Greathouse family ancestors originally came from Germany

Published 11:59 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

The Greathouse family name is an Americanized form of the German name Groethausen. Family records identify Harmon or Herman Groethausen or Grothaus as the ancestor who brought the family to America.. He was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and his family lived there before migrating to England. It was from there that he sailed to this country and settled in Pennsylvania in 1710. There is a possibility that Harmon was the son of a Johann Grothaus, but this has not been documented at this time.

One family that eventually made its way to Alabama was that of Early and Susan Greathouse. They settled in Tallapoosa County where they reared their three sons. One son did die young, but the other two rendered service in the Confederate Army. Both of these lost their lives during the War Between the States. Members of this family were buried in a small family cemetery in Tallapoosa County.

Another family was that of William Walter and Lucinda Greathouse who were enumerated in Butler County during the 1850 federal census. It is thought that William may be the son of Absalom Greathouse. He was born in 1822 in Georgia and was married in 1847 in Crawford, Georgia, to Charlotte Lucinda McClendon. He became a farmer who later enlisted in the Confederate Army at Clay Hill, Alabama, and served as a private in Company A, 60th Alabama Regiment. At one time the unit was Company B Battery, Hilliard’s Division. He was killed during war action on December 16, 1863, at Rogersville, Tenn.

William Walter and Lucinda Greathouse had the following children: Amanda, b. 1848; Yancey Munro, b. 1850; Mary Jane, b. 1852, d. 1934; Charlotty Elizabeth, b. 1854, d. 1893; William Henry, b. 1856, d. 1931, m. Mary Elizabeth Jones; Benjamin Zachariah, b. 1860, d. 1930; John, b. 1861, d. 1912; and Frances G., b. ca 1862. William, Lucinda and their older children were all born in Georgia.

The ancestor of the Greathouse family of Covington County, William Henry Greathouse, arrived sometime during the 1880s. He was the oldest son of William Walter Greathouse. He moved here as a young man from the Banks community in Pike County where his family had resided for a period of time. Earlier they had moved to Banks from the State of Georgia.

William Henry settled his young family about four miles south of Andalusia off to the west of U.S. 29. In 1904, he homesteaded 79.65 acres of land set aside for railroads in the Montezuma Township. His land was bordered by Terry K. Prestwood and Lewis M. Jordan. Today, William Henry’s land is owned by individuals and the Covington Gin Company, Inc., which is located at 19961 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia. Between the current owners and William Henry, the property was owned by a Moody family resided there during the 1940s and 1950s and later by Johnny Mack Fuqua.

William Henry was married in 1886 to Mary Elizabeth Jones (1868-1933), and they reared the following children: Roscoe C., b. 1888, d. 1969, m. (1) Lila Lindsey (2) Mary Lena Keith (1909-1972); Lucy, b. 1890, d. 1958, m. Robert A. Williams (1885-1957); William Tyson, b. ca 1892, d. 1928 as a WWI Veteran, m. Alice Crawford; James Henry, b. 1899, d. 1990, m. Gussie Palmer; Georgia Anna, b. 1903, d. 1984, m. (1) James Arthur Powell (2) Jim W. White; Lottie, b. 1905, m. Iules Thompson; Bessie Lee, b. 1907, m. John Avander “Van” Jay (1905-1981); and Benjamin Glen, b. 1913, m. Voncile Coursey. William Henry, and his wife, Mary Ella, and most of their children were buried in the Adellum Baptist Church Cemetery, which is located on the Brooklyn Road about one mile west of U.S. 29.

William Henry’s oldest son, Roscoe Greathouse, moved to Montgomery and worked for a meat packing company. He and his first wife, Lila (Lindsey), reared two children, Myrtice, m. H.D. Sellers; and John, m. Tommie ?.

The oldest daughter, Lucy Greathouse, was married to Robert “Rob” Williams. They make their home in Andalusia for many years and later moved to Crestview. They reared the following children: Walter, m. Mary Lee McAdams; Gladys, m. Earnest W. “Red” Williams; Joel Tyson “J.T.,” m. Daisy Nadine Jay; Cranford, m. (1) Sally Rolling (2) Kathy ?; and Reuben Donald, m. Olene ?.

The next son, William Tyson Greathouse, and his wife, Alice, had one daughter, Eunice, who was married to Randy Knarr who was a military career person.

The next son, James Henry Greathouse, and his wife, Gussie Palmer, moved to Crestview and reared the following children: Collis; James Curtis, b. 1921, m. Helen ?, a lady from Australia; Tura, m. Glen Knight; Grady; Mary, M. (1) ? Brown (2) ? White; Howard; and Donald.

The next daughter, Georgia Anna Greathouse, was married to James Arthur Powell, son of James Marshall and Ella (Rayborn) who lived on Moore Road. James died at a fairly young age from a hunting accident and left Georgia Anna to rear the following children: Mary Estelle, b. 1925, m. (1) Perry Hutto (2) Buddy Wall; James Marcus, b. 1926, single; Margaret Louise, b. 1928, m. Edwin Durwood Bass; Alice Rebecca, b. 1930, m. (1) Horace Patterson (2) James Ed. Walters; Annie Ruth, b. 1932, m. (1) James Albert Ivey (2) Lewis Douglas Nation; and Clara Mae, b. 1934, single. Margaret (Powell) Bass, served for many years as Tax Collector for the Covington County, having been appointed by Gov. George Wallace.

The next daughter, Lottie Greathouse, was married to Iules Thompson, and they resided and reared their family in Opp. The had the following children: Elizabeth, m. Joe Taylor; J.C., m. Dorothy ?; Tyson, single, retired school teacher; John Wayne, m. Barbara ?; and Bennie, m. ?.

The youngest daughter, Bessie Lee Greathouse, was married in 1928 in Andalusia to John Avander “Van” Jay, son of William David and Lela (Braden) Jay. They reared the following children in Andalusia: Mary Lela “Fosteen,” b. 1929, m. Leamon Edward Hudson; William R. Tyson “Buddy,” b. 1931, m. Irma Christine (Ramer) Williams; Katherleen “Katie,” b. 1934, m. Hiram Cheshire; Doris Lee, b. 1939, m. Patrick Derry Carroll, Jr.; Shirley Ann, b. 1942, m. Bobby Joe Armstrong; and Linda Dale, b. 1949, m. (1) Harold Eugene Nelson (2) Donald Wayne Owens.

The youngest son, Benjamin Glen Greathouse, was an avid hunter and fisherman. He became a successful painter even after the loss of an arm from an accident. He and his wife, Voncile Coursey, reared the following two children in Andalusia: Mary Eleanor, m. Kim Dyess, local principal of East Three-Notch Elementary and Andalusia Middle Schools; and Norman Patrick “Pat,” m. Geraldine Wiggins. Pat is known for his floor finishing business, Greathouse Floors, in Andalusia.

The Greathouse descendants are very proud of their heritage. Several expressed how their ancestors instilled a sense of family and “clannishness” among the relatives. Some of them gather as they have for many years for an annual reunion around the time of Georgia Anna Greathouse’s birthday, April 23, at the Point A. Lodge in Gantt.

The source for today’s writing was the family records of Michael Nation, son of Annie Ruth (Greathouse) Nation and interviews with several other descendants. Anyone who might have any correction to the above or additional information on this family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or E-mail: