Tatums migrated from North Carolina

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 15, 2010

In an earlier column, the Peter Tatum family and descendants who moved to Covington County around the turn of the century were presented. In this current writing, the lineage of another Tatum ancestor, Richard Tatum, Sr., will be outlined. Richard was born in 1750 in Duplin County, North Carolina, and would have been the same generation of Peter Tatum who was born in 1741 in Virginia. He had a grandson who brought his family to Monroeville.
Family records suggest the first Tatum ancestor to migrate from England to America was Nathaniel Tatum. There is evidence of him having purchased 500 acres of land near the Appamattuck River on July 24, 1638. Assuming he was at least 21 years of age, he was likely born circa 1617. The descendants of the Richard Tatus, Sr. above project that he was likely the great great grandson of Nathaniel Tatum. More research is needed to document this genealogy.
Richard Tatum, Sr. rendered service in the American Continental Army. The name of his wife is unknown, but they had at least four sons: Jessie, b. 1775, m. Charity Elkins; Richard Jr., b. 1780; Laban, b. 1782, m. Rebecca ?; and Joshua, b. 1785, m. Sarah or Sharon ?. These sons were all named in Richard Tatum, Sr.’s will. They frequently used the same names of Ollen, Owen and Richard.
The oldest son, Jessie, and his wife, Charity, also had at least four sons: Theophilus, b. 1797, d. 1863, m. Anna M. ?; Owen, b. 1803, m. ?; Claborn, b. ca 1803; and Ollen, b. 1808, d. 1893, m. (1) 1830 Sarah Smith (1814-1846) (2) 1847 Catherine McInnis (1820-1881). Jessie was buried in the cemetery at Turnbull Creek in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Jessie’s oldest son, Theophilus “Off” Tatum, and his wife Anna M. ?, reared a family of at least nine children: John Henry, b. 1828; Daniel S., b. 1830; Julie A., b. 1832; Sarah C., b. 1834, d. 1909; Harriet M., b. 1838; Marshall W., b. 1838, m. Sarah ?; Susanna or Susan E., b. 1842; Lenson A. “Len,” b. 1845; and Emeline F., b. 1847. Theophilus has a will on file in Bladen County, North Carolina, in which he named his oldest son, John Henry Tatus, as his executor. He also names another daughter, Mary Jane Downing, in the will. He was buried in the same cemetery as his father near Turnbull Creek.
Theo-philus named his children in his will in Bladen County. At some point, his second son, Daniel S. Tatum, was listed as being blind. Daniel’s son, Nash Tatum, was elected to serve as Sheriff of Bladen County in the early 1920s.
Jessie’s second son, Owen Tatum, is the one who brought this line to South Alabama. As early as 1820 when he was only 14 years of age, Owen helped drive a herd of cattle from North Carolina to Alabama by riding a horse all the way. After arriving in Monroe County, he decided to remain in Alabama rather than risk attacks by panthers who were fairly prevalent along the way and would drop from trees on to a rider. He became quite successful as a livestock trader and was known to carry around a substantial amount of money.
Owen would have married in the Monroeville area around 1826, but the name of his wife is not known. He and his wife reared at least the following children: John B., b. 1828; Richard, b. 1830, d. 1902; Hugh, b. 1831; Monroe, b. 1832; and William, b. 1834. Most if not all of these sons would have served in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States.
Jessie’s son, Ollen Tatum, has been described as an exceptionally strong man. A family tale is of a time at a local “fair” in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, when he lifted a “hogset” of tobacco up and over his head to win it as the prize for a contest. Ollen remained in North Carolina and reared two sets of children with two different wives. Several of his sons would have served in the Confederate Army, and records are readily available on two of these. His oldest son, Marshall N., was a sergeant in Company A, 28th North Carolina Regiment. He along with his Captain and five or six privates were all that were present when General Lee surrendered at Appomattox. His third son, Jonathan Tatum, was killed during the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863.
Ollen and his first wife, Sarah Smith (1814-1846), daughter of John and Susan Smith, had the following children: Marshall N., b. 1831, d. 1909; Jonathan, b. 1832, d. 1863; Hanson, b. 1835; Simeon, b. 1836; Nicholas; Sarah Jane, b. 1840, d. 1909, m. ? Peterson; and Richard W., b. 1845, d. 1902.
Ollen and his second wife, Catherine McInnis (1820-1881), were married in 1847, a year or so after his first wife’s death. He and Catherine reared the following children: Ellen C., b. 1849, m. Will Fowler; Henry Pierce, b. 1850; Reely, b. 1853; Owen, b. 1855, m. Hannah J. Anders; Albert D., b. 1856; Malcolm McInnis, a medical doctor; and Alexander. Ollen and his two wives were all buried in the Ollen Tatum Cemetery, which was located down on Turnbull (Turn Bull) Creek. Their graves are the only ones with stone markers, but there are several wooden markers without identities. Family information in 1960 reported that the cemetery was badly overgrown.
In the 1850 Census of Bladen County, there is a listing for the family of Claborn Tatum, who appears to be the brother of Theophilus, Owen and Ollen. He was residing with his family in the same area. If so, he was 47 years of age, and he had the following in his household: Sarah, 36; Owen, 14; Stanley, 12; Elizabeth, 10; Charity, 8; Sarah J., 6: and Neamon, 3.
There was also a Joshua Tatum residing in the same area in 1850 who could likely be another brother. He was 44 years of age, and his wife, Elizabeth, was 42. They had the following children in their household at the time: John D., 18; Robert, 16; and Julia A., 15.
More research is needed on the genealogy of the Tatum family. Like so many others, the surname has many variations in the spelling in available records. These range from the above spelling to Tatham, Tatam, Tatom, Tattam,Tattem, Tateham to Tatesham. It is hoped that the descendants will continue to delve into their heritage and share with other researchers.
The source for this Tatum genealogy was the family records of Morris Mullen and his family, especially his uncle, Frederick Uptagrafft. Appreciation is express to these descendants.
Anyone who might have any correction to the above or additional information to share on the Tatum family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.
FAMILY REUNION: The annual Odom family reunion is scheduled for Sat., May 29, from 10 a.m. until at 29720 Hammett Road in Andalusia. Call 334-222-4742 for more information.
The annual Mike and Mary Ann (Thomasson) Henley reunion is scheduled for Sun., May 23, following morning worship services at the Red Oak Baptist Church on Hwy 55 south of Andalusia. All descendants are urged to attend and bring covered dish dinner.