Thomasson family reunion recognizes services of ancestors

Published 12:20 am Saturday, August 9, 2014

Thomasson family descendants gathered in Andalusia, Ala., at the Cedar Grove Church of Christ fellowship room on Saturday, August 2, for their annual reunion.

This series of reunions was begun in 1978 and has continued almost every year since that date.

Those attending are primarily the descendants of Thomas Randolph and Sarah (Roach) Thomasson, both natives of York District, S.C. They migrated as a young couple to Morgan County, Ga. to Pike County (currently Bullock), Ala. and finally settled in Covington County in 1854. They had 12 children, but one son died around the age of 10 and was supposedly buried in Bullock County.

Those attending the reunion began arriving around 10 a.m. setting about renewing relationships and greeting new cousins.

All were asked to register and provide up-to-date contact information plus prepare a nametag. Following this they fellowshipped and viewed displays of family photographs, an original painting and a wall-hanging of the family crest, an original watercolor of the earliest Thomasson dwelling in Virginia and the actual family tree printed on a large wall hanging.

At noon, Curtis Thomasson, a great, great grandson and reunion chairman, gave an official welcome and presented several pertinent announcements. Copies of the family’s history, Thomasson Traces—Lineages (Volume I) and photograph copies of the early Thomasson house painting were available for purchase.

By the end of the reunion, all copies of the house photographs had been sold, but quite a few copies of Volume I remain available for purchase at $45.

It was also announced that Bertie (Knowles) Smith, a great, great granddaughter, has assumed the role of treasurer for the Thomasson Cemetery, which is located off Brooklyn Road and across from Hopewell Baptist Church. Anyone wishing to make a donation or who might be interested in selecting a burial site may contact Bertie.

Anyone who is a direct descendant of Cornelius Starr Thomasson, is free to select a burial plot.

Following the announcements, an invocation was worded for the “covered-dish” meal by first time attendee, Dennis Thomasson. Dennis is descended from a much earlier generation of Thomassons who settled in Iowa.

He and his wife, Esther, traveled from East Oklahoma.

The food was abundant and delicious as usual.

After the dinner, everyone reassembled for a period of family history. The hymn, “Thomasson,” was led by Lavon Henley, a great, great grandson.

The oldest man present was Lester Thomasson at 96 years of age, and the oldest lady was Martha Richey at 87.

They were both presented with handmade lap robes, courtesy of Muriel Thomasson of Sun City, Fla. The youngest child present was Harper Grace Kelly, five greats granddaughter, who was given a framed picture of the Thomasson Schoolhouse, which her three greats grandfather Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson had built.

Jordan Thomasson, a three greats grandson, was recognized as having traveled the farthest from California and was given a photographed copy of the early Thomasson house in Virginia.

The approximately 80 attendees were introduced according to their ancestor. Thomas Randolph and Sarah (Roach) Thomasson had 10 sons and one daughter to reach adulthood, and those present were descended from six of those children.

The military service in the Confederate Army of each of the eight sons and one future son-in-law was presented as the family history segment of the meeting.

The oldest son, Thomas Roach, enlisted August 1861 and served as a private in Company A, 25th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

He became ill and was hospitalized in several locations before dying in November 1862 in a Chattanooga Hospital.

He was buried in a mass grave in the newly created Bethel Cemetery in Knoxville. He left three children, but the family is not in contact with any of his descendants at this time.

The next son, Trezevant Fernandes Thomasson, enlisted in November 1862 in Company G, 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment.

Since he had the means he was able to hire an Irishman to serve in his place, but he later enlisted again as a private in the Montgomery Guards.

At his death he was buried beside his first wife in the Marbury Cemetery, which is located near Verbena, the site of the Confederate Park.

The third son, Lorenza Marion Thomasson, was exempted from service at first due to his being a Baptist preacher; however, in 1862 he enrolled in Company C of the Home Guards commanded by George A. Snowden.

When the home guards were reorganized later, he was in Company C, Covington County Reserves commanded by Capt. B.F. Lockhart.

He died in 1910 and was buried on Christmas Eve beside his wife in the Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery at Heath.

The next son, James Franklin Thomasson, entered the war in 1863 by enlisting in Company H, 57th Alabama Infantry Regiment, which was also called the 54th.

On the march to the Atlanta Campaign, he was stricken with chronic diarrhea and was hospitalized in February 1864.

He continued to suffer and was still hospitalized at Union Springs, Ala., at the time of General Lee’s surrender.

The fifth son, William Monroe Thomasson, enlisted in Company B, 1st Battalion, Hilliard’s Legion, at Rainerville, Butler County, in April 1862. By July, he was listed as sick, but he moved on with his group to Knoxville, Tenn.

During early November 1862 he was wounded or killed in battle around Knoxville; therefore, he was buried in the mass grave at Bethel Cemetery where his oldest brother, Thomas Roach Thomasson, would be buried just five days later.

The sixth son, Cornelius Starr Thomasson, enlisted with his younger brother, Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson, in 1862 at Rose Hill, Ala.

They were sworn in on September 25, 1862, at Camp Watts in Notasulga and assigned to Company E, 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

They along with their future brother-in-law, Micajah Henley, served together throughout the entire war.

Toward the end of the war, Cornelius Starr was captured and imprisoned and Jefferson Sylvanus was hospitalized following an accident, which broke his arm.

Micajah Henley ended up being one of the seven men including three Henley relatives present when General Lee surrendered.

At his death in 1919, Cornelius was buried in the Thomasson Cemetery, which he created in the Hopewell community.

The next son, John Randolph Thomasson, was 23 years old in 1861 when he enlisted as a private in Company A, 1st (Loomis’s) Battalion, Ala. Infantry.

This battalion was later consolidated into the 24th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

This placed John in the same company with his oldest brother, Thomas Roach.

During November of that year, John was listed as absent, sick with leave, but there is no further record of him. The family has no knowledge of where he died or was buried, and he was still single.

Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson was 18 years old and the youngest son to join the Confederate Army.

As mentioned earlier, he enlisted at the same time as his brother, Cornelius Starr.

After about two weeks of training they were sent to join the Army of Northern Virginia. Jefferson Sylvanus was hospitalized several times, but was able to participate in several battles.

During February 1865 on the eve of one of the worst conflicts of the Battle of Petersburg, he fell while ice-skating and broke his arm for which he was hospitalized pretty much for the remainder of the war.

He died in 1939 at his home near Dozier and was buried beside his first wife at the Veasey Cemetery in the Burnout community.

The brothers’ only sister, Mary Ann Abbagail Thomasson, married Micajah “Mike” Henley who enlisted in the Confederate Army in October 1862. He was immediately sent to Virginia where he became a part of General Lee’s Army. He served as a private in Company E, 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment with the two Thomasson brothers and his own brother, Thomas Jefferson Henley, and his nephew, Elmore Anderson Henley. All five of these men survived the war and returned home to rear their families. At his death, Mike Henley was buried along with his wife in the Red Oak Baptist Church Cemetery.

The history segment was continued with Martha Inman, three greats granddaughter, from Tallahassee leading the group in singing a medley of songs related to the family’s migration from England to South Alabama.

An arousing singing of “Dixie” concluded the family history program.

The last portion of the reunion was an auction of donated items to raise funds for the Thomasson Cemetery.

Several attractive handmade items were offered, which were purchased by the enthusiastic audience.

The family will look forward to the reunion for 2015, which is scheduled for the first Saturday in August.

The source for this writing was the personal records of the writer, Curtis Thomasson. He may be contacted at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 34620; 334-804-1442; or Email: by anyone who has a comment or question.