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 Frank Kenner Dudney Family

Submitted by: Daniel O'dell Gregory
© 2005

Frank Kenner Dudney *(See photo.)  was the seventh child of Sidney Shelby Dudney and Nancy (Stafford) Dudney. His grave marker lists his birth as December 23, 1848 and this was put in print in Mr. Lynn Dudney's "The Dudney Trail" a few years ago. However, upon further inspection he could not have been the seventh child and be born in 1848! Indeed, the 1870 Census lists him as 12 thus having his birth at around 1858 and his brother Sidney Stanton Dudney listed on Frank's death certificate that he was born on December 23, 1856. So either way he was born ca.1856-58 and not 1848 so he rests for eternity with an incorrect birth date on his marker! Frank came from a family with a military heritage. His great-grandfather, Abraham Dudney, was a Captain of Tennessee Volunteers in the War of 1812 (Battalion 3 Woodfolk's Militia) and he died fighting the Creek Indians on November 29, 1814. Frank's father, Sidney Shelby Dudney, in August of 1861 enlisted as a Private in Company E of the 28th Tennessee Confederate Infantry. He was made an orderly on September 12, 1861. He was honorably discharged on May 8, 1862 and while the record remains silent it may be due to wounds at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6-7, 1862. Sidney Shelby Dudney is buried in the Dudney Family Cemetery in the Freestate Community of Jackson County, Tennessee near Gainesboro. A government military marker honoring his Confederate service was placed on his grave in December of 2006. At any rate, several of the Dudney men served in the 28th including Frank's eldest brother, James D. Dudney, who served all four years of 1861-1865. During this time period in Jackson County one story passed down by the Dudney often attributed to Frank but most certainly his father or one of his brothers relates how the family had only been able to hold one to one horse which was a prize horse. The Union Cavalry came to get it and one of the Dudney's took them to the pasture and tripped on purpose which spooked the horse and the Federals were unable to capture it. They told this Dudney man "we would have you shot if we knew you did that on purpose" whereupon the Dudney claimed to be innocent.

After the war, many of the Dudneys moved to Mississippi and settled on the Mississippi River about 40 miles below Memphis, Tennessee. Yellow fever struck and killed many of them including Frank's mother, Nancy Stafford Dudney, and his eldest brother, James D. Dudney, who had survived the entire Civil War participating in every major engagement of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Frank's mother was buried in Mississippi and Frank was one of the survivors that returned to Jackson County, Tennessee. On September 7, 1881, Frank married Mary Etta Haile the daughter of Nicholas P. Haile and Nancy Litton Haile (her maiden name was also Haile). Frank and Mary Etta had 13 children and the family lived in Jackson County, Tennessee, then back to Mississippi, then Robertson County, Tennessee, then finally Sumner County, Tennessee.

One more story about the older Frank. The family was Church of Christ and one of his single brothers was giving a sermon. The brother was large and would often pull out a handkerchief and wipe his forehead while he preached. Frank took his handkerchief and wrapped a baby shoe in it unbeknown to his brother. During the sermon, the brother pulled out his handkerchief and the baby shoe rolled on the floor. The brother was confused, angry, and embarrassed and the church was shocked while Frank sat in the back and chuckled with laughter.

Frank and Mary Etta Haile's children:

1. Nannie Bell Dudney born June 13, 1882

2. Carrie Dudney born May 20, 1883

3. Mattie Dudney born November 4, 1884.

4. William Bennett Dudney born February 22, 1886. He moved his family to Alabama and he is buried there. At some point of time Bennett had land adjoining that of his brother-in-law. A dispute arose over the fence and the boundary line. The brother in law said he was going to kill Bennett and one day marched up the field with a shot gun. Because of Bennett's pacifist religious beliefs he was not going to fight back. Bennett's wife begged and pleaded with him to protect himself and not to leave her a widow and the children without a father. She put her loyalty with her husband and not her brother. Finally he relented and got out a pistol. He tried to dissuade the brother in law but he started shooting the front door. Finally Bennett shot back and the shot killed the brother-in-law. He was arrested and then released - it was declared he acted in self-defense.

5. Mary Dudney born July 29, 1887.

6. Maggie Harriett Dudney born July 25, 1891. She married Wesley Odell Gregory on September 30, 1911 in Robertson County, Tennessee. She died on November 21, 1965 and he on July 7, 1976. They are buried in the Old Brush Cemetery in Sumner County, Tennessee.

7. Frank Kenner Dudney born April 4, 1891. He died on October 12, 1918 and is buried in a private cemetery in White House, Sumner County, Tennessee.

8. George H. Dudney was born October 20, 1892. George was a Private in World War I. On October 1, 1918, he was killed in action while in Company I, 107th Infantry. He was in a trench in France and was struck in the head by a German artillery shell. Before he died he learned of his mother's death and he wrote home ". . . but it is awful hard for us too give our loved one's up. You all have my sincerest heart felt sympathy. I wish I could have been with you all during her illness, and so I could have devoted all my time in assisting you all". George is buried with his parents and his brother Frank at the private cemetery in White House, Sumner County, Tennessee. On a marker in Gallatin his name is listed as one of those from Sumner County who gave his life up in WWI. However, his name is misspelled "George Dubney". *See George H. Dudney's photo.

9. Shelby Dudney born July 23, 1894.

10. Ida Litton Dudney born April 9, 1896. She died on November 16, 1975.

11. Ora Dudney born April 13, 1898.

12. Joshua Dudney born March 7, 1902.

13. Lola B. Dudney born September 8, 1905.

Mary Etta Haile Dudney died on February 1, 1918 in Sumner County, Tennessee. Her obituary says Cottontown Community. She is too is buried in the private cemetery in White House, Sumner County, Tennessee.

Frank Kenner Dudney, Sr. married again! He married Lizzie E. Krunk who was 44 years younger than him. She was born on January 17, 1893. They had one child: Roxie Carleen Dudney who was born on January 7, 1920. Frank went to his mailbox on November 18, 1922 and fell dead of a heart attack. He was buried with his family in the private cemetery in White House, Sumner County, Tennessee. Lizzie married a Mr. Brinkley but when she died she too was buried with the family of Frank and his first wife Mary Etta. Flavil Odell Gregory, Sumner County resident and grandson of Frank, says he can remember seeing his grandfather who came to visit them in a buggy - even though he was only 3 when Frank died.

Can't resist telling a couple more stories of Frank. There was a man who was a little slow and was very superstitious. Frank set out a pistol with blanks in it and laid it on a stump. Then he got in a hollow tree with a sheet over him to look as a ghost. The man came down the lane and Frank started moaning. The man was very frightened and seeing the pistol he grabbed it and fired all six rounds. Obviously, the ghost was still alive and the man ran back to Frank's house telling his wife and children that there was a ghost and he had shot it full of holes but it was still alive. Again, Frank had a chuckle.

Once a woman kept begging him to go to the beehive and get honey. He grew tired of the request and he told her to get it. When they got there he stirred them up by patting the lid and they flew up her dress giving her multiple stings and she was throwing off her clothes as she ran and she cleared one barbed wire fence without a stitch of clothing on.


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