Feagin family became prominent in early history of county

Published 2:21 am Saturday, August 31, 2013

It would be strange to hear the name O’Fandhagain in Covington County, especially during the early 1800s. However, there was a very large and influential family, which settled in the area quite early whose ancestors bore the name. Apparently it was “Americanized” into Feagin as the first generation of immigrants arrived.

The earliest generation found through Ancestry.com for this family was headed by George O’Fandhagain who was the immigrant ancestor. He was born in 1620 in Dublin, Ireland, and died at the age of 30 years in 1650 in Virginia or Maryland. The name of his wife was not found, but they had a son named Daniel Feagin who was born in Virginia in 1650, the year of his father’s death. Upon reaching adulthood, Daniel was married to Polly Adamson. He died in 1780 in North Carolina.

Daniel and Polly had a son in 1685 that they named Edward. One record shows he was born in Ireland, but he was most likely born in Virginia. Edward would eventually marry Margaret John (1687-1790). He died in 1741 in Fauquier, Va. Among Edward and Margaret’s children was a son, George Feagin, who was born in Fauquier, Va., in 1721. George was married to Elizabeth Richardson (1722-1758). He died in 1800 in Cumberland, N.C. Among his children was a son named Aaron B. Feagin who was born in 1752 in Wilmington District of Brunswick County, N.C.

Aaron B. Feagin served in the American Revolutionary War from the State of North Carolina. He appears to have moved while he was still single to Washington County, Ga., before 1790. He received a bounty land grant of 200 acres in 1798 and participated in the Georgia Land Lottery in 1805. He was married to Pheriby Wadsworth, and they reared the following children: Nancy, b. 1794, d. ca 1856, m. Caleb Johnston (1790-1860); Samuel, b. 1796, d. 1859, m. 1821 Nancy West Allen (1801-1884); two daughters, b. before 1800; Eliza, b. 1800, d. 1854, m. 1820 Asa Johnston (1798-1890); William Richardson, b. 1802, d. 1850; and Rebecca, b. 1811, d. 1812.

In 1818, Aaron Feagin moved his family from Washington County, Ga., to Alabama and settled near the Brooklyn community of Conecuh County. He had already become a prosperous farmer and was able to move around 20 slaves with him. He soon began to acquire acreage and became a large landowner. Beginning in 1835, he along with his son, Samuel, purchased numerous tracts of land in the Conecuh River Township until they owned in excess of 1000 acres. Aaron B. died in his 90s in Brooklyn in 1845.

Aaron’s oldest child, Nancy Feagin, was married in 1812 to Caleb Johnston. This young couple moved to Conecuh County in 1818 while it was basically a frontier. Caleb became a successful farmer just as his father-in-law did. He owned as many as 50 slaves before his death in 1860, which would have been just before the War Between the States. Caleb and Nancy Johnston reared the following children: Mary, b. 1816, m. Jesse D. Snowden; Rebecca, b. 1818, m. Charles W. Snowden; Eliza, b. 1819, m. ? Dean; William F., b. 1820, m. Frances Collins; Newton, b. 1828, m. Abigail Turk; and Amanda, b. 1830, d. 1888, m. Enoch George Autrey.

Aaron’s daughter, Eliza Feagin, was married to Asa Johnston (probably a brother to Caleb) and they made their home in Johnstonville of Conecuh County. At her death in 1854, Eliza was buried in the Asa Johnston Cemetery, located in Johnstonville. They reared the following children: Louisa V., b. 1820, d. 1900; Asa, b. 1829, d. 1882; Leroy Augusta, b. 1831, d. 1878; Mack Thomas, b. 1834, d. 1906; Susan, b. 1836; Louan Deaveau, b. 1838; Robert Hayne, b. 1840, d. 1897; and Marcella Hunter, b. 1842, d. 1870.

Aaron’s son, Samuel Feagin, moved his family including several young children to the Conecuh River community around 1830. He was a large farmer and brought as many as 40 slaves with him. He began to clear land and established a sizable plantation and large cattle ranch. According to Wyley D. Ward, “The plantation was second only to the Bradley/Mitchell one, and it was the largest in productivity in the county.” Samuel continued buying land and expanding his holdings to the point that he had approximately 80 slaves, which would have made him the largest single slave owner in the county. Ward has stated, “At his death in 1859, Samuel Feagin may have been the wealthiest man in Covington County.”

Samuel Feagin resided mostly in the Fairfield community with his wife, Nancy West Allen. They reared the following children: Naomi, b. 1822, d. 1827; Nancy T., b. 1825, d. 1876, m. George Mott Jones (1816-1885); Aaron Burr, b. 1827, d. 1910, m. Anne M. Tignor (1830-1867); Martha Jem, b. 1829, d. 1871, m. Elias Dozier (1829-1886); Samuel P., b. 1832, d. 1910, m. Elon Elizabeth Kendall (1841-1912); Frank, b. 1833, d. 1863; James Madison, b. 1835, d. 1914, m. Ella Miriam Statina Watkins (1852-1950); and Mary E., b. 1841, d. 1883, m. William A. Hunter (1837-1886).

The oldest daughter, Nancy T. Feagin, and her husband, George Mott Jones, reared the following children: Susan Elizabeth, b. 1846; Vallery, b. 1848; Samuel Walter, b. 1849, d. 1894; George Mott Jr., b. 1850, d. 1907; Sanford Aaron, b. 1851; James Feagin, b. 1853; John Love, b. 1855; Francis B., b. 1857; William S., b. 1859; Lula Belle, b. 1861, d. 1948; Forest, b. 1864, d. 1880; and Leroy Hunter, b. 1866.

The oldest son, Aaron Burr Feagin, and his wife, Anne M. Tignor, resided mostly in the Fairfield community. They reared the following children: Aaron Tignor, b. 1855, d. 1945, m. (1) Dora Ann Lambert (2) Laura ?; N.A., b. 1859; Frances, b. 1861; Ann Maria, b. 1863, d. 1900, m. J.W. Hassell; Samuel, b. 1864; Charles W., b. 1865, m. Martha R.?; and Nannie Burr, b. 1867, d. 1959.

Daughter Martha Jem Feagin was married to Elias Dozier, and they reared the following children: Daniel Samuel, b. 1859, d. 1946; Joel Feagin “Forest,” b. 1865; Elisabeth, b. 1867; and Prudence, b. 1869. Martha died in 1871 at the young age of 41.

Son Samuel P. Feagin and his wife, Elon Elizabeth Kendall, resided in Conecuh County. They reared the following three children: Franklin R., b. 1856, d. 1931; Elizabeth, b. 1869; and Ernest Samuel, b. 1883, d. 1916.

Son James Madison Feagin served in the Second Alabama Cavalry Regiment of the Confederate Army. He was married to Ella Miriam Statina Watkins, daughter of James Malachi and Eliza Mozella (Lowman) Watkins. They resided in the Fairfield community for some years and later moved to Texas in 1882. There James M. served as a Justice of the Peace in 1900 in Collin, Tex. They reared the following children: Willis Harmon “Will,” b. 1879, d. 1936; Robert Edward, b. 1880, d. 1972; Marjorie Eula Mosella, b. 1883, d. 1976; Herbert, b. 1886, d. 1965; and Hugh, b. 1886, d. 1960.

Samuel’s youngest daughter, Mary E. Feagin, was married to Dr. William A. Hunter. They reared the following children: first unknown; William Adam, b. 1870, d. 1951; Tinnie B., b. 1870, d. 1949; Pearl, b. 1873, d. 1953; Gem, b. 1875, d. 1966; Jewel Musette, b. 1880, d. 1961; Carrie, b. 1881, d. 1885; and Johnnie, b. 1881, d. 1884.

The Feagin family was very involved in the growth of Covington and Conecuh Counties. Additional coverage of this family will be presented next week.

The sources for today’s writing include family records, Ancestry.com, and Wyley D. Ward’s books, Early History of Covington County, Alabama-1821-1871 and Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Alabama.

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

The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 5, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.