Cary family migrated from South Carolina to Conecuh County, Ala.

Published 12:18 am Saturday, September 19, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Cary family of Conecuh County, Ala., was quite reputable and has ties to several families in surrounding counties. Dudley Armstead Cary was the earliest ancestor of this family to arrive in South Alabama from South Carolina. It has been reported that he was lured by the description of the attractive lands in Southwest Alabama, so he moved his family to this frontier region in 1820.

Dudley Armstead Cary was born in 1791 in Gloucester County, Va., as the son of John Cary Jr. (1760-1822) and Elizabeth Williams (1752-1833). When he was about eight years old, the family moved to Green County, Ga. Being an astute young man, he was sent at 11 years of age to the famous Waddell High School in Abbeville District, S.C. Waddell School was a very prestigious, academic institution which produced a number of national leaders. Afterwards, Dudley returned home to Athens, Ga., and entered the State University from which he was graduated in 1813.

Dudley had chosen the profession of teaching, and right away he secured a position as principal in a school in Sumter District, S.C. It was there that he met Catherine Cantey, b. 1797, to whom he was married in 1818. After about two years, they made the adventurous decision to migrate to Southwest Alabama. That led to their move to Monroe County in 1820 where they settled temporarily at Claiborne, and Dudley continued his teaching career. After about a year he moved east to Belleville in Conecuh County. From there a couple of years later, he settled in the Sparta community of Conecuh County.

In 1826. Dudley was chosen as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Conecuh County, an office he held for almost a quarter of a century. In 1833, he received attention from President Andrew Jackson who appointed him Receiver of the Land Office for the Sparta District. Unfortunately, he was removed from this office in 1850 because he was a Democrat. However, during that same year, he was elected as the first Judge of Probate for Conecuh County when it was initially  established. He served until 1863 at which time he became disqualified for the office due to his age.

Dudley was an upright citizen for his community and sought to serve his fellowman in numerous ways in addition to his public service. In 1850, he became a member of the Baptist denomination and was baptized by the famous Elder Alexander Travis who was a resident and evangelist of the area of Brooklyn, Conecuh County.

During his last years, Dudley Armstead Cary lived around in the homes of his children who tenderly cared for him. He died in 1879 in the area of Brooklyn and was buried in the Cary Cemetery, a very small one that is inaccessible at present.

A quote from the History of Conecuh County: “No man who has ever lived in Conecuh County has left a fairer record than Judge Cary. He was universally recognized as a man who was swayed in life by the purest motives. So circumspect was his deportment in all relations that no one has ever ventured to cast any asperities upon his fair name.”

As mentioned earlier, Dudley A. Cary was married in 1818 to Catherine Cantey. They were the parents of the following children:  John Dudley, b. 1820, d. 1872, m. Elizabeth Matilda Boykin Dubose (1828-1890); Eliza, b. 1825, d. 1874; Sarah, b. 1826; Martha, b. 1829, d. 1839; Orlando, b. 1822, d. 1893, m. 1866 Abigail Williams Turk; Laura, b. 1832, d. 1895; Mary Theodosia, b. 1835; Catherine Nora, b. 1837; and Frances Elizabeth, b. 1839, d. 1860.  One family tree on listed a Frances Elizabeth, b. 1810, d. 1817; and Sarah, b. 1810.  This is probably incorrect as these were names given to other children and the birthdates were before Dudley and Catherine’s marriage.

At this point, the families of the two sons will be presented. The oldest, John Dudley Cary, made quite a name for himself following in his father’s footsteps to some degree for public service. He grew up in Conecuh County and at the very young age of 21 years, he was elected to serve as Conecuh County Clerk in 1841. Four years later in 1845, he was re-elected to continue serving. In 1857, he was elected to serve as an Alabama State Representative, and he continued in 1858. In 1872, he moved to Florida and died a month later leaving a widow and five children.

John Dudley Cary and his wife, Elizabeth Matilda Boykin Dubose, were the parents of the following children: Catherine, b. 1846; Armstead Dudley II, b. 1848, d. 1920; Emma Theodosia, b. 1849, d. 1889, m. Robert Dasha (1841-1903); John Dubose, b. 1851, d. 1897, m. 1885 Sarah Louise Tate (1868-1930); and Bettie, b. 1853.

John Dudley’s second daughter, Emma Theodocia Cary, was married in 1865 to Robert Desha. The were residing in Escambia County, Ala., when Emma died in 1889. They were the parents of four children: Catherine B. “Katie,” b. 1867, d. 1912; Robert, b. 1869; Elizabeth Cary “Bettie,” b. 1874, d. 1939; and Julia DeForest, b. 1881, d. 1952.

John’s second son, John DuBose Cary, was married in 1885 to Sarah Louise Tate (1868-1930). They were the parents of the following children: John Tate, b. 1888, d. 1971; Armistead Dudley III, b. 1892, d. 1980; and Clarence Clark, b. 1897, d. 1987.

The younger son of Dudley Armstead Cary, Orlando Cary, was married in 1866 to Abigail Williams Turk, the widow of Newton Johnston who was born in 1828. Abigail and Newton were married in 1855 and had two children before his death: Percy Wheatley, b. 1857, d. 1942; and Rebecca, b. 1859, d. 1941.

Orlando and Abigail Cary were the parents of the following children: Frances “Fannie,” b. 1867, d. 1948, m. Edward Nicholas Amos (1861-1944); Theodocious Turk, b. 1869, d. 1946, m. Bessie Brewer (1874-1949); John Dudley, b. 1872, d. 1954, m. Mary Dean Bethea (1875-1963); George Washington, b. 1875, d. 1959, m. Bessie Travis Liles; and Francis Marion, b. 1877, d. 1949, m. (1) Nancy Tippins (1876-1908) (2) 1908 Lillie Coleman (1878-1918) (3) After 1918 Lula Paul Jernigan.

Orlando’s oldest daughter, Frances Cary, was married to Edward Nicholas Amos, son of Lawrence Nicholas Amos and Adeliza E. Harder. They were the parents of the following five children: Lawrence Cary, b. 1891, d. 1920; Sidney R., b. ca 1896; Velma, b. 1897, d. 1969; Gladys, b. 1901, d. 1935; and Edward Milton, b. 1903, d. 1981. At her death, Frances Cary was buried in the Old Brooklyn Methodist Cemetery. Many members of the Cary family were buried in the Brooklyn Baptist Church Cemetery.

Orland’s son, Theodocious Turk Cary, was married in 1897 to Bessie Brewer, daughter of Hal Brewer and Susan M. Still. They were the parents of two sons: Tellis, b. 1898, d. 1983; and Orlando Dudley, b. 1909, d. 1978, m. 1940 Bernice Catheline Teel. Orlando Dudley and Bernice had two children: Carolyn Virginia, b. 1942, d. 1975, m. Thomas Clifton Kennedy; and Richard Derhyl, b. 1944, m. 1965 Henrietta Nadine Bradley.

Orlando’s son, John Dudley Cary, was married to Mary Dean Bethea. They were the parents of the following eight children: Armstead Orlando, b. 1900, d. 1945; Hattie B., b. ca 1904; Leona A., b. ca 1907; Nancy, b. ca 1909; Kathleen, b. ca 1912; Evelyn, b. ca 1914; Mary, b. ca 1916; and Alice M., b. 1917.

Orlando’s son, George Washington Cary, was married to Bessie Travis Liles, daughter of William Thomas Liles and Mary Henderson. They were the parents of the following six children: Marie, b. ca 1903; Bruce Lamar, b. 1905, d. 1906; Myrtle, b. ca 1907; Emmet O’Neal, b. 1909, d. 1933; Mary Frances, b. ca 1912; and William Liles, b. 1918, d. 1981.

Orlando’s youngest son, Francis Marion Cary Sr., was married three times. He and his first wife, Nancy Tippins, had three children before her untimely death in 1908. They were: Thelma Lee, b. 1903, d. 1981; Daniel Webster, b. 1904, d. 1981; and Francis Marion Jr., b. ca 1908. Orlando was married second in 1908 to Lillie Coleman, daughter of James Coleman and Charlotte Grice. They had one son, William Travis Sr., b. ca 1918. Later, Orlando married Lula Paul Jernigan after 1918, but they did not have any children.

The Cary family left a well-recognized history and legacy in Conecuh County.

Sources for this story included the family records of William Travis “Bill” Cary Jr., History of Conecuh County by B.F.Riley, and

Anyone who finds 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: