T.R. Thomasson UDC holds district meeting in Andalusia

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 1, 2014

The General Henry D. Clayton District, Alabama Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy held its annual district meeting on February 22, in Andalusia. The Thomas Randolph Thomasson UDC Chapter 2471 of Andalusia hosted the conference at Springdale Estate at 521

East Three Notch Street. Some 50 in attendance represented four UDC chapters and several guests. The four chapters included the General William C. Oates 1342 of Dothan, General Edmond Winchester Rucker 2534 of Enterprise, Captain Stouten Hubert Dent 2669 of Eufaula and Thomas Randolph Thomasson 2471 of Andalusia. The Stonewall Jackson 667 Chapter was not represented.

Each delegate was registered by Brandi Evans and presented with a program for the day. Refreshments were available for the guests as they prepared for the beginning of the meeting, which was called to order at 10 a.m. by District Director Tammie Evans of Andalusia. The order of the meeting included pledges and salutes to the following flags: Christian, United States, Alabama and Confederate (First National). Following the UDC Ritual, Linda Castleberry, president of the Andalusia Chapter, extended an official welcome, which received an official response from Shirley Edberg, Alabama Division treasurer.

The delegates then stood as Donna Clark, Alabama Division president, was introduced. Next all Division officers and guests were recognized.

District business included reading of the minutes and a roll call of chapters. Each President of the chapters present gave a report of the group’s achievements.  A report of the credentials committee led to the conduction of new business. New district officers placed in nomination for a committee were elected and then installed by Alabama Division President Donna Clark. These included Tammie Evans as district director, Pat Richter as co-director, Ellen Green as secretary, and Barbara Peters as Chaplain. The bylaws committee for 2015 was appointed and includes Donna Clark, Brandi Evans and Sarah Fowler.

Conference Chairman Tammie Evans then introduced Sir Francis McGowin, immediate past commander of the Covington Rifles SCV Camp, who gave a brief review of the Confederate State of Alabama flag. She next introduced Curtis H. Thomasson, current commander of the Covington Rifles SCV Camp and direct descendant of Thomas Randolph Thomasson , namesake of the local UDC Chapter, who shared a brief genealogy of the Thomasson family and the underlying reason for the name of the Thomas Randolph Thomasson UDC Chapter.

There was a special presentation of the Caroline Dent McDowell Memorial Gavel by Tammie Evans to the General William C. Oates 1342 Chapter of Dothan, which was the chapter to have the highest percentage of members present for this meeting. Afterwards, Ceya Minder, president of the Oates Chapter, extended a welcome to everyone to 2015 district meeting to be held in Dothan. Next, Mary Williams and Brandi Evans conducted a memorial service with the assistance of Charles Simon playing “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes.

Jared Boutwell, curator of Springdale Estate, gave a brief history of Springdale and the Scherf family who built and resided in it for many years. He then invited everyone to tour the facilities.

Before the buffet luncheon, Curtis Thomasson voiced the petition for grace. Following the luncheon, a group picture was taken, and the meeting was adjourned after the group joined hands and sang “Bless Be the Tie That Binds.”

The speaker, Curtis Thomasson, shared a brief genealogy of his Thomasson family, which originated in England. There were three generations there before the third immigrated to America in 1677. The first known ancestor, George, had a son named George Jr. who became prominent from his extensive collection of English Civil War tracts. He was a stationer and operated a book store in London. George Jr.’s son, Thomas, is the immigrant ancestor who settled in Louisa County, Va. Thomas had a son, William Pollard Thomasson, who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. William P. was the father of Thomas Randolph Thomasson who is the main subject of this writing.

Thomas Randolph Thomasson was born in 1797 in Granville County, N.C. At a young age, he moved with his family to York District, S.C. He was married there in 1823 to Sarah Roach, daughter of Major Thomas M. Roach, a veteran of the War of 1812. Around 1830, the couple moved with three young sons to Madison, Morgan County, Ga. where they resided for about eight years. While there they had four more sons before moving in 1838 to Pike County, Ala. where they settled in the Farriorville community. They lived in Pike County, which later became Bullock, for about 15 years and had three more sons and one daughter. Thus the family grew to include 11 children, 10 sons and one daughter, but they lost one little boy while living in Pike County.

The family was prospering well until the eruption of the War for Southern Independence. One by one eight of the 10 sons enlisted to serve in the Confederate Army—the one had died and the youngest was too young. The oldest, Thomas Roach Thomasson, and his younger brother, John Randolph, joined a company in August 1861 being organized in Covington County called the Andalusia Beauregards. The battalion was later made a part of the 25th Alabama Infantry Regiment, with the brothers being assigned to Company A. These two brothers died during the war, and there is no known information on John Randolph’s death or burial site. Thomas Roach died in November 1862 while hospitalized in Knoxville. He was buried in a mass grave in a field that became the historic Bethel Cemetery.

Trezevant Fernandes “Trez” Thomasson, a very successful merchant in Montgomery, was able to furnish a substitute to serve for him when he enlisted in Company G, 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment in November 1862. He was immediately discharged when James Parsons, an Irishman, took his place. Treze later served as a private in the Montgomery Guards to help defend his home area.

Lorenza Marion “Ren” Thomasson, an ordained Baptist minister, was exempt from active service, but he later enlisted in 1862 in Company C of the Home Guards commanded by George A. Snowden. In February 1865, his group was combined with others to form a Battalion of County Reserves with George W. Kierce as Major and Commander. They were charged with maintaining the peace and rounding up deserters.

James Franklin “Frank” Thomasson, was residing in Freeport, Fla., when he joined the army in May 1863. He was enrolled in Company H, 57th Alabama Infantry Regiment (also called 54th). His group became a part of the Army of Tennessee and saw much action including the Dalton-Atlanta Campaign. Frank became seriously ill and spent the last year of the war in hospitals.

William Monroe “Bill” Thomasson enlisted in April 1862 in Rainerville, Butler County, and was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, Hilliard’s Legion. During a battle around Knoxville Bill was killed around Novembe 14, 1862. Ironically, he was buried in the Bethel Cemetery just five days before his older brother, Thomas Roach, would be buried there.

Cornelius Starr “Neil” Thomasson and his younger brother, Jefferson Sylvanus “Syl” Thomasson, enlisted together in 1862 at Rose Hill into a company being raised by Col. Lightfoot. They were able to serve together for the entire war except for the few months that Neil was held prisoner after the Battle of Petersburg. Also, Syl fell while ice skating and broke his arm on the eve of one of the fiercest days of fighting at Petersburg.  His being hospitalized most likely saved his life. The two served in Company E, 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment, which was sent straight to Virginia upon its organization. The two brothers survived the war and were able to return to Covington County to rear their large families.

In addition to these eight brothers, their only sister’s future husband, Micajah “Mike” Henley, enlisted and served in Company E, 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment with Neil and Syl, his future brothers-in-law. Amazingly, Mike was one of only six men of Company E who were present when General Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Two others of the six were his close Henley relatives. At the end of the war, Mike returned home and married Mary Ann Abbagail Thomasson.

A Thomasson family genealogist and a state leader for U.D.C. in Georgia, Margie B. Malloy, chose to honor the family’s heritage, especially their contributions to the Confederacy, by chartering a U.D.C. chapter in Covington County and naming it the Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter 1471. It was chartered on August 20, 1983, at a Thomasson family reunion and included 56 members who were all direct descendants of Thomas Randolph Thomasson and his wife, Sarah (Roach). Margie Malloy did all the paper work for the organization and memberships of the chapter, which is the largest to ever be chartered in the State of Alabama.

This brief history should clarify the reason for the name of the Thomas Randolph Thomasson UDC Chapter 2471. It continues to be an active chapter as evidenced by their hosting this 2014 district meeting.

Anyone interested in learning more about the United Daughters of the Confederacy or the Thomasson family may contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.
The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.  The program will be more on the chartering of the local U.D.C. chapter and the Thomasson family’s contributions to the Confederacy.