Kervin descendants migrate west from Kervinville through U.S.

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 9, 2010

Today’s column is a continuation of the descendants of Morris Watson Kervin, Sr. who settled this family in the Pigeon Creek community. This will conclude the review of the Kervin family.

Morris’s son, Thomas Eli Kervin, born in 1848, was 16-years-old when he enlisted in the Confederate Army on Aug. 27, 1864, in Company of Covington County Militia (Second Class)), Captain James T. Brady’s Company. He also enlisted at some point in Company B, Covington County Reserves (First Class), Captain S.S. Johnson’s Company. Nothing concrete is known about Thomas Eli after the war. Family legend suggests that he was hired by a man to take a mulatto or half-black daughter to California, which would take her out of the South due to the turbulent times after the War Between the States.

An 1880 census record lists an Eli Kervin in Swift Creek, Darlington, S.C., and the same area from which Morris Watson Kervin Sr. had migrated. It shows Eli as being born in 1848, which is the same as the Eli of this family. Also, it is of note that the census taker listed this Eli as mulatto, although he was not. It is interesting that he was listed as being black after having served in the Confederate militia. There is also a story about him evading the law due to a public disturbance concerning a fiddle playing “event” in Red Level.

In 1880, Eli had with him the following children who were listed as being black: John F., Cardoza, Cade, Viola and Caleb. At least two of these names are similar to those of the Kervin relatives in Covington County; John F. for John Franklin and “Cade,” possibly after his grandfather, Caid Kervin of South Carolina. It is not known if he returned to his roots or to Kervin relatives in South Carolina. Additional information and inquiries into Kervins in South Carolina were unsuccessful. Family legend had it that he had migrated to Texas, but this could not be proven. The last known account was the one from South Carolina, so persons with information on this family line are asked to contact this writer.

Daniel Dozier Kervin was the next son. He began working on the cattle trains running from Alabama to as far as Oklahoma. He met and fell in love with a woman while the cattle train was stopped at a town in Arkansas. According to his granddaughter, Sue Kervin Freer of Arkansas, he finished his cattle drive, came back and married the woman, and they homesteaded a farm near her family. Today, the Daniel Dozier home is listed on the National Historical Registry. He was a very hard worker who believed in working from dawn until dark, and he had a very productive farm. His descendants are still in Arkansas today and have attended the Kervin reunion in the past. They had always been told that their “people” came from Red Level, Ala.

In an ironic twist, another Kervin family came to work on the Daniel Kervin farm during the time of the Great Depression. They proved to be the descendants of Daniel’s brother, Morris Watson Kervin Jr. It seems they had come from Texas to Arkansas looking for work. These descendants of Morris Jr. still live near the Daniel Kervins in Arkansas, so the two families are in contact with each other.

Daniel D. Kervin married Emma Green, a native of the Bucksnort community near Fordyce in Southern Arkansas. They homesteaded a farm and eventually owned over 200 acres. Their children were Lena, Cattie, Daniel, Morris and Pat plus several who died in infancy. Mrs. Freer remembers her grandfather, Daniel Kervin, sitting in his favorite rocking chair recalling old stories of his youth in Pigeon Creek. He explained to the children that life was hard in Covington County, especially after the War Between the States. That was the reason why he took the cattle-driving job. He was an expert farmer and cattleman and one of the most prominent farmers in his community. He loved children, and his grandchildren remembered him fondly. Sue Kervin Freer’s father was Morris, named after his grandfather, Morris Watson Sr. She provided this history on her family.

The next son, Stephen Riley Kervin, was born in 1852 and was married in Covington County. He could be the Stephen A. Kervin who is listed in Ward’s land sales book as having homesteaded 81 acres of land in 1869 in the Pigeon Creek community. He would have been only about 18-years-old, but it was in the same community with his father and older brothers. Stephen Kervin was very helpful to the Calvin James Kervin family after the untimely death of Calvin James Kervin. He helped the widow and her children for many years on their farm that Calvin James had homesteaded. Stephen also farmed, and he was a horse trader. He may have married a Riley from Milton, Fla., and moved from the Pigeon Creek community. No information on their descendants could be located, but it is believed that he had children in this county who went by another name.

The next child, Eliza Jane Kervin, b. 1858, was the only daughter to survive. Very little is known about her other than she married a Josey and died in 1932. She may have moved to Arkansas and passed away there. Ironically, it has been reported by a descendant of Daniel Kervin, Sue Kervin Freer, of Fordyce, Ark., that her mother-in-law knew the Josey family in Southern Arkansas into which Eliza Jane had married. Their memories of Eliza Jane were that she liked horses and always had a fine horse for riding or pulling her carriage. It is believed that her descendants are still in Southern Arkansas near a town called Huttie.

Recently a descendant of the son Captain Travis “Cap” Kervin line, Elizabeth Anese Kervin Bush, was located and shared data on her family. Family legend had reported that Cap Kervin had moved to Florida, but there had been no contact with his descendants for many years. Mickey Kervin, Elizabeth’s father, currently resides in Colorado, but his children are still in Florida. It was this family legend that led Lee Kervin to locate the descendants in Florida. The Cap Kervin descendants look forward to attending the family reunion in 2010 and seeing the land that Cap Kervin homesteaded. Elizabeth Kervin assisted Lee Kervin in much of the research for this series of articles on the Kervin family.

Captain Kervin, was born to Morris Watson and Eliza Vinnie in Sterrett, Shelby, Ala., around 1859. When he reached adulthood, Cap Kervin homesteaded 160 acres of land near his relatives in the Pigeon Creek community. The exact year or reason of his death is unknown, but he was interred in the Kervin Cemetery. He married Mary J., and together they had two known sons, William Travis and Doyle H.

William Travis, born about 1893 in Alabama, married Rosella Kervin and they had three children: Horace Reason, Myrtle and Willa Voncile. William Travis died in Alachua County, Fla., in 1969. Horace Reason enlisted in the military and sometime afterwards married Beatrice Anese Donaldson (1918-1992). They had two children, Mickey McRay b. 1948; and Carolyn Winella who was born in 1950 but died a few days after birth. Mickey McRay eventually moved to Lee, Fla., in Madison County where he met Retha Faye Linton, b.1950. They married in 1970 and together had three children: Kimberly Kaye, b.1971; William Travis, b.1973, and Elizabeth Anese, b.1982. Mickey also had another child, William Joseph Kervin, b.1980, by a different mother.

The youngest son of Morris Kervin Sr., William Doss Kervin, was born in 1864 and was married to Dolly Susannah South (1877-1950). In 1893, William Doss homesteaded 160 acres near his relatives in the Pigeon Creek community. He and Dolly had at least the following three children: Madison Deason, b. 1901, d. 1988; William Riley, b. 1913, d. 2002; and Morris Watson, b. 1919, d. 1992. Madison Deason married Roselena Guidy and their children were Donna, Obadiah, Vinnie, Madison and Adison who were twins. The twins were known locally as Matt and Pat. Matt married Dorothy Crum from the Industry Community and their children are Sympthia, Doss and Vinnie. Pat married Orene Vickery of McKenzie and their children are Pamela, Addison Thomas “Guy,” Curtis, Wayne, Donna, Lamon, Rene and Eric.

The Madison Kervin family resides in Grand Bay, Ala., but still has their family land in the Pigeon Creek Community along side the Pat Kervin family. Matt Kervin retains much of the oral history of the Kervin families, and he was instrumental in the writing of these articles. William Riley married Mae Dean and their children are Steve and Charles. William and Mae Kervin were well known in the community for many years and attended Welcome Church for most of their lives. Their son, Charles, resides in Prattville and their other son, Steve, resides in Florida. The Charles Kervin families are well known in the Prattville and Millbrook area. The last descendant of Doss Kervin, Morris Watson Kervin, married Belle ?, and their children are Dale, Don, Doyle, and Debbie. Dale resides in Birmingham, Don in Millbrook, Doyle in Georgia and Debbie is in Guam.

Obviously there are many descendants in this family and who even wear the name “Kervin.” The original settler in this area, Morris Watson Kervin Sr., had 10 sons along with a daughter, and most of them reared families in this county. The descendants hope to compile additional genealogy for all to enjoy and continue their annual reunion tradition, which is always held on the second Sunday of October at the Welcome Church next to the Kervin Cemetery.

Those who contributed family information for this series of columns were listed in last week’s column. Special appreciation is expressed to Lee Dean Kervin Jr. who worked diligently to make contacts and gather family history from the various Kervin families.

Anyone who might have any correction to the above information or additional genealogy on the Kervin family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or E-mail: