Clary family settle in Beda/Falco

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 4, 2002

Another family who pioneered in the Falco/Wing communities was named Clary James Decatur Clary, son of B.S.B. and Nancy Clary, was the earliest of this family to settle in Covington County. He was actually born in Clark County, Alabama, in 1817, but moved west of the Laurel Hill community of Walton County, Florida, during the late 1830s.

James D. was married to Mary A.E. Carter on April 21, 1836, in Clarke County. She was born in 1818 in South Carolina and made her way south with her family most likely. The couple moved from Walton County to Covington during the late 1860s after the War Between the States. While living in Florida, the family had apparently attended the Ebenezer Missionary Church in the southern part of Covington County because the church was represented at the 1859 association meeting by J.D. Clary, J. Steele, and J.A. Davidson. (The church had 44 members at the time.)

James D. became well enough established in his new community that he was named postmaster when the Beda Post Office was established in 1886 on the J.M. Holland Farm. He and Mary lived for several years in the Beda area before they both died in 1896. They were buried in the Beda Baptist Church Cemetery, which was near their home.

James had homesteaded two tracts of land during 1893. He secured 77 acres in the Falco District and 40 acres in the Yellow River area.

James and Mary were blessed with the following children: Amelia A.E., b. 1837, m. 1852 Allen Campbell; Richard M. VanBuren, b. 1841, d. 1921, m. Amanda Hart; Eliza Ina, b. 1842; William P. "Billy," b. 1844; Nancy A., b. 1846; Mary Elizabeth, b. 1848, m. J.R. Stephens; John Washington "Sam," b. 1851, m. Francis Newell Richburg; Cynthia M., b. 1853; Burel S. Berryman, b. 1855, m. Elizabeth Florida ?; Caroline F., b. 1857; and James A. "Bud," b. 1859, m. Effie M. Stewart; and Theodosia, b. 1861.

The oldest son, Richard M., served as a sergeant during the War Between the States with Company I, 15th Confederate Cavalry. Following the war, he moved with his parents to the Falco area where he homesteaded 154 acres of railroad land in 1899. He was married to Amanda Hart, daughter of Daniel and Katie (McCaskill) Hart and sister of Alex Hart, regarded as "Father of Opp." Amanda was born in 1842 and died in 1910.

Richard and Amanda had the following four children: James Daniel "Jim," b. 1866, d. 1940 m. Letitia "Tisha" Steele; John Alex, b. 1868, d. 1963, m. Lou Thompson; Dennis Woodrow, b. 1875, d. 1930, m. Flora Ada Davis; Jackson L., b. 1884; and Richard Allen who died at age 11 and was believed to be the first person to be buried in the Beda Cemetery.

Richard's oldest son, James Daniel "Jim," supported his family by farming in the Beda community. He is probably the James D. Jr. who homesteaded 160 acres of railroad land in 1898. After he lost his farm there, he moved to Falco and ran the Stokes Gristmill.

James Daniel "Jim" and his wife, Tisha, had two children: Mrytis Viola, b. 1890, d. 1964, m. (1) 1913 Alex Parker (2) W. Albert Tipton; and Carlie Lee, b. 1893, d. 1979, m. Ezra Oliver McLelland. Alex Parker, son of J.D. and Josephine Parker, died in 1916 from typhoid fever, and his death certificate was signed by a relative to the family, Dr. Hinton W. Waters. Alex and Mrytis had two children before his death: David Frank, b. 1913, d. 1963, m. Frances E. Peterson; and Bera Merle, b. 1914, d. 2002, m. John Willie "Tubby" Talbot.

Carlie Lee and her husband, Ezra McLelland, had two children: Wilma Inez, b. 1910, d. 1993, m. Edward Hammond Hamby; and Shelton William, b. 1912, m. Ellen Sims. As so many of their family were, Carlie and Ezra were buried in the Beda Cemetery at their deaths.

Richard's son, John Alex, was a farmer also, and he operated a general merchandise store near Beda. He also worked for the Falco Lumber Company at one time. He homesteaded 160 acres in the Yellow River district in 1895. He is credited with donating the land for the Beda Church, School, and Cemetery. He, his brother Jim, and his father, Richard, were among the founders of the Beda Church in 1883. John and his wife, Lou, had at least three children: Lorena H, m. M.L. Shaffer; James D. "Jimmy," m. Lena Ray Johnson, a school teacher; and Ronald or Robert or Roland. His obituary mentions a son named Ewnnis H. Clary of Andalusia. John Alex and his family resided in the same home in Beda for 55 years. He as well as so many members of the Clary family were buried in the Beda Cemetery.

Richard's son, Dennis W., earned his living by selling real estate and digging wells. He homesteaded a tract of 38 acres in the Falco area in 1901. He was married to Flora Ada Davis, daughter of J.A. Davis. They reared the following children: Cleo; Dewey S., b. 1889; Donnell; Willie; Ruth; Vera; Louis Woodrow; Raymond; and Hick.

James D.'s youngest son, James A. "Bud," and his wife, Effie, had two daughters who died young and one son, James Dougal, b. 1883, d. 1975. James Dougal was married to Nellie Lott, and they had two children, Grady Lee m. Marguerite Davidson; and Rhonda.

There are many descendants in this Clary family who have not been identified by this writer at this time. One of these is Nancy C. Clary who was married to William Sampson Stokes of the Laurel Hill/Falco area. Any information related to this family would be very helpful..

Appreciation is expressed to those providing research data for this writing. These include Hayward Davis along with John Jackson, Sr., and the Neal Greshams.

Anyone who might have corrections to the above or any additional information on the Clary family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at Route 9, Box 97, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email:


The Henderson-Butler Reunion will be held on Saturday, October 19, at the Damascus Club House on Hwy 4, about 5 miles west of Lockhart in Covington County. A covered- dish dinner will be served at noon. Contact Mable Caraway for more information at 334-358-2513 or Email: