Hamby family moves to Falco

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 20, 2002

Joseph Leon Hamby and his wife, Louisa Lenora "Ora" Andrews were the first Hamby ancestors to settle in Covington County. They first located in Andalusia in 1908 and later moved further south to the Dixie community. Joseph was born in 1868 in Meriwether, Georgia, and Ora was born there in 1867. She was the daughter of James Cain and Nancy Susan (Franklin) Andrews.

The new Falco Hotel is what prompted Ora Hamby to move there circa 1913. Her husband, Joseph Leon Hamby, and one of their sons, James Josiah, had been killed that year in a shoot-out in the Dixie community where they were living. It appears that a dispute over property lines and stock led to their untimely deaths. Newspaper accounts indicated both families were well-respected in the community and everyone was in shock over the incident. It was reported that the Hamby's were moving onto the Finley's property to retrieve a cow, which had gotten passed their fence. The Finley father and son were headed toward the cow from their side when the shootings occurred. It was never determined who fired the first shots, but the losses to the families were beyond measure.

Following the above tragedy and with no one left at home to farm their place, Mrs. Hamby had to look elsewhere for a means to support her family. She learned of the Falco Hotel and chose to relocate there to become its manager.

Joseph and Ora reared the following seven children: William Andrews, b. 1886, d. 1933, m. 1909 Sarah Kilpatrick; Olen Smith, b. 1888, d. 1947, m. 1910 (1) Eva Jernigan (2) 1945 Bertha Turman; James Josiah, b. 1890, d. 1913, single; Mary Lucille, b. 1893, d. 1992, m. 1915 Dr. Hinton Wright Waters; Frank Julian "Luck," b. 1896, d. 1984, m. Minnie Eugenia Drummond; Nancy Susan, b. 1899, d. 1991, m. 1915 Wright Robert Martin; and Edward Hammond, b. 1902, d. 1994, m. 1927 Wilma Inez McLelland.

The oldest son, William Andrews, also met with an untimely death at the age of 47 years. He and his brother in law, Wright Martin, were returning from a trip into Andalusia on Saturday evening in 1933 when they experienced car trouble. They had pulled to the side of the road between the Dixon Brothers Store and headquarters camp on the Falco Road. As Dr. Latham topped the hill driving north, William stepped from behind his car apparently waving a crank lever to get him to stop and help. Latham's car hit William and it threw the lever through the windshield causing Latham to think he was being help up. He raced on to Andalusia and reported the incident. In the meantime, Wright got their brother in law, Dr. Waters, to attend to William, and they took him to the hospital in Andalusia. He died a few hours later leaving a widow and four children.

William and Sarah, daughter of George and Elizabeth (Raley) Kilpatrick, had the following children: Annie Blanche, b. 1910, m. 1930 Euing Reese Davis; Jimmie Lucille, b. 1913, m. Rob Davis, bro. To E.R.; Helen Marguerite, b. 1916, m. Jeffie Parker; and William Andrews Jr., b.&d. 1918; and William Hubert, b. 1920.

The next son, Olen Smith, and his first wife, Eva Jernigan, had the following three children: Jernigan, b. 1916, m. Louvenia ?; Merle, b. 1918, m. Jack Ramsey; and Evelyn, b. 1923.

The daughter, Mary Lucille, was married to Dr. Hinton Wright Waters, Sr. after he moved to Falco to become the company doctor for the McGowin-Foshee Lumber Company. He had completed his medical training at the University of Alabama in 1913, and this was to become his first employment in a thriving lumber town. After establishing an active practice, Dr. Waters began to engage in the new crop of pecan farming. Pecan trees were being planted on the land after the timber was cut, and this proved to be a productive enterprise. Dr. Waters and his wife developed a large pecan orchard, and he was even referred to as the "Daddy of Pecans."

Dr. And Mrs. Waters reared the following children: Hinton Wright Jr., b. 1916, m. Margaret ?; William Leon, b. 1918, Beatrice Farrow; Robert Carlton, b. 1921, m. Betty ?; Frances Eloise, b. 1923, m. James L. Tindell; and Fred Parker, b. 1927, m. Eloise ?.

In 1926, Dr. Waters was persuaded by leading citizens of the Town of Opp to locate his family there and open a medical practice. He did that and became the physician to practice for the greatest number of years in the town.

The next son, Frank Julian "Luck" Hamby served during World War I. He lived in Mobile and areas of Florida for awhile, but he eventually moved his family to Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1932, where he founded the Hamby Auto Supply. He was an active member of the Southside Baptist Church. He and his wife, Minnie, were married for 62 years and reared the following children: Edith Mae, b. 1924, m. James Ari Robinson; Frank Julian Jr., b. 1925, m. Frances LaWanda Smith; Charles Drummond, b. 1927, m. Pauline Von Werne; Dorothy Gene, b. 1929, m. 1948 Wilbur Eugene Green; Mary Sue "Jackie," b. 1931, m. James Hilary Downs; and Charlotte Ann, b. 1934, m. Rodney Francis Mayeux.

Nancy Susan Hamby and her husband, Wright Robert Martin, Sr., resided in Pensacola where they reared the following four children: Wright Robert Jr., b. 1916, m. Helen Worthy; Mary Louise, b. 1919, m. Paul Ray Dorsey; Joseph Leon, b. 1926, m Addie Ellis; and Roy Hamby, b. 1930, m. Jane Foreman. Wright Sr. worked as an engineer with the Frisco Railroad.

The youngest son, Edward Hammond Hamby, and his wife, Wilma Inez McLelland, daughter of Ezra Oliver and Carlie Lee (Clary) McLelland, reared their family in the Falco community. They reared the following three daughters: Catherine Inez, m. Neal Gresham, U.S. Navy Pilot; Hilda, m. George Williard, U.S. Marine Corps. Pilot; and Mary, m. John Donald Jackson, Sr., 1st LT U.S. Army Infantry. The family recalled that Wilma came home to Falco to have Dr. Waters deliver her babies. It has been estimated that he delivered as many as 5,000 babies during his career.

Some of the Hamby descendants currently reside in the Falco community. Two of these families are the Neal Greshams and John Jacksons who shared their family history for this column. A special thanks is also expressed to Mrs. Ray (Louise) Dorsey of Opp for making available the photo of her grandmother, Louisa Lenora Andrews Hamby.

Anyone who might have corrections or additions to the above is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at Route 9, Box 97, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email: chthom@alaweb.comn


The Covington Historical Society will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 26, at the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are welcome.