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Rowell family moved to Rose Hill in 1850s

By Curtis Thomasson
The Andalusia Star-News

The earliest Rowell ancestor to settle in Covington County was James Rowell, son of Valentine Rowell who died in 1821 in Walton County, Fla.

The Rowell family is described in the History of Marion County, S.C., as a prominent family. The earliest known ancestor is Jacob Rowell who had sons named David and William. William went west and David was the father of the aforementioned Valentine. (There was a David Rowel listed in the 1820 census for Conecuh County which could be this one.)

Valentine was reared on the Peedee River in South Carolina. The family then moved to a site on the Duck River in Tennessee and later to Georgia. Valentine was married first to Susannah Easterling, and around 1803, they became the parents of Covington County’s James Rowell. Their other children included Cullen, Cynthia who married James Knight, and possibly William and Robert. After Susannah’s death, Valentine was married a second time and had a son named Andrew Joseph who lived around Citronelle.

In 1825, James was married in Bibb County, Ga., to Lucinda Wheeless, a native of that state. It is possible that the couple lived in Jefferson County, Fla., during the Seminole Indian War as he was a soldier during this time. After the war, the couple moved back to Georgia and later emigrated to Covington County.

The family is first listed in the 1860 census with James at 57 years and Lucinda at 51 years. With them are three children: Henry H., 18; Matilda C., 15; and Arrena R., 12. In the 1870 census, James and Lucinda are both in the home of an older son, E.J. or James Edmund. All their children who lived to adulthood have apparently established their own homes by this date..

James has been described as being small in stature, barely five feet, but he was a strong, hard worker. He often dug wells and many graves at local cemeteries. He was especially gifted in the use of tools such as a broadaxe. He used this skill in helping hew the timbers for building his local church, Pilgrims Rest Primitive Baptist near Rose Hill.

He was a faithful member of this church and was remembered for loving to hear good preaching and being an effective church counselor and facilitator. He would walk many miles on Saturdays and Sundays to attend services at the area churches: Good Hope, Union, Enon, as well as Pilgrims’ Rest.

During the W.B.T.S., he carried the mail on foot for the 36 miles between Rose Hill and Greenville. He would travel all the distance one way in a single day.

James and Lucinda reared the following children: Simeon P., b. 1827, d. 1834; Green Berry, b. 1829, m. Emily Jane Jackson; William Mayberry, b. 1831, d. 1853; Mary Ann Elizabeth, b. 1833, d. 1843; James Edmund, b. 1836, d. 1876, m. Frances?; Sarah Susannah, b. & d. 1840; Henry Hardy Sion, b. 1842, d. 1919, m. Martha Ann Childs; Matilda Caroline, b. 1848; Arrena Rebecca, b. & d. 1852; and Pleasant Davis Franklin.

James and Lucinda were both buried in the Pilgrims’ Rest Cemetery on the Rose Hill/Dozier Highway. Many of their relatives and descendants are buried in this location.

Green Berry is the first Rowell to purchase government land in Covington County. In 1855 he bought 40 acres in the Rose Hill community. He acquired two 40 acre tracts in 1856 and another 40 acres in 1857, all in the same general area. In 1868, he was elected as a Justice of the Peace for Beat Four.

Green Berry and Emily Jane are listed in the 1860 census with him being 31 years of age and her, 30 years. They had three children at the time. In 1870, they had seven children. In all, they reared the following children: William Franklin; James Hardy; Mary; Joel Edmund, b. 1859, d. 1947; Robert Valentine; John Rowan, b. 1861; Alice Matilda, b. ca 1864, d. 1902; Jesse G., b. ca 1867; Lucinda Jane, b. 1869; Bedar Daniel, b. 1872; and Frances Alletha, b. 1877.

James Edmund and Mary Ann are listed in the 1860 census with him being 23 years and her 32 years with one infant. In 1870, they have three young children, Alonzo Franklin (10), Sarah (8), and Francis (2), and his parents in their household.

Henry Hardy and Martha A. are listed in the 1870 census with both at 26 years of age. At the time they had two infants, John G. and David. Earlier in 1861, Hardy had enlisted in Co. B, 18th. Ala. Inf. Reg’t. of the C.S.A. Following the war, in 1867, Hardy was listed along with J.E., J., and J.B. as registered voters in Covington County. In 1899, he homesteaded 40 acres of land in Rose Hill. He worked as a farmer and teacher and was an active leader in his community. He served as a Justice of the Peace and tax assessor for the county. He was a Methodist, a Mason, and active in the Democratic Party.

Hardy and his wife, Martha Ann, daughter of Zachariah Childs, reared the following children: James Zachariah, b. 1867, d. 1870; John Green Lafayette, b. 1868; Barbe David, b. 1870, m. (1) Emma Lee McBryde (2) Mrs. Mary Amie (Colquett) Davis; Flora Luvenia, b. 1872; Arena Matilda, b. 1874; Henry Edmund, b. 1877; Joe Hardy, b. 1879; Edgar Alonzo, b. 1882; Julius Marvin, b. 1884, d. 1901; and Martha Lou.

Hardy’s son, Barbe David, donated land for the Rowell School where he served as a teacher. The school was built around 1882 and was used until 1917 when it was consolidated with the Taylor School to form Rose Hill School. Barbe also worked as a farmer, bookkeeper, and bank cashier. He held offices of Justice of the Peace and Notary Public.

In 1902, the Mattie Post Office was formed and named in honor of Mattie V. Rowell. Rowell became the postmistress and worked in that capacity until the office was discontinued in 1905. It was located about 14 miles south of Andalusia near the Shady Hill Church. Mattie was the wife of Alonzo Franklin Rowell who homesteaded 160 acres in the Blue Pond area in 1900.

A few years later, in 1917, S.S. Rowell served as railroad agent at Poley for the L&N Railroad Company. The office closed in 1921 when the lumber business was wanning.

So the Rowell family is another who left its name and mark on the development of Covington County. The many Rowell descendants are justly proud of their heritage.

Among the descendants are two who have shared information and the photo for this column. They are Barry Clark and Audrey (Bass) Wilson. Audrey is a granddaughter of the Alonzo and Mattie Rowell shown in the accompanying picture. Her grandmother was postmistress at the Mattie Post Office.

Anyone who has corrections or additional data to this writing is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at Route 9, Box 97, Andalusia, AL 36420 or e-mail:


John Lumpkin Stewart was a citizen of Rose Hill

By Curtis Thomasson
The Andalusia Star-News

Of the genealogical research reviewed on the Stewart family, the earliest known ancestor is John Stewart, believed to be a native of Scotland. There is record of his residing in Caroline County, Va., in 1762. He was born in 1674 and lived to be around 100 years of age.

John was married to Anne Hawe and they reared a large family. Among his children were two that will be discussed. A son named John was a captain in the revolutionary Army and was called “General.” He, along with a brother, William, had descendants who immigrated to Covington County.

John Floyd, a son of General John and Mourning, was born in 1814 in Monroe County, Ga. During his life he was an active Methodist and member of the Masons. He was married to Elizabeth White, a native of Newton County, Ga. They arrived in 1852 in Pike County where they resided until 1860 when they moved on to Covington County. They apparently moved after the 1860 census for Covington was taken. A few years later, during the W.B.T.S., John F., age 53 years, was a private in Co. C., Covington County Reserves. He and his wife lived out their lives here and were buried in the Stewart Cemetery in Rose Hill. (In later years the Rose Hill Church of Christ was built next to the cemetery.)

The couple reared the following children: John Lumpkin, b. 1833, d. 1903, m. Sarah Elizabeth Dunn; Nancy, b. ca 1836, d. ca 1890, m. ? Geter; William Blanton, b. 1837, d. ca 1928, m. Molly Crews Slayton; Susan, b. ca 1840, m. James Thomas Adams; Charles Q., b. ca 1842, m. Ann Bartlet; Narcissa, b. ca 1846, m. Lee Gilpin; Sallie, b. ca 1848, d. ca 1889; Gilford B., b. 1852, d. 1900, m. Sophia Spicer; and Monroe G., b. ca 1861, d. ca 1941, m. Ida Mae Parker and possibly an Ida Merrill.

Other Stewart ancestors who purchased land in Covington County in the 1850s include the following: The David Stewart Association, 80 acres (Mil. 1850), 1854, near Brantley; Ira H. Stewart, 40 acres, 1855, Loango; Cader P. Stewart, 40 acres, 1856, near Brantley; and Archibald D. Stewart, 320 acres, 1856, near Brantley. Archibald might have been the John A. or the A.H. Stewart named in the 1860 census.

Other references to early Stewarts are A.D., who assisted Pastor Levi H. Oswalt at the Hopewell Baptist Church, and William C., who owned two slaves in 1860. The relationships of these individuals to the other Stewarts of discussion is unknown to this writer.

In 1860, the following Stewart households were enumerated for Covington county: A.H. (57) and Jennett (51); Daniel A. (26) and Elizabeth (23); William (62) and Elizabeth (63) with three Shaw children: Catharine (16), Amanda (12), and Eda (11); John A. (44) and Sarah E. (44) with children: William C. (14), Mary J. (12), John D. (9), Samuel (8), Martha (6), George W. (5), George Ann (5), and James A. (2).

In addition, the household of John Floyd’s oldest son, John Lumpkin, was listed. He and his wife, Sarah E., were both 27 years of age with children ranging from eight years to six months. Also, in the household was Rachel S. Compton (47) who is probably Sarah’s mother.

John Lumpkin is seemingly the most prominent Stewart in Covington County during the 1800s. He is included in the Memorial Record of Alabama which acknowledged his local leadership. He was always regarded as a successful farmer. In religion, he was a Congregationalist. He was a stanch Democrat, yet he was not actively involved in politics other than to support programs of interest to farmers. In 1861, he enlisted in Co. B., 18th. Ala. Inf. Reg’t., C.S.A. and was mustered at Auburn. After the war, he resumed his farming in the Rose Hill community and was a registered voter in 1867. Also in 1867, there were two other Stewarts, J.F. and W.B., listed as registered voters.

John L. had first moved to Covington County around 1856 when he purchased considerable property around Rose Hill. That year he purchased about 440 acres of land in three different tracts. The next year, he added another 40 acres. In 1867, some of this land was transferred to the new Crenshaw County.

In 1875, John L. moved his family into the historic “Mollie Colvin” house which he remodeled in 1877. He ran a store in Rose Hill and operated a water mill. He was one of the first to operate a horse-drawn cotton gin in the area. From 1878 to 1884, he served as Postmaster of the Rose Hill Post Office. He was responsible for re-routing the old Three Notch Road as it passed through the little town of Rose Hill.

John L. and Elizabeth reared the following children: Georgia Ann, b. ca 1851, d. 1890, m. Samuel Colvin; Frances, b. ca 1852, m. Sam Tindall; Mary Ellafair, b. 1853, d. ca 1895, m. Jessie James Dauphin; Aaron W., b. ca 1856, d. 1921, m. Mattie Helms; Melvina E. “Mellie,” b. ca 1856, d. 1941, m. T.D. Bridges; Amsey D.V., b. ca 1858, d. ca 1921, m. J. Richard Stewart; Davis B., b. ca 1862, d. ca 1910, m.? Snow; Sarah “Sallie” Lavonia, b. ca 1869, d. 1888, m. John Baston Reid and ? Farr; Thomas, b. ca 1865, d. ca 1895; Charles J., b. ca 1872; Benjamin C., b. ca 1874, m. Lovie Grant; and Josephine Lumpkin, b. ca 1876, m. John Boston Reid.

A brother to John L., Gilford, and his wife, Sophia Spicer, reared the following children: Infant, d. young; Lucy Anna, m. William “Will” C. Grant; Burnie Mae, b. 1885, d. 1964, m. Esther Williams; Marvin Rowan, b. 1887, d. 1952, m. Ruby Hilburn; Fannie Lou, b. ca 1889, d. 1978, m. Carl Spicer; Carrie Dale, m. Eugene Grant; Buford, m. Keller Dorman; and Emma Ray, m. Sam McCall.

Going back to General John, his youngest brother, William, had descendants who emigrated to Covington County. His grandson, James Madison Stewart, was listed at 58 years of age in 1870 along with his wife, Mary Ann, at 57 years. They reared the following children: William Thomas, b. 1832, m. Laura Frances Hill; Lucinda, b. 1834; Lurana, b. 1835; John Isham, b. 1837, d. 1884, m. Mary Margaret Dennis; Richard Madison, b. 1840; Mary Ann, b. 1842; James Martin, b. 1844; Benjamin Franklin, b. 1847; David Clark, b. 1848, d. 1899, m. Mollie E. Jayroe; and Frances Elizabeth, b. 1851.

Records are available on the youngest son, David Clark, who eventually entered the ministry of the Methodist Church and was assigned to west Florida. Before this he settled on a farm adjacent to his father’s in Rose Hill. At one point, he formed a partnership with a relative by marriage, James Davis, to operate a carriage shop. After this failed, he resumed farming and moved for a few years to Mt. Ida in Crenshaw County. He soon returned to Rose Hill to farm and work in his shop making repairs, building furniture and farm implements, and doing blacksmithing.

In the 1870 census, David and Mollie are listed in the household of her father, L.G. Jayroe. They later had the following children: William D.L., b. 1876, d. 1877; L.N., d. 1876; James Levi, d. 1880; Lilla Hawkins, d. 1894; James Floyd, d. 1897; Annie, m. Nicholas Weaver and lived in the Valley Grove area; and Jesse who moved to Westville, Fla., with his parents.

David Clark’s brother, John Isham, lived in Covington County and died in 1884. He worked as a farmer and was a member of the Methodist Church and the Democratic Party. He and Mary Margaret had the following children: Charles Madison, b. 1859; William Thomas, b. 1861; John Frederick, b. 1862; Mary Laurana Frances, b. 1864; Benjamin Fletcher, b. 1866; James Marion, b. 1867, m. Sarah Margaret Llenora hart; Edwin Oscar, b. 1870; Cicero Harvey, b. 1874; and Mary Magnolia, b. 1876, m. William George Washington Sasser.

Many Stewart descendants made significant contributions to Covington County. Among these were Dr. Benjamin C. Stewart who moved from Rose Hill to Opp around 1900 to practice medicine. He was a civic leader who served as a councilman and one term as mayor of Opp. He is credited with owning the first car in the town of Opp. He is remembered as a staunch Mason and being a member of the Board of Stewards of the First Methodist Church. He and his wife, Sarah Love, had one child who died in infancy. Others included G.F. Stewart who served as a councilman in Andalusia under Mayor Henry Opp, Ben R. who taught school at the Cockcroft Mill School in 1896, and Cebe who was a businessman in Bullock during the late 1880s.

Among the many descendants was Chester Grant, and it is to his widow, Jeanette (Merrill) Grant, that we express appreciation for sharing the genealogical records in her possession. Many relatives have contributed to the work and developed an extensive file of data.

Anyone who might have corrections or additions to this writing is requested to contacted Curtis Thomasson at Route 9, Box 97, Andalusia, AL 36420 or e-mail:

The Roanoke Leader
Dated:  July 1915
Recorded: September 7, 1915

Roanoke, Randolph County, Alabama

NEWSPAPER Issue of Wednesday, August 11, 1915

State of Alabama, Randolph County Probate Court

Notice to:

Vachel D. Whatley who resides in Whitesburg, State of Georgia
Julia R. Black who resides in Marietta, State of Georgia
Mrs. Ada A. Bobo who resides in Tallapoosa, State of Georgia
Mrs. Essie A. Brown who resides in Franklin, State of Georgia
W. V. Whatley who resides in Bowdon, State of Georgia

You are notified that Julia R. Whatley filed in this court on the 31st day of
July 1915, an instrument in writing signed by Walton B. Whatley, and attested
by J. B. Strong, Joseph Edmondson and E. B. Clark, subscribing witnesses,
purporting to be the Last Will and Testament of Walton B. Whatley, deceased,
petitioning the court to probate the same.

You are therefore notified that the 7th day of September 1915 has been set for
the hearing of said petition, on which day you may appear and contest the same
if you choose to do so.   John T. Heflin, Judge of Probate
This Aug. 9, 1915



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