Carpenter family arrived here in the early 1830s

Published 12:36 am Saturday, October 4, 2014

There were members of the Carpenter family in Covington County as early as the 1830s. During that period of time, a William Carpenter purchased a tract of land of 40.10 acres in 1832 from the Federal Government in the Brantley Township. A few families were moving into the area and locating between the Conecuh River and the military road from Pensacola to Ft. Mitchell, which would become known as the Three Notch Trail. The lands these early settlers claimed were along the historic Possum Trot Road, which no longer exists for the most part.

According to Wyley D. Ward’s Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Ala., William Carpenter also purchased two additional tracts, one in 1853 of 40.65 acres located in the Dozier/Rose Hill area and another in 1857 of 40.32 acres in the Union Township. Other Carpenter family members acquiring land from the government during these years included Benjamin Carpenter who purchased 80.26 acres in Brantley Township in 1836 and Holly Carpenter who in 1856 purchased two tracts of land, 40.08 acres and 40.00 acres in the Dozier/Rose Hill Township.

The earliest ancestor of this family identified by this writer was Benjamin Sampson Carpenter, born in 1771 in South Carolina. He was married in 1800 to Millicent “Milly” Martha Corley Inglish who was born in 1780 in South Carolina. One record lists him as dying in 1837 in Dale County, Ala., and her dying in 1850 in North Carolina. They reared the following children: William Bailey Carpenter, b. 1808, d. 1883, m. Rebecca Savannah Donaldson; John G., b. 1810, d. 1870; Mary Rebecca, b. 1815, d. 1880; Sampson S., b. 1816; Nancy, b. 1820, d. 1900; Benjamin, b. 1824, d. 1851; Holly, b. 1826; and Elizabeth, b. 1829, d. 1902.

During the War Between the States, several members of this family rendered service in the Confederate Army. William Carpenter at 57 years of age was a private in Company C, Covington County Reserves that was organized in August 1864 with B.F. Lockhart, a preacher, as captain. William appears to be William Bailey Carpenter whose son, Benjamin David Carpenter, enlisted in June 1862 in Company E, 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment. B.R. Carpenter was a private in Company F, 33rd Alabama Infantry Regiment, named Covington and Coffee Grays, who were mustered in March 11, 1862. B.H. was described as having blue eyes, light hair and fair complexion, and he was a farmer at the time of enlistment. Also serving in the same unit as privates were Sampson Harmon Carpenter, another son of William B., and a J.J. Carpenter.

It appears to this writer that the William Carpenter who arrived in Covington County in the early 1830s is the same as William Bailey Carpenter who was found in Dale County in 1840, Coffee County in 1850, and in Covington County in 1860. He may have been in South Butler County when he died in 1883 and was buried in the McKenzie Cemetery.

William Bailey Carpenter was born in Burke County, Ga., in 1808 and came to South Alabama as a young man. He was married in 1832 to Rebecca Savannah Donaldson (1815-1884), daughter of David (1776-1853) and Elizabeth (Gallmon) Donaldson. In 1850, they were residing in Coffee County and had nine children in the household. By 1860, the family was in Covington County, and three additional children have been born.

Based on available records, it looks as if they reared the following children: Sampson Harmon, b. 1833, d. 1863 during the war, m. 1852 Eliza Ryals (1836-1904); Benjamin David, b. ca 1834, m. Elizabeth Ware (1838-1904); Sarah Elizabeth, 1838, 1912, m. 1855 George Washington Nelson; Emily, b. ca 1839; Nancy, b. ca 1841; Susan Rebecca, b. 1844, d. 1919, m. Elmore Anderson Henley (1844-1929); William, b. ca 1845; Suffronia, b. ca 1847; and Martha, b. ca 1849, m. 1879 Eabin Baldwin; Giles B., b. ca 1852; Daniel D., b. ca 1854; and Cary C., b. ca 1857, d. 1930), m. Joanna Griffin (1856-1930).

Lineage information is available on five of the above children. First, the family of the oldest son, Sampson Harmon Carpenter, and his wife Eliza Ryals included the following children: Lloyd Lester, b. 1854, d. 1936; Edmund, b. ca 1854; William Edgar, b. 1855, d. 1930; Mary A., b. 1859; Harmon Sampson, b. 1862, m. 1880 Viney Elizabeth Creech (1863-1938); and Jesse H., b. 1871, m. 1899 Melissa A. Phillips. When Sampson died during the War Between the States, his widow applied for a pension based on his military service. It was dated March 26, 1863, and in care of J.J. Carpenter.

The second son, Benjamin David Carpenter, and his wife, Elizabeth Ware, reared the following children: Savannah, b. 1857, d. 1884, m. George Elais Wiggins (1857-1923); Martha Jane, b. 1858, d. 1931; Susan R., b. 1861; Mary E., b. 1863; and James Madison, b. 1866, d. 1856. Savannah and George Wiggins lived in the McKenzie area.

The oldest daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Carpenter, was married to George Washington Nelson, son of John and Sarah Elizabeth (Clifton) Nelson. They reared a large family of 14 or 15 children: William J. Or C., b. 1855, m. ? Marandi?; Emily M., b. 1858, m. Joseph Jake Aldridge; James Matthew “Jim,” b. 1859, d. 1950, m. 1891 Frances C. Nelson; Mary, b. 1860, d. 1959, m. 1885 Andrew Jackson “Jack” Bryan(t); Zelphia Susanna, b. 1864, d. 1946, m. 1882 Stephen “Teeb” Jackson; Benjamin David “Buck,” b. 1867, d. 1944, m. Elizabeth “Polly” Rushing (1872-1938); Joannah L. Susannah “Nancy,” b. 1869, d. 1946, m. 1889 Dorsey B. Bryan(t); Aquilla “Quille,” b. 1871 or 1873, d. 1959, m. Martha Ann Rogers; George Ann, b. 1875, m. 1891 W.J. Atwell; Victoria Elizabeth “Babe,” b. 1876, d. 1972, m. 1891 William Anderson “Bill” Henley (1868-1942); Elwood W. b. 1878, d. 1958, m. Alice Rogers (1875-1955); (twin) Manble “Mannie” Bazel, b. 1878, d. 1960, m. Eula Catrett; Johannah Bama, b. 1880, d. 1964, m. 1898 George Holmes; and Manuel, b. 1881.

The sixth child, Susan Rebecca Carpenter, was married to Elmore Anderson Henley, son of Alfred and Sarah Ann Henley. They had the following children: Ennie America, b. 1872, d. 1949, m. 1897 George Washington Henderson (1868-1942); Jasper N., b. ca 1873; Ander J., b. ca 1878; Berney H., b. ca 1881; and Bammer, b. ca 1884. George W. Henderson was the son of Daniel W. (1829-1937) and Nancy Winnieann (Sasser) (1838-1899) Henderson.

The youngest son, Cary C. Carpenter, was married to Joanna Griffin, and they reared the following children in Covington County: George, b. 1869; Jessee, b. 1875; Gosie, b. 1878; Gus Eldridge, b. 1881; and Mary Ellen, b. 1886, d. 1965, m. Charles Braxton Farnham (1862-1930).

Holly Carpenter, the youngest son of Benjamin Sampson and Millicant Carpenter, was married to Sarah Jane McDowell. In 1850 he was single and living with his mother, Millicent, and his sister, Nancy. In 1852, Holly purchased 40.62 acres of land in Coffee County. In 1860 he was married and living in the Haw Ridge community of Precinct 11, Coffee County. He and Sarah Jane had two daughters: Martha B., b. 1858, d. 1910, m. 1872 Zachary Vincent Stripling (1846-1902); and Josephine V., b. ca 1861, d. 1917, m. 1883 Moses “Mose” Aaron Stripling (1853-1931). Both daughters married and lived out their lives in Texas.

The sources for this writing included Wyley Ward’s Early History of Covington County Alabama, 1821-1871 and Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Alabama, census records, personal records of Johnnie Meeks and

If anyone should find an error in the above information he is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: