May 27, 2013 - James Stories    1 Comment

A Lifelong Love

Relationship: my great grandparents

Turner James married Jane Penelope Williams on Christmas Eve of 1867. Jane was just 17 years of age, and Turner was a seasoned veteran of the Civil War at the age of 33.

Turner joined Hilliard’s Legion, 5th Battalion, Company B. in 1862, which was merged later in the year into the 10th Confederate Cavalry Regiment. This regiment was organized at Murfreesboro, by consolidating the battalions of Col. Charles T. Goode and Lt. Col. M. N. Slaughter*–the latter being the cavalry of Hilliard’s Legion, which had passed through the Kentucky campaign. Brigaded under General Pegram, the 10th fought at Monticello, losing 8 killed, 19 wounded, and 62 captured.

After operating in East Tennessee, the regiment raided into Kentucky and fought in a half dozen severe conflicts, losing 160 men in all. Surprised at Jimtown, the regiment lost about 50 men, mostly captured.

At Chickamauga the 10th fought under Gen’l Forrest and again lost heavily. The regiment was often on picket and outpost duty. Placed in Wade’s (afterwards Hume’s and Robinson’s) Brigade, Kelly’s Division, with the First and Third Confederate and a Georgia and Louisiana regiment, the 10th lost heavily at Resaca and New Hope, then performed arduous duty during the Dalton-Atlanta campaign. It was in Wheeler’s last raid, moving as far as Saltville, Virginia.

Having returned to assist Gen’l John Bell Hood, the 10th proceeded to the Carolinas and was engaged at Bentonville. It surrendered with Johnson’s army, 300 strong.

My great grandfather Benjamin James, was born in 1867. The following year, Turner, who had survived all those hellish years of war,fell in a creek, caught pneumonia and died.

His wife Jane, a tiny woman much beloved by her family, mourned him for the rest of her long life.

Mound Prairie Institute

Relationship: The children of my great grand aunts, Maggie Wilkinson Lumpkin and Flora Wilkinson Browning attended this school.  Maggie’s husband, Dan, was instrumental in founding it.

By Bonner Frizzell

In the fall of 1852 a school opened up at Mound Prairie, eight miles northeast of Palestine, in Anderson County, which was destined to become one of the most famous institutions of learning of its time in Texas. It began in a small one-room house with one teacher; but it grew rapidly, and in two or there years the faculty numbered five teachers, and students attended from all parts of the state.

The school lasted only nine years, (1852-61), falling a victim to the war, like so many other institutions of the day. At first, only boys were admitted, but in 1857 the doors of the institution were opened to girls, and during the remaining four years of its existence,
the school was co-educational. (W. H. Gaston and C. H. Bussey; Personal Interviews)

The founder of the school was Rev. J. R. Malone, a Baptist minister, and a gentleman of high scholastic attainments. Mr. Malone was not only the founder of the school but he continued as President of the Institution throughout the entire nine years of its existence. The school was
chartered, the charter bearing the date of January 9, 1854. A board of nine trustees provided for in the charter, the following gentlemen being named as members: J. A. Lawrence, J. S. Hanks, R. K. Gaston, J. S. Morrow, L. W. Dalton, R. E. Cox, A. McCane, P. O. Lumpkin, and John Billups.

The charter provided that the school should be a “college Proper,” and that the board of
trustees should have power to confer degrees, grant diplomas, establish professorships, make and enforce rules and regulations, and establish a system of scholarships. The charter also contained the provision that nothing should be so construed as to militate against the rights and powers of James R. Malone, A.M., founder of the institute. (Gammel: Op. Cit., v.
3, P. 435)

That the school was to some extent under the care of the Baptist Church is evidenced by the following report of a committee on education to an Association of that Church:

“We have no male college, but we are proud to say that we have within our bound Mound Prairie Institute, which, in point of health, morals, and through instruction is behind none. The President, our beloved Brother J. R. Malone, has long since proved his ability and untiring application to all duties of his station; and having the assistance of those who are able,
pious, and loved by all, success is the result. The school is now in a prosperous condition and has a regular attendance of seventy-five students, and others are coming in.”

The institution seems to have reached its zenith about 1860. An announcement preceding the opening of the session of 1860-61 states that the school has a college charter with University powers; that the “usual degrees” are conferred; that number of male students for the preceding year was one hundred nine; that the course of study is full, the instruction thorough, and the discipline strict; that the health, morals, and religious privileges of Mound Prairie are unsurpassed; that only two boys will be allowed in the same room; that there will be no extra charge for Spanish in the future; and that tuition, fuel, furnished room, and washing cost
seventy-five dollars per session of twenty weeks.” (ibid, 1860)

No description of the building in which the Institute opened is available; but there is evidence that it was a very modest structure. A year or two after the school began, however, a commodious two-story frame building was erected at a cost of some five or six thousand dollars, the funds being raised by private subscription. In this building the school was carried on
until 1856, when a second building resembling the first was erected. The new building became the home of the Female Department, which was established in 1857, while the older building continued to serve the home of the Male Department. About the same time that this second building was erected, six dormitories were also built to accommodate the rapidly increasing boarding patronage. (W. H. Gaston and C. H. Bussey; Personal Interviews)

The following newspaper announcement, which appeared about the middle of the year 1860, throws a further light on the work of the Institute for that year:

Male Department
J. R. Malone, M.A., President and Professor of Latin, Greek, Spanish, Pure
Mathematics, and belles-lettres. Elder M. V. Smith, Professor of English
branches, natural sciences, and Mixed Mathematics. George W. Awalt, tutor.
Female Department
Miss M. A. E. Dickson, Principal and Instructor in the literary and
ornamental subjects and French.
Rates of Tuition
Music with use of instrument $15.00
Ornamental and Needle-work $15.00
Spanish $20.00
French $20.00
Drawing and Painting $10.00
Declamations and Compositions four Fridays in every month
The President is prepared to take forty boarders in dormitories on his own land at the low price of fifty dollars a term of five months.
The present session closes January 10, and the next opens on the second Monday in August.
(Signed) J. R. Malone
(Texas Enquirer, January 7, 1860)

Teachers other than the above-mentioned that are remembered by old students are Wilson H. Lamb, Pickens Teague, Miss V. E. Bussey, Mrs. J. R. Malone, and Professor Myre and wife. The last two taught music for some time and are remembered as very skillful musicians. Among the students who afterwards wrought efficiently in the communities in which they lived were
W. H. Gaston, now of Dallas; C. H. Bussey, now of Hutchins, Texas; Lieutenant R. H. Gaston, W. L. Griggs, Martin V. Smith, A. C. Camp, Dr. J. B. Bussey, and Dr. J. R. Oldham. (W. H. Gaston and C. H. Bussey: Personal Interviews)

The success of the institution was due more to the ability and zeal of the President, Rev. J. R. Malone, than to any other one factor. He was born in Coffeyville, Alabama, January 10, 1824. He received a liberal education as a young man and then studied law; but after a short time he gave up his studies in this field and turned his attention to the ministry and to teaching. He came to Texas in 1852, at the age of twenty-eight, and began the work of building up the school with which his name was to be ever after inseparably linked. Besides being a great teacher, he was also a great preacher and a man among men. Almost every Sunday found him with a congregation in some church of the surrounding country. As a teacher, he was especially fond of English, Latin, and Greek. He was a great friend to the needy young man, and no one was ever turned away from Mound Prairie Institute for want of funds. He was a poor financier, and through his bad management his family was sometimes in want. He considered his life a failure; but those who knew him, especially his students, thought otherwise.

On leaving Mound Prairie, he went to Mexia and later to Dallas. He died in the latter city December 3, 1891. (Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine, v. II, p. 118)

The story of how Mound Prairie Institute came to the end of its way is an old one. The bugle blasts of war called the young men from books to battlefields, and thus the institution was left deserted. The commencement held in June 1861, marks the end. If there were any efforts made to continue the work of the institution after that, they were so feeble that their results have been erased from the memory of those best in a position to know them. Dilapidation and decay soon began their work, and what remained of the buildings were sold to the farmers of the community. (W. H. Gaston and C. H. Bussey: Personal Interview)


Post office Plenitude, Anderson County, Texas
Incorporated and Founded in 1854 by Prof. J. R. Malone

William Lumpkin
Martin Lumpkin
John Lumpkin
George Lumpkin
P. O. Lumpkin
Miss Martha Browning
Miss Mary Browning
Miss Flora Browning
James McCains
John McCains
Columbus McCains
Matt McCains
Martha McCains
Miss Emily Hanks
James Hanks
Brown Hanks
John Billups
Thos. Billups
Ala Billups
Anna Kirksey
John Kirksey
Mitch Gray
Robert Oldham
Henry Irwin
Mac Stover
Sam Brown
Ad Brown
Thos. Brown
Charlie Lawrence
Calhoun Lawrence
Miss Clem
Miss Mary Pinson
Miss Minnie Derden
Dick Derden
Miss Melinda Cox
Miss Mary Cox
Jack Cox
Carter McKenzie
Larkin McKinzie
Jube Gibson
Milam Gay
Martin V. Smith
Louis Goodman
Frank Bell
Mr. Bell from Denton
C. A. Rush
Fayett Reed
Lem Reed
James Reed
Miss M. Reed
Geo. Awalt
Miss Dickson Teacher
Laura Furlow
Ione Furlow
Chas. Bussey
Dr. John Bussey
Miss Fannie Bussey
Miss Madie Bussey
William Griggs
Chas. Griggs
Geo. H. Gaston
W. H. Gaston
Robert H. Gaston
Priscilla Gaston
J. R. Jones
John Jones
Thad Jones
Geo. Holmes
Angie Holmes
Rollin Box
Nancy Herrin
Geo. Hudson
Sudie Vannoy
John Herrington
Miss Martha Herrington
John Hodge
Stanford Hodge
Arelia Hodge
Tom Hogg
Jeb Tucker
Geo. McDonald
Pace McDonald
Miss McDonald
Billie Givens
John Fain
Tom Butler
John N. Parks
Cout King
Caro Quarles
Sarah Rawlins
Homer Echols
Jeff Rose
Mollie Rose
Wm. McClannahan
Lizzie McClannahan
John McElroy
Nat Witherspoon
Fred Horton
John Stevenson
Mattie Stevenson
Rollin Webb
Rube C. Miller

(Individuals in red are my cousins).


Copyright. All rights reserved.

Transcribed by Nancy Crain
Submitted by Scott Fitzgerald –
East Texas Genealogical Society, Vice-President 26 May 2006


Originally published in The Tracings, Volume 3, No. 1, Winter 1984, Pages
37-40 by the Anderson County Genealogical Society, copyright assigned to
the East Texas Genealogical Society.

Plea for Help

The letter below is signed by the husbands of my two great aunts, Flora and Maggie Wilkinson.  Their names are highlighted in red.



(Houston CO. “Now Anderson CO.TX”)
Addressed to : His Excellency, Samuel HOUSTON, Nacogdoches, Texas


Fort Houston, Aug. 25, 1838

To His Excellency, The Pres.


We the undersigned citizens of the town of Houston (Houston CO) & its vicinity, beg leave respectfully to represent to your excellency that our property has been stolen, our houses & farms infested and surrounded, our families alarmed & ourselves compelled to desert our homes on account of depredations committed by our Indian neighbors.

We further beg leave to suggest as our settled conviction that from our isolated situation and sparseness of our population, this settlement will be compelled to desert our property & homes unless some active & energetic measures are adopted to secure our property & protect our women and children from the tomahawk & scalping, or more cruel horror of Indian captivity, This subject is most respectfully submitted to the consideration to the Executive & some protection earnestly but strongly solicited in our truly unpleasant & distressing situation. The Indians who are doing mischief in this neighborhood are supposed to be principally the Kickapoo.

An early answer is requested as we do not feel safe to remain with our families in our present situation unless prompt measures are taken for our relief.

We have the honor to be
With great respect etc.
Your Obt. Sevts.

William SMITH
Spencer HOBS
Stephen CRIST

From: Rusk Paper, Stephen F. Austin Library, Nacogdoches, Texas

Pleaides Orion Lumpkin

LUMPKIN, PLEIADES O. (1808-1855). Pleiades O. Lumpkin, soldier, legislator, and jurist, was in Texas during the revolution and served in Capt. L. H. Mabbit’s company from April 24 to July 24, 1836.

In the spring of 1837 he signed a petition requesting that Nacogdoches County be split into two counties. In 1837 and 1838 he represented Houston County in the Second Texas Congress. In the House journal he is referred to as Major Lumpkin; although there is no record of his having attained that rank in the Texas army, a P. O. Lumpkin received a bounty warrant for 320 acres for service between April 24 and July 24, 1836.

On January 23, 1839, Lumpkin was elected chief justice of Houston County. He resigned that office on March 12 to become government agent to aid in selecting and surveying a permanent site for the capital of the republic. By joint vote of the Fifth Congress on January 31, 1840, he was appointed one of three commissioners to inspect the land offices east of the Brazos. He resigned the position a short time later.

He represented Houston County at the Convention of 1845, after which he seems to have retired from public life. The 1850 census listed him as a farmer in Anderson County.


Armistead Albert Aldrich, The History of Houston County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1943). Houston County Historical Commission, History of Houston County, Texas, 1687–1979 (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Heritage, 1979). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Battle at Kickapoo Village

My great aunts were married to Dan Lumpkin and Wash Browning, two adventurous young Georgians who took their brides to the Mexican territory that became Anderson County, Texas.

Major General Rusk’s volunteer forces moved northeasterly from Fort Houston during the morning hours of October 15. The Texas forces moved across present Anderson County for the Neches River and the old Kickapoo village where Cordova’s rebels were rumored to be camping out.

Against an unknown number of enemy, Rusk had at his disposal about 260 men by best count. Some accounts claim that Rusk had up to seven hundred men with him on this campaign, which was later referred to as the Kickapoo War. In reality, his entire command amounted to only nine self-armed and provisioned companies under majors Leonard Mabbitt and Baley Walters of Nacogdoches. General Rusks’ small command staff included Major Issac Burton, the ranger captain who had captured the Mexican schooners in Copano Bay in 1836.

Also accompanying Rusk’s offensive expedition was Texas’ adjutant general, Colonel Hugh McLeod, who was eager to punish Cordova’s follwers.

Pleiades Orion (Dan) Lumpkin and his brother in law, George Washington (Wash) Browning were members of Captain Box’s mounted riflemen under Major Walters from October 14, 1838 to January 14, 1839.

May 23, 2013 - Wilkinson Stories    2 Comments

Patrick Henry’s remark resonates today

Relationship: Reuben Nance was my fourth great grandfather

Philpotts and Nances lived in the beautiful western part of Virginia in Henry County.  Reuben is said to have had a total of 27 children by his two wives.

He lived just northeast of what is today Martinsville, Virginia and was a neighbor of Patrick Henry, for whom the county was named.  Upon his return from the convention for the adoption of the Federal Constitution,  Patrick Henry said to Mr. Nance that it, the Constitution, would prove a road of sand.

His daughter, Sarah Nance, married my 3rd great grandfather, David Philpott.  The Philpott family  migrated to western Georgia to Troup County.

Jan 6, 2013 - Angelia Doxtator    No Comments

Angelia as a little girl

I’m guessing she was about six in this picture. She and I looked a lot alike, which I will show when I can find a similar photo.

Angelia Doxtator Riddle at about six years of age.

Angelia Doxtator Riddle at about six years of age.

Red Wooten

Unfortunately much of my father’s life is a mystery to me, so I have to be satisfied with recollections of musicians he played with in various bands etc., mostly in the early part of his career.  Red Wooten is featured in the photo above, Dad is on the left and Chet Atkins is in the center and Red Wooten is on the far right.

Dad played at the Standard Club and the Capital City Club as well as the Owl Room in the Ansley Hotel, all in Atlanta.
We also found this link to two of his published songs: Taproom Stomp and Twilight Melody

Red Wooten reminisces:

My association with the ‘Whips’ was the start of hitting the BIG TIME. We joined Gene Austin, rather early we were all in our late teens. Doug,Roy,Bynam and myself about 1939(fall). Station WDOD was our regular job(Tn). Archie Campbell was the host of the show, then known as Grandpappy, etc. He had recently moved to Chattanooga from the Knoxville associortuation with Roy Lanham and Doug, and Bynam already there.

Picture of Red Wootten playing the guitarOne day I ventured over to WDOD and, talked to Roy and Doug. I told them you have a good group but,you’d be better with me playing bass! Well, they sorta laughed and said, would you audition for us? I said, immediately if not sooner. I didn’t have my bass there so I used Achey Burns bass (who was bassist with the ‘stringdusters’ also on WDOD.) We went upstairs to the dressing rooms and tuned up.The first song they wanted to play was,’In The Mood’ so fortunately I was up to that hit of the Glen Miller orchistra.

The ‘Whips’ have always crossed over from country to pop to jazz, etc. My memory tells me we didn’t rehearse any more that day. But, suffice it to say, they hired me and from then on my life had a completely new outlook and meaning. Pappy Campbell and I hit it off pretty good, too. My basic salary was $6 per week.However, we worked school gymnasiums, and road houses,and other jobs which really paid us more than the radio show.

When Gene Austin hit town with a tent show soon after,he did a promo on our show and, for the first time Gene heard the ‘Fidgity Four.’ Well he was very happy to discuss with us the idea of joining his act. such “good fortune” in those days was hard to come by so, we agreed to hit the road with Mr. Austin. We signed a contract but, during the next few years we were with him I became physically weak and, run down. So, I had to leave the group due to exhaustion. Well, Gene didn’t like it but I went home to rest and try to get well again. The ‘Whips’ again needed a bass player. That bassist was ‘Dusty’ Rhoads from Dayton. Ohio. Also a great guitarist. And soon they brought in Gene Monbeck, also from Ohio. That was the 2nd group of ‘whips’ Monbeck was guitarist also. I did not return again until the Whips had reformulated and were holding on to a ‘gig’ in Las Vegas (Flamingo Hotel). This was mid 1954. Meantime the 2nd group held on for about ten years before I returned. During my – absence from the Whips I had used those ten years to hit the “BIG TIME” again, this time through the BIG BAND scene. Some of those bands were the late, Tony Pastor, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman and the late Benny Goodman and, also the great, Red Norvo.

And, in 1959 I toured with the late, Frank Sinatra to “Australia” Roughest – plane ride of my career. Frank’s handlers recorded that scene but, some how the recordings were lost and not found again till 1997. The Sinatra band was Bill Miller(pno) Norvo(vib) Wyble(gtr) Markham(dr) and, Jerry Dodgion (sx). His fan club made Frank release this album to ‘Blue Note’ records. It was a 4 star album and was on the ‘Billboard’ charts for many months(1997). And, we did 2 movies with Sinatra while in his employment. Meantime we worked the Sands Hotel (Vegas again) and did many TV shows with our quintet. In New York we did the Dave Garroway show(TV)and Hollywood, the Dinah Shore show many times.

During that period, late 50’s, I was introduced to Eva Summers (Mary Ford’s) sister, and, we were married May 7 in Tijuana Mexico. Roy Lanham and Marianne were our best man and bridesmaid.That was my 3rd marriage and, MY LAST!

We have 3 fine children now most of them married and left home.But back to

‘the ‘Whips’ Sometime in 60 or 62, Gene Austin called me from Vegas and, asked me to round up the guys, Dalton, Lanham, Dusty Rhoads (this time on bass) and myself to record at 6000 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood. This album has not been released as yet either. It was done at Bill Putnam’s studio and the added players to the ‘Whips’ were Ted Painter (bnjo) John Markham (dr) Don Fagerquist(tr) Bob McLaine (also pno). Gene was playing electric organ on some sides. During this session, Lawrence Welk strolled in and Gene introduced us all to him and he liked the music he heard.

picture of Red Wootten
Red Wooton in Atlanta,Ga Performing with the
DeLand Jazz Group

In 1976 I authored a bass book while here in Hollywood. Published by TRY PUBLISHING, Vine Street. That same year there were about 50 other bassists writing books also. Yes, along with Roy Lanham and Dusty Rhoads we did an awful lot of recording. Sometimes good, sometimes great, sometimes so-so but, we managed to stay alive. But, Roy bringing me back to the ‘Whips’ was great luck for me. Everything was uphill and shady after that. Suffice it to say, we worked hard, we played hard, and we partied hard. When you work a late gig until 2 in the morning and get up to go to record at 7am anything can happen and will, ’nuff said!’ But, Roy and I and Dusty pioneered many new scenes. Doug Dalton went into the electrical welding scene for a long time after he left the ‘whips’

Many times I have been completely exhausted after too much work and,not enough rest. But the friends I have made over the years were ‘I mean’ REAL FRIENDS,and not a bunch of ‘COOKS’I am retired and slightly disabled at this time but,I wouldn’t trade my life for ten thousand others!

Now. Marianne Lanham. She came to work with Nu Nu Chastain after my moving to Atlanta after my breakdown(stress,etc) She and I worked the WGST radio station for quite some time and she also worked other stations as she says in her description(early write up). The Marianne Lanham story is accurate to a ‘T’ but,there were some ‘weird’ happenings along the way also. Chastain was the small band I got Roy onto from his WLW job. Sheldom Bennett was a guitar man(and also fiddle)who was leaving his gig to go into the service to work for the aircraft industry. Roy eased into this gig also.Now. NU NU introduced us to a partying that Roy and I didn’t know about. Every weekend was a drinkin’ scene until the next M~n morn.Being in the fast lane isn’t always easy work,Pal! But,Roy and I were steadfast buddies from my first association with him and the country jazz oriented musicians.


My brother, Buddy Wootten, also a bassist called me from Atlanta to tell me he had just finished working the Fox Theater with Les Paul and Mary Ford. Mary also told me this later. This was while I was holding forth with Woody Herman 0rch. So, later when I had married her sister (Eva) we worked with her other sister-and Bob Summers (her brother) on guitar (sounds like Les Paul too,) and Mary’s other Sister Carol. The ‘gig’ was The ‘Crescendo Club’ right in the middle of ‘Sunset Strip’ A very ‘HIP’ joint!

Mary used a drummer added to Bob, Mary and, myself on electric bass. We did almost all the Les Paul-Mary Ford recordings but with more heavy end on the bass. Les having used guitar on his bass tracks with Mary earlier. On all their recordings(as good as they were) I always missed that deep dark sound, (like a st bs) etc.

Mary (bless her heart) recorded a few of my compositions (never released). but, she did an excellent job as always. Mary divorced Les Paul, and, later married her old school friend from Monrovia Ca. Namely, Don Hatfield, who owned a large construction company in Calif. He is still with us and I see him occasionally. Doing great, but he missed Mary.

Bob Summers my brother-in-law has come into his own over the years too. Bob and I worked a lot on MGM records with the Mike Curb scene, early 60’s He also was chief arranger for the Mike Curb Congregation, and they recorded some of my material, great too! Also Bob and I worked at Capitol records for ‘Ken’ Nelson and, Cliffie Stone, passed recently. Too many country artists to even name nearly all of them;Hank Thompson, Wynn Stewart, Rose Maddox and others. Roy Lanham did one of his better albums at, the Sound House, Merced, in E1 Monte (my old stamping grounds) and Mary Ford’s home place, 9840 Kale St. Bruce Summers is still with us, a piano man whom I played with a few times; a real swinger too.

I will mention my oldest daughter, Jessica Leslie Reandeau of Thousand Oaks Calif. Associated with the ‘Michael Thomas’ Escrow experts. She is from my earlier marriage to Sandra Jones, Atlanta, Ga. Has 2 sons and yes! they are into the music scene.

I didn’t mean to stray from Mary but, there has been so much water under the bridge since my moving to California. All my early recordings with the big bands, Herman, Dorsey, Charlie Barnet have all been transferred to CD’s. Also my Benny Goodman works are still being released. How lucky can you get? You tell me, ha ha.

I’m currently writing with my dear friend (which I met at Roy Lanham’s) house, her name is Ruth Arnold, and, we have some winners too! Both ASCAP!

Good mention. Rhoads, Wootten, Lanham, Widener, appear in Who’s who, in country western music, Black Stallion Press.Thousand Oaks, Ca.Check it!

My 2 mentors, Gene Austin and Red Norvo have been instrumental in keeping me happening all over the map. Roy Lanham meantime has moved on into the “Sons Of The Pioneers”. Following Karl Farr into the greatest country music of the century. That’s how truly great Mr. Lanham was. I miss him so much I always used Roy on every session that I acquired.And there were always ‘topnotch’ music wise.

Another fine guitar player who joined the ‘Whips’ was, Jimmy Widener, who was one of the early guitar men for the late, Bob Wills. For some time, Jimmy was on guitar and Dusty Rhoads bass. And, Jim was leader of that, ‘Country Gentlemen’ band in Hollywood for quite awhile. Also worked for Tex Williams (Smoke, Smoke, Smoke, etc.) Incidentally Roy Lanham and I played on the last record album of Tex Williams, Selma Ave. Hollywood. And many times we would record at Capitol Records, Roy and I along with such notables as Merle Travis, Joe Maphis, Glen Campbell, Jimmy Bryant, and, others of equal fame. Yes we were a mixed breed but that is what was selling my friends!

Roy Lanham also worked a show I did for 3 years. The Gene Autry ‘Melody Ranch’ not together but later I joined lt. (TV) Carl Cotner was musical director of that saga. Recently 3 great western stars passed on. I knew and recorded with all of them, namely Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Eddie Dean.

My achievements have included; Academy of Country Music, ASCAP, Grove’s new dictionary of Jazz, and as stated earlier author of ‘Supplemental Studies for St Bs.E1.Bs. & Tuba. This book is still available. And for a few years, I worked with LeRoy Andrews (Ventura) near Roy’s abode in Camarillo Springs.

Will of William Browning, father of George Washington (Wash) Browning

This will shows the friendship that existed between the Lumpkin and Browning families prior to the boys’ marriage to our two aunts.


WILLIAM BROWNING of county afsd. being in a low state of health but of sound mind & memory & being sensible of the certainty of my approaching dissolution have thought it fit & proper to make & establish the following as my last will & testament.

First, It is my will & desire my executors should as speedily as practical adjust & settle all my unsettled business by discharging all just demands which may come against my estate which are but few & small in amount & collecting all that may be due me either by liquidated or open accounts which is considerable in amount I suppose at least $3000.

2nd.  It is my will & desire the whole of my estate both real and personal in whatsoever it may consist should be equally divided among my wife Isabella Browning & my eight children (to wit) John K. Browning, Robert M. Browning, Mary C. Browning, Joshua R. Browning, Geo. W. Browning, Sarah S. Browning, William A. Browning & James A. Browning for each one to have 1/9 part subject to exceptions, regulations, management & distribution herein after pointed out to them their heirs & assigns forever.

It is my wish & desire that as soon after my decease as the interest of my heirs shall dictate to be best my executors should be at liberty to dispose of at public sale for the equal & joint benefit of my heirs much the largest & principal part of my livestock consisting of cattle, horses mules *c with such other articles & property as my executors may consider unnecessary to the comfort & interest of my family to retain all of which is to be sold on credit a my executors may deem expedient & the money arising from the sale when collected & added to outstanding debts now due me, I would advise it should be carefully kep (kept) at interest either by loans to private individuals of undoubted credit or vested in some profitable bank or other stock.

It is my wish the whole of my negroes should be hired out annually at a public hiring securing the hire money by bond & good security & providing in the terms of hiring for the negroes being well fed & clothed & their taxes paid except a reserve of two or three of the negroes which may be thought most suitable to be kept for the use and benefit of my wife & children as waiters &c.

My wish is the whole of my children should be kept at respectable & good schools until they obtain what may be termed a good English education at least equal to the education which my eldest son John K. Browning has already acquired & further I wish my son William A. Browning provided he takes or receives learning to advantage to be continually at school over & above what I have pointed out for my children generally until $500 is expended on him in that behalf which I give to him out of my undivided estate over & above his equal share with the rest & if he does not receive sum in procuring education it is my wish he should receive it in money over & above his equal share.

It is my wish that any tract of land & plantation where I now reside should remain as an undivided home for the joint use & benefit of my wife & children until my youngest child arrives at a lawful age or marries or until the death or marriage of my wife in the event of which case the land or proceeds of it is to be held & enjoyed equally & entirely by my children my wife inheriting no part of share thereof any longer than her widowhood.  Should anyone or more of my children die before they arrive at lawful age or marry it is my will their portion of my estate should be equally inherited & divided among those who survive.  As my children arrive at lawful age or marry it is my wish they should draw from my estate their entire portion in whatever it may consist according to the foregoing distribution as soon as it can reasonably be done except their portion of the land where I now live which is reserved for the purposes above.

After any child or children may have drawn their parts I then wish the balance to return to a join stock & so continue to divide to each one of their respective shares as they arrive of age or marry.  I nominate & appoint my wife Isabella Browning & my two sons John K. Browning & Robert M. Browning executrix & executors to this my last will & testament with this exception to wit that should my wife intermarry again then she or the person with whom she units is to have no control or management of my children or estate but the whole shall devolve on my two sons named as executors, 12 May 1820.


William Browning


Witnesses: Wilson Lumpkin, Thomas Talley, Arthur Slaton.

Proved by Wilson Lumpkin, Thomas Talley, Arthur Slaton.

Nov 19, 2012 - Doxtator Stories    No Comments

Son-in-law offers assistance to mother-in-law.

My great-grandmother, Caroline Jourdaine Denslow Bowman, was somewhat of a self-proclaimed martyr. When she was in a funk, she would announce that she intended to walk out into Lake Winnebago until she drowned. One evening, she had made this pronouncement again in front of my grandfather, Tony Doxtator. He stood up, and put his coat on, and announced, “Come on, Carrie”.

She was confused, and asked, “where are we going?”

“I’m taking you out in the boat to give you a head start,” was Tony’s reply. Reportedly, this offer of “help” cured her of making that statement in his presence!

Tony Doxtator

Nov 18, 2012 - Wilkinson Stories    No Comments

The Wandering Wilkinsons

The earliest ancestor we can confirm in this line is Archibald Wilkinson, who probably came to this country as an infant around 1770. Children were not shown on ship’s list by name and church records in the eastern North Carolina area where his family settled were burned during the Civil War.

We know that his family settled in Robeson County, NC  because of family verbal history, which is confirmed by his children’s census statements regarding his state of birth.

Unfortunately, after making the bold move into the newly acquired lottery lands of Troup County, GA in 1827, Archibald died, intestate. Fortunately for his descendants, the distribution of his assets over the next fifteen years informed us of whom his daughters married.

Only one of his children, his oldest son Neal K., chose to stay in Long Cane, Georgia where Archibald had purchased the original lottery parcel of 202.5 acres from Mr. Sledge, another very early Troup settler.

The ten children are divided into two age groups. The five older children were all married within approximately a year of their father’s death. Interestingly, their spouses were all from counties through which the family journied on the way from North Carolina to western Georgia.

Five Eldest

John is our unsolved mystery. We believe he was the oldest child and that he stayed in Fayetteville. We have found records of a John Wilkinson who married Ann McKenzie. The couple had two sons before John was kicked by a horse while visiting relatives in Chesterfield District, very close to the Fayetteville area. The two sons were named John McKenzie and James Archibald. Both died early. Interestingly enough, toward the end of the distribution of Archibald the elder’s estate, there is mention of the orphans of John, whose guardian is John McKenzie. Perhaps in solving this link we will finally confirm the parents and siblings of the elder Archibald.

Neal married Rebecca Johnston, whose father, David Johnston, brought their family from Newberry, South Carolina to Jasper County, Georgia about 1806-7. Other Johnstons settled in Monroe County where the settlement Johnstonville is named after them. Johnston daughters married into the Goggans family and the Goggans store still stands today.

Jane married James Cravey. The young couple moved to Alabama for a while, then settled in Chipley, Florida.

Flora and Margaret were married in a double wedding in LaGrange. Flora married George Washington Browning (Wash) of Morgan County, GA. Margaret married Pleiades Orion Lumpkin (Dan), whose father was Wilson Lumpkin, governor of Georgia. The two young couples moved briefly to Alabama, then ventured into the Mexican territory we call Texas today, where they were first settlers at Fort Houston, in Anderson County.

They spent fearful nights sheltered from Kickapoo Indian raids in a log fort with other settlers.

Fort Houston – where our Wilkinson aunts took shelter from Indian raids

Five Youngest

Alexander (Sandy)  married Jane Adaline Potts, whose family had also settled in Monroe County. The young couple also migrated to Alabama to Tallapoosa County, along with sister Mary Ann and her husband Newton Hammond. Unfortunately Sandy died on his birthday in 1855 at the age of 40. Jane’s life was marred by tragedy, just two months earlier she had lost twin daughters at birth. Of the couple’s six children, only one survived her father. Jane later moved back to Monroe County and lived with her father in her old age.

Archibald Alonzo (could have been nicknamed Archie or Lon – we don’t know) married Bethany Ward of Greene County. They had a difficult time of it, and often her parents took care of their children. Articles in the Milledgeville paper note that Archie had a problem with drinking.  Bethany died after the birth of her third child, and left a very clear message in her will that she did not want her husband to have the care of her three children nor her two slaves. Archie wound up living with his sister Mary Ann in Arkansas.

Mary Ann married Newton G. Hammond. They were living in Alabama in Tallapoosa County in 1855 because Newt witnessed Sandy Wilkinson’s will. They later migrated to El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas, and were eventually joined by Archie. Newt’s sister, Frances, also lost her spouse, Hopson Milner,  in Tallapoosa, Alabama and when she came to Arkansas she married Archie.

Rebecca married John Milton Andrews in Chambers County, Alabama, which is just across the Chattahoochee River from Long Cane. She married around 1850 and her husband died in 1857. I believe she never remarried and that she remained in Alabama with her three daughters. It was probably a difficult time for a widow and three teenaged daughters during the Civil War. In 1866 she is found on the Alabama census in Macon, Alabama.

Joseph, the youngest child of the family, died in 1833 at the age of six.


What’s in a Name?

Julia Ann was my first cousin three times removed. She was born in 1848 and was the only daughter of Archibald Alonzo Wilkinson and his wife, Bethany Ward.

Her full name was Julia Ann Virginia Texas Wilkinson.  No one knows why the four names! Could it have been a whim of her father to name her for the locations of other family members?  His two sisters were living in Texas and there are Wilkinsons who came from Virginia.