Dean family settled in Dozier, Covington County

Published 1:44 am Saturday, September 19, 2015

The later generations of the Dean family resided mostly in Crenshaw County, Ala., but some began to move into Covington County and other western locations. According to the immigrant ancestor was John Dean who was born in 1759.

Some records suggest he was born in Ireland and others state Westmoreland, Va.  He does appear to be of Irish ancestry.

John Dean was married to Elizabeth Minton (1764-1836) who appears to have been a native of South Carolina. They were married there circa 1780 in Laurens, S.C. John died in 1837 in Clarke County, Ala., so he had migrated south along with others of his family. One record reveals that at least three of his sons had migrated from South Carolina to Twiggs County, Ga. One of the sons, John Dean, served in the Indian War of 1812 in the militia of General David Blackshear in Central Georgia. After the war circa 1818, John along with brothers, Jarrett and James Minton Dean moved by wagons along with about a dozen other families to Lowndes County in Central Alabama. This was also the time when the more land was being opened up for settlement.

This son, John Dean, was married to Nancy Mathews/Mathis, daughter of Thomas Mathews/Mathis. He was one of the first settlers to patent land in Lowndes County where these families settled for a time. He and Nancy reared a large family of children, and he died between 1840 and 1850.

Another of the three brothers and the youngest child, James Minton Dean, was born in 1788 and lived until 1855. He was married to Tabitha Mathews/Mathis) (1800-1853) who is probably a sister to Nancy Mathews. One record indicates that Tabitha died in 1855, the same year her husband died. James Minton and Tabitha Dean reared the following children: Jarrett, b. 1813, d. 1883; Daniel, b. 1818, d. 1873; Charles Sumpter “Sump,” b. 1823, d. 1891; Arrena, b. 1826; Malinda Ann, b. 1829, d. 1907; Mary, b. 1832; Malinda (?), b. 1835, d. 1890; and Willie, b. 1837, d. 1888.

The third son, Charles Sumpter Dean, was born in 1823 in Autauga County after the family had moved to Alabama. He rendered service in the Confederate Army as a private in Company A, 17th Alabama Infantry Regiment. In March 1864 he was admitted to the Confederate Hospital in Greenville, Ala., for treatment of dysentery. Upon recovering he continued to serve and was discharged to return home to his family.

He was married in 1848 to Edna Frances Walker (1827-1865), daughter of John Newstep Walker and Susan (Cason). This means Edna died about the time of the end of the war and left Sumpter with the following seven young children: Sarah Tabitha, b. 1842, d. 1908, m. James Ramsey; Oliver Hazzard Perry, b. 1848, d. 1917; Louisa, b. 1849, James William, b. 1853, d. 1933; Franklin Lafayette, b. 1854, d. 1930, m. 1877 Martha A. Smith; Mary, b. 1856, d. 1939; Samuel McDonald  “Mack,” b. 1839, d. 1938, m. (1) 1882 Anna “Annie” Lee Ola Barrington (1866-1894) (2) 1899 Emma Marler (1871-1928); and Joseph E., b. 1865, the year of his mother’s death. Then needing someone to help rear his children, Sumpter married Sarah Ann Paralee Stricklin. She is the wife who filed and received a pension from Sumpter’s service in the Confederate Army.

The next to youngest son, Samuel McDonald “Mack” Dean, lived his last years in Opp, Ala. He was first married in 1882 to Anna Lee Ola “Annie” Barrington (1866-1894), daughter of Marion Madison Barrington and Ann Margaret (Heidt). They had the following children: Charles Sumpter, b. ca 1882; Claude E, b. 1883, d. 1946; Robert Marion, b. 1885, d. 1944; Jeanie King, b. 1887; and Alby, b. 1888, d. 1946. A few years after Annie’s death, Mack was married in 1999 to Emma Marler (1871-1928). They had the following children: Fannie Mae, b. ca 1900; Ozell, b. 1902, d. 1972; and four children whose names were not provided.

Mack and Annie’s second son, Robert Marion or Marion Robert Dean, grew up in the Black Rock community of Crenshaw County, but he moved to the Dozier area apparently with his parents and before he was married in 1905. He married Amanda “Mandy” Lavada Harville (b. 1887), daughter of Hillary “Red” Harville and Savannah (Hicks). Mandy was born in Pike County, but moved to Crenshaw County as a child with her parents. His dad, Samuel Mack Dean’s, farm was located off US Hwy 29, about three miles east of Dozier on property owned by a Clark family. Clark’s Store was once operated on the property to serve the area residents.

Early photos of Robert Dean show him to be a tall, dark-haired, handsome young man. Hard labor and declining health took a toll on him causing him to begin to bald and age during his adult years. He was a trained carpenter, and he spent most of his adult years working at Bradley’s Mill, which was a thriving lumber mill. Bradley’s Mill was a self-sufficient camp situated on the Old Central of Georgia Railroad, which ran from Troy to Andalusia. It was located between the Towns of Brantley and Dozier and provided jobs for local folks for the first half of the Twentieth Century. The mill had a commissary where employees could do their shopping, and it provided some housing.

Robert lived about two miles away from his father on land located behind the Enon Primitive Baptist Church; however, the family was members of the local church of Christ. There was a very old graveyard near the Dean home place where many of the early settlers were buried. Also, there were several large pickle vats located on Robert’s property. These were available for local farmers to store their cucumbers in salt water until they could be shipped by train to some pickling plant for preserving and selling. This work, his work at the lumber mill and some farming took a serious toll on Robert’s health, and he died of a heart attack at 59 years of age while working at the mill.

One grandson recalled how Mandy carried on for a few years at the farm before moving to a house behind her daughter’s in Dozier. The farmhouse had been somewhat primitive as there was no “running water” in the house and no indoor plumbing facilities. He also remembered his grandmother cautioning to watch out for snakes in the outhouse. At her death, Mandy was buried beside Robert in the Dozier Cemetery.

Robert and Mandy Dean reared the following children: Minnie Iola, b. 1907, d. 1975; Nonie, b. 1907; Marion Durwood, b. 1909, d. 1970, m. Eva Oleta Sport (1916-1954); Clarence Howard, b. 1912, d. 1984, m. Sallie V. Phillips (1914-2009); Ruby Mae, b. 1920, d. 1982;Bertie B., b. 1922, d. 1987, m. Dixon “Dick” Etheridge (1914-1979); Herbert Hoover, b. 1928, d. 1967; Eva Naomi; and one other whose name was not listed.

Sources for the above writing include and a narrative written by Donnie Shackelford, a grandson of Robert and Mandy Dean. Appreciation is expressed to Donnie for his research and posting it for the benefit of others.

Anyone who may find an error in the above genealogy is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:


The Covington Historical Society will be meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.  Everyone is welcome.