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The Bean Station Story
Valeria Trousdale's Secret

 Excerpted from the Walton Family History by James E. Walton


The Walton and Edwards families of Nashville understood the Walton family history but never understood their connection to the Trousdale family until the last few years. We had the Trousdale Genealogy by General Karl Truesdell in the family but really did not know why. We received it from our great-aunt but no Waltons were shown and our great grandmother, Ophelia Lafferty, was not listed as an heir. We knew she came from Gallatin and knew she was raised in the Trousdale Place but thought that perhaps she was distant kin. We suspected that her mother had run off with a Yankee soldier of the name Lafferty (probably a Catholic with such a name) who took her to East Tennessee. The mother promptly died, in this version of the truth and the distant kin, out of their Christian charity took her in.

Nothing was farther from the truth. As you will see, we are directly related to the Trousdale heroes, James and William. We are even related to General James Lafferty, the hero of the "Halls of Montezuma". Why didn't we know? Well, the two ladies in questions, Valeria and her daughter Ophelia died young. Valeria's brothers were very pro-confederacy and Ophelia's father was an Unionist. Ophelia married into the Walton Family from Chowan NC and Greensboro Alabama. Colonel John W. Walton did not support the confederacy. He sold over 3,000 acres in Hale County Alabama around 1870 and moved to Gallatin where his old friends in the Wemyss family lived. One of his sons was Wemyss Walton and one of theirs was Walton Wemyss. There is even evidence that the 430 African-Americans who worked the extensive 3,000 acres plus of the Walton estates in and near Greensboro Alabama may have been freedmen from an 1849 will freeing them upon the death of J. William Walton of Greene County (later Hale County) Alabama. We may never be able to prove this but there are many Waltons in Hale County today and very few are white.


Ophelia Trousdale Lafferty, James Isaac Walton's wife is the granddaughter of William Trousdale. He was Governor of Tennessee who fought with Andrew Jackson at New Orleans, was an Indian fighter and hero of the Mexican War. While shown both in newspaper announcements of Celia Walton's wedding to John Rogan and in numerous family letters, she was not listed in the Trousdale Genealogy published in 1952 and 1960. Trousdale County Tennessee is named for William Trousdale. We can surmise that the omission of the listing the only daughter of Caroline Valeria Trousdale might have something to do with the "Bean Station" story.

The "Bean Station Story" really is a story about the distance between Middle and East Tennessee, the early death of a young mother and the philosophical and political differences between the members of the Trousdale family. Caroline Valeria Trousdale (November 30, 1830 - October 18, 1860) was married December 8, 1854 to General James Lafferty from Bean Station, which is east of Knoxville. We have letters written in mid-1855 where she and "The General" wrote to the father and brother Charles who were in Brazil. Family legend has it that James "General" Lafferty was a First Lieutenant in the Tennessee Volunteers during the Mexican war. His small troop of hill climbing rangers climbed the back side of Chapultepec palace in Mexico city, killed by stealth a number of military cadets and set charges to blow the gates open for the successful storming by the US Marines and the Tennessee Volunteers of the "Halls of Montezuma". Valeria and the General had three children, two sons Frank (b 3 May 1856 - d 1917) and William (1860 - 1939) and one daughter, Ophelia Trousdale (1858 - 1892). After the early death of his daughter Valeria at age 30 in 1860, William and Ophelia moved to Gallatin to live with Mary Bugg Trousdale and the Governor, their grandparents. We surmise that this early death and distance caused some of the errors such as how General Lafferty was noted in the Trousdale Genealogy as a "Confederate General" when it is felt that he did not support the confederacy. This probably may have caused estrangement difference between both of his brothers in law who served in the Confederacy. Charles, known as "Cappie" in fact lost his leg in that war and Julius was severely wounded at Shiloh. Ken Thomson, a historian for Sumner County, remembered sending letters to my great aunt Fannie Walton in Humboldt, Tennessee however, so not all of the family connections were lost. Valeria's father, William Trousdale was born in Orange County, NC September 23, 1790. He was married to Mary Bugg. He was the sixth of seven sons of Captain James Trousdale. Captain James had a total of 15 children from two wives.

CAPTAIN JAMES TROUSDALE - A PATRIOT- 1736 to December 24, 1818

James Trousdale is thought to have been an unnamed member of the ill-fated rebels at the battle of Alamance on May 16, 1771. From this experience, he raised a company of militia and became a hero of the Revolution who fought in North and South Carolina with Francis Marion "the Swamp Fox." He was captured at Charleston and severely wounded by a saber cut from one of Colonel Tarleton's Calvary at the Battle of Guildford

 11 Research on James Trousdale taken from the Trousdale Genealogy, pp 28-31 by General Karl Truesdell

Courthouse (March 15, 1781) in Greensboro North Carolina. While he healed, he was the jailer of Hillsborough North Carolina and he and his company was at Yorktown for Cornwallis's surrender on Oct 19, 1781. For this service James received first 200 acres on Haw Creek in 1779 (NC Land Grant XL 929) and later 640 acres in Tennessee and the city of Gallatin was founded on his property. This latter land grant is on the wall today in the foyer of Trousdale Place in Gallatin.

James Trousdale is buried in the Gallatin Cemetery and was a true patriot in the fullest sense of the word. The United States of America owes a great debt of gratitude to men such as James.


William was 6 years old when he and his father moved to Sumner County Tennessee. He left school to join up as a volunteer for the Creek War and enlisted as a private in Capt. Edward's company of mounted riflemen. He was elected third lieutenant and took part in the battles at Talledega and Tallashatchee. His served in the War of 1812 both in the capture of Pensacola and the Battle of New Orleans with Andrew Jackson. He completed his education in 1816 and was admitted to the bar in 1820. He was elected to the State Senate in 1835 and appointed Major General in the militia in 1836. In the Seminole War of that year he was Colonel of the 2d Regt Mtd Vol Tenn. He was offered a brigadier general in the US Army but declined saying "I desire no connection with the army except in times of war." In 1837 he ran for congress but lost in a great Whig election. In 1847 President Polk appointed him Colonel 14th US Infantry. He landed with his regiment at Vera Cruz on June 13, 1847 and took part in the battles for Conteras, Cherubssco, Molina del Rey and Chapultepec. In the historic assault of Chapultepec, William commanded the brigade and was severely wounded twice but refused to leave the field. President Polk appointed him on August 23, 1848 a General for this bravery. In 1850 he was elected to a single term as Governor of the State of Tennessee. Defeated for reelection in 1852, he was appointed by President Pierce as the United States representative to Brazil in 1853 where he remained until 1857. Trousdale County was named after William Trousdale in his honor.

We know that there was something going on between the General and his daughter. His second daughter, my great-great-grandmother Valeria Caroline Trousdale often wrote to her father. We have several letters that are full of news and political views. When she married, however, she was not inclined to let her father know of her wedding. One would think she would do so from such a distance. The letters first had to go to London then to be sent onto Brazil. She left to her brother in law, her older sister Maria's husband, Mr. Allen to announce on the back of one of her letters that "General Lafferty and Val leave today". This was his way of telling his father in law that his daughter Val had married General James Lafferty. One can only wonder what the real truth was. Perhaps General Lafferty was unpopular with the Trousdale. This is a mystery and if anyone has more specific information, we would welcome the contact.


Figure 1 Trousdale Place Gallatin, TN

2 The Trousdale Genealogy, page 48,Gen. Karl Truesdale, 1952 and 1960.

[Image]                                               [Image]

Figure 3 Unknown friends but far                                        Figure 2    General and Governor
right is Ophelia Lafferty (later Mrs.                                                  William Trousdale
James I. Walton)
Tintype photo from about 1875


We have a letter between Valeria and her brother Charles (1839-1900) where he describes their father's work in Brazil before the US Civil War. Valeria married General James Lafferty born in Grainger County and noted as "one of the youngest officers in the Mexican war." It is thought that James Lafferty was also a Brevet General and one of William's officers. We will research this later but it is certain that all descendants of the James I. Walton and Ophelia come from the line of these two Generals. Later in 1860 after Valeria's death, so the story goes, is when Ophelia and her brother William go to

3 April 30, 1899, A Union of Interest, Gallatin TN newspaper the marriage of Miss Celia Walton.

live in Gallatin and Frank stays with the General in Bean Station . The Governor and his family were certainly saddened to receive the news of Valeria's death but Ophelia Trousdale Lafferty was raised in the Trousdale mansion in Gallatin and later married James Isaac Walton . They are shown as married at ages 22 for James and 19 for Ophelia and living in the John W. Walton household in Gallatin, Tennessee in the 1880 Census. Ophelia's obituary mentions none of this and reads as a tribute to a lady without mentioning her background.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy today owns Trousdale Place, the Trousdale family home and keeps it as a museum. Annie Berry Trousdale, the widow of Julius Augustus Trousdale, gave Trousdale Place to the UDC in her will. At Trousdale Place one can learn more of the history of Sumner County.

Our thanks to my dear cousin Katherine Standifer Senter of Humboldt Tennessee and Ken Thomson of Gallatin both of whom have kept the original letters of Valeria to her father.

Descendants of Valeria Trousdale and James Lafferty include the John Walton, Jr. family of Nashville, Tennessee, the Wilbur Creighton III family and the E. Dan Smith II family of Nashville. The James Senter Family of Humboldt, Tennessee, the E. Harold Edwards Family of Nashville, the Michael Jackson family in Alabama and the Lee Callaway family of California are also descended from Valeria and her General.

4 Version told by Celia Gray Walton Edwards, April 2000.
5 Celia Gray Walton Edwards, April 25, 2000

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