Vaughn ancestors came from England to America in early 1600s

Published 6:12 pm Friday, March 22, 2013

The series on the Battle family has prompted a look at the Vaughn family. There was a marriage between a key person in the Vaughn lineage who did considerable genealogical research and who married into the Battle family. This family resided primarily in the Union Springs area for several decades, but they had descendants who resided in Covington County. It is not known if the other various Vaughn families who have been in this county have any relationship to those of this writing.

Records suggest the Vaughn name is a Welch descriptive one derived from the word “Bychan,” which means little or small. It is also reported in family records that John Vaghan arrived in Virginia in 1619, and John and Roland Vaughn arrived in the same state in 1635. Another John and William Vaughn landed in New England between 1634 and 1644.

The earliest known ancestor of the Vaughn family being featured today is John William Henry Vaughn who was born circa 1802 in North Carolina. In some instances, the records state he was born in Virginia, so he is probably related to the ones named above. He moved to Edgefield District, S.C., where he met and was married to Narcissis Nicholson Gorman (1805-1897). They then moved to Griffin, Ga., and later circa 1837 to Alabama. In 1860, the family was residing in Macon County, Ala. They eventually settled about a mile south of Union Springs in Pike County on land, which he received through a federal grant. At one time he had as many as 900 acres.

Family records show that John William Henry Vaughn had a sister, Jane Vaughn, who was married to a Whitehead and settled in Atlanta. He had a twin brother named Tom, but no more is currently available on this family. Henry’s wife, Narcissis (Goode) Vaughn, was small in stature, so they called her “Little Grandmother,” but she was known to be quite “feisty.” Her identified siblings include Hannah, b. 1797; Rhoda, b. 1799, d. 1882, m. ? Bledsoe; and Nancy, b. 1801. She had at least one half-brother, Gillum Nicholson, who moved about the same time as Narcissis and Henry Vaughn to Union Springs. He later moved to the State of Louisiana.

John William Henry and Narcissis Vaughn reared the following children: Frances “Fannie” Hulda, b. 1831, d. 1916, m. (1) John W. Devoe (1829-1854) (2) Charles Culverhouse; John William Henry Jr., b. 1833, d. 1853, single; Gillum Nicholson, b. 1836, d. 1908, m. Amanda Medora “Dora” Goode; Thomas “Tom,” b. ca 1838, m. Emma Connaley; Amanda, b. ca 1841, m. Charlie Knight; James Henry “Jim,” b. ca 1844, m. Harriet Indiana Goode (1848-1870); Nancy “Nan,” b. ca 1847, m. Dave Williams; and Franklin “Frank,” b. 1851, d. 1928, m. Mollie Pierce.

From this point, the family of the second son, Gillum Nicholson Vaughn, will be followed. Gillum was born in 1836 in Pike County in an area that would later become Bullock County. He was at the ideal age to enlist in the Confederate Army, which he did on March 20, 1962, at Union Springs. He was assigned a private in Company D, 3rd. Alabama Infantry Regiment. His records indicate he stood five feet, six inches tall; had dark hair, blue eyes and dark complexion. He served throughout the war and was paroled on May, 24, 1865. He returned to Union Springs and waited nine years to choose to get married.

When he was 38 years of age, Gillum N. Vaughn, was married to a young lady 18 years his junior. His bride, Amanda Madora “Dora” Goode, was the daughter of Joseph and Maria Ann (Clark) Goode. The Goode name was derived from the English word “God,” which means “good.” A Richarde Goode came to Virginia from England in 1651, and a Richard Goode arrived in 1655. Both of these men were under the sponsorship of two different individuals.

Gillum Nicholson and Dora Vaughn resided in Union Springs and reared the following eight children: Bessie Sessions, b. 1865, d. 1977, m. 1903 John William Battle (1870-1924); Maggie Pauline, b. 1877, d. 1958, m. Jackson “Jack” Nathaniel Tamplin (1870-1930); Lilla Belle, b. 1880, d. 1978, m. 1900 Leslie Franklin Graves (1875-1923); Annie Ruby “Sister,” b. 1883, d. 1951, m. Charles “Charlie” H. Bradberry (1855-1940; Frank Howell, b. 1886, d. 1981, m. 1911 Sallie Allene Smith (1899-1963); Robert Edward Lee, b. 1889, d. 1963, single; Edna Dixie, b. 1892, m. 1919 Howell P. Wilcoxon (1892-1946); and Maurine Vivian “Frances,” b. 1895, m. 1922 George Larkin Burleson (1891-1973).

The oldest daughter, Bessie Sessions (Vaughn) Battle dearly loved her Confederate heritage from her father’s service and his pride as a Confederate Veteran. Her brother, Robert Edward Lee Vaughn, was named in honor of the Confederate General Lee, and her sister was named Edna “Dixie’ Vaughn. Bessie and her husband, John William Battle, were married in 1903, and they had only one child whom they named Louise Mamie. Louise was born in 1905 and was married in 1930 to Thomas Jefferson Wynn, Jr. (1904-1968). Bessie lived to the age of around 101 and was buried in dothan. Many of her Vaughn relatives are buried in the Sardis Cemetery, which is located about five miles south of Union Springs, and others, in Union Springs. Louise Mamie (Battle) and Thomas Jefferson Wynn, Jr. had only one daughter as well—Annette Louise Wynn, b. 1931, m. William “Bill” Henry Reeves. Annette and Bill had four children whom they reared in Andalusia.

The second daughter, Maggie Pauline Vaughn, was married to Jackson “Jack” Nathaniel Tamplin. They reared the following three children: Annie Ruth, b. 1898, d. 1967, single; Wilbur E., b. 1901, d. 1983, m. Nannie Stallworth (1900-1976); and Joe Frank, b. 1907, d. 1982, m. Mary Weeks Adams.

The third daughter, Lilla Belle Vaughn, was married to Leslie Franklin Graves. They resided in Macon, Ga., and reared the following four children: Kathilene, m. Lynn Kerr; Clyde, m. ? Tucker; Frankie, m. ? Back; and Beatrice “Bee,” m. George Powell. Lilla Belle had photos of the early Vaughn family reunions, and her husband, George Powell, compiled and published an extensive genealogy of their families.

The fourth daughter, Annie Ruby “Sister” Vaughn, did not have any children. Her brother, Frank Howell Vaughn, was the oldest son in this family. He was married in 1911 to Sallie Allene Smith. They reared the following five children: Frank James, b. 1915, m. 1941 Stephanie Rose Thomas; Edna Allene, b. 1919, d. 1976, m. 1941 William A. “Bootsy” Shaw; Evelyn “Bill” Louise, b. 1921, m. 1942 Jody Thomas “J.T.” Knowles, Jr.; Leland Howell, b. 1928, m. (1) 1959 “Snooks” Ruth Marie Odom (1928-1981) (2) 1983 Linda Evelyn Gibbs; and Betty Jane, b. 1932, m. 1953 William T. Acuff.

The next child, Robert Edward Lee Vaughn, remained single and did not have any children.

The next daughter, Edna Dixie Vaughn, was married in 1919 to Howell Peebles Wilcoxon. They had only one daughter, Virginia, b. 1926, d. 1972, m. James Floyd Pate (1925-1982). The Pates reared four children.

The youngest daughter, Maurine Vivian Vaughn, like the name Frances and was often called by it. She was married in 1922 to George Larkin Burleson, and they reared four children: Frances Aline, b. 1928, d. 1977, single; Marguerite, b. 1929, m. Joe Kenneth Parker; George Robert I, b.&d. 1933; George Robert II, b. 1933, m. Carol Elaine Yowell, daughter of Arnold Yowell.

All of these Vaughn descendants enjoyed many annual reunions beginning in the early 1900s. They were held at the home place in Union Springs during the week of July 4. They even constructed a cabin circa 1936 out of lumber sawed on the property, which included a large sleeping deck and kitchen for serving all the guests. Uncle Robert Edward Lee lived with his parents and hosted the activities, which included a fishing pond and horses for the children to ride.

Sources for this writing were the family records of Annette (Wynn) Reeves, a descendant and current resident of Andalusia. In these papers were some of the pages published by a relative, George Powell.

Anyone who might find an error in the above history is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email:

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Historical Society will be meeting at 7 p.m. on Thurs., March 28, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are welcome.