Thomasson Traces Family Association holds annual reunion

Published 9:01am Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Thomasson Traces Family Association staged its annual reunion on Sat., August 3, 2013, in Andalusia, at the Cedar Grove Church of Christ fellowship hall, located on Brooklyn Road. The occasion was the gathering of descendants of Thomas Randolph and Sarah (Roach) Thomasson to honor heritage, meet new relatives and fellowship with endeared ones.

The meeting room was decorated with a wall hanging of the Thomasson Family Crest, which was designed and quilted by Charlotte Thompson, a great, great granddaughter. Another memorable item was a framed print of the first Thomasson house in Louisa County, Va., which was painted and framed by Martha Thomasson Richey, a granddaughter. Copies of this print have been made by a professional photographer at the request of Sue Cowger, a great granddaughter. These were for sale at $10 each, and three were presented as special gifts. Also on display was a family tree drawn by Curtis Thomasson on a large sheet of fabric. From this display each person was able to follow his personal lineage back to Thomas and Sarah (Roach) Thomasson. Pictures of past reunions and various ancestors were also on display.

Upon arrival each attendee registered under the name of his specific ancestor, child of the above couple and provided current contact information. Each also attached a nametag showing his particular ancestor. This along with much visiting and reviewing of family history occurred from about 10 a.m. until 12 noon. At that time, a welcome was given by Curtis H. Thomasson, great, great grandson of Thomas R. and Sarah Thomasson, along with pertinent announcements and instructions for the meal followed by an invocation worded by Melvin Smith, great grandson. The buffet of “covered dishes” featured a wide variety of Southern recipes, especially fried chicken, along with an abundance of delectable desserts.

Following the dinner, a meeting was called to order and all those in attendance were introduced according to family lines. The branch to have the most present was the descendants of Cornelius Starr Thomasson (C.S.T.), who reared his family in the Mobley Creek community. A descendant of this line, Richard Thomasson, great, great grandson, who resides in Niagara Falls, N.Y., was recognized for having traveled the farthest with his family. Lester Thomasson, a resident of Andalusia who is 95 years of age, was the oldest present, and he is a grandson of C.S.T. Myles Hill, a great, great, great, great grandson of Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson, was the youngest in attendance at seven months of age. He and his family had traveled from Midland, Tex. Nicholas Anderson, great, great, great grandson of C.S.T., who attended with his grandparent from Senoia, Ga., was recognized for his generous volunteering and helping with all activities of the reunion.

Members of the Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy were special guests who were given an opportunity to address the crowd. Chapter President Linda Castleberry of Red Level expressed their appreciation for the invitation and introduced those members who were present. The newest two members, Judy (Treadaway) Jordan of Florala and Janice (Bowers) Wallace of Newnan, Ga., were recognized and presented with their membership certificates. Both expressed their excitement and joy of becoming a member of this heritage organization and how special it is to them. Janice is a descendant of the Thomasson family, which makes her association especially meaningful, and Judy is related to one line of Thomassons. Anyone interested in learning about the United Daughters of the Confederacy may contact Chapter President Linda Castleberry or Past-president Tammie Evans.

There are at least 12 descendants of this Thomasson family who are members of the local Covington Rifles Camp #1586 of the Sons of the Confederacy. Some of these were present, but many live in distant states and were unable to attend. They stress that they want to be members of this camp to honor their ancestors who served from Covington County. Curtis H. Thomasson who coordinated the reunion is currently serving as commander of this camp. Anyone interested may contact him for membership information.

Royce Henley, a great grandson of Mike and Mary Ann Abbagail (Thomasson) Henley gave a power point presentation on the Henley family’s genealogy. He outlined the family’s arrival in this country circa 1642 as indentured servants. He further showed pictures of some of the early ancestors and various sites where they lived.

The immigrant ancestors, Richard and Sarah (Darby) Henley, settled in York County, Va., where they lived and reared their family. At Richard’s death he left his farm to his son, Henry Henley. He sold this soon after his father’s death and moved his family to Calvert County, Md. The name of his wife is not known and neither are the names of any of his children except a son whom he named Darby after his mother’s maiden name.

Darby Henley was born in 1650 and was known to be a barrister. He was married to Mrs. Anne (Armstrong) Evans, a daughter of Edward Armstrong. They resided on what is now known as Broomes Island in St. Leonard Creek Hundred, Christ Church Parish. They reared the following children: Anne, b. 1697, m. George Elliot; Darby, b. 1701, d. 1785, m. (1) Mary Thatcher (2) Mary M. Elliot; Edmund, b. 1703 and Priscilla, b. 1703 (twins); John, b. 1706; and Mary, b. 1711. Darby died circa 1726.

The son Darby Henley Jr. inherited the family home with 30 acres of land, so his widowed mother most likely lived with him. He was first married to Mary Thatcher, who died within seven years leaving three young children: James Dunbar, b. ca 1725, d. 1816, m. Martha Lytle; his twin, Anne, b. ca 1725, d. ca 1800, single; and Mary, b. ca 1728. After Mary’s death, Darby Jr. was married to Mary M. Elliot, and they had five children together: Darby III, b. 1733, d. 1821, m. (1) Elizabeth Chamberlain (2) Mary Young; Edmund, b. 1735, d. 1792, m. Lettice Wetherale; Elizabeth, b. 1737; John, b. 1739, d. 1802, m. (1) Margaret Chamberlain (2) Catherine ?; and William, b. 1741, m. ?.

The youngest son, William Henley, was the senior ancestor who brought the family to Alabama. His family had left Maryland and moved to Orange County, N.C. circa 1770. In 1777, when the new county of Caswell was formed from Orange County, the Henleys became residents of it. William served in the North Carolina Militia and on through the Revolutionary War. Two of his sons were Darby IV and William Jr. Darby IV moved to Alabama and settled first near Sparta.

Darby Henley IV’s oldest son, Thomas H. Henley, was born in 1794 in North Carolina, and he had already married Susannah Moody, daughter of Asa and Charity (Pickens) Moody, when they made the move to Alabama circa 1818. Under the Military Grant of 1850, Thomas H. Henley received 161.08 acres of land in the Rose Hill area. This property lay on the banks of the Conecuh River where he built a sawmill, which he operated as long as he was able. He and Susannah are believed to be buried in the Payne Cemetery, which is now lost, in the Burnout community.

Two of this couple’s children were married to two Thomasson siblings. Susannah Henley married Cornelius Starr Thomasson, and Micajah “Mike” Henley married Mary Ann Abbagail Thomasson. Their parents were close neighbors in the Burnout community. Many descendants from these two marriages were in attendance at the 2013 Thomasson family reunion and helped to make it successful here in Andalusia.

Appreciation is expressed to each Thomasson descendant and friends in attendance and to Royce Henley for his informative presentation on the Henley heritage. Everyone is encouraged to mark his 2014 calendar for the next reunion, which is scheduled for Saturday, August 2.

Anyone who might have questions or comments may contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

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