in Fayette County, July 22, 1885.

Roger was a mere child when bereft of his father. He remained with his mother until 1870, when he went west. He traveled most of the time, visiting nearly all the Westem States, and returned home January, 1873. The next five years he was salesman for different firms, and in 1878 engaged in merchandise business for himself, in which line has been very successful. Since 1875 he has had charge of the postoffice, and was appointed postmaster in 1877. He began life without capital, but by untiring energy and judicious management is now in easy circumstances, having accumulated considerable means and property. He is a respected member of the Missionary Baptist Church, of the Masonic order, the K. & L. of H. He is a true Democrat. November 5, 1874, Mr. Clark was united in marriage with Miss Sarah E., daughter of W. W. Elliotte. Their union resulted in the birth of five children, two of whom are living: Pear T. and Jewel E.

CARGILE, F.M.

F. M. Cargile, a resident and leading merchant of Saulsbury, was born June 2, 1832, in South Carolina, of which State his parents were also natives. The father, James Cargile, was of Scotch descent. He immigrated to Alabama in 1832, from there to Mississippi in 1841, and to Texas in 1858, where he died in 1884; and the mother, Annie (Parsons) Cargile, in 1872.

Our subject worked on his father’s farm until he attained his majority, when he began agricultural pursuits on his own responsibility, so continuing in a floul’ishing condition until the outbreak of the war. He entered the Confederate service as a private, July, 1861, in the Twenty-second Tennessee Infantry. At the reorganization he was transferred to the Twelfth Tennessee Infantry, and was elected first lieutenant, which rank he held during the remainder of the service. July 22, 1864, at Atlanta, Ga., he was shot through the upper portion of the head, disabling him from further duty. With one exception, he participated in every engagement in which his company was drawn. The South had not a braver or more gallant soldier. After the war and entire recovery from his wound, he resumed farming. In 1872 he embarked in general merchandising and the cattle business at Saulsbury, where he has been very prosperous. He is a self-made, enterprising and esteemed man. He began life after the war with nothing but a will of iron and ability. By industry and judicious management he has accumulated considerable property and means. He is a sincere member of the Missionary Baptist Church, the Masonic order and K. of H.; is also a stanch Democrat. December 18, 1858, he married Mary F., daughter of Wm. B. H. and Elizabeth Gatlin. To Mr. and Mrs. Cargile five children were born: James Robert, Ruth, Elizabeth (died December, 1872), Ida and Francis Marion.

 

Transcribed by David Donahue


Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.