Schofield family settled in the Beulah community

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

The earliest ancestor of the Scofield/Schofield family to settle in Covington County was Elbert Scofield, who arrived during the 1850s. Members of the family understand that there were three brothers who came to the area about the same time. In 1855, Elbert purchased a tract of land including 80 acres in the Antioch Township. A year later, he acquired two tracts of 40 acres each in the same community. The identity of his parents is not known to this writer, but he was listed as being born in Georgia in 1830.

Elbert was married to Margaret M. (Mary ?), a native of South Carolina. They appear to have married in Georgia where their first child, Mary G., was born in 1851. They continued to have other children after moving to this county. The 1860 Federal Census for Covington County listed the household as follows: Elbert, 28 years; Margaret M., 29; Mary G., 9; Amy C.V., 7; Robert F., 5; Philip A., 4; James R.B., 1; and Amy King, 64. (Amy might have been Margaret's mother.)

Within the next year, Elbert enlisted in the Confederate Army sometime before November of 1861. On November 16 of that year his name appeared on the Muster Roll for Company B, 18th Alabama Infantry Regiment. Although some in his family recall him being thought of as a Captain, he may not have ranked higher than private. Following the war, he returned home and continued his farming and rearing of his family. In 1867, he was listed as a registered voter for Beat Number Four. He and Margaret were early members of the Old Union Primitive Baptist Church.

In the 1870 census, Elbert's household was enumerated as the following: Elbert, 38; Margaret, 39; Franklin, 15; James, 11; Zachariah, 9; George, 6; and Elizabeth, 4. The older two daughters had probably married by this time, and the son named Philip A. might have died.

Elbert was a farmer and homesteaded other land some years later. In 1900, he homesteaded two tracts of land of 80 acres each in the Beulah community, where the family lived during their later years. A search of the 1900 census did not find Elbert's household, but he must have been here since his death did not occur until 1912. His wife, Margaret M., may have been the M.M. Schofield who was buried in the Veasey Cemetery in 1875. Some have suggested this was the first grave in this cemetery. The location of Elbert's grave is not known at this time.

Some of Elbert's children were listed as heads of households in the 1900 census. His oldest son, Robert Franklin had the following family: Frank, 42 years; Gencie, 41; Malissa A., 20; Mattie S., 16; Robert E., 15; Junie E., 11; Ellie May, 10; Henry B., 7; Eley A., 6; Wailand D., 2; and Fanny, 2. Franklin wife was Gincie (Jency) Butler, daughter of Rice and Elizabeth (Sasser) Butler. Franklin homesteaded 160 acres of land in the Beulah community in 1894. He did the same with two 40-acre tracts in the same area in 1906.

Elbert's son, Zachariah, homesteaded 160 acres of land in the Beulah community in 1894. Zachariah's family was enumerated in the 1900 census: Zachariah, 37 years; Mary L., 41; Jessie E., 17; Lena M., 16; Margaret L., 14; Perry L., 11; Zebadee H., 6; and James J., 1.

While his relationship to Elbert is not known, there was a Thomas L. Schofield who homesteaded 160 acres in the Rome Township in 1888. In 1894, Tabitha Schofield, probably Thomas's widow, homesteaded 160 acres in the same area. In the 1900 census, Tabitha is residing in the household of her son, James. She was listed as 75 years old and a native of Florida. James's family included the following: James, 25; Ida, 24; Lawrence, 5; William, 7/12 months; and Tabitha, 75.

There was also a William Schofield who could be the brother of James enumerated in the 1900 census. His household included the following: William, 30; Mary E., 32; Lena, 8; Emma, 6: Charles, 3; and Lela V., 1.

Zebadee "Zeb" Scofield was married to Callie Frances Piland, daughter of John and Sarah Ann (Norris) Piland. She was born near Union Springs in Pike County, in 1877. Zeb attended the Coon School, which was a one-room log structure, located in the Beulah community. It had a stick and dirt chimney and was furnished with "puncheon" benches without backs. It predated the Beulah School, which was built later. Frank Scofield and Bert Scofield were two of the early teachers at the Beulah School. Frank later became the first superintendent of the Opp School circa 1901. At the time, Opp had a two-story frame building with eight rooms. It was located in the general area of the current Opp Middle School. Alto Scofield was one of the early Opp School Trustees.

The family of Zeb Scofield was enumerated in the following manner in the 1900 census: Zebedee, 26; Callie F., 21; Minnie J., 6; James C., 3: Sarah T., 2; John B., 7/12; and Bell Sam (boarder), 17. Zeb is believed to have been the son of a Ralph Eugene Scofield who was born in 1866. He definitely appears to be related to Elbert Scofield and his descendants.

The complete family of Zeb and Callie include the following: Minnie, m. Otis Bussey; Oscar, m. (1) Annie Bethune (2) Bill Smith; W. Bert, m. Ida Morrow; Vlee Alto, m. Alva Lois Bethune; Flossie, m. William Pitts; Elzona, m. John Messick; Sallie, m. Benjamin M. Stringfellow; Z.D. "Uncle Bill,"

b. 1907, m. Blanche Butts; and John Dewey, m. Julia Tyson.

After Callie's death, Zeb was married to Mae ? who had two or three children. Zeb and Mae had two daughters:a Margaret, m. ? Simmons; and Dorothy, m. ? Jernigan.

The Daniel Schofield enumerated in the 1900 census could very well be a brother to Zeb. The household included the following: Daniel, 33; Mary, 36; Clinton, 12; Sedona, 10; John C., 6; Leona, 4; and Lonie S., 1. In 1894, Daniel homesteaded 160 acres of land in the Valley Grove Township.

Sources for this writing include family records from Doug Schofield, Mark Piland, Sue Schofield Williams, and Gloria Cade. Census records, Gus Bryan's Covington County History, 1821-1976, and Wyley Ward's Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871 and Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Alabama were referenced.

There are many questions related to the genealogy of the Schofield for the descendants living in this area. They would very much like to learn more about the family and have a more complete history. Anyone who has additional information is requested to contact members of the family or the writer of this column, Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email:

Also, anyone who might have corrections to any of the above data is asked to contact the writer at the above addresses.