MAXEY GRAVES (Gimlet Creek & Morgan Hollow Road) GILES COUNTY, TENNESSEE
Birth: 1815 - Jul. 15, 1886, Giles County Tennessee
Autobiography of G. C. Brewer pages 12 - 17 & 19.
Isaiah T. Maxey was married to a Miss Jane Higdon and to them were born several children, four of whom seemed to live to be adult men and women. The sons were James, John and Thomas. The daughter that lived to be a woman was named Mary.
John and Thomas Maxey were lost in the Civil War. They either died in prison or were killed. However, Thomas, at least, left a wife and children and we shall see a connection that again is formed in this family later on. **James Radford Maxey went to California in
1849. (Gold Rush) He escaped the Civil War because California was not then one of the states of the United States. He never returned and he and my mother (Virginia Maxey) were the last two members of the family left ,and they used to correspond. However, they never saw each
other and James Radford Maxey was lost in a flash flood in about the year 1892 or 1893.
Some years after the death of his first wife, Isaiah T. Maxey married a Miss Eliza Warden and of this union was born Virginia Maxey who later became Virginia Maxey Brewer and the mother of all Hiram Brewer's children.
ELIZA WARDEN MAXEY was born and reared in Maury County, Tennessee, not far from Lynnville. (Campbell Station) Her parents (Warden surname), however, came by covered wagon from Pennsylvania into Tennessee. Their parents had brought them to this country from Scotland. My grandmother tells the story of how they came across the mountains in their wagons and how they had to preserve fire from one encampment to another. This fire was placed in an iron pot and tied under the wagon so that they would have fire for their cooking at the
next encampment. She said when they reached Tennessee they cleared out the canebrakes and cut away the forests and established a home. The first year, however, after they had come to Tennessee she was told there was a tremendous earthquake which shook down the trees and wrapped the cane in a vast entanglement and did other damage to their properties. This was the earthquake that formed Reelfoot Lake and I believe it occurred in the year 1812. Eliza Warden was born in 1813.
While it is reported that they came from Scotland, they must have either had some of the blood of the Dutch in them or else they partook of the habits of the Dutch people with whom they had formerly been living. My grandmother was a very industrious woman, a tireless worker and an immaculate housekeeper and one who seemed to be capable of doing any type of work that the household needed. She picked the seed out of the cotton, carded the cotton, spun it into thread and wove the thread into cloth. Likewise, she took the wool cut from the sheep's back and carded it and spun it and wove it and made great varieties of woolen blankets, woolen cloth which later was cut and made into suits, both for men and for women. She also made buttons.
She made these out of flax thread, wrapped tightly around the cane until it made the desired form and she whipped this thread together with a needle until the cane was removed and kept whipping it until the hole in the center was well filled. She said that one set of buttons would wear out two suits of clothes.
Eliza Warden had brothers and sisters and these, with possibly one or two exceptions, had large families. I have met some of my cousins and second cousins who descended from this family, hut I never had any intimate acquaintance with any of them and I could not give any facts concerning them (warden's) now. The Wardens were members of the New Testament church and seemed to be
strong in the faith. I think it is said that they read the papers that were put out by Alexander Campbell and possibly they had heard him preach. Eliza Warden Maxey remained true to the faith despite the fact that her husband was a Primitive Baptist preacher. There was a difference between them but so far as anything was reported to me, there was no conflict. My grandmother Maxey subscribed to the Gospel Advocate when it first began to be published and she continued to read it up to the time that I can remember myself. Always on Lord's Day mornings, whether they were going to worship or simply remain at home, my grandmother put things in order and dressed in her Sunday best and then sat down with her New Testament upon one knee and the Gospel Advocate upon the other, and spent the Lord's Day "in the spirit." To her should go the credit for the faith of Virginia Maxey Brewer and her husband and their eight adult children. Eliza Warden Maxey has two grandsons who are preachers of the Gospel and at least three great grandsons who are now (1950s) preaching the Gospel. This shows what the strength of one's faith may do and it proves the power of mother and
grandmother over their children and grandchildren. I like to pay this tribute to my Grandmother Maxey in addition to the point that she was strong in the faith. As is said above, she is the only one of my four grandparents of whom I have any recollection.
ANCESTRAL HOME AND EARLY YEARS
It has been stated in the former chapter that my Grandfather Maxey owned a farm which lay across the Lawrence and Giles County line. It seems that he had had a home near Lawrenceburg when mother was born. The place in later years became known as the "Old Black Place." This was some two miles northeast of the Court House at Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
Whether Grandfather lost this place in the raids that were made on him during the Civil War or whether he sold it before the place was destroyed I am not able to say. I have been told always that the soldiers seesawed back and forth across his place, the Blue and the Gray fighting each other and I, myself, picked up "minnie balls" on that old farm after I grew to be a big boy. I have also been told that either the soldiers or some raiders or "bushwhackers" destroyed grandfather's barns and
buildings and that the war killed his sons, freed his slaves and devastated his home.
At any rate, the home that I knew as our ancestral home was the one down on Gimlet Creek, in the "hills and hollers" where there were abundant springs of good cold water, copious timber and enough land at least to support the cattle and sheep and to make the bread and the meat that a family needed in those days. Grandfather erected the house which afterward became the Brewer Home and in which most of the Brewer children were born. A portion of this old house is still standing and the brick chimney seems to be about as good as new. However, at the time I was born, my mother and father were living in a
tenant house on the farm and this house was across the line in the Giles County portion of the farm. A drawing of this house will be used as an illustration in this book.
After the death of my grandfather, my father and mother moved into his home and this is the home that I remember. They took care of grandmother until her death which occurred some eight years after the death of my grandfather. Then the property all descended to Virginia Maxey Brewer and her children.
This house was built of logs but it was well built and it had ample room for the way that people lived in those days. My grandfather and my grandmother had a barn, a smoke house; they had spinning wheels and looms; they had an ash hopper by which they obtained lye and home made soap, and some of these things were kept up by my father and mother after grandfather was gone. All people who have lived over the same years that I have lived have seen the world undergo many changes. But those who were not born under the old regime and who did not know how the people lived in the good old "home spun" days of the pre-Civil War period cannot possibly be aware of how radical some of the changes are that have come in the last three-quarters of a century.
In our early days, my father had sheep, cows, horses and hogs. He not only sold wool and lambs on the market, but we
had mutton at home when we wanted it. And up to the death of my grandmother, some of the wool was still carded and spun in our home. I distinctly remember going to sleep with the hum of the spinning wheel as grandmother spun the wool into the thread which would later be knitted into our stockings and socks and perhaps into such garments as coats and sweaters.
Each year my father (Hiram Brewer) fattened and killed anywhere from six to ten hogs and put up the meat in the old ancestral smoke house. That house, as I remember it, always contained lard and meat and potatoes and turnips and various other things that would serve to supply the table for a growing family. We never wanted for anything while we lived in the ancestral home. It is true that we did not want much, but we did not know what there was in the world to want. But we were considered better off than many of the neighbors that lived around us. This was because of the old furniture that we had in our home and because of the well-supplied smoke house and because of the type of horses my father always managed to own and some of it probably was attributable to an air which my mother had inherited from her father and some of which perhaps from her mother. Even in her hardest days, Mother had the appearance and the air of an aristocrat.
Right near our home was a school which was known as "Snead's School." This school seemed to teach all grades from the first reader up through what would now be called high school work. Children of the community attended this school and grown young men and women came into the community to board and attend Snead's School. Two of my first cousins, Malachi Brewer and his brother Charles or Stuart Brewer who were sons of my Uncle Cal Brewer came and stayed with us and attended the Snead School. One of them became an expert penman and also became a teacher and for a good many years taught school. The other became an efficient surveyor and for a number of years he was the county surveyor of Lawrence County, Tennessee. All of this simply shows the type of school that was conducted at Snead's School House. This school, however, had closed its doors before I was old enough to attend school. The first school that I attended was at Champ's Branch and one of the first teachers that I recall at Champ's Branch was Frank Walls.
CHAPTER III, Page 19
WE MOVE AND MOVE AND MOVE
When my grandfather, Isaiah Maxey passed away, he left a will bequeathing everything he had to his daughter, Virginia Maxey, my mother. He had no other children except James Radford Maxey who was then in California. His son Thomas Maxey who was lost in the Civil War had left some children but these children had died and not even a grandchild was living at the time of Isaiah Maxey's passing. However, one of Thomas' daughters had married and was the mother of several children before she was deceased. These were great grandchildren of Isaiah Maxey, but they had come from his first marriage and
since a good deal of his property had come through the second wife, Eliza Warden Maxey, together with the fact that Virginia Maxey was to take care of him and her mother in their old age, the property was all willed to her. However, the father of these great grandchildren threatened court action to break the will and get some of the property for his children. In order to keep from having a suit in court, my father and mother agreed to compromise with the man and give him a portion of the estate.
Instead of dividing the acreage, they put a mortgage on the farm and paid him in money, the portion that it took to satisfy him.
This was the beginning of sorrows for Virginia Maxey Brewer and Hiram S. Brewer. They could not make enough money on the farm to live and to pay off this mortgage. Therefore, after the death of my grandmother in 1893, Hiram and Virginia decided to sell out completely and move away and go into business in some other place. They did sell the entire estate and move to Wayland Springs which is still in Lawrence County, Tennessee. At this time this little place was a summer resort and a watering place. They had a variety of mineral springs at the place and there was a good deal of activity, at least a portion of the year, in this little town. Hiram and Virginia Brewer had taken as part payment for their estate some valuable stock and Father therefore had a stock stable at Wayland Springs to which people came to purchase quality livestock etc.
See page 348 Genealogy in Giles County Newspapers 1852 to 1899. (Printed in the news 5 Aug 1886 less 21 days equals an estimated death date of 15 Jul 1886 for Isaiah Thomas Maxey.) Test of Obituary condensed:
SNEEDS ACADEMY. Since our last writing, death has visited our vicinity. About 3 weeks ago Rev Isaac (Isaiah Thomas) Maxey, an aged veteran of the Christian Warfare was called from his terrestrial labors to a celestial home above the skies. He had been sick for several months.
**This was true to the best of GC Brewer's knowledge at the time of the writing of his book. However, Since that time, new information has come to light through census and marriage records. In 1850, James Radford Maxey was still living at home with his parents in Tennessee and in 1860 he is found in Missouri. To date, the earliest we find him in California is 1863. As researched by Trish Brewer Boone a great niece of GC Brewer
Trish Boone who owns all these land records, some found at the Lawrence County Archives two properties sold to I.T. Maxey from a Mary Burkett and a John Burkett. This was in 1852 eight or nine years before the civil war.
Transcribed by C. Wayne Austin 25 Jul 2012 from Trish Brewer Boone's copy of the book mentioned and used above.