"Tennessee Trails" through Bedford County

Bedford County TN Biographies


Paul Esley Hammack is one of the younger representatives of the Chattanooga bar. Although admitted to practice in 1917 he has not continuously followed this profession, as it was necessary to turn his attention to commercial pursuits during the World war period. Following the close of hostilities he resumed practice and is making steady advancement in his chosen life work. Mr. Hammack was born at Fort Payne, Dekalb county, Alabama, August 7, 1888, a son of Hugh Jack and Mary (Lyons) Hammack. The father was also born at Fort Payne and has always lived on the home farm of Thomas Hammack, who was one of the first settlers of northern Alabama, establishing his home near North Bend post office fifty-one miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This was before the Alabama Great Southern Railroad was built and provisions had to be hauled from Rome, Georgia, over Lookout mountain, by wagon drawn by oxen and driven by negroes owned by Mr. Hammack, whose slave possessions numbered forty. Thomas Hammack and his wife, Harriet, were the parents of Hugh Jack Hammack, and the latter, reared on the old homestead, was married after attaining his majority to Miss Mary Lyons, a daughter of John and Sarah Lyons, who lived at Straw Plain, Tennessee, near Knoxville, at the time of the birth of their daughter, Mary, who removed to North Bend, now Fort Payne, Alabama, with her father and the family after the Civil war. John Lyons was a private in the Confederate army and all of his wife's brothers were members of the Federal army.

His wife, Sarah Lyons, was a descendant of the Tarver family, many of whose representatives still live in and near Knoxville, Tennessee, while the branch of the family to which Mrs. Lyons belongs became residents of Alabama. Paul E. Hammack says that is why a dyed-in-the-wool southerner is proud of his Yankee grandmother, who, though her own brothers differed from her husband in the great conflict, proved herself to be a true wife to the man she promised to love, honor and obey. In the Lyons family the lineage can be traced back to the great-grandfather, Frank Lyons of Straw Plain, Tennessee, who was the promoter of the stage line from Knoxville to Bristol and who had made the trip to Alabama overland with his son and wife. To an equally remote ancestry the lineage of the Hammack family can be traced as Thomas Hammack, the grandfather, was a son of Hugh Hammack.

It is said that the Hammack name originated by the finding of a boy baby on a ship from England bound for the coast of Georgia and that this child was Hugh Hammack, the great-grandfather of Paul E. Hammack, so named because when found he was sleeping in a hammock on the ship. Hugh Hammack became a resident of Coweta county, Georgia, and his son, Thomas Hammack, made his way to a point in Alabama, then called Big Bend post office. There he married Harriet Jack of Knox county, Tennessee, a daughter of Allen Jack, who settled at French Broad and Holston rivers. It will thus be seen that Paul E, Hammack is a representative of several of the oldest and best known southern families. Reared under the parental roof, his first teacher in the Alabama public schools was W. V. Jacoway, then in charge of the Davis school but now postmaster at Fort Payne, Alabama. Mr. Hammack began his school work when a lad of seven years. Later he was a pupil under Olena Dobbs, a daughter of Colonel Lodd Dobbs, a prominent Alabama lawyer. He attended the Dekalb county high school and at the age of seventeen years entered the North Alabama College at Fort Payne, where he pursued his studies for two years. He afterward entered the Chattanooga College of Law in 1912 under Dean Charles R. Evans and completed his course there in 1914, winning the degree of Bachelor of Law. He passed the required bar examination in 1917 and in November of that year began practice with Joseph Heber Altaffer in the News building, now the Pound building, where he remained until August, 1918, when he abandoned his practice to look after the interests of his brother, Thomas Hammack, in the Lookout Auto Supply Company, while his brother was participating in the World war in France. On his return Paul E. Hammack resumed the practice of his profession with his former partner at No. 110 E. Seventh street.

On the 19th of June, 1915, in Chattanooga, Mr. Hammack was united in marriage to Miss Maud Vera McNutt, a daughter of Square Edmond and Queen Victoria McNutt of Tullahoma, Tennessee. In the paternal line the ancestry of Mrs. Hammack is traced back to Alexander McNutt, who came from Scotland to America. His son, David McNutt, removed from Maryland to Pennsylvania and afterward became a resident of North Carolina. He was married twice and by his first wife had nine children. Her death occurred in North Carolina. He afterward wedded Rachel Kater of Welsh descent. They came to Tennessee in 1814, settling near Three Forks on the Duck river in Bedford county, there establishing their home when Jesse McNutt, the grandfather of Mrs. Hammack, was ten years of age. He was born in Orange county, North Carolina, June 21, 1805, and died April 15, 1883. He first married Rhoda Dunaway, who died in 1834. They were the parents of seven children. There were also seven children by his second wife, Phoebe Turner, and to him and his third wife, Eliza Meadows, there were also born seven children. Jesse McNutt removed from the vicinity of Knoxville to Moore county, Tennessee, and his third wife, Eliza Meadows, was a native of Moore county. She was the mother of Square Edmond McNutt, who married Queen Victoria Sanders, a daughter of William Boon and Martha (Driver) Sanders, the latter a daughter of Ben Driver, and his mother was Nancy Avaunt, and Maud Vera McNutt was also descended in the maternal line from a relative of Jack Daniel of Lynchburg. Mr. and Mrs. Hammack have become parents of two children: Mary Katherine, born January 30, 1918; and Joseph Edward, born January 11, 1921. The religious faith of the family is that of the Baptist church and Mr. Hammack belongs to the Junior Order of the United American Mechanics and also to the Improved Order of the Tribe of Ben Hur. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party and he was census enumerator for Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1910, receiving endorsement for absolute perfection in this work from the census supervisor of the state. During the World war he was helpful in the home activities such as the questionnaires and the sale of war bonds and other things which promoted the interests of the government in that hour of crisis.

Source: Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 - 1923:

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