George Stokes homesteaded in Falco area

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 3, 2003

George Lafayette Stokes homesteaded in the Falco/Wing area

It has been discovered that another Stokes family descendant who has not been related to the Wright Absalom Stokes family of last week also resided in the Falco community. His name was George Lafayette Stokes who moved to the area with other relatives circa 1895.

George was the son of William W. Stokes and his wife, Lydia Jane Coxwell, daughter of James and Mary (Raley) Coxwell. William's parents have not yet been identified, but he was born circa 1827 in the State of Georgia. Lydia was born in 1838 in Houston County, Georgia. The couple was married in 1854 in Randolph County, Georgia. William was living in Stewart County, Georgia, when the 1850 Federal Census was taken. By 1860, the young family was residing in the Hilliardsville community of Henry County, Alabama.

When the War Between the States erupted in 1861, the couple had three young children: George Lafayette, b. 1855, m. D. Josephine Davidson; Mary J., who died as a teenager; and Nancy E., who died at an early age. Of course, this would leave George L. to carry on this family lineage.

On February 12, 1863, William enlisted in the Confederate Army in Greenville, Alabama, along with several other men from Henry County. He served in Company E, 54th Alabama Infantry Regiment, which subsequently became Company E, 57th Regiment. He was injured and then captured during the Battle at Franklin, Tennessee, on December 17, 1864. He was taken to Louisville, Kentucky, and then to the Federal prison at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, where he died from complications with pneumonia on February 16, 1865. He was buried in lot #1306 in the Camp Chase Cemetery. This left his widow, Lydia, with three young children. (It is amazing that William's family Bible has been preserved and is in the possession of a descendant, Ernestine Hobbie.

By the recording of the 1870 Federal Census Lydia has remarried to John H. Kilpatrick. It appears that they were married circa 1866, probably in Covington County. Lydia apparently moved with her Coxwell relatives to the area soon after the end of the war. John must have been in the area as a returning veteran of the war. By this time, Lydia had lost one of her daughters, Nancy E., before she left Henry County.

In 1870, they had moved to the Garland community in Butler County. Lydia was listed as 28 years of age, but she should have been around 32 years old. Her son, George, should have been 15 years of age. Her other daughter, Mary J., died as a teenager while the family lived here.

By 1880, the family had moved into the Rocky Creek community of Butler County. Ten years later when the 1890 census was taken, the family was residing in Escambia County, Alabama. From there they located near by in the Wing community of Covington County where Lydia and John Kilpatrick died in 1915 and 1913 respectively. They were both buried in the Nichols Cemetery near other relatives.

Lydia's son, George Lafayette Stokes, was a farmer and homesteaded in Covington County near the Falco/Wing/Bradley area. He and his wife, Josephine Davidson, daughter of Moses Hiram and Lucy Evans Ashley Davidson, were married in 1881 in Butler County. After moving to Covington County in 1895, they lived on the land for the required five years to be able to homestead their place. They had the following children: Mollie Elizabeth, b. 1881, d. 1884; Lucy O., b. 1883, d. 1884; Minnie Lydia Lee, b. 1885, d. 1904; Phennia Lavonia, b. 1886, d. 1979; William Moses Sr., b. 1890, d. 1967, m. Georgia Edna Chance; Florence May, b. 1892, d. 1964, m. 1911 Frank Edward Pitts; and Barnes Lafayette, b. 1897, d. 1969, m. 1921 Anna Lee Crosby.

William M. Sr. moved his family to Okaloosa County, Florida, in 1926 along with his brother, Barnes, and his family. William had met his wife, Georgia Edna Chance, daughter of George Henry and Elizabeth (Ming) Chance of Bullock County, when she moved to the Wing community to teach at the Hart School. She rented a room in the Stokes home, which was located on the left side of the road between Wing and Bradley. It was not long before she got to know the Stokes son, William Moses, and they were married on September 10, 1920. They were blessed with the following children: Dorothy Ernestine, William Moses Jr., Viola Elizabeth, Joseph George Lafayette, and Virginia Evelyn. The son, Joseph George Lafayette, is remembered for his public service as Tax Collector for Okaloosa County.

Barnes Lafayette and his wife, Anna Lee Crosby, reared the following children: Verlina, Max Lafayette, Floyd Alton, Lillian Anna, Bettie Jane, and Sharon Ann.

Florence and her husband, Frank Edward Pitts, moved some years later to Okaloosa County, Florida. They had the following children: Infant son, Vonceline, Fred Lafayette Hugh, Maezelle, Franklin Jo, Willie B., Edsel F, Delma Lavon, Gwendolyn, and Clinton R.

Phennia moved to Florida after her mother's death in 1942. She made her home in Milton, near her brother, Barnes.

Resources for today's column include census records and the family history records of Ernestine (Stokes) Hobbie, daughter of William Moses Stokes, Sr. Ernestine is particularly interested in identifying and documenting the parents of her Great Grandfather, William W. Stokes, of Henry County, Alabama. There were two brothers, John and Silas, who were there at the right time for one of them to be William's father. At this point, it is conjectured that Silas, who was a schoolteacher there, might be the one.

Anyone who might have any corrections to the above or any information related to this family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email:


The Covington Rifles Camp will have a special meeting in honor of General Robert E. Lee's birthday at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, in the LBW Dixon Conference Center. District Judge Frank McGuire will speak on the "Person and Characher of General Lee." Guests are cordially invited to attend.