Other Polson descendants settled in Coffee County

Published 12:18 am Saturday, May 27, 2017

Last week’s column focused on the ancestry and descendants of John Clifton Polson, supposedly a native of Chesterfield County, S.C., who settled in Covington County, Ala., soon after 1900. It was mentioned that he appears to have migrated along with two other Polson men who were either brothers, cousins or uncle and nephew.

Burrell or Burl R. Polson was the younger of the two relatives and the one who settled in Covington County. The name of his father has not been documented, but the name “Vandon” was written on his birth certificate for his father. It is believed his mother was Sallie Crowley Polson (1876-1942). Records identify four children for Sallie Polson: James Lee Thomas, b. 1894, d. 1972; Burl R, b. 1885, d. 1966; and twins: Eddie Esau, b. 1900, d. 1968, and Arthur Jack, b. 1900, d. 1921.

In 1900, Burl Polson was still residing in Alligator, Chesterfield County, S.C. When the 1910 federal census was enumerated, he was single and living with two other men in the Fairfield community of Covington Co. They were all listed as being laborers, possibly in the logging or turpentine businesses.

Six years later, in 1916, Burl Polson was married to Julia Padgett (1891-1959), the daughter of James “Jim” Ira Padgett (1861-1916) and Martha Snowden (1866-1899). The Padgett family was residents of the Fairfield community. In 1917, Burl enlisted to serve in the U.S. military from 1917 to 1918. His World War I draft registration document describes him as being tall in statue with medium build, dark hair and blue eyes. In 1930 and 1940 and even their later years, Burl and Julia made their home and continued to live in that area. Burl was listed as a general farmer. At their deaths, both were buried in the historic Conecuh River Baptist Church Cemetery located fairly near their residence.

Burl and Julia Polson reared the following three children: Eva M., b. 1909, m. William Marcus Gunter Jr. (1907-1999); Charles Leon, b. 1918, d. 1989 in Norfolk, Va.; and James Arthur, b. 1924, d. 1991, m. Marilyn D.K., but divorced in 1956. James Arthur enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and rendered service during World War II. He was residing in Chesapeake, Va., when he died in 1991. His brother, Charles Leon Polson, enlisted in the military in 1940 where he served for more than 30 years. At his death in 1989 in Chesapeake, Va., he was buried with honors in the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. His brother-in-law, William Marcus Gunter Jr., was remarried after Julia’s death to Thelma H. Gideon (1908-1977). The Gunters made their home in the Florala and Lockhart communities.

The other Polson relative, Zachariah Polson (1866-1943), was the son of Evander “Vander” C. Polson (1833-1917) and Martha Jessie Rosco/Roscoe (1835-1915). Evander was the son of Ainsley Polson (1802-1857) and Mary Jane Sarah “Sallie” Crowley (1802-1889). Martha Jessie was the daughter of John Rosco (1779-1863) and Jessie B. Edgeworth (1776-1802). Ainsley Polson is believed to be the son of Alexander W. Polson (1775-1857), a native of Scotland. This is reported on Ancestry.com, but it shows he died in Manitoba, Canada, which raises a question.

A family tree on Ancestry.com lists the following children for Ainsley and Mary Jane Sarah “Sallie” Polson: Mary Jane, b. 1820, d. 1919; John A., b. 1825, m. Josephine ?; Eliza Ann, b. 1828, d. 1881; William, b. 1831, d. 1907; Evander C., b. 1833, d. 1917, m. Martha Jessie Rosco/Roscoe; Abel, b. 1835; David, b. 1841; and Frances Elizabeth, b. 1847.

In a few census records, Ainsley and his son, Evander Polson, were identified as mulatto. One theory of this possibility is that Alexander W. Polson may have married a lady from Jamaica. A potential name for her is Elizabeth Seymour. In other records, Alexander’s wife is listed as Elizabeth Ivy. The records of these families and their ancestral lineages are not clear and needs further research.

Evander Polson and his wife, Martha Jessie Rosco, reared the following children: Mary C. “Minnie,” b. 1861, d. 1915, m. 1898 John Boone; Calvin, b. 1864; Sallie, b. 1866, d. 1913; Zachariah, b. 1868, d. 1943, m. Leila Rossie Ellenburg (1887-1970); Harriet, b. 1870; Jane (Janie Annie ?), b. 1872, d. 1933, m. James L. Stone; Martha J., b. 1873; and Hannah, b. 1878, m. John Gainey. At his death, Evander was buried in the Patrick Cemetery in Chesterfield County, S.C., where a number of his family members were buried.

Zachariah Polson was born in 1866 in Cole Hill, Chesterfield County, S.C. and later migrated to the Elba area of Coffee County, Ala. Family legend contends that he and his relative came south to work with the railroad industry. He settled there and was married during the early 1900s in Coffee County to Leila Rossie Ellenburg, daughter of Daniel Alexander Ellenburg (1866-1940) and Mary Ellen Sasser (1867-1932). Leila Rossie was born in 1887 in Coffee County and died in 1970 in Geneva County, Ala. They reared the following children: Mary Russie, b. 1904, m. Wilbur Daughtry; Nellie Mae, b. 1904, d. 1996, m. (1) Ollie Herbert Bell (2) David Smith; Marvin D., b. 1906, d. 1977, m. Ora Baxley; Mervie P., b. 1910; Rupert Daniel, b. 1912, d. 1972; Effie Lee, b. 1912, m. Harvey Moore; Lee Andrew, b. 1916, d. 1976; and Chessie Lee, b. 1918, m. Joe Mobley.

The following sources were used for this family story: Ancestry.com, family records of Joe Frank Bickford, and interviews with Norma Bough of South Carolina. Norma has researched this family for many years and recently donated copies of all her research records to the Chesterfield, S.C. Archives collection.

Anyone who might 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: cthomasson@centurytel.net.




The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 1, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests and prospective members are encouraged to attend.