Radford family ancestors migrated from State of Virginia

Published 5:22 pm Friday, July 10, 2020

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The Radford family of Covington County ties into the Livingston family which was featured in last week’s column. This family appears to be of English ancestry, and according to Ancestry.com, the immigrant ancestor was George Radford. George is shown in a family tree as being born in 1665 in Henrico County, Va., but other records suggest he arrived as an immigrant before 1679. While this information is unclear, it is at least one possible account of the early ancestor of this Radford family being featured today. Another record lists Richard Radford arriving in Powhatan County, Va., as an immigrant in 1777.

George Radford was born in 1665, either in England or Virginia, and he lived until 1739 at which time he died in Essex County, Va. In 1694, he was married to Ann Radford (1678-1755), but no maiden name was given for her on Ancestry.com. They were the parents of a son named John M. Radford who was born in 1694. John M. was born in Henrico County and died there in 1773.

John M. Radford was married to Elizabeth Agnes Maxey (1704-1740). They were the parents of a son named John Radford who was born in 1735 in Henrico County. The tree on Ancestry.com shows John being a veteran or supporter of the War of 1812 even though he would have been more advanced in age than the normal soldier. John died in 1816 in Shelby County, Ky. He was married to Jane Johnson, and they were the parents of Reuben Radford who was born in 1755 in Cumberland, Va. 

Reuben Radford later migrated farther south and died in 1819 in Morgan County, Ga. He was married to Elizabeth Hackworth who was born in 1756 in Bedford, Va., and died in 1859 in Perry County, Ala. She was the daughter of George Hackworth and Ann Leftwich. They were the parents of Reuben Wesley Radford who was born in 1803 in Oglethorpe County, Ga. This Reuben brought the family to Alabama where he died in 1880 in the Dunn community of Pike County. He was married to Elizabeth Duke (1806-1880), and they were the parents of John Sanford Radford.

John Sanford Radford was born in 1825 in Walton, Ga. In 1846, he was married to Mary Duke Skinner in Macon, Ga. They began their family in Georgia, but had moved to Pike County, Ala., by 1853 when one of the children was born.  They had 10 children by the beginning of the War Between the States and had two more born during the war. John volunteered for service and was assigned to Company A, 57th Ala. Infantry Regiment. He achieved the rank of sergeant, but he died in 1863 in Pike County which would have been during the war. The nature of his death was not found.

John Sanford and Mary Radford were the parents of 12 children: John Wesley Warren, b. 1847; William Neal, b. 1849, d. 1907; Ephriam Oliver, b. 1850, d. 1907; Charles A., b. 1853; Charles Robert, b. 1853, d. 1931; James Parker, b. 1855, d. 1912; Columbus M., b. 1857, d. 1890; Samuel, b. 1858, d. 1924; Benjamin Rush, b. 1859, d. 1928, m. 1884 Mary Margaret Livingston (1862-1916); Mary M., b. 1961., d. 1887; Mary Margaret, b. 1862, d. 1883; and Wesley Sanford, b. 1863, d. 1938.

The youngest surviving son, Benjamin Rush Radford, is the one who brought the family to Covington County. It appears he arrived during the mid to late year of 1885 and settled north of Holly Road. Once he was settled, he began immediately to improve the property on which he was squatting. This included building a house, barns and other out buildings. The property had a medium sized stream flowing through it, so he was able to build a sawmill and gristmill. In 1894, he was able to purchase his property of 147.60 acres from the U.S. Government. The acreage was formerly railroad land which had not been used. The property which was located in the Gantt Township was considered to be a 160-acre farm.

Benjamin Rush was married first in 1884 in Pike County, Ala., to Mary Margaret Livingston (1862-1916), daughter of Abraham L. Livingston (1820-1905) and Martha J. Pyron (1830-1879). They lived in the Straughn School Precinct and Andalusia area and were the parents of the following children: Eula Bell, b. 1886, d. 1967, m. Joseph Henry Hicks (1880-1958); Pyron Sanford, b. 1890, d. 1970, m. 1915 Nancy Leila Henderson (1892-1968); Era Ella, b. 1892, d. 1952, m. 1910 William Eugene Ryals (1890-1962); Lela Bay, b. 1895, d. 1973, m. 1913 Henry T. Brannon (1896-1979); and Mamie O., b. 1900, d. 1976, m. Otis E. Tillman (1902-1975). 

Following Mary Margaret’s death in 1916, Benjamin Rush Radford was married that year to Erie Eleanor Johnson (1891-1961), daughter of Charlie Johnson and Mattie Knight. They had one daughter born to them, Ruby Ruth, b. 1919, d. 2011, m. Ferrell G. Schnering (1904-1991).

Benjamin R. and Mary Margaret Radford’s oldest daughter, Eula Bell Radford, was born in 1886. She was married to Joseph Henry Hicks who was born in 1880 in Heard County, Ga., and they eventually settled in Covington County, Ala. Joseph was the son of Gilliam Thomas Hicks (1824-1895) and Samantha America Stewart (1841-1922). He worked his own farm to support his family. They were the parents of the following children: Male infant, b.&d. 1904; Myrtice Beatrice, b. 1906, d. 1978, m. Harless Almer McDaniel (1906-1992); Lois, b. 1909, d. 1977, m. I.D. “Jack” Barton (1906-1995); Clementine Grace, b. 1912, d. 1987, m. Leemon Colonel Kelley (1906-1966); Joseph B. “J.B.,” b. 1916, d. 1990; Sibyl, b. 1919, d. 2010, m. John K. Blackwell (1910-1984); Tera Bell, b. 1922, d. 1988; and Raymond Donald, b. 1924, d. 2009, m. Elizabeth “Speaky” Hixon.

The oldest daughter, Myrtice Beatrice Hicks, was married to Harless Almer McDaniel, son of Bennie Reynolds McDaniel and Mary Ella Henderson. They established their home in the Harmony community, and the property is owned currently by their son and grandchildren. Myrtice was a school teacher and taught home economics for years at Straughn School near Andalusia. Harless Almer worked many years as a farmer and later did various public works.  They were the parents of two sons: Harless Alton, b. 1932, d. 2002, m. Ann Guth; and Benny Joe McDaniel, b. 1936, m. Barbara Grace O’Gwynn. 

The oldest son, Harless Alton earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine and later a Ph.D. in animal science. He worked in researching animal diseases and eventually settled in Silver Springs, Md., where he worked in the national office and served on the national board for animal diseases in Washington D.C. The younger son, Benny Joe, earned a degree in industrial management which includes business management and industrial engineering.  His career was spent in Montgomery where he and his wife currently reside.

Benjamin’s oldest son, Pyron Sanford Radford, and his wife, Nancy Leila, were the parents of a son, James B. Radford, b. 1919, d. 1991. James worked as an insurance salesman. After his first wife died, he was married to Opal Stone who was a teacher in the Andalusia City Schools.

The next daughter, Era Ella Radford, and her husband, William Eugene Ryals, were the parents of a son, William Benjamin Ryals, b. 1913, d. 1969. 

The next daughter, Lela Bay Radford, and her husband, Henry T. Brannon (1896-1979), son of Calvin Jacobs Brannon (1863-1954), and Ellen Screws (1869-1963), made their home in the Straughn community. They were the parents of four children: Earl P., b. 1914, d. 1987; Henry Thaxton, b. 1918, d. 1987; Mildred, b. 1920, d. 1990; and Mary Ella, b. 1925. 

There are other members of the Radford family such as Charles Radford who owned and operated Radford Tire Service in Andalusia that this writer was unable at this time to relate to the above descendants. It is hoped that someone will share additional information on Charles and other Radfords who resided in Covington County.

The source for today’s story included Ancestry.com for the early generations and the records of Radford descendants.

Anyone who finds an error in the above or who might provide additional information on this family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 34620; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.