Biographies
 Fairfield County - South Carolina Genealogy Trails


Vinson, Rev. Robert E., D.D. L.L.D.
As one of a family that has been distinguished by its services in the Presbyterian ministry, Rev. Robert E. Vinson, D.D., LL.D., has especially gained prominence in the work of the church, not only through his activities in a ministerial capacity, but as president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, to which office he was elected in May, 1909, after seven years of work in the seminary as an instructor in various branches.

Robert E. Vinson was born in Winnsboro, Fairfield County, South Carolina, on November 4, 1876, and is a son of John Vinson, a South Carolina merchant and cotton buyer, born in that state in Sumter County, in 1839. Andrew P. Vinson, grandfather of the subject, was a Virginian by birth, who moved to South Carolina when a boy, and who was a very promincnt lawyer in the Ante Bellum days. He died in 1846. John Vinson served in the Confederate army under General Beauregard. He enlisted at the beginning of the war from Citadel Academy where he was a student, and served throughout the entire four years. He was taken prisoner at Fort Sumter, but barring a few months imprisonment, was active in the service throughout the entire period of hostilities.

The Vinson family, it should be said, is one of the oldest in America today, the first of the name to settle on American soil having come from France in company with General LaFayette and they rendered valiant service during the revolutionary war.

John Vinson, father of the subject, married Mary Brice, who was of Scotch-Trish descent, her people having come originally from the North of Ireland, settling in the Piedmont section of South Carolina. Two of Mrs. Vinson's brothers fought under General Longstreet throughout the war, and two brothers of John Vinson also gave service to the South during that unhappy time. Walker Vinson was killed in Pickett's Brigade at Gettysburg and the other, A. P. Vinson, still lives in Sumter, South Carolina. Ho served with the rank of Major during the war, and is still known by his military title. Another brother, W. D., was for twenty years a professor of mathematics in Davidson College, North Carolina.

To John and Mary (Brice) Vinson were born the following children: Walter H., a lawyer of St. Paul, Minnesota; William A., also a lawyer, engaged in practice in Houston, Texas; John W., missionary to China; T. Chalmers, a missionary in Luebo, Belgian Congo. Africa; Mrs. W. J. Culver, of San Antonio, Texas; Mrs. W. A. McLeod, of Austin, Texas; Miss Brice Vinson, teaching in the public schools of San Antonio; and Rev. Robert E. of this review.

Robert E. Vinson came with his father's family to Sherman, Texas, in 1887. He had his education in the public schools, followed by attendance at Austin College, from which he took his B.A. degree in 1896. In 1899 he had his B.D. degree from Union Theological Seminary of Virginia, after which he became Associate Pastor of the First Presbyterian church of Charleston, West Virginia, continuing until 1902 in that connection. In 1902 Rev. Vinson took a special course in Hebrew and Archaeology in the Divinity School of Chicago University, under Dr. Harper, and in September, 1902, he came to Austin, Texas, as professor of Old Testament languages and Exegesis. In 1906, at his own request, he was transferred to the Chair of English Bible and Practical Theology, which he still holds, and in May, 1909, he was elected president of the Seminary, his present office.

In 1905 Austin College conferred upon him the degree of D.D., and in 1910 the degree of LL.D: was conferred upon him by Southwestern Presbyterian University of Clarksville, Tennessee.

Too much credit cannot be accorded to Dr. Vinson for his work along educational lines in the state of Texas. In 1909 he formulated the plan under which the Presbyterian Church in Texas has since operated its educational work, and he has been chairmen of the executive agency of the Synod since 1909. This commission has under its jurisdiction seven schools in the state, and Dr. Vinson has been field secretary since that time, raising all the money for the support and equipment of the schools—a work that has won for him especial prominence in the church and out of it.

Dr. Vinson was married on January 3, 1901, to Miss Katherine Kerr, of Sherman, Texas, a daughter of John S. Kerr, a nurseryman who has been prominently identified with the horticultural and agricultural interests of the state of Texas for the past quarter century. The Kerrs came originally from Scotland, as the family name would inevitably indicate, and they made their first settlement in Mississippi. The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Vinson was one of the earliest settlers in Collins County, Texas, and that district is still the recognized seat of the family. Her maternal grandfather, of the family name of Murray, was a pioneer Presbyterian Missionary to the Trans-Mississippi country of Arkansas and Texas, and her maternal grandmother was a Rutherford, also of Scotch descent, and a native of South Carolina.

The children of Dr. and Mrs. Vinson are Elizabeth, born December 26, 1901; Helen Rutherford, born July 9, 1906; and Katherine Kerr, born April 5, 1911.

[A History of Texas and Texans, Volume 4 by Francis White Johnson, 1914 – Transcribed by AFOFG]


 
Dr. Mary Lyles Sims
The State March 25, 1918
Dr. Mary Lyles Sims Died Yesterday
Susccessful Physician and Beloved Woman
President Y.W.M.C.
Descended from Old Fairfield and Union County Families - Funeral This Morning

Dr. Mary Lyles Sims died at her home, 1711 Gervais Street, at 4:45 o'clock yesterday morning, fter an illness of several months.  Dr. Mary Lyles Sims was born in Union October 8, 1869.  She was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Lyles.  On her paternal side she descended from the Lyles family of Revolutionary fame who were the first settlers of old Fairfield County,  Her grandparents on her paternal side were Elizabeth Dawkins and Ephraim Francis Lyles.  On her maternal side she descended from the well known Sims family of Union, her grandparents being Mary Ann and B. F. Sims.  Her early childhood was spent in Union at the ancestral home.  Dr. Sims was educated in the schol.s of Union and also attended Due West College.  Later on she graduated from the American School of Osteopathy at Kirksville, Mo., and became an osteopathic physician.

Prior to this she taught several years in the Graded School at Clinton.

Novemeber 6, 1889, Dr. Sims married S. W. Sims.  He lived, however, only a short time after the marriage.  Her mother passed away some years ago in Newberry.

About ten years ago, Dr. Sims and her father, Mr. Lyles, came to Columbia to live and she has sicne then practiced her profession here most successfully, until last November, when a fatal disease compelled her to give up her practice.

Since then she has been patiently and bravely hearing her sufferings exhibiting wonderful fortitude and courage to the last.

Dr. Sims has taken part in everything in Columbia for the city's good and uplift.  She was an ardent church worker, a member of the First Baptist Church and always ready and willing to give and to do.

Dr. Sims was president of the Y.W.C.A. during last year and to her is largely due the new life and activities of the association, now such a potent factor in the life of the city.
Since the organization of the South Carolina Osteopathic Association, May 1, 1909, Dr. Sims has been its treasurer and secretary.  The first meeting of the association was held in her office in this city.  For the past three years she has been a member of the borard of trustees of the American Osteopathic Association, and was one of the foremost physicians in her profession.

As a woman, Dr. Sims was quiet, unassuming and womanly and yet she was known as a woman of unusual business ability.  Her intellect was far abouve ordinary, and her heart as warm as her mind was bright.  She will be missed in every walk of life, but most of all she will be missed by her friends, whom she nubmers by the hundreds, and the member s of her household, who have been her devoted attendants during her illness and death.

Dr. Sims is survived by her father, A. C. Lyles, her aunt, Mrs. Sarah Lyles Bynum, an aunt in Chester, Mrs. H. C. Grafton, and another Mrs. W. J. Martin of Fairfield, also an aunt on her maternal side, Mrs. Addie Hodges of Prosperity, an uncle, kT. P. Sims of Spartanburg and many cousins thrught the Staste.  One of her cousins who survive her is Dr. Albert Zealy of North Carolina, also an osteopathic physician who was closely associated with ehr in the home and professional life.

A Tribute to My Friend

Some years ago a quiet, modest woman came to Columbia and opened an office on Main Street.  Her sign read, "Dr. Mary Lyles Sims, Osteopathic Physician."
One by one the patients came and were relieved or made well according to their several needs.  Those patients seen discovered that they had only found a physcian, who healed their bodies, but a friend who ministered to their souls, and a companion who made the time spent in her office an hour of sunshine and charm.

Time went on, and gradually, Mary Lyles Sims became a power in the life of Columbia.  In an unassuming way she entered into the life of the city-Christian, charitable, civic and social.  She was an acitve memeber of the First Baptist Church and fully illustrated the meaning of the word Christian.  During the past year she had been president of the Y.M.C.A. of Columbia and the time and thought she gave to that great work is now bearing fruit.  Her personal charities, known only to her friends, were manifold.  Truly "she went about doing good."

Dr. Sims was one of the shining lights in her chosen profession.  She was secretary and treasurer of the South Carolina Osteopathic Association, a member of the board of trustees of the American Osteopathic Association.The past few years of her life have been spent in her beautiful home on Gervais street, a home typical of the woman.  Always bright with the flowers, she loved so well, always holding open its doors to friend and kindred; and it was here, in her home, she shone brightest.  A keen intellect, combined with a sweet sympathetic nature and sunny disposition she was "a perfect woman nobly planned, to warm, to comfort, to command."  Truly it may be said of her:  "She stretcheth out her hands to the poor, yea, she reacheth out her hands to the needy."  "She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet."  "Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come."  "She openeth her mouth with wisom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."  "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eatest not the bread of idleness."  "Many daughters have done virtuously but thou excelleth them all."  "Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates." - Prov. 31...G.H.F., Columbia [transcribed by D. Whitesell for SCGT]


Thomas Lyles
The State April 13, 1919
Capt. Thomas Lyles Life Ends Suddenly
Member of One of Oldest Fairfield County Families Dies in Eighty-second Year.

Rockton, April 12 - Capt. Thomas Lyles, died suddenly yesterday morning at his home at Rockton, Fairfield County, in his 82nd year, having been born at the home of his father, Capt. Thomas M. Lyles, in western Fairfield near Lyles Ford in September, 1837.  The funeral and burial will be in Winnsboro Sunday afternoon at 5:30 o'clock.  Captian Lyles was of the eldest line of descent of the oldest family in Fairfield county, his father being the eldest son of Maj. Thomas Lyles, the eldest son of Col. Aromanus Lyles, the eldest son of Ephraim Lyles, one of the brothers who came from Virginia, andf were the first white settlers of Fairfild County. The other immigrant brother, John Lyles was killed by Tories and Indians.

The family has shown great vitality and longevity.  Capt. Thomas M.Lyles, the father of the Thomas lyles who has just died, was one of the largest landowners on Broad River.  In Western Fairfield, and married Miss Eliza Peay, daughter of Col. Austin Peay, who owned land for ten miles along the Wateree River in Eastern Fairfield.  Thomas M. Lyles and Eliza Peay were educated at the South Carolina College and at Barhambille Academy, respectively, and married at 20 and 16 years of age, rearing 11 children and living together as man and wife in their original home for more than 65 years.  His father, Maj. Thomas Lyles, who had married Mary Woodward, lived to be nearly 80.

Capt. Thomas Lyles, the younger, attended Mount Zion Academy in Winnsboro under the famous Professor Hudson, entered the South Carolina College in 1855, joined the Euphradian Society, graduated in 1858, and in 1859 moved to Louisiana, near Shreveport, where he spent most of his life as a planter, returning to his old county six years ago to spend his last days among his kindred, he having never married.  After a few years in the old neighborhood, he located at Rockton, on the plantation of the late Col. Thomas Woodward, in order to be near his siters, Mrs. Rebecca V. Woodward and Mrs. Mattie Davis.  He steadfastly refused to live in town, being devoted to a simple rural life.

He volunteered in the Confederate Army from Louisiana at the first call and served in the Ninth Louisiana Regiment.  Later after recovering from a wound he was assigned to service with South Carolina troops and upon the surrender of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in North carolina he had charge of a squad of men, chiefly from Orangeburg, returning to their homes with a wagon and some provisions.  After a short stay with his parents he returned to Louisiana.
As a graduation present, his grandfather fro whom he was named, gave him a handsome gold watch, on the face of which was engraved the panoramic view of the South Carolina College buildings and campus, a beautiful souvenir of antebellum college days, which he has always cherished.

He preserved a remarkably youthful spirit, being cheerful and social and buoyant, and keenly interested in current events.  He loved the domestic, his grden and farming, his animals, and his neighbors.  He rode horseback at 80, though he had stopped fox hunting for some years.

He and five brothers served in the Confederat Army, two being killed in battle, William Boykin Lyles and Austin Peay Lyles.  The other brothers and sisters are:  Nicholas Peay Lyles, who left children in Alabama; John W. Lyles, clerk of court of Fairfield; Belton English Lyles, living near Blairs, in Fairfield County; James Septimus Lyles, who left children now living in Columbia (Mrs. Carrie and Guzsie Mobley and James Lyles); Mrs. Sallie Poellnitz, who left children in Alabama.  Mrs. Mattie Davis and Mrs. Rebecca V. Woodward in Winnsboro and Mrs. Carrie Lyles, who lives near Seivern, in Lexington County.

He was a first cousing of William H. Lyles of Columbia and Mrs. M. L. Kinard. [transcribed by D. Whitesell for SCGT]

AIKEN, David Wyatt
(father of Wyatt Aiken and cousin of William Aiken), a Representative from South Carolina; born in Winnsboro, Fairfield County, S.C., March 17, 1828; received his early education under private tutors; attended Mount Zion Institute, Winnsboro, and was graduated from South Carolina University, at Columbia, in 1849; taught school two years; engaged in agricultural pursuits in 1852; during the Civil War served in the Confederate Army as a private; appointed adjutant and later elected colonel of the Seventh Regiment of Volunteers; relieved from service by reason of wounds received on September 17, 1862, at Antietam; member of the State house of representatives 1864-1866; secretary and treasurer, Agricultural and Mechanical Society of South Carolina, 1869; member, executive committee, National Grange, 1873-1885, and served as chairman, 1875; delegate to the Democratic National Convention at St. Louis in 1876; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-fifth and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1877-March 3, 1887); chairman, Committee on Education (Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Congresses); was not a candidate for renomination in 1886, being an invalid throughout his last term; died in Cokesbury, S.C., April 6, 1887; interment in Magnolia Cemetery, Greenwood, S.C.  [ Source:  Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present; transcribed by A. Newell.]

AIKEN, Wyatt
(son of David Wyatt Aiken), a Representative from South Carolina; born near Macon, Ga., December 14, 1863; reared in Cokesbury, Abbeville (now Greenwood) County, S.C.; attended the public schools of Cokesbury and of Washington, D.C.; official court reporter for the second South Carolina judicial circuit and, later, for the eighth circuit; volunteered as a private in Company A, First South Carolina Regiment of Infantry, during the war with Spain; later appointed battalion adjutant by Governor Ellerbe, and acted as regimental quartermaster during the greater portion of his service; was mustered out in Columbia, S.C., November 10, 1898; elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-eighth and to the six succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1903-March 3, 1917); unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1916 and again in 1918; lived in retirement until his death in Abbeville, S.C., February 6, 1923; interment in Melrose Cemetery.  [Source:  Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present; transcribed by A. Newell.]

Anderson, John G., automobile manufacturer; born at Lawsonville, N.C., November 27, 1861; son of William H. and Elizabeth Anderson; attended common schools; established Rock Hill Buggy Co., 1886, managing it until 1917, when the Anderson Motor Co., was established in its place, now manager of latter concern; served on various boards of directors and committees; married Alice L. Holler, Rock Hill, S.C., December 23, 1884; member of Rotary Club.  Home,  Rock Hill, S.C.  [Source: Who's Who in South Carolina 1921, tb Donna Gurr]

J.B. HARRISON
J.B. HARRISON, a farmer residing near Gibbs, in the northwest part of the county, is a son of Jonathan Tyler and Jemima (Osborn) Harrison, and a brother of William O. Harrison, a sketch of whom will be found in this work. Jonathan B., our subject, was born in Fairfield district, South Carolina, April 6, 1852, and was reared in Anderson district, to which place his parents had moved when he was two years old. He received an ordinary English education, and at the age of nineteen years, in 1870, he came to Texas, making his first stop in Panola county, where he remained one year. Mr. Harrison next went to Marion county, and two years later, in the winter of 1873, came to Dallas county, first settling eight miles north of Dallas. One year later he moved to Grapevine Prairie, settling in the vicinity of Grapevine Springs, near where he now lives, and after the expiration of three years, during which time he rented land, he purchased fifty acres which he improved, and afterward traded for his present farm.  He has bought other land, and now has  a farm of 152 1/2 acres, 100 acres of which is under a fine state of cultivation.  He raises an abundance of cotton and corn, also small grain, and is interested with his brother, William O., in the mercantile business at Gibbs, doing business under the firm name of W.O. Harrison Co. Mr. Harrison was married in Cass county, this State, December 3, 1873, to Nannie L. Grubbs, a native of Anderson district, South Carolina, and a daughter of W. L. and Jane Grubbs, natives of South Carolina. The parents came from Anderson district, South Carolina, to Texas when Mrs. Harrison was thirteen years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison's fathers were comrades during the war. Mr. and Mrs. Grubbs came to Texas in 1870, settling first in Rusk county, next in Cass county, and afterward in Dallas county, and then in Young county, where they now reside. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison have had the following children: Nannie J., Jonathan Tyler, William G., one deceased, Sallie E., James W., Mary J., Fannie L. and Gracie. Both he and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, and the former is a Democrat in his political views.  [Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas:.... Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company, 1892]

JOHN B. JONES
John B. Jones, of Austin, was born in Fairfield district, S.C., December 22, 1834.  His father, Col. Henry Jones, came to the Republic of Texas in 1838, and for many years was prominent in public affairs; he commanded a regiment in the young republic when Gen. Lamar was president, taking part in the fights at Brushy and Plum creeks.  He was in command at Austin in 1842, and prevented the removal of the archives at the time of the invasion of the Mexicans, who came as far as San Antonio.  The subject of this sketch was educated at Matagorda and Independence, and after was graduated from Mount Zion College in his native state.  He was living the life of a Texan planter when the tocsin of war sounded in 1861.  Repairing early to the scene of action in Virginia, he enlisted under the brave Col. Terry and was on duty in Kentucky when he received the appointment of adjutant of the Fifteenth Texas Infantry and entered the Trans-Mississippi department.  He was in all the battles and skirmishes of Gen. Dick Taylor in Louisiana, and was adjutant-general with the rank of captain in the brigade commanded successively by Gen. Speight, the Prince de Polignac and Gen. Harrison.  He fought until the surrender, coming out with a major's commission, and then returned to his Texas plantation, and later began the practice of law.  He was called by a vote of the people to a seat in the legislature in 1868, but was counted out by the returning board.  Without any solicitation on his part he was appointed by Gov. Coke in 1874 the major of the frontier battle of Texas Rangers and during the succeeding years they made history.  No command of its size has contributed a more romantic chapter in the story of American valor than this one recruited from the plains of Texas.  It guarded the state from the incursions of Indians, the raids of Mexican banditti and the pillage of cattle thieves.  Of the many engagements with the Indians that with the celebrated Kiowa chief "Lone Wolf" is most noted.  With thirty-seven men Major Jones defeated and drove back into the Indian Territory a hundred and fifty well armed warriors.  He was appointed by the President of the United States in 1878 one of the commissioners, along with officers of the regular army, to investigate the El Paso troubles with Mexico in that year.  He was, Jan. 25, 1879, made the adjutant-general of Texas, through still retaining the direct command of the Rangers.  We quote here from the Houston Telegram a notice of him at that time:  "Major John B. Jones is by birth and education a gentleman, by profession a lawyer.  This daring chief of the border, as he appears on our streets and as a guest in our most cultured homes, is a small man, scarcely of medium height and build, whose conventional dress of black broadcloth, spotless linen, and dainty boot on a small foot, would not distinguish him from any other citizen, while in his quiet, easy manner, almost free from gesticulation, his soft and modulated voice, his grave but genial conversation, one would look in vain for marks of the frontier bravo."  Major Jones was broadly well read, a frequent contributor to standard periodicals, and was on occasions an effective speaker.  He was for thirty years a prominent Mason, being grand high priest in 1872, and grand master in the state in 1879.  He was married in Austin, Feb. 25, 1879, to Mrs. A. H. Anderson, widow of the late Col. T. J. Anderson, of Robertson county.  Major Jones died July 19, 1881, mourned by the state he had served so gallantly. [Source:  Texans Who Wore the Gray, Volume I; by Sid S. Johnson; tb Bobby Dobbins Title]

Douglas, Charles A., lawyer; born in Fairfield District (now County) in 1862; son of John S. and Margaret (Boyce) Douglas; educated in Erskine College, Columbian (George Washington)  Univ., LL. B., 1882; Georgetown Univ.; admitted to S. C. bar in 1883 and began practice at Winnsboro; removed to Columbia in 1890, where he practiced until 1895; removed to Washington, D. C., in 1895 as professor in law in Georgetown Univ.; was attorney for defense in Bonine murder case and attorney for defense in the Machen postoffice fraud cases; American counsel for Revolutionary party in Mexico in 1913; for number of years counsel for Nicaraguan Government in United States; counsel for Continental Trust Co. of Washington.  Member of University, City, Press, and Washington Country.  Lawyers' (of New York City), University and American Clubs of Mexico City.  Married Augusto Aiken.  Address, Washington, D. C.  [Source:  Who's Who in South Carolina, 1921, cb Donna Gurr]

Dove, William Banks, Secretary of State of S. C.; born at Halseville, Fairfield County, S. C., February 28, 1869; son of Richard Calvin and Nancy Elizabeth (Weir) Dove; attended country schools, Leesville English and Classical Institute, Catawba College, graduate of, with degree of A. B., 1896, given honorary degree of A. M. from that institution, 1916, took special normal courses at the University of Tenn., the Chautauqua Assembly of New York; has been a teacher in country schools, private high schools, city schools and colleges, later superintendent of schools at Reidsville, Lexington, and Greenville, organized and was elected president of the Association of City School Superintendents at the Summer School of the South, Knoxville, Tenn.; elected Secretary of State of S. C., 1916, still holding that position; author of an unaccepted inscription for the woman's monument at Columbia; married Carrie E. Rowe, Newton, N. C., June 26, 1896; member of Masons, K. of P., Junior Order of United American Mechanics, Presbyterian church.  Address:  Columbia, S. C.  [Source:  Who's Who in South Carolina, 1921, tb Donna Gurr]

Dwight, David G., manufacturer; born at Winnsboro, S. C., 1871; son of William Moultrie and Elizabeth (Gaillard) Dwight; attended Mt. Zion College, Winnsboro, S. C., the Citadel, graduate of, 1890; formerly commandant of Porter Military Academy, Charleston, S. C., president of the Association of Graduates of the Citadel, 1918-20, now general manager and treasurer of the McCabe Fertilizer Co., Charleston, S. C.; married Susan Chisolm, Charleston, S. C.; member of St. Michael's Church, Charleston, S. C.  Home, Charleston, S. C.  [Source:  Who's Who in South Carolina, 1921, tb Donna Gurr]

 

Back to Fairfield County, South Carolina Genealogy Trails

© all rights reserved to the original submitter