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.             The Ancestors and Descendants of Sam and Ethel Mayfield

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Preface


 We are the chosen.

 

My feelings are in each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors.

To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story

and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

 

To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but,

instead, breathing life into all who have gone before.

 

We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have

been called as it were, by our genes.

 

Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.

 

How many graves have I stood before now and cried?   I have lost count.

 

How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful

family, you would be proud of us?"

 

How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was

love there for me?  I cannot say.

 

It goes beyond just documenting facts.

It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do?

It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and

indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are

bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.

It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How

they contributed to what we are today.

It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving

in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.

It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation.

It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.

 

That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do.

 

With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are

them and they are us. (For we without them cannot be made perfect.)

 

So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to

that  one called in the next generation to answer the call and take

their place in the long line of family storytellers.

 

That, is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those

young and old to step forward and put flesh on the bones.

 

Author unknown

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


THE MAYFIELD FAMILY ancestral line has grown quite a bit since our previous family history publication.  Quickly summarized, we were able to trace our Mayfield line back to Moses W. Mayfield and Martha Bradley Mayfield that we initially found living in Macon County, North Carolina in 1833.  Moses and Martha moved to Fannin County, Georgia in 1859 and lived there until 1863 when they moved again, this time to Monroe County, Tennessee, bringing their daughter Mattie and her four children, Martha, William McKinley, Moses and Pleasant Douglas “Gene” with them.  At the time Mattie’s husband, Noah W. Runnions was fighting for the south in the Civil War.  After the war was over, instead of coming home, Noah abandoned his family and married Winnie Jane Rymer of Polk County and raised a new family with her.  Indications are that William and Gene didn’t know that their father had deserted them until many years after the war was over.  When they did find out, they rejected the Runnions surname and took their mother’s maiden name of Mayfield. 

 

WE HAVE FOUND NEW INFORMATION on known ancestors as well as discovering new ancestral lines.  Some of it, we think, you will find very interesting.  Of particular note  is the new information we have on uncle Pless George Mayfield.  We have discovered that he was married twice and therein lies the fantastic story of Uncle Pless.  We all were aware of his second wife, Geneva Woods, by which he had two children, Juanita and Kyle.  (Geneva had a son, James, before they were married).  However, before Geneva, he married Mary Alice Price Carter in 1906.  Pless and Mary Alice’ first husband Charlie “Buddy” Carter worked together for American Bridge Company which was engaged in the building of an addition to the Southern Railway's "Coster Shops".  Pless was a derrick operator and Charlie was a laborer.  Charlie had been seriously injured several weeks before and had just recently returned to work when some sort of malfunction or failure occurred in the hoisting derrick causing the boom or block to fall, striking Charlie in the head and upper body, killing him instantly.  There is no record stating Pless was at fault or even that he was operating the derrick that killed Charlie but for some reason he was fired after the incident, thus the presumption that Pless was involved.

 

Just two weeks after Charlie was killed, Pless married his widow Mary Alice.  All of this information was supplied by Frank Davis of Ocala, Florida, who is descended from Charlie and Mary Alice through their daughter Alma.  Frank believes Pless married Mary Alice because she was destitute after Charlie was killed, and Pless felt responsible.  Mary Alice died in 1916 from tuberculosis. She is buried in the Old Grey Cemetery in Knoxville, TN. 

 

A NEW LINE that we have investigated and documented is the Byram/Byrom line of Mary Ann Byram, wife of William McKinley Runnions/Mayfield.  Mary Ann’s father was Nathan James Byram and her mother was Mary Delaney Rogers.  According to some very old letters Shirley Coyle (also descended from Nathan and Mary) of Tulsa, Oklahoma has, Mary Delaney was a full blooded Cherokee woman and her Cherokee name was "Jess-te-Kegeste".  Being curious about this Cherokee name, I got in touch with Dr. Kenneth Barnett Tankersley, Anthropology professor at Northern Kentucky University, who can speak and write the Cherokee language.  Dr. Tankersley stated “I may be wrong, but I think what was trying to be communicated was Jess of the Wild Potato Clan, Jess of Ketuah, the sacred place where the Wild Potato clan people come from”.  Dr. Ken, who is a super nice guy, has written or co-written several books on ancient Americans, the last ice age, and more recently, a book about the Cherokee Indians.  Some of his writings have been used in documentaries on the History Channel and elsewhere – and, oh yes, he’s a native of McMinn County.  His internet site is http://www.nku.edu/~tankerslyk/. 

 

Nathan James Byram was the son of Amos Henry Byram and Martha of Pickens County, South Carolina.  Amos Henry Byram was the son of Jesse Byram.  Nathan and Mary Delaney had eight children, many of whom went west to Oklahoma and Arkansas. 

 

ANOTHER NEW LINE we have investigated is the Bradley line, ancestors of Martha Bradley, wife of Moses W. Mayfield.  Just about all of the information we have on this line came from Joyce House-Reeves, 621 SW 32nd St., Oklahoma City, OK 73109-2515, who is descended from a son born out of wedlock to Martha’s sister, Frances Bradley, and fathered by Moses Mayfield just a few months after Moses and Martha were married.

 

AND ANOTHER NEW LINE of interest is the Crowder line.  Martha Bradley’s mother was a Crowder and what makes this line interesting is that the Crowders came to Monroe County, Tennessee about forty years before Moses and Martha Mayfield came.  Unlike Moses and Martha, who seemed somewhat poor after coming to Monroe County, some of the Crowders became doctors and lawyers and owned mills and other businesses.  One Crowder in particular that was somewhat famous in Monroe County was Atlas Overstreet Crowder, an old herb doctor that lived high in the mountains between two peaks called The Little Fodder Stack and The Big Fodder Stack in a clearing that is today called Crowder Field.  He moved into this wilderness after divorcing his first wife, Sarah Ann Hunt, when he learned she had been unfaithful to him.  He eventually married Nancy Gentry and fathered and raised six children on top of the mountain.  Atlas was a second cousin to Martha. 

 

INVESTIGATION OF THE CROWDER LINE led us to what we believe is the “old home place” and possible burial place of Moses and Martha Mayfield.  This home place is located in the Mount Pleasant community in an area know as Polly Ann Hollow.  Mount Pleasant is located on top of the mountain between Citico Creek and Chilhowee Lake and Polly Ann Hollow is only one of two areas where rich bottom land can be found.  Moses’ and Martha’s neighbors during that time were Joe Dekson, James Williams, Lafayette Williams, Richard Stratton, Riley Stratton and W. R. Carringer.  Moses died sometime between 1870 and 1880.  In December of 1888 and January of 1889, Martha (listed as Patsy on the deed) sold two forty acre tracts of land, one to Richard Stratton and the other to W. R. Carringer.  We know that this wasn’t all the land they owned because William McKinley and Pleasant Douglas Mayfield, (Moses and Martha’s grandchildren) still lived there in 1900.

 

On a wooded knoll overlooking the Polly Ann Hollow, is a primitive grave yard.  The name of this graveyard is known locally as the Dale/Crowder Cemetery.  There are several Crowder graves there with fabricated headstones, the best known of which is Atlas Overstreet Crowder.  It is also known that some of the Dale family are buried there and possibly some of a Millsaps family.  Although unprovable at this time, we suspect that Moses and Martha Mayfield are buried there also.

 

WE HAVE ALSO FOUND INFORMATION on another of Moses Mayfield’s daughters named Nancy Burnum Mayfield.  Nancy married James M. Grant in Macon County, North Carolina and from there they moved to Cherokee County, North Carolina then in the late 1860’s, they moved to Monroe County, Tennessee, living in or around Sweetwater.  They founded a business called J. M.Grant & Sons but were eventually sued and lost everything but their house which was in Nancy’s name.  Nancy sold the house and moved into McMinn County. 

 

OUR MAYFIELD LINE is very unique, in some ways, when compared with other lines.  Where the Mayfield clan seemed to move in family groups for the most part, our Moses seems to have been a loner.  We have not been able to find him in the 1820 or 1830 census.  After serving in the War of 1812, and possibly serving at The Battle of New Orleans, he apparently married Elizabeth Carney in East Feliciana Parrish, Louisiana in 1826.  He was awarded a land grant in Lonoke County, Arkansas in 1820 for his service in the War of 1812 but we have been unable to discern if he actually took possession of it.

 

THE MAYFIELD FAMILY, as a whole seems to have been a very industrious and adventurous people.  An inordinate number of them seems to have been doctors.  All of us are familiar with the Mayfield Dairy of Athens, Tennessee.  This line has been traced back to John Mayfield and Mary Stanwix but there is doubt by many about the validity of what’s been found.  Of the one hundred and eighty plus people in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, thirteen of them were Mayfields!  Another Mayfield of high achievement was Stanwix Greenville Mayfield who served as state senator of South Carolina between 1892-1898.  Some Mayfields even made it into Hollywood Stardom. Jane Wyman was born Sarah Jane Mayfield in Saint Joseph, Missouri, on January 5, 1917 before being adopted out to the Fulks family.  Another actress with Mayfield roots was Mary Todd but I seem to have lost what information I had on her.

 

 

Many of the Mayfields fought in the Revolutionary War, some as Whigs, some as Tories.  John “the Tory” Mayfield is well known in history for the part he played in the war.  He was so successful in his war endeavors that a devious, but successful scheme was developed to assassinate him. 

 

We must give credit to Phil Norfleet, a superb Mayfield family researcher, for all the work he has done on the Mayfield line and making it available on the internet.  Another who has  done more than possibly anyone else to document the Mayfield family is Glenn Mayfield, now deceased.  Glenn authored the book “The Mayfields” which is an encyclopedia on the Mayfield families.  Yet another is Hoyle Mayfield, deceased, who contributed greatly to the cause.  And last but not least is Donna Hamm, the list mom for the Mayfield Family List.  Donna has distinguished herself as among the best of the Mayfield researchers.

 

As always, we know there are bound to be errors in this effort so if you find errors, omissions or more or new information on our family lines, please let us know so we can make amends.

 

Vearl Bible

5936 Lanier Crossroad

Maryville, TN 37803

e-mail:  HVBible@adelphia.net

Home phone:  865-856-7261

Cell:  865-256-7261

 

 

 

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