Thomas R. Thomasson II’s descendants lived in Hopewell area

Published 6:43 pm Friday, January 3, 2020

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The current columns are featuring the children of Cornelius Star Thomasson, a Confederate Veteran who lived in the Fairfield/Hopewell communities. His third child, Thomas Randolph Thomasson II, was named for his Grandfather Thomas Randolph Thomasson Sr. He also resided and reared his family in the same community of his parents.

Thomas Randolph “Dolph” Thomasson II was born in 1868, most likely in Red Level. His family moved to the Fairfield community in 1872 where he lived most of his life. He grew up on his father’s farm and eventually engaged in farming and logging and was known as a hard worker. He has been described as an even-tempered man who was very considerate of others and who was devoted to his family.

Dolph met his future wife, Annie Laurah Riley, whom he found quite attractive, in Andalusia. She was the daughter of George Riley and Augusta Bowers. When they wanted to marry, her parents objected, probably because she was only 16 years of age, but they eloped in 1890 by traveling to Hattiesburg, Miss. Once married, they settled on some of his father’s property, which was located north of the Hopewell community. They resided there and reared a large family of 11 children with a twelfth one, a daughter, dying at two months of age.

Since Annie Laurah was carrying the gene for Huntington’s Chorea, a paralytic disease, several of their sons and one daughter inherited it. The gene is sex-linked, so the daughters were most often carriers and did not have the disease to develop. Quite a number of the grandchildren and later generations were seriously affected.

Dolph and Annie Laurah were the parents of the following children: Annie Merle, b. 1891, d. 1979, m. 1915 Fred Hickman Smith; Blake Lee, b. 1893, d. 1937, m. Martha Kirkland; Bessie Lou, b. 1895, d. 1945, m. 1913 James Marion Smith; Ralph Emerson, b. 1897, d. 1945, m. 1917 Florence Cassady; Blanco C., b.  1899, m. 1920 Cordia Lavonia Cassady; Vaucious Otto, b. 1902. D. 1965, m.1923 Effie G. Beck; Jesse Gordon “Gordy,” b. 1904, d. 1962, m. 1924 Annie Mae Grissett; Horace Earnest, b. 1906, d. 1933, m. 1927 Zelma Smith; Sidney Joe, b. 1908, d. 1971, m. (1) 1926 Lavonia Grissett (2) Nora Acree Barfield; Cora Belle, b. 1909, m. Henry Marvin Cassady; Tessie Mae, b. 1913, d. 1980, m. 1928 Jepsy L. Lunsford; and female infant who lived two months.

The oldest child, Annie Merle Thomasson, was married in 1916 to Fred Hickman Smith (1891-1964), son of Jalp Smith and Cass Hogg. They were the parents of the following children: Eula Bell, b.&d. 1917; Clyde Hickman, b. 1918, d. 1919; Obie Lee, b. 1919, d. 1977, m. 1939 Luvern Littles; James Arelis, b. 1921, m. 1942 Hazel Randal; Josie Hazel, b. 1924, m. (1) Douglas Macon (2) Milton Ray Lawson; Laura Catherine, b. 1926, m. 1941 Durwood L. Holt; Lester Eugene, b. 1929, m. 1954 Kate Harper; Betty Jenett, b. 1931, m. 1948 Austin A. Spangler; and Thomas O’Neal, b. 1935, m. Inez H. Harper.

The son, Blake Lee Thomasson, was born in 1893, and he married Martha Kirkland, daughter of Willie and Love Kirkland. They were the parents of six children: W. Odis, b. 1912, d. 1935; Earnest; Thelma, b. 1918, d. 1967; Eva Rae; W. Otis, b. 1923, d. 1947; and John Iran, b. 1925, d. 1930.

Bessie Lou Thomasson was born in 1895, and she married in 1913 James Marion “Jink” Smith (1894-1962), son of James Nicholas Smith and Sarah Emily Brooks. After Bessie’s death, Jink married Minnie Oattie Richards and had two children. Jink and Bessie were the parents of the following 12 children: Esther Gladys, b. 1914, m. 1930 William Carson Beck; Gussie Helen, b. 1915, m. 1933 James Alto Beck; Athen Morris, b. 1917, m. 1937 Thelma Dorris Beck; Abner Warren, b. 1913, d. 1981, m. Martha Estelle Catoe; Laura Emiley “Lucy,” b. 1920, m. Roy Ollice Lord; Sarah Lee, b. 1922, m. William Belton Phate; Aaron Elson, b. 1923, d. 1984, m. (1) 1945 Mary Louise DeShazo (2) 1959 Oudia Harrison; James Marion Jr., b. 1925, m. 1942 Frances Kirkland; Julion Edward, b. 1927, m. Janice Gardner; Fannie Ruth, b. 1929, m. 1945 James Herman Luckey; Paul Nicholas, b. 1932, d. 1983, m. (1) 1950  Vivian B. Miller (2) Frances Mosley; and Melvin Eugene, b. 1934, m. 1955 Louise Brookins.

The son, Ralph Emerson Thomasson, was born in 1897, and he married Florence Cassady. They were the parents of the following: Mckeether, b. 1918, d. 1973, m. 1934 John J. Miller; Quinell, m. Denise Dickens; Dycie, m. Curtis C. Linzy/Lindsey; Pascal A., b. 1924, m. 1944 Flora Mae Groves; Mary Hilda, b. 1926, d. 1966, m. Harold Newby; and Benom Arlington.

The son, Blanco Thomasson, was born in 1899, and he married Cordia Lavonia Cassady ((1902-1981) in 1920. They were the parents of four children: Willie Ceal, b. 1921, m. 1942 Elwood J. Boyette; Athon, b. 1924, d. 1972, m. 1943 Jeannette Veasey; Thearon, b. 1926, d. 1927; and Derlie Margenia, b. 1929, m. 1946 Edward Lee Carraway.

The son, Vaucious Otto Thomasson was born in 1902, m. 1923 Effie G. Beck, daughter of Jack E. Beck and Laura Jane Cassady. They were the parents of one son, William Curtis “W.C.,” b. 1929, d. 2014, m. Miriam Jimmerson. W.C. was assistant principal of Red Level School, teacher and coach at other schools in the county.

The son, Jesse Gordon Thomasson, was born in 1904, and he married Annie Mae Grissett, daughter of Ben A. Grissett and Nancy Elizabeth Mulkey. They were the parents of 18 children: Clyde Maxwell, b. 1924, m. 1944 Mildred Operee Guy; Benjamin Randolph, b. 1925, d. 1980, m. 1948 Gwen McKathan; William Earle “Bill,” b. 1926, d. 1985, m. 1951 Louise Knowles; Sybil Louise, b. 1928, m. (1) 1946 Charles W. Taylor (2) ? Boyd; Jesse Lee, b. 1929, m. (1) 1955 Mary Lou Hodges (2) Nell Codd; Lillian Mae, b. 1930, m. 1952 Charles Leroy Neese; Ennis (twin), b. 1932, m. 1954 Sarah Cobb; Dennis (twin), b. 1932; Edna Merle, b. 1933, m. J.C. Beck; Hugh Eugene, b. 1935, d. 1983; Mabel (twin), b. 1936, d. 1937; Mavis (twin), b. 1936, m. 1956 Richard J. Ward; Gerald, b. 1937, m. 1956 Joyce Kennedy; Martha Gail, m. ? Rivers; Margaret, m. ? Corbin: Elizabeth, m. (1) ? Beasley (2) ? Yonce; Earnest, b. 1940, m. 1967 Marie Mitchell; and Bernice (twin male), b.&d. 1940.

The above 18 children were all born within a period of 16 years, which is exceptional. In fact, the local Covington News reported in 1936 an article entitled “Twelve births recorded within 12 years establishes record in Covington County.” A child welfare representative visited the home and described all the children being dressed well and in a clean, well-managed home. They were all being taught to help with household chores, and the family did not need or request any assistance.  The 18 children all used the Thomason spelling of the name. Most of the children settled in Covington County, but a few moved to other states, especially Florida.

The next son, Horace Earnest Thomasson, was born in 1906, and he married Zelma Smith, daughter of Walt Smith and Mary Cassady. They had one daughter, Juanita, b. 1933, m. 1951 Bertie Thomas Hassell.

The daughter, Cora Belle Thomasson, was born in 1909, m. 1927 Henry Marvin Cassady, son of Tom Cassady and Lizzie King, They made their home in Andalusia and became the parents of the following children: Vinson, b. 1929, d. 1969, m. 1954 Jeanette Davis; Christine, m. 1952 Donald Teal; Mary Vivian, b. 1931, m. 1948 Clive E. Gregory; Henry Lomas, b. 1936, m. 1959 Patricia Joyce Powell; William Marlon, b. 1942, m. Linda Johnson; Geraldine, b. 1944, m. Otis Leon Atkins; Charles (invalid), d. at ca 10 years old; and unnamed infant.

The daughter, Tessie Mae Thomasson, was born in 1913, and she married in 1958 Jepsy Love Lunsford, son of William Monroe Lunsford. They resided mostly in Miami, Fla., where Jepsy was engaged in the contracting business. Their son, Horace Edward, was also a contractor and built many apartment complexes in the mushrooming area. He later purchased a hotel, and his parents lived there to help manage it. Tessie died in 1980 of the dreaded Huntington’s Chorea inherited from her mother. They were the parents of six children: James Leon, b. 1929; Horace Edward; David Oswald; Jack David, b. 1941; Larry Wayne, b. 1945; and Thomas Monroe, b. 1947.

There are many descendants of this line who continue to reside in Andalusia and surrounding areas.

The source for today’s story is Thomasson Traces—Lineages, Vol I. and Thomasson Traces—Narrative, Vol. II, which was written by Margie B. Malloy and Curtis H. Thomasson. Anyone who might have a question is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: