History of the family and descendants of Joseph (Josiah M.) Whitsett of Lauderdale County, Alabama.

The History of Our Whitsett Family
of Lauderdale County, Alabama

Part 4

Joseph (Josiah M.) Whitsett

Descendants of Joe Whitsett Photo Album

Joseph, Josiah, or Both?

How many Whitsett brothers were there?  James Edward Whitsett of Weatherford, Texas, wrote that there were five, including an older, unnamed brother who went to Georgia.  This brings me to a puzzle - because there are actually five names in the records pertaining to those early Lauderdale County brothers.  Those names are Wilson, the oldest of the four named in James Edward Whitsett's letter; Joseph, Isaac, Josiah M. and then John the youngest.  We have assumed that Mr. Whitsett was referring to Joseph Whitsett when he wrote "Joe," but perhaps it was Josiah M. Whitsett.  Josiah M. Whitsett is listed in several legal documents between 1865 and 1870 related to the estate of Isaac Whitsett.  Joseph Whitsett's name also appears in these records in a manner that does not allow us to say for certain he is, or is not the same person as Josiah. These documents do make it clear he, or they, were related to Isaac Whitsett. 

On the 1840 census of Phillips County, Arkansas is listed Joseph Whitsett age between 20 and 30 (born between 1810 and 1820).  In the household is one boy under five years of age and two young girls under ten years of age. The reason we assume that this is one of the Lauderdale County brothers is that in 1850 the youngest brother John is also in Phillips County, easily identified by his age and the names of his wife and young son Jesse J. Whitsett. 

Josiah and wife Kizziah, age 46, appear on the 1860 Lauderdale County Federal census.  The census indicates that he was born in 1814 in Tennessee. Next door is John and Nancy (Parker) Whitsett with a child Joseph, age 1.  The evidence strongly suggests that this John was the son of Josiah and Kizziah.  Josiah and John also appear on the 1860 Agriculture Census of Lauderdale County. This census shows that each had five acres of improved land and Josiah had 320 acres of unimproved land.  Perhaps this is an indicator that he and his son had recently obtained the land.  The 1866 tax list of Lauderdale County lists Joseph Whitsett in Spains, Lauderdale County, but there is no Josiah or J. M. Whitsett on these lists.  Spains was the name of the township west of Waterloo Township and included the western tip of T2R15W, more than half of T1R15W and all of T1R16W.

With the 1870 census of Lauderdale County, things really get confusing.  It lists Joe "Whitsit" age 60 (born in 1810 in North Carolina) with a wife named Kissiah, same age and place of birth as Joe.   The name "Joe" could be either Joseph or Josiah.  In the household is eleven-year-old [Joseph] Madison Whitsett.  Also on the 1870 census are J. M. "Whitsit" (this has to be Josiah M. Whitsett) and wife, also named Kizziah.  In the house are Owen Whitsett, age 19 (the orphan son of Isaac Whitsett) and Josiah Lucas, age 11.  The estate records of the Isaac Whitsett estate tell us that Josiah Whitsett was the guardian for Owen.  The census taker visited the home of J. M. and Kizziah Whitsett on September 6, 1870.  The location of their home at the time was in Township 2, Range 15 West and their post office was in Waterloo.  The same census taker visited the home of Joe and Kissiah "Whitsit" on September 17, 1870. Their home is in Township 1, Range 15 West and their post office is also Waterloo.  The township T2R15W containing Waterloo covers a very small area of a tip of western Lauderdale County on the north bank of the Tennessee River.  From the River to its northern boundary is less than two miles.  East to west it extends no more than three or four miles.  Obviously, when the census was taken J. M. and Kizziah Whitsett either lived in Waterloo or very close to it.  The southern boundary of T1R15W is immediately north of Waterloo.

If we were to take this census at face value then we have two "Joe" Whitsetts.  If this really were the case, we would have as the sons of Adam Whitsett (excluding the possibility of a brother William):

Wilson Whitsett, born in 1808 in North Carolina or Tennessee; married Elizabeth Price (daughter of Benjamin Price).

Joseph Whitsett, born in 1810 in North Carolina or Tennessee; married Kissiah; married second, widow Margaret Gracey.

Isaac Whitsett, born in 1812 in Tennessee, married Elizabeth Wilson

Josiah M. Whitsett, born in 1814 in Tennessee, married Kizziah; he was the guardian of his nephew Owen Whitsett and also guardian of William Isaac Whitsett, the grandson of Josiah's brother Isaac.

John Whitsett, born in 1821 in Tennessee, married Cynthia Tankersley.

With the 1880 census we are again confronted with a puzzle.  That year Joseph Whitsett, age 63, born in Tennessee (both parents born in North Carolina) is enumerated in Township 1 Range 15 West.  This is the Township just north of Waterloo and the same one where the second "Joe" and Kissiah lived in 1870.  The age does not correspond with earlier censuses for either "Joe."  Unfortunately, this is a common problem with the census.  In the 1880 household is Margaret Gracy age 35 and her son William, age five.  Margaret is apparently Joseph's housekeeper in 1880.  Lauderdale County marriage records show that Joseph Whitsett married Margaret O. Gracy (should be Margaret A.) the following year on March 20, 1881.  There is no Josiah or J. M. Whitsett listed on the 1880 census. However, in 1881 Josiah M. Whitsett signed his name as administrator to an accounting of the estate of Isaac Whitsett when that estate was finally settled after almost twenty years of legal wrangling.

Even though the waters are pretty muddied when it comes to "Joe" Whitsett, I believe that Josiah and Joseph are the same person.  Until better evidence comes along we have to keep in mind the possibility that there were two brothers named Joe.  In this family history, I will treat them as the same person.  I will refer to him simply as Joe Whitsett.

According to family tradition, the four orphaned Whitsett brothers; Wilson, Isaac, Joe and John were taken in and raised by Ben and Jane Price.  However, the 1830 census taken five years after the death of Adam Whitsett shows that only one teenage male was in the Ben Price household at that time.  He was probably Isaac, age about 18.  My theory, based on very slim evidence, is that in 1830 Joe and John were living in Giles County, Tennessee with William Whitesides.  In that household were one male, age between five and nine (John, age nine); one male between 10 and 14 (Joe, probably about fourteen); one male between 60 and 69; one female 20-29 and one female 40-49.

The censuses taken in 1860 and 1870 indicate that daughter Elizabeth was born about 1835 in Alabama or Tennessee, and son John William was born about 1837 in Alabama.  This indicates that if he did live for a time in Giles County, Joseph returned to Alabama where one or two of his children were born before 1840 (there is evidence of a daughter born between Elizabeth and John, and possibly of a son born in 1840 or shortly after). 

The first documentary evidence of Joe Whitsett is the 1840 census of Big Creek Township, Phillips County, Arkansas.  In the household of Joseph Whitsett are one male under five years of age (son John William age 3); one male between twenty and twenty-nine years of age (Joseph); one female under five (unknown daughter); one female between five and nine (Elizabeth, age about five); one female between twenty and twenty-nine (Kizziah?).  Also listed in the household is one female slave between 10 and 23 years old.  A strange fact is that the total for everyone in the household is given as eight, but only six are accounted for in the various age category boxes.  The census states that four in the household are engaged in agriculture and that two white adults over twenty years of age cannot read or write.  It appears evident from Josiah's signature on legal documents up through 1881 that he had difficulty writing his name. 

The 1850 census of Phillips County, Arkansas lists John and Cynthia Whitsett with son Jesse J. in Spring Creek Township; however, Joseph and Kizziah Whitsett are not to be found on the census.  The 1850 census is thoroughly indexed and my search for them in several different indices has been futile.  This is really a shame because this one census could tell us volumes about the family. Once I thought, perhaps Joe had gone to the gold fields of California, but there is no named Joseph or Josiah with a surname anything close to Whitsett on the California census of 1850. Either the census taker missed the family or the surname was so mutilated that we cannot find it.

As mentioned above, the census of 1870 causes us some problems.  We have J. M. and Kissiah Whitsett, both age 56, born in Tennessee (page 245, family 1761), and Joe and Kissiah Whitsit (sic) both age 60 and both born in North Carolina (page 237, family 1699).  According to this census page neither Joe nor Kissiah could read or write.  Also in the household is 11-year-old Madison Whitsett, supposedly born in North Carolina.  One of the problems writing an accurate history of Joe Whitsett is trying to determine when he was born.  This census indicates that it was in 1814 and agrees with the 1870 census.  The 1880 census indicates 1817.  Either date is plausible.  It may be that Joe himself was unsure of his birth date.  That fact would not have been uncommon in an age when few births were recorded, unless it was by a church official.

Josiah M. Whitsett took over as the administrator of his brother Isaac Whitsett's estate from James Witherspoon in November, 1873.  J. H. Whitherspoon, as Administrator De Bonis Non of the estate, turned over $300 cash to J. M. Whitsett.   Josiah by that time had taken over the guardianship of (William) Isaac Whitsett, Isaac's grandson, from William Isaac's mother, Mary Ann (Hopson-Whitsett) Terry.  The signature on these documents, "J. M. Whitsett" is identical to the signature on the accounting of the estate Josiah M. Whitsett gave in 1881 when the estate was finally settled.    In 1874, Joseph Whitsett paid Wm. Hopson $67 in cash for the boarding of Isaac Whitsett.   This is strong evidence that Josiah and Joseph were the same person.   William Hopson was William Isaac's maternal grandfather.

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The first evidence of trouble between Joe Whitsett and William Isaac appears in the appointment of T. L. Chisholm as guardian ad litem to William Isaac, in a suit by Josiah Whitsett against his young nephew and ward.   A hearing on the case was to be conducted in April 1875.  Unfortunately, my paid researcher did not find or copy those papers.   As a result, we have no idea what this suit was about, except that it was related to the estate of Isaac Whitsett, Sr.

In the spring of 1878 Joseph Whitsett paid teacher George Waters $4.60, the balance owed for tuition for Isaac Whitsett on the school year 1877.  In November 1879, Josiah Whitsett paid "Billy" Hopson $31.00 for boarding William Isaac.

The 1880 census of T1R15W in Lauderdale County lists Joseph Whitsitt, age 63 and "single" (versus widowed or divorced) as the head of household for family number 8.  The only other occupants in the home were widow Margaret Gracy, age 35 and housekeeper for Joseph, and her son William Gracy, age five.  This census was the first to list the birthplaces of the parents of the listed person.  Joseph gave his place of birth as Tennessee and those of his father and mother as North Carolina.  Joe was the only one of the four Whitsett brothers still alive in 1880, so this is one of the very few sources giving the birthplace of their parents.  The following year, on March 20th, Joseph Whitsett and Margaret Ann Gracey were married in Lauderdale County.  As usual with Joe, It seems, this census raises more questions than answers.  Joseph and Margaret had one son, Joseph Wheeler Whitsett, born in March 1884.

After more than fifteen years of legal wrangling, the estate of Isaac Whitsett, Sr. was brought to settlement in March 1881.  William Isaac had turned twenty-one the previous September and had married Fannie Belle McDaniel in October.  Josiah was ordered to present an accounting of the estate, which was audited by the Probate Court on March 2, 1881.  Josiah M. Whitsett, as guardian of Isaac Whitsett, Jr. presented his receipts and vouchers to the court.  The account audit is signed "J. M. Whitsett" in the identical handwriting as the 1873 receipt to Witherspoon.  The audit shows that Josiah's account is out of balance with $305.57 not accounted for.  The estate records also show that James Witherspoon sold land belonging to the estate for $2,353.17 in 1880 and claimed of that amount he was still owed $2,209.04 as Administrator De Bonis Non of the estate.  We have no documents showing why Witherspoon claimed he was owed this money, except possibly as lawyer fees.

In June, Isaac, Jr. obtained a warrant for the sheriff of Lauderdale County to recover his property from Josiah M. Whitsett.  The sheriff reported that he found no property (no description is given of the missing property).  Isaac immediately obtained an "alias" summons for Josiah M. Whitsett and his securities, Wm. G. Lucas, Wilson Whitsett and O. B. Sullivan.  This is the last document we have pertaining to these suits and legal actions.  Of interest is the fact that Wilson Whitsett died three years before in 1878, and William G. Lucas was probably also deceased by 1881.  Apparently, young William Isaac Whitsett never found satisfaction.  His son Clifford Whitsett relayed to me in 1980 that his father had told him he was cheated out of his inheritance by relatives.

We do not know when Joe Whitsett died, but Margaret A. Whitsett married E. G. (Ephraim) Long on September 12, 1891 in Lauderdale County.  Margaret Long is listed as a widow and head of the household on the 1900 census of Lauderdale County.  In her household is her 25 year old son, William D. Whitsett.  William Gracey took the name Whitsett after his mother married Joseph Whitsett in 1881. The 1910 Census indicates that Margaret was the mother of four children, three of which were still living in 1910.  Of those three, we know only of son William D. (Gracey) born about 1875 and Joseph Wheeler Whitsett, born about 1884.  I have attempted to locate a marriage record of a Gracey (or some variation of the name) and Margaret in the hope of identifying her maiden name.  On the 1910 and 1920 censuses, Mississippi is given as Margaret's place of birth.  On a hunch, I searched the 1870 census of Mississippi and out rolled the household of Eli Gracy, age 45, born Tennessee and Margaret A. Gracy, age 25, born in Tennessee.  They were living near Luka in Tishomingo County, only ten miles as the crow flies from Waterloo, Alabama.  Based on this single piece of evidence, I believe that Margaret's first husband was Eli Gracy (1870 Census, T1R10 Tishomingo County, Mississippi, Post Office Luka, pg. 3/296).

Margaret was living next door to her son (Joseph) Wheeler Whitsett in Spains, Lauderdale County when the 1910 census was taken.  This census lists her place of birth as Mississippi.  Her son Joe Wheeler Whitsett and family are in Hardin County, Tennessee in 1920.  On that census Joe lists is mother's place of birth also as Mississippi (on the 1930 census, he gives it as Alabama).   I have been unable to find any record of Margaret's death under any of her names - Gracey, Long or Whitsett.  Alabama started recording deaths in 1908 but Margaret's is not among them.  She may have died in Hardin County, Tennessee if she joined her son there sometime between 1915 and 1920.

Tradition in the family of Otto Whitsett, grandson of Joe and Margaret, says that Margaret was part Cherokee Indian.  I have found no evidence to support this belief; however, I cannot rule it out.  She is listed as a white female on the census returns.  It is likely she would be listed as white even if she were of mixed blood, if she looked white and was living as a white woman. 

The Cherokees seem to be the favorite tribe for people claiming to have an Indian ancestor.  My own grandmother made a similar claim, that a great grandfather married a Cherokee woman.  However, my research uncovered the fact that the story originated with a man, not even a direct ancestor, captured by the Delaware Indians as a child during the French and Indian War.  He was reared by the Indians and later married within the tribe.  The Delaware Indians were actually a group of clans so named by white colonials because their villages were mainly along the Delaware River in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

If Margaret's parents or grandparents came to Mississippi or Alabama from the Carolinas, the home territory of the Cherokees, the chances are good that an Indian ancestor would actually be Cherokee.  The Cherokees were one of the earliest tribes to adapt to the white man's way of life.  There were many who dressed the way Europeans dressed.   Some owned large plantations and slaves, and they adobted Christianity.  As a result, there were an unusually high number of mixed marriages.  Usually, it was a white man who knew that marrying a Cherokee woman gave him access to tribal lands (those Cherokees who did not adopt white man's ways would later become victims of President Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy).

It is also possible that Margaret was part Creek, or from one of the other tribes who lived in the Mississippi Territory.  As mentioned earlier, many white men had married Creek and other Indian women before the War of 1812 (again, primarily because it gave them access to rich tribal land).  Several well-known names in Lauderdale County, such as Colbert, were men of mixed blood.  Some of these became astute businessmen and were among the wealthiest in northwestern Alabama.  Today, there seems to be little possibility of proving or disproving the family tradition through documentation.  In her time, there were no official tribal rolls.  However, the science of DNA has come to the point where it can prove or disprove these traditions.   If one can afford it, today it is about $100 for a basic test, DNA is one of the great leap forwards in a genealogist's tool bag.

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John William Whitsett

John William Whitsett, son of Joe and Kissiah Whitsett, was born in Alabama, probably Lauderdale County, on February 15, 1837.  He married Nancy P. Parker on August 11, 1856 in Lauderdale County.  Nancy was born on February 18, 1838 in Alabama.  In October 1983, Martha Carol and John Gerry Whitsett sent me a letter containing much of the information on John William and his descendants.  John Gerry was the grandson of John William Whitsett.  John and Carol live in Mississippi.  Click here for the family tree of John William Whitsett.

WILLIAM JOSEPH WHITSETT, b. July 1858, Alabama; d. 1936, Shelby County, TN; m. Amanda E. Threat (or Threet) about 1882 in Lauderdale County; two children, Owen Boyce and Clara O. Whitsett who died in Shelby County, Tennessee and left no descendants.  Amanda Threat Whitsett was born September, 1857 in Alabama and died February 11, 1929 in Shelby County.  This entire family is buried near Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee.
JOSEPH MADISON WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1860. Joseph, age 1 is in the household of John and Nancy in 1860. In 1870 he is listed as Madison Whitsett in the household of (grandparents) Joe and Kizziah Whitsett.  I have been unable to locate him after the 1970 census.  The source for the name "Joseph Madison" is the combination of the 1860 and 1870 censuses of Lauderdale County.  It seems likely that he died between 1870 and 1880.
WASHINGTON C. "MACK" WHITSETT, b. February, 1863 in Tennessee; d. abt. 1912, Lexington, Cleveland Co., Okla.; m. Josie E. Whitten, abt. 1886 Alabama or Tennessee.  She was born April, 1869 in Tennessee and died after 1920 probably in Cleveland Co., Okla.; two daughters, three sons.
JONES TURNER WHITSETT, b. May 30, 1866, Tennessee; d. March 8, 1941, Probably Lauderdale County, Alabama; m. Ida C. Threet January 17, 1886 in Lauderdale County.  Ida was born on August 11, 1868 in Alabama and died March 22, 1909 in Florence, Alabama.  Jones married (2) Susie Pearl Warren about 1910.  Jones Turner Whitsett had seventeen children by his two wives.
JOHN M. WHITSETT, b. about 1868 in Tennessee.  Nothing more is known.

ARTHUR ERNEST RIPPY WHITSETT, (Ernest R. Whitsett) b. December 21, 1873, Waterloo, Lauderdale Co., Alabama; d. June 9, 1951, Waterloo, Lauderdale County, Alabama; m. Mallow J. Whitten, Dec. 24, 1895 in Lauderdale County.  Mallow Whitten Whitsett was born November 25, 1878 in Tennessee and died July 15, 1965 in Waterloo, Lauderdale County. They had one daughter, Florence, born August, 1896 in Lauderdale County.  Florence apparently never married and left no descendants.

The 1860 census, taken on July 7th lists John and Nancy Whitsett, age 23, and son Joseph, age 1 in the Western Division of Lauderdale County.  All were born in Alabama.  Immediately next door, is Josiah and Kiziah Whitsett, both listed as age 46 and born in Tennessee.  The census indicates that everyone but Nancy over the age of twenty could read and write.  The Joseph, age 1, listed in the household may be son William Joseph or Joseph William (both versions are found in the records), or son Joseph Madison Whitsett.  If so, one or the other is missing from the 1860 census.  John is also listed on the 1860 Agriculture Census of Lauderdale County next to his father Josiah Whitsett.  John had five acres of improved land and 70 acres of unimproved land.

When the Civil War broke out, John joined Company H of the 4th, Roddey's Alabama Cavalry as a private.  The primary mission of Company H was the defense of the Tennessee River from Waterloo to Muscle Shoals and it saw action in Lauderdale and counties around it.  John William Whitsett was in the same company as Christopher Simpson and probably John Harvey Rousseau, son-in-laws of John's uncle Wilson Whitsett.

The 1866 Alabama State Census or the 1866 Tax List of Lauderdale County do not list John.  The family had probably moved to Hardin County, Tennessee shortly after the Civil War.  In 1870 John, Nancy and their family was living in Hardin County, Tennessee near Savannah.  Children in the household were Joseph W. (William Joseph), age 11, born in Alabama; Washington C., age 7, born in Tennessee; Jones T., age 4, born in Tennessee; John M., age 1, born in Tennessee.  Also in the household, "living at home" was Joseph M. Fielder, age 21, born in Tennessee (relationship, if any, unknown).  The 1880 census indicates that Washington Whitsett was a nephew to John and Nancy.  On the 1880 census in Hardin County is John W., age 43; wife Nancy P., age 41; nephew Washington C., age 17; son Jones Turner, age 14; son Rippy Arthur E., age 4.

Probably about 1885 the family returned to the Waterloo area of Lauderdale County.  John died on December 20, 1899 and Nancy died on March 14, 1908.  Both are buried in the Wright Cemetery near the town of Wright a few miles east of Waterloo.

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Elizabeth Margaret (Whitsett) Lucas

On September 1, 1858 Elizabeth Whitsett, daughter of Joe Whitsett, married William Lucas in Lauderdale County, Alabama.  William was a widower, first married to Elizabeth Hough in Lauderdale County in 1841.  She apparently died after the birth of daughter Mary in 1856.  When William married Elizabeth Whitsett, he had seven children by his first wife.  On July 3, 1860, the census lists William and Elizabeth (Whitsett) Lucas and their family in the Western Division of Lauderdale County, Post Office Waterloo.  William is listed as age 43 and Elizabeth, age 25.  Children in the family were Thomas, age 18; William, age 16; daughter Marinda, age 12; Cynthia, age 8; Isaac, age 6; Josiah, age five months.  Daughters Alice and Mary born about 1855 or 1856 are not listed in the household.

1860 Census, Western Div. Lauderdale Co., Ala. P.O. Waterloo pg. 55, 2 & 3 July 1860
412/412 William Lucas age 43 Farmer born Tennessee
Elizabeth age 25 born Ala.
Thomas age 18 Ala
William age 16 Ala
Marinda age 12 Ala
Cynthia age 8 Ala.
Isaac age 6 Ala
Josiah age 5 mos Ala
Lewis Franks age 23 Hireling Ala

After the Civil War a State census was taken of Alabama.  The 1866 census lists Wm. Lucas and J. Whitsett in Township 1, Range 16 West.  This is the western most township in Lauderdale County and later was designated as Spains district.  In the Lucas household were four males, one in the 10 to 20 year old category and three listed as over 20;  there were three girls under ten years of age, two between 10 and 20 and two over twenty.  In the J. Whitsett household was one male under 10 and one male over 20, and one female over twenty.  The boy under 10 years of age was probably grandson Josiah Lucas who is not listed in the Lucas household.  The Lauderdale County tax list for 1866 does not show a Joe, Joseph or Josiah Whitsett.

Two houses from the J. M. Whitsett family in 1870 is William Lucas, age 52.  Elizabeth's name is given as Margaret, but I'm reasonably sure it is our Elizabeth.  Her age is given as 36, birthplace Tennessee.  Also in the household are the older Lucas children, William, age 26; Jane (Marinda), age 22; Cynthia, age 17, Isaac, age 15; Alice, age 15; and Mary, age 14.  The younger children, born after William and Elizabeth Whitsett were married, were: Callie, age 6; Lizzie, age 5; and Daniel Lucas, age 2.   We can also interpret this census as Elizabeth has left the stage and William married a Margaret who was about the same age as Elizabeth.  Circumstantial evidence to support this conclusion is the fact that Elizabeth's son Josiah is living with his grandparents, and probably had been since 1866 or earlier.  There is also a five year gap in ages between Josiah and the next younger child, Callie.  Although not great (the usual gap is two to three years between children), this type of age gap sometimes represents the death of a child or the mother.  There is no marriage license for William Lucas and a Margaret in Lauderdale County.  However, on July 18, 1878 William G. Lucas and Martha L. Ingram were married in Lauderdale County.  If there was a Margaret between Elizabeth and Martha, this seems to be a lot of marriages for William.  This is the reason I believe that Margaret on the 1870 census is Elizabeth Whitsett Lucas.  The last record we have of William G. Lucas is a summons by the Probate Court of Lauderdale County to Josiah M. Whitsett and his securities, Wm. G. Lucas, Wilson Whitsett and O. B. Sullivan dated September 30, 1882.  Although his name is on this summons, I believe he had died before 1880.  Son Daniel Lucas appears on the 1900 census in Lauderdale County, indicating that there may be living Lucas descendants of Elizabeth Whitsett Lucas.  The fate of Josiah Lucas is unknown.

1870 Census T2R14W, Lauderdale County, Alabama, P.O. Waterloo, page 245/554
1813/1861 Whitsit J. M. age 52 Farmer born in Tennessee
    Kissiah age 56 Keeping House Tennessee
  Lucas Josiah age 11 Farm Hand Alabama
  Whitsit Owen age 19 Farm Hand Alabama
1815/1863 Lucas William age 52 Farmer Tennessee
    Margaret age 36 Keeping House Tennessee
    William J. age 26 Farm Hand Tennessee
    Jane age 22   Tennessee
    Cynthia age 17   Alabama
    Isaac age 15 Farm hand Alabama
    Mary age 14   Alabama
    Callie age 6   Alabama
    Alice age 15   Alabama
    Lizzie age 5   Alabama
    Daniel age 2   Alabama
  Ross Boon age 20 Farm Hand  


1900 Census, Pct. 18, Spains, Lauderdale County, Alabama ED 66 Sheet 3 A, 7 June 1900

49/49 Lucas,

Daniel [B.]



Oct 1868

age 31 m. 12 years




Rhoda L. 



Dec 1869

age 30 m. 12 yrs mother of 5, 5 living




Velma E. 



Mar 1889

age 11




Herman D. 



May 1892

age 8




James I.



Mar 1895

age 5




Beadie H.



Oct 1897

age 2




Lillie S.



Mar 1900

age 2 mos.




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Joseph Wheeler Whitsett

Joseph Wheeler Whitsett was born in Alabama in March 1884, to Joe and Margaret (Gracey) Whitsett.  His father was in his late 60's when he was born.  He died in Poinsett County, Arkansas on February 11, 1938.  Joe Wheeler married Pearl Lindsey in 1906 in Lauderdale County.  She was fifteen years old when they were married.  After Joe Wheeler's death, Pearl married S. M. King in December 1938.   Maida Whitten and I were able to help Mrs. Starlite Andros sort out some of this family.

NELLIE WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1907, Lauderdale County, Alabama; m. (1) Mr. James or Mr. Jones, abt. 1929, probably in Poinsett County, Arkansas
OTTO WHITSETT, b. March 20, 1909, Lauderdale Co., Alabama; d. March 30, 1978, Butte Co., California; m. Ruth Jewel Denno abt. 1932 probably in Poinsett County, Arkansas; two daughters and one son.
AUDRA WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1911, Lauderdale Co., Alabama
AMIE MADGIE WHITSETT, b. Abt 1913, Alabama
RICHARD LEE WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1916, Alabama
LORENE WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1920, probably Hardin Co., Tennessee
JOE WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1923, probably Hardin Co., Tennessee
JUNE WHITSETT, b. Abt. May, 1925, Arkansas
MARGARET WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1929, probably Willis Township, Poinsett Co., Arkansas

Joseph Wheeler first appears on the 1900 census in the Spains precinct of Lauderdale County as Joseph W. Whitsett, boarding in the household of Luther and Lula Northcut.  The census shows he was born in March, 1884 and was 16 years of age, born in Alabama.  Also in the Spains precinct in 1900 was his mother and (half) brother, Margaret Long, age 54 and son William D. (Gracey) Whitsett, age 25.  Margaret is listed as being the mother of five children, three still living.  They are the only Whitsett's listed in the Spains district (1900 Census, Pct. 18, Spains, Lauderdale Co., Ala., ED 66, Sheet 7 A, June 21, 1900).

Ten years later, when the 1910 census was taken, Wheeler Whitsett had married.  He and wife Pearl are still in the Spains Precinct.  The census lists Wheeler as 26 years old, wife Pearl age 19 and the couple married for four years.  In the household are daughter Nellie, age 3, born in Alabama, and son Otto, age 1 also born in Alabama.  Next door is the widow Margaret Whitsett, age 60, mother of four children, three of whom were living as of the First of June.  (1910 Census, Spains, Lauderdale Co., Alabama, ED 72 Sheet 1A pg. 154; 15 April 1910).

Some time between 1915 and 1920, Joseph Wheeler and his family removed from Lauderdale County to Hardin County, Tennessee where they are found on the 1920 census.  Apparently, his mother Margaret has died for she cannot be found on the 1920 census.  I believe she died in Hardin County and may be buried under her married name of Long.  Her death is not recorded in Alabama where deaths began to be recorded in 1906. 

1920 Census, Dist. 9, Hardin County, Tennessee, ED84, Sheet 1 A, 1 B, Jan. 8, 1920
10/10 Whitsette Joe Wheeler Head M W age 35 married Alabama Alabama Mississippi Farmer
  Pearl Wife F W age 28 married Alabama Alabama Alabama  
  Nellie May Dau F W age 13 single Alabama Alabama Alabama  
  Otto Son M W age 11
Alabama Alabama Alabama  
  Audra Dau F W age 9
Alabama Alabama Alabama  
  Amie Magis Dau F W age 7
Alabama Alabama Alabama  
  Richard Lee Son M W age 4
Alabama Alabama Alabama  

By 1930, Joe Wheeler and family were living in Willis Township, Poinsett County, Arkansas.  Judging from the birthplaces of the children, they came to Arkansas between 1923 and 1926.  The Arkansas Death Index, 1934 - 1940, Arkansas Department of Health, indicates that Joe Wheeler Whitsett died on February 11, 1938 in Poinsett County.  Pearl remarried to S. M. King in December, 1938.  Anyone interested in this family should probably invest some energy in researching in Poinsett County.  There is perhaps a treasure chest of documentation to be found there, and perhaps some living descendants. 

1930 Census, Willis Township, Poinsett County, Arkansas ED56-24 Sheet 9 B, April 26, 1930
167/170 Whitsett Joe Head M W age 46 first married at age 21 Ala. Ala. Ala.     Farmer
  Pearl Wife F W age 39 first married at age 15 Ala. Ala. Ala.      
James, Nellie Dau F W age 23 first married at age 23 Ala. Ala. Ala. [may be Jones]
Whitsett, Otto Son M W age 21 single Ala. Ala. Ala.      
  Audra Dau F W age 20 single Ala. Ala. Ala.      
  Madgie Dau F W age 17 single Ala. Ala. Ala.      
  Lee Son M W age 15 single Ala. Ala. Ala.      
  Lorene Dau F W age 10 single Tenn Ala. Ala.      
  Joe Son M W age 7 single Tenn Ala. Ala.      
  June Dau F W age 4 11/12 single Ark. Ala. Ala. [4 yrs 11 mos.]
  Margaret Dau F W age 1 single Ark. Ala. Ala.      
Son Otto Whitsett married Ruth Jewel Denno about 1932, probably in Poinsett County, Arkansas.  She was born about 1913 in Trumann, Arkansas.  Trumann is in the north eastern part of the county east of U.S. 63.  This is probably the area Joe Wheeler and his family lived.  Otto and Ruth moved to California and Otto died in Butte County on March 30, 1978.  They had two daughters and one son.  This is the family of Mrs. Starlite Andros and her uncle, James Edward Whitsett.

Otto and Ruth (Denno) Whitsett






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Jones Turner Whitsett

Jones Turner Whitsett was the forth of six sons born to John William Whitsett and Nancy P. Parker.  He entered this life on May 30, 1866, in Hardin County, Tennessee, and left it on March 8, 1941, probably near Waterloo in Lauderdale County, Alabama.   On January 17, 1886, he married first Ida C. Threet (or Threat) in Lauderdale County.   She was born on August 11, 1868, probably in Lauderdale County.   She died after 1910 probably in Wayne County, Tennessee.   Ida and Jones were divorced before 1910 and he married for the second time to Emma Martin.  After the death of Emma, Jones married Susie Pearl Warren probably about 1910.   Susie Warren was born May 12, 1888, in Alabama and died in Florence, Lauderdale County on July 31, 1968.   Jones had an enormous family, seventeen children by his three wives. 

In October 1983, I received a letter from Martha Carol and John Gerry Whitsett of Horn Lake, Mississippi which gave me much valuable information on this family.  John Gerry was the grandson of Jones and Susie Pearl Whitsett.  In April 2007, I received e-mail notes from Vicki Vandegrift Niedermeier, great granddaughter of Jones and Ida.  She passed on to me information given to her by her great aunt, Emma Turner Nevada Whitsett Scott, daughter of Jones and Emma (Martin) Whitsett.

1. OMA WHITSETT, b. January 1887, Alabama; d. Bef. 1983; m. DENNIS EDWIN JOHNSON.
2. LEONARD JAMES WHITSETT, b. August 4, 1889, Alabama; d. January 15, 1928, Lutts, Wayne County, Tennessee (FLORENCE TIMES January 16, 1928, WHITSETT, Leonard James 15 Jan 28 Lutts, TN. Burial: Pinhook Cemetery, Wayne Co., Tenn.)
3. VERTA WHITSETT, b. February 1892, Alabama; d. Bef. 1983; m. UNKNOWN MCGILL. Had no children.
4. CLYDE WHEELER WHITSETT, b. November 1, 1893, Waterloo, Lauderdale County, Alabama; d. March 7, 1977, Savannah, Hardin County, Tennessee.  Never married. World War I Veterans Biographies U-Z, From Maida Whitten E-mail, April 5, 2001. Burial: Lufts Cemetery, Wayne County, Tennessee.
5. CLAUDE JONES WHITSETT, b. February 28, 1897, Alabama; d. October 1983, Lutts, Wayne County, Tennessee. he married LEATHA PERRY Abt. 1927. She was born 1901 in Tennessee, and died 1973 in Wayne County, Tennessee.  Clarence and Leatha are buried in The Martins Mill area of Wayne County, Tennessee.  Three sons: William; Perry Joe; T. Frank Whitsett. Four daughters: Ellaese; Mildred; Illa C. and Iva G. Whitsett (died as children).
6. GERTRUDE WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1900; d. Bef. 1983.  Date of birth is an estimate. Had three or four children. Married first a Cummins and then a McGill.
7. LILLIAN WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1903; d. Bef. 1983.  Date of birth is an estimate. No descendants.

8. EMMA TURNER NEVADA WHITSETT, b. July 12, 1908; still living in Waterloo, Lauderdale County, Alabama.  Emma was raised by uncle and aunt Ernest R. and Mollie Joanna Whitsett and is listed in their household on the 1910 and 1920 census in Waterloo. Emma was still living in Waterloo as of March 2007 at the age of 99.

9. JONES CLARENCE WHITSETT, b. September 5, 1911; d. November 13, 1969, Lauderdale County, Alabama.  Burial: Miller Cemetery, Lauderdale County, Alabama.
10. JOHN WILLIAM WHITSETT, b. Nov. 9, 1912, Ala.; d. Dec. 2, 1989, Memphis, Shelby Co., Tenn. He married OLETA BEDINGFIELD May 6, 1933.  Three children: Gladys Irene; John Gerry; W. Doris Whitsett.
11. JOHNNY B. WHITSETT, b. January 22, 1915, Lauderdale County, Alabama; d. February 14, 1935, Lauderdale County, Alabama. Burial: Miller Cemetery, Lauderdale County, Alabama.
12. HELEN MARIE WHITSETT, was born Abt. August 1918 in Alabama. She married Mr. WADDELL; Three sons, one daughter: Bearl Waddell; D. C. Waddell; James Earl Waddell; Shelby Jean Waddell.
13. GLYNN THEODORE WHITSETT, b. February 17, 1920 in Alabama; d. July 5, 1992 in Florence, Lauderdale Co., Ala.; m. LASSIE D., b. 1916, d. in 2000; Three children: daugher, Glyndal; daughter, Debra; son Timothy Whitsett.
14. TOLBERT LYNN WHITSETT, b. August 25, 1923; d. December 21, 1994, Bartlett, Shelby County, Tennessee.  Five children: daughter, Angie Lynn; son James; son Steven; son Joe Paul; daughter Rebecca Whitsett.

Jones Turner Whitsett first shows up in the records with the 1870 Census at age four in the household of his parents near Savannah in Harden County, Tennessee.   In 1880, at age 14, he is still listed in his parents' household in Hardin County.  Also in the home were his brothers Washington C. Whitsett and Arthur Rippy E. (Ernest R.) Whitsett.   Jones married Ida C. Threat in Lauderdale County on January 17, 1886, by Joseph A. Bevis, Justice of the Peace (Lauderdale County, Alabama, MARRIAGE BOOK E, JANUARY 1885 - OCTOBER 1887; AS COPIED BY THE WPA).

When the 1900 census was taken Jones and his first wife Ida are living near Waterloo in Lauderdale County.

1900 Census, Precinct 17, Waterloo, Lauderdale County, Alabama, ED65, Sheet 11B
224/224 Whitsett J. T Head b. May 1866, age 34, m. 14 yrs   Ten Ala. Ala.
  Ida C. Wife b. Apr 1868, age 32, m. 14 yrs mother of 5, 5 Ala. Ala. Ala.
  Oma daughter b. Jan. 1887, age 13, single   Ala. Ten. Ala.
  Linerd Son b. Aug. 1890, age 9, single   Ala. Ten. Ala.
  Verta daughter b. Feb. 1892, age 8, single   Ala. Ten. Ala.
  Clyde Son b. Oct. 1894, age 5   Ala. Ten. Ala.
  Jones Son b. Feb. 1897, age 3   Ala. Ten. Ala.
Simmons, Sherman boarder b. 1876, age 24   Ala. Ill. Ala.

Turner and Ida divorced probably about 1909 or 1910.  He then married Emma Martin.  Emma died from typhoid fever eight months after the birth of daughter Emma Turner Nevada Whitsett.    Jones then married Susie Pearl Warren in 1910 possibly in Tennessee (the marriage is apparently not listed in Lauderdale County).  Jones was about 44 years old and Susie was about 22, although the census that year gives her age as twenty. 

When the 1910 census was taken Ida C. Whitsett, age 41, was living on Weatherfords Creek Road, Martins Mill, Wayne County, Tennessee.  Living with here was her son Clyde, age 16; son Jones, age 13; daughter Gertie, age 9; and daughter Lillian, age 3.  Turner Whitsett was living with his third wife Susie in Florence, Alabama.  The census, dated April 15th, indicates that the couple had not been married a full year.  The 1920 census lists Jones T. and wife Pearl living by Second Creek Bridge in Cross Roads Precinct, Lauderdale County.  In 1930, the family is listed in the Rogersville Precinct.

1920 Census, Cross Roads, Lauderdale Co., Alabama, ED56 Sheet 4B/5A, 9 Jan. 1920
Second Creek Bridge Road
78/87 Whitsett Jones T. Head age 54; married Tenn. Ala. Ala.  
    Pearl Wife age 28; married Ala. Ala. Tenn.  
    Clarence Son age 8; single Ala. Tenn. Ala.  
    J.W. Son age 7; single Ala. Tenn. Ala.  
    J. B. Son age 5; single Ala. Tenn. Ala.  
    Marie daughter age 2yrs 5mos Ala. Tenn. Ala.  

1930 Census, Precinct 2 Rogersville, Lauderdale County, Alabama, ED39-5, Sheet 5B (no date)
Whitsett J. T. Head age 63 first married at 20 Tenn. Ala. Ala.
    Susie P. Wife age 38 first married at 20 Ala. Tenn. Tenn.
    Jones C. son age 19, single Ala. Ala. Ala.
    J. W. son age 17, single Ala. Ala. Ala.
    Johnie B son age 15, single Ala. Ala. Ala.
    Hellen M. daughter age 12, single Ala. Ala. Ala.
    Glenn T. son age 10, single Ala. Ala. Ala.
    Linn H. son age 6, single Ala. Ala. Ala.
    Dora D. daughter age 4, single Ala. Ala. Ala.
    Gladis O. daughter age 2, single Ala. Ala. Ala.
    Rufus H. son age 6 mos Ala. Ala. Ala.
Jones Turner Whitsett died on March 8, 1941 in Lauderdale County.  Susie Pearl died in Florence on July 15, 1968.  Both are buried in the Miller Cemetery in Lauderdale County.

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Washington C. "Mack" Whitsett

Washington C. or Mack Whitsett (as the family called him) was born in February 1863, probably in Hardin County, Tennessee.  On the 1870 and 1880 census he is living in the household of John William and Nancy (Parker) Whitsett.   His relationship to the head of the household in 1880 is listed as nephew.    If this is true, we do not know who his parents were.   All other evidence seems to indicate that he was the son of John William and Nancy (Parker) Whitsett.   He married Josie E. Whitten probably in Hardin County or Lauderdale County about 1888.   The family lived in Waterloo from about 1888 until they removed to Cleveland County, Oklahoma shortly after the 1910 census was taken.   Mack died in or near Lexington, Cleveland County, Oklahoma about 1912.    Josie, born in April 1869, in Tennessee died probably between 1920 and 1930 in Oklahoma.   In addition to the U.S. Census returns, information on this family was from the grandson of Lee Owen Whitsett. Unfortunately, due to a couple of computer crashes I no longer have his name or other information in order to give him proper credit.  Other sources were Mrs. Martha Carol Whitsett of Horn Lake, Mississippi and Emma Turner Whitsett Scott, niece of Mack.

JOHNNIE F. WHITSETT, b. October 1889, Alabama.Miss Johnnie F. Whitsett was a school teacher in Lexington, Cleveland County, Oklahoma and Pauls Valley, Garvin County, Oklahoma. Apparently she never married and left no descendants.
PEARL L. WHITSETT, b. April 1891, Alabama.  Nothing more is known.
LEE OWEN WHITSETT, b. September 1896, Alabama; d. Feb. 13, 1976, Santa Clara, California. He married PAULINE AGNES BERNICE SMITH Abt. 1917 in Probably Oklahoma. She was born Abt. 1898 in Oklahoma. Five children we know of, daughter Margaret, b. 1917 and Wilma H., b. 1919; Lee Owen, Jr., b. 1921; Paul H., b. 1925; James C., b. 1928.  Information on Lee Owen and his family was sent to me by his grandson. I have misplaced the note and his name.  If you should see this, please contact me so I can give you the proper credit. RNW
C. MCKINLEY WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1901, Alabama. Nothing more is known.
JOHNSON WHITSETT, b. Abt. 1908, Alabama. Nothing more is known.

The information from the descendant of Lee Owen Whitsett, who was the son of Mack Whitsett, gives us the connection between Washington C. Whitsett and W. Mack Whitsett and identifies them as the same person.   Census information backs up this claim.  Apparently, Mack dropped the middle name beginning with "C" and was identified in his adult life was W. M. or W. Mack Whitsett.  As an adult, he first appears on the 1900 census in Waterloo, Lauderdale County as W. M. Whitsett, age 37, born in February 1863, in Tennessee.  In the household are his wife, Joe E. Whitsett, age 31, born in April 1869, in Tennessee (both parents born in Tennessee); daughter Janice F. (or Johnnie F. according to the family), age 10, born in October 1891, in Alabama; daughter Pearl L. Whitsett, age 9; son Lee Owen Whitsett, age 3; and mother N. P. (Nancy P.) Whitsett.   The mother is listed as "M. P." but there is little doubt that it should be "N. P."  (1900 Census, Precinct 17, Waterloo, Lauderdale County, Alabama, ED65, Sheet 5B, June 9th).

On the 1907 Census Map of Lauderdale County, showing the voting precincts in western Lauderdale County, W. M. Whitsett is marked on the map in the southwest part of Waterloo near the Waterloo School.  His house is on the road that comes into Waterloo from the west.   The road makes a ninety-degree turn from the north to the east just east of Beech Branch.  This map also shows his brother (Arthur) Ernest Rip Whitsett just to the north east of Waterloo near where Wilson Whitsett's farm was located.

The last record I have of Mack Whitsett in Lauderdale County is the 1910 census.   He is living next door to Ernest R. and Mollie Whitsett.

1910 Census, Waterloo, Lauderdale County, Alabama, ED71, Sheet 2B, 18 April; Sycamore Street
37/42 Whitsett Ernest R. Head age 36; married once; m.14 yrs Tenn. Ala. Ala.
  Mollie J. Wife age 31; married once; m. 14 yrs Tenn. Tenn. Tenn.
  Florence L. daughter age 13, single Ala. Tenn. Tenn.
  Emma T. Niece age 1yr, 11 mo Ala. Tenn. Ala.
38/43 Whitsett W. Mike Head age 47; married 1; m. 23 yrs Tenn. Ala. Ala.
  Josie Wife age 43; married 1; m. 23 yrs; mother of 5 Tenn. Tenn. Tenn.
  Johnnie F. daughter age 43; married 1; married 23 yrs Ala. Tenn. Tenn.
  Pearl E. daughter age 19; single Ala. Tenn. Tenn.
  Lee O. son age 13; single Ala. Tenn. Tenn.
  C. McKinley son age 9; single Ala. Tenn. Tenn.
  Johnson son age 1yr 6 mo Ala. Tenn. Tenn.
          Whitten John C. bro-in-law age 33, single Tenn. Tenn. Tenn.

If Mack Whitsett died in Oklahoma in 1913 as reported, it must have been shortly after the family moved there.  The 1920 census of Lexington, Cleveland County, Oklahoma lists wife Josie, daughter Johnnie and son Johnson.  Son, Lee Owen Whitsett and wife are living on 5th Street in Oklahoma City in that year.  Lexington is about thirty miles south east of Oklahoma City.

1920 Census, Lexington, Cleveland County, Oklahoma, ED7, Sheet 8B, Catalpa St., 15th January
155/162  Whitsett Josie Head female, age 51, widow Tenn. Tenn. Tenn.  
  Johnnie daughter age 31, single Ala. Tenn. Tenn. School Teacher
  Johnson Son age 11, single Ala. Tenn. Tenn.  
1920 Census, Precinct 12, Ward 2, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Co., Okla. ED138, Sheet 1A,  E. Fifth Street
3/5        Whitsett Lee O. Head age 23, married Ala. Ala. Ala. Printer
  Pauline Wife age 22, married Okla Illinois Illinois  
  Maugerite Daughter age 2 yrs 9 mos Okla Ala. Okla  
  Wilma H. Daughter age 9 mos Okla Ala. Okla  

In 1930 Josie E. Whitsett was living alone in Cleveland County.  The only new information on this census about her is that she was first married at age 19 (about 1888).  Son Johnson Whitsett was lodging in a boarding house managed by Amelia Johnson in Oklahoma City on North Dale Avenue.  Also living there is William C. Whitsett, age 39, born in Alabama and whose parents were both born in Alabama. William's occupation is listed as, "manager, men's clothing store," and Johnson is listed as, "acct manager, men's clothing store."  It seems obvious that William and Johnson must have been related but I can find no other record of this William C. Whitsett.  Mack and Josie's daughter Johnnie was living in Pauls Valley in Garvin County, Oklahoma and her occupation is given as public school teacher.  Son Lee Owen was living at 1315 N.E. Milan Court, Oklahoma City.

1930 Census, Ward 2, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma ED 55-58, Sheet 7 A; April 9th, 1315 N.E. Milan Court
152/165  Whitsett Lee O. Head M W age 33 m. at age 21 Ala Tenn Tenn Printer publishing Co.
  Bernice Wife F W age 32 m. at age 20 Okla Illinois Illinois  
  Francis M. daughter F W age 12 Okla Tenn Okla  
  Wilma H. daughter F W age 11 Okla Tenn Okla  
  Lee O Jr son M W age 9 Okla Tenn Okla  
  Paul H. son M W age 4 yr 6 mos Okla Tenn Okla  
  James C. son M W age 1 yr 2 mos Okla Tenn Okla  
It is possible, maybe even probable, that Lee Owen had other children born after 1930.  According to Vicki Niedemeier, Mack and Josie's daughter Pearl was alive and residing in Lexington, Oklahoma as of March 2007.

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Ronald N. Wall
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Revised: 29 MAY 2011