Hoomes family ancestors migrate to Escambia County, Alabama

Published 3:24 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

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Members of the Hoomes family have been long-time residents around Covington County, but particularly in Conecuh which later became Escambia County, Ala. They have a long heritage beginning in England and immigrating during the mid-1600s to Bowling Green, Caroline County, Va. Some descendants eventually migrated to South Alabama where they helped establish the Hoomesville community and church named in their honor.

Major John Thomas Hoomes who was born circa 1621 in England was the immigrant ancestor. He settled in Caroline County, Va., where he died circa 1685. He was married circa 1646 to Frances Holden, and they became the parents of three children: George Sr., b. 1667, d, 1733; John Waller; and Lucy Mary. The lineage of George Sr. will be followed in today’s story.

George Hoomes Sr. became a medical doctor and lived in the Bowling Green area. He was married to Ann Reade (1668-1722), daughter of Col. George Reade, who became Governor of Virginia, and Elizabeth Martiau, natives of England. George and Ann Hoomes were the parents of the following children: John, b. 1700; Priscilla, b. 1702, d. 1794, m. 1724 Joseph Pollard; Benjamin, b. 1704, d. 1785, m. Elizabeth Claiborne; Joseph, b. 1708 d. 1953, m. Susannah Waller; George Jr., b. 1709, d. 1953, m. 1728 Frances Ferneau; and Christopher, b. 1712, d. 1794.

George Hoomes Jr. was married to Frances Ferneau (Fernow or Fearnhough), who was born in 1709. They also lived in Bowling Green and were the parents of a son named John Hoomes, b. ca 1745, d. 1805, who became a Colonel. He was married in 1768 to Judith Churchill Allen, and they became the parents of the following: Allen, b. 1769; George III, b. 1771, d. young; John, b. 1773; Edmund, b. 1774; William, b. 1775; John Jr., b. 1777, d. 1824; George W., b. 1779, d. 1802, m. 1799 Martha Waller; William Allen, b. 1782, d. 1816; Richard (2nd Lt.), b. 1784, d. 1823, m. 1803 Hannah Battaile; Infant, b.&d. 1785; Armistead, b. 1786, d. 1827, m. (1) 1806 Ann Carter Willis (2) 1813 Lucy Mary Willis; Infant, b.&d. 1787; Infant, b.&d. 1788; and Sophia, b. 1788, m. 1807 Wilson Allen.

The lineage of the youngest surviving son, Armistead Hoomes, born in 1786, will be traced in this story. He was married first in 1806 to Ann C. Willis (1786-1810), and they became the parents of two sons before her death: George Churchill, b. 1808, d. 1840, m. 1829 Celia Holleman; and Henry Armistead, b. 1810, d. 1852, single. Then in 1813, Armistead was married to Lucy Mary Willis, and they had a daughter, Lucy Mary Jr., born to them in 1814 who died at birth.

George Churchill Hoomes was born in 1808 in Caroline County, Va. He was reared by his parents at “Aspen Hill,” which was a part of the Hoomes estate at Bolling Green in Caroline County. About 20 years after his Grandfather Armistead’s death and just prior to his Father Armistead’s death, George decided to migrate to South Alabama with several other young men. The great Hoomes estate was in chaos with numerous lawsuits against it. The family was regarded as one of the most colorful ones to reside in Caroline County, but as Pendleton put it, “Unfortunately, they allowed a vast fortune to slip through their fingers and have not occupied the mansion since 1842.” This was within 40 years after Col. John Hoomes’s death and 15, after Col. Armstead Hoomes’s death.

Around 1825, about five years after the Hoomes estate was settled, George C. Hoomes migrated to South Alabama along with the following men: Churchill Jones, young Dr. Taliaferro, Mortimer Boulware, a member of the Blow family and one of the Cary family. All were young men of well-to-do Virginia families and were well-educated—one being a doctor, one a lawyer and two teachers. Upon arrival, they settled in or around Conecuh County, Ala. They have many descendants who continue to reside in that area.

George Churchill Hoomes staked out his claim on the fertile west bank lands leading to the Conecuh River in the area that would become the Teddy community. Since he was educated for such, he became a teacher and taught for several years in area schools. A granddaughter, Pickie Hoomes Stone, wrote in 1946, “His parents being very wealthy, he was given a good education, at which time he learned seven languages. At age 18, he ran away from home and came to Alabama with the Bolers.”

Within a few years, George met Celia Holleman, the daughter of a woodsman from North Carolina, and they were married in 1829. They settled down and made their home near Boler or Teddy Mill Creek. Granddaughter Pickie Hoomes described Celia or Celie as she was called as being “uneducated and having a terrible temper.” George had no communication with his family back in Virginia until his son was born in 1830. He decided to write and share the news with his only brother, Henry Hoomes, who remained a bachelor in Virginia. In response, Henry sent a gift of a beautiful gold watch for his new nephew.

Tragically 15 years after arriving in Alabama, George died at the young age of 32, and the site of his grave is unknown. Before his death, he and Celie became the parents of five children: Armistead, b. 1830, d. 1897, m. (1) Nancy Mancill (1839-1863) (2) 1863 Marjorie Murphy (1846-1919); John Willis I, b. 1831, d. 1899, m. (1) ca 1861 Mary Ann Murphy (2) 1876 Margaret Ann Hodge; Henry, b. 1832, d. 1883, m. Matilda White; Fannie, b. 1834, m. Steve White; and Julie, d. in fancy. According to family reports, Celie never wanted to have anything to do with George’s relatives back in Virginia. To confirm that, after George’s death, she took the gold watch from her son and returned it to the uncle who had sent it. She claimed she did not want any help from them.

On September 1, 1895, Celie was granted 280.56 acres of land which was situated mostly on the east side of the McGowin-Brooklyn Highway and near Teddy. The grant included 80 acres owned by Dr. V.J. McCreary, 80 acres of the J.T. Sheppard heirs’ property, 20 acres owned by T.R. Miller Mill Company, and 40 acres on Buddy McGowin heirs’ property. Many years later, Celie moved to New Orleans with two of her grandchildren, Will and Emma White.

George Churchill and Celie Hoomes’ second son, John Willis Hoomes, was born in 1831 at the family’s home in Teddy. Being of the right age in 1861, he rendered service in the Confederate Army as a private in Company E, 15th Alabama Cavalry Regiment. At the end of the war, the three brothers, Armstead, John Willis, and Henry Hoomes, returned home and settled on farms adjoining each other between Smith and Teddy Creeks. The brothers being healthy and strong helped each other build their respective houses. They hewed logs and actually carried them on their shoulders to the house sites. John did not build his until 1884, and then he died in 1899. He was buried in the Hoomes Family Cemetery located on his homestead.

John Willis Hoomes was married first circa 1861 to Mary Ann Murphy with whom he had six children. Following Mary Ann’s death in 1875, John Willis was married the next year, 1876, to Margaret Ann Hodge, and they had 10 children born to them. John Willis and Mary Ann were the parents of the following children: Bettie, b. 1862, d. 1933; William Henry, b. 1864, d. 1935, m. Dosie Crosby; George Churchill III, b. 1867, d. 1934; Aaron Penson, b. 1868, d. 1926; Byron Lank, b. 1870, d. 1942; and John Thomas, b. 1874, d. 1940.

John Willis Hoomes and his second wife, Margaret Ann, became the parents of the following 10 children: Infant girl, d. in infancy; Rufus C., b. 1878, d. 1930; Lewis Willis, b. 1880, d. 1957, m. Sarah Crosby; Cora Elizabeth, b. 1882, d. 1959; Elbert J., b. 1884, d. 1955; Jennie Estelle, b. 1886, d. 1979; Nettie Mozell, b. 1888, d. 1894; Ruth Idell “Dood,”, b. 1890, d. 1980; Mary Etta, b. 1894, d. 1941; and Pickie Lovelace, b. 1897, d. 1959.

The column for next week will feature John Willis’s brother, Armistead Hoomes, and his family.

The source for this writing included Ancestry.com and a Hoomes Family web site maintained by Jake Hoomes.

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: cthomasson@centurytel.net.