Nelson descendants spread throughout Coffee County

Published 12:02 am Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Nelson family that settled in Covington County was quite numerous and spread throughout the county, as well as that of Coffee and Crenshaw. The earliest known ancestors of this family were presented in last week’s column.

Also, the involvement of several members throughout the county was reported.

In today’s writing another generation of the family will be outlined for a more thorough coverage of the Nelsons. The grandchildren of George Washington and Sarah Elizabeth (Carpenter) Nelson are begun with the children of their oldest daughter, Emily M. Nelson, and her husband, J. Jake Aldridge. Records suggest they had three sons, but the name of only one was found, Lum, b. 1878, d. 1921, m. Lula E. Holmes, daughter of Tom and Phoebie (Wicker) Holmes of Coffee County.

The second son, James M. Nelson, was married in 1891 to Frances C. Nelson (1860-1950), and they resided in the Newbia community. Their children included the following: Bascom; Coston; Doshie; Cobart or Cobat; Clermon; Cora Lee “Babe,” m. Arthur “Bunk” Chesteen; and Mary A., m. ? Carlisle.

The fourth child, Mary Nelson, was married to Andrew Jackson “Jack” Bryan(t), son of Giles Ferdinand and Annice Mirandi (Loper) Bryan. The family lived at Pine Level in Coffee County and reared the following children: James W., b. 1875; Thomas, b. 1879; Lee, b. 1881; Oscar, b. 1883; Thomas, b. 1886, m. Fannie Pierce; James Williams, b. 1887, d. 1966, m. Lizzie Jane Havard; Lemma, b. 1891, d. 1964, m. Gene Gibson; George Washington, b. 1892, m. Leona Tanner; Andrew S. or J., b. 1894, d. 1975, m. Lottie Tanner; Charles Jefferson, b. 1898, d. 1986, m. (1) Margie Rabon (2) Laveeya Kittrell; Clyde, b. 1903, m. Lula McLeod; and Dot, b. 1903, d. 1991, m. Pearl Tanner. Jack Bryan accidentally shot and killed himself while squirrel hunting

George W. and Sarah E. Nelson’s daughter, Zilpah Susanna Nelson, was married in 1882 to Stephen “Teeb” Jackson. They reared the following children: Ida, b. 1884; Daniel Dozier, b. 1885, d. 1970; Noah Sampson, b. 1888, d. 1963, m. Ina E. Woodham; Quillie Forrest, b. 1890, d. 1977, m. 1910 Tammie Owens; Johnie Aris “Pat,” b. 1892, d. 1962, m. Sular Mae Thomas; Carlie, b. 1894, d. 1901; Bury Buster, b. 1896, d. 1961, m. Mattie Everage; Rosie Elizabeth, b. 1898, d. 1994, m. 1916 Thomas Hilliard Courtney; Marion Ray, b. 1900, d. 1985, m. Willie Gladys Herring; Jessie Esther, b. 1902, d. 1944, m. 1922 John T. Morgan; Willie Leonard, b.&d. 1904; and Bertie, b. 1906, d. 1940, m. Walter Brady Grimes.

The third son, Benjamin David “Buck” Nelson, was married to Elizabeth “Polly” Rushing (1872-1938), and they resided in Coffee County where Buck was a farmer. At their deaths they were buried in the Antioch Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery. They reared the following children: Burl; Ernest; Tobe; Lena; Maude; Minnie; Lela; Dellie, m. Dick Smith; Mathew W. ”Kie,”, b. 1898, d. 1935; Leonard Lenwood, b. 1890, m. Esther Madlyn “Mattie” Spivey; and Edlow, b. 1906, d. 1992. Two of the sons-in-law were Ross Hattaway and Hubert Marlor.

The next daughter, Joannah or Susannah “Nancy” Nelson was married to Dorsey B. Bryan(t), son of Giles F. Bryan (1868-1920) and younger brother of Andrew Jackson Bryan who married Nancy’s older sister, Mary Nelson. They reared the following children: Giles W., b. 1889, d. 1964, m. Sarah Floyd (1890-1961); Augusta E., b. 1891, d. 1973, m. Josephine Richards; Hanford Elwood, b. 1891, d. 1972, m. Lillie Smart; Elwood, b. 1891; Gustavus, b. 1893; Fannie, b. 1896, m. Joseph C. Smart; Kimmey R., b. 1898, d. 1985, m. Lizzie McWarters; Jefferson, b. 1902; Claudie, b. 1904, d. ca 1934, m. Max McKlin; Edlow, b. 1905, d. 1988, m. Emma Davis; Alto, b. 1909, d. ca 1940; and Maudie Alma, b. 1910, d. 2002, m. Sylvester Holland (1906-1987).

The next son, Aquilla P. “Quillie” Nelson, was married to Martha Rogers (1875-1956), and they lived in the Samson, Ala., area near Quillie’s brother, Elwood. They reared the following children: Ernest, Levy, Mal, Ola, Alzie, and Ella.

The daughter, Victoria “Babe” Nelson, was married in 1891 to William A. “Bill” Henley (1868-1942), son of Elmore and Rebecca (Carpenter) Henley. The family lived and farmed in the Harmony community of Covington County. It was stated in Babe’s obituary of the loss of “the 86 year-old matriarch of a prominent Covington County family.” Babe and Bill reared the following children: Ezra, b. ca 1893, d. before 1962; Manuel, b. 1896, m. Mattie Andrews; Austin, b. 1898, d. before 1962, m. Minnie Everage; Lottie, b. 1900, d. 1987, m. John Sid Meeks (1895-1961); Louise, b. 1903, m. Novice Atwell; Nobie, b. 1905, m 1919 Harland Nelson Jefferson; Icey, b. 1907, d. 2003, m. A.B. Newton (1905-1979); Ivey, b. 1910, m. Otis Maughon; Woodrow, b. 1912, m. Myrene Moore; Marlin, b. 1914.

The next son, Elwood P. Nelson, was married to Alice Rogers, and they reared the following children: Burie, b. ca 1906, d. 1988, m. Julia Elaine ?; Huey; Lem; Lonnie; Bonnie, m. ? Kennington; Dunia; Coy; and Coady, b. 1918, m. Myrene Bryan.

The next son, Mannie Bazel Nelson, was a twin to Elwood P. Nelson. He was married to Eula Catrett, and they were residing in Childersville, Coffee County, in 1910. They reared the following children: Exie, b. 1906, m. M.A. Leverette; J. Gasper, b. ca 1907; Hollis, ca 1908; Dessa Mae, m. ? Simmons; Narzie, m. ? Hodge; Grady, b. 1914, d. 1937; and Dewey J., b. 1920, d. 1944 in WW II.

The youngest daughter, Johannah Bama, was married in 1898 to George Holmes. They reared at least the following two daughters: Ada, b. 1909, d. 1964, m. Dewey Harrelson; and Ethel, b. 1913, d. 1919 as a child. All of these family members named were buried in the Antioch Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Coffee County.

There have been many descendants including later generations of the Nelson family to reside in Covington and adjacent counties. A few who were named in the Covington County History, 1821-1876, by Gus and Ruby Bryan included the following: In 1906, Gilbert L. Nelson served as Postmaster for the Kenney Post Office. Alexander H. Nelson and John William Nelson served as Postmasters of the Sanford Post Office during its early years. Charles L. Nelson was a director of the Citizens National Bank of Opp, and Louis Nelson was employed at First National Bank of Opp. There were many others who have served their families and communities well.

The primary source for this writing was the genealogical research done by Scott Smith of Enterprise, Ala. He included records compiled by Jeanette Henderson of Baker, Fla. Appreciation is expressed to them for their research and sharing their findings on this family.

Anyone who might find an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, 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 meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 2, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Anyone interested in Confederate heritage is welcome to attend.