Covington County’s Flemings were Irish descendants

Published 12:02 am Saturday, June 28, 2014

Members of the Fleming family who resided for a time in Covington County are descendants of an ancestor, Samuel M. Fleming, who was a native of Ireland. Samuel was born in 1720 in Antrim, Ireland. He was married to Alice Charlton who was born between 1720 and 1730 in Antrim, Tyrone, Ulster, Donegal, Ireland. It is assumed they married before immigrating to America, because their son, William James Fleming is listed as being born in Ireland in 1850.

It is uncertain where Samuel M. Fleming settled first, but he died in Jefferson County, Ga., in 1770. Alice lived quite a few years longer and died in 1806 in Washington, Md. One record states that their son, William James Fleming, immigrated in 1768 from Ireland to the State of Georgia aboard the “Prince George,” so that is probably when his parents came as well. The ship was captained by Robert Bailey whose surname would be given to William’s son, Laird Beatty Fleming.

William Fleming was first married in 1770 to Margaret McMurry (1745-1796), and they had at least one son, Robert Fleming. In 1778, he was next married to Mary Laird, daughter of Robert Laird. She was born in Mechlenburg, N.C., and died in Louisville, Jackson County, Ga. It appears that William rendered service during the American Revolution. In 1784 he was granted bounty land of 250 acres in Burke County, Ga. In 1786-1987 he was serving as Justice of the Peace in Burke County. In 1788 he was awarded 300 acres from “Headright and Bounty Grants of Georgia.” In 1798 he was given a Certificate of Revolutionary Ward Service and a land grant of 187.5 acres in Washington County, Ga. William James Fleming also rendered service in the War of 1812 as a private in Bowling’s Detachment, Georgia Militia.

William and Mary (Laird) Fleming had a son they named Laird Beatty Fleming, who was born in 1792 in Jackson County, Fla. He was married in 1814 to Jemima DuBois Hodges (1794-1884). Other records indicate he was married in 1828 to Mary E. Shackleford and again in 1844 to Mary Hicks (1820-1880). It appears that some of Laird’s children may have been born to the second wife, Mary.

He and his family were enumerated as residents of Covington County, Ala., in 1830. The household was listed as having 10 white persons and 12 slaves. He was a large farmer during these years, but by 1840 he was shown as having no slaves. He was living in Brooklyn community of Conecuh County, Ala., in 1841 when he wrote a memorandum to his daughter, Jane Beatty (Fleming) Buchanan, giving it to her as a matter of record. She and her husband, Wilson Granbury Buchanan, were about to depart for some site in Texas. Soon after this he and his wife show up in Santa Rosa County, Fla., but they had moved back to Brooklyn by 1860.

Laird Beatty and Jemima D. (Hodges) Fleming reared a large family of 13 children: Mary Anna, b. 1815, d. 1900; Jane Beatty, b. 1817, d. 1901, m. Wilson Grandbury Buchanan; Elizabeth Elvira, b. 1819, d. 1904, m. Edward J. Watts; William Virgin, b. 1821, d. 1905, m. 1850 Margaret ?; Aden Augustus, b. 1823, d. 1876, m. Ann Lucenus ?; Amos Milton, b. 1825, d. 1892; Lizzie, b. 1826; George Andrew, b. 1827, d. 1864; James David, b. 1829; Margaret Isabella, b. 1830, d. 1880, single; James Laird, b. 1832, d. 1880; Jemima Ann, b. 1834; and Robert Picney, b. 1838, d. 1915.

At least two of their children were enumerated for Santa Rosa County in the 1860 census. George Andrew or Anderson Fleming and wife, Nancy “Dicey,” had the following children at the time: Elizabeth, 8: George, 7; Robert, 4; Milton, 3: and Terry, 1. Aden Augustus Fleming and wife, Ann Lucenus, had two children: Augustus, 10; and Mattie, 7.

As the War for Southern Independence waged, at least two of his sons volunteered for service. One served in the 15th Confederate Cavalry from Santa Rosa County, and another was assigned to the 15th Regiment Infantry Reserves for Clay County, Fla. William Virgil Fleming served as a first lieutenant in Company B, 3rd. Battalion, Alabama Reserves. At his death in 1905, he was buried in Milton, Fla.

William Virgil Fleming was married in 1850 to Margaret J. Thompson (1832-ca 1916) in Santa Rosa County, Fla. They reared the following children: Mary Susan, b. 1851; Laird Beatty, b. 1853, d. 1946; William Henry, b. 1855, d. 1937, m. Sara Louise Anderson (1862-1948); Jemima C., b. 1855; James Madison, b. 1860; and Aden F., b. 1861.

In 1860 the above family was residing in Covington County with William V. being 38 years of age, and Margaret, 27. They had five children at this time, and William V. was a schoolteacher as well as farmer. At the same time a household for a John E. Fleming was enumerated as residing in Covington County. John was a farmer at 35 years of age with his wife, Ellen, who was 28. They had the following children at the time: Andrew J., 10; John W., 7; Katherine, 5; and Starling, 1.

William V. Fleming’s son, Laird Beatty, and his wife were residing in William’s household in 1885 when a Florida census was taken for Santa Rosa County. Laird was 32, his wife Josephine was 22, and they had four young children. William V. was 64, and his wife, Jemima, 52. Living with them were two other sons, William Henry, 18, and James Madison, 25.

Although the following family’s relationship has not been identified with the above Fleming relatives, there are most likely kin to each other. Margaret L. Fleming (1856-1892) was married in 1876 in coffee County, Ala., to Hulin Adams (1854-1906), son of David Fannin Adams, Jr. and Margaret Ann Satcher. They reared the following children: Hulen Jr., b. 1876, d. 1947, m. 1886 Catherine Gatlin; Florence Lucinda “Cindy,” b. 1898, d. 1945, m. Jesse Travis Brewer; Wiley Franklin, b. 1879-1931; David Alexander, b. 1881, d. 1925; Margaret Ann “Nemma,” b. 1883, d. 1902; Newhenson, b. ca 1884; Henry Clay “Jack,” b. 1886, d. 1949; Mansfield Tracy, b. 1887, d. 1952; and Berry L., b. 1892, d. 1960. Hulen Fleming Jr. acquired about 700 acres of land in the Wiggins Crossroads community and began his family in a log cabin.

The Fleming family resided throughout Conecuh and Covington Counties in South Alabama and in Santa Rosa County in Northwest Florida. They contributed significantly to the growth of this general area. More research is need on this large family.

Sources for this narrative included family records, family story in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, census records and

Anyone who might have a correction to any of the above genealogy or additional information to add is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting on Thursday, July 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Sir Frances McGowin will present a program on Nathan Bedford Forrest, and new officers will be installed. Guests are welcome.