Day ancestors came from South Carolina to Covington County

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2003

The descendants of the Day family of Covington County are descended from John R. and Lucinda (Griffin) Day of Edgefield County, South Carolina. Their son, Saunders Day, who was born in that state around 1770, was married circa 1887 to Frances Green, daughter of Silas and Ann (Roebuck) Green of South Carolina. All of Saunders and Frances's eleven children were born in South Carolina.

Between 1814 and 1815, their oldest daughter, Lucy, and her husband, John R. Thomas, left South Carolina and traveled to Dallas County, Alabama, where they settled their family. They most likely encouraged Lucy's parents and family to move to the new state to take advantage of available land and opportunities. Sometime during the early 1830s, Saunders moved his family from South Carolina to Russell County, Alabama.

It is assumed Saunders's family traveled along the Old Federal Road (or Old Horse Path) from Ft. Perry, Georgia, through that state until they arrived at Ft. Mitchell in Russell County. Within a short time, Saunders decided he did not like his new home, or he missed his former home so much that he chose to move his family back to Edgefield County, South Carolina, where he died in 1834.

A son, John Atha, decided to stay in Alabama when his family left. In 1836 in Abbeville of Henry County, John was married to Cecelia "Celia" Ann Jourdon, daughter of Radford and Elizabeth Middleton (Hogg) Jourdon. Celia was also a native of South Carolina. Their first seven children were born in Henry County before they decided to make a move.

Circa 1849, the family moved to Covington County and settled in the Rose Hill community where John continued his farming. He acquired two tracts of government land, 40 acres and 120 acres, in 1857 in the Horn Hill Township. His family was enumerated on the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses. John and his older sons, John W., Henry Joel, and James Daniel, were all listed as registered voters in 1867 in Beat Number Three. John and Celia had six additional children born after arriving in this county. John had apparently died by 1870 when Celia was listed as head of the household with seven single children residing with her. John and Celia are both buried in unmarked graves in the Old Bethel Cemetery at Babbie.

After John's settling in Alabama, a number of relatives began coming to the state and locating in the following counties: Bibb, Butler, Chambers, Coffee, Dallas, Escambia, Henry, Macon, Perry, Pike, and Russell. Around 1868, true to a common occurrence following the war, many of the younger Day men began a migration to Texas and Oklahoma.

John and Celia reared the following 13 children: Cynthia "Syntha," b. 1837, d. 1920, m. William Harrison Dorsey, Sr.; Eveline, b. 1839, d. 1908, m. Boocajah Meeks; Jane, b. 1942, m. ? Harrison; John William, b. 1843, d. 1890, m. Julia Ann McKinney; Henry Joel, b. 1844, d. 1927, m. (1) Pheraby Keziah Wiggins (2) Eva Jane Bradley; James Daniel, b. 1846, d. 1926, m. (1) Mrs. Mary Elizabeth (Hughes) Harrison (2) W. Claude Stallings; Mary Elizabeth "Betsy," b. 1848, d. 1939, m. John Gray Little; Amanda, b. 1849; Julius Gilbert "Byrd," b. 1853, d. 1927, m. Elizabeth Victoria "Vickie" Carnley; Nancy R., b. 1854, m. William P. Henderson; Ambrose Perry, b. 1858, d. 1921, m. Mary Louvenia "Viny" Woodham; Celia Ann, b. 1862, d. 1925, m. Calvin Hardy Carnley, Sr.; and George Washington, b. 1865&edil;d. 1933&edil;m. Sarah L. "Sabel" Lindsey.

The oldest daughter, Cynthia, and her husband, William Harrison Dorsey, Sr., son of William and Catherine (Alewine) Dorsey, set up house-keeping in the Babbie community. Although there is no confirmation, it has been related that William enlisted in Captain Cobb's Alabama Regiment of the Confederate Army and served until the end of the war. He and his father were members of Company A (Kierce's Company), Cov. Co. Ala. Reserves. This unit was organized in 1864 and was commanded by Captain George W. Kierce. William is a relative of the Dorsey family who established the well-known Dorsey Trailers Company of Elba.

Cynthia and William were married soon after the end of the war, and their first child was born in 1866. They reared the following children: Mary J., b. 1866, d. 1869; Cecilia "Seala" Elizabeth, b. 1869; Susan F., b. 1870; Sarah Alabama, b. 1872, d. 1904, m. James A. Cutts; John Wilson, b. 1873, d. 1901, m. Mary "Polly" Fesmire; and Pernina Florida, b. 1875, d. 1903, m. Daniel M. Parker.

The second daughter, Eveline, and her husband, Boocajah Meeks, son of Lacy R. and Martha Meeks, settled in Coffee County near New Brockton and their Meeks relatives. Boocajah enlisted in the Confederate Army in Company H, 53rd Alabama Partisan Rangers and was discharged from duty as a blacksmith. It is believed that Boocajah and Eveline helped establish the New Home Baptist Church in Coffee County.

The couple reared the following children: William A., b. ca 1858, d. 1897, m. M.M. McMillan; Celia, b. 1862, m. Capt. S.A. Cawthorne; Cynthia E., b. 1862, d. 1924, m. John D. Cain; Eli, b. 1864; Henry E., b. 1865, d. 1897, m. Lucy L. Redmon; Martha Jane, b. 1867, d. 1946, m. (1) William Morris (2) John H. Harrison, Jr.; Cary Johnson, b. 1869, d. 1946, m. Lucretia Fredonia "Donnie" Willoughby; Sarah F. "Sally," b. 1871, d. 1897, m. James F. "Jimmy" Lindsey; Elysh, b. 1874; Noah, b. 1876, d. 1936, m. Anne Cain; and Mary, b. 1880.

Since there are many additional children and grandchildren in this family, the review will be continued in next week's column. There are 10 more children to be outlined. The source of this genealogy was the books and research of a descendant, Joanna Burton of Peoria, Arizona. Other references included census records and Wyley Ward's books on Covington County history.

Anyone who might have a correction to the above data or additional information is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email:


The Covington Historical Society will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, at the Andalusia Public Library. Visitors are encouraged to attend.