Cravey, Dunson families left impact on county

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 12, 2012

Owen Cravey (or McCravey) was born prior to 1700 in Ireland, and was listed on the 1721 Albemarle County, North Carolina Tax Records. He is the earliest ancestor known to this writer of the Cravey family that eventually settled in Covington County.

Owen Cravey had a son named Hugh Cravey who lived in North Carolina and later in Georgia. Hugh had a son, Jacob, born in 1785 in Edgecombe County, N.C., who served in the War of 1812. Jacob was married to Susannah or Sarah, and they moved their family to Coffee County, Ala. They were the parents of the following eight children: John Riley, b. 1812, d. 1872, m. Pricilla Williams Dickey; Nancy; Mary Ann; William H.; Roxie A.; Frances E., m. ? Harper; and Rebecca S.

The oldest son, John Riley Cravey, a Confederate Veteran, was the Cravey ancestor who brought the family to Covington County during the 1850s. He and young family were enumerated in Dale County, Ala., in 1840, and land records show he was in Pike County in early 1840s. He and his family were enumerated in Coffee County in 1850 and the special 1855 census. By 1860, he had moved to and settled in Covington County.

John Riley was married to Pricilla Williams Dickey, daughter of Samuel and Sarah Dickey, natives of Putnam County, Ga. John Riley and Pricilla reared the following children: Mary Frances, b. 1838, d. 1882, m. 1857 Richard C. Head; Elizabeth, b. 1839, d. before 1870, m. John L. Hollaway; Josephine, b. 1843, m. Wright W. Watkins; Nancy Caroline, b. 1845, m. 1965 Wiley F. Martin; James Hugh, b. 1846, m. 1873 Lizina Elizabeth Barnes; William Jacob, b. 1850, d. 1903, m. 1871 Sarah J. Kierce; Susan M., b. 1852, d. 1870, single; and Noah Paramore, b. 1855, d. 1929, m. 1875 Henriette Barnes.

The daughter, Nancy Caroline Cravey, was married in 1865 at the New Hope Church in Covington County to Confederate Veteran Wiley Francis Martin. During the next year, 1866, Wiley was ordained at New Hope Church and served as its minister during 1867 and 1868 and again in 1870-1876. During the in between years he served as church clerk from 1869 to 1871. During these years he served many churches in the region an also engaged in farming to help support his family. Between 1900 and 1910, Wiley moved the family including his wife and two sons, W. Laban and J. Mallie, to Walton County, Fla.

In 1939, a series of stories called “The Cravey Clan” appeared in the Florala News. They were listed as written by Peter Stanley, but others claim they were actually the work of the above son, J. Mallie Martin, who resided in Crestview at the time. Mallie did work for the newspaper in Crestview and some of his articles were published in national magazines. Although the stories were mostly fiction, they contained the names of actual residents of the Green Bay community and outlined some of the trials of these early times.

Nancy Caroline (Cravey) and her husband, Wiley Francis Martin, reared the following children: Ella Truman, b. ca 1866, d. ca 1938, m. (1) George Dunson (2) Thomas Nix (3) Ezra Fowler; Joseph Lee, b. 1869, d. 1891; W. Laban, b. ca 1871, d. 1921, m. Mary ?; Lenna, b. ca 1877, d. after 1922; and J. Mallie, b. ca 1884, d. 1959, m. Kate Richburg.

The oldest daughter, Ella T. Martin, was married first to George William Dunson, Sr., a native of Andalusia and the son of a prominent family. George owned and ran a large stable, which was located off the east end of Dunson Street or on Troy Street near the location of the former ice plant. He also built the first two-story house on Dunson Street, which was named for his family. Unfortunately, George was shot by a young man, John Lingold, Jr., who was competing with him for carriage service, and he died the next day. He is buried in the Magnolia Cemetery of Andalusia, and his widow, Ella T., is buried beside him. George has a large Woodman of the World headstone since he participated in that organization.

Ella Truman (Martin) and George Dunson had the following children: Mattie Mae, b. 1883, d. 1935, m. John F. Carson; Blake Lee, b. ca 1888, d. 1988, m. (1) Lounell ? (2) Francis ?;  Nannie Bell, b. 1892, d. 1964, m. J.M. Farmer; Tudie, b. 1893, d. 1917, m. Fred Amfield Horton; Lucille Juanita, b. 1894, d. 1959, m. John Grady Dick; William Martin “Bill,” b. 1900, d. 1970, m. Mary Searles; George Albert, b. 1903, m. Helen ?;  and George William Jr., b. 1906, d. 1974, m. Alberta Hughes.

Ella and George’s oldest daughter, Mattie Mae Dunson, was married to John Carson. They reared three children: Alma Louise, b. ca 1905, d. 1977, m. Robert D. Burgess; Elna, m. ? Sanford; Juanita, m. Matthew Dick; and Elna, m. Fred Sanford. Mattie Mae’s brother, Blake Lee Dunson, and wife, Lounell, had one daughter, Mary Nell, who died of cancer in St. Petersburg.

Ella and George’s daughter, Nannie Bell Dunson, and her husband, J.M. Farmer, reared three children: George Malcolm, b. 1915; Billie Martin, b. 1918; and Martha Ella, b. 1921, m. (1) Sarge McKenzie (2) J. Baker. Their daughter, Tudie Dunson, and husband, Fred Amfield Horton, had two children: Fred Earle, b. 1911; and Tudie Mae. Their daughter, Lucille Juanita Dunson, and husband, John Grady Dick, had one daughter, Junelle, m. Robert Bartlett. Their son, William Martin Dunson, and wife, Mary Searles, had one son, William Martin Jr. Their son, George William Duncan, Jr. and his wife, Alberta Hughes, had one daughter, Barbara, b. 1926, m. Phillip George Ammann.

Wiley Francis and Nancy Caroline Martin’s son, J. Laban Martin, and his wife, Mary, reared the following two children: Charles G., b. ca 1895; and Wiley.

Wiley Francis and Nancy Caroline Martin’s son, J. Mallie Martin, and wife, Kate (Richburg), reared the following two children who both died quite young: Nancy Cathlyn, b. 1906, d. 1918; and J. Mallie Jr., b. 1909, d. 1925.

While there is additional genealogy on other members of these families, this is shared due to it being made available. The primary source for this writing was family records compiled by John C. Head of Shreveport, La.

Anyone who might have any correction to the above or additional records on the Cravey or Dunson families is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email:



Does anyone have a photo of the log cabin owned by the Atkins family, which was located just west of the Florala Highway and a little north of Judson Baptist Church? If so, please contact this writer as someone who lived there as a child would greatly appreciate having a copy.