Jeffcoat family of English origin migrates to South Alabama

Published 1:59 am Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Jeffcoat family of English origin immigrated to America and settled in South Carolina. They later migrated to Pike County, Ala. and on into Covington County. Most of the genealogy of the early generations for this writing was taken from A number of variations of children’s names, significant dates, etc. were found, so that part of this story should be considered carefully with further documentation.

The earliest ancestor identified was Jacob Jefcoat (Jeffcoat), a native of England, who was drafted into the King’s army and sent to America circa 1756. His wife, Madam J. Jeffcoat, and children followed him later, and they located in Charles Town, S.C. For his military service, Jacob was granted 300 acres of land (50 for each member of the family) in Craven County, S.C. He later rendered service in the French-Indian War.

Among Jacob’s children was a son, Samuel B. Jeffcoat Sr. who was born in 1752 in Warwick, Warwickshire, England. He would have been one of the children immigrating with his mother. He may have been married more than once, but he was married to Rachael Zelphir as some point. He had at least 10 children who appear to have been by Rachael. His life ended in 1820 when he was residing in Orangeburg, S.C.

The children included the following: Samuel B. Jr., b. 1770, d. 1845, m. (1) 1785 Zilphia Bolin or Bolan (2) 1790 Bridget ? (3) Martha Roe; Benjamin, b. ca 1772, d. 1847, m. Rebecca Wilkins; Richard, b. ca 1772, d. 1791 (?); John, b. 1774, d.1847; Edward, b. 1776, d. 1859, m. (1) 1805 Rachael Williamson (2) Rachael Davis; Elijah “Lige,” b. 1782, d. 1857, m. (1) Jerushia “Dollie” Hoover (2) Elizabeth Jane McAdams; Barbara Oswald, b. 1787, d. 1867, m. Joshua David King (1770-1847); Martha or Mary O., b. 1796, d. 1841; Daniel G., b. 1805, d. 1879, m. Pherely Neese (1816-1890); and Jacob, b. 1785, d. 1876, m. (1) Henrietta Lucas (2) Unity ?.

The son named Elijah or Lige Jeffcoat was a well-respected minister in the Methodist Church. A sketch of an early small church building exists, which became known as “Jeffcoat’s Meeting House.” It was constructed on the Big Pond Branch with a cemetery being created between the building and the creek. The first building was torn down circa 1832, and a second one was erected. It lasted until 1899 when a third was built. In addition to Elijah, several of his brothers, sons and grandsons became leaders in the church.

The following portion of this narrative will focus on the oldest son above, Samuel B. Jeffcoat Jr. Although born in South Carolina, Samuel Jr. was one of the children who moved to South Alabama. He and his first wife, Zilphia Bolan, were only 15 years of age when they were married in 1785. They had three children before Zilphia’s death in 1790 in South Carolina. The children were Reubin, b. 1785, d. 1878; Barbara Oswald, b. 1787, d. 1867, m. Joshua David King; and Claiborne, b. 1890. (There appears to be a discrepancy on Barbara Oswald, as she is also listed among the children of Samuel B. Jeffcoat Sr.)

Having three small children after Zilphia’s death, Samuel Jr. was soon married in 1790 to a young Creek Indian lady named Bridget. They in turn had five additional children and eventually settled in Pike County, Ala. The children were Benjamin, b. 1792, d. 1838, m. Mary Ann Johnson; Elijah J., b. 1794, d. 1863, m. Mary Ann Pelham; Martha Ann, b. 1796, d. 1841, m. Frederick Livingston; Lewis, b. 1798, d. 1808, d. ca 1849, m. Lueselia; and Samuel, b. 1800, m. Deavis Sims. In 1792, the family lived on a 250 acre tract of land, which was granted to Samuel Jr. during that year. The land adjoined that of Samuel Jeffcoat Sr., which was located on Big Pond Bridge tributary of the North Edisto River. They moved to Pike County, Ala., after 1820.

One of the sons, Lewis Jeffcoat, was married to Lueselia, and they resided in Pike County where so many of their relatives settled. They reared the following children: Mary Ann, b. 1843, d. 1929, m. 1857 William David Mills; Bridget Louise, b. 1844; Nancy, b. 1846; and Frances, 1848.

A Reuben Jeffcoat appears to be the son of Reuben, son of Samuel B. Jeffcoat Jr. Assuming this is correct, this Reuben was born in 1817 in Lexington, S.C. He was married in 1836 to Frances Wyatt (1818-1890). He served in the Second Creek Indian War (1830-1837) and came to Alabama with his parents. He and Frances are reported to have had 12 children. Among these was a son named James Henry “Jim” Jeffcoat, b. 1857, d. 1929, m. 1886 Harriet Caroline Campbell.

James “Jim” Henry Jeffcoat and his wife, Harriet Caroline, reared the following children: Reuben Shelby, b. 1886, m. Lena Mizell Grimes; Willie Clifton, b. 1888, m. Irene Clark; Julius Claude, b. 1890, m. Ruth Hightower Breedlove; Leola Cleone, b. 1893, m. William Riley Richburg; and Mary Lee, b. 1895, m. Enoch Marvin Breedlove.

The oldest son, Reuben Shelby Jeffcoat, was married to Lena Mizell Grimes, daughter of Joshua English “Tote” and Charity Adeline “Sis” (Foley) Grimes. They moved to the Dannelly’s Crossroads during the early 1900s and then to the Town of Opp in 1909 when it was just beginning to develop. They reared the following two children: Cecil Shelby, b. 1910, d. 1982, m. Velma Underwood Hester; and Helen Jeanette, b. 1918, d. 1985, m. John Elbert Dee, son of John Walter Leslie and Laura Katherine (Rohdenbeck) Dee.

Cecil Shelby and Velma Jeffcoat had two children: Janet, b. 1941, d. 1981, m. Warren Leroy Sams, and they had one adopted son, Shelby McCleur Sams; and Mary Jane, b. 1944, m. Glen Douglas Zorn, son of Curtis Beachum and Sue (Tisdale) Zorn. The Zorns settled in Florala and reared two children: Curtis Jeffcoat, m. Samantha Lee Reeves; and Mary Janet.

Helen Jeanette (Jeffcoat) and John Elbert Dee had two children also: John Shelby, b. 1942, m. Susan Theresa Eiland; and Laura Helen, b. 1949, m. William Copeland Wood, Jr. John Shelby and Susan Jeffcoat had two children: Helen Theresa, m. Tony James Speegle; and John Shelby Jr., m. Charity Faith Moulton. Laura Helen (Jeffcoat) and William Copeland Wood Jr. reared three children: William Copeland III, m. Beth McKissick; Laura Katherine; and Leslie Dee.

As mentioned in the beginning, the genealogy of the early generations of the Jeffcoat family came from, and the later family information came from a story, which was written and submitted by John Shelby Dee of Opp, Ala., for publication in The Heritage History of Covington County, Alabama.

Anyone finding an error in the above information or who has additional genealogy on the Jeffcoat family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL; 334-804-1442; or Email: