Rabren Family migrated from South Carolina to South Alabama

Published 2:11 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Rabren family of Covington County was introduced in this column a number of years earlier, but additional genealogical data calls for an update. There was a narrative on the family in general and one featuring the Daniel Damascus Rabren line.

The earliest ancestor documented to date is Richard Ezekiel “Bud” Rabren who was born 1790 in Edgefield County, S.C. A family tree on Ancestry.com names his parents as John Hiram Rabren and Mary Daniel; however, that data lists John Hiram’s birth year as 1795, so there is some error here. In 1815 Richard E. was married to a 15-year old girl, Judith Della “Deler” whose surname is not known. She was born circa 1800 and died in 1828 in Covington County, Ala. She was buried in the Adellum Baptist Church Cemetery located on Brooklyn Road south of Andalusia.

Richard Ezekiel Rabren rendered service during the War of 1812 in Captain John Key’s Company of South Carolina Militia. For this he received bounty land in the area of Crenshaw County, Ala. In October 1835, he acquired 40 acres of land in Butler County with President Andrew Jackson signing the document. He generally worked as a farmer growing corn and cotton along with raising horses and mules. He also operated a grist mill for grinding corn.

At his wife, Judith Della’s, death, Richard was left with several young children, so he soon, circa 1828, was married to Martha Eula Skipper (1810-1894), daughter of Barnabas Skipper and Temperance Rebecca ?. Obviously, she immediately became a mother to his children including a newborn, and they began having their own as well. It appears that Richard Ezekiel Rabren was the father of possibly 26 children.

Richard Ezekiel and Judith Rabren were the parents of the following children: David, b. 1815, d. 1885, m. (1) Ann Bloom (2) Ellen Bloom (1820-1905); Greenberry, b. 1817, m. (1) Elizabeth Harding (2) Harriett ?; Thomas, b. 1820, m. Mary A. “Polly” ?; Eugenie “Gennie,” b. ca 1820, buried at Adellum Cemetery; Ira Washington, b. 1820, d. after 1870, m. (1) 1839 Amanda Murphy/Murfees (2) Eliza A. (Tidwell) Garrett; Richard Joseph, b. ca 1824, d. 1867, m. 1858 Elizabeth “Lydia” (Bodiford) Shows (1818-1907); Richard Ezekiel Jr., b. 1824, d. 1913, m. 1848 Martha Ann Sheffield (1823-1878); Mary Elizabeth “Polly,” b. 1825, m. Rolly Riley Maness; Sarah, b. 1828, m. Spouse Rabren; and an unnamed infant who is buried at Adellum.

It appears the first five children were born while the family resided in South Carolina. Richard seems to have moved the family to Georgia for a few years during the early 1820s where a couple of the children were born. Census records show Mary Elizabeth “Polly” being born in Butler County, Ala., in 1825, and Sarah, in Covington County, Ala., in 1828, so that suggests the time the family arrived in Alabama.

Richard Ezekiel and Martha Lula Rabren were the parents of the following children: Joseph “Josiah,” b. 1829, m. (1) Vera ? (2) 1851 Mary Elizabeth Criswell; William, b. 1833, d. 1900, m. Ansley Ann Childress; Barney, b. 1834; Sion, b. 1834, d. ca 1919, m. Gennie “Jane” Rabren; James, b. 1837; Silas A., b. 1837, d. 1878, m. 1860 Elizabeth J. Weaver; Gennie “Jene,” m. 1885 Sion Rabren; Martha, b. 1838; Mary, b. 1841; Celsey, b. 1843; Temperance Caroline, b. 1844, d. 1928, m. (1) 1865 John Homer Griffin (1838-1900) (2) ? Evans; Mary “Polly,” b. 1845, m. 1870 Thomas A. “Tom” Lowe; Richard, b. 1846; M., b. 1848; Alice Alisy, b. 1852; Robert, b. 1854; and Amanda C., b. 1854, d. 1925, m. ? Lewis. The above lineage lists a daughter, Gennie Rabren, marrying her brother, Sion Rabren, which seems unlikely; however, that is the way the records were written. Also, some of the children are listed as being born the same year which is questionable.

The oldest son, David Rabren, was first married to Ann Bloom, but she appears to have died during childbirth. He then married her sister, Helen Bloom, with whom he had the following three children: Phillip, b. 1854, d. 1904, m. (1) 1872 Sarah Jane Hall (2) 1882 Arrie Ann Chandler; Joseph “Joe,” b. 1855, d. 1905, m. 1882 Mary Alabama Wrencher; and Thomas “Tommy,” b. 1862, d. 1888, m. Josephine Cumbie. David was born in Butler County and died there in the Midway community.

The second son, Greenberry Rabren, settled in Gwinnett and Floyd County, Ga., where he worked as an overseer and blacksmith. He rendered service in the Confederate Army as a part of Company H, Georgia Infantry Regiment. He was first married to Elizabeth Harding. They were the parents of the following children: Mary, b. 1840; Roseanna, b. 1842; Sarah, b. 1845; Thompson, b. 1848; Margaret, b. 1849; and Williamson, b. 1853. Greenberry was next married to Harriett ?, and they were the parents of two children: Catherine, b. 1873; and Lora C., b. 1876.

The next son, Thomas Rabren, came to Butler County, Ala., with his father, Richard E. and brother, David. Thomas and Mary A. “Polly” Rabren were the parents of the following children: Julia, b. 1846; Thomas Calvin, b. 1847, d. 1863 of Typhoid fever during War Between the States;” and Richard C., b. 1848, d. 1922, m. (1) Mary A. ? (1841-1900) (2) Julia ?.

The fourth son, Ira Washington Rabren, enlisted for service in the Creek Indian War in 1836 in Columbia, Ga. Then on May 1, 1862, he, his son, James Wiley Rabren and his half-brother, James W. Rabren, enlisted for service in the Confederate Army as privates in the New 1st. Alabama Infantry Regiment. James W., the brother, died of brain fever, and Ira Washing and son, James Wiley, returned home. However, two years later, in 1864, Ira Washington joined Company B, Florida 1st Cavalry of the Union Army most likely to help provide food for his family.

Ira Washington Rabren and his first wife, Amanda Murphy/Murfees, were the parents of the following children: James Wiley, b. 1845, d. 1921, m. (1) Lucrecy Fuqua (1828-1913 (2) Martha Lundy; Ira Washington Jr., b. 1846, d. 1860, single; Mary jane, b. 1848; Henry Joseph, b. 1850, d. 1925, m. 1874 Martha Ann Fuqua (1859-1930); Green T. “Tom,” b. 1852, m. Emma ?; Caroline Elizabeth, b. 1854, d. 1935, m. Thomas Jefferson Brown (1847—1923); William Jasper, b. 1856, d. 1929, m. 1882 Mary Anderson; Nancy Ann, b. 1858, d. 1902, m. 1874 James Eastman Reynolds (1853-1932); and Daniel Damascus, b. 1863, d. 1940, m. 1885 Mary Magdalene “Maggie” Fuqua (1866-1955).

This family review will be continued in next week’s column since there is considerably more to be presented. The sources for today’s story include Ancestry.com and the genealogical records of Nelda (Pugh) Stephens.

Anyone who might find an error in the above family history or who has additional information on the Rabren family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Historical Society will not be meeting on Thursday, May 31, as it normally does. The next meeting will be June 28.