Descendants of James. E. Chavers proud of heritage

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2003

Additional Chavers family genealogy has been submitted that allows a further look at this family, which arrived in Covington County around the end of the nineteenth century. It is believed by this family that their name Chavers came from the Spanish name of Chavez. Some have concluded from their research that a Spanish gentleman was married to a lady with Indian heritage. Actually, some descendants of the line featured today have secured membership in the Cherokee Indian Tribe.

A brother, believed to be William Edmond Chavers, of John Thomas Chavers who was featured in an earlier column filed a document stating that he, his wife, and children were descendants of the Cherokee Indian Tribe. This Chavers line settled in the Prattville, Alabama, area. Also, John Thomas's brother, Uriah Chavers, was married to a lady of Creek Indian heritage. Their descendants resided primarily in the Pensacola and Milton, Florida, area and some, in the Brewton community.

John Thomas Chavers was a minister of the gospel and traveled around the State of Alabama and the panhandle of Florida on preaching tours. He met his death while visiting a niece in North Escambia County.

A later descendant of John Thomas, Thomas Larry Chavers, has also secured membership in the Cherokee Indian Tribe. He is quite interested in his family's genealogy and has a special appreciation of his Indian heritage. His particular Chavers family line is the one featured in today's column.

In the earlier two columns, this Chavers family has been introduced and different branches of John Thomas's children were featured. The family of today's writing is that of James E. Chavers, another son of John Thomas.

First, a look back at John Thomas's father's siblings may be of interest. John Chavers was the father of the following children: Frederick; James; Mathew, b. 1795; Elizabeth, b. 1800; William, b. 1805, d. after 1880 in Conecuh Co., Alabama, m. Easter Williams; and Sarah, b. 1807. William and Easter became the parents of nine children including John Thomas Chavers.

John Thomas and his first wife, Nancy, had six children including James E. Chavers. James was born in 1859 and died of pneumonia at the young age of 32 years. He and his wife, Rachael Blackwell, only had two children before his untimely death. The children were Frona, m. Tom Scott, an Englishman who lived in Pensacola; and Thomas Uriah, b. 1888, m. Ima Henry Grimes.

After James E.'s death, Rachael was married to Dose Grimes, twin brother of Allen Grimes. Dose helped her rear the two Chavers children and they had an additional four children: Anna Roach, Lena Jones, Lucy Rutherford, and Richard.

Thomas Uriah and his wife, Ima Henry Grimes, daughter of Allen and JoHannah (Jay) Grimes, reared the following children: Bettie Estelle, b. 1914, m. Wilbert Davis; James Carl, b. 1916, d. 1995, m. Syble Gidden; Hannah Manola, b. 1918, d. 1982, m. J.B. Grissett; Margaret Elizabeth, b. 1921, d. 2000, m. (1) Woodrow Wilson Miller (2) Herman B. McKee; Thomas Crawford, b. 1926, m. Rosie Bell Smith; Ima Nell, b. 1928, m. Hinton Boggan; Joe Terry "Joe Mack," b. 1931, m. Mary ?; and twins who died in infancy.

Thomas Uriah supported his family mostly through sharecropping. He began in the Buck Creek community and later in the Rawls area. From there he moved to the Beda/Wing community where he purchased a farm. After his children were grown and profitable work in the area was scarce, he and Ima along with several of their children and families moved to Niagara Falls, New York, in 1949 to take advantage of more promising jobs. (This became a practice of many families during the 1930s and 1940s.) Some of the family worked in the Chevrolet manufacturing company and others in various plants.

Four years later in 1852, Thomas's wife, Ima, died in New York, and they shipped her body back to Andalusia to be buried in the Adellum Baptist Church Cemetery. The family returned to New York for a few more years until 1956 when Thomas and part of his children returned to Covington County. Those that remained in New York included Manola and J.B. Grissett, Margaret Elizabeth and W.W. Miller: Robert and Jean Chavers, and Joe Mack and Mary Chavers.

Thomas returned to his farm in the Beda community and remained unmarried until his death in 1979 at the age of 97 years when he was buried beside his wife at Adellum. His daughter, Estelle, and her husband, Wilbert Davis, reared their family in the Wing community. His daughter, Ima Nell, and her husband, Hinton Boggan also reared their family in that community. James Carl and his wife, Syble, resided in Opp. Thomas Crawford and his wife, Rosie, reared their family in the Beda/Wing community.

Thomas Crawford's wife, Rosie, was the daughter of Hollie Matthew "Buddy" and Mary Florance (Cason) Smith in the Beda community. Tom met Rosie at a Wednesday night prayer meeting at the Beda Baptist Church where she was leading the song service. They were married six months later in 1948 and are the proud parents of the following four children: Mary Evelyn, b. 1950, m. Dennis Allen Heichel; Ima Dianne, b. 1953, m. John Wade Jones; Thomas Larry, b. 1955, m. (1) Dorothy Norris (2) Susan ?; and Mark Timothy, b. 1962, m. Lori Gomillion.

Thomas Larry is the descendant who has secured membership in the Cherokee Indian Tribe. He works for Civil Service as a Senior Master Sergeant with the United States Air Force Reserves at Eglin Air Force Base. His family is especially proud of his military service with duty during the Desert Storm War and currently in Iraq. Two of his uncles, James Carl and Robert Lee, served in the military during World War II, and his Great Great Grandfather, John Thomas Chavers, was a veteran of the War Between the States. Thomas Larry has a son, Thomas Yancey, born in 1978, to carry on this family's name and heritage.

Ima Dianne (Chavers) Jones is the descendant who shared the family's genealogy for today's writing. She would appreciate hearing from anyone who might want to share family history. She may be contacted at Email:

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


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, at the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are welcome.