Clanton family came to South Alabama in early 1800s

Published 1:37 am Saturday, March 24, 2018

Although the Clanton ancestors settled and remained mostly in Clarke County, Ala., some later descendants moved into Conecuh and Covington Counties. Today’s writing will feature this family who became early pioneers in the area.

The earliest known ancestor of the Clantons of Alabama is John Clanton who was born in 1609 in England. He came to America circa 1634 in the group sailing on the good ship Abraham, which landed near the Virginia Colony. The first six generations of the Clanton family settled and lived in colonial Virginia in and around Jamestown, James City, Surry and Sussex Counties.

Ephraim Clanton was of the sixth generation, and he was born in Sussex County. As an adult, he moved his family to Spartanburg, Lancaster County, S.C. where the last of his three sons was born. He as well as most of the early generations were most likely farmers who moved south and west seeking better farmland.

On February 26, 1811, James Clanton of Kershaw, S.C., was granted a passport to cross the Creek Nation of Indians. It is believed that he came to Alabama scouting for the Clanton family. Records show he checked out Clarke, Marengo, Pickens and Fayette Counties. Records further reveal that members of the Clanton family located in all of these areas.

Burrell Alexander Clanton Sr. was the youngest son of Ephraim Clanton. He was born in 1735 in Spartanburg, SC. As he grew up, he became engaged in the home-spun cloth business like many of his Clanton relatives. He had only one loom, but it has been recorded that (in 1810 he produced 200 yards of homespun at 50 cents per yard.) As an adult, he was married in 1807 to Rhoda Jane Moore. Around 1815, they moved with their young daughter, Elizabeth, to Tennessee. While living there their second daughter, Tanzy “Fannie,” was born. Circa 1816, the family moved on to Clarke County, Ala., where they arrived at an early trading post known as Murrell’s Landing. After settling here, five more children were born into the family.

On April 27, 1819, Burrell A. Clanton purchased the Southeast quarter of Section 14, Township 8 North, Range 4 East, which was located about four and a half miles south of Vashti in Clarke County, Ala. In 1839, he moved his family to the Thomasville area, which is not far from Choctaw Corner.

Burrell Alexander Clanton Sr. and his wife, Rhoda Jane (Moore), were the parents of the following children: Elizabeth L., b. 1809, m. 1832 John Brantley Hare; Tanzy “Fannie,” b. 1814, m. 1832 Herbert Presnall; Mary Mahala, b. 1817, m. Ruben Downey; Nancy, b. 1918, m. 1839 Peyton Downey; Burrell Alexander Jr., b. 1821, m. 1842 Rebecca Carolyn Hudson; Ellen, b. 1824, m. John Downey; and William Jefferson (or James), b. 1827, m. 1953 Martha Ann Amanda Hudson. It is of note that the three daughters born in Clarke County all married men named Downey, and the two sons married women named Hudson

Burrell Alexander Clanton Jr. was married in 1842 to Rebecca Carolyn Hudson, who was born in 1823 in Suggsville of Clarke County. They were the parents of the following 10 children: Rhoda Jane, b. 1843, d. 1936, m. Elijah G. White; James Lafayette, b. 1844, d. 1865, single; Burrell Lindsey, b. 1845, m. 1861 Martha (Pate) Chaney; Richard Hudson, b. 1848, d. 1901, m. 1866 Delilah Ann Hudson; Joseph William, b. 1850, m. Nannie Ansley; Delilah Ann, b. 1853, m. James Canes; Mary Elizabeth, b. 1856, m. Sidney Pugh; Benjamin Franklin, b. 1859, m. Clara Bell ?; Margaret Marie, b. 1862, m. Will Smith; and Ada Elmira, b. 1866, m. Howard Malone.

On September 9, 1863, Burrell Alexander Jr. enlisted in the Confederate Army. He was assigned to Company G, 3rd. Alabama Cavalry Regiment as a private. He survived the war and was discharged on September 9, 1865. His son, James Lafayette Clanton, also rendered service in the Confederate Army, but he lost his life in 1865 at the Battle of Shiloh in Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn. His name appears on a monument there in the National Military Park.

Burrell Alexander Jr. spent most of his life in the Coffeeville area of Clarke County. He engaged in farming and owned a large warehouse. He died in 1906 in Jackson, Ala., but his body was taken back to Coffeeville for burial in the town’s cemetery. His widow, Rebecca, lived another 10 years and was buried beside her husband at her death in 1916.

Burrell Alexander Clanton Jr.’s son, Richard Hudson Clanton, was married to Delilah Ann Hudson, daughter of Richard and Delilah (Adams) Hudson. They were the parents of the following children: Emma Jane, b. 1867, d. 1915, m. ? Ivy; James Lincoln, b. 1869, d. 1927, m. Mary Ivy; Richard Albertis, b. 1871, d. 1921, m. Louella ?; George Washington, b. 1872, d. 1938, m. Minnie ?; Joseph Willis, b. 1876, d. 1936, m. Margaret “Maggie” Ann Fluker; and Benjamin Franklin, b. 1879, d. 1891, single; John, b. 1881, d. 1944; and Claude Cleveland, b. 1884, d. 1969, m. Alice Drucilla Lee.

Around 1880, Richard moved to Springridge, near Shreveport, La., where his brother, William Clanton, had located earlier. Delilah and the children traveled there a little later by steamboat going down the Tombigbee River to Mobile. From there they crossed the Gulf of Mexico to the Mississippi River and then up it and the Red River to Shreveport. The son, Joseph Willis Clanton, when about 30 years of age, returned to Coffeeville to help care for his aging grandparents, Burrell Alexander Jr. and Rebecca Clanton. While there he met and was married to Margaret Anna Fluker in 1907. Soon after the wedding, they spent a couple of years in Laurel, Miss., and then returned to the family in Shreveport.

The coverage of this family will be continued in next week’s column. More descendants of Burrell Alexander Clanton Sr. and his son, Burrell Alexander Clanton Jr. will be outlined.

The sources for the Clanton family genealogy include the following:; family stories written by Kathleen Clanton Dunagan, Mark A. Cartwright, L.V. Stubbs, Anna Louise Clanton Sinclair and Ben Clanton Sinclair, which were published in The Heritage of Clarke County, Alabama; and the family records of Benjamin Frederick Clanton.

Anyone who may find an error in the above or who has additional information related to the Clanton family 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 at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests and prospective members are encouraged to attend.