Ptomeys come from Wilcox Co.

Published 12:59 am Saturday, June 4, 2016

While visiting with a descendant of the Bray family when researching that family this writer was lent a book on the Ptomey family. The Ptomeys settled in Wilcox County, and some descendants later located in Evergreen and Andalusia. Today’s writing will feature this family with the unusual name.

The name seems to have arisen from the earliest Ptomey ancestor to be identified in this country, who is John P. Tomey. It seems the descendants began to run the “P” initial with the Tomey to form Ptomey, which has been carried down through the generations. The family claims to be of Scottish descent and that their earlier ancestors migrated from Scotland to Ireland and then to Pennsylvania in America. It is likely this family along with many others came here to escape political and religious freedom. They soon settled in Virginia and in a valley where the Counties of Augusta, Rockbridge and Bath join. This area was known as the Calfpasture.

The date of John Ptomey’s arrival in this country is not known but it was sometime before he married Mary Fletcher in Rockbridge County, Va., in 1783. It is not known if a John Tomey who served in the Continental Army in 1777 and 1778 is the same man, but it is quite possible.

Sad to report that John’s wife, Mary, died within a year, which may have occurred during her giving birth, but there is no documentation of this. John was married two years later in 1785 in Augusta County to Elizabeth Jackson, daughter of Peter Jackson. They reared the following 10 children: Alexander, b. 1791, m. 1815 Mary Tomlinson; Annis, b. ca 1796, m. 1817 John Clayton; Betsy, b. ca 1798, m. 1823 John Roach; George W., b. 1800, d. 1849, m. 1824 Mary Blandenship (1798-1859); William, b. ca 1801, m. 1825 Catharine Lockridge; John M., b. ca 1802, d. 1875, m. 1821 Margaret Rebecca Beason (ca 1804-1962); Michael, b. ca 1803, m. 1824 Mary Lockridge (1806-1875); Nancy, b. ca 1805, m. 1825 William Black; Mary “Polly,” b. ca 1807, m. 1824 John Kinkaid; and James Nelson, b. 1809, d. 1895, m. 1831 Sarah C. Black.

The second oldest son, George W. Ptomey, is the descendant who brought the family to Alabama. He traveled with his wife’s parents, the Blankenships, and other families in a caravan. One can imagine this long, arduous trip as they were on mules and wagons with their children, slaves and livestock. They were most likely following the Old Federal Road down through the Carolinas, Georgia and finally to settle in South Alabama. George W. was born in 1800 in Rockbridge County, Va., and was married there in 1824 to Mary Blankenship, daughter of John Blankenship Sr. and Nancy Houchen(s). The migration began soon afterwards, which would have been between November 1824 and March 1825 when George W. filed a Constable Bond with Probate Court of Wilcox County, Ala., after being elected Constable for the county.

George W. and Mary Ptomey settled about three miles north of the Town of Pineapple, which was founded in 1820 with rapid growth occurring during the 1820s and 1830s. Apparently George received some property, possibly slaves, from his father’s estate, which was settled in Virginia in 1824. They settled in Wilcox County, Ala., on government land, and therefore, “squatted” until the land could be purchased. In the 1830 census enumeration, George owned two slaves, but this number increased as he enlarged his farming operations. He became a big cotton farmer and owned as many as 10 slaves at the time of his death in 1849. He did sell some tracts of land during his later years.

Land records indicate George W. obtained land patents in 1834 for 39 acres, in 1835 for 78 acres and in 1837 for 39 acres. He also purchased 320 acres in 1835 from Edmund Jones and 78 acres in 1838 from William R. Chandler. Seems he acquired almost 640 acres from 1835 to 1838. He built his house on Turkey Creek with his farm surrounding the site. There he and Mary reared their seven children, and when he died in 1849, he was buried in the local Friendship Baptist Cemetery. It is thought that they were members of this church, but upon arriving in this country they appear to have been of the Presbyterian faith.

George W. and Mary Ptomey reared the following children: Nancy Jane, b. 1824, d. 1888, m. Joseph R. Melton (1819-1880); Martha Ann, b. 1828, d. 1853, m. 1847 James Frazier Compton (1806-1892); Margaret D., b. ca 1829, d. ca 1873, m. ca 1849 Marshall B. Lynam; Rachel A., b. ca 1830, d. ca 1846, m. ca 1846 J.T. Tynes; William Nelson, b. 1832, d. 1881, m. (1) 1862 Julia A. Compton (1836-1874 (2) Ella D. Regan; John W. b. 1835, d. 1905, m. (1) 1857 Elizabeth Grimes (2) 1877 Martha A. Kyser (1852-1924); and Mary Adelaide, b. ca 1838, d. ca 1859; m. ca 1858 John Seales.

The youngest son, John W. Ptomey and his second wife, Martha A. Kyzer, reared the following eight children: George Kyser, b. 1881, d. 1941, m. (1) 1906 Lula Iola Cowart (1879-1921); (2) 1924 Alice Tomlinson (1896-1998); S. Lucretia, b. 1882, d. 1915, m. 1903 A.W. Sills; J.D., b. 1886, d. 1941, m. 1909 Annie Laura Tomlinson; Katie Belle, b. 1887, d. 1978, m. 1912 J. Taylor Ball; P. Lucille, b. 1889, d. 1973, m. 1915 Omer Wendell Cowden; Fannie T., b. 1891, d. 1970, m. 1911 Lamar Irwin; Joseph Madison, b. 1893, d. 1975, m. 1921 Elizabeth Seals; and Mattie W., b. 1897, d. 1978, m. 1921 Charles Miller Jones (ca 1895-1951).

The oldest son, George Kyser Ptomey was married first to Lula Iola Cowart who died in 1921 in Birmingham, Ala., where George was working in the steel mills. They had three children before her death: Mildred Maurine, b. 1906, d. 1984, m. (1) 1925 Roy Leigh, but divorced 1928, m. (2) Gust T. Magnuson (1900-1995); Virginia Louise, b. 1910, d. 1984, m. 1928 Burbur Mason Kinman (1902-1982); and Kyser Cowart, b. 1915, m. 1938 Hazel Alice Ogletree. George K. next married Alice Tomlinson (1896-1993), daughter of Jep and Fanny Tomlinson. They had one son, Harlan Leigh, b. 1926, d. 2006, m. 1950 Sara Frances Palmer, daughter of Sanford Palmer and Ruth York.

Harlan was born in the T.C.I. Hospital in Fairfield, Ala., and then his father was laid off during the depression. The family moved to a farm in Evergreen, Ala., where Harlan spent his childhood. Upon graduating from high school, he attended the University of Alabama and later worked with Taylor Auto Parts Company in Andalusia. Some years later he secured employment with the U.S. Postal Service where he eventually became Postmaster for the Castleberry Post Office. Harlan Ptomey and his wife, Sara Frances (Palmer), resided in Andalusia and reared three children: Nancy Leigh, b. 1953, m. Richard Edward Jones; Sara Ruth, b. 1955, m. (1) Nathaniel “Buddy” Waller II (2) Claude Boone; and Joseph Harlan, b. 1959, m. Vickie Lynn Newton.

Sources for this writing were the family records of Frances (Palmer) Ptomey and her book, The Ptomey Family of Alabama, written by Kyser Cowart Ptomey. Appreciation is expressed to them for their research and recording of family genealogy.

Anyone who might discover 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: