Piland family settled in the Beulah community

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

The ancestor of the Piland family of Covington County was John Daniel Piland, a native of Coffee County. Family legend handed down through the generations has it that three Piland brothers traveled south from Virginia, and one of them settled in South Alabama, and the other two went further west to Texas. While there are no records to document this, it is certain that a Piland family was in the Old Town community of Coffee County in 1844 when John D. Piland was born. At this time, the identity of his parents has not been learned.

It is believed that John D. had a sister named Belle who was married to Otto Vann. There was also a Henry C. Piland who homesteaded 160 acres of land in the Valley Grove community of Covington County in 1893. When the 1910 census was taken, Henry was residing in the household of John D. Piland, and he was listed as a cousin.

Today's writing will focus on John D. and his descendants. In the 1860 Census of Pike County, he was included in the household of Jessie M. and Mary White as a farm laborer at 16 years of age. There is no known relationship to the White family.

On September 30, 1862, when he was 17 years of age, John D. enlisted in the Confederate Army at Notasulga, Alabama. He became a private in Company G, 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment. His unit was one of the most embattled in the entire army. It became part of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and was surrendered at Appomattox in 1865.

The 6th Alabama Regiment had been organized at Montgomery on May 6, 1861, with 12 companies composed of some 1400 men recruited primarily from the following counties: Henry, Jackson, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, and Russell. Some of the men came in from other counties as well. This group was on the field but not actively engaged in First Manassas and at Williamsburg. The regiment did take a prominent part at Seven Pines, where it lost 102 and had 282 wounded out of the 632 who were engaged. Other battles included Mechanicsville, First Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Chancellorsville, Pennsylvania campaign, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Winchester, Cedar Creek, and Petersburg. When General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, there were four officers and 80 men commanded by Lt. Col. Culver. Of the 2109 names on the rolls, nearly 400 had been killed in battle, 243 had died of disease during service, and 675 had been discharged or transferred.

Family legend claims it may have taken John Daniel as long as two years to make it back to his home in Pike County. He was not enumerated in Pike County when the 1866 Alabama Census was taken. Most likely he helped various families along the way with farming and other work to help pay for his keep and a means to travel home. (Most every veteran had to walk home barefooted as they had long worn out their shoes.)

By 1867, John Daniel had returned and was married in that year to Sarah Ann Norris, daughter of Toliver and Rebecca (Qualls) Norris. John Daniel had lived in the Henderson's Store area, and Sarah was born near Union Springs. It is believed that the Norris family resided in Covington County during the 1850s.

John Daniel and Sarah reared the following four children: James M. "Jim," b. 1870, d. 1940, m. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Norris; Mary Ann, b. 1872, d.1930, single; Allen Monroe, b. 1874, d. 1946, m. Ella Jane Gatlin; and Callie Frances, b. 1877, d. 1921, m. Zebedee "Zeb" Scofield.

After Jim and Lizzie were married, they moved to the New Hope community near Florala. Jim took his favorite dog with him to the new home. After a few days in the new home, the dog hid inside the house and did not want to come outside. When he did finally, he ran off and returned to Jim's parents' home. After a few days, the dog did the same thing at that house. He repeated this behavior a few more times, so the family realized a convenient means of sending letters back and forth by attaching them to the dog's collar. Although there is no written account of this story, it is a favorite memory in the Piland family. Jim and Lizzie had at least one daughter, Roxie, who was married to Mose Harrison.

There are some indications that John Daniel had moved his family to Covington County during the 1870s; however, they were residing in Coffee County when the 1880 census was taken. By 1884, they had settled back in Covington County in an area south of Opp called Beulah. (In those days, Opp had not been named, and the area post office was Hallton.) There, John D. built a homestead cabin near the McKinneth Hattaway family near "Shotbag Creek." In 1891, he homesteaded about 160 acres of land in the Beulah Township. He farmed throughout his life and even grew tobacco for his family's personal use. He died there at his home in 1911 and left Sarah with their single daughter, Mary Ann.

Their son, Allen Monroe, purchased the homestead from his siblings and lived there to continue farming the land. His oldest daughter, Alice, had spent much of her childhood living there with her grandparents and her Aunt Mary.

Allen Monroe and his wife, Ella Jane, reared the following children: Ida Alice, b. 1897, m. Julius Caesar "Bud" Harper; Dewey Lester, b. 1899, m. Agnes Ramsey; Sarah Isabelle, b. 1902, d. 1970, m. Joe Walter David McDaniel; Joseph Hollis, b. 1904, d. 1963, m. Lonnell Creech; John D., b. 1907, m. Essie Peavy; Lydia Estelle, b. 1909, m. Lewie James Adams; Vernon Shelton, b. 1912, m. Mamie Cotton; and Robert Casey, b. 1914, d. 1972, m. Bertha "Bert" Cunningham.

Callie and her husband, Zeb Scofield, reared the following children: Minnie, b. 1892, d. 1986, m. Otis "Ole" Bussey; Oscar, m. Annie Bethume; Bert, m. Ida Morrow; Alto, m. Lois Schofield; Flossie, m. William Pitts; Elonza, m. John Mezlick; Sallie, m. B.M. Stringfellow; Z.D., m. Blanche Edna Butts; and J.D., m. Julie Tyson.

John Daniel's great grandchildren will be outlined next. The oldest child of Allen Monroe, Ida Alice, and her husband, Bud Harper, lived in the Beulah community and had the following two children: Julius Caesar Jr. "J.C.," m. Juanita Weeks; and Lois, m. James Forlines.

Dewey and Agnes lived in the Cedar Grove community and reared the following children: Dewey Lester Jr., m. Agnes Ramsey; Eva, m. Campbell Sasser; Theodore "Ted," m. Faye ?; Lucille, m. Alvie Anderson; and Alma, m. Otha Ross.

Isabelle and Walter McDaniel live in the Opine community and reared the following children: Edith Mae, b. 1924, m. John Phelps; J.T., b. 1927, d. 2001, m. ?; and Merle Ann, b. 1928, m. William Tillery, Jr.

Joseph Hollis and his wife, Lonnell, lived in the Opp area and reared four children: Allen Marcus, b. 1946, m. (1) Wanda Gail Pierce (2) Debra Dawn Wade; Michael David, b. 1952, m. Marie (Lee) Anderson; Barbara Ruth, b. 1948, m. Henry C. Kinsey III; and Stephen Edward, b. 1956, m. Debbie Marler.

John D. and Essie lived in the Opp area and had the following children: Jerry Wayne, m. Jeanette Gatlin; Johnny, m. Joyce Hollinghead; Alfred, m. (1) Bonita Thorn (2) Donna Dorman; Mary V., m. James Rudolph White; Tyler, m. Loretta Nowling; Lonnie, single; and Carolyn Martha, m. (1) Jerry ? (2) ? (3) Paul Parchert.

Vernon and Mamie lived in Phenix City and reared four sons: Bobby, Raymond, Jimmy, and Larry.

Casey and Betha lived in the Opp area and eventually moved to Panama City. They had a daughter named Jeanette.

Lydia Estelle and her husband, Lewie Adams, lived in Covington County and later in the Hacoda community. They reared the following children: Jane Allen; Elouise, m. ? Edwards; Franklin, d. as a teenager; Lewie J., m. (1) ? (2) Elaine Parker; Tolbert, m. Betty ?; Kenneth, m. (1) Linda ?; Linda Sue, m. ? Qualls; and Mary Edna, m. ? Wilmer.

Sources for this writing included the family records and memories of several descendants: Allen Marcus Piland, Barbara Piland Kinsey, and David Owens. All of the descendants are interested in learning more of the earlier generations in this family.

Anyone who might have corrections to the above or additional information to share is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email: chthom@alaweb.com


Seeking information on the Schofield family of Covington County. Please contact Curtis Thomasson at the above addresses.