Mott family settled in Mott/South Community in 1850s

Published 12:31 am Saturday, March 17, 2012

There is a small area just a few miles north of Red Level that was once known as the Mott Community. Currently, the area is known as South, since some early pioneers of the South family settled there. Many members of the Mott family have resided there, and one group of these helped establish and build the Mott Church of Christ, a landmark since 1940 when it was constructed.

The earliest ancestor of this family known to this writer is David Mott, a native of Georgia. His father was listed as being born in Georgia and his mother, in South Carolina. There is a bit of confusion regarding David in the 1860 federal census where he is listed in Covington County as Daniel. He was enumerated as being 38 years old, so he was born circa 1822. He and his wife, Elizabeth, had seven children in their household at the time.

David Mott was married to Elizabeth “Betsy” or “Bettie” Paulk, daughter of William Uriah “Urias” (1781-1841) and Henrietta (Bucksholts) Paulk (1791-1871). They arrived in Alabama before their first child was born in 1849 and were residing in Coosa County at Hatchet Creek when the 1850 census was taken. At some point during the 1850s, they moved on to Covington County. The family eventually settled on a farm in the Westover community, which is located in the northwestern corner of Covington County and near the Crenshaw County line.

On May 5, 1864, David enlisted in the Confederate Army since all able-bodied men between the ages of 45 and 50 were called into service as a part of the reserves. David was 46-years-old and was described as being six feet tall and having blue eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion. He was assigned as a private in Company I, 4th Regiment of the Alabama (Senior) Reserves for Covington County.

By 1870, the family was still residing in Westover and had added three more children to the family. In 1880, the family remained pretty much the same with no additional children. By 1900, Elizabeth had died, and David had married a younger wife, Nancy. At the time, David was 77; Nancy, 47, and they had a 6-year old son, Samuel Harmon, who was born in 1894.

David and his first wife, Elizabeth, reared the following children: James T., b. 1849, d. 1951; Susan J., b. 1851, d. 1932; Martha E., b. 1852; Elizabeth or Epsy Dilla, b. 1853, d. 1929, m. William M. Durell; Pricilla J., b. 1855; Nancy D., b. 1856; Elizabeth “Eliza” Jane, b. 1858, m. James A. Turner; Dorothy Dolly, b. 1861; John David, b. 1864, d. 1940, m. Nancy Elizabeth “Betty” Matthews (1865-1951); and Amanda “Manda,” b. 1867, m. Joel J. Turner. David and his second wife, Nancy, had one son, Samuel Harmon, b. 1894, d. 1984, m. Anne Lee (1894-1961), daughter of William James and Sara Zorada Aldoria “Zodie” (Gorum) Lee.

David’s daughter, Dilla or Dillie, was married to William M. Durell, and they made their home in Westover near her parents. She has also been known as Eliza Durell, which is somewhat confusing since she had a sister named Elizabeth who was also called Eliza. It appears that Dillie and William reared the following children: John D., b. ca 1875; William D., b. ca 1877; James T., b. ca 1879; Elizabeth, b. ca 1883; Lawrence C., b. ca 1886; Washington, b. ca 1893; Joseph I., b. ca 1898; Savannah L., b. ca 1900; Robert A., b. ca 1902; and Mary F., b. 1907.

David’s daughter, Elizabeth Jane “Eliza” Mott, was married to James A. Turner (1860-1923), son of George W. and Elizabeth (Dreading) Turner. James was a farmer, and the family resided in Westover and the neighboring Brooks community. They reared the following children: Saphronia Elizabeth “Phonie/Lizzie,” b. 1880, d. 1958, m. 1900 John T. Hartley (1878-1942); George, b. 1884; Columbus, b. 1886; Mollie M., b. 1889, d. 1980 single; Minnie, b. 1891; Jane, b. 1893; Annie A., b. 1894; Halie or Haley N., b. 1895; and Ada, b. 1898, d. 1980s, m. ? Sims.

David’s daughter, Amanda Mott, was married to Joel J. Turner, son of Joseph and Jane Turner. They also lived and reared their family in Covington County. They had the following children: David, b. 1888; Sallie, b. 1890; J. William, b. 1892, m. Rosa Belle Bennett (1897-1969); Isaac, b. 1894; Nettie E., b. 1898; and an unnamed son and daughter.

David’s son, John David Mott, was married to Nancy Elizabeth “Betty” Matthews (1865-1951). They reared the following children: Hilary Richard, b. 1884, d. 1966; Henry J. or D., b. 1886, d. 1959, m. Bula M. ? (1890-1967); John J., b. 1890, d. 1967, m. Zula L. ? (1894-1953); George W., b. 1892, d. 1954, m. Lena ? (1895-1970); James D. “Dea” or “J.D.,” b. 1895, d. 1956, m. Audrey Hughes (1900-1978); Hosea Melvin, b. 1898, d. 1971, m. Ella Mae Hogg (1899-1976); Hassie E., b. ca 1999; Marvin Elwood, b. 1902, d. 1972, m. Lola Faye ? (1905-1988); Marion M., b. ca 1903; and Arnie E., b. 1905, d. 1972, m. Ruby C. ?

In 1890, John David homesteaded 159.72 acres of land in the Pigeon Creek township, which was near Westover, where his parents and other relatives lived. This property appears to be next to the Mott Church of Christ on County Road 107 in what is now known as South. John David and his family donated the land for the church and helped erect the building in 1940. He served as one of the church trustees along with H.M. Mott, J.T. Mott, T.H. Enzor, J.A. Myers and J. Uptagraft. The congregation was actually established during the 1920s and had grown to a size able to support the new building.

John David Mott also made enough land available for a cemetery and was one of the first to be buried in it since he died in 1940. Some years later in 1977, Lola Faye Mott, wife of Marvin Elwood Mott, donated an additional acre for increasing the size of the cemetery. Many of the Mott family including all eight of John David’s sons were buried there.

John David’s oldest son, Hilary Mott, became a successful businessman in Columbus, Ga. As a young man, he served as postmaster of the Red Level Post Office. Circa 1905, he became partner with Claude Hatcher, a grocer and pharmacist in Columbus. Hatcher created a new drink known as Chero Cola. Following his death in 1933, when all the legal transactions were completed, and Hilary, who had been vice president of the company, assumed management. The company became the R.C. Cola Bottling Company or the Royal Crown Cola Bottling Company.

John David’s son, John David “Dea” or “J.D.” Mott, was a farmer as well as a businessman. He is credited with organizing the Red Level Farmers’ Union, an agency for which he served as president for many years. He later sold it and started the Georgiana Farmers’ Coop. He and his wife, Audrey (Hughes), reared the following children: Bernice, b. ca 1917; Betty, m. Martin Posey: Orelia H., b. ca 1919; Wilda M., b. 1921; Ellis Ray, b. 1923; Joan, m. Bill Danley; and David “Pete,” m. Dorothy Ann Green.

Sources for this writing were the personal family records of Jimmy Mott, son of Ellis Ray Mott, and records. Anyone who has any question or additional genealogical data on the Mott family is encouraged to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email:

Historical event: The old prominent Donaldson family will honor one of its own, John J. Donaldson Jr., on Sun., April 22, at 2 p.m. at Evergreen Cemetery in Elba. Donaldson died at the young age of 18 during the War Between the States. He will now have a final resting place, thanks to his family along with the General Edmund Winchester Rucker United Daughters of Confederacy Chapter 2534 and the Coffee County Rangers Camp, Sons of the Confederate Veterans in Enterprise. His headstone was ordered by his great-great-niece, Debra Maddox Wilson, U.D.C. member of Captain W. Y. C. Hannum Chapter 1881 in Maryville, Tenn., and Joe Clark, Commander of the Coffee County Rangers SCV Camp. It will be placed between that of his parents, John and Elizabeth Beard Donaldson Sr.

The Tim Donaldson and Joe Edd Donaldson family will provide refreshments following the ceremony to which all are invited. Contact person is Debra Maddox Wilson,, or 865-856-9300.