McDaniel descendants were from different family lines

Published 12:00am Friday, October 3, 2003

There were members of the McDaniel family in Covington County at an early date. Circa 1825, Thomas McDaniel moved his family here from Butler County. He had purchased several tracts of land near the Montezuma Village during 1823 and 1824. By 1836 he owned more than 500 acres. He became one of the largest slave owners in the county and was listed has having as many as 40 in 1830.

It appears Thomas became quite involved in the early politics of the county. He was elected to serve as Clerk of Circuit Court in 1830, an office which he held for four years. He was reelected to serve for eight more years. While residing at Montezuma he was authorized by the State Legislature "to collect toll on a bridge across the Conecuh River in Covington County at the Town of Montezuma"; however, there is no record of this bridge ever being constructed.

The next appearance of a McDaniel in county records is a listing in the 1850 census for John McDaniel who was born in Alabama. He was residing in the household of Henry and Catherine Colvin and working as a "waggoner." He was not listed in the 1860 census and no additional information on him was found. Also, there were no other McDaniels found in that census.

Family records indicate a William McDaniel moved during the 1850s from Marion County, Georgia, to the Rose Hill community in Covington County along with his recently widowed daughter, Sarah McDaniel Short, and her children. Sarah was born to William O. and Dorothy Dolly (Harris) McDaniel in 1807 in North Carolina. She was married to Howell Short in 1825 in Monroe County, Georgia. The 1870 census listed the following children who had moved to Covington County with her: John, 19; Thomas, 17; Samantha, 15; Jane, 13; Daniel, 11; Tillmon, 10; Caroline, 9; and Martha, 7.

There were two McDaniel families enumerated in the 1870 county census. One household was the family of R. McDaniel, 43 years of age, and his wife, Maranda, 33 years old. He was born in Georgia and she, in North Carolina. They had the following children, all born in Alabama, were in their home: Josephine, 13; Mary, 10; John H., 8; Florah A., 7; Andrew, 5; and Sarah J., 1. A second household was headed by E. McDaniel, a native of Georgia, with the following children: John W., 19; Sarah R., 15; R.H., 12; and Levi, 9. William O. had probably died by this date.

The above E. McDaniel was Elizabeth (Reynolds) McDaniel, daughter of Reuben and Lucy (Kemp) Reynolds of Monroe County, Georgia. She was the widow of William Eldred "Dred" McDaniel, born in 1828 in Georgia as the son of William D. and Dorothy "Dolly" (Harris) McDaniel, natives of North Carolina. Dred's siblings included the following: Sarah E., b. 1807, m. Howell Short; Harris, b. 1809, d. after a880, m. Lucinda Gresham; Elizabeth, b. 1812, d. ca 1897, m. Edmond Daughtry; Mary, b. 1812, d. 1896, m. John C. Short; Martha, b. ca 1815, m. Daniel Hicks; Unknown male, b. ca 1820, d. before 1840; and Eunicy Ann Holland, b. 1827, d. after 1870, m. William J. Hill.

Dred moved his family to the Monticello community in Pike County, Alabama, circa 1854. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861 and his unit was eventually named Company E, 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment. Unfortunately, he died at a fairly young age during the war in 1864. He and Elizabeth had the following children: Henry Fenney, b. 1848, d. 1930, m. (1) Mary E. Hill (2) Molly Griffin; John "Jackson" William, b. 1850, d. 1919, m. Mahala Chandler; Rebecca Ann, b. 1853, d. 1922, m. Daniel Jackson Chandler; Sarah R. "Sis," b. 1855, m. Jack Sims/Simms; Reuben Harris, b. 1858, d. 1821, m. Elizabeth "Eva" Sims; and Levi "Dink," b. 1860, d. 1923, m. Elizabeth Drake. Following Dred's death and the war, Elizabeth moved her family to the Burnout community in Covington County, probably to be near her sister-in-law, Sarah Short, and father-in-law. In 1891, she homesteaded 160 acres of land in the Union Township.

The oldest son, Henry F., stayed in Pike County with his Reynolds uncles. He owned land and a gristmill with his uncle, William Benjamin Reynolds, near Monticello and Tennille. He and his wife, Mary, had the following children: William F., m. Gussie Richardson; Isaac, m. Maude Windham; Reuben, m. Sophia Windham; and Dolly, m. Claude Windham.

John "Jackson" William and his wife, Mahala Chandler, daughter of Julius Jackson and Bethany (Tubberville) Chandler, lived and farmed in the Burnout community. They lived for a time in a house on the "Merritt Place." They later moved to the Cedar Grove community. They reared the following children: James Monroe, m. Viola Veasey, daughter of Sam Veasey; Cecelia Ann, b. 1877, d. 1809, m. J. Adolph Blocker; Benjamin Reynolds, b. 1881, d. 1963, m. Mary Ella Henderson; John Leonard, b. 1887, m. Buna May Odom.

Reuben Harris and Eva resided in the Burnout community and had one child. At their deaths, they were buried in the Veasey Cemetery where many of their relatives were also buried.

Levi "Dink" and Elizabeth Drake, daughter of James Talton and Susannah (Butler) Drake, lived in the Burnout community where they farmed the "McDaniel place," located on U.S. 331. They had the following children: James "Jimmy" William, b. 1891, d. 1951, m. Melissa Windham; Gerald Carnivey; R.L.; Lucy Brown, b.1892, d. 1987, m. (1) Walton Greenberry Weed (2) George Washington Dunn; Courtney or Susanna; and Reuben Levi. Carnivey was a school teacher and taught at the Mitchell School Near Hickory Nut Ridge.

The next generation is represented by some of the grandchildren of John "Jackson" W. McDaniel. His son, Benjamin Reynolds McDaniel, farmed some and worked in the timber business in Poley. He later lived in the Cedar Grove community. He and his wife, Mary Ella Henderson, daughter of John Redmond and Mary Elizabeth Henderson, reared a son, Harless Almer, b. 1906, m. Myrtice Beatrice Hicks, daughter of Joseph Henry and E. Bell (Radford) Hicks.

Harless and Myrtice lived in the Antioch/Harmony community where he farmed and operated a dairy and she taught home economics at Straughn School. They reared two sons: Harless Alton, b. 1932, d. 2002, m. Ann Goth of Memphis, Tennessee; and Benny Joe, b. 1936, m. Barbara Grace O"Gwynn of Montgomery.

Sources for today's writing include Wyley Ward's books on Covington County history and the personal records of two McDaniel descendants who are researching their family: Nell Dunn Armbruster of Pensacola who is the daughter of Lucy McDaniel Dunn and Benny J. McDaniel, son of Harless Almer McDaniel, of Montgomery.

Anyone who might have corrections to the above or additional information to share on this family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email: chthom@alaweb.com.

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