Tillman, Lloyd and Caton families owned, farmed large plantations

Published 1:02 am Saturday, December 12, 2015

 Lloyd Plantation Home, at Creek Stand near Hurtsboro, Ala.

Lloyd Plantation Home, at Creek Stand near Hurtsboro, Ala.

The Tillman, Lloyd and Caton families were featured in earlier columns, but their success in large plantations and land holdings will be presented in today’s writing. Descendants of these families all migrated and located in Covington County during the mid-1800s. They all settled in or near the Straughn community located about seven miles northeast of Andalusia.

The Tillmans, Hardy Hill Tillman (1849-1914) and his wife, Sarah A. “Sallie” (Lloyd) (1839-1924), were married in 1872 when he was 23 years old and she, 33 years old. Sallie was the daughter of Daniel M. Lloyd (1805-1869) and his wife, Rebecca ? (1806-1855), wealthy plantation owners. They were residing in Dallas County in 1850 and had moved to Creek Stand (Warrior Stand) in Macon County by 1860. Daniel had an extensive estate, located outside Hurtsboro near Creek Stand in Macon County. He was able to enjoy this home for about 10 years before his death in 1869. The Lloyds’ antebellum home, which is still beautifully maintained, is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places. (See photo of home, which several descendants visited in 2008.)

Caton House, Straughn community, which was originally a log cabin.

Caton House, Straughn community, which was originally a log cabin.

Creek Stand is significant as the supposed holding place for area Indians as they were being assembled to send to the reservations in Oklahoma. It is understood that this was the beginning point of the “Trail of Tears,” at least for that area of Alabama. The location is also known as Warrior Stand.

At the end of the War Between the States and following Daniel Lloyd’s death, what was left of his estate was divided among his children. His daughter, Sarah “Sallie” Lloyd, took her share, $500, and moved with her husband, Hardy Hill Tillman, to Covington County circa 1871.They settled on the site of the current Straughn High School and lived in a large older dog-trot style house.

Around 1922 Sallie Lloyd Tillman donated four acres of land for construction of the Straughn School. The current Straughn Elementary School is located on those four acres given originally. The new Straughn High School was built on the site of the old Tillman home. This property was probably owned by Jack Tillman.

Caton/Tillman House at its new location on John Henry Caton Drive in Heath.

Caton/Tillman House at its new location on John Henry Caton Drive in Heath.

The third Tillman son, Marvin Pierce, was married circa 1918 to Exie Dora Caton when he was 41 years old and she, 28. The Caton and Tillman families lived on farms next to each other. Exie Dora was the daughter of John Henry Caton (1853-1940) and Rebecca (Veasey) (1855-1926). About the time of the Catons’ marriage in 1871, John Henry built his own homestead at the age of 18. It was located a little northeast of Straughn School.

John Henry was the son of George M.T. Caton, born in 1826 in Georgia. George M.T. was the son of John D. Caton (1787 N.C.-1855) and Euphama (1798 Ga.-1880). They had only been in Covington County a short time before John D. Caton’s death. They were buried in a private cemetery located a little northeast of Heath and southwest of Straughn; however, their remains were exhumed at a later date and buried in the same grave in the Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery at Heath. This became necessary as the railroad ran right through the small cemetery. The Catons had been wealthy plantation owners before the War Between the States. Even before John Henry’s death, it was rumored that he owned all the land lying between the railroad track at Heath and the original John Henry Caton homestead located on Preacher Barfoot Road northeast of Straughn School. He had barely settled here before his death, and his widow continued to manage the plantation with at least 22 slaves, which was quite a feat for a woman during that period of time.

John Henry Caton’s house began as a one-room log cabin, and it had additions throughout the years. Their youngest daughter, Exie Dora (Caton) and her husband, Marvin Pierce Tillman, moved into the house to care for her parents.

Their youngest son, James Hardy “Bill” Tillman, acquired the original Caton house and had it moved and restored in 1972-1973 to a new site on his property in Heath. It is now located on John Henry Caton Drive just off the Heath/River Falls Road. It is resting on land purchased by Bill’s father, Marvin Tillman, in 1900. Currently it serves as an ideal place for family reunions and other special events.

Descendants of the Tillman, Lloyd and Caton families have been prosperous in other counties as well as locally in Covington. They have contributed significantly to the growth and development of the area, especially the Heath and Straughn communities.

Sources for this writing include the family records of Bill Tillman and a family story written by his nephew, Gary Wood.

Anyone who might find an error in the above writing is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.