Heustesses help to establish Opp

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2012

A family name that is not currently familiar in the Covington County area is that of Heustess, but this family was one of the pioneering ones to help settle the Town of Opp. The oldest ancestor who moved to this area was James Heustess, a native of South Carolina.

James Heustess was the son of Matthew (1781-1842) and Nancy Ann (Spears) (1781-1850) Heustess.

He was born in 1815 and died in Opp, in 1896. He was married to Alzada “Zada” Caulk, daughter of Daniel (1794-1844) and Clara (1783-1843) Caulk.

Her parents were born and died in Marlboro County, S.C.. James and Zada had at least the following children: Alexander J., b. 1845, d. 1917; Joseph Benjamin, b. 1847, d. 1908; Rebecca Ann, b. 1849, d. 1938, m. ? Calhoun; and Daniel M., b. 1852, d. 1923, m. (1) Emily Pearce (2) Julia Bennett Robertson.

The son, Alexander J. Heustess, was married in 1871 to Annie Elizabeth Edens (1839-1918).

They lived mostly in the Red Bluff area of Marlboro, S.C.

The names of any children are not known to this writer.

The son, Joseph Benjamin Heustess, lived and reared his family in Marlboro County and died in Bennetsville. He was married first in 1872 to Mary Jane “Molly” Bolton (1849-1879). After Molly’s death, he was married to Annie Margaret “Maggie” Hubbard (1862-1924). He and Molly had four children: James Frank, b. 1873, d. 1898; Mary Zada, b. 1875, d. 1959; Josie Loretta, b. 1877, d. 1938; and Elizabeth R., b.&d. 1879.

Joseph Benjamin and his second wife, Maggie, reared the following eight children: John Beatty, b. 1881, d. 1946; Lillie Jane, b. 1883, d. 1968; Joseph Alexander, b. 1887, d. 1954; Annie Pearl, b. 1889, d. 1976; Daniel C., b. 1892, d. 1945; Emma Eva, b. 1895, d. 1918; Margaret “Maggie” Viola, b. 1897, d. 1981; and Roland Faison, b. 1900, d. 1985.

The daughter, Rebecca Ann Heustess, remained in South Carolina also. Any husband and children for her are not known. She died in Horry County.

As a widower, James Heustess left his older grown children in Marlboro County and moved with his son, Daniel M. Heustess, to Alabama circa 1880.

Daniel had also become a widower when his first wife, Emily Pearce, died giving birth to their first and only child, Emily Virginia, who was born in 1876.

Emily was married in 1894 to John Thomas Jones, a merchant in Opp. They had two daughters: Eddie Pearl, b. ca 1897; and Lula Belle, b. ca 1899. Emily died in Opp in 1936.

Upon leaving South Carolina, Daniel and his father, James Heustess, settled for a time in Tallapoosa where Daniel was married to Julia Bennett Robertson in 1882.

The family then moved on to Pike County where they resided for about six years and their first two children were born. Following this the family moved into Covington County and settled in the Hallton community near present day Opp.

Daniel and Julia Heustess reared the following children: Jessie Anna, b. 1884, d. 1903, m. 1901 Lawrence Graves; Harriet Alzada, b. 1886, d. 1904 of yellow fever; Joseph William, b. 1888; James Weaver, b. 1889, d. 1966, m. Jessie Reid Stephens; John Daniel, b. 1890, d. 1891; Mary Anna, b. 1893, d. 1977, m. 1914 Thomas Jefferson Pearce, Jr.; Arthur Trammel, b. 1895, d. 1967, m. 1921 Willa Mae Sims; U.L., b. 1898, d. 1967, m. 1921 Juanita Cox; and Kelsoe Bennett, b. 1900, d. 1930, m. 1929 Julia Sunshine Berg.

The oldest daughter, Jessie Anna Heustess, and her husband, Lawrence Graves, had one son, Clifton Oma Graves.

Another son, Joseph Weaver Heustess, was married to Jessie Reid Stephens, a schoolteacher from Luverne.

In 1926, James Weaver became mayor of Capitol Heights, a town in Montgomery.

He also served as Clerk of the Board of Revenue of Montgomery County. Another office he held was that of Secretary of County Commissioners of Alabama. Joseph and Jessie reared three children: James Henry, William Arthur and Mary Elizabeth.

Another daughter, Mary Anna Heustess, was married in 1914 to Thomas Jefferson Pierce, Jr. (1883-1975), son of Thomas Jefferson (1861-1926) and Eliza Catherine (Redmon) (1861-1942) Pierce.

The Pierce family came to Opp in 1902 when it was just beginning to grow.

Thomas J. Pierce, Jr. worked as a merchant and salesman in his father’s general merchandise business along with Kasper Kaplan, Allen King, M.E. Donaldson and W.W. Stanley. From 1933 to 1968, he was manager of the T.J. Pierce Mercantile Company.

Thomas and Mary Anna reared two children: Sarah Marie, m. ? Morgan; and James Byrd.

Another son, U.L. Heustess, was married to Juanita Cox of Clayton, Alabama. U.L. was for a time the Chief Clerk of the Alabama Prison Department, a salesman with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and with Amoco Distributing Company of Montgomery. They reared two children: Dan Cox and Jane Bennett.

The youngest son, Kelsoe Bennett Heustess, was married in 1929 to Julia Sunshine Berg of Houston, Texas.

Kelsoe was a stonemason with a specialty in plastering. One accomplishment was helping with the construction of the Opp Cotton Mill in 1921 before he moved to Texas. The names of any children are not known to this writer.

Daniel M. Heustess, his wife, Julia, and his father, James Heustess, were buried in the Antioch Cemetery of Covington County along with five of their children: Joseph William, John Daniel, Kelsoe Bennett, Jessie Anna Graves, and Harriet Alzada Heustess. In 2003, there were 31 descendants in Daniel M.’s family.

Sources for this writing include Ancestry.com, Gus and Ruby Bryan’s Covington County History, 1821-1976, and a story in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama written by Marie Pierce Morgan, a granddaughter of Daniel M. Heustess.

Anyone who might have any correction to the above genealogy or additional information on the Heustess family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Historical Society will meet at 7 p.m. on Thurs., June 28, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Anyone interested in local history is most welcome.