Pruitt family came from Eclectic and settled in Adellum community

Published 5:23 pm Friday, August 28, 2020

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Today’s story will be a continuation on coverage of the family of Samuel Blake Pruitt who settled in Covington County, Ala., in 1920. His father, George Andrew Pruitt, and siblings were listed in last week’s column.

George Andrew Pruitt, the son of John Walters Pruitt and Harriet J. Blalock, was born in 1836 in Calhoun County, Ga., and later migrated from Georgia to Elmore County, Ala., and settled in the Eclectic community. In 1862, George Andrew enlisted for service in Company G, 59th Alabama Infantry Regiment of the Confederate Army. Following the end of the war in 1866, he was first married to Maryet E. Carter. Four years later, in 1870, he was married in Lee County, Ala., to Harriet Jane (Thomas) Singleton (1835-1914). This was a second marriage for both of them. He and Harriet Jane were the parents of the following three children: John, b. 1872; Samuel Blake, b. 1873, d. 1935, m. Eddie Belle Wall (1882-1967); and Minnie Euveria, b. 1878, m. James Jackson “Jack” Girdner (1872-1962).

The second son, Samuel Blake Pruitt, must have known his future bride while growing up as they both were reared in the Eclectic community. Eddie Belle was the daughter of Henry Franklin Wall (1860-1934) and Cally Jeter (1864-1946). The couple was married in Eclectic in 1899 and began their family there with the first child being born in 1900. They resided there for about 20 years before moving to Covington County in 1920. It is not known to this writer as to why the family decided to make the move.

They chose to settle on a farm on Chalk Hill in the Adellum community along the Brooklyn Road, which is southwest of Andalusia. Samuel Blake built them a large house with fine features such as the rare lightning rods on the roof. He later added small houses for his farm helpers and some of his children when they married. Unfortunately, the main house burned one night, and very little furniture was saved. The family was able to move into one of the tenant houses while Blake built another house in the same location, but unfortunately Blake Passed away from an illness of German measles before it was competed. After her sons left home, she and her daughter managed the house and farm, and she took in renters.

When the Brooklyn Highway was built, a stretch of the original unpaved road was left in that area and was later named Adellum Road. The current Pruitt house is located on that road and is owned by Cheryl Raley Hamlett, a granddaughter, who rents it out. She also owns several acres of the original Pruitt farm adjacent to the house. Her grandfather, Blake Pruitt, was honored by having the road running through that property and connecting Brooklyn Road with the Brewton Road named for him. This writer is a resident of Blake Pruitt Road which is about two miles long with the northern mile still unpaved. The southern mile on which the cotton gin was built is paved.

Samuel Blake became a leading citizen and was active in the affairs of his community. He and his family became active members of the Adellum Baptist Church located near their home.  He is remembered as always being interested in the youth of the church. Eddie Belle was also active and helped organize a community club of which she became the president. This writer’s grandmother, Bama Stokes, was a good friend and served as secretary of the group. The Pruitt family also rented out rooms to some of the teachers at the local Adellum School. Mary Kelso and Ruth McNeil were two who lived in the Pruitt home, and they had to walk along the unpaved and often muddy road to the school which was about a mile away. Eddie Belle would prepare their lunches to be taken with them to school. Of course, the school, as most rural ones of the day, had no electricity and no indoor toilets. Furnishings were very sparse and primitive.

Samuel Blake and Eddie Belle Pruitt were the parents of the following children: George Gordon, b. 1900, d. 1970; Augustus Kile, b.&d. 1902; Linzy Lamar, b. 1904, d. 1976, m. (1) Ellie C. Stokes; Raymond, b. 1907, d. 1988, m. Mildred Jay; Lenton, b. 1910, d. 1997, m. (1) Edith Grace Jackson (2) Martha Wilson; Eddie B. “Ted,” b. 1912, d. 1966, m. Ora Lee Weaver; Rachael, b. 1915, d. 1925 when struck by lightning; Ruby, b.&d. 1918; and Martha, b. 1927, d. 2016, m. (1) Ted Clamon Raley (2) James Frederick Barron (3) Troy Parrish.

George Gordon Pruitt was born in 1900 and worked on the family farm until he left home at a young age. He ended up in California where he owned and operated a restaurant. He was married to Nona, but they did not have any children. He became disabled and moved home where his parents could look after him. They had moved a small house into their yard for Blake Pruitt’s sister, Euveria Girdner, after her husband died. Gordon moved into that house after Euveria was taken into the Pruitt home. When he became sick, his parents moved him into their house as well.

The second son, Linzy Lamar Pruitt, born in 1904, was married in 1922 to Ellie C. Stokes, daughter of Burrell Jackson Stokes and Georgia Cornelia Hare. Linzy moved to Covington County with his family in 1920 where he would meet his future bride. He became a well-known baker and worked in local bakeries for a few years before moving to various towns such as Georgiana in 1935 and Selma in 1940. Unfortunately, he and Ellie were divorced, and he married someone else. He and Ellie were the parents of four children: Gordon Lee, b. 1921, d. 1994, m. (1) Eula C. Sandley (2) Hazel Gardner (3) Frances ?; L.E., b. 1926, d. 1965 of Bright’s Disease, m. (1) Mary Bush (2) June Mancil; Margaret Eunivae, b. 1929, d. 2018, m. 1948 Reedy Darrell Bozeman Sr.: Joydean, b. 1933, d. 2015, m. (1) Horace Homer Jackson (2) Al Blackmer (3) 1973 Dr. Otto Moyer (veterinarian). At his death in 1876, Linzy was buried in his first wife’s lot at the Cedar Grove Church of Christ Cemetery.

The third son, Raymond Pruitt, was born in 1907, and he also left home at a fairly young age. During his early adult years, he worked at The Taylor Shop, a men’s clothing store in Andalusia. He then moved to Pensacola and worked in the dry-cleaning business until he decided to return home and open his own business, Pruitt Dry Cleaning and Laundry, which was located on South Cotton Street. Around 1923, he was married to Mildred Jay, daughter of Thomas “Tom” Jay and Addie Bedonia Stokes. They were the parents of one daughter, Marie Pruitt, born in 1924, who married James Byrd Pierce, son of Thomas Jefferson Pierce and Mary Huestess. Marie and James Pierce were the parents of four children: Virginia Gail, b. 1942, d. 2013, m. Ernie Brabner; Thomas James III, b. 1946, d. 1993, single; Mildred Ellen, b. 1948, m (1) Frank Whitfield (2) Robert S. Lamar; and Mary Lynn, b. 1957, m. (1) Dan Waldrop (2) Mike Mackoff (3) Steve Edgar.

The next son, Lenton Pruitt, purchased Fletcher’s Grocery and operated it for many years. The business was located on the site of the current Fletcher’s Sporting Goods. He was married first to Edith Grace Jackson (1915-1965), daughter of Julian Clifford Jackson and Nora Lee Hassell. They were the parents of a son, Travis Norman Sr., b. 1940, d. 2020, m. (1) 1962 Linda Ann Pearson, had three children: Travis Norman Jr., m. Rosana (2) Dr. Russell, m. Barbara (3) Dr. Wesley, m. Jill. In 1996, Travis Sr. married Brenda Bentley. Travis Sr. owned several companies: Travis Pruitt & Associates, Civil Engineers & Land Surveyors, eGPS Solutions, Remote Mapping Group, and several others. In later years his father, Lenton Pruitt, married Martha Wilson, widow of Comer Wilson.

The youngest son, Eddie B. “Ted” Pruitt, was born in 1912 and grew up working on the family farm. He was married to Ora Lee Weaver (1916-203), daughter of James Wyatt Weaver (1878-1942) and Maggie Weaver. In 1940, he was engaged in working in the logging industry. He and his family lived in a house near his parents’ home which was sold to him by his brother, Raymond. He and Ora were the parents of the following children: Betty Joyce, b. 1934, m. 1951 Harry S. Tillman (1923-1987), 2 children; Bobby Gene, b. 1937, m. (1) 1955 Edna Grantham, 1 son (2) 1995 Mary Ann Shull; Janelle, b. 1944, m. (1) 1960 Scott Dunevant, 1 child (2) 1966 Benjamin S. Hall, 1 child; Janice Gayle, b. 1947, m. 1963 Donald R. Holley, 1 daughter; Eddie Lee, b. 1950, m. 1966 Phyllis McCollough; and  Debbie Lynn, b.&d. 1959.

Martha Pruitt was the youngest child and in later years inherited the Pruitt homeplace. She was first married in 1941 to Ted Clamon Raley (1917-1996), and they were the parents of two children: Cheryl Diane, b. 1947, m. 1992 Virgil O. Hamlet (1928-2015); and Theresa Lynn, b. 1950, m. 1972 Charles Leon Waller. Martha next married James Frederick Barron in 1960.  They had one daughter, Fredia Jo, b. 1962, m. (1) Jerry Lee Jenkins Sr. (2) Michael DeShepper. Martha later married J.W. Parrish. Martha began working at a textile plant and then went to work for Bell Telephone which became a manager with General Telephone. She worked in Andalusia and then for a while in the Ft. Rucker office before returning to work in the Andalusia office. She was a lifetime member of Adellum Baptist Church and a longtime member of the Andalusia Pilot Club. She became a caregiver for a number of years and resided in Savannah Terrace her last few years.

Sources for this story included a Pruitt family history compiled by Travis Pruitt and his son, Travis Pruitt Jr., as well as records from several Pruitt descendants including Marie Pruitt Pierce who has requested this for some time. Appreciation is expressed to all of them for sharing their information.

Anyone who might 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