History of Clepper family discussed

Published 11:41 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

In recent weeks, the Huson/Houston family of south Alabama and the counties of Butler, Conecuh and Covington in particular has been featured in three segments for this column. Another family in the same general area, which had a descendant to intermarry with the Hustons, was the Clepper family, which will be reviewed in today’s column.

The earliest Clepper ancestor to be identified in today’s sources was Jacob Klepper Sr., who was married to Barbara first and then to Rebecca. He was born in 1741 possibly in Germany and later lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and finally in Tennessee. Among Jacob’s nine or more children was a son, Augustus Phillip Klepper, who was born circa 1771 probably in Pennsylvania. Augustus was married first to Temperance Gilliam, daughter of John and Mary (Johnson) Gilliam. Among their four children was a son, P. James Klepper, born in 1793 near Nashville, Tennessee. He was married first to Christian A. Collier. Among their 13 children was a son, James Francis Clepper.

James Francis Clepper was the ancestor who brought the family to Alabama. He was born March 22, 1820, according to certain records, but his military records stated that he was born in Madison County, Alabama, and this may actually be the correct place. James Francis was the son of James and Christian (Collier) Clepper. His career included farming and becoming a master mechanic. He once owned a successful wagon factory in Prattville, Alabama. During the War Between the States, the Confederate Army needed his factory, so he was forced to sell it to them. They paid him with Confederate bills, which became worthless and were later burned in a house fire.

James Francis enlisted as a private in Company A, 56th Alabama Infantry Regiment. At some point during the war he was wounded, but he recovered and survived to return home and resume life with his family after the war ended.

On May 15, 1848, James Francis, who came from a once “well-to-do family,” was married to Elizabeth Columbus Robinson, the daughter of a prominent family in Autauga County, James B. and Elizabeth (Bugg) Robinson. Her mother was descended from the well-known and affluent Bugg family of Georgia and Virginia. The couple was married in that county where Elizabeth had been born on Feb. 3, 1831, at Robinson Springs. They began their family and resided in that community until they made the move circa 1861 to south Alabama.  It was at this time during the war years that James Francis moved his young family to the Garland community in Butler County where they eventually reared their eight children.

James Francis and Elizabeth Clepper reared the following children: Augustus G. “Gus,” b. ca 1850, d. after 1900, m. 1884 Mattie Olive Howell; James Robert “Rob or Jonas,” b. 1852, m. 1875 Permelia “Mealie” C. Presley; Thomas Warren, b. 1855, d. 1857, buried in Robinson Cemetery or Paige Hill as it is now known; Joseph Frank, b. 1862, d. 1936 LA, m. 1885 Mary Susan McSwain; Mary Cornelia, b. 1863, d. 1954, m. 1880 Pinkney Huston; Sarah “Sallie” Paris, b. 1865; Elizabeth “Missy” J., b. ca 1868, d. 1912, m. Elbert L. Chancellor; Samuel “Bud” P., b. 1868, d. single; and Edna Earle “Eddy,” b. 1873, d. 1957, m. Thomas Gillum Calloway.

James Francis died Jan. 14, 1893, and his wife, Elizabeth, died the same year on June 15. They were both buried in the Garland Cemetery in Butler County, but no markers have been placed at their graves. Elizabeth was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and James Francis was a Universalist.

For the next generation in this family, the daughter, Mary Cornelia Clepper, and her husband, Pinkney Huston, will be covered. Pinkney “Pink” was the third child of Isaiah Huson and his wife, Nancy (Gilmore). Pink was only 6 weeks old when his father kissed him goodbye and left the family to go to Georgia and also to serve in the Confederate Army. Up until this time, Isaiah and Nancy had been married for several years, and they had three young children. After this, Pink grew up with his two grandfathers, John Gilmore and Dawson “Dorsey” Huston, as his father figures. He matured into a fine and intelligent young man even though he had not had good opportunities for formal education.

Cornelia fell in love with this young man, Pinkney Huston. They were married on Dec. 22, 1880, in Garland at her parents’ home. He was 22 years old, and she lacked a week being 17 years of age. They lived with her parents until Pink was able to purchase a house beside the railroad in Garland. In 1881, he bought 20 acres from the N.B. Peacock family and another 40 acres in 1882 from a group of owners. In 1884, Pink’s mother, Nancy Huston, deeded a portion of her property to him. He then added other tracts over the years. He farmed and later operated a general merchandise store in Garland.

Family stories describe how Cornelia grew up during very hard times and learned to cope with many difficulties. In spite of the absence of schools at the time, she learned to read, write, and use her mind skillfully. After her marriage to Pink, she was able to teach him to read and write as well.

Pink and Cornelia reared the following children: Eula Elizabeth, b. 1882, d. 1981, m. 1901 Walter Ernest Darby; Coreene “Cora or Ninnie,” b. 1883, d. 1956, m. 1903 William “Willie” Herbert Tillery; James Edward “Ed or Bud,” b. 1885, d. 1962, m. (1) 1906 Josephine Elizabeth Richard (2) Lillian Tucker; Leslie, b. 1888, d. 1890; Willie Preston, b. 1890, d. 1953, m. 1911 Aimee Irene Dunn; Joe Mason, b. 1892, d. 1917 from being killed accidentally in France during WW I; Leonard Selman “Sam” Sr., b. 1895, d. 1961, m. 1919 Annie Mae Tucker; Lelia/Leila Gaston, b. 1897, d. 1967, m. 1915 Clarence Douglas Peacock; Franklin “Frank” Pierce, b. 1900, d. 1968, m. 1935 Floy Milifae Huggins; Brooks Flowers, b. 1902, d. 1970, m. Carrie Belle “Carabelle” Tucker; and Mamie Cornelia, b. 1904, m. Daniel “Jack: Hertis Hines.

A number of these children changed the spelling of their name from Huston to Houston. Some of them resided at least for a time in the Garland area, and then most of them moved to different points in Alabama or other states, especially to Texas.

The source for this genealogy on the Clepper family is the book written by Margarette Hall Wood — The History of John Huson from North Carolina to Alabama, His Huson/Huston/Houston Descendants, and the Allied Pioneer Families of Clepper, Robinson, Deen and Gilmore.

Anyone who might have any corrections to the above writing or additional information on this family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; call 334-222-6467; or e-mail: cthomasson@centurytel.net.