James and Sarah Rebecca (Cavender) Thomason

     James Thomason moved his family from Georgia to East Tennessee in 1869, after having served with Company G, 13th Georgia Cavalry of the Confederate forces during the Civil War.  The family settled in Jefferson County, Tennessee, just south of Russellville which became a part of Hamblen County when it was formed the following year.  James, the fifth child of Young John “Y.J.” and Easter Grindle Thomason, was born February 21, 1836 in Union County, Georgia.  

    James married Sarah Rebecca Cavender on July 21, 1859.  Sarah Rebecca, the daughter of John Dedmon Cavender and Emily Huse Smith, was born March 3, 1840, also in Union County, Georgia.  James was a blacksmith by trade, and operated his own blacksmith shop on or near Silver City Road, in the Slop Creek / Shinbone area of Hamblen County.  His much younger brother, Hiram who had married Sarah Rebecca's sister Emily, moved his own family at the same time, and lived and farmed next door to James for more than 10 years before moving on to Missouri.  

    James and Sarah Rebecca had 10 children, the last 6 being born in Tennessee:

Emily Huse Thomason was born September 11, 1860.  Little is known of her, and she died before the family moved to Tennessee.

John James Thomason was born February 19, 1863.  On May 12, 1889, he married Catherine Elizabeth Haun, born August 30, 1859 to Zachariah Haun and Rachel Virginia Franklin.  They had 3 children: Lucy Ellen married Escoe Arwood; Albert J. married Cora May Whiteman; and, Francis Henry married Dorothy Jane Whiteman.  John J. and Catherine Elizabeth, who died in 1948 and 1916, respectively, are buried in the Dover Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery; their children are buried in Johnson County, Missouri.

Henry David Thomason, Sr., born June 5, 1865, married 1) Cora Anthony Wheeler who was born February 8, 1868, daughter of Gilbert Wheeler and Mary Dening.  They married on July 4, 1886, and had 9 children: Lillie Vernor, Sarah Jo Leanah Calamon, Willie Lankford, Cora Elizabeth, Mamie Ethel, John Henry, David Crockett, Eva Bee, and Thomas Roosevelt.  Cora died in 1910, and is buried in Holden, Missouri.  David Sr. also married 2) Minnie Ethel Orrick who was born May 10, 1903, daughter of Clide and Annie Pearl Estes Orrick.  They married on April 10, 1927, and had 3 children:  Henry David, Jr., James Clide, and Mary Jane.  Many of the children of these two marriages lived in Missouri; Jane married Charles Wright and still lives in the white house behind Russellville School.  Dave Sr., who died in 1945, and Minnie Ethel who died in 1979, are buried in Catherine Nenney Memorial Baptist Church Cemetery on Silver City Road.

Susan Thomason was born in Georgia on July 11, 1867.  She married Henry Smith Howington, who was born January 5, 1870, son of William M. Howington and Martha Ann Utsman.  Susan and Henry Smith had 4 children: Alice J., Henry Hobart, Young P., and Rebecca A.  Susan died December 31, 1937, and is buried in Dover Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery.  Henry Smith Howington later married Sarah Drinnon, who was divorced from Jim Purkey.

Young Pinkney was the first child of James and Sarah Thomason to be born in Tennessee.  He was born on November 6, 1869, and married Ella D. Wisecarver on October 5, 1900.  Ella was born December 28, 1874, the daughter of John Wisecarver and Mary J. Williams.  They had 4 children:  Jesse Baker married Anna Mae Carson; Josephine married Myron Campbell; John Robert married Evelyn Weeks; Roy Lee married Lena B. Campbell.  Y.P. died in 1942 and Ella died in 1957.  All of these mentioned, with the exception of John Robert and his wife, are buried in Bethesda Cemetery.  Jesse and Anna Mae’s grandson, Bob Thomason, still resides in their former home in Russellville, next to the old Baptist Church.  [Author’s note:  Anna Mae, affectionately known to me as “Granny”, was the most wonderful of babysitters and made the finest cottage cheese I’ve ever eaten!]

Joseph Dedmon, a.k.a. Joe D., Thomason was born November 24, 1871.  He married Mary Vina (pronounced Vinie) Williams, daughter of Charles Porter Williams and Mariah Wisecarver (John Wisecarver's sister); Vina was born August 21, 1869.   They had 4 children, 3 males and 1 female:  Charles Briscoe married Lucy Karr of Mooresburg; Robert Roscoe married Lillian E. Pennell; George Escoe married Etta Mae Travis; and, Birdie Dee married Yancie Sanders.  Briscoe and Lucy had 3 children: C.D., Marietta, and J.B.  C.D. and J.B. still reside in Russellville.  Joe D. died in 1934 and Vina in 1933, and they are buried in Bethesda Cemetery, as are 3 of their 4 children, Escoe being buried nearby in Hamblen Memory Gardens.

Thomas Luther Thomason, born January 19, 1874, married 1) Mary Leon/Lona Hale who was born February 7, 1876, daughter of Napoleon T.F.H. Hale and Sarah Ella Haun.  They were married on February 26, 1899, and had 6 children:  Luther Pinkney married Marie Elizabeth Bergeron; Ona Viola married Homer Lacy Bruce; Napoleon; Fred Monroe; Rubie D.; and Mary Cecil.  Mary Lona died in March of 1909.  Thomas Luther then married 2) Sarah Emeline McHarge, who was born October 14, 1883, on December 26, 1909.  They had 3 children:  Gladys Elizabeth married Mack Dalton; John Haskell married Edythe Haun; and, Thomas Luther, Jr., "T.L.", married Maxine Johnson.   Haskell lived in Russellville and was known as the family historian until his death in 2003.  Thomas Luther Sr. and Sarah are also buried in Bethesda Cemetery, having died in 1942 and 1962, respectively.

Jacob Lafayette Thomason was born October 5, 1877.  On February 11, 1899, he married Sarah Ollie Howington, born in May 13, 1881, and who was a sister to Henry Smith Howington.  They had 2 children: Nellie Dee married W. K. Arnold, and Frank L. married Bertha Smith.  Fate, as they called Jacob Lafayette, moved to Johnson City, Tennessee about 1912.  He and his wife are buried there in the beautiful Monte Vista Memorial Gardens; he died in 1960, and she died in 1969.  Descendants of their daughter still live in their former house on Myrtle Avenue, and others are scattered throughout the Tri-Cities area.

Wade Napoleon Thomason was born on December 13, 1879.  He died young on May 30, 1905, having never married, and is buried in Rocky Point Baptist Church Cemetery on Silver City Road.

George Washington Conway Thomason was born April 12, 1882.  He never made it to adulthood, dying at the age of 8 on July 7, 1890.

 G.W.C. Thomason is buried alongside his parents, James and Sarah Rebecca Thomason, in a small family cemetery atop a hill a few yards above the Rocky Point Cemetery.  James died October 6, 1889; Sarah died February 10, 1921, having lived the last years of her life with her son Thomas Luther.  Their gravestones are not well tended and are presently situated in a cow pasture owned by the Haun family.  Yet, we can somehow be assured they are resting in peace -- standing near their graves and looking southward, what a view that cow pasture has!


written by
Carole Thomason
September, 2003

For more details, see the Thomason Family Genealogy Report

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