First Geoghagan in county was Lewis Payton Geoghagan

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2002

The earliest Geoghagan to settle in Covington County was Lewis Payton Geoghagan, son of Joshua and Sarah Geoghagan, who were rice farmers in South Carolina. Their ancestors had come to this country from Ireland. Lewis was born in 1804 in St. Peters Parish, Beaufort County. He,along with several brothers and sister, moved sometime after 1830 to Henry County.

Lewis’s household was enumerated in the 1840 Census of Henry County. In 1838, he had married Nancy Louise Balkum, and they had their first child in 1839. Nancy is believed to have been the daughter of John, Alexander Jr., or Walter P. Balkum.

By 1850, Lewis had moved his family to the northern part of Coffee County. His brother, Joshua, who had married Catherine Balkum, moved there also. Another brother who later came to Covington County was Richard W. Geoghagan.

By 1855, Lewis had moved again to the Chapel Hill community in the southeast corner of Covington County. That year he purchased three tracts of land: 40 acres, 78 acres, and 160 acres in the Chapel Hill area. In 1858, he added another 40 acres, and in 1859, he added two additional 40-acre tracts.

Lewis and Nancy reared the following children: Alexander M., b. 1839, d. 1862; George A.W., b. 1842, d. 1864; Joshua Joseph, b. 1844, d. 1864; Thomas Jefferson, b. 1846, d. 1937, m. Martha Victoria Lowery; Mary F., b. 1848, m. William Miller; Ursley Matilda, b. 1849, d. 1933, m. Peter Francis M. Parker; Annie Box Bluford, b. 1853, d. 1934, m. William Robert Heflin Eason; Sarah Frances, b. ca 1856, m. William Miller (Mary’s widower); and Walter Payton, b. 1858, d. 1926, m. Martha Susanna Eason.

Lewis died of some illness in 1862 during the war and was buried in the Chapel Hill Baptist Church Cemetery. His oldest son, Alexander, lost his life the same year while serving in the Confederate Army. In 1861, he had enlisted in Company B, 18th. Ala. Inf. Reg’t (Covington Hunters). During the previous two years Alexander had purchased 160 acres in the Chapel Hill community.

Lewis also lost his second and third son to the war as well. They both died in 1864. His fourth son also saw military service in the homeguards.

The fourth son, Thomas Jefferson, survived the war and lived to become a popular Baptist minister throughout the area. He and his wife, Martha Victoria, daughter of William C. and Jane (Garrison) Lowery, reared the following children: Lewis Payton, Martha June, Mary Frances, William Jefferson, Annie Missouri, George Washington, Nancy Matilda, Thomas Joshua, Robert Wiley, Sarah Elizabeth, Susan Florence, and John Walter. Thomas and Martha were buried in the Corner Creek Methodist Church Cemetery in Geneva County.

The oldest daughter, Mary F., and her husband, William Miller, lived near her folks and had the following children: Jonathan Lewis, A. Caroline, Nancy E., William Luther, and Lou Anna. Mary F. died soon after Lou Anna’s birth.

The next daughter, Ursley, and her husband, Peter Parker, had two sons, George W. and Daniel L. Unfortunately, Peter met with an untimely death and left Ursley with the two young sons.

The next daughter, Annie, was married to William Eason, son of Walter Terry and Louisa A. (Petty) Eason. Walter Eason, born in 1825 in Georgia, was the son of Rice and Frances (Miers) Eason of Fayette County, Ga., where the family was engaged in farming. Annie and William reared the following children: Naomi Missouri, b. 1876, m. Asa Columbus Crews; Mary Elizabeth, b. 1878, d. 1968, m. Dan Savage; John Walter Thomas, b. 1881, d. 1959, m. Olive Dauphin; Harrison Wiley Bruner &uot;Dock,&uot; b. 1883, d. 1954, m. Anna Lee Adkison; Amanda Frances, b. 1885, d. 1942, m. Andrew Harris Culpepper; William Joseph, b. 1888, d. 1971, m. Myrtie lee Maloy; Nancy Louisa, b. 1890, d. 1979, m. Ollie Joseph McNeil; and Louis Zachariah Rice, b. 1894, d. 1974, single.

The youngest daughter, Sarah Frances, and her husband, William Miller, lived near her folks and reared the following children: Hillary, Mary Frances, and Minerva.

The youngest son, Walter Payton, and his wife, Martha Susanna, daughter of Walter Terry and Louisa A. (Petty) Eason, reared the following children: Mary; Nancy Louisa, b. 1879, d. 1965, m. Joseph Miller; George Allen, b. 1884, d. 1926, single; Martha Florence &uot;Crick,&uot; b. 1886, m. Bart Tucker; Rachel Belzonie &uot;Onnie,&uot; b. 1888, m. Lee Dauphin; John Jeff, b. 1892, d. 1980, m. Sylvester Redmond; Arrie, b. 1894, d. 1981, single; and Walter Lewis &uot;Jake,&uot; b. 1898, d. 1965, m. Lois Martin.

Currently there are a number of Geoghagan descendants residing in the county, some still in the Chapel Hill community. One descendant, Eloise Eason King, currently resides in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. She researches family history and is credited with providing the data for today’s column.

She would appreciate hearing from anyone interested in the Geoghagan family. She may be contacted at the following address: 304 Doyce Drive, Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32545 or telephone 850-862-2876.

Anyone having corrections or further information related to this family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at Route 9, Box 97, Andalusia, Ala. 36420 or e-mail:

Editor's note: Readers are encouraged to submit items related to genealogy which may be of interest to our readers.

Content may include genealogical queries, related events such as family reunions, or other brief write-ups related to family history and research.

To publicize information, please submit items either typed or neatly handwritten to Curtis Thomasson, Community News Editor, The Andalusia Star-News, P.O. Box 430, Andalusia, AL 36420.

You may also bring the information to our office at 207 Dunson Street or e-mail us at

If the item involves an upcoming event (family reunion, cemetery working, etc.), please submit the information at least three weeks prior to the event.

Also, please include a phone number where you can be reached during the day.