Concerning The Life And Services of David Denton
A Sketch By John G. Harrison - The J. W. Burke Company, Macon, Ga. 1926
Note: Some words were misspelled and left as they were in the booklet. If you see a correction in names or dates I will note it on this page. Also some words looked out of place. Thank You.
David Denton was born March 31, 1833. He was the son of Aaron Denton and Drucilla Denton. The graves of these pioneer parents are on the old home place where David Denton was born and which afterwards became a part of his estate. Before her marriage to Aaron Denton, Drucilla was the widow of a Mr. Martin. Aaron Denton himself had previously been married. His first wife's name was Mary, or Polly, as it appears on her monument.
The monuments over Aaron Denton, Polly Denton and Drucilla Denton doubtless erected by David Denton long after their death, show the following inscriptions:
Drucilla Denton died 1869, age 78 years; Aaron Denton, died 1836, age 80 years; Polly Denton died 1818, age 60 years
Both families belonged to the sturdy strain of pioneers whose simple and moral life insured great age and the best care of their children that could be had under primitive conditions.
The Denton's and Martins were early immigrants to Georgia, probably coming across the Savannah river from South Carolina or from one of the states farther north. There is some evidence of a connection between the Denton's and people in South Carolina and probably in Virginia or Connecticut, and between the Martins and a family that name which lived in North Carolina. The old home place, formerly in Warren, but now in Glascock County was in the possession of the family for practically one hundred years. Here a strong and vigorous family was reared. Its members scattered more or less widely, the majority settling in Georgia and Florida, but several in other states. Of the marriage of Drucilla to Mr. Martin there was one child, Allen Martin. Of the first marriage of Aaron Denton, there were three children, Susan, Samuel, and Solomon Denton. The children of the last marriage were Aaron, James, Moses, and David.
David Denton was married to Rachel Matilda Stapleton in December, 1857. Their only issue was a boy who died in childhood. Mrs. Denton belonged to a Revolutionary family of Eastern Georgia. Forty-two years she and her husband worked together and walked with God. She died at the age of seventy-one. When preparing the Trust Deeds which disposed of his estate, Mr. Denton illustrated the fine relationship that existed between these two as their common ideals. "When the Civil War closed, " said he, "I had the position of Lieutenant in a conquered army and nothing else. My wife had spun wool and woven a number of bolts of fine jeans cloth. These I sold for gold and laid the foundation of whatever financial success I have had. I think it but just that whatever I may do for my own nieces and nephews, I should do also for hers." The families of these nieces and nephews of Mr. and Mrs. Denton have furnished many people of worth in their community and of strength to the country.
For their honored relative known to all as "Uncle Dave" the Denton's and Stapleton's cherished a sincere affection although many of them had never seen his face. A strictly technical construction of the written instruments would likely have shut out from a share in his estate the descendants of those who had died before the creation of his trust. But without exception those beneficiaries who would have profited by such an interpretation agreed and instructed that every relative should be included as seemed more evidently Mr. Denton's intention. This regard for his memory and manifestation of affection for even distant relatives reflects honor upon every member of these large families.
David Denton was the youngest of Aaron Denton's family, His father died when he was a child and he grew up a widow's son, probably without even a memory of his father. He was almost 92 years of age at his death. His life spanned the period of five wars of our country. He saw our railroads, telegraphs, telephones, and highway systems develop. He was intimately connected with all the movements which changed Georgia from a simple pioneer slave owning agricultural and pastoral state, to a highly complicated one with mining and manufacturing industries, commerce and public service commissions, labor organizations, farmers' unions and marketing bureaus, great highway and educational systems, powerful propaganda of ideas and the rapid changes of the rushing "motor age," marked by the automobile and the air-plane.
For nearly a whole century, the life of David Denton illustrated the best things of a typical citizen. His style of living was as plain as that of the ordinary Georgia cracker, but his unaffected dignity marked his as a gentleman of the first rank. His straight-forwardness and the purity of his ideals and devotion to them showed the type of the Christian character that has ever been the pride of the strong middle class of Southern people.
In his early manhood David Denton joined the Reedy Creek Baptist Church. He was ordained one of its deacons and was an active member until the Stapleton Baptist Church was organized. He became a charter member of this church and served as deacon there until his death. He took great interest in building the present edifice, not only contributing largely to it, but actually hauling lumber himself and working on the church with his own hands. He remarked to the boy who helped him, "We have earned our seat in the church."
In the days of his youth, liquor was made where anyone chose. There was much drunkenness, cursing, and fighting, but he was never drunk or used a profane oath in his life. His conversation won the respect of all and he constantly labored to bring about the great changes from that day which have made for the betterment of the people.
Mr. Denton's influence was valuable in maintaining peace and friendship among his neighbors and friends. If for some cause, anyone became offended at him, he was especially kind and courteous to this particular one. He went far towards turning "the other cheek" or going the "second mile" until he regained the confidence and friendship of the offended party. He was several times made executor of wills for those who trusted him.
At the beginning of the War Between the States, Mr. Denton enlisted in the 28th Georgia Company "I," Colquitt's Brigade. He advanced from a private to a lieutenant in his company. A wound in the left wrist slightly disfigured it for life.
He was elected Sheriff of Glascock County for the years 1871 - 1872. He never carried a gun or pistol during his term of office, yet he served to the satisfaction of all, arresting and taking to jail some dangerous criminals without the slightest trouble. One of the many stories told concerning his service may be repeated. A warrant to arrest a desperate character was given to Sheriff Denton. The man was hiding out and had let it be known that he would not be arrested. The officer learned that he was visiting his home at night and leaving before the day for his hiding places in the woods and swamps. One morning a great while before light, he went to the home and waited at the door. When the man came out he took hold of his arm and began talking to him. He told home he was his friend, but as an officer in the discharge of duty, had come to arrest him and take him to jail. The man was overcome by Mr. Denton's lack of fear and calm, reasonable demand and went with him without resistance.
For a time he was one of the County Commissioners of Glascock County. Among his papers of that period is a petition for a mandamus requiring the Commissioners to issue license to certain parties to sell whiskey. The commissioners refused and remained firm. The mandamus was not granted. Here we see how character and religion operated wholesomely and successfully in politics.
Several times the town of Stapleton elected him its mayor. He also served as Marshal. It can truthfully be said that he laid himself out for the improvement of this little village at which he made his home after leaving the farm. When he was Marshal it was his duty to have the work done on the streets and sidewalks. He also joined in the work with his own hands. He was then becoming old and was wealthy enough to live without labor for himself. Still he worked for the benefit of the public. Someone in a mild way, chided him about doing this. He replied, "I want to live and work long enough to show the youth of this community that honest toil never shortens one's days, or hurts one's character, no matter how humble that toil is."
Mr. Denton largest services were to the causes of education and religion. Not only the churches of Reddy Creek and Stapleton bear witness to his sacrificial generosity but the Baptist denomination and its agencies were constantly helped by him. Always a regular contributor he made specially large gifts to such movements as the Judson Centennial, campaigns for Mercer University, Bessie Tift College and Brewton-Parker Institute. To this last school he made a large contribution to help build Denton Hall. It is said that not a schoolhouse nor church for white or black in many miles of him was built unless he had a part in it. A citizen at Gibson, the county site, solicited him to help build a school there. He said, "I really believe you people in Gibson are not able to build your school and I will have to get the country people to help you build one." In this way he helped provoke the central community to do its duty.
Among his papers are old subscription lists which promoted the building and maintaining of the little country school at Steep Hollow, a neighborhood crossing of important highways. Mr. Denton had no children to send to this school, but helped support it for his neighbors. Later he led in building a short distance from his old home a house for the school known as David. This is one of the trim little brick edifices that does honor to Glascock County. Further on is the school for negro children for which he gave land and aid to build a house. When the town of Stapleton began its efforts to build a fine school, Mr. Denton was a leader. For years he served as chairman of its Board. From first to last he contributed thousands of dollars to the building, equipping and sustaining this school. The erection of the beautiful building was doubtless the most important single cause which stimulated other communities in Jefferson County and resulted in the five excellent high schools which are its pride.
Probably the most characteristic aid given by Mr. Denton was that for education of young men and young women, particularly those who went into the service of teaching, or preaching. He made loans to many such students. these were sometimes repaid, sometimes not. They were usually remitted if the borrower showed himself to be worthy. Frequently straight out gifts were made to such people. In this way he has many representatives today in the churches, the mission fields and in many school rooms.
Quaint, delicate and humorous were many of his gifts. Sometimes he would hand a check to a hard-worked girl teaching in the school. At another time he would slip into the Pastor's back piazza a load of provisions for the family. He would never say anything about it, but every one knew it was the work of "Uncle Dave." Again money would go to the widow of a preacher who had died. Then he would send to one student a note given him by another with the instruction that he wanted the note collected and the second student to have use of the money.
The Trust which he established towards the close of his life into which were put his total property, reserving only its management and its income for life, illustrates his wisdom, foresight and character. One of his relatives reading the Trust Deeds declared, "This is exactly like Uncle Dave."
Mr. Denton was a man of fine ability. His physical constitution was strong, his face and brow were gentle and highly impressive. He had little opportunity to go to school, but by reading and observation he informed himself to a remarkable degree. His knowledge of men and affairs was excellent. His opinions and advice were sought and respected. He appreciated the general and the technical newspapers. One of the oft-repeated jokes on him is this: He solicited a neighboring farmer boy to take the "Southern Cultivator." The boy replied, "Uncle Dave, you don't learn anything in that except about farming and I know that without having to read."
He was a promoter and large owner in the original stock of the Atlanta and Savannah Railroad which passes through the edge of the village of Stapleton and traverses a great portion of the large farm he owned. A flag station named David does not honor him. For years he served as President of the Bank of Stapleton and was its nominal head even though not active in service, at the time of his death. He was an ardent supporter of all public improvements and movements which made for the development of the country. His chief interest was farming. He himself was an excellent farmer and most of his money was made actually from the soil. He was a life member of the State Agricultural Society. When he made his home on the he illustrated good Georgia farming by making his living at home. One of his well remembered sayings is, "No one knows the value of the cow and the land."
Mr. Denton engaged at different periods in business with other people, particularly with young and vigorous men who were making their way in the world. He was connected with some friends in the development of an enterprise in North Carolina and was at one time a member of the firm of H. D. Chapman Lumber Company, of Macon, Georgia. Like most others, however, he sometimes yielded to the zealous advocacy of an enterprise by those whose friendship or judgment was at fault. His papers included two certificates of worthless oil stocks bought through the insistence of those in whom he had confidence or who he wished to be friend. On the other hand certain papers show unbiased judgment protected him from designing promoters and secured trustworthy associates. From time to time assisted relatives and friends who needed money for personal or for business reasons. Sometimes it would appear that he was not generous when he would make a loan and insist on the payment of interest when he was easily able to make a gift, but those who dealt fairly with him never complained and frequently were highly favored later. Often people imposed on him. Unlike many men who suffer thus, he did not allow faith in his fellow man to be lessened by the lack of appreciation. Upon the whole, however, he was a fine judge of people as well as all causes and bestowed his gifts and made his loans wisely.
Mr. Denton had many friends and so far as anyone knows, no real enemies. He used his friends and allowed them to use him. As long as he kept a home and maintained a family, friends, neighbors and strangers were constantly entertained. The diary of Rev. W. M. Verdery, long time pastor of Reedy Creek church, has many such entries as this, "Preached at Reedy Creek, took up collection for missions, spent the night with David Denton."
After he gave up housekeeping, his home was with Mr. James W. Hobbs at Stapleton but he was a frequent and welcome visitor among a number of special friends and particularly among the Stapleton and Denton relatives. Practically until his death, he was in good health and insisted on having such tasks for himself as working the garden or doing the chores around the house even when an honored guest.
The life of Mr. Denton cannot be understood of appreciated properly without knowledge of one of those superior friendships which reflect honor on both sides. The loyalty of Mr. Denton to his first wife and her family has been referred to. The friendship between him and Mr. James W. Hobbs, the father of his second wife, was striking. When just a boy Mr. Hobbs lost his father and made his home with Mr. Denton. That latter was just beginning his successful career. He assumed practically the entire task of rearing this boy. He gave him the usual training that good farmers furnished their sons and all the chances of school, which, according to Mr. Hobbs, he would take. Mr. Hobbs himself a man of fine natural parts, appreciated and adopted those ideals of industry and honesty which were so prominent in "Uncle Dave."
In early manhood Mr. Hobbs married Miss Laney Hadden on January 19, 1882 and began life for himself in a cottage but little over a stone's throw from the home of Mr. Denton, working with him on the same farm. The two prospered together. two years after the decease of his first wife, Mr. Denton won the hand of Miss Alpha Beatrice Hobbs, the only daughter of his friend and associate. The only child of this marriage, a boy, died shortly after birth. Thirteen days later, October 20, 1910, Mrs. Denton herself died, leaving an increased attachment between her husband and her father, founded in mutual respect and service which was never interrupted. Mr. Hobbs became manager of Mr. Denton's business and was trusted implicitly with all his affairs. Thousands of dollars went through his hands without ever a request for accounting or auditing. At one time being asked whether warned by experience he might not question the wisdom of this sort of management, he replied, "Oh, no; Jim is straight."
The fidelity of these two men to each other extending from the time when the boy made his home with "Uncle Dave" to the time when, as his manager, Mr. Hobbs paid his last bills and arranged his final place of rest, is refreshing to al who have known it. In token of his appreciation of his second wife and her family, he made Mr. Hobbs a large gift in cash when he was disposing of his estate. This was intended to express the fact that he regarded Mr. Hobbs as one of his very own.
The crowning piece of benevolence on the part of Mr. Denton is what is known as The David Denton Trust. In 1917, The Holding Commission of the Georgia Baptist Convention, was created. This commission has as its purpose, to hold and keep free from debt on the properties, nor allow any others to put to put debts on them. It can only hold and invest properties and deliver the income from the properties it holds to the institutions for whose benefit the funds exist. Impressed by the personnel and the purposes of this Commission, Mr. Denton chose to make it his Trustee. Desiring to avoid the possibility of litigation after his death, he created the Trust, not by will, by deeds. In two of these, executed in October, 1921, and January, 1922, he conveyed all of his real estate and securities, reserving only the management and income. His remaining property in personality, was delivered to the Commission by a letter of instructions to his business manager.
Mr. Denton had surveyed through information furnished him, the various objects to which the Georgia philanthropist usually contributes. When he had practically made up his mind he submitted his plans to his business manager and one or two other trusted friends. He considered all the suggestions they offered him, adopted some, and finally had the instruments prepared to carry out his wish. Every feature of it reveals foresight and wisdom. He provided relatives with one-third of the Trust. The schools for which he has specially labored were remembered. The Baptist Church at Stapleton was not forgotten. Gifts for special friends were allowed The main gift to The Holding Commission reveals him at his best. He set an example to those who erect buildings for institutions in providing an income for the up-keep of Dental Hall at Brewton-Parker Institutes. The demands of good business led him to require that Mercer University must match by an equal sum the amount of his gift before it could enjoy the income. Making The Holding Commission, whose charter does not allow debt, the Trustee, gives an appreciation of sound financing. Giving the money to a religious denomination shows the appreciation for spiritual things. Putting the funds into the training of teachers shows that he saw clearly what is the main factor upon which our future civilization depends - to wit: the quality of the teachers.
Mr. Denton was taken with his last illness at the home of his nephew, Mr. J. Frank Denton, in Augusta, Georgia. He was taken to the hospital there and given every attention that friends or money could provide. On February 12th, 1925, he fell on sleep.
A great concourse of friends and relatives attended his funeral fro the little Baptist Church at Stapleton, Georgia. The service was conducted by Rev. J. M. Gilmore, his pastor, assisted by Professor John G. Harrison, of Mercer University. Floral tributes and telegrams from many who had enjoyed his friendship and assistance, were numerous. A choir of his neighbors sang. The funeral address was from the text, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt." Aged members of his Company in the Civil War sat on the front seat. Colored tenants who had lived for years on his farm were there to bid a last farewell to their friend and benefactor whom they, as all others, called Uncle Dave. His memory is fragrant. His spirit is with God. His example and the fruits of his toil remain to bless.
APPENDIX PART I
CONCERNING THE FAMILIES TO WHICH DAVID DENTON, MRS. RACHEL MATILDA STAPLETON DENTON AND MRS. ALPHA BEATRICE HOBBS DENTON BELONGED
Aaron Denton was the father of David Denton. The children of his first wife, Polly, were Susan, Samuel and Solomon. The children of the last wife, Drucilla, were, Aaron, James, Moses and David, the youngest. Before her marriage to Mr. Denton, Drucilla was the widow of a Mr. Martin. Of this marriage there was one son, Allen Martin.
Solomon, one of the half-brothers of David Denton, went to Mississippi before the Civil War. He apparently died without having married. Practically all the other brothers and sisters of David Denton lived to rather advanced age. David's only sister, Susan Denton, became the wife of Thomas Martin who made his home in Southwest Georgia. Her descendants are to be mainly found in Baker and Early Counties, Georgia, and in the neighborhood of Grand Ridge and Marianna, Florida. The living children of Allen Martin are Mr. J. D. Martin of Collins, Georgia, Mr. Alex Martin, of Wrens, Georgia. Another son, Henderson Martin, has only one descendant, a granddaughter, Mrs. John Parrish, the daughter of Alice Martin Sutton. Another daughter, Sarah, married Andrew Gill, of near Live Oak, Florida. She and her children died years ago, but those who knew her speak well of her memory. Two brothers, Samuel and Moses Denton, moved to the neighborhood of Bronwood, Georgia. From these there sprang several important families in Terrell and surrounding counties.
Aaron Denton was a Methodist minister. All the information concerning his life goes to show that he was a man of great fidelity and piety. He reared a large family whose members are widely scattered. A majority of the, however, live in or near Augusta, or in the general neighborhood of Stapleton, Georgia.
The brother named James, spent his life in the same neighborhood as David. He left an important family of excellent people who now live in or near Stapleton, Georgia. Of this family Mr. James L. Denton, the only living son, is probably the most widely known and is held in high repute not only by his people, but by all who know him.
Mrs. Rachel Matilda Stapleton Denton's sister, Polly, left one daughter, Miss Theodosia Minton, of Blythe, Georgia. Her brother, Martin Stapleton, reared a large family which is now widely scattered in Georgia and Florida, the majority living in and around Wrens, Stapleton, Thomson and Warrenton, Georgia. Another brother, Thomas Stapleton, was the father of quite a large family. These, too, are widely scattered. One of them, Mr. James W. Stapleton, lives near the old Denton farm and is a Trustee of the school at David which was largely promoted by Mr. David Denton. Margaret Stapleton married a Mr. Peebles, several of whose grandchildren live near the country home where Mr. and Mrs. Denton lived so long together.
The nearest living relatives of Mrs. Alpha Beatrice Hobbs Denton are her fathers, Mr. James W. Hobbs and a brother, Mr. Lee R. Hobbs, both of Stapleton, Georgia. The younger Hobbs is one of the rising young business men of that section and shares the sterling reputation of the father.
The following table gives the descendants of the brothers and sisters of David Denton and of Rachel Matilda Stapleton.
I. Children of Allen Martin:
1. J. D. Martin, Collins, Ga.
2. Alex Martin, Wrens, Ga.
3. Henderson Martin, (deceased), married to Gracie, daughter of Aaron Denton (deceased), left one child, Alice Martin, who married Mr. Sutton. Left one daughter, Mary Sutton, married John Parrish, Stapleton, Georgia.
4. Sarah Martin - Deceased 45 years ago - Little further known. Married to Andrew Gill, neighborhood of Live Oak, Florida, moving there about 1873. Left two children both of whom died before grown.
II. Children of Samuel Denton:
1. Samuel W. Denton, Bronwood, Ga.
2. David J. Denton, Bronwood, Ga.
3. Susan Denton, married David Martin, Bronwood, Ga.
4. Polly Denton, an adopted daughter (deceased) married Moses Denton.
III. Susan Denton (deceased) married Thomas Martin. Her children who left children were as follows:
1. Jane Martin, married Mr. Parker, children as follows:
a. Mary Jane Parker Edwards, Newton, Ga., on Pretoria Road.
b. Mrs. Henrietta Parker Irwin, Newton, Ga., R. F. D.
c. Mrs. Fannie Parker Edwards, Newton, Ga., R. F. D.
d. James Parker (deceased) leaving children as follows:
1. Mrs. Mary Edwards, Newton, Ga.
2. H. Denton Parker, Newton, Ga.
3. R. E. Parker, Newton, Ga.
4. J. C. Parker, Newton, Ga.
5. G. R. Parker, Newton, Ga.
6. Miss Bessie L. Parker, Newton, Ga.
7. Ernest Parker (deceased) Newton, Ga., leaving a widow now Mrs. Kate McDonald. Children are:
a. Mayo Parker
b. Grace Parker
c. Mabel Parker
8. Mrs. Gurley Parker (deceased), husband is Richard Rhodes, Newton, Ga. Children are:
a. Allen Rhodes
b. Pauline Rhodes
c. Ruby Rhodes
d. Oliver Rhodes
2. Mary Martin (deceased) married Moses McGee. Children are:
1. Mrs. Mary E. Weston, Grand Ridge, Florida
2. Jefferson Davis McGee, Marianna, Florida
3. David Samuel McGee, (deceased) Children are:
a. Mrs. Mamie Kimbol, Cedar Springs, Ga.
b. Burton Hinsford McGee, Cedar Springs, Ga.
c. Ida Beatrice McGee Hammack, Quitman, Ga.
d. John W. McGee, Winter Park, Florida
e. Three brothers and one sister deceased leaving no children.
3. Nancy Martin married K. K. Patrick, (deceased) leaving a daughter:
1. Mrs. Lucinda Lou Patrick, Bonifay, Florida
2. Four other children who died leaving no children.
IV. Solomon Denton. This brother went to Mississippi before the War Between the States. Research confirms the opinion that he was never married and lost his life in the war or died in that general period.
V. Children of Aaron Denton and Jane Avera:
1. Gracie Denton (deceased) married Henderson Martin, left only one daughter, Alice Martin, who married Mr. Sutton. Their only child is Mrs. John Parrish, Stapleton, Georgia.
2. Mary Denton Young (Tom)(deceased) had seven children as follows:
(1) J. Frank Young, Wrens, Ga. Children: J. T. Young; Boyd Young
(2) Mrs. B. Frank Wren, Wrens, Ga.
(3) Mrs. F. V. Allgood, 1327 Broad Street, Augusta, Ga.
(4) Mrs. J. J. Cartledge, Route I, Augusta, Ga.
(5) A. C. Young, 302 Fifteenth St., Augusta, Ga.
(6) R. L. Young, 5903 North St., Dallas, Texas
(7) T. E Young, 708 1/2 Zangs Boulevard, Dallas, Texas
3. J. Frank Denton, 1803 Walton Way, Augusta, Georgia.
4. J. A. Denton (deceased) three children:
(1) Mrs. Theah Jenkins, 907 Seventh St., Augusta, Ga.
(2) Mrs. Edah Stapleton, Wrens, Ga.
(3) Mrs. Katrine Denton, Wrens, Ga.
5. W. A. Denton (deceased) four children:
(1) Aaron Grady Denton, 133 Forty-fifth Ave., North, Nashville, Tenn.
(2) Starlie Forrest Denton, 910 Fifth Ave., Augusta, Ga.
(3) Mrs. Willie L. Parker, 5325 Scotten Ave., Detroit, Mich.
(4) Mrs. Lillie Mae Stone, 910 Fifth St., Augusta, Ga.
(5) An adopted daughter, Leola Denton.
6. Mrs. Emma Denton Rooks, Stapleton, Ga., Rt. 2.
7. John D. Denton (deceased) four children:
(1) Mrs. Berry Denton Dye, Avera, Ga.
(2) Mrs. W. F. Mitchell, 922 Beeman St. Augusta, Ga.
(3) David Denton, care Mrs. Mitchell, 922 Beeman St. Augusta, Ga.
(4) Edgar Denton, care Mrs. Mitchell, 922 Beeman St. Augusta, Ga.
8. Mrs. Salome Denton McGahee, Stapleton, Ga., Rt. 2.
9. E. D. Denton, Stillmore, Ga., Box 141.
10. Thomas J. Denton, Stillmore, Ga.
VI. Children of Moses Denton (deceased), married Pollie Denton (See II, 4 above):
1. S. B. Denton, Bronwood, Ga.
2. Mrs. F. M. Watson, Bronwood, Ga.
3. J. M. Denton, Colquitt, Ga.
4. Mrs. Addie Brown (deceased) seven children:
(1) Homer Brown, Ashford, Ala.
(2) Riley Brown, Ashford, Ala.
(3) Samuel Brown, Leary, Ga.
(4) Annie Eaton, 436 Second Ave., Columbus, Ga.
(5) James Brown, Smithville, Ga.
(6) D. B. Brown, Crosby, Ala., Rt. 1.
(7) Moses Brown, Colquitt, Ga.
VII. Children of James Denton and Adeline Avera.
1. Joshua F. Denton (deceased) leaving three children:
(1) C. S. Denton, Stapleton, Ga.
(2) Mrs. Maude Denton Baggett, Gordon, Ga.
(3) Alton Denton, Box 57, Georgia Tech Y.M.C.A., Atlanta, Ga.
2. Mrs. Lilly Ann Denton Usry, Stapleton, Ga.
3. James L. Denton, Stapleton, Ga.
(1) Alma Denton, married Mack Boyd, Stapleton, Ga.
(2) Ethel Denton married Gordon Walden.
VIII. Children of Polly Stapleton:
1. Miss Theodosia Minton, Blythe, Ga.
IX. Children of Martin Stapleton:
1. J. M. Stapleton, Wrens, Ga.
(1) Plexie Stapleton Avera
(2) Martin T. Stapleton
(3) Joe Stapleton
(4) Marietta Stapleton
2. John E. Stapleton, Stapleton, Ga.
3. W. Augustus Stapleton, Blythe, Ga.
4. James Stapleton, Milltown, Ga.
5. Mrs. W. M. McGahee, Dearing, Ga.
6. J. Walter Stapleton, Wrens, Ga.
7. Lucretia Stapleton McGahee (deceased) left five children:
(1) Artie M. McGahee, Dearing, Ga. died 1971.
(2) Mrs. Elizabeth J. Hobbs, Stapleton, Ga.
(3) G. V. McGahee, Dearing, Ga.
(4) Mrs. Daisy Newton, Dearing, Ga., Rt. 1.
(5) R. M. McGahee, Rt. 6, Osborne Ave., Tampa, Fla.
8. Queen Stapleton Johnson (deceased), only child is:
(1) Ray Johnson, Warrenton, Ga.
9. Isaac N. Stapleton (deceased) had five children:
(1) Mrs. Marie Whitehead, 10 Vertudes Ave., Havana, Cuba.
(2) Mrs. B. F. Woodward, 306 West Park Ave., Savannah, Ga.
(3) Mrs. G. D. Woodard, 131 East 40th St., Savannah, Ga.
(4) Dr. Carlos E. Stapleton, Groveland, Ga., Rt. 1.
(5) Cluese Stapleton, 1632 Van Horne Ave., Los Angeles, Cal.
10. Thomas Stapleton (deceased) children:
(1) Henry J. Stapleton, Marianna, Fla., Rt. A, Box 95.
(2) Martha Stapleton Meeks, Kite, Ga.
(3) Mary Stapleton Johnson, St. Petersburg, Fla., 524 Beach Drive, North.
(4) Tharley W. Stapleton, Kite, Ga.
(5) M. L. Stapleton, Swainsboro, Ga.
(6) Mrs. Lizzie Flanders, (Mrs. Ben Flanders ) Kite, Ga.
X. Children of Margaret (Peggy) Stapleton Peebles (deceased) leaving one son:
1. David Peebles (deceased) leaving:
(a) Henry Earl Peebles
(b) Myrtle Peebles
Mother of these is Mrs. Fred Brady, 121 N. Summit St. Prescott, Ariz.
2. Mrs. Minnie Peebles Guy, Thomson, Ga.
3. Mrs. Beatrice Peebles McNair, Stapleton, Ga.
4. Mrs. Florence Peebles Land (deceased) leaving one child:
(a) Max Land, Guardian, Nomer Peebles, Stapleton, Ga.
5. Miss Necie Peebles, Stapleton, Ga.
6. Nomer T. Peebles, Stapleton, Ga.
XI. Children of Thomas Stapleton and Caroline Avera:
1. Mrs. George F. Brown, R.F.D.2, Fitzgerald, Ga., (deceased) children are:
(a) Mrs. J. F. Brown, Fitzgerald, Ga.
(b) J. H. Brown, Jr. Broxton, Ga.
(c) A. L. Brown, Fitzgerald, Ga.
(d) Mrs. O. A. Gibbs, Monticello, Fla.
2. Mrs. C. L. Eason, Keyville, Ga.
3. Mrs. S. J. McGahee, Rt.1, Wrens, Ga.
4. Mrs. Bessie Evans, 1932 Main St., Columbia, S.C.
5. James Stapleton, Rt.1, Stapleton, Ga.
6. Anna Stapleton Hammette, (deceased) left three children:
(a) Eunice Cockrell, 719 11th St., Augusta, Ga.
(b) Charlie Hammette, R.F.D.1, Stapleton, Ga.
(c) Mrs. O. W. Dodd, Box 194, Raynham, N.C.
7.Emma Stapleton Avera (Mrs. Robert Avera) (deceased) left children:
(a) Oliver Avera, Gough, Ga.
(b) James F. Avera, U.S.S. Mercedes, Annapolis, Md.
8. Alice Stapleton Walden (deceased) left one child:
(a) Mrs. Earl Allan, Sandersville, Ga.
CONCERNING DOCUMENTS CREATING THE DENTON TRUST- PART II
The realty and most of the personalty were conveyed to The Holding Commission by two deeds, one made in October, 1921, the other in January, 1922. Except for the description of property these are identical in form.
Much the larger portion of the property was conveyed in the first deed. The second followed it as soon as Mr. Denton had decided upon certain trades he contemplated before the transfer of the last of his property. The remaining personality was delivered directly to The Holding Commission by Mr. Denton's Business Manager, Mr. James W. Hobbs, under a letter of instructions requiring him to take the receipt of The Commission showing that it was to be used for the purposes provided in the trust deeds.
After the deeds were made they were promptly recorded in Glascock and Jefferson Counties were the property was located. The originals of all these documents and the record of all transactions under them are to be found in the files of The Holding Commission. The following is a copy of the second trust deed and gives all the essential facts:
GEORGIA, JEFFERSON COUNTY
This indenture made the sixteen of January nineteen hundred and twenty-two between David Denton of Jefferson County of the first part and The Holding Commission, a corporation of Bibb County, of the second part, witnesses:
That for and in consideration of ten dollars and of his interest in the cause of Christian Education and desire to assist in supplying teachers of ability and Christian character for the schools of the future and for the further consideration that the Trustees of the Mercer University engages to have provided funds for purposes stated a vested remainder in fee after the termination of a life estate hereby reserved in himself in and to the following property together with all the income from the said life estate which he does not spend or use:
(Description of property is here given with reference to property conveyed by former deed.)
The above property is conveyed subject to a life estate reserved in the party of the first part it being mutually agreed that the management of all this property is to remain in the hands of the party of the first part and the use and the enjoyment of any or all of the income is to belong absolutely to him in whatever way and for whatever purposes he sees fit, any residue of income not otherwise used being for purposes of this instrument a part of the corpus of the property here in conveyed. It is conveyed also subject to any unpaid pledge of the Baptist Seventy-Five Million Campaign which the party of the first part may not have discharged in case his death occurs before the expiration of the time for payments on said campaign. It is conveyed also subject to burial expenses and the erection of a suitable monument for the party of the first part all in keeping with the size of the estate and the style of living of the said party.
The party of the second part is to pay within a reasonable time after his death and before setting apart the portion of the property conveyed as a trust for the benefit of a school of Education at Mercer University, one-third or thirty-three and one-third per cent, of the above property to the nieces and nephews of the party of the first part and to the nieces and nephews of his first wife, Rachel M. Stapleton Denton, as follows: Children of the half sister of the party of the first part, Susie Denton Martin, of his half-brother, Allen Martin and Samuel Denton, and of Solomon Denton, if there are children of said Solomon Denton; children of his whole brothers, Aaron Denton, James Denton, Moses Denton; children of the brothers and sisters of said wife, to-wit: children of Peggy Stapleton, Thomas Stapleton, Martin Stapleton, Polly Stapleton.
The payment of his part of the property conveyed shall be made at the option of the party of the second part in cash or kind at an equitable appraisement made by disinterested parties familiar with such property. The distribution is to be made per stirpes ?to each family of the above mentioned share and share alike and to the children of each brother and sister share and share alike.
In case any of the beneficiaries mentioned in the immediately foregoing paragraphs shall directly or indirectly attack this instrument or any portion of it in any manner at law, the share that would be received by such one is not to be paid to him but is to be distributed among the other beneficiaries in a manner similar to that prescribed above.
The party of the second part is further charged with the duty of paying within a reasonable time after the death of the party of the first part and before setting apart the portion for the school of education the following:
To the Baptist Church at Stapleton, Ga., for the building or improvement of church or parsonage one per cent of the total herein conveyed.
To the Holding Commission itself for the benefit of Brewton-Parker Institute and for the purpose of keeping in repair Dental Hall and its furniture and appliances or any other building that may take its place in any scheme of change, two per cent of the estate conveyed.
To the trustees of the school for white children at David in Glascock County, five per cent of the estate conveyed, the same to be used as shall seem best for the interest of the school.
To the trustees of the school for the white children at Stapleton in Jefferson County five per cent of the estate conveyed the same to be used as shall seem best for the interest of the school.
For any friend or friends or relatives to whom, because of expense or care for the party of the first part or because of attitude or service to him, the said The Holding Commission may desire to make a gift, three and two-thirds per cent of the estate conveyed. In case such expense is excessive or the special attitude or service by such friends or relatives shall be of such special nature as to make it appropriate to The Holding Commission, then said Holding Commission is empowered to increase the percentage of such gift or gifts even invading the remaining portion of the estate to be set aside as hereinafter mentioned. The matter of making these gifts is not mandatory but permissive and suggestive. The Commission is to be absolutely free to make gifts large or small, to one or more or to no one absolutely in its discretion.
Finally, the party of the second part, upon the provision by the Trustees of Mercer University within a reasonable time after the death of the party of the first part out of undesignated funds from the general endowment of the Seventy-Five Million Campaign now being collected or from funds to be raised by or for Mercer University and equal sum for the same purposes, shall set aside all the remainder of the trust estate described above the whole to be used for the purpose of endowing in connection with Mercer University, a School of Education, intended for the training of teachers and workers in the field of education. It is the purpose of the party of the first part that the Trustees of Mercer University shall have the largest discretion in using the income from this fund. Scholarships, or fellowships for research or publication may be given to teachers or students particularly those of affiliated schools. Extension courses in affiliated schools may be given. In short, any use shall be allowed of the endowment's income herein provided as shall, in the opinion of the trustees of the Mercer University, increase the supply of teachers, improve their efficiency and character, and help build up the University and promote the welfare of the whole system of education the Baptists of Georgia are developing or may develop in connection with any larger or more general bodies. In the case oany scholarship funds should be given by the trustees out of the income of the endowment provided, it shall be understood that any nieces or nephews referred to above or the descendants at David and Stapleton referred to above, other thing being equal, shall have the preference over other applicants provided they can show that they are prepared with proper character and training to make good use of the same and shall be unable to meet all or part of their tuition scholarship referred to.
The Holding Commission shall have full right to sell publicly or privately and to convey to purchasers any and all of the property herein conveyed and to change the form of investment at will for any and all of the same whenever, in the opinion of the Commission the purposes of the trust are best subserved.
To have and to hold unto the party of the second part its successors and assigns in fee-simple.
And the party of the first part, his heirs and assigns unto the party of the second part, its successors and assigns, the title to the above property will forever warrant and defend.
In witness whereof the said party of the first part has hereunto set his hand and affixed his seal this day and year above written.
Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of John G. Harrison, J. G. Kilgore, N.P. Ga. State at Large DAVID DENTON (L.S.)
Old David Denton Home Today
James Lee Hobbs (deceased) Home and sits next to the Denton Home. James Lee Hobbs was the son of James W. Hobbs.
Taken from The Jefferson Reporter on Stapleton Baptist Church History
On April 13, 1889, 31 members of Reedy Creek Baptist Church met after their regular services to constitute a church to be known as Baptist Church of Christ at Stapleton. Meetings were to be held on the fourth Sabbath and the Saturday preceding.
The Baptist Church of Christ of Spread, Georgia, now known as Stapleton Baptist, was established that year, mainly due to the generous contributions of David Denton. Its Presbytery consisted of the Rev. W. M. Verdery and the Rev. Edmond Morris.
The Rev. Verdery was elected as pastor and T. J. Dickson served as church clerk. In conference on July 13, 1889, the "decorum" was offered by Verdery and was read and adopted. That same year, the church applied for membership in the Hephzibah Baptist Association, as well as the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.
In July 1891, a house of worship was dedicated. The building was of wood and red carpeted aisles and was neatly painted white both inside and outside. David Denton was instrumental in both the organization and building of the Stapleton Baptist Church through generous contributions of money, time, and labor. Since then, the building has undergone renovations, a parsonage has been built along with an annex which is used both for Sunday School and church. Land has been acquired for the cemetery, as well.