Kervin family established church, cemetery

Published 12:00am Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Kervin family of Covington County recently revived their tradition of a large family reunion. The 2009 reunion was a tremendous success with numerous Kervin descendants returning to their ancestral roots. The historic Welcome Church and the Kervin Family Cemetery in the Pigeon Creek community was the site of this event. The historic graveyard and church are located near the Covington and Butler county border.

Festivities began around 1 p.m. with a covered-dish dinner in the church fellowship hall. Many family favorite dishes were arranged on the long buffet table inside the fellowship room. The many in attendance found places to eat throughout the fellowship room and along the long concrete table outside.

Following the dinner and much fellowship the crowd assembled in the church sanctuary for a program of history and genealogy. Lee Dean Kervin served as emcee and gave a review of the Kervin family genealogy.  He named the earliest known ancestors down to their descendants in Covington County and recognized those ancestors who are no longer living.  This was supplemented by a guest, Curtis Thomasson, who introduced the audience to the heritage organizations, Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy. Lee Dean is a compatriot in the Covington Rifles Camp of S.C.V. of which Thomasson is the current commander. Several Kervin descendants expressed interest in making application to the two groups.

Sue Bass Wilson, a guest, led the group in singing several selections of older songs and family favorites. She also shared her experiences with members of the Kervin family such as being the music teacher for some at an earlier private school.

Following the assembly, the reunion activities continued with several touring the adjacent Kervin Cemetery where many members of the family are buried.

Early ancestors of the Kervins were from Ireland where the name appeared in various forms: Kervin, Kervon, Carvin or Kerevan. The earliest known ancestor of the local Kervins is Thomas Kervin, a Revolutionary War Veteran. He was born in 1730 in Cumberland, N.C., and died in 1796 in Darlington, S.C.

One son of Thomas is known—Caid Kervin, who was probably a Revolutionary War veteran as his father. He was born in 1761 in Cumberland, N.C., and died in 1828 in Darlington, S.C. He was married to Martha Pollard (1765-1820). Family researchers have located Caid’s family Bible and Last Will and Testament, which have been most helpful in learning much about the Kervin family. Caid and Martha had a son, Morris Watson Kervin, Sr., born in 1806 in South Carolina. He migrated to Alabama where he died in 1883 in the Sterret community of Shelby County.  Morris Watson Kervin is mentioned in Caid Kervin’s will.

Morris W. Kervin Sr. was first married to Lucinda Morgan in Lowndes County. They had two children born to them before her untimely death, Peter E., b. 1826, d. young; and a male infant, b.&d. 1828 in childbirth. Within a few years, Morris Sr. moved on to Covington County. He had married again to Eliza Vinnie Pouncey, a native of Lowndes County. He settled about six miles north of Red Level where he would later homestead a nice parcel of land where Welcome Church and the Kervin Cemetery are today. Family records report that he homesteaded 160 acres, and one land record on file shows he acquired an additional 40 acres in 1869 in the Pigeon Creek Township.

Prior to this, Morris Sr. enlisted in the confederate Army even though he was about 55 years of age. He served throughout the war along with at least six of his sons. Family legend reports that his five older sons traveled to Montgomery to enlist together in the Confederate Army.  The next oldest son, Thomas Eli Kervin, served in the Confederate Homeguard as a teenager. When the war was over, Morris Sr. returned home and became a leader in his community. In 1867, he was a registered voter in Beat Number 12.

In 1916, Morris Kervin, Sr.’s son, Samuel and wife, L.J., donated four acres adjacent to the Welcome Church for the Kervin Graveyard. Several had already been buried there supposedly beginning with Morris Sr. who died in 1883. In 1911, Morris Sr.’s son, Reason Hecabud and wife, M.T. or M.P., had donated approximately two acres of land for the construction of a building that was to be for a school and church. The family wanted it named Welcome, so that people of all faiths could worship together and feel “welcome.” The church continued in this way for many years, but in the 1980s the preacher and congregation decided to make it the Welcome Pentecostal Church, which it is today.

Morris Sr. and his second wife, Eliza Vinnie Pouncey (1820-1903), reared the following children: Morris Watson Jr., b. 1836, d. 1915, m. Amanda Frances Jones (1840-1918); John Franklin, b. 1838, d. 1926, m. (1) Dorothy “Dorcus” Elizabeth Rambo (1846-1905); William Samuel “Sam,” b. 1840, m. Lucy ?; Calvin James “Jim,” b. 1844; Reason Hecabud “Bud,” b. 1845, d. 1922, m. Mary P. Edmunson; Thomas Eli, b. 1848; Daniel Dozier, b. 1951, d. 1940; Martha, b. 1851, d. young; Stephen Riley, b. 1852, d. 1920; Captain Travis “Cap,” b. 1859; William Doss, b. 1864, d. 1944, m. Dollie South; and Mary, b. 1869, m. ? Hinson.

Morris Sr. fathered a total of 15 children. He had two by his first wife and 13 by his second wife. He left his one surviving son by the first wife with her people in Lowndes County when he moved to Covington County and was married again. Most of his second set of children homesteaded from 80 to 160 acres of land in the same area of the Pigeon Creek community and near each other during the 1860s, 1880s and early 1890s. They farmed the land and reared their families here. Most of them worshipped at the Welcome Church and are buried in the Kervin Cemetery.

Research on this Kervin family continues with several relatives seeking to learn more about each line of descendants. One descendant, Lee Dean Kervin, Jr., has coordinated efforts to gather genealogy for this writing. Some of those who have contributed through Lee include Beth (Kervin) Bush of Madison, Fla., and Carrie (Broadus) Jordan of Tennessee. These along with Wyley Ward’s Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Alabama, were the sources for this writing.

In the next column, the children and later descendants of Morris Kervin, Sr. will be featured. Anyone who might have any corrections to the above genealogy or additional information on and part of this Kervin family is requested to contact this writer, by writing to Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; calling 334-222-6467; or e-mailing cthomasson@centurytel.net.

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