Franklin County, Alabama Genealogy Trails


Whole-sale Poisoning - We have seen a private letter to a gentleman in this city, which, under date of the 30th ult., states that a party at the town of Avoca, five miles from Russellville, Ala., thirteen persons, out of a company of thirty, were fatally poisoned from drinking whiskey, which, it is supposed, had been drugged.  Three of the musicians who had drank very freely, died before day.  The other victims lingered longer.  We have no additional particulars. - [St. Louis Republican] (Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, Cincinnati, Oh., Feb. 9, 1866 )


The boiler at Conrad quarry near Isbell, Franklin county, exploded last week killing John Burfield and James Furgerson and fatally injuring Crockett Gray. Source: Hamilton Times, Marion County AL, April 6, 1893 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
John Burfield and James Ferguson were killed and Brackett Gray seriously injured by the explosion of a boiler in a quarry at Russellville, Ala. (Saginaw News, Saginaw, Mich, March 30, 1893 )

Jeff Dinsmore and Elrod Hudson, two negroes who burned a portion of Russellville, Ala., were taken from jail by a mob and hanged. (Elkhart Weekly Review, Elkhart, Ind., April 2, 1891)
Deaths: Booth, Mrs. Elizabeth, of Franklin Co., Ala. d. 2 days after her marriage. (24 Jan. 1832) [Source:  Vital Records From The National Intelligencer, by George A. Martin; transcribed by V. Bryan]
Mr. THOMAS BROMBLEE shot and instantly killed Mr. RILEY ABLES in Franklin County near the Marion County line on last Thursday.  Source: Vernon Courier, Lamar County AL, march 7, 1889- Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Russellville, Ala, Jan. 11 - Hon WILLIAM I. BULLOCK, state senator from the Thirty First Senatorial district, died this morning in Memphis, to which city he had gone for medical treatment.
     Mr. BULLOCK was one of the most prominent men in public life in north Alabama.  He was born in this county October 6, 1859, his ancestors being come from England to Greenville county, North Carolina, and thence to Franklin county, Alabama.  His father, FRANK BULLOCK, was killed at the Battle of Pineville, Ky , whole in the Confederate service.
     Mr. BULLOCK was a lawyer by profession.  H e was first elected to the legislature as a member of the House of Representatives in 1884 and made a brilliant record.  He was one of the few members of the Legislature at that time who voted to confer some power on the railroad commission.  He was re-elected to the House and in 1900 was elected senator from the district composed of the counties of Franklin, Colbert, and Marion.
     He served for eight years as member of the State Democratic executive committee, and after voluntarily retiring, at the last state primary was again chosen a member of the committee.
     When the Populists and Republicans had a large majority in the seventh Congressional district, Mr. BULLOCK not being a candidate for the nomination was named as the Democratic Standard-bearer and after a brilliant canvass of two months came with in a few hundred votes of election to Congress.
     In the state Senate he made a splendid record, taking a leading part in all important legislation.  He supported the elective railroad commission, the child labor law and the pensioning of Confederate veterans on a liberal scale.
     In the campaign of 1902 he was chairman of the Democratic committee of Franklin county and under his leadership the Democrats redeemed the county which had been largely Populist for several years.
     Mr. BULLOCKS' ability as a lawyer was widely recognized and he figured in many important cases in this section.  He was a widower and leaves five children.  Source: Marion County Democrat, Marion County AL, January 14, 1904 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

The many friends in our county of Hon. W. I. BULLOCK of Russellville deeply sympathize with him in the loss of his wife, whose death occurred Tuesday week. She had been sick for several weeks.  Source: Marion County News, Marion County AL, August 27, 1897 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Squire Wm. Burgess died at his home near Pleasant Site this (Friday) morning.  Squire Burgess was about 75 years old and no man was better known or had more friends in the county than he did.  Full particulars next week. (Franklin county Times, Russellville, Ala, Jan. 17, 1902)

SHOT FROM AMBUSH - A Cowardly Assassin's Dastardly Deed - United States Deputy Marshal Locke Ezzell's Sad Death Last Friday
    Last Friday morning there occurred just beyond Big Bear Creek, in Franklin county, another of those dastardly crimes that has made infamous the name of the territory lying between the two creeks known as Big and Little Bear.
    United States Deputy Marshal Locke Ezzell was on his way from Belgreen to this place on business connected with the revenue service when he was shot and instantly killed by some miscreant who had concealed himself behind a tree on the road side.   The time the killing was done is supposed to have been about 9 or 10 o'clock in the morning.
    James Ezzell, brother of the murdered man, and D. C. Pounders and Tom King were also on their way here on the same business as himself. They were close enough behind to hear the report of the gun with which he was shot.  When they arrived at the fatal spot he was lying in the road where he had fallen from his horse, stone dead, with a load of buckshot in his head and neck.
    The spot had been well selected for the murderous work in view.  A rough and uneven road bed that had been cut and washed out by the travel and ruins of years made it very difficult for one riding along to keep a lookout for danger, even though he suspected it. Close to the side of the road the assassin had concealed himself behind a tree to await the coming of his victim.  Too true were his evil designs executed, and without a sign or a moment of warning he pulled the trigger and took the life of a fellow being without giving him opportunity to defend it. That Ezzell was totally unaware of his danger is evidenced by the fact that, although heavily armed, he had made no effort to use a weapon.
    The cause of his death is believed to be properly chargeable to the lawless element of wild catters who have so long infested the narrow strip of country lying  between big Bear and Little Bear Creeks.
    About three years ago Robert Terrell and Thomas Bannister, of this county, were shot in the same manner near the same place, and since that time others have been killed in that narrow strip. And all of these parties being in the revenue service, the conclusion is irresistible that there is an organized band of ruffians who occupy that territory as the stage of their operations who will not stop at even murder in their lawlessness.
    Ezzell was about 35 years of age and leave s a wife and four children.   Source: Hamilton Times, Marion County AL, May 14, 1891- Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

FARR, Two Sons of JOHN
We are extremely sorry to hear of the burning of the residence and two children of Mr. JOHN FARR, of Hodges, Ala. The two boys were almost saved, but the flames cut off help at the last moment and they were burned beyond recognition. (unknown source)

News of a terrible tragedy has just reached Russellville from Travis in the western end of Franklin county.  The sons of J. H. FARR, the eldest 18 years of age, had been opossum hunting and returning went up stairs, carrying the lantern they used with them.  It is supposed the lantern was left burning and in the night exploded or was turned over, a member of the family down stairs discovered the roof of the house on fire and tried to awaken the boys up stairs, but could not. The house was burned and after the fire the charged bodies of the two boys were found in the ashes. - (Marion County Republican, Marion County AL, October 21, 1908 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney)

A Russellville telegram of Saturday says: JAMES FIKE, an employee at a steam mill a few miles north of this place, was killed this evening by the band wheel of the mill. The wheel while in motion flew into pieces, and a piece struck Fike on the head crushed his skull.  He died instantly. (Hamilton Times, Marion County AL, June 5, 1890 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney)

Mrs. Sarah Hollingsworth died yesterday morning at her home, No. 1109 East Carpenter street, aged 60 years.  She was born in Russellville, Ala but has lived in Springfield for many years.
    The funeral will take place today from the Union Baptist Church at 2:30 p.m.  The Rev. J. I. Martin will conduct the service.  (Daily Illinois Register, Springfield, Ill., March 15, )

JACK, Hon. W. P.
HON. W. P. JACK DEAD - The people of Lamar county will read with regret the above announcement.  From the Southern (Franklin county) Idea, of the 26th ult, we take the following.
    "At 8 o’clock last night, at his home a few miles south of town, Hon. W. P. JACK breathed his last.  For several weeks he has been quite ill.  For many years, since 1858 he has been a conspicuous figure in this county, having time and again held high positions of trust and confidence.  He was honest and firm in his convictions.  His morals were good, his manners refined, his language chaste and elegant.  In literary and scientific pursuits he greatly delighted and was deeply learned.  He has gone to “join that innumerable caravan” upon that other shore.  Peace to his ashes – sweet be his sleep."  Source: Vernon Courier, Lamar County AL, October 2, 1890 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Wm. Johnson attended the funeral of his son, Chas. Johnson, at Russellville, Ala last week. (Source: The Clay City Times, Clay City, Ky., Feb. 13, 1908)

Fought in the Courtroom
One Man Killed and Another wounded at Russellville, Ala
Russellville, Ala., July 29 - A tragedy was enacted in the criminal courtroom here resulting in the death of one man and the wounding of another.  During the trial of a divorce case a difficulty arose between John Ligon and Line and Clark Richardson, two brothers, which resulted in Ligon shooting Line Richardson in the left shoulder, and Clark Richardson cutting Ligon's throat from ear to ear.  Richardson may recover, but Ligon is dead.  Ligon married Mrs. Richardson, the mother of Line and Clark Richardson.  He was so disagreeable that she was force to leave him some months ago.  She sued for a divorce, and during the trial Ligon made some slanderous remarks about her.  Line Richardson gave him the lie.  Ligon called young Richardson a vile name, drew his pistol and fired and was in the act of shooting again, when Clark Richardson rushed to the rescue and cut his throat from one ear to the other with his knife, thus saving his brother's life. (Bismarck Tribune, Bismark, ND., July 30, 1893 )

Mill Stone Bursts and Kills Minister
His Little Boy Also Sustains a Fractured Leg in the Accident.
Red Bay, Ala., Dec 13 - Rev. O. B. McLain was killed today near Vina, Ala, by the bursting of a millstone.  A piece of the flying stone struck the minister's little son and broke his leg in two places.  Rev. McLain was helping a friend who had gone to the mill and was trying to regulate the throttle when the accident occurred. (Macon Telegraph, Macon, Ga., Dec. 14, 1910)

W. H. Nance, one of the prominent citizens of Russellville was thrown from his buggy and killed Friday.  Source: Marion County Democrat, Marion County AL, July 9, 1903 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Sam Parker Killed
Franklin county was the scene of another cold blooded murder on last Sunday evening, and SAM PARKER, for many years a citizen of this county, was the victim.   It appears that PARKER had a difficulty with ISAAC CANTRELL some weeks ago and tat he struck CANTRELL with a gun.  On the day mentioned ISAAC CANTRELL and his brother HENRY went to the home of JOHN MITCHELL where PARKER and his wife were stopping and shot PARKER to death.  The murderers fired seven shots into PARKER'S body and one shot struck PARKER'S wife in the hand. The murderers escaped and nothing has yet been heard of them. (Hamilton Times, Marion County, AL, April 21, 1892 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney)

Dr. B. B. SEVIER, an old and honored citizen of Franklin county, died at his home in Belgreen recently. Source: Hamilton Times, Marion County Ala, June 29, 1890 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Memorial services in memory of the late Jas. Sisk will be held by Masonic Fraternity at Spruce Pine next Sunday.  Rev. J. R. Nesmith will preach the memory sermon.   (Franklin County Times, Russellville, Ala., Sept 22, 1899 – vm)

Rev. J. B. STEADHAM died at his home near Russellville Franklin County on 8th inst.  Source: Marion County Herald, Marion County AL, October 20, 1887 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney 

Mr. JOHN THOMPSON, of Russellville, died suddenly in his buggy on his way from his store to his home. His wife was with him.  Source: Vernon Courier, Lamar County AL, May 6, 1887- Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Mr. FRANK ALLEN, a well known mechanic and millright of Winfield, Ala. and his daughter, Mrs. JOSIE GAMBLE, were in Jasper Saturday.  They were returning home from Russellville, where they had been on a sad mission – to attend the burial of Mrs. LUCRETIA THOMPSON, the oldest daughter of Mr. ALLEN, and sister to Mrs. GAMBLE. – [Jasper Eagle] Source: Hamilton News Press, Marion County AL, March 14, 1895- Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

We much regret to hear of the death of Mrs. EVA WALDRIP (nee ROGERS) which occurred at her home in Franklin County a few days ago.  We were not acquainted with the lady in question but have met her father and mother and they are among the best people in the country – intelligent, courteous, affable, Christian.  We extend our sympathy to the bereaved family, and trust they may find consolation in the hope of a reunion in the home beyond the skies, where parting is unknown.  Source: Marion County News, Marion County AL, August 19, 1897 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Birth: 6 June 1882 in Pleasant Site, Franklin, Alabama
Death: 21 Oct. 1975 in Helena, Lewis & Clark, Montana
Coleman H. Watson, 83, of 301 S. Oaks, died at his home in Helena, Montana Tuesday, October 21, 1975. Funeral services were held Thursday, October 23, at 2 p.m. in the Ketz Chapel with the Rev. George Harper officiating. Burial was in Sunset Memorial Gardens.  Watson was born in Pleasant Site, Ala., on June 6, 1892, to John and Molly Williams Watson. The family moved to Iuka, Miss., where he attended high school. He also attended the Rose Polytechnic Institute in Indiana and Mississippi State University and Auburn University.  Watson served during World War I in the U. S. Army. He taught electrical engineering at the University of Alabama during World War II. He was then employed as a physicist and electrical engineer in the electrical laboratory for United States Steel plants in Birmingham, Ala. He retired in 1958.  Watson served as a Sunday School Superintendent for Ensley Highlands Methodist Church in Birmingham for 18 years.  He married Willard Dye in Lincoln, Ala., Dec. 22, 1921. They moved to Helena in 1969 and have resided there since.  He was a member of St. Pauls United Methodist Church.  Survivors include the widow; a daughter, Mrs. George (Dorothy) Harper, Helena; a son, James R. Watson, Helena; a sister, Mrs. S. H. Hunger, Sr., Winona, Miss.; seven grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.  Source: Submitted by Dianne Armstrong

Birth: 18 Dec. 1867 in Pleasant Site, Franklin, Alabama
Death: 4 June 1993 in Helena, Lewis & Clark, Montana
Life Long Citizen Dies in Greenwood
Services for Mrs. Mollie Watson, widow of late John H. Watson, were held at Cutshall Funeral Home Thursday of last week at 11 a.m., with Rev. J. H. Holder officiating. Burial was in Oak Grove Cemetery with Cutshall directing.  Mrs. Watson died Christmas eve, December 24, in the Golden Age Nursing home in Greenwood where she had been a patient two months. She suffered a broken hip more than two months ago after which she was a patient in Colbert county hospital and Cosby clinic.  She was a native of Russellville, Ala., the daughter of the late Prof. H. H. Williams. Mr. Williams lived in Iuda more than sixty years and was the oldest citizen of the town, known and loved by all. She was the daughter of a Presbyterian elder and had been a member of that church all of her long and useful life. She was 90 on December 18.  Mrs. Watson is survived by two sons, Hollie Watson, Birmingham, Ala.; and John Watson, Iuka; one Daughter, Mrs. Shed Hill Hunger, Winona, Miss; five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren.  Serving as pallbearers: Shed Hill Hunger, Frank Watson Hunger, Jim Watson, Watson Brown, Billy Brown and Charles Biggs.  Source: Submitted by Dianne Armstrong

This week we make the sad announcement of the death of one of our most prominent citizens. Last Sunday evening, Captain Robert H. Watson passed off into that dreamless sleep that marks the line between time and eternity. This news will bring sadness to many hearts in Tishomingo County, for he was well known and widely loved. His death will bring to mind many courtesies and acts of kindness which he was always willing and glad to do. No better evidence of the high esteem in which this true-hearted man is held is unneeded than to watch and count the immense throng of people which followed him to his last resting place. The funeral services were conducted at the Methodist Church by Rev. J. J. Lowe, of Byhalia. The friends and acquaintances of the deceased turned out en masse and all could not find room in the church. The bier was made beautiful by loving hands with floral decorations. The ceremony was brief and simple, but touching and appropriate. It was a brave and loyal man, and friend and father, a loving husband and useful citizen to whom we rendered tribute. The long procession followed the remains to the cemetery where the lifeless body was tenderly laid to rest. Captain Watson spent most of his life in Tishomingo County. He was born August 5, 1832, in York District, S.C. He came to this County very young. At the age of 20, he began clerking at East Port with R. B. Brown. In three years, he went to Pleasant Site, Ala., and began business as a merchant, planter, and miller. He was highly successful and soon amassed considerable property by economy and good management. He married Miss Martha J. Harrison, of Lauderdale Co., Ala., and by her had five children, two of whom are yet living—John H. and Charles L. Watson. His first wife died in January 1878. He married again in 1879 to Miss Morilla Cross, daughter of Dr. Cross, of Lauderdale Co., Ala., who still survives him. When the call for troops was made in 1861, Capt. Watson was among the first to respond. He was made Captain of Company R of the 27th Alabama Infantry. This position he held for one year and was made Captain of a Calvary Company, and engaged in many important battles and skirmishes. He was captured at Fort Donelson, but made his escape. He had many other exciting experiences and narrow escapes during his service in the Army. He was finally paroled at Iuka in the year 1865. In 1884, he removed to Iuka and went into the mercantile business. In 1890, he bought the famous Iuka Springs Hotel and made many additions and improvements. Many years ago, he joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and remained a faithful member until his removal to Iuka, when he, with his loving wife, united himself with the Methodist Church at this place. He was a firm believer in the Christian religions and died in the belief that he was going to a better world. He was a man of wonderful physical endurance, and until stricken down last November, was always in good health. He had been a sufferer for several months and the end was not unexpected; however, it was a shock to his relatives and friends who had hoped against hope for his recovery. He will be missed in Iuka for he was public spirited and progressive in his views. He was always ready to foster any public enterprise, helpful to the churches and the cause of education. The mortal part of him is dead, but his memory will never die. Let us emulate his virtues and remember him for the good he has done.  Source: The Iuka Vidette (Iuka, Miss.), August 28, 1894, Submitted by Dianne Armstrong.

WATSON,  WILLARD (Lula Willard Dye Watson)
Birth: 27 June 1899 in Pleasant Site, Franklin, Alabama
Death: 4 June 1993 in Helena, Lewis & Clark, Montana
Dedicated Church Woman - Willard Dye Watson, 93, of 38 Clover view, died Friday evening following an extended illness. She was born June 27, 1899, to Rev. David Turner Dye and Mary Rebecca Cochrane Dye in Pleasant Site, Ala., the third of their four children. She attended first grade at Athens College, Athens, Ala., and completed her formal education with a year at Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo).  Named for Francis E. Willard, the world renowned educator/reformer and women's rights advocate, she strove to live up to that name with her dedication to tithing to her church of both her finances and her time. Among her many contributions was 25 years of sewing new clothes for orphaned children in the Methodist Children's Home in Alabama.  After her husband's retirement, she moved with him to Helena, where they continued to contribute their resources to the support of the Intermountain Children's Home, the Indian Alliance and other interests of the Methodist Church. A dedicated mother and homemaker, Willard spent many years of her life caring for sick relatives, as well as making a place in her home for her wheelchair-bound mother for 30 years.  Since the death of her husband in 1975, she has made her home with her daughter, Dorothy Watson Harper, and son-in-law, Rev. George Harper. She also is survived by her son Jim Watson and daughter-in-law Marta Pouliot Watson of Helena; seven grand-children: Dianne Watson Armstrong of Helena, Larry James Watson of Portland, Ore., Rusty, Hal, and Steve Harper and Nancy Harper McNeilly of Helena, and Janice Harper Fuhrmann of Minneapolis; five great-grandchildren: Robin and Molly Harper, Emily McNeilly, Hannah and Rebecca Campbell Harper, all of Helena, and three nieces and a nephew in Alabama.  Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Paul's United Methodist Church.   Source: Independent Record, Helena, Mont., Sunday, June 6, 1993, Submitted by Dianne Armstrong.








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