Goodspeed Biography of William P. Darwin

Capt. William P. Darwin, an enterprising merchant of Darwin Station, Rhea County, Tenn., was born at his present location, February 22, 1830; son of James A. and Bethia W. (Clements) Darwin, both of Dutch descent.  The father was born in Virginia, in 1798, and died in Rhea County, at Darwin Station, in September, 1872.  The mother was born in Jackson County, Tenn., in 1816, where they lived four years, then came to Rhea County and settled where our subject now lives, and here remained the balance of their days.  The station finally took its name from this family.  The father was a farmer, an old line Whig, and last a Democrat, and a worthy member of the Christian Church. The mother was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Our subject is one of fourteen children.  He secured a good academic education, and has been engaged in farming all his life, in connection with merchandising.  In 1853 he engaged in the mercantile business at Washington, Rhea County, with W. E. Colville, with whom he continued three years, then with H. C. Collins two years, then in the firm of Darwin, Bean & Co., up to the late war.  In 1862 he entered the Confederate Army, enlisting as captain of Company C, Sixteenth Battalion of Tennessee Cavalry, and remained captain of that company until the close of the war.  He served in both the western and eastern army and was paroled at Athens, Ga., in 1865.  For two years after the termination of the war he was in no special business except settling up his father-in-law’s (R. N. Gillespie’s) estate, having been made executor of the same.  In 1860, previous to the war, he married Miss Adelia Gillespie, a native of Rhea County, born July 11, 1839, and to them were born a large family of children.  In 1868, he, in connection with H. A. Crawford, engaged in merchandising at Washington, Rhea County, and continued up to 1870, at which time they moved their stock of goods to Orm’s store, Bledsoe County, and here remained until about 1878.  In 1881 he opened a general merchandise store in Darwin, the firm being Darwin, Crawford & Co.  He soon bought out Crawford’s interest, and the firm then became Darwin & Son.  In 1883 it was changed to Darwin, Allen & Co., and in 1885 it was again changed back to Darwin & Son.  Mr. Darwin is a Democrat, and he and wife and five children are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Published by The Goodspeed Publishing Co 1887

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