Elijah McCreary left strong legacy for his descendants

Published 10:39 pm Friday, October 2, 2020

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The McCreary family of Conecuh County, Ala., was introduced in last week’s column and will be continued in today’s writing. This story will begin with a further look at the life of Elijah McCreary, son of Adam and Susannah (Harley) McCreary. Elijah was born in 1818 in South Carolina and was less than a year old when the family migrated to Conecuh County.

As mentioned last week, Elijah McCreary enjoyed traveling and seeing the growth and progress of his new state. On one such trip up the Mississippi River, he saw a plantation that so impressed him that he bought it and later give it to one of his sons. Speaking of his sons, he is remembered for allowing each son to select his best horse to ride off to enlist in the Confederate Army. Elijah appears to have been a strong supporter of the Confederacy, but the only son whose record of service was found was that of Wilson Adam McCreary. He mustered in at Camp Stone on April 7, 1862, and was assigned to Company H, 2nd. Alabama Cavalry. Elijah managed well during the war, and when the Yankees were approaching his area, he hid his horses and mules in a heavily wooded area with a slave to guard them. He also sent two wagon loads of cured meat to the home of G.D. Robinson in the Paul community for him to guard. 

Elijah McCreary was first married in 1842 to Mary Almirah Autrey (1826-1850). They had four children before her untimely death: Mary Elmira, b. 1843, d. 1888, m. William Allen Turk; Wilson Adam, b. 1844, d. 1881, m. (1) Addie Robinson (1848-1877) (2) Callie Coleman (1853-1923); Joseph Samuel, b. 1846, d. 1898, m. Sarah Frances “Sallie” Robinson; and Lorenzo Autrey, b. 1848, d. 1926, m. Martha Leona “Mattie” Ward.

Elijah McCreary was married second in 1853 to Mary S. Coleman whose parents died when she was an infant, so she was reared by her uncles. Mary helped care for Elijah’s young children, and they also became the parents of the following: Elijah Frank, b. 1851, d. 1912, m. (1) 1871 Sarah Missouri “Sallie” Allen (1856-1893) (2) 1901 Matilda Elizabeth “Lizzie” Priest (1871-1954); Caroline “Callie” A., b. 1852, m. Robert Taylor Hodges; Anna, b. 1855, d. 1927, m. William Dennard Kennedy; William Herbert, b. 1858, d. 1939, m. 1885 Elmire Alabama “Bama” Johnston (1861-1911); and Andrew Jay, b. 1860, d. 1910, m. Ida E. Findley (1860-1928).

The oldest daughter, Mary Elmira McCreary, was married to William Allen Turk, son of George W. Turk and Rebecca Allen. William Allen rendered service in the Confederate Army as a member of Company H., 2nd. Alabama Cavalry, the same one as his brother-in-law, Wilson Adam McCreary. At their deaths, William Allen and Rebecca were buried in the Turk Cemetery, which is located near Turk or Sanders Cave. 

Mary Elmira and William Allen Turk were the parents of the following children: William Allen Jr., b. 1863, d. 1923, m. Julia Hadley; Rbeicia “Molly,” b. ca 1865, m. William Johnson; Ida “Sissie;” Alabama “Dumpie,” b. ca 1867, d. young; George, b. 1870, d. 1951; James “Jimmie,” b. 1872, d. 1885; Anna, m. George Robinson; Tennie, m. Frank Turner; Elijah, d. as young boy; and Myra, m. W.S. Rogers. Mary Elmira and William Allen died a week apart in 1880 and were buried in Turk Cemetery where her parents and their children who died young were buried. Following their parents’ deaths, the children went to live with various relatives.

Elijah’s oldest son, Wilson Adam McCreary was born in 1844 and was the prime age to join the Confederate Army. Following the end of the war, he returned home to make a life for himself. At some point, he moved to Evergreen where he used the $1,000 his father had given him to establish a county newspaper called the Conecuh Banner. He later returned to McCreary and created Wilson McCreary Plantation. He was married first to Addie Robinson who was born in 1848 and died in 1877. They had two sons: Franklin Robinson, b. 1874, d. 1921, m. Anna Elizabeth McCreary; and Elijah Robinson, b. 1875, m. Florence Dicky

At Addie’s death, she was buried in the DuBose Cemetery located near Brooklyn. Within a year Wilson Adam was married second to Callie Coleman who would help with his two young sons. They became the parents also of two sons: Dudley Herbert, b. 1878, m. Janie Riley of Evergreen; and Wilson Adam Jr., b. 1880, m. Ethel Williams (1888-1914), daughter of John Williams and Estelle Robinson. Unfortunately, Wilson Adam Sr. died in 1881 and was buried beside his first wife. His widow, Callie, was left with their two infant sons, so Wilson and Addie’s two sons went to live with Addie’s parents.

The second son, Joseph Samuel McCreary, was born in 1846 in Conecuh County and apparently moved to Texas just prior to marrying Sarah Frances “Sallie” Robinson, daughter of John A. Robinson (1826-1915) and Frances Dubose (1834-1900). He and Sallie reared their family in the Lott community of Falls County, Tex. All their children married and lived there or elsewhere in Texas. They were the parents of the following children: George Elijah, b. 1868, d. 1944, m. Lillie Mae Magee (1872-1926); Joseph Austin, b. 1871, d. 1955, m. Mattie C. Currie (1881-1966); Mary Elva, b. 1873, d. 1961, m. Argyle Redman “Ardie” Sale (1863-1932); Sarah Frances, b. 1877, d. 1954, m. Morris Foster Leeds (1867-1953); Addie Pearl, b. 1880, d. 1924, m. 1902 Charles Spurgeon Pond (1874-1923); and Janie, b. 1882, d. 1959, m. 1905 Reese Hale Henry (1879-1977).

The youngest son, Lorenzo Autrey McCreary, was born in 1847 in Conecuh County and married in 1876 in Texas to Martha Leona “Mattie” Ward (1855-1937), daughter of John Ward (1834-1862) and Elizabeth A. ? (1836-1903). Lorenzo and Mattie made their home in Coleman County, Tex., where they reared the following children: Theodosius Turk “Dosh,” b. 1877, d. 1919; Mattie Leona, b. 1879, d. 1963; Virginia Elizabeth “Lizzie,” b. 1881, d. 1930; Mary Almyra, b. 1885, d. 1976; Frank Elijah, b. 1888, d. 1965; Joseph Samuel, b. 1891, d. 1976; John Edward, b. 1893, d. 1973; Cecil Hays, b. 1895, d. 1957; and Lorenzo Autrey “Jake,” b. 1898, d. 1926.

Next, the children of Elijah McCreary and his second wife, Mary Coleman, will be presented beginning with oldest son, Elijah Frank McCreary, who was married twice. However, this writer did not find children for him. The next child was Caroline A. “Callie” McCreary who married Robert Hodges (1848-1934) in 1870. He was the son of Sherod and Mary Hodges of Brooklyn. No children were found for this couple who moved to Lott, Tex.

The next daughter was Anna E. McCreary, who was born in 1855 and who married William Dennard Kennedy (1876-1957), son of Augustus Byron Kennedy and Lucy Huff. They were the parents of two children: Ralph Leslie, b. 1876, d. 1957, m. Sarah Eldora “Dora” Jones; and Mary Taliaferro “Mamie” Kennedy, b. 1879, d. 1913, single. The family apparently resided in Brooklyn as it was reported that Anna died there.

The next son, William Herbert McCreary, was born in 1858 and died in 1939 in Brooklyn. He was married to Elmire Alabama “Bama” Johnston, daughter of Asa Johnston and Susan Katherine Henderson. They were the parents of the following four children: Katherine Lee “Kate,” b. 1886, d. 1955; William Leslie, b. 1889, d. 1960, single; Daisy Caroline, b. 1893, d. young in 1905; and Mary Louise, b. 1896, d. 1983. Some records show Mary Louise born in 1908.

Elijah’s youngest son, Andrew Jay McCreary, was born in 1860 in Conecuh County and was married in 1882 to Ida E. Findley (1859-1923), daughter of John Jack Findley and Martha Allen Raburn of Loango. Andrew tried working in the timber business for a while, but he eventually settled into farming. He was a fun-loving person who was very musical and enjoyed playing the fiddle. He was a strong advocate of the popular “pound square dances” which were held several nights during the Christmas holidays. Each family would bring a pound of food such as a meat, fruitcake, etc. and dance all night sometimes. 

Andrew and Ida lived in the McCreary community where they reared the following children: Arthur Allen, b. 1882, d. 1929, m. Ursie Hart, daughter of Reuben Hart and Sarah Jane McGowin; John Findley, b. 1886, d. 1969, m. 1920 Florida Callaway, daughter of Edgar Douglas Callaway and Georgia Boyett; Anna Elizabeth, b. 1888, d. 1972, m. Franklin Robinson McCreary, son of Wilson Adam McCreary and Addie Robinson; Fred Otto, b. 1892, d. 1952; and Ida Lillian, b. 1894, d. 1984.

If enough additional data is found, a third column will be devoted to the McCreary family.

Sources for this writing included Ancestry.com and family records from several McCreary descendants. 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: cthomasson@centurytel.net.