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Emaline Anderson (Tyree) McWhirter

Submitted by Theda Pond Womack
1425 Wrights Lane
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066

©1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

 

Emaline Anderson Tyree was the daughter of Samuel C. Tyree and Elizabeth Anderson. Her parents were married in 1816 in Campbell County, Virginia and very soon after their marriage moved to Sumner County, Tennessee. Her father practiced law in Gallatin. Emaline was born in Sumner County on 9 April 1820.

When she was aged 25, she married Isaac McWhirter, who had previously been married and had three children. She and Isaac lived on a farm on a road which is now non-existent. This road ran from Desha's Creek across the hill now owned by Billy Reese to Dry Fork Creek Road, directly in front of Dry Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It was on this same hill that Emaline's brother, Frederick Tyree, killed a mountain lion.

There is a story in the family that "Granny McWhirter" had the first running water in a kitchen in Sumner County--long before the days of modern plumbing. The spring was on a hillside above the back of the house. They had a huge log hollowed-out in the kitchen for a sink. A trough from the spring brought the water into the kitchen and the water ran continuously in and out the house. This may have been her only luxury.

Isaac died in 1857 leaving her with her six children from age 11 down to a baby less than a year old. She also had the three step-children from his first marriage. One of the step-daughters soon married and left home, but the eldest, Margaret, was an old maid before she married at age 36. She lived with Emaline and helped her rear the children.

Then the War began and Emaline's step-son, James enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861. At the battle of Shiloh he was severely injured and died a few days later in Corinth, Mississippi. James owned hunting dogs. There is a superstition, believed by the family, that dogs know when their master dies, even if far away. It was said that one night his dogs howled all night and just a few days later they learned of his death. For many years Emaline was a member of Dry Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It was while she was attending services that a messenger came to tell her of the death of James. A friend of his cut a button off his coat and sent it by mail to Emaline. This button had been kept and cherished by family members down to the present time.

Emaline's eldest son, Abraham, went to Illinois and letters written to him there in 1880 have been preserved. They are typical of letters a mother would write to a son, telling of all the family and neighborhood news. They tell about the crops, of marriages, births, deaths, who is courting whom, who was selected for the teacher at the neighborhood school, even the fact that the dog had given birth to 14 puppies. One letter told of her visit to the home of her daughter and son-in-law and said that the baby, Myrtle, was the smartest child she had ever seen. This proves that grandmothers have been the same about grandchildren for over 100 years!

At various times she sold small tracts of land to family members, then in 1892 she sold 146 acres to son, Sam, and gave 25 acres to son, William.

In the late 90's she went to live with her daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, Tom Wright. She was living here when she died in April, 1899, aged 79.

Emaline was the great-great-great-grandmother of Donnelley employees, Ronnie and Robert McWhirter.


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