Heustess family settled here circa 1888

Published 12:38 am Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Huestess family did not arrive in Covington County until the late 1800s. As they settled in Hallton, a community predating Opp, they played a significant part in the established of the Town of Opp. At present, there is no one in the county telephone directory bearing this name, but several lived here for a time, and there may be some local descendants still who have other surnames.

The preferred spelling of the name is Huestess, but there are several variations of it such as Hewstess, Huestiess, Hustis, Huestis and Hewistiss. This is not unusual for a name to be spelled differently during certain periods of time.

The earliest ancestor of this family to be found on Ancestry.com is William Hewstess who was born in 1747 in the State of Virginia. He was first married in 1765 to Ann Sutton, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Pindell) Sutton. He was later married in 1775 to Elizabeth Bevell. Ann was born in 1746 in Virginia and died in 1810 in Marlboro County, S.C., where William died also in 1790. At some point, William was granted 50 acres of land, most likely for his service in the Colonial Army, on the southwest side of Pee Dee River in Welch Tract, Craven County, S.C.

William Hewstess had a son named Matthew Heustess who was born in 1781 in Marlboro, S.C. Matthew was married in 1805 to Nancy Ann Spears (1781-1858), daughter of James Edwin and Lydia (Meekins) Spears. He died in 1842 in Bennetsville of Marlboro County. Matthew and Nancy had eight children, among which was a son named James H. Heustess.

James H. was born in 1815 in Marlboro County and was married to Zada Caulk, daughter of Daniel (1784-1844) and Clara Caulk (1783-1843). James H. and his son, Daniel M. Heustess are the two ancestors who brought the family to Covington County after their wives deaths. Zada died in 1861 and Daniel’s first wife, Emily, died in 1876. James H. died and was buried in Opp in 1896.

Daniel was first married in 1874 to Emily Pearce (1851-1876) who died giving birth to their only daughter, Emily Virginia Heustess, b. 1876, d. 1936, m. 1894 John Thomas Jones (1871-1927). John Thomas worked as a merchant in the Town of Opp, and they reared two daughters: Pearl, b. 1895, d. 1961, m. Tullie Tee Clark (1892-1962); and Lula Belle, b. 1899, d. 1979, m. Talmadge Wilson (1896-1977).

Daniel was next married in 1882 to Julia Bennett Robertson, daughter of John Wilson (1824-1899) and Harriett Emiline (Bennett) Robertson. The Robertson’s lived in Tallapoosa County when Julia was born. For about six years, Daniel and Julia make their home in Pike County where their first two children were born. They then moved in 1888 to Hallton in Covington County where seven more children were born. The family became active in the Antioch Congregational Church.

In 1900, Daniel moved the family to a farm on Opine Road in the Opp area. There he farmed and became active in the establishment of the Town of Opp. As a trustee, he along with A.P Stanley and Andrew Wallace selected the site for a two-story building for the Opp School and that for the Opp City Cemetery.

Daniel and Julia Heustess had nine children to add to the one he had by his first wife. They were as follows: Jessie Anna, b. 1884, d. 1903, m. 1901 Lawrence Graves (1879-1905); Harriet Alzada, b. 1886, d. 1904 of yellow fever; Joseph William, b.&d. 1888; James Weaver, b. 1889, d. 1966, m. 1926 Jessie Reid Stephens (1903-1990); John Daniel, b. 1890, d. 1891; Mary Anna, b. 1893, d. 1979, m. 1914 Thomas Jefferson Pierce, Jr.; Arthur Trammel, b. 1895, d. 1967, m. 1921 Willa Mae Sims; Ulysses L, b. 1898, d. 1967, m. 1921 Juanita Cox; and Kelsie Bennett, b. 1900, d. 1930, m. 1929 Julia Sunshine Berg.

Jessie Anna and Lawrence Graves had one son, Clifton Oma. The next two children died young. The fourth child, James Weaver Huestess, and wife, Jessie Reid Stephens, reared the following three children: James Henry, b. 1927, d. 1998; William Arthur, b. 1929, d. 2000; and Mary, b. ca 1945, m. James Austin Olive. John Daniel died young, and the next child, Mary Anna, and her husband, Thomas Jefferson Pierce, Jr., had two children: Sarah Marie and James Byrd, b. 1918, d. 1983. Arthur Tramel and Kelsie Bennett did not have any children, but Ulysses L. Huestess and wife, Juanita Cox, had a son, Dan Cox, b. 1922 d. 1999.

The fourth child, James Weaver Huestess, became Major of Capital Heights in Montgomery, Clerk of the Montgomery County Board of Revenue and Secretary of County Commissioners of Alabama. His wife, Jessie was a schoolteacher. The sixth child, Mary Anna, and her husband, Thomas Jefferson Pierce, Jr. operated the T.J. Pierce Mercantile Company in Opp from 1933 to 1968. The son, Arthur Trammel served with the 167th Infantry, Rainbow Division, from 1917 to 1919, worked with the Aviation Repair Depot of the engineering department and then with the U.S. Veterans Administration in Montgomery. He also served in appointee positions under Alabama Governors Brandon, Graves and Miller. Ulysses L. Huestess was the Chief Clerk of the Alabama Prison Department, a salesman for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Amoco Distributing Company of Montgomery. Kelsie Bennett Huestess was a mason with a specialty in plastering. He helped with the construction of the Opp Cotton Mill in 1921.

In 2003, there were 31 descendants of the Daniel Huestess family. Daniel and Julia as well as his father, James H., and five of their children are buried in the Antioch Church Cemetery.

The sources for this narrative include a family story written by Marie (Pierce) Morgan of Opp and published in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama and Ancestry.com. Marie indicated that she used family knowledge and genealogical Records as her sources.

Anyone who might have a correction to any of the above or additional information is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.