Windhams settled first in Old Town Community

Published 12:00am Saturday, May 7, 2011

The earliest member of the Windham family to be associated with Covington County appears to have been Lt. Pierce Windham. He rendered service in the 46th Regiment (Covington and Dale Counties) 11th Brigade, 4th Division, Alabama Militia (1826-1832). There is a record of him being active on October 23, 1830.

It appears that the first Windham family to be enumerated in Covington County was on the 1850 census. The household was headed by Mary Winham, a native of Mississippi who was 55 years old. With her were the following children: William, 30; Sarah, 24; James 17; and Lucinda, 14. William was listed as being born in Mississippi, but the others were born in Georgia. Mary, William and Sarah were identified as being unable to read and write.

The next Windham noted was John Windham who purchased two tracts of land in 1854. He acquired 80.32 acres and 40.16 acres in the Beulah Township. It is not known what happened to him after that. In the 1860 census, a William Windham and family was enumerated as living in Andalusia. He was 36 years old, a native of Alabama and a laborer. His wife, Elizabeth, a native of North Carolina, was 30 years old, and they had the following three children who were born in Alabama in their household: Matilda, 13; Nancy, 11; and Thomas, 9.

In 1864, William was 36 years old and listed as a private in Company B., Covington County Reserves (First Class), recruited from Beats 2, 6 & 12. For some unstated reason he was dismissed by the medical board. In 1862, a J.B. Windham had enlisted as a private in Company I, 40th Alabama Infantry Regiment, which had formerly been Captain Gantt’s Company, 4th Regiment Alabama Volunteers Militia. Following the war, in 1866, a J.G. (Windim ?) was elected on March 5 to serve as Justice of the Peace for Beat Number 11.

Another Windham family moved to the area from Georgia and settled in the Old Town community in Conecuh County. The Aaron Windham family was enumerated in the 1860 census.  He was 42 years old, and his wife, Amanda M. (Murphy), was 39 years old. They had the following children with them at the time: William, 18; George, 16; Sarah, 14; Martha, 12; Benj., 11; Henrietta, 9; James, 8; Caroline, 8; John, 5; Charles, 3; and Robert, 4 months. They apparently arrived between 1857 when Charles was born in Georgia, and 1860 when Robert was born in Alabama.

By 1870, Amanda had apparently died, but Aaron and most of their children were still residing in Old Town. The following were in the household: Aaron, 50; Emma, 23; Martha, 21; James, 18; Henrietta, 16; Caroline, 14; John, 13; Charles, 11; Robert, 9; Gregory, 7; and Edward, 4.

Aaron was born in 1817 in Warren, Georgia, as the son of John and Elisabeth (James) Windham. He worked as a farmer and had the responsibility of rearing a large family of children. The Emma listed in the 1870 census who is 23 years of age may well be a younger second wife. During the War Between the State, he enlisted as a private in Company D, 7th Alabama Reserves Infantry Regiment. One record suggested he died in 1896 in La Salle, Louisiana.

Aaron’s son, George Windham, was head of his household in 1870 at 25 years of age and was a farm laborer. His wife, Martha, was 22 years old, and they had two children, William 3, and Caroline, 1. George appears to be the George Washington Windham who was born in 1843 in Butler, Taylor County, Georgia, and who served in the Confederate Army as a private in Company E, 38th Alabama Infantry Regiment. He enlisted in September 1862 at Sparta, and his home was listed as Mount Union. He was captured at Nashville, Tennessee, and imprisoned at Camp Chase, Ohio, where he remained until the end of the war.

In the 1880 census, George W. Windham was enumerated as a farmer at 40 years of age and living in Old Town, Conecuh County. His wife, Martha C., was 37 years old, and they had the following children with them: George W., 4; Emily B., 12; Thomas F., 8; Louizer A., 6; Henry B., 4; and Jim, two months. George W. lost his wife after 1880, and then he married her sister, Dicey E., who may have been her twin. They were still residing in Old Town when the 1900 and the 1910 censuses were enumerated.

George W. and his first wife, Martha (Barlow), daughter of Bud and Dicey Barlow, had seven children who were all born in the Sepulga community where they mostly lived, died and were buried in the Sepulga Cemetery: George Washington, b. 1866, d. 1891, m. Sallie Miller; Thomas Franklin, b. 1872, d. 1908, m. Callie Fortner; Louisa A., b. 1874, d. 1958, m. Robert Hooks; Henry Branson, b. 1876, d. 1928, m. Emma Victoria Hendrix; Arrie Ann, b. 1878, d. 1945, m. Hardy Johns; Elias Aaron, b. 1879, d. 1969, m. Mary Hooks; and Joseph M., b. 1882, d. 1979, m. Roshell Hooks.

In the next generation, George W.’s son, Henry Branson Windham, was married to Sara Ann Emma Victoria (Hendrix) (1886-1958), daughter of Abslum I. and Mary Adline (Merritt) Hendrix, natives of Georgia. Henry and Sara reared the following children: Mollie, b.&d. 1902; Nobie Gray, b. 1905, d. 1994, m. Leonard Padgett (1902-1977); Lora Bell, b. 1908, d. 1994, m. Astin Barfield (1905-1981); Martha Adline, b. 1911, d. 1939; Jimmy Franklin, b. 1914, d. 1983, m. Mildred King; Roxie, b. 1918, d. 1975, m. (1) Robert Barrow (2) Mack Hooks; Henry, b. 1921, d. 1995; Annie Lou Matson, b. 1923, d. 1991; Howard Branson, b. 1924, d. 1985, m. Ruth Rodgers; Kenneth, b. 1929, m. (1) Irene Robinson (2) Ethel Byrd.

There were descendants of the above families who moved to Covington County to make it their home. More information is needed on the early Windhams named above as well as any of the above families. Anyone who might have such is requested to contact this writer.

Sources for this writing include a story written and submitted to the Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, by Linda Castleberry, Ancetry.com and Wyley Ward’s local histories of the county.

Anyone who might have discovered any errors in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

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