Tadlock ancestors came from Pike County

Published 1:54 am Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Tadlock family has been well known in the Andalusia area since the turn of the century in 1900. This is the period when the young Town of Andalusia beginning to grow chiefly from the coming of the railroad in 1899 and the potential economic opportunities such as harvesting the virgin timber.

The earliest ancestor identified by this writer is Joseph Tennt Tadlock, born in 1808 and who was married to Elizabeth B. Epperson, born in 1820. Their son, William David Tadlock, was born in 1846 in King’s Gap, Muscogee County, Georgia. He undoubtedly moved to Russell County, Ala., as a young man, because he enlisted from there in 1863 at 17 years of age to serve in the Confederate Army as a private in Company K, 11th Ala. Infantry Regiment. Around the end of the War Between the States he was married in 1865 to Elizabeth Jane Harrison (1844-1921).

William David and Elizabeth Tadlock began their family there in the Seale community. They reared the following children: William James, b. 1867, d. 1953, m Eva Lee Spears/Spiers; Isabell, b. 1869; Joseph Allen, b. 1874, d. 1953, m. Lavonia Barton; John Thomas, b. 1878, d. 1950; and Elizabeth Jane, b. 1883, d. 1970.

The family moved to Pike County, Ala., circa 1870 when the oldest son, William James Tadlock, was 3 years of age. When William James was grown, he moved along with a brother, Joseph Allen Tadlock, in November 1899 from Seale, Ala., to the area of Gantt in Covington County. Actually, at the time, this area was called Hamptonville and was later known as Gantt. When the 1900 Federal Census was enumerated, William James was shown as residing in Hamptonville.

Before the move to Gantt, a mercantile store had already been built for William James to operate. He lived for a short time in a small house located next to the Central of Georgia Railroad. He soon purchased some property including a bankrupt store, stables and house from Dave E. Cook. Still later he acquired in three parcels a sizable farm, which bordered Point A Lake. From this he sold a portion to the local power company and an area to the Amvets’ Club. This left him with around 320 acres, with some lying between the two lakes.

During those years William James had a number of tenants who farmed sections of the land and who grew various crops even including some rice and tobacco. Of course, he did some farming and operated a cotton gin in addition to running the general store in Gantt.

William James Tadlock was married in1903 to Exa Lee Spear/Speir, daughter of William Jefferson “Billy” Speirs who was born in 1846 in Clark County, Miss., and Julia Emmaline Davis, born in 1861. Julia was the daughter of Dr. T.J. and Sara Frances (Wood) Davis. The Speirs family moved to the Gantt community in 1901.

During some years, Julia Speirs lived near her daughter and family and was able to help with the children and the general household duties. This enabled Exa or “Miss Exa” as she was affectionately known to help clerk in the family’s general store. Her family and friends described her as a “people-person” who was loved by all. They said, “Miss Exa had kindness, love and a helping hand for anyone she could reach.” Her daughter wrote, “Whatever came her way, she did with all her heart.” In 1936, her health began to fail and she suffered a stroke at the age of 55 years. After 21 months of this illness, she died of a hear attack in 1941.

William James lived for several more years before his death in 1953. However, his health began to fail as early as 1918, some 18 years before Exa’s death. He sold his stock in the mercantile store to W.D. Riley, and retired in December 1927. For two years he remained in his home before living with his two nephews, sons of his brother, Joseph A. Tadlock. He also resided several years in Troy with his daughter, Jewel, and her husband. During his last days, he lived in the Gieger Boarding House, which was located on South Cotton Street in Andalusia.

William James and Exa Tadlock only had two children: An infant son, b. in 1906 after living only a few hours; and a daughter, Jewel, b. 1904, d. 1992, m. 1927 Norman Marian Thomas. Jewel and Norman M. Thomas had a son, William Marian, b. 1928, m. 1964 Hilda Grace Smith of Dale County. William Marian and Hilda Thomas reared the following four children: Norma Wilynn, b. 1965; William Marian II “Bill,” b. 1966, m. Ramona Clecklar; Kimberly Jewell, b. 1968, m. Dr. Allen Ward; and James Norman, b. 1969, m. Angela Stamp, daughter of Dr. Joseph and Alice Stamp.

The oldest son, William Marian II “Bill” Thomas, and wife, Ramona Clecklar, had two children: William Marian III “Will,” and Abi. They lived for a number of years in Gantt Lake area where Bill established Core Construction Company.

Kimberly and her husband, Allen Ward, both have dental practices in Andalusia. Kimberly Thomas Ward, DMD, MPH, MS operates Three Notch Orthodontics on East Three Notch Street, and Allen M. Ward, DMD, has his general dentistry office in the same building.

William James Tadlock’s brother, Joseph Allen Tadlock, moved to Covington County about the same time as he did. They both operated general stores—W.J. in Gantt, and J.A. in Heath. J.A.’s store was located about where the current Heath Grocery Store is today. J.A.’s store burned, but he continued to farm rather than rebuild.

Joseph Allen Tadlock was married to Lavonia Barton, a well-known family in the area. They reared the following five children: Joseph David, m. Molly Gunter; Frank, m. (1) Euris Rawls (2) Emmy Hall; Jessie, m. Seaborn Hobbs; Guy Marian, m. Grace Boutwell; and William Mack “Coty,” single. Most of these children and families resided in the Heath community where they were reared.

The oldest son, Joseph David Tadlock, was married to Molly Gunter, who was one of 10 children born to Lonnie and Laura Gunter of the River Falls Gunters. David and Molly made their home on US 29 south of the Heath community where they reared two sons. The first, Billy Joseph, m. Ada Romaine Teate, daughter of William Cylvester Teate, who established the Buick dealership in Andalusia in 1948. It was located on the east side of South Three-Notch Street next to the railroad. The building, which is still standing, is owned and used by the City of Andalusia. Billy and Romaine reared two children: David William, m. Lisa Kirk and had a son, Tyler Joseph; and Tamela Ann, m. John Viveiros and has three children. The second son, James David Tadlock, became a captain in the U.S. Navy. He was married first to Grover Nell Little and later to Jean ?. He and Grover Nell had one son, Grover Tadlock.

Joseph David Tadlock established Covington Building Supply in Andalusia, and later his brother, Guy Tadlock, joined him in the business. Billy grew up in the various operations of the business. He purchased it from his father and uncle in 1930. Some of their significant achievements include construction of the last Coca Cola Company building, the block wall surrounding the Andalusia High School Stadium, and a number of homes, which feature river stones in their outer walls. Some of these were the houses of L.H. Evers, Speller Moates, and the one next to Church’s Chicken on East Three Notch Street.

Joseph David’s brother, Guy Tadlock, went into the building supply business with him. Guy was married to Grace Boutwell who worked as a writer for The Andalusia Star News and as publicity director for L.B.W. Junior College. They reared two children: Kay who married Wayne Graves, and Guy Jr. “Buddy,” who married Alice Utsey. David and Guy’s sister, Jessie, and her husband, Seaborn Hobbs, had one son, Allen who married Sherry ? first and later, Daphne ?.

The Tadlock name is well respected in the area as a family who worked to support their families and help the growth and development of the communities.

Sources for this writing include Ancestry.com, two stories included in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, and an interview with Billy and Romaine Tadlock.

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