PIONEER FAMILIES
of
Decatur County TN

The ENGLAND Family

The England family of Decatur County is descended from John England and Ann Grant, who were married in County Tyrone, Ireland about 1738. They and their families, the Grants and the Rosses, immigrated to Burke County, NC about 1750 and settled on the Haw River. John served as a private in the Revolutionary War, and family legend indicates the Battle of Cowpens was fought on the family land. John England's great-great-grandson was James Avanant "Jim" England.

The matriarch of the England family of Decatur County was Mary Ann Stout, the fourth of 10 children bom to William and Jane (Coats) Stout. William was bom in Forfar County, Scotland, Jan. 6, 1825. His parents were David Stout (May 1, 1798—Jan. 4, 1857) and Helen Hill Stout (Aug. 1, 1801—May 6, 1854).

At the age of 22 William came to Canada to visit relatives and to travel in eastern North America. While touring New York City, he met a Mr. Pettigrew and was persuaded to join him as a partner in the mercantile business in Perryville, TN. William and Jane Coats (May 26, 1827—Jan. 14, 1876) were married on Feb. 14, 1850. William died Aug. 3, 1914.

James Avanant "Jim" England was one of 10 children (b. Feb. 6, 1850, Sardis, TN) born to Dr. John McAllister and Rebecca Hanna England. The family moved to Williamson County, IL in 1862. Dr. England died there Jan. 6, 1864. Rebecca and her children returned to Sardis late in 1865 where they lived until 1871 when they moved to Hunt County, TX. Rebecca died Oct. 21, 1919, in Greenville, TX.

Jim and his brother Amon returned to Tennessee in 1873 and resided in the Decaturville home of their aunt and uncle, Adeline and Duncan Kennedy. Duncan was clerk and master of Chancery Court and was the third sheriff of Decatur County. Jim taught school and read law in the offices of local lawyers. He was admitted to the bar in 1877 and also served as clerk and master of the Chancery Court of Decatur County, 1879-1890, resigning to devote full time to the practice of law. Excluding four years when he served as special judge of the old 12th judicial circuit, he continued to practice law until shortly before his death, Feb. 19, 1939. Jim was one of the founders of the Decatur County Bank in 1899. It has been noted that Jim was born Feb. 6,1850. On Feb. 6,1856, Mary Ann (aka Mollie) Stout was born in Perryville, TN, to William and Jane Coats Stout. She attended schools in Perryville and Henderson, TN. On May 8, 1879, Jim and Mary, and her brother John H. Stout and Sally Reeder were united in marriage. The two couples celebrated their 50th anniversary in May 1929 at a luncheon given in their honor by their daughters, Nelle England Dunivant and Nina Stout McMillan. Mary died Jan. 30, 1934.

Nelle, Jim and Mary's first child, was born May 31, 1880. She attended school in Decaturville, Cumberland University in Lebanon and Martin College in Pulaski. Nelle had the honor of being one of the first women appointed clerk and master of the Chancery Court in the state of Tennessee. She was married to F.A. "Gus" Dunivant on Dec. 17, 1901. Two children were bom to this marriage. George England (died in in­fancy) and Mary Stout (b. June 26, 1905). Gus died Oct. 23, 1923 and Nelle died Oct. 8, 1956.

Mary Stout (aka Stoutie) attended schools in Decaturville; Martin College, Pulaski. TN; West Tennessee Teachers, now University of Memphis; and George Peabody College for Teachers. She taught in the Decatur County Elementary schools for over 30 years. Mary Stout and Raymond Weir of Henderson County, TN, were married June 26, 1936. Raymond died Oct. 13. 1966. Mary Stout died Dec. 3, 1980. Jim and Mary's son, James Stout "Jim," was born April 13, 1883. He attended school in Decaturville, McTyeire Preparatory School in McKenzie and Vanderbilt University. He was named cashier and CEO of Decatur County Bank in 1908 and served in that position until his death Jan. 14, 1941. Jim and Tennessee Belle (Tennye Yarbro), born Jan. 25,1888, were married in Florence, AL, on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1911. Tennye's parents were John Lawson and Dora Vise Yarbro who lived on White's Creek about eight miles south of Decaturville. She attended Decatur County schools of Cedar Grove, Decaturville and Scotts Hill and Memphis Conference Female Institute (now Lambuth University). Before her marriage, Tennye taught school for a few years. Later she worked in the Decatur County Bank and owned an insurance agency. Tennye died on Easter Sunday, April 19, 1981. Three children were born to Jim and Tennye; Dorothy Kathleen 1912, James Lawson, 1915 and Mary Belle 1923.

Dorothy Kathleen England born 10 March 1912 in Decaturville was the eldest child of James Stout and Tennessee Belle England. After graduating from Decatur County High School in 1929, she attended Martin College, Pulaski, TN, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dorothy taught school at Decaturville Elementary from 1931-1933. She was married to Edward Demar Thompson, who had come to Decaturville as teacher and athletic coach, Feb. 11, 1933. Edward was born near Trimble, TN, Sept. 18, 1909. His parents were William Clarence and Bertie Arnold Thompson. Following graduation from Trimble High School, he entered West Tennessee Teacher's College (now University of Memphis) where he received a BS degree in 1931 and an MA degree in 1951.

After teaching at Decaturville four years, Edward, Dorothy and their young son William England moved to Brownsville, TN, in July 1935, where Edward had been elected to teach and coach at Haywood County High School. In 1943 he was chosen superintendent of Brownsville City schools where he served for 24 years. He returned to the Haywood County System in 1967 serving as principal of Haywood High School and county superintendent until his retirement in 1974. Dorothy taught at Anderson Grammar School and Eastside Elementary from 1950-1974.

The children and descendants of Jim and Tenney England are blessed with happy memories of family traditions. Among these are July 4th picnics and the sharing of love and gifts at Christmas. In later years the home place was owned by James Lawson, and he and his family continued to extend a warm welcome to Dorothy, her family and Mary Belle. For almost 60 years the families came "home" for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

James Lawson England, born Dec. 13, 1915, on the spot he has lived most of his life. He is the son of James Stout "Jim" England and Tennessee Belle "Tennye" Yarbro England. After completing school at Decaturville he graduated from Lambuth College in 1938, and then graduated second in his class from Vanderbilt School of Law in 1940. Thereafter he began the practice of law in Decaturville.

Shortly after the declaration of war in 1941, he volunteered for Navy service and received the commission of ensign after attending Notre Dame and Northwestern Universities. He was then assigned to the Southwest Pacific Theater as a line officer aboard the LST 474 and participated in sev­eral invasions along the coast of New Guinea, Admiralty Islands and the Philippine Islands. TheLST-474 was awarded eight Battle Stars and En­gland was awarded a Bronze Star. In March 1946 England returned to Decaturville and resumed the practice of law and served as clerk and master of the Chancery Court. On May 15, 1948, he and Nell Tinker, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Allen Tinker, were married. Nell was bom in Perryville July 23, 1923. After graduating from Parsons High School, she graduated from West Tennessee Business School and did bookkeeping and secretarial work. To this marriage two children were bom, James Allen "Jim" (b. Jan. 26, 1952) and Jo Kathryn "Kathy" (b. March 9, 1954). Nell was appointed clerk and master of Decatur County in 1960 and retired in 1988. James Lawson was elected Judge of the 22nd Judicial District, composed of Benton, Carroll, Decatur and Hardin counties, in August 1966. In 1984 Henry County was added and the district changed to the 24th Judicial District. He retired in 1988. Their son Jim attended Lambuth College, the Tennessee School of Banking at Vanderbilt, and graduated from the School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University. He began his banking career at Decatur County Bank, in 1972, as a teller; he is now president and CEO. Jim has served as state president of the Young Bankers, on the Board of Trustees of the School of Banking at LSU, and 14 years as vice-mayor of Decaturville. Judge and Mrs. James L. England Jim is married to Jeanine Cooper (b. May 4, 1951), daughter of Paul H. and Frances Harrell Cooper of Cooter, MO. She attended Harding University in Arkansas and came to Decatur County in 1973 as 4-H agent with the U.T. Agriculture Extension Service. She has served as home economist since 1987. Jo Kathryn "Kathy" graduated from Riverside High School and then graduated from Lambuth College with honors. She then completed a course in Nuclear Medicine at Vanderbilt University and was employed as a staff technologist at the Baptist Hospital, Memphis, TN. Kathy married (1) Keith McCormic of Parsons The England Family has been loyal to the Methodist Church over the years. James Avanant and James Stout served as members of the Administrative Board and superintendent of the Sunday School for over 65 years. James Lawson and James Allen continue to serve as members of the Board and as teachers in the Sunday School. 168

Mary Belle England (b. Jan. 28, 1923) is the daughter of Jim and Tennye England. After completing the 12th grade at Decatur County High School, she enrolled in Lambuth College and was conferred an AB degree. Her graduate degrees, MA and Ed.S, in library science, were conferred by George Peabody College, Nashville, TN. She was the recipient of an English speaking Union scholarship for six weeks' study at the Shakespear Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon, England. James Stout and Tennessee Belle England made soon after their marriage in 1911 on Easter Sunday in Flo­rence, AL Mary Belle worked in the Personnel Department of Tennessee Eastman Corporation at Oak Ridge, TN, 1945-46. From 1946-1983 she was employed as a teacher and librarian by the Boards of Education of Henderson County, TN, and Fulton County, GA. At the time of her retirement in 1983, she was director of Media Services of Fulton County, Georgia Schools. Mary Belle returned to Tennessee in 1989 and now resides in Germantown. See also James Avanant England, Dorothy Thompson England and James Lawson England.

Decatur County History

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