Hammontree biography

Hammontree Genealogy:

From Jonathan and Mary to Willaford and Ellen

by J. Stephen Hammontree

In June 2004, I was given the family Bible of my great-grandparents, Willaford and Ellen Hammontree.  They were married December 29, 1881, and were the parents of ten children.  To honor their memory, as well as all Hammontrees whose heritage I share, I trace here the lineage between them and the first known Hammontree couple, Jonathan and Mary, who were married about 1718.  According to Hammontree genealogists, Jonathan and Mary Hammontree were my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.  Though there are one or two generations in the genealogy that have not been satisfactorily established, the paternal descent from Jonathan to Willaford appears to be as follows: Jonathan (ca. 1693–1758), John (1723–1786), Alexander (ca. 1746–1812), Jeremiah (ca. 1774–1814), Alexander (ca. 1796–ca. 1855), William Robinson (1827–1918), and John Willaford (1853–1942).  In the genealogical account that follows, I point out which ancestral connections have not been sufficiently demonstrated, and yet why there is probable or compelling evidence to commend the present view.  After presenting the specific line of Hammontrees leading from Jonathan and Mary to Willaford and Ellen, I expand my procedure so as to trace all lines of descent coming from Willaford and Ellen, accounting for their descendents through three generations.  In all, I delineate ten Hammontree generations.  (The ninth and tenth generations have been omitted from the online-version of this document.)

I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to genealogists who have made compilations such as this possible.  Those to whom I owe special thanks are: Brent Wiseman (my second cousin), Roy Hayes (my second cousin once removed), Trammell Lindsey (my third cousin), Roberta Pierson (my fourth cousin), Willie Hammontree (my fourth cousin once removed), G. Douglas Hammontree (my sixth cousin once removed), and Hank Hammontree (my sixth cousin twice removed).  Roberta Pierson asks me to convey her acknowledgement to Hank Hammontree, as well as to Mary Ruth H. Brown (my fifth cousin twice removed) and Martha Roberson (my fifth cousin twice removed).  I also owe particular thanks to my father, H. Wayne Hammontree, who compiled much of the genealogical data beginning from his great-grandparents.

The Hammontree Surname

The provenance of the Hammontree surname is uncertain.  The name has been suggested as originating in England, Ireland or Scotland, or as being an alteration or translation from French or German names.  DNA testing might eventually isolate the European genetic pool from which the Hammontree Y-chromosome originates.

First Generation: Jonathan and Mary Hammontree

Jonathan and Mary are the first documented Hammontree couple.  Jonathan was born about 1693; Mary, about 1697.  Their birthplaces are unknown.  They were married in Richmond Co., VA about 1718.  They first lived in St. Stephens Parish, Northumberland Co., VA where their first two children were born, and then in North Farnham Parish, Richmond Co., VA where their third and fourth children were born.

Richmond County Court records of August 1, 1722 state that “Jonathan Hamentree” of North Farnham Parish failed to produce a certificate from the Clerk of St. Stephen’s Parish in Northumberland County showing that he attended church during April.  Jonathan was ordered to pay a fine of five shillings or fifty pounds of tobacco.  This record seems to show that Jonathan and Mary moved from Richmond County to Northumberland County between May and July of 1722.

Jonathan died before Nov. 6, 1758 when his estate began to be settled.  Probate records indicate that he was a slave owner.

Genealogists often refer to the Hammontree patriarch with the spelling “Jonathon” out of deference to an early document, though period documents more frequently refer to him as “Jonathan” or even “John.” 

Jonathan and Mary were the parents of four children.

1)      Reuben was born Sept. 15, 1719 in St. Stephens Parish, Northumberland Co., VA.  Records from Virginia and North Carolina spell his name varyingly as Rubin, Ruben or Reuben.  He signed his name “Reuben Hammontree” in 1801.  He married Miss Griffin who died before 1790 in Craven Co., NC.  Reuben died before Dec. 15, 1802 in New Bern, Craven Co., NC.  He and his wife were the parents of four children: Griffin, born about 1761 in Craven Co., NC, died in 1797; Hardy, born about 1766; Elizabeth, born about 1769, married Mr. Macboy; and Reuben.

2)      Ann was born Sept. 19, 1721 in St Stephens Parish, Northumberland Co., VA.   She married James Horgin on July 17, 1742 in Richmond Co., VA.  They had one child, Mary, born Nov. 2, 1744 in Virginia.

3)      John was born Nov. 9, 1723 in North Farnham Parish, Richmond Co, VA.  (His family history is given below.)

4)      David was born Oct. 10, 1726 in North Farnham Parish, Richmond Co., VA.  He married Sarah Payne.  He died Apr. 4, 1770 in Northumberland Co., VA.  Sarah died June 28, 1779.  They were the parents of seven children who were born in Northumberland Co., VA.  These children were: Luckrese (“Lukie”), born Mar. 1, 1756, married William Hamrick; John, born Feb. 14, 1759, second wife was Sarah Pooley, died in Northumberland Co., VA; David, born 1761, died Nov. 12, 1764 in Northumberland Co., VA; Sally, born 1763, died after 1801; Sarah, born July 3, 1765, married Mr. Milton; David, born Mar. 23, 1767, died Nov. 17, 1842 in Akron, Summit Co., Ohio, married Mary E. Beech; Grace, born 1769.

Sources for First Generation information: G. Douglas Hammontree and Roberta Pierson.

Second Generation: John Hammontree and Sarah Batty

John was born Nov. 9, 1723 in North Farnham Parish, Richmond Co, VA.  He married Sarah Batty about 1743 in Northumberland Co., VA.  He died after Mar. 27, 1786 in Cumberland Co., VA. 

John and Sarah are known to have been the parents of John and Harris, and were probably the parents of Alexander and William.  They probably had unknown daughters.  The birth order of the following children is not fully determined.

1)      John was born about 1744 in Richmond Co., VA.  He served in the 2nd Virginia Brigade during the Revolutionary War, and died Feb. 24, 1778 during the so-called “Winter of Valley Forge” at Valley Forge, PA.  His wife was named Sarah, (thus making them “John and Sarah” as were his parents).  This second John, Jonathan’s grandson, was father of John, Jonathan’s great-grandson, who was born in 1769 in Cumberland Co., VA, and died in September of 1849 in Franklin Co., TN.  This great-grandson John was father of John, Jonathan’s great-great-grandson.  This last John was born in 1795 in Virginia, and died before 1860 in Franklin Co., TN.

2)      Alexander was born about 1746, presumably in Virginia.  (His family history is given below.)

3)      William was born about 1749, presumably in Virginia.  His wife was Patsy (sometimes spelled Patsey), whom he married about 1769.  They first settled in Virginia before moving to Lincoln Co., NC where William purchased 213 acres in 1792 and another 16 acres in 1797.  (Lincoln County is in the western part of the state, separated by two counties from Tennessee.  Craven County, where Reubin had settled, is in the southeastern part of North Carolina, separated by one county from the Atlantic Ocean.)  William and Patsy sold the Lincoln County farm on Nov. 7, 1800 and moved the family to Blount Co., TN (a county bordering North Carolina) where William purchased a farm on Six Mile Creek and Bakers Creek.  Six Mile Creek is where Jeremiah Hammontree (probably William’s nephew) had already settled.  William died about 1815 in Blount Co., TN.  William’s Blount County property is now located in Louden Co., TN.)

William and Patsy were the parents of ten children, the first two being born in Virginia, the remaining eight being born in Lincoln Co., NC.  All the children were named in William’s will of 1815.  These children were: Nancy, born 1770, died before 1840 in Maury Co., TN; Harris (incorrectly transcribed from father’s will into probate records as Harriet), born 1773, died probably before 1830 in Blount Co., TN; John Wesley (“John”), born about 1775, died Aug 9, 1840 in Blount Co., TN; James, born 1778, died May 12, 1831 in Blount Co, TN; Betsy, born 1782; Frances (“Fanny”), born about 1785, died after 1815; William, born 1778, died Aug. 31, 1968 in Hamilton Co., IL; Jacob Asbury, born Apr. 3, 1790, died July 21, 1865 in Slagle, Polk Co, MO; David, born March 27, 1795, died Nov. 17, 1862 in Ball Play, Monroe Co., TN; and Jesse, born about 1797, died 1872 in Pickens Co., GA.

4)      Harris was born about 1758 in Virginia.  He served with the 1st Virginia Brigade during the Revolutionary War, and, unlike his brother John, survived the Winter of Valley Forge.  He and his wife Sarah were parents of a son, Dudley.  Harris’ father John filed a certificate in Cumberland County Court declaring that Harris had been killed by Indians on July 25, 1781.  John petitioned the court to recognize Dudley as the rightful heir of Harris, and to rescind its previous (temporary) order granting custody of Dudley to his mother.  John asked, and the court granted, that custody of Dudley be given to him, the grandfather.  (Roberta Pierson explains that at this time in history, it was the norm for parental rights and responsibilities to pass to the father or grandfather before the mother.)  No additional information for Dudley has been found.

Genealogists are unable to provide documentary evidence that John and Sarah were the parents of Alexander and William, though such parentage seems likely.  John and Sarah became parents of John in about 1744 and Harris in about 1758.  The intervening years provided ample opportunity for them to have been the parents of Alexander and William, as well as of unknown daughters.  The birthplaces of Alexander and William are not known, but William’s first two children were born in Virginia.  Alexander and William seem closely connected in that they are both thought to have been born in Virginia, both appear to have had children born in North Carolina about 1774 or 1775, and then to have both died in Blount Co., TN.

Further circumstantial evidence that Alexander and William were children of John and Sarah can be gained by comparing given names across family groups.

  • William’s first two sons were named Harris and John, thus making him fit nicely into a family with brothers Harris and John, and with a father named John.
  • Alexander and his presumed son Jeremiah seem to have been close relatives to William inasmuch that William’s son James named his five sons James, Jeremiah, William, John and Alexander.  (James and his presumed cousin Jeremiah both lived in Blount Co., TN when James named his second son Jeremiah.)
  • Jeremiah (Alexander’s presumed son) had sons Alexander, Harris, John and Jeremiah, thus making him fit nicely into a family with a father named Alexander, an uncle named Harris, and an uncle and grandfather named John. 

Given that (1) Alexander and William’s parentage is difficult to account for except by John and Sarah, (2) William was from Virginia, as were John and Sarah, as well as their known children, (3) Alexander and William are found together apparently in North Carolina about 1774, and then again in Blount Co., TN in the early 1800s, (4) Alexander and William both appear to have had children and grandchildren with given names that linked them not only to one another but also to the family of John and Sarah, it seems most likely that Alexander and William were children of John and Sarah.

Sources for Second Generation information: G. Douglas Hammontree and Roberta Pierson.

Third Generation: Alexander Hammontree

Alexander was born about 1746, presumably in Virginia.  He died before Mar. 23, 1812 in Blount Co., TN.  No documentation survives as to his parents, marriage or children.  (The evidence of his parentage was discussed above.)

Alexander’s death is documented in that a bond to settle his estate was issued in Blount Co., TN on Mar. 23, 1812.  His estate was sold Apr. 21, 1812, with the inventory filed on Sept. 28, 1812 by Edward Buchanan, administrator. Settlement to the State of Tennessee for $70.60 was made on June 25, 1813.  (James Hammontree, son of William and Patsy, bought part of the estate: a large kettle, 14 bushels of rye, and a grinding-stone.)

Because Alexander died in Blount Co., TN where Jeremiah Hammontree was residing, and because it is difficult to account for the paternity of Jeremiah except for Alexander, it is likely that Alexander was the father of Jeremiah.  This hypothesis is made more likely in that Jeremiah’s eldest son was named Alexander.  (Further evidence linking Jeremiah to Alexander and to the rest of the family by means of comparison of names is discussed above.)

Alexander’s year of birth can be approximated by: calculating backward from Jeremiah (if Jeremiah is regarded as his son); by comparing the years of birth of his siblings (assuming that he and William are brothers of John and Harris); and by comparing his year of death to that of his brother William.  (his brothers John and Harris died prematurely due to military conflict.)

  • Jeremiah’s year of birth is not known, but his being married in March of 1795 would seem to set the latest approximate limit for his birth at about 1774, thus fixing the latest approximate limit for his father’s birth (Alexander) at about 1753. 
  • Alexander’s brothers John, William and Harris were born about 1744, about 1749, and 1758 respectively. 
  • Alexander died in 1811 or 1812, William, in 1815.

William’s first child was born about 1770.  The only child attributed to Alexander was born about 1774.  Thus the approximate last year of birth for William and Alexander would be about 1749 and 1753 respectively.  Because their oldest brother John was born about 1744, it might seem natural to assign them midrange birth years at about 1747 and 1749 respectively.  But because Alexander died in about 1812 and William in 1815, it seems preferable to assign Alexander a birth year at about 1746 and William one at about 1749. 

If Jeremiah was not the son of Alexander, then he may have been a late child of John and Sarah, making him a brother to John and Harris, and perhaps a brother to Alexander and/or William.  In this event, he might have been born as early as 1760.  But this scenario is strained in that Jeremiah would be a late child for John and Sarah (being born 16 years after their first child) and 15 years older than his wife.  This scenario is also strained by the fact that Jeremiah’s birthplace appears on census reports as North Carolina, while John and Sarah appear never to have left Virginia.  Thus it seems more likely that Jeremiah was the son of Alexander.

Alexander’s wife is unknown.  She and Alexander probably had unknown children.  They were probably the parents of one identifiable child.

1)      Jeremiah was born probably about 1774 in North Carolina, perhaps in Lincoln County.  (His family history is given below.)

William and Patsy Hammontree are known to have moved from Virginia to Lincoln Co., NC in about 1774 or 1775 where their son John was born.  If Alexander was Jeremiah’s father, then he was in North Carolina at the same time.  Alexander and William’s living in the “frontier” of western North Carolina might explain why, unlike John and Harris, they were not listed as fighting in the Revolutionary War.

The first U.S. Census was taken in 1790.  Alexander does not appear in the Censuses of 1790, 1800 or 1810.

Sources for Third Generation information: G. Douglas Hammontree and Roberta Pierson.

Fourth Generation: Jeremiah Hammontree and Sarah Holloway

Jeremiah was born about 1774 in North Carolina, perhaps Lincoln County.  He married Sarah Holloway in March of 1795 in Lincoln Co., NC.  She was born about 1775 in Lincoln Co., NC.  Jeremiah and Sarah lived on a farm on Six Mile Creek in Blount Co., TN.  Jeremiah died Aug. 22, 1814 in Blount Co., TN.  Sarah died about 1850 in Blount Co., TN.

Beginning in 1880, census reports indicate the birthplace of one’s parents.  Two children of Jeremiah and Sarah who survive to participate in that census, Mary Ann and Phebe, list the birthplace of both their parents as North Carolina.  Due to her parent’s history, Sarah’s birthplace is specifically known to be Lincoln Co., NC.

Sarah Holloway was probably the daughter of Joseph Holloway.  If so, John Holloway was her great-grandfather.

John Holloway was married to Hannah Spiers (daughter of John Spiers and Martha Mills).  She was born about 1700 in Essex Co., VA.  John died about 1757 in Cumberland Co., VA.  Hannah died about 1780 in Cumberland Co., VA.  They were the parents of ten children: John, Phebe, Martha, James, Agness, Elizabeth, William, Jane, Mary and Samuel.

William Holloway married Frances Meador (daughter of Jonas and Frances Meador) about 1750 in Virginia.  She was born about 1731 in Virginia.  She died before 1800 in North Carolina.  William died between 1800 and 1810 in North Carolina.  They were the parents of two children: Billy and Joseph.  (Billy’s only known child was Barnes.)

Joseph Holloway was born in the early 1750s.  He was in Lincoln Co., NC for the 1790 Census, and was in Blount Co., TN for the 1800 Tax List.  His wife’s name is unknown.  They were the parents of two children: John and Sarah.

Sarah Holloway Hammontree

The marriage of Jeremiah and Sarah was not the only union between the Hammontree and Holloway families.  James Hammontree, son of William and Patsy, married Nancy Holloway on Apr. 30, 1800 in Blount Co., TN.  Nancy was the daughter of Samuel Holloway, the son of John Holloway.

The Hammontree and Holloway families were together in Cumberland Co., VA during the first half of the eighteenth century.  Residents of Cumberland Co., VA prior to 1789 include: Sally Hammondier, Sarah Hammondre, John Hammondree, Harris Hammontree, Billy Holloway, James Holloway and Samuel Holloway.

Alexander and William Hammontree, and Joseph Holloway, seem to have migrated together from Virginia to North Carolina, and then to Tennessee.  William’s second child Harris was born in Virginia in about 1773, his third child John Wesley in North Carolina in about 1775.  Alexander Hammontree’s son Jeremiah was born in North Carolina about 1774, and Joseph Holloway’s daughter Sarah about 1775.  Joseph Holloway and William Hammontree were neighbors in Lincoln Co., NC for the 1790 Census, where Jeremiah and Sarah (Alexander’s son and Joseph’s daughter) were married in March of 1795. Jeremiah and Sarah’s first child was born in Tennessee in 1796, and they were known to have settled in Blount Co., TN at least by 1800.   Joseph Holloway appears on the Blount Co., TN tax list in 1800, while William sells his North Carolina farm in 1800 and appears in Blount Co. TN shortly thereafter.  Alexander Hammontree died in Blount County in 1812, as did William Hammontree in 1815 and apparently also did Joseph Holloway at an unknown time.  It seems likely then that, as a coordinated group, Alexander and William Hammontree, together with Joseph Holloway, left Cumberland Co., VA about 1774 to move to Lincoln Co., NC where they stayed for twenty or more years before moving to Blount Co., TN.

Tennessee was admitted to the union as the sixteenth state on June 1, 1796.  This is about the time that Jeremiah and Sarah’s first-born child was born in Tennessee.  This child might have been born before or after Tennessee achieved statehood.

Blount County tax records show that Jeremiah served in Capt. Smith’s company in 1800 and 1801.  The records indicate that he owned one weapon and 100 acres.  Serving with him were John and James Hammontree (his cousins), John and Joseph Holloway (his in-laws), and Mark Edwards (his cousin’s husband).

The 1805 Blount County tax lists places James Hammontree #444, Jeremiah Hammontree #445 and John Holaway #446.

Tennessee Land Grant #1361 issued 153 acres to Jeremiah on Six Mile Creek in Blount County at a cost of $153.67.  The land bordered that of James Holloway.  The grant referred to Jeremiah as both JEREMIAH HAMINTRIE and JEREMIAH HAMINTREE.  The grant was dated May 26, 1810, and was signed by William Blount, Governor.

Jeremiah sold 47 acres on Six Mile Creek to Edmend Holleway on Dec. 3, 1813 for $70.  The contract was signed by Joseph Halleway, Billy Halloway, Alexander Hammentree and Jeremiah Hammentree.

Jeremiah and Sarah were the parents of twelve children:

1)      Alexander was born about 1796 in Tennessee.  (His family history is given below.)

2)      Harris was born about Sept. 1, 1797 in Tennessee.  He married Sarah on Jan. 12, 1822 in Blount Co., TN.  Sarah’s maiden name appears both as Robertson and Robinson.  (The 1822 Minutes of the Six Mile Baptist Church in Blount Co., TN give her maiden name as Robinson, referring also to James and William Robinson.)  He died 1861 in Walker Co., GA.  Harris and Sarah were the parents of ten children, all of whom seem to have been born in Monroe Co., TN, except the tenth who was born in Walker Co., GA.  These children were: unknown female, born about 1823; James, born about 1824; unknown female, born about 1825; Jesse, born about 1826; Elizabeth, born 1827, possibly married Mr. Hughes; John Wesley, born Dec. 30, 1828; Edward A., born Jan. 23, 1836; Lettey, born 1834; Rhoda, born 1837; and William Martin, born 1840.

3)      Joseph was born about 1799 in Blount Co., TN.  He married Jane before 1830 in Blount Co., TN.  Both of them died after 1850.  They were the parents of a daughter Nancy, born about 1844 in Blount Co., TN.

4)      Mary Ann (“Mary”) was born about 1801 in Blount Co., TN.  She married Jeremiah Murray on Nov. 16, 1824 in Blount Co., TN.  He was born about 1802 in Tennessee.  She died after 1880 in Oberlin, Decatur Co., KS.  Mary and Jeremiah were the parents of eleven children, all of whom appear to have been born in Blount Co., TN.  These children were: William A., born about 1825; Susan Nancy, born 1827; James, born about 1829; Sarah, born about 1832; Elizabeth, born about 1834; George Marion, born about 1835; Adam Andrew, born about 1838; John, born about 1840; Martha Hannah, born about 1842; Jeremiah, born about 1845; and Mary Ann, born July 22, 1848.

5)      Anne was born about 1803 in Blount Co., TN.  She married John Law in Tennessee.  He died before 1860.  They were the parents of three children, all of whom were born in Blount Co., TN.  These children were: Eliza Ann, born about 1840; Robert Edmond, born about 1842, and Frances, born 1844.

6)      Lucy was born about 1805 in Blount Co. TN.  She married William Cochran on Nov. 12, 1829 in Blount Co., TN.  She was a widow in 1850.  She died in Cass Co., MO.  Lucy and William were the parents of seven children, all of whom were born in Tennessee, except the fourth who was born in Missouri.  These children were: unknown female, born about 1830; Lucinda, born about 1831; Jeremiah H., born about 1832; John V., born about 1835; Nancy, born about 1837; William H., born about 1840; and Joseph B., born about 1842.

7)      Elizabeth was born about 1806 in Blount Co., TN.  She married Morgan Davis on Feb. 22, 1827 in Blount Co., TN.  He was born about 1808 in North Carolina.  She died in Sevier Co., TN.  Elizabeth and Morgan were the parents of eight children, all of whom were born in Tennessee, the first two in Blount County, and the last four in Sevier County.  These children were: unknown male, born in 1827; unknown female, born in 1829; Amanda, born about 1834; Hetty, born about 1837; Nancy, born about 1840; Henry, born about 1842; Marion, born about 1844; and Martin, born about 1847.

8)      John was born about 1807 in Blount Co., TN.  He married Rhoda M. Griffin on July 25, 1832 in Blount Co., TN.  She was born about 1806 in North Carolina.  John died February of 1871 in Cass Co. MO. Rhoda died 1888 in Cass Co., MO.  They are buried in Pleasant Ridge, Cass Co., MO.    John and Rhoda were the parents of seven children: Jesse Harris, born May 15, 1834; Elijah Buckner, born Sept. 4, 1835; James A., born Aug. 28, 1837; Jackson Farmer, born May 18, 1839; Dorcas D., born Dec. 28, 1840; John Newton, born about 1843 (killed as a Confederate soldier on Mar. 6, 1862 in Elk Horn, AR); and Mollie.

9)      Nancy was born Dec. 7, 1809 in Blount Co., TN.  She married Miles Griffin on July 12, 1832 in Blount Co., TN.  He was born Sept. 14, 1810 in South Carolina.  He organized the First Baptist Church of Harrisonville, MO in 1844.  Miles died in 1862 in Cass Co., MO.  Nancy died May 9, 1901 in Cass Co., MO.  They were the parents of seven children, of whom the first two were born in Monroe Co., TN, and the remaining five in Missouri.  These children were: Jesse Jeremiah, born May 11, 1833; William Polifer, born Dec. 22, 1834; Lewis Judson, born Oct. 15, 1836; Washington Price, born Nov. 14, 1839; John Franklin, born Aug. 10, 1841; Sarahann E., born Oct. 8, 1843; and Luticia Miranda, born Sept. 23, 1848.

10)  Sarah was born about 1811 in Blount Co., TN.  She married Thomas Stout on Sept. 25, 1842 in Blount Co., TN.  She died before 1850 in Blount Co., TN.  Sarah and Thomas were the parents of two children, both of whom were born in Blount Co., TN: George M., and John.

11)  Phebe was born Dec. 24, 1812 in Blount Co., TN.  She married Alexander McCollum on July 11, 1833 in Blount Co., TN.  He was born Oct. 11, 1772.  He died Oct. 14, 1847 in Blount. Co., TN.  Phebe died Feb. 7, 1889 in Tennessee.  Phebe and Alexander were the parents of five children, all of whom seem to have been born in Blount Co., TN.  These children were: Harvey Alexander, born Apr. 12, 1834; Joseph Burton, born June 26, 1838; Mary Elizabeth, born June 16, 1840; James Townsley, born Sept. 14, 1842; and Sarah Malinda, born in Sept. of 1845.

12)  Jeremiah (“Jerry” or “Jeremiah, Jr.”) was born Feb. 28, 1814 in Blount Co., TN.  He married Hannah Murray on Jan. 18 1844 in Blount Co., TN.  Hannah was born 1823 in Tennessee, and died in June of 1849 in Blount Co., TN.  Jerry’s second marriage was to Malinda Thompson July 11, 1850 in Blount Co., TN.  Malinda was born Oct. 25, 1826 in Blount Co., TN.  Jerry had three children with his first wife Hannah, and nine children with his second wife Malinda.  Hannah’s children were born in Tennessee.  Malinda’s children were born in Missouri, except perhaps the first.  Jerry’s twelve children were: Hetty Ann, born Jan. 5, 1845; Mary, born Aug. 12, 1846; James Matthew, born Oct. 19, 1848; Martha, born Apr. 24, 1851; Caroline, born Nov. 1, 1853; Clementine, born in March of 1856; Jessie John, born Oct. 22, 1858; Jane (twin), born Apr. 15, 1861; Samuel (twin), born Apr. 15, 1861; John William (twin), born Dec. 13, 1863; Margaret (twin), born Dec. 13, 1863; and Armeldie, born Mar. 12, 1865.

The documentary evidence does not demonstrate that Alexander and Harris were children of Jeremiah and Sarah, though it suggests they were.  Census reports show that Alexander and Harris were born in Tennessee (as were all other of Jeremiah and Sarah’s children), but at a time before William and Patsy Hammontree settled in Tennessee, thus eliminating William and Patsy as possible parents of Alexander and Harris.  Furthermore, Jeremiah seems to rely on Alexander as his eldest son when on Dec. 3, 1813 he called upon Alexander (about age 17) as his witness in a land contract in selling 47 acres on both side of Six Mile Creek. 

In 1833 a “Sarah Hammontree” (presumably Jeremiah’s wife) deeded Alexander and Harris land in McMinn Co., TN.

Jeremiah’s will, dated Dec. 3, 1813, did not list his children, probably because Sarah was pregnant with their tenth child who was not born until Feb. 28, 1814.  His will did state, however, that upon his wife’s death, their estate should be divided equally among their children.  The estate began to be settled in 1850, being divided into ten parts.  The settlement records do not list the names of all the children, but eight of the children are known.  The inclusion of Alexander and Harris with these eight children would represent the full complement of Jeremiah and Sarah’s ten children. 

A written declaration reflecting family records corroborate the claim that Alexander and Harris were children of Jeremiah and Sarah.  Elsie Gilbert Bush was a granddaughter of Mary Ann Murray Rye Hines, who in turn was the daughter of Mary Hammontree Murray, the fourth child of Jeremiah and Sarah.  Elsie Gilbert Bush wrote the following declaration in 1998:

Between 1927 and 1931 I sat down with Grandma and asked her about the family: The following is copied from the notes I made: Mary Hammontree's brothers and sisters that Grandma could remember were: Ellic (Alex), Harris, Joe, Elizabeth, Lucy.

When the documentary evidence and written declaration are taken together, sufficient proof seems to exist that Alexander and Harris were children of Jeremiah and Sarah.

Jeremiah’s death was recorded in the Minutes of Six Mile Baptist Church in 1814: "Monday August 22 Brother Jeremiah Hammontree departed this life." 

Jeremiah appointed his wife and her brother John Holloway as executors of his will.  Witnesses to the will were Billy, Joseph and Minter Holloway.

The 1830 Census refers to Sarah as Sally, listing her in Blount Co., TN.  She is listed as head of the household in which lives 1 male 20-30, 1 male 15-20, 1 female 20-30 and 1 female 15-20.  John is probably the male 20-30.  Nancy is probably the female 20-30.  Sarah is probably the female 15-20.  Jerry is probably the male 15-20.  Joseph, age 30-40, was living next door.

The 1840 Census indicates that Sarah was in Blount Co., TN as head of household, age 60-70.  In the home with her were another female 60-70, 2 females 50-60, 1 female 20-30 1 female 15-20, 1 male 20-30 and 1 male 10-15.  The female 20-30 is probably Sarah, while the male 20-30 is probably Jerry.  The others were probably members of a different family or families.

Sarah seems to have died in 1850 or perhaps a year earlier.  The estate began to be divided among the children in 1850.

Sources for Fourth Generation information: G. Douglas Hammontree, Hank Hammontree and Roberta Pierson.

Fifth Generation: Alexander Hammontree and Rebecca Robinson

Alexander was born about 1796 in Blount Co. TN.  He married Rebecca Robinson on Dec. 22, 1818, in Blount Co., TN.  She was born about 1795, probably in Tennessee.  Alexander seems to have died between 1850 and 1860, probably in Georgia.  Rebecca died after 1860 and apparently before 1870.

The censuses of 1850 and 1860 list Rebecca’s birthplace as Tennessee.  In later censuses, her children list her birthplace more often as Virginia than Tennessee.  Tennessee is her more likely birthplace.

Alexander and Rebecca were married by George Snider M.G. (Minister of the Gospel), a minister of the Baptist Church.

About one hundred landowners from Blount and Monroe Counties sent a petition to the General Assembly of Tennessee concerning former Cherokee land between the Little Tennessee and Highawassee Rivers.  The petition requested that the State sell the land in the area at an average price of two dollars per acre.  The petition was signed by, among others, Elaxender Hamentree, H. Hamentree, and Joseph Hamentree.  These three names almost certainly refer to Alexander, Harris and Joseph Hammontree, children of Jeremiah Hammontree.  The date of the petition is unknown, and it once thought to have dated to 1796, about the time Alexander was born.  The petition more likely dates to between 1830 and 1838.

Alexander and Rebecca are not found in the 1820 Census.

The 1830 Census indicates that Alexander and Rebecca lived in Monroe Co., TN with five children.  (The sixth child, Caroline, was not born until about 1833.)  This census did not record names.  The children are listed as: 1 male 0-5, 1 female 10-15, 2 females 5-10, and 1 female 0-5.  Alexander and Rebecca are listed with ages between 30 and 40, thus placing their births between 1790 and 1800.

Alexander and Rebecca are not found in the 1840 Census.

The 1850 Census indicates that Alexander and Rebecca were living in Bradley Co., TN.  This census makes an obvious mistake in listing their ages as 45, thus placing their births at about 1805.  Such years of birth imply that Alexander and Rebecca were 13 when married in 1818, and that Alexander was only 8 when he witnessed a contract for his father, an age too young for such a legal purpose.  Thus, when considered against other evidence, the 1850 Census seems to have placed Alexander and Rebecca’s births ten years too late.

The 1860 Census states that Rebecca is 65, thus placing her birth at about 1795.  The census makes no mention of Alexander, but indicates that Rebecca is living with the family of their daughter Nancy in Ringgold, Catoosa Co., GA.  Thus it seems that Alexander had died before this time.

The 1870 Census makes no mention of Alexander or Rebecca.  Because Rebecca is not listed with her daughter Nancy’s family (with whom she had been living in 1860) it seems she had died before this time.

Alexander and Rebecca were the parents of six children:

1)      Jane was born about 1820 in Blount Co., TN.  She is listed in the 1860 census as unmarried, age 40, and living with her sister Nancy’s family in Catoosa Co., GA.

2)      Unknown female was born about 1822 in Blount Co., TN. 

3)      Nancy was born about 1824 in Blount Co., TN.  She married William DeMore about 1845.  He was born about 1824 in Virginia.  They first lived in Tennessee, but were in Ringgold, Catoosa Co., GA for the 1860 Census.  (Nancy’s mother Rebecca and sister Jane lived with them there.)  They had a child born in Tennessee in 1863 and another in Indiana in 1865.  They were in Bradley Co., TN for the 1870 Census, and in Athens, Clarke Co., GA for the 1880 Census. Nancy and William were the parents of nine children, the first and eighth born in Tennessee, the fourth through seventh in Georgia, and the ninth in Indiana.  These children were: Peouria/Louisa I.M., born about 1846; Nathaniel Alexander (“Alexander”), born May 22, 1847; Jane H., born about 1850; William L.C., born about 1852; Rebecca, born about 1856; S., born about 1856 (a male child that appears to have died before the 1870 census); Elmira A.S., born 1860; Charles, born in 1863; and Mattie, born about 1865.

4)      Unknown female was born about 1826 in Blount Co. TN.

5)      William Robinson (“William”) was born Sept 5, 1827 in Monroe Co., TN.  (His family history is given below.)

6)      Rebecca Caroline (“Caroline”) was born about 1833 in Monroe Co., TN.  She married Ransom Adolphus Jones about 1851 in Cleveland, Bradley Co., TN.  He was born Nov. 17, 1821 in Rutherford Co., NC.  Caroline died about 1897 in Whitfield Co., GA.  She is buried at Dunagan Cemetery, Whitfield Co., GA.  Ransom died May 12, 1898 in Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN, and is buried at Woodstation Methodist Church Cemetery in Woodstation, Catoosa Co., GA.  Caroline and Ransom were the parents of eight children, all of whom were born in Georgia, except for the third who was born in Tennessee.  These children were: John Crawford, born Oct. 4, 1852; James Graves, born Mar. 25, 1855; Theodocia Mary Jane (“Docia”), born May 11, 1857; Nancy Olivia, born Nov. 3, 1859; Cinthia Rebecca Alice, born May 7, 1863; Mary Elizabeth A. (“Mollie”), born Sept. 28, 1866; Francis Marion Adolphus (“Adolphus”), born Dec. 25, 1868; and Julia Caroline, born June 14, 1871.  Caroline and Ransom’s daughter Mollie Jones Houston was murdered in 1895 in Whitfield Co., GA while walking to a country store.  The murder was never solved.  Mollie and her mother Caroline are buried next to each other in Dunagan Cemetery.

The Bradley County Courthouse burned in 1865.  Destroyed in the fire were marriage certificates that might have given the identity of Alexander and Rebecca’s unknown daughters.

The 1850 Census shows that Alexander’s family was in Bradley Co., TN while his brother Harris and family were in Walker Co., GA.  Documents show that most of Alexander’s family moved to north Georgia during the 1850s where Harris had already settled.  William moved to the area of Walker Co., GA in 1851 where his first child was born in 1853.  Nancy and Caroline both had children born in Georgia in 1852.  Alexander’s widow Rebecca and their daughter Jane were in Catoosa Co., GA at least by 1860.  But despite so much documentation showing that Alexander’s family moved to north Georgia during the 1850s, similar evidence for Alexander has not been found.  Despite this lack of documentation, the family oral history reports that Alexander did settle in north Georgia.  Alexander’s great-grandson James Shirley Hammontree did not know his great-grandfather’s name, and so referred to him in a family history by writing, “we will say his name was Alexander Hammontree.”   He went on to claim that Alexander and family moved to Walker Co., GA.  (He also recalled that Alexander’s son William was the only son among several daughters, and that: “Two of the girls were named Caroline and Jane.”  See family history written by James Shirley Hammontree, 1975.)

Wm. Hammontree, Sr. and Harris Hammontree are listed as original settlers of the Armuchee East District of Walker County.  (History of Walker County, Georgia, Vol. 1, by James Alfred Sartain.  Published by A. M. Matthews and J. S. Sartain, 1972, p. 45.)  (Wm. Hammontree, Sr. is probably Alexander’s son William.)

Harris Hammontree sold 500 acres on Feb. 6, 1854. 

Various members of the Hammontree family helped to establish Friendship Baptist Church in Reo, Whitfield Co., GA. 

   FRIENDSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH.  Established 1854.  Charter members: Harris Hammontree, Mr. Sampson and wife, R. A. Jones, Arthur Davis, S. W. Dobson, Sam Serratt, Polly Hammontree and Wm. Hammontree, Sr.  (History of Walker County, Georgia, Vol. 1, by James Alfred Sartain, p. 365.)  (R. A. Jones was Alexander and Rebecca’s son-in-law.  Wm. Hammontree, Sr. was probably Alexander’s son.)

Alexander’s brother Harris and two children William and Caroline were involved in the founding of Friendship Baptist Church in 1854.  (Caroline was most likely involved since her husband, R. A. Jones, was named as a charter member.)  The fact that Alexander was not listed with this group might suggest that he had died by that time.

Alexander does not appear in the 1860 Census.  Because his wife Rebecca and unmarried daughter Jane were listed in the census as living in Ringgold, Catoosa Co., GA with the family of his daughter Nancy H. DeMore, it seems probable that he had died by that time. His death is thus approximately dated to 1855 or even before, probably in Georgia.  It is not known when or where Rebecca died, except that it was after 1860, perhaps in Georgia, Tennessee, or even Indiana, all of which places the DeMore family lived between 1860 and 1870.

Alexander’s brother Harris is buried in Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery, in Whitfield Co., GA.  This cemetery reportedly has about 53 unmarked graves, perhaps including those of Alexander and Rebecca.

Sources for Fifth Generation information: Hank Hammontree, Roberta Pierson and Brent Wiseman.

Sixth Generation: William Robinson Hammontree and Tabitha Eleanor Shirley

William Robinson (“William”) was born Sept 5, 1827 in Monroe Co., TN, reportedly close to Madisonville.  He married Tabitha Eleanor Shirley (“Tabitha”) about 1852, probably in Walker Co., GA.  She was born about 1826 in Abbeville Co., SC, and died reportedly in 1865 in Catoosa Co., GA.  William and Tabitha were the parents of three children.  After Tabitha’s death, William was married to Sarah S. Roberts Dean (“Sarah”) on May 20, 1879 in Clarke Co., GA.  Sarah was born in April of 1835 in South Carolina.  She had six children from her first marriage to Lorenso Dow Dean.  William and Sarah lived in Athens, Clarke Co., GA.  Sarah died Nov. 12, 1909 in Clarke Co., GA.  She is buried in an unmarked grave near her son James B. Dean in Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, GA.  William died Jan. 25, 1918 in Keith, Catoosa Co., GA.  He is buried at Dunagan Cemetery in Whitfield Co., GA.

Tabitha Eleanor Shirley’s ancestry can be traced to her great-grandparents, John Shirley and Elizabeth Barmore.

John Shirley was born about 1738.  He married Elizabeth Barmore.  She was born about 1743.  They were members of the Broad Run Baptist Church in Fauquier Co., VA.  They transferred their membership on Feb. 12, 1785 to Turkey Creek Baptist Church in Abbeville Co., SC.  John died 1808 in Anderson Co., SC.  Elizabeth died Aug 1, 1813.  They were the parents of twelve children: John, Jr., James, Rhoda, Nipper, William, Joshua, Sarah, Elizabeth, unknown female, Leanah, Robert and Polly.

John Shirley, Jr. was born 1767.  He lived in Anderson Co., SC.  His first marriage was to Elizabeth, of whom no details are known.  His second marriage was to Elizabeth Mitchell Grubbs, the widow of Richard Grubbs.  John died April 30, 1837, and is buried in the Little River Baptist Church Cemetery with his second wife. John had eleven children, including: Margaret, Samuel, Mary, Frances, Jonathan, Richard D., George D., Elizabeth, Sarah (or Sallie), Thomas Harrison and Stephen.

Jonathan Shirley was born in May of 1795 in Abbeville Co., SC.  He married Eleanor Sharp about 1812 in Abbeville Co., SC.  Eleanor was born Apr. 19, 1791 in Abbeville Co., SC.  (She was the daughter of Edward Sharp.)  Jonathan died in December of 1857 in Poplar Creek, Choctaw Co., MS.  (Poplar Creek is now in Montgomery County, formed in 1871.)  Eleanor died in February of 1861 in Poplar Creek, MS.  They were the parents of: John Marshall, Robert Clemens, James Barmore, Tabitha Eleanor, Susan Elizabeth, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Tillman, Jonathan Travis and Nancy Matilda. 

Tabitha Eleanor Shirley Hammontree

The 1850 Census indicates that Jonathan and Eleanor Shirley had moved with their children (including Tabitha at age 24) from South Carolina to Walker Co., GA.  (Both the 1850 and 1860 Census indicate that Tabitha was born about 1826.)

In applying for a military pension in 1895, William Hammontree declared that he moved to Georgia in 1851.

William is probably the “Wm. Hammontree, Sr.” referred to among the Early Settlers of Walker Co., GA and as a charter member of Friendship Baptist Church in Reo, Whitfield Co., GA.  (See above under Alexander Hammontree and Rebecca Robinson.)  Roberta Pierson explains that the suffix “Sr.” was often used not only in regard to a father and son, but also of an uncle to a nephew, or of any older family member to a younger, or even in regard to unrelated people who have the same name.  William might have acquired the suffix “Sr.” either because of his son W. A. C., (if the W. signified the name William) or because of his cousin William Martin Hammontree (son of Harris) who was born in 1840, thirteen years after William.  William Martin, as a fourteen-year-old member of Harris household, would not have been specified alongside his father Harris as a charter member of Friendship Baptist Church in 1854, whereas William Robinson Hammontree, married at age 24, would have been.  William might have acquired the suffix “Sr.” after the birth of his son W. A. C. in 1859.

William and Tabitha were the parents of three sons:

1)      John Willaford (“Willaford”) was born Dec. 14, 1853 in Walker Co. GA.  (His family history is given below.)

2)      James Alexander was born 1856 in Georgia, probably in Walker or Catoosa County.  He married Callie Sims on Dec. 27, 1882 in Hamilton Co., TN.  No information has been found regarding children or specific date of deaths for James Alexander and Callie.  (Records involving his father indicate that James Alexander was alive in 1895 but deceased before his father’s death in 1918.)

3)      W. A. C. was born in October of 1859 in Georgia, probably in Ringgold, Catoosa County.  The 1860 census indicates that W. A. C. was male.  It is not known what names his initials represent, though the “W.” likely stood for William.  The time and place of his death are unknown.  He seems to have died young.

William and Tabitha settled in Walker Co., GA, and then in Ringgold, Catoosa Co., GA.  The 1860 Census indicates that William, age 34 (sic), and Tabitha, age 34, were living in Ringgold with three male children: J. W., age 6, J. A., age 4, and W. A. C., 10 months.  The census also indicates that William’s mother Rebecca, age 65, and sister Jane, age 40, were living in Ringgold five houses away with the family of William’s sister, Nancy H. DeMore, age 36.

According to family records left by Joyce H. Wiseman, her father Frank Hammontree reported that his grandmother Tabitha Shirley Hammontree “died of Arkansas fever (mosquito) with son.”

In applying for a military pension in 1895, William stated that he had two living married sons.  These two sons would have been Willaford and James Alexander.

Willaford is the only child of William and Tabitha known to have had children.  If Willaford’s brothers did not have children, then his children had no Hammontree first cousins, his grandchildren had no second cousins, his great-grandchildren no third cousins, etc.

William fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.  He enlisted about Mar. 1, 1862 in Catoosa Co., GA as a member of Co. F, 39th Georgia Regiment.  He was wounded at the Battle of Vicksburg.  A billfold in his front pocket protected him from serious injury when he was struck by a mini ball.  He endured near-starvation rations at the siege of Vicksburg, and fought at the “Battle above the Clouds” on Lookout Mountain, TN.  He missed action at the Battle of Chickamauga due to a medical furlough.  He was given a medical discharge in November of 1863 near Missionary Ridge, TN.  (For more details on William’s Civil War involvement, see the family history written by his grandson, James Shirley Hammontree, 1975.)

William is not found in the census of 1870.

The 1880 Census indicates that William was living in Athens, Clarke Co., GA with his second wife Sarah and two of her children from a previous marriage.   Living nearby was the family of William’s sister, Nancy H. DeMore.

The 1890 Census was destroyed for virtually the entire United States.  The local reports caught fire in Washington DC before being duplicated.

The 1900 Census indicates that William, his second wife Sarah and his mother-in-law were living at 1306 E. Broad Street in Athens, Clarke Co., GA.  The houses in that area have been replaced by commercial development.  The area is very close to the University of Georgia.  This census also indicates that William was born in September of 1827 and that Sarah was born in April of 1835.  (Family records specify William’s date of birth as Sept. 5, 1827.  An insert in Willaford and Ellen’s family Bible specifies William’s date of birth and death.)

The 1910 Census indicates that William (after the death of his second wife) was living with his son Willaford in Dogwood Valley, Whitfield Co., GA. 

William’s obituary appeared in the Catoosa Record on Jan. 31, 1918.  (This newspaper is now named Catoosa County News.)  The obituary states that he died at the home of his son Willaford in Keith, Catoosa Co., GA.  The obituary describes “Grandpa Hammontree” in the following manner:

Catoosa county has not only lost one of its oldest, but best citizens. 

 

… His church life was consistent, being orderly patient and hopeful.  One thing can be said of him that it is hard to find a man temperate in all things; his eye sight and mental faculties were but little impared by their use during 90 years.  (Original punctuation and spelling retained.)

According to his obituary and grandson, James Shirley Hammontree, William is buried in Dunagan Cemetery, Whitfield Co., GA.  No grave-marker can be found for him there, though he is probably buried in an unmarked grave three graves to the left of his son Willaford, and one grave above that of his sister Caroline Hammontree Jones. Caroline was buried in an unmarked grave until her great-grandchildren placed a marker on her grave some eighty years after her death.  They relied on personal memory as to where her grave was located.  The cemetery does not retain records as to who is buried in unmarked graves.  The burial site of William’s first wife Tabitha is unknown.

Sources for Sixth Generation information: G. Douglas Hammontree, H. Wayne Hammontree, James Shirley Hammontree, Roberta Pierson, Brent Wiseman, and the Shirley Association Genealogical Research Website.

Seventh Generation: John Willaford Hammontree and Sarah Ellen Caldwell

John Willaford (“Willaford”) was born Dec. 14, 1853 in Walker Co., GA.  He married Sarah Ellen Caldwell (“Ellen”) on Dec. 29, 1881 in Whitfield Co., GA.  She was born Dec. 19, 1861 in Whitfield Co., GA.  He died Nov. 22, 1942 in Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN.  She died Feb. 9, 1960 in Chattanooga, TN.  Willaford and Ellen are buried in Dunagan Cemetery, Whitfield Co., GA.

On her father’s side of the family, Sarah Ellen Caldwell’s ancestry can be traced to her great-grandparents in Ireland, Nathan Caldwell and Eleanor McPhilemy.

Nathan Caldwell was born about 1739 in Ireland.  He married Eleanor McPhilemy.  She was born in Ireland in 1740.  They emigrated from Ireland to the United States aboard the ship “The Irish Volunteer,” setting sail Oct. 1, 1790, sailing for thirteen weeks and three days, and arriving in Charleston, SC in January of 1791.  Nathan died Mar. 15, 1800.  He and Eleanor are buried at Beersheba Presbyterian Churchyard in York Co., SC.  Nathan and Eleanor were the parents of several children, including Robert Caldwell. 

Robert Caldwell was born about 1787 in County Tyrone, Ireland.  He married Elizabeth Love in 1823 in York Co., SC.  She was born about 1789 either in Ireland, at sea, or in South Carolina.  Robert and Elizabeth resided reportedly in Charleston, Charleston Co., SC, as well as in York Co., SC.  They sold their property in York Co., SC in November of 1854 to move to Whitfield Co., GA.  Robert died Apr. 9, 1865 in Whitfield Co., GA.  Elizabeth died after 1881.  Elizabeth is buried in Dogwood Valley Cemetery in Catoosa Co., GA.  Robert and Elizabeth were the parents of three children: John, Margaret and Frances.

John Caldwell was born 1825 in York Co., SC.  He married Margaret Neelands in 1850 in York Co., SC.  She was born 1826 in York Co., SC.  They moved with his parents from South Carolina to Whitfield Co., GA about 1854.  John fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War as a member of Company I, 1st Georgia State Line.  He returned from the war malnourished and sick, unable to work his farm.  John and Margaret both died in Whitfield Co., GA, John in April 1867, and Margaret in 1903.  They are buried at Dunagan Cemetery in Whitfield Co., GA.  They were the parents of ten children, including: Elizabeth Jane, Abram Nealand, Mary Frances, Margaret Melinda, Nancy Louise, Leonard, Martha A., Sarah Ellen, Clementine S. and James Jonathan.

Sarah Ellen Caldwell Hammontree

Ellen Caldwell’s paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Love.  Elizabeth Love’s ancestry can be traced to her grandparents in Ireland, John Love and Elizabeth Royal.  (These are Ellen Caldwell’s great-great-grandparents.)

John Love was born in Ireland before 1725.  He married Elizabeth Royal.  He died about 1799.  John and Elizabeth were the parents of Robert Love.

Robert Love was born 1731 either in County Tyrone, Ireland, or in Scotland.  His wife’s name was Eleanor.  They were married in Ireland about 1760.  He died Oct. 6, 1796 in York Co., SC.  Eleanor died sometime after him.  He is buried at Beersheba Presbyterian Churchyard in York Co., SC.  Robert and Eleanor were the parents of John Love

John Love was born 1765 in Ardstraw Parish, Township of Crewe, Ireland.  His wife’s name was Margaret.  She was born about 1771.  They were married Dec. 20, 1787 in Ireland.  John died Mar. 6, 1849 in Chester Co., SC.  Margaret died Mar. 13, 1829.  They were buried in the Beersheba Presbyterian Churchyard in York Co., SC.  John and Margaret were parents of Elizabeth Love. (Elizabeth was the mother of John Caldwell, the father of Ellen Caldwell.)

On her maternal side, Ellen’s ancestry can be traced to her great-grandfather in England, Abraham Neelands.  (The spelling of this surname is not consistent.  The spelling “Neelands” appears on the gravestone of Ellen’s mother, Margaret Neelands Caldwell, and on family legal documents in South Carolina.)

Abraham Neelands was born 1765 in England.  He was the father of Robert Neelands. 

Robert Neelands was born 1788 in England.  He served as an ensign for the English in the War of 1812.  He immigrated to the United States.  His wife’s name was Margaret Caldwell.  She was born 1795 in South Carolina.  He died Aug. 19, 1857 in York Co., SC.  She died 1869 in York Co., SC.  They are buried in Smyrna, York Co., SC at the Associated Reformed Presbyterian Cemetery.  Robert and Margaret were the parents of several children, including Margaret Neelands

Margaret Neelands was the wife of John Caldwell.  They were the parents of Ellen Caldwell.  (See above for details.)

Sarah Ellen Caldwell Hammontree

Ellen’s European ancestry can be traced through three of her grandparents.  On her paternal side, her Caldwell grandfather was born in Ireland in 1787, her Lowe great-great-grandfather was born in Ireland in 1731.  On her maternal side, her Neelands grandfather was born in England in 1788.

When Willaford was 12, Union soldiers commandeered him and his friend John Roach, compelling the boys to guide them to the home of Stree Kemp, a man the soldiers intended to kill.  The boys were freed when the soldiers replaced them by seizing a man to achieve the same task.  The boys heard later that Mr. Kemp was killed.  (For further details, see the family history written by James Shirley Hammontree, 1975.)

Willaford and Ellen are first believed to have lived in Rocky Face, Whitfield Co., GA where their first set of twins was born.  (Rocky Face is a suburb of Dalton.)  They moved to a farm in “Dogwood Valley” on Dogwood Valley Road in Whitfield Co., GA.  This is the place of which Ellen was said to reminisce in her old age.  Dogwood Valley is not a township but only a geographic designation.  Tunnel Hill was a nearby unincorporated community which provided the mailing route for that part of Whitfield County and part of Catoosa County.  Thus the birthplace of most of Willaford and Ellen’s children was usually designated as Tunnel Hill. 

The 1890 census was destroyed by fire. 

The 1900 and 1910 Censuses indicate that Willaford and Ellen lived in Whitfield Co., GA.  They lived on Dogwood Valley Road in Dogwood Valley.  The 1900 Census lists the family members as: John age 46, Ellen 38, William J. 17, James S. 14, Frank E. 12, Fred N. 12, Jeneva 5, and Lois 3.

The 1910 Census gives more information about Willaford and Ellen’s family than any other Census.  It describes the family as living in the Trickum District, and enumerates the family as follows: John W. Hammontree 56, Sarah E. 47 (mother of 10 children, 7 living), James S. 25, Fred N. 21, Edward 21, Geneva M. 14, Lois F. 12, and John S. 10.  All children were born in Georgia, as were both parents.  Also living in the home was William R. 82, widowed.  The oldest son Will was no longer at home.  The three children no longer living were Leslie and “the twins,” (probably named Grover and Cleveland).

Willaford and Ellen reportedly moved from their home in Dogwood Valley, Whitfield County to Rossville, Walker Co., GA.  (This information according to Betty Hammontree Fitts, their granddaughter, as reported by J. Ralph Dickey and Elizabeth (Dickey) Trower, “Harris: A Genealogical Family History,” 1980, p. 114.)

The 1920 Census indicates that Willaford and Ellen had moved to Catoosa Co., GA.  Their Catoosa County home was in the township of Keith.  The census reports that two children lived at home with them, Geneva and Sanford.  (This census describes Sanford as a bookkeeper for the railroad.)  One of the earliest photographs of Willaford depicts him in 1916 or 1917 in front of the house in Keith, Catoosa Co., GA (according to the notation by his son, James Shirley). 

Willaford and Ellen moved to Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN reportedly in the mid-1920s where most of their children had settled.  They lived consecutively in two houses on Ringgold Road in East Ridge, Hamilton Co., TN (a suburb of Chattanooga) before moving in with their daughter Lois who lived in Chattanooga.  (Their homes on Ringgold Road (US Highway 41) have been torn down and replaced by commercial development.  The property is off Interstate 75 at Exit 1.)  Willaford died of pneumonia at Lois’ home on 2606 Union Avenue.  Ellen died in the hospital while residing at Lois’ home on 401 Lyerly Street.

In speaking to friends and acquaintances, Ellen is said to have referred to Willaford as “Mr. Hammontree,” while Willaford referred to Ellen as “Miss Ellen.”  Ellen was the namesake of one daughter, Leslie Ellen, and two granddaughters, Betty Ellen and Edith Ellen.  (Betty was not given a middle name by her parents, but added Ellen herself to honor her grandmother.)  A third granddaughter was almost named for Ellen.  Frank and Thelma were dismayed when their second daughter’s birth certificate was issued with the name “Janelle,” a name they had only slightly considered as reflecting the names of the two grandmothers, Jane and Ellen.  They changed her name to their considered choice of Frances Jane.  Willaford was the namesake of one grandson, Samuel Willaford.

The Chattanooga Times ran a feature on Jan. 2, 1937 entitled “CELEBRATE 65TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY: MR. AND MRS. J. W. HAMMONTREE.”  The article includes a photograph of Willaford and Ellen taken at their home on Ringgold Road during the anniversary celebration.  This anniversary was actually their 55th and not their 65th.  They were married for nearly sixty-one years at the time of Willaford’s death.

Willaford and Ellen owned a family Bible in which they maintained family records.  These records have been digitized and circulated among the family.  These records show that Ransom Adolphus Jones performed their wedding ceremony.  He was Willaford’s uncle by marriage, having married Caroline Hammontree.  R. A. Jones was also the father-in-law of Ellen’s sister Nancy Louise Caldwell who had married John C. Jones, the son of R. A. and Caroline H. Jones.  The signature of R. A. Jones in Willaford and Ellen’s Bible matches the writing of some of the records in the Bible.  The second handwriting within the records is reported to have belonged to a family friend. 

Willaford and Ellen’s descendents are enumerated below through three generations in detail, and with less detail through the fourth.

Sources for Seventh Generation information: Frances Acuff, H. Wayne Hammontree, James Shirley Hammontree, Roberta Pierson and Brent Wiseman.  Sources for Sarah Ellen Caldwell’s ancestry include: Willie Hammontree, Roy Hayes, Trammell Lindsey, Roberta Pierson and Brent Wiseman.

Eighth, Ninth & Tenth Generations

Willaford and Ellen’s family Bible lists the marriage of one child, the births of Willaford and Ellen along with eight of their ten children, and the death of one child.  These listings are as follows:

               MARRIAGES of CHILDREN

WILLIAM J. HAMMONTREE to

GENEROSE SMITH.         August 13, 1910

               BIRTHS

       JOHN WILLAFORD HAMMONTREE

               WALKER Co., GEORGIA, Dec. 14, 1853

       SARAH ELLEN CALDWELL

               WHITFIELD Co., GEORGIA, Dec. 19, 1861

               CHILDREN

       WILLIAM J.,                      APRIL 22, 1883

       LESLIE E.,                                            

       J. SHIRLEY,                       JUNE 16, 1885

       E. FRANK,                         APRIL 11, 1889

       FREDERICK N.,                                 

       GENEVA MAY,                 JUNE 7, 1895

       LOIS FRANCES,               MAY 3, 1897

       JOHN SANFORD,             AUG. 18, 1900

               DEATHS

       Leslie E. Hammontree, May 17, 1890

The 1900 Census indicates that Willaford and Ellen were the parents of nine children of whom six were still living.  (The census was taken before Sanford was born in August of that year.)  The 1910 Census indicates that Willaford and Ellen were the parents of ten children of whom seven were still living.  The three deceased children were Leslie, who died in 1890, and “the twins” (probably named Grover and Cleveland) who died at birth in 1892. 

Willaford and Ellen were the parents of three sets of twins of whom the following description was often given:  in one set, both twins lived; in another, both died’ and in another, one lived and one died.

Willaford and Ellen had ten children, sixteen grandchildren and thirty-seven great-grandchildren.  These three generations correspond respectively to the eighth, ninth and tenth generations that begin with Jonathan and Mary Hammontree.  These generations are detailed below, the eighth designated by Arabic numerals, the ninth by uppercase Roman numerals, and the tenth by lowercase Roman numerals.  The eleventh generation is enumerated with names and birthdays, but not with places of birth, marriages, or children.  (The online-version of this document lists only one generation of Willaford and Ellen’s descendents.)

1)      William Jesse (“Will,” but called “Willie” or “Billy” by much of the family) was born Apr. 22, 1883 in Rocky Face, Whitfield Co., GA.  He was a twin with his sister Leslie.  Will married Mary Generose Smith (“Generose”) on Aug. 13, 1910 in Whitfield Co., GA.  She was born Sept. 19, 1892 in Tunnel Hill, Whitfield Co., GA.  They lived in Tunnel Hill, GA until 1925 when they moved to Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN.  In the early 1940s they moved to Rock Spring, Walker Co., GA near Chickamauga, Walker Co., GA.  They both died there at their home, Will on Dec. 27, 1975, and Generose on Nov. 15, 1985.  They are buried in Dunagan Cemetery, Whitfield Co., GA.  They were the parents of two daughters.

2)      Leslie Ellen (“Leslie”) was born Apr. 22, 1883 in Rocky Face, Whitfield Co., GA.  She was a twin with her brother Will.  She died May 17, 1890, reportedly of meningitis, in Whitfield Co., GA.  She is probably buried at Dunagan Cemetery in Whitfield Co., GA in an unmarked grave two graves to the left of her father’s, probably with her Hammontree grandfather’s grave on the left and her infant-brothers’ grave on the right. The grave at this location has a stone placed down from the end as if reflecting the height of a child.

Leslie’s death came to affect how Willaford and Ellen were to be addressed by their surviving children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren.  Vernon Stacy recounts that as a boy, he lived in East Ridge, TN next-door to his grandparents, Willaford and Ellen.  One day he returned home from his grandparents’ house and asked his mother Lois why his grandmother became upset when he addressed her as “Grandmother” and why she forbad him from doing so.  Lois explained that when Leslie was sick and approaching death, she would call out, “Mother! Mother!” After Leslie’s death the name “Mother” was so inseparably connected in Ellen’s mind with Leslie’s death that Ellen eschewed the name thereafter.  Willaford and Ellen thus came to be addressed by their children as Pa and Ma (pronounced Paw and Maw), and so too by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren who addressed them as Pa and Ma, or by similar variations that avoided any usage of “father” or “mother.” 

3)      James Shirley (“Shirley”) was born June 16, 1885 in Whitfield Co., GA.  (As referenced above, “Shirley” was the maiden name of Willaford’s mother, Tabitha.)  He married Edith Irene Loner (“Irene”) on Dec. 24, 1911 at the home of Matt Deck in Whitfield Co., GA.  (Matt Deck’s son Ross later married Shirley’s niece Betty.)  Irene was born July 11, 1893 in Dalton, Whitfield Co., GA.  Shirley and Irene lived in the Chattanooga area of Tennessee and Georgia most of their married life before retiring to Temple Terrace, Hillsborough Co., FL in the mid-1960s to be near their son, Bill.  Irene died June 30, 1972 in Temple Terrace, FL.  After her death, Shirley married Mabel Kone on June 10, 1973 in Temple Terrace, FL.  She was born Mabel Leona Sanford (“Mabel”) on Feb. 23, 1904 in Richmond Co., VA.  She lived most of her adult life in Baltimore, MD where she was widowed from Frank Middleton, Charles Lynch, and Larry Kone.  Shirley died May 14, 1976 in Temple Terrace, FL.  Mabel died Nov. 29, 2003 in Tampa, FL.  She was cremated.  Shirley and Irene are buried at Lakewood Memory Gardens South in Rossville, Catoosa Co., GA.  They were the parents of four children.

4)      Edwin Franklin (“Frank”) was born Apr. 11, 1889 in Whitfield Co., GA.  He was a fraternal twin with Fred.  Frank attended Berry School for Boys, later named Berry College.  He married Martha Christine Austin (“Christine”) in 1914.  She was born Sept. 11, 1895 in Whitfield Co., GA.  She died in 1925 in Hamilton Co., TN, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN.  Frank and Christine had no children.  Frank’s second marriage was to Thelma Lucille Simmons (“Thelma”) on Aug. 30, 1929 in Chattanooga, TN.  She was born Jan. 26, 1902 in McMinnville, Warren Co., TN.  They lived in Chattanooga, TN, where they both died, Frank on Jan. 25, 1983, and Thelma on Aug. 27, 1991.  They are buried at Lakewood Memory Gardens East in Chattanooga, TN.  They were the parents of two daughters.

5)      Frederick Nealon (“Fred”) was born Apr. 11, 1889 in Whitfield Co., GA.   He was a fraternal twin with Frank.  Fred married Margaret Ruth Ward (“Ruth”) on May 22, 1915 in Whitfield Co., GA.  She was born Jan. 24, 1898 in Whitfield Co., GA.  They lived in Keith, Catoosa Co., GA before moving to the west coast during World War II.  They and their daughter lived in Portland, Multnomah Co., OR about one year, and then settled in Oakland, Alameda Co., CA.  (Fred and Ruth’s sons were stationed at military bases in California during WWII, and urged the family to move there.  Fred also had a brother living in Oakland.)  Fred died Oct. 18, 1961 at a hospital in San Leandro, Alameda Co., CA.  He resided in Oakland, CA at the time of his death.  He was buried in Dunagan Cemetery in Whitfield Co., GA.  Ruth died Feb. 24, 1994 in Oakland, CA.  She was buried with their son Sam at Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward, Alameda Co., CA.  Fred and Ruth were the parents of three children.

6)      Grover was born in 1892 in Whitfield Co., GA.  He was a twin.  He died at birth. 

7)      Cleveland was born in 1892 in Whitfield Co., GA.  He was a twin.  He died at birth. 

The twins are probably buried at Dunagan Cemetery in Whitfield Co., GA in an unmarked grave to the immediate left of Willaford’s grave.  The grave at this location has two stones placed down from the end of the grave, one stone placed atop the other.

There are only a few early documents that reference these twins.  The 1900 and 1910 Censuses indicate that Willaford and Ellen had three deceased children: Leslie was one, these twins were the other two.  Other documents come from surviving brothers.  In enumerating his parents’ ten children, Shirley wrote: “There were twins born in 1892 that only lived a short while.”  Frank refers to them in family records as stillborn.  Another brother left oral evidence regarding the twins: Sanford is reported by his daughter to have described himself as his parents’ seventh son.  This claim implies that the twins were sons.  Memory of their names as “Grover” and “Cleveland” was preserved only through Lois’ daughter Blanche.  They were generally referred to merely as “the twins.” 

U.S. President Grover Cleveland was a leapfrog president, being elected in 1884 and 1892.  The twins may have been born after his November election of 1892.

8)      Geneva May (“Jean”) was born June 7, 1895 in Whitfield Co., GA.  She is reported to have contracted the measles at approximately age 10.  The measles were said to “have settled on her brain.”  (Perhaps she suffered with Rubella accompanied by encephalitis.)  The result was that Jean became mentally impaired.  She seems to have withdrawn into a private world of make-believe, though she was able to tend to her physical needs and could respond to direct commands or questions.  She is said to have had beautiful handwriting.  She lived with her parents for many years in adulthood before moving into a nursing home.  She was not married.  Jean died Dec. 18, 1981 in Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN, and is buried at Dunagan Cemetery in Whitfield Co., GA.  Geneva’s grave is to the right of her mother’s.

9)      Lois Frances (“Lois”) was born May 3, 1897 in Whitfield Co., GA.  She married Frank Henry Stacy (“Frank”) in 1915.  He was born Jan. 13, 1896 in Catoosa Co., GA.  Lois and Frank were divorced.  Frank died Mar. 28, 1951 in Oak Ridge, Knox Co., TN, and is buried in Oliver Springs, Roane Co., TN.    Lois died Apr. 18, 1976 in Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN.  She is buried at Hamilton Memorial Gardens in Hixson, Hamilton Co., TN.  Lois and Frank were the parents of four children.

10)  John Sanford (“Sanford,” later known as “Art”) was born Aug. 18, 1900 in Whitfield Co., GA.  He lived as a young adult in Ohio.  After serving in World War II as an Army cook, he settled in Oakland, Alameda Co., CA, having changed his name to John Arthur Lee (“Art”).  He married Bernadette Patricia Langan (“Pat”) on Sept. 25, 1946.  She was born Apr. 23, 1923 in Platte Center, Platte Co., NE.  They were divorced.  Art worked as a chef in Oakland restaurants, and was frequently featured in local newspapers.  He died July 17, 1969 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Livermore, Alameda Co., CA.  He was a resident of Oakland, CA.  He is buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, Alameda Co., CA.  His ex-wife Pat arranged for him to be buried with her daughter from a previous marriage, Bobbette Gilhart White.  His name does not appear on the grave marker.  Pat died Nov. 21, 1992 and is buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, CA.  Art and Pat were the parents of one daughter.

 


CONCLUSION:

I offer my thanks to family members for providing information contained herein.  I particularly want to thank the grandchildren of Willaford and Ellen who conversed with me about their grandparents and early memories.  These individuals are: Frances Acuff, Jon D’Angelo, Betty Fitts, Bill Hammontree, Blanche Kennedy, Vernon Stacy, and Edith Summerhayes.  I also want to thank cousins who were particularly helpful in family “detective” work, especially Jack Murphy and Wanda Rasmussen. 

I expressed thanks at the outset to several genealogists who made this report possible.  I am particularly indebted to two, Brent Wiseman and Roberta Pierson.  They have been particularly helpful and generous in furthering this project on many points. 

This document offers no pretense at being a technically written genealogical study.  Some readers, therefore, may be dissatisfied with its lack of documentation.  To answer this concern, I am happy and grateful to relate that Roberta Pierson has graciously given permission for a portion of her genealogical studies to be circulated with this present document.  Her reports furnish complete documentation, as well as many interesting details omitted here.  (Roberta Jones Pierson descends from Alexander and Rebecca Hammontree through their daughter, Caroline Hammontree Jones.)

Family members have proofread the segments of this study that describe their line of descent from Willaford and Ellen.  I apologize for the mistakes that remain.

I offer my final thanks to Vernon Stacy who generously and lovingly entrusted Willaford and Ellen’s family Bible to my keeping.

J. Stephen Hammontree

December 29, 2004

Revised, May 3, 2005

P.S.  Thanks to Betty Shirley for posting this document on the Shirley Family Association website.

Submitted by Steven Hammontree


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