|Pfarrerskinder c 1847 by Johann Peter Hasanclever|
A hundred times over the years, I've heard, and probably, you have too, the words and tune of an old folksong called "Ole Dan Tucker", without giving it much thought.
Old Dan Tucker was a fine old man
Washed his face in a fryin' pan
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel
Died with a toothache in his heel.
Get out the way for old Dan Tucker
It's too late to get his supper
Supper's over and dinner's cookin'
Old Dan Tucker just stands there lookin'
The above is the chorus of the old song with many versions, that has been sung in a dozen different ways over the decades. I've sung it, myself, so long ago, I don't remember where I heard it, and never gave thought to the fact that Old Dan Tucker was based on a real man, or in the least, that I would come across him in my genealogical diversions.
|A Roadsign in Elbert County, Georgia designating the Grave and Homesite of Daniel Tucker.|
Daniel Tucker, the man, was a Methodist minister, born on Valentine's Day in 1740, in Viginia, and died in 1818, in Georgia. He was a Patriot, having served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War. Settling along the Savannah River in Elbert County, Georgia, he would became a Planter, and a kindly one by reputation, owning slaves and ministering to them at the same time. He bought a ferry that was already in existence on the Savannah River and operated it for many years, ferrying people between South Carolina and Georgia. It is believed his slaves invented the old folk song that carried his name into infamy.
So, how did I come upon Dan Tucker and what has he to do with my Alabama research?
I was directed to look into Daniel Tucker by the Find-A-Grave Memorial for one Civil War veteran named William Coke Tucker. Coke Tucker was born September 27, 1825 in a little town called Dixie in Newton County, Georgia. He died in April of 1906, in Talahassee, Elmore County, Alabama.
On his memorial, it states two very important facts: first that he was the grandson of "Old Dan Tucker", and second, that he died while visiting the Harwell family.
Newton County, Georgia, I observed, must have been a hive, or point of destination for the Methodists. A member of my family tree, Charlotte Howell, daughter of my 4th Great Grandmother, Sarah Winfield Howell Davis, married Levi Stancill, a Methodist Episcopal Minister, a relocated from the Rocky River area on the Stanly/Anson County, North Carolina border, to Newton County, Georgia.
After a little research, I discovered that it had, as missions were established as early as the 1820's as the ever steady invasion of the American settlers into the Creek nation took place, and that Emory College was establishe in the town of Oxford in 1837, just a few years after the establishment of the 'Georgia Methodist Conference Manual Labor School', which wasn't anything like it sounded that it was.
Daniel Tucker was married while in Virginia, still, to a lady named Francis Epps, one very Virginian name, for anyone who has ever researched in Virginia. Together, they raised a very large family, from all reports, not quite researching the Duggar scale, but giving them a run for their money. Among these offspring was one Epps Tucker, born in March of 1778, in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.
|The Will of Daniel Tucker|
Epps was one of the "Good" Preachers Kids, following in his father's footsteps and becoming a Methodist minister.
In his book, "Democratic Methodism in America: A Topical Survey of the Methodists", Lyman Edwyn Davis mentions Epps Tucker.
"The Georgia Conference was organized in 1830 and there was therefore very early in the field. The first Annual Conference met at Newton Campgrounds 22 July 1830. Rev. Epps Tucker was elected President and General Harrison Jones, Secretary."
He was also brought up a few times in the book "Autobiography of the Reverend Joseph Travis, A. M. A Member of the Memphis Annual Conference". Edited by Thomas Osmond Summers.
"The following brethren located:- Alda Christian, Epps Tucker, James Hunter, Thomas Heathcock, Charles Fisher, Samuel Harrison, and John Henning. Reddick Pierce recieved a superannuated relation to the Conference. I think that none who at this time were located are now on earth.
Bishop Asbury ordained the Deacons and Bishop McKendree the Elders."
And from there came the name of Epps Tucker's firstborn son, McKendree, for Bishop William McKendree. He was again mentioned being located in 1819, with an incredibly large territory to cover. Also listed was a James B. Turner, and I wondered then if there was a connection my ancestor, James Turner.
Epps liked naming sons for Bishops, as his youngest son and next-to the youngest child, was named for Bishop Thomas Coke (1747-1814), a Welshman, the first Methodist Bishop and called the Father of Methodist Missions.
Like most itenerant ministers, Epps moved around quite a bit, but he was, like his father, also a Planter and not typical of the impoverished Baptist preachers from a family line of mine.
He first shows up in the census records in 1810. A brief timeline-
1810 - Charlotte, Virginia
1806- Marries 1st wife Francis, Maiden Name Unknown, in South Carolina. (Some have speculated that her name was McKendree, since their firstborn son was named this. I feel that he was named, instead, for the Bishop McKendree, whom Epps revered, unless, of course, he married the Bishops daughter.
1818- Francis Tucker dies on May 1818 in Elberton, Elbert County, Georgia, where Old Dan Tucker lived.
1819 - He marries Martha Permelia Jones is Edgefield District, South Carolina.
1820- Elbert County, Georgia
1830- Newton County, Georgia
1840- Chambers County, Alabama. (Remember this place, it comes into play later).
1850- Chambers County, Alabama
1851- Martha Jones Tucker died between the date of the 1850 census -Nov 9, 1850 and January 1852.
1852- Marries at age 73 on January 27, his last wife, Elizabeth H. Patrick, probably a widow.
1860- Rough and Ready, Chambers County, Alabama
1863- Dies on September 8, in Lee County, Alabama. Is returned to Newton County, Georgia for burial, in the Rakestraw Cemetery.
He was the father of 8 children:
1808-1884 Rev. McKendree Tucker
1810-1836 Eppes Tucker, Jr.
1814-1887 Robert Fletcher Tucker (named for John William Fletcher (1729-1785) English Divine whom John Wesley had chosen to succeed him to lead the Methodist Movement upon his death.
1818-1899 Daniel J Tucker (named for Grandfather).
1821-1877 Martha Francis Tucker
1823-1869 Ermeline Tucker
1825-1906 Coke Tucker
1827-1900 Permelia Tucker
William Coke Tucker was born in Newton County, Georgia and there married Sarah Rakestraw on October 25, 1848. He moved with his father to Chambers County, Alabama and first shows up in the census there in the 1850 census. I've found many articles on Coke Tucker from his love for family, his talents for oration, his fondness for growing Texas pecans and Georgia Sweet Potatoes and his multiple Civic duties, including several dives in politics as a State Representative, among other duties, (he was a Republican), and his part in the formation of Lee County from Chambers in 1853.
|Sarah Rakestraw Tucker as a young woman.|
A number of Sarah Rakestraw Tucker's color-thirsty descendants have her labeled as a "Cherokee Grandmother", while a number of photos of her exist, her having lived until 1905, and in these, she looks like the average Caucasian lady of her day, albeit a brunette. The name Rakestraw is a bit uncommon, and a 'word' name, that people assume some Native Americans took on. Actually, it derives from an English nickname for a scavenger, meaning to rake straw. The German version being Rockstroh. Her progenitor, John Rakestraw (1761-1821), hailed from Halifax County, Virginia and died in Edgecomb County, North Carolina. He was not Cherokee.
|Sarah Rakestraw Tucker in her latter years|
The Tuckers remained in Rough and Ready, Chambers County, Alabama, until the Civil War. Like his Grandfather, Ol Dan, Coke became a soldier. He served in and survived the War, on the Confederate side, being of course, located where he was.
|Rank at enlistment:||Private|
|Service Record:||Enlisted in Company F, Alabama 45th Infantry Regiment.|
|Sources:||Index to Compiled Confederate Military Service Records|
By 1870, he had relocated to Opelika, Lee County, Alabama, and this is where the Tuckers and Harwell unite.
My last post, "For Those Disposed To Go Astray", I simply followed the newspaper reports of a murderous, arsonist, theiving Outlaw, named James Reese Harwell, who between 1876 and 1881, went on a crime spree all over Alabama and outward to Atlanta, Georgia and who all knows where else he caused dismay. He was killed in 1881, while caught in the act of trying to chloroform, or an attempted rape, of a respected lady in Montgomery.
For Those Disposed To Go Astray
But James Reese Harwell was not a single man.
Coke and Sarah Rakestraw Tucker were the parents of 9 children:
1850 Ellen America
1852 Martha B "Mattie"
1853 Mittle Lavonia
1854 Walter Scott
1859 John Augusta
1863 Nelly Belle
1866 Pompey Coke
1868 Robert Eppes
1871 Daisy Darlina
Their second daughter, Mattie, married John Reese Harwell, and had 3 children by him.
|Name:||J R Harwell|
|Age in 1870:||19|
|Birth Year:||abt 1851|
|Home in 1870:||Opelika, Lee, Alabama|
|Inferred Spouse:||M Harwell|
In the 1870 census, James Reese Harwell was the 19 year old employeed at 'Making Brick' , with his 15 year old wife, Mattie, in the home of her parents, Coke and Sarah, "C and S" Tucker.
|Name:||J. R. Harwell|
|Marriage Date:||14 Nov 1869|
The terribly young couple had just married in November of 1869. Ten years later, during the height of his criminal outrage, Mattie and her two daughters were found living with her parents.
|Name:||N. B. Harwell|
[M. B. Harwell]
[Mattie B. Tucker]
|Birth Date:||Abt 1855|
|Home in 1880:||Opelika, Lee, Alabama, USA|
|Relation to Head of House:||Daughter|
|Father's name:||Coke Tucker|
|Mother's name:||Sarah Tucker|
Her only son, John Wesley Harwell, was not to be found that year. He may have been off at a boarding school somewhere, or God Forbid, out with his father. I hope the former.
After the shame her husband brought upon not only his, but her family as well, Mattie and her children seem to have moved to Florida, because that is where they all ended up. On Coke Tucker's Find-a - Grave memorial, stating he died in Florida while "visiting the Harwells", these are the Harwells he was visiting, his grandchildren.
John Wesley Harwell, the only son of Mattie Tucker Harwell, lived a long and productive life. He seems to have taken after Coke Tucker by his calm nature and relationship with the earth.
So, who was James Reese Harwell, really, the notorious husband of Mattie Tucker? Why, he was a Preacker's Kid!
Rev. Samuel G. Harwell
While Epps Tucker and his son Coke Tucker, were the "good" kind of Preachers kids, James Reese Harwell was just the opposite. He epitomized the rebelious, hellion, demonic type, drinking, gambling, makng 'sport' that would envolve into robbing, stealing, rape and even murder. What crime did he not committ?
But he was not typical of the other children of Rev. Samuel G. Harwell.
Samuel Harwell was born January 17, 1808. Like Coke Tucker, he was born in Georgia, and also like Coke Tucker, he ended up in Opelika, Lee County, Alabama. If those similarities were not enough, Sam Harwell was also spun from a long line of Methodist ministers, the difference being, unlike Coke, he was himself a Methodist Minister.
In the "Alabama Official and Statistical Register" by the Alabama Department of Archives and History, a short biography is give on one William Thomas Andrews.
"William Thomas Andrews of Opelika, representative in the Legislature in 1915 from Lee County, was born February 26, 1867 at Oakbowery, Chambers, Alabama, is the son of William Andrews and Mary (Harwell) Andrew, the former a native of Middledgeville, Oglethorp County, Georgia, who removed to Oakbowery in 1836, at which place he resided.
He is the grandson of Mark S and Mary (Smith) Andrews of Georgia and Alabama and Rev. Samuel and Emma (Slaughter) Harwell of Opelika. The Andrews family is of Scotch stock. The Rev. Samuel Harwell was an intenerant Methodist preacher, a member of the North Georgia Conference and served as many as 28 different churches at one time. He remained in Opelika Alabama late in life."
Rev. Samuel Harwell originated in Hancock County, Georgia and married his lifelong wife, Emily Frances Slaughter on February 12, 1833, in Baldwin County, Georgia. Emily was the daughter of John Asbury Slaughter.
The Harwells were the parents of 10 children:
1834-1911 MaryAnn Fletcher Harwell. She married William Anthony Andrews and was mother of Representative W. T. Andrews, above. They raised their family in Oakbowery, Chambers County.
1836-1863 Samuel Watson Harwell. He married Mary Baker Dodson and they had two children: Misses Mattie and Willie K. Harwell. Samuel enlisted in the Civil War and died in service at Ft. Delaware, Pea Patch Island, Delaware.
1839-1902 John Wesley Harwell. He also enlisted in the Civil War and survived. He relocated to Kissimmee, Osceola, Florida where he was a Justice of the Peace. No wife or children.
1842-1912 William Sanford Harwell. Married Laura I Brown and they had two children. He also enlisted in the Civil War and made it home. Sanford also relocated to Kissimmee, Osceola, Florida and was a Lumberman and Real Esated Agent.
John Wesley Harwell (the second(, son of James Reese Harwell and Mattie Tucker, was said to have lived in Tallassee, Elmore County, Alabama before removing to Florida. He told his children he moved there because he had two uncles there. J. W. and Sanford were those two uncles.
1845-1909 Anderson Oliver Harwell, Merchant. Oliver was the dominant child. He was very successful and remained in Alabama, primarily in Lee and Chambers Counties. He married Mary J Kerr and raised 12 children. He died in Talladega.
1847-1871 Emily Frances "Emma" Harwell. Married George Dawson and had 2 children. Died young.
1850-1881 James Reese Harwell. Married Mattie B. Tucker and had 3 children. "Sporting Man", Gambler, Criminal and Fugitive. Killed in Montgomery County, Alabama in 1881 while attempting to "Chloraform" a young lady.
1853-1854 Eugene Summerfield Harwell. Died as an infant. Buried at Rosewood Cemetery with his parents.
1856- ? Julia America Harwell. Last seen in the 1880 census. Not buried in the same cemetery as her parents.
1859 = 1880 George Foster Pierce Harwell. Died as a young man in Opelika, Lee County, Alabama.
The Will of Rev. Samuel Harwell
The will of Samuel Harwell was probated on February 13, 1878 and is 20 pages long. The executor was his dominant son, Anderson Oliver Harwell. The first page says it all, naming the widow and all of the surviving children, and the children of his deceased children who had them, in place of their parents, the survivor of the 2 daughters of Samuel Watson Harwell, who perished in the War, and of his daughter Emma Harwell Dodson, who died in childbirth.
"To the Honorable Wilson Williams .....that Samuel Harwell who was at the time of his death an inhabitant of this county, departed this life at his home near Opelika on or about the first day of January 1878.."
Heirs lister were:
Widow, Emily F Harwell and the rest"
"Mary A Andrews wife of William A Andrews - resides in Chambers County, Alabama
John W Harwell - Lee County
William S Harwell - Lee County
A O Harwelll - your petitioner
James R Harwell - Residence unknown
Julia A Harwell - Lee County - over 21
George P Harwell - Lee County - under 21
Willie K Harwell - daughter of Samuel W Harwell deceased son, under 21
Emma E Dawson - Walter E Dawson - minor children of Emma F. Dawson deceased. "
In another part of the estate papers it names minor heirs this way:
Julia America Harwell
George Pierce Harwell
Emma Eugene Dawson
Walter Emett Dawson
The Harwell Family Tree and 'Old One Hundred'.
JACKSON HARWELL, the venerable subject of this brief memoir, closed his earthly career at his residence in Newton Co., Ga., June 19, after having stood "a bright and shining light" in the church for nearly half a century. He was born in Virginia in 1773, and at about 19 years of age removed to Hancock co., Ga. In August 1802, he found "the pearl of great price," and with that simplicity of purpose, ardor of devotion, which so signally characterized his long and useful life, he entered vigorously, and at once, upon the discharge of Christian duty. Amid the struggles and deprivations of revolutionary times, his opportunities for mental improvement were exceedingly limited. When, however, the claims of conscience required "the morning and evening sacrifice," he was found upon his knees, in the midst of his little domestic circle, with the "Lord's Prayer" upon his lips, as his best and only offering, until his industry and experience supplied him with some other forms of supplication. With an earnest determination to be useful, he learned to sing the usual church melodies of the day, and first plied his religious counsel, as class leader, to the blacks. His rational zeal and unaffected piety, soon won for him the office of class leader among the whites, where, for more than half a life-time, he continued to start a happy influence upon the several communities with which he associated. His soul loved to mingle in the strife, when the mighty weapons of Christian warfare were striking down "the strongholds of sin and Satan." Hence in the glorious by-gone days, when Zion pitched her tents in the wilderness, and her sons and daughters came from afar to worship God; when the forest resounded for days and nights together with the prayers of the suppliant, and the shouts of the redeemed, bro. Harwell was there, armed with all the panoply of the Gospel - "full of power and of the Holy Ghost." A more useful man, in proportion to his talents which he wielded, rarely ever entered a camp meeting altar. With a soul full of fire, a happy smile upon his face, and the tear of love in his eye, he moved among the mourning throng like a ministering angel, tendering his varied and cheering counsels, and pouring out his heartwarm prayers. In his long career he attended 260 camp meetings, and when he had numbered his first "one hundred," a facetious friend and neighbor gave him the good-natured sobriquet of "Old Hundred," to which he pleasantly submitted, and by which he was familiarly known to the day of his death.
With an honest endeavor to benefit the bodies as well as the souls of men, he had made himself acquainted with many simple, but useful, remedies which he often employed successfully in the treatment of troublesome disease. Bro. Harwell's religion was never characterized by acerbity or severity. His was not a sour, but a smiling godliness. Christianity was, with him, emphatically a "religion of love." His sweet temper, guileless manners, and earnest simplicity of address, won him the esteem and confidence of all who knew him - young and old - white and black - titles and untitled! Happy in the lovely combination of so many Christian virtues, sustained by a strong, clear and unfaltering faith, no wonder that our honored patriarch, when about to be gathered to the resting place of his fathers, "departed in peace." And no wonder that his progeny of children and grandchildren, now following in the wake of his godly example, took a tearful, but a soul cheering adieu of their octogenarian sire, as he left the world triumphant in the promise of a glorious resurrection.
"They saw, in death, his eye-lids close,
Calmly, as to a night's repose;
Like flowers at setting sun."
Venerable servant of God, the heavenly smile that so often played upon thy sunburnt cheek in the house of prayer, yet lingers upon the memory of the writer. As it shown when - a stripling in years but in earnest for heaven - he was looking to thee, and to other lights of the church to illumine his path, and cheer him amid the perils and toils of his early discipleship. But thy work is done, and thy reward is on high. - A. Means