Thomasson-Hart families settled in Fairfield community

Published 6:42 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

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Today’s story is a continuation of the genealogy of the Cornelius Starr and Susannah (Henley) Thomasson family. The oldest child was a daughter, Nancy Adeline “Addie” Thomasson, who was born in 1860 at the Thomasson home on Possum Trot Road near the Burnout community in the northeast corner of Covington County.

Addie was only two years old when her father enlisted and left to render service in the Confederate Army. Upon his return in 1865, the family soon moved near the grandfather’s home in Red Level. The family moved again circa 1872 to the Fairfield community where Addie would live the rest of her life. There she met and married James Andrew Jackson “Jim” Hart in 1883. They built their home there on some of Annie’s father’s land, which was located on the Brooklyn Road about a mile east of Fairfield.

The Hart ancestors were some of the earliest settlers to arrive in South Alabama. They came by covered wagon from Washington County, Ga., to Alabama in 1817 and settled first in Conecuh County. From there they moved to Escambia County, Fla., in 1820. Around 1835, Andrew Jackson Hart and his wife, Elizabeth Ann Smith, returned to Alabama and settled in the area of Covington County which became the current Pleasant Home community. He built a home on the south bank of the Conecuh River and opened a ferry across the river. The ferry continued to be operated by the Hart family until 1905, at which time the Hart’s Bridge was built at the location, and it became a lasting landmark. Of course, that bridge no longer exists, but a newer concrete one was built to replace the old one.

Andrew Jackson Hart’s oldest son and wife, Abram Hart and Harriett Eveline Lunsford, became the parents of Jim Hart of today’s story. Jim was named James Andrew Jackson Hart for his grandfather, Andrew Jackson Hart. Jim was born in 1860 and was married to Nancy Adeline “Addie” Thomasson in 1883. After their marriage, Jim moved to Addie’s Fairfield community where they resided for the remainder of their lives.

They were the parents of the following children: Cleveland Cornelius, b. 1884, d. 1934, m. 1912 Clyde Culpepper; William Alonzo “Lonnie,” b. 1887, d. 1970, m. 1915 Blanche Julia Hutto; Lee Emmett, b. 1890, d. 1941, single; John Curtis, b. 1894, d. 1983, m. 1918 Mary Alice Gafford; James Aulcy, b. 1900, d. 1982, m. 1933 Maurice Beck; and Mertie Mae, b. 1904, d. 1974, m. 1928, Haskell Harsey.

All but one of the Hart children married and reared families on their own in Covington County. The son, Lee Emmett remained single and died in 1941 in a Montgomery hospital. Their mother, Addie Hart, died in 1924 following an extended illness. The youngest child and only daughter, Mertie Mae, was still at home and able to help care for her mother during the illness. Two of the sons, Emmett and Aulcy, were still single and living at home during that time. At her death, Addie was buried among her relatives in the Thomasson Cemetery which is located across the road from Hopewell Baptist Church. Her husband, Jim, was buried beside her when he died in 1941.

The oldest son, Cleveland Cornelius Thomasson, was born in 1884 and given one of his paternal Grandfather Cornelius Starr Thomasson’s names. In 1912 at Brooklyn, he married Clyde Culpepper, daughter of John Andrew Culpepper and Josephine Adell Williams, who were originally from Stewart, Ga., before migrating to Alabama. Cleveland and Clyde established their home on some of the Hart property where their two children were born. The family moved later to Andalusia where they resided at 301 West Watson Street. In 1933, Cleveland was elected to serve as Tax Collector for Covington County. Following his early death in 1934, the Governor of Alabama appointed his wife, Clyde, to fill his unexpired term. In the next county election, Clyde was elected to fill the office and served until her death in 1960. Cleveland’s grandfather, Cornelius Starr Thomasson, had also served as Covington County Tax Collector in the late 1800s.

Cleveland and Clyde Hart were the parents of two children: Mildred, b. 1913, d. 1932, single; and John C., b. 1919, d. 1971, m. 1945 Sarah T. Smith. John C. died in Dothan, and Mildred was murdered where she lived in the family’s house on West Watson Street. The parents and both of these children were buried in the historic Magnolia Cemetery in downtown Andalusia.

The next son, William Alonzo “Lonnie” Hart, was born in 1887 at the family home in Fairfield. In 1915, he was married at the Mobley Creek Baptist Church to Blanche Julia Hutto, daughter of Zebulon Hutto and Mary Rebecca Harsey. The couple settled near his parents in the Fairfield community. Lonnie was a farmer, and he also kept many hives of bees for harvesting honey. He and Blanche were the parents of two sons: James Eldred, b. 1916, d. 1958; and Olan Lee, b. 1918, d. 1981, m. 1948 Bertha Mae Lunsford.

The third son, John Curtis Hart, was born in 1894, and was married in 1918 at Mobley Creek Baptist Church to Mary Alice Gafford (1897-1979), daughter of John Taylor Gafford and Eva Sophia Feagin. Curtis also built his house on a portion of his father’s land in the Fairfield community. He farmed extensively, but he made most of his money from a very successful sawmill which he established across from his home. They lived there the remainder of their lives, and at their deaths, both were buried in the Feagin Family Cemetery, located off Brooklyn Road. They were the parents of two children: James Hubert, b. 1919, d. 1984, m. 1941 Alma Mildred Hassell; and Bonnie Lucile, b. 1925, m. 1946 William Garvis Mancil.

The fourth son, Emmett Lee Hart, was born in 1890, and he remained single until his death in 1941. He was a veteran of WW I, and he died from spinal meningitis in a Veteran’s Hospital in Montgomery.

The fifth son, James Aulcy Hart, was born in 1900 in the family home in Fairfield. He was married in 1933 to Maurice Beck, daughter of John W. Beck and Rosie Kirkland. Aulcy built their house next door to his parents’ home, and they lived there for the remainder of their lives. Aulcy was a farmer and highly skilled hunter, and he knew the area woods extremely well. He was also known for his knowledge of the family’s history and his fine ability to relate stories.

Aulcy and Maurice Hart were the parents of three children: Norman Kenneth, b. 1938, m. Margaret Mason; Ferrin Lee, b. 1945, d. 1946; and Benita, b. 1951 and died at about three weeks of age.

The only daughter of Jim and Addie Hart, Mertie Mae Hart, was born in 1904. In 1927, she was married at Hopewell Baptist Church to Haskell Harsey. They lived for a time in Covington County, but they later, during the 1930s, moved a little west to Conecuh County where Haskell died in 1960. The youngest two children were born in Conecuh County. They reared a family of four children, two boys and two girls: Mary Hazel, b. 1929, m. 1945 Marion Benny Bozeman; James Manuel, b. 1930, m. 1952 Annie Lee Overstreet; Samuel Willie, b. 1933, m. 1974 Janice May; and Betty Jean, b. 1938, m. 1963 Donald Ray McCoy (a distant cousin). At their deaths, Mertie Mae and Haskell were buried in the Thomasson Cemetery across the road from Hopewell Baptist Church.

Many descendants of these families continue to live in Covington County.

Sources for today’s story were Thomasson Traces—Lineages, Vol. I and Thomasson Traces—Narrative, Vol. II which were written by Margie B. Malloy and Curtis H. Thomasson. Anyone who may have a question or find 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: