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The Clopton Chronicles

A Project of the Clopton Family Genealogical Society

 

 

 

SEWING BEES AND DUELS AT DAWN

 

 

Regarding

 

Anthony Clopton & His Wife

Rhonda Hoggatt of “Clover Bottom Farm”

 

 

 

By Carlyn McCullar Bain, dougbain@dixie-net.com,  &

Suellen Clopton Blanton,[1] bblanton@fast.net

 

 

Clover Bottom

 

Social life at Clover Bottom revolved

Around church, parties, and the race track;

Not necessarily in that order.

 

 

The United States of America was a fine place to be in the early 1800’s.  The young country promised its citizens the right to free speech, to worship as they wished, and to pursue happiness.   And it was the pursuit of happiness which much occupied the minds of the young men and women of the Clover Bottom Community of Donelson, Davidson County, Tennessee.[2]  In 1804, thirty seven year old Anthony Clopton, [3]  left the ranks of bachelorhood behind and married into one of the wealthiest families in the area, the Hoggatts of “Clover Bottom” Farm.  “Rhody” Hoggatt[4] moved with ease through the glittering  world of antebellum Nashville and brought to the marriage a level of sophistication not always in evidence at what was still a rough and tumble frontier.

                Social life at Clover Bottom revolved around church, parties, and the race track; not necessarily in that order.  Now horse racing was serious business, and no where on earth did appreciation for the sport transcend those of the Clover Bottom folk.  Anthony Clopton and his neighbors were members of the Clover Bottom Jockey Club, the hub of Tennessee horse racing for many years.[5]  Among its members was one Andrew Jackson.  General Jackson was particularly devoted to the “sport of Kings,” and never missed an opportunity to match his renowned horses against all comers.  The events surrounding the races of March 3, 1806 proved not only to be a rich source of gossip for the inhabitants for months, but continues to engage the interest of historians and the imagination of writers.

                General Jackson had married Rachel Donelson, in 1791.  Or at least he thought he had.  Rachel had been married to Lewis Robards.  She separated from the man known as a pathologically jealous husband, and when the love struck couple heard that Robards had obtained a divorce in Virginia, the General and Mrs. Robards married.  Two years later they were horrified to learn Robards had merely filed for divorce, so technically Rachel was guilty of bigamy.  Eventually the divorce was finalized, and the pair married again.[6]

                On the infamous March day, words were exchanged between General Jackson and one slightly intoxicated Charles Dickinson.  The exact circumstances of this legendary encounter vary with the telling and gets better through the years, but everyone agrees that Mr. Dickinson loudly alluded to Mrs. Jackson’s matrimonial record.[7]  The General challenged Mr. Dickinson to a duel, and after many letters and much planning, the two met at Harrison’s Mills on the Red River at Logan County, Kentucky on May 30.  Although wounded by Mr. Dickinson’s first shot, General Jackson killed the unfortunate man.

Anthony and Rhody Clopton would live to see their neighbor and friend become the seventh President of the United States in 1829; his beloved Rachel, would not.  General Jackson’s opponent waged a malicious campaign, giving out literature questioning the right of “a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband,” to be placed in the highest office of the land.  Distraught, Rachel died of a heart attack before her husband could take the oath of office.[8]

 

 

Aristocratic Endeavors

 

It was a very wealthy, aristocratic neighborhood,

And there were several very nice young men

Who were invited to the dance.

 

 

A school house was built on Clopton land, and the Clopton children were joined by the Hoggatt’s brood, and children from the Cooper, Hall, Winston and Baskerville families.[9]  But all work and no play applied no more to the children than to the adults, and sewing bees were a popular form of entertainment.  The Clopton plantation was the site of many such events.  Miss Jane H. Thomas fondly remembered the evenings.

 

Mrs. Clopton had a large family of children, and every spring and fall she had a sewing-bee. She invited all the girls and boys in the neighborhood.  The young men used to thread the needles and wait on us.  Mrs. Clopton always had a big dinner for us; several kinds of meats, such as chicken pie and boiled ham, all kinds of vegetables, meats, such as chicken pie and boiled ham, all kinds of vegetables, jelly and pickles; and then the desserts, which were generally apple pie in the summer, peach potpie in the fall, and in the spring strawberries or cherry pie.  In the fall we always had cider to drink.  We enjoyed Mrs. Clopton’s sewing-bees very much.  We generally stayed until about ten o-clock and played games after it was too late to sew; and sometimes we had a dance.[10]

 

 

The Clopton children were caught up in the gay whirl of neighborhood festivities, and eagerly accepted invitations at every opportunity.

 

. . . they used to have quiltings.  Mrs. John Hall, who lived on the Lebanon road, had a quilting and promised the young ladies a dance if they would finish the quilt by night.  We finished it before night, and she invited all the young men of the neighborhood and sent for Mr. William Brookes to come and play the fiddle for us.  It was a very wealthy, aristocratic neighborhood, and there were several very nice young men who were invited to the dance.  They were William Cook, Sandifer Hoggatt,[11] Dr. James Hoggatt[12] Judge Turley, Lindsley Hall, Langston Cooper, William Cooper[13] and Jack Clopton.[14]  The young ladies were Misses Sallie Cook, Lucinda Lunden, Patsy Hall, Meeky Thomas, Agnes Clopton, and myself [Jane Thomas].  We danced until twelve o’clock, and then we had some refreshments.  We had tea-cakes, biscuit and butter and coffee, and nuts and apples.  Every one of the young men who were there became distinguished men.[15]

At Easter time the rivers and creeks were generally high, and we usually had an Easter fishing party on Easter Monday.  We went fishing at Capt. Hoggatt’s Mill.  We took lunch with us and stayed all day, and would go to Mr. Hoggatt’s for supper and to spend the evening.  We played games and danced.  Sadifer Hoggatt played the violin, and James [Hoggatt] played the flute, and we always had some very good music.  We never stayed later than ten o’clock, and then the young men would go home with the girls.[16]

                               

 

The Little Church in the Wildwood

 

The life of the church and the people

it served for over 150 years has been

punctuated by events that shaped

both our nation and our world.

 

 

About 1820 Rhody Clopton joined the Methodist Church, and one must wonder if this development put a damper on horse racing at the Clopton household.  After living at Davidson County for many years, she and Anthony established a plantation at Tipton County, Tennessee, near Covington.  She and her friend, Jane Thomas realized the need to build a Methodist church in the community and decided to build one by raising a subscription.  Their efforts underscore the important part played by women in the education and spiritual life of nineteenth century America and defines the contributions made by the Clopton and Hoggatt families.

Anthony Clopton donated an acre of land and Rhonda’s brothers, Abraham Sandifer Hoggatt, Esq., Dr. James W. Hoggatt, and John H. Hoggatt, Esq., contributed $250.  With that humble beginning they built a cedar hewn-log church at McCrory’s Creek and put a stove in it.  The church was called Clopton’s Camping Ground.  The church grounds became a mustering place for the Confederate soldiers whom camped and drilled there.  The area was by then known as the Clopton Community.  In 1863 the shelters of the campground and the church building were burned by Federal troops[17].

The present Clopton United Methodist Church building was completed in 1948 and is the fourth structure used by the Clopton Methodist Church.  The name “Clopton” is engraved in stone and set between stained glass windows in the church.  The life of the church and the people it served for over 150 years has been punctuated by events that shaped both our nation and our world.  It is a rich and valuable past that is shared by all that have been touched by the Clopton Church and Community.

Rhoda died on November 23, 1831, and was buried on the plantation in an area that is today known as the Clopton Cemetery.[18] 

 

Anthony’s many deeds of gifts and sales can be found on record in Tipton and Davidson County’s courthouses.  He gave the county of Tipton the property, which is now known, as the town of Clopton.[19]

In 1844 at the age of 74, Anthony sold his beloved plantation to William L. Winston and moved to the Desoto County, Mississippi home of his daughter Elizabeth and her second husband.  He died at Elizabeth’s home on July 17, 1848 where he was buried.  However, the legacy of his generous gifts to the little Tennessee community continued.  Following the Civil War, the first school, known as Clopton Academy, was established and located very near the campgrounds.  The Clopton Academy continued to operate until 1938 when it was closed and classes were consolidated with Brighton.

 

 

Dare Devils

 

He was confronted with a gaggle

of 750 recruits composed of a few loyal

veterans, but mostly rawboned,

unseasoned, frontiersmen and freebooters.

 

 

As his father was preparing to sell the plantation, his son, William Anthony, [20] was leaving a Mexican prison, ending a two year nightmare.  William, and his brother, Benjamin Michaux, left the comfort of hearth and home about 1837, seeking adventure in Texas.  They arrived at Bastrop County, Texas, joining over 20,000 settlers.[21]  The pioneers were constantly threatened by marauding Indians, with tensions between the Indians and the Texans escalating year by year.[22]  The animosity reached its peak in August 1840.  William threw himself into the fray and soon found himself facing 600 Comanches and Kiowas at what became known as the Battle of Plum Creek.

By stealth, the Indian war party descended from the Texas hill country and managed to evade detection until they reached the Gulf of Mexico.  They proceeded to raid the communities of Victoria and Linnville.  Word of the attacks spread faster than wild fire and soon volunteers from Gonzales and Bastrop went out to intercept the Indians.  The ensuing clash stretched for almost fifteen miles, strewn with the dead bodies of eighty Indians and one Texan.[23]

But much greater danger lurked to the south.  The fledgling Republic of Texas[24] had gained its independence from Mexico through revolution in 1836, but the president of Mexico,  Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, was bent on recapturing the land.[25]  On March 5, 1842, General Rafael Vasquez and seven hundred Mexican soldiers seized San Antonio, Texas, throwing everyone into a state of panic.  The picture got bleaker when, on September 11 of that year, an even larger force of 1,400 Mexicans once again descended on the hapless little city.  Texans, never known for timidity, rushed en masse to volunteer to avenge this affront.

Although Texas could not afford a war, Texas president Sam Houston ordered Brigadier General Alexander Somervell to organize a raid into Mexico.  It was doomed from the start.  On November 4 he was confronted with a gaggle of 750 recruits composed of a few loyal veterans like Lieutenant William Clopton, but mostly rawboned, unseasoned, frontiersmen and freebooters.  The legendary Texas Ranger, William Andrew “Bigfoot” Willace,[26] would later describe his companions as “Dare-devils. . . afraid of nothing under the sun. . . [who had] left their country for their country’s good.  Giving up all hope of instilling discipline, the thoroughly frustrated general moved south, with his rag tag Southwest Army of Operations.

It would not be long before the general’s fears were validated.  A large number of the men, frustrated and anxious for a fight, ripped into Laredo, sacking the defenseless town.  Livid, the general forced the men to return their loot and placed the worst miscreants under arrest.  They continued once again, and marched into the merciless embrace of Mexico.  After several more abortive attempts to garner food, the discouraged general ordered his army to retreat north to Gonzales, Mexico, on December 19, barely six weeks into the campaign.[27]

The camp was thrown into an uproar.  Approximately 300 volunteers,[28] along with five of the generals eight captains voted to continue south without the authority or blessings of their Republic.  They marched under the command of dashing Colonel William S. Fisher.[29]   The motivations of the freelance army varied.  Some stayed the course for pure motives, but many shared their new leader’s desire to exploit the turmoil reigning in northern Mexico and earn for himself, as Colonel Fisher said, “the riches of the land and the fatness Thereof.”

They started off in high spirits.  Not a single man or boy was a native Texan.  They had just recently come from the lush forests of Kentucky and Tennessee, the rich, fine soil of Virginia, or the fine, mellow land of the Carolinas and Georgia.  They hailed from England and Scotland, Indiana and New York.[30]  They were ill prepared for the inhospitable arid land and sorely lacked supplies.

December 23, they camped near the small village of Mier.  Hungry and exhausted, the frantic men irrationally demanded the citizens to bring them a week’s supply of rations.  The poor farmers had barely enough food to feed themselves, and by Christmas morning, it was not food which made an appearance but a troop of about seven hundred Mexicans, safely ensconced at Mier.

Absolutely confident in themselves, the vastly outnumbered Texans voted to immediately attack the village.  They cleverly managed to enter a house from the back, and slowly penetrated the village, house by house, breaking through the adjoining walls of each building.

The next morning  the battle began.  The Mexican muskets were no match for the excellent Texas marksmen armed with rifles.  The corpses of Mexicans soon lined the street.  The gently born and raised William Clopton, would recall:  “the sickening stream of human blood flowed from the gutters and, curdling in the December cold, formed great, hideous heaps, sometimes fully a foot in height.”[31]

But it was to be a classic case of winning the battle but losing the war.  Although they had only suffered 33 casualties, they were trapped in a hostile land, surrounded by the enemy.  They had no choice; they surrendered.

At first, considered prisoners of war, they were treated well, but by mid-January, Santa Anna had gotten wind of the fact the men were not, in fact, recognized by their government as a legitimate army.  He considered them nothing more than robbers and bandits.  He ordered them to be marched to Mexico City.  At the Hacienda del Salado, 209 Texans were guarded by about 200 Mexican soldiers.  Our wily boys managed to disarm their guards, and taking arms and ammunition, most[32] of the men hightailed it towards the Rio Grande and freedom, Captain Ewing Cameron their leader.

By mid February they were eating their horses and mules and their water supply had run out.  Thomas Jefferson Green remembered that day well.

 

 

Here was a scene of grand moral sublimity:  freemen, who for the love of country and liberty had voluntarily reduced themselves to the last state of human sufferance, still cheerful under the bright hope of liberty; and when pressed by nature’s extremest wants, putting their knives into the hearts’ blood of their good horses with a melancholy regret which showed they had no option![33]

 

 

Their bellies were full but they had no water.  Maddened with thirst, they drank urine and sought vainly to strip moisture from plants.  Some of the plants were astringents, and drove the men into delirium.  Several of the men died, and all “prayed for death to relieve them.”

Rescue came courtesy of  the Mexican cavalry.  Captain Cameron surrendered his party after extracting the promise that all should be treated as prisoners of war.  On March 1, 176 men, now chained together in pairs, stumbled into Saltillo to the sound of celebratory  bells and fire crackers.  They were taken to a filthy prison, infested with vermin.  There the inmates received the stunning news:  every tenth man would be shot at sunset.[34]

A small earthen mug was filled with 159 white and 17 black beans. Anxious to execute the leaders, especially Captain Cameron, the black beans were all near the top of the pile.  The captain, drawing first, said, “Well, boys, we have to draw. Let’s be at it.”[35]  He thrust his hand deeply into the jar and pulled out a white bean.  Three more officers drew a white bean.  Outwitted again, the order came to give the jar a vigorous shake, and the fifth man to draw, William Eastland, William Clopton’s captain, drew the first black bean. 

The cruel lottery continued, and some joked but most simply took their turns with stoic resignation, as guards watched from the surrounding walls, some deeply moved, others as though they had placed heavy wagers upon the results.[36] 

After the seventeenth black bean was drawn, the condemned men were given a little time to visit with their officers to give them their last requests.  First nine of the condemned, bound and blindfolded and forced to sit on a log.  It took the slipshod Mexicans numerous volleys to finish the job.  They were lucky.  It took them ten minutes to kill the remaining eight Texans.  Henry Walling was shot over a dozen times, finally dying when one of the Mexicans placed his pistol against his head and fired.

William Clopton and his fellow comrades found themselves once more on the road to Mexico City, eight hundred miles to the south.  On April 26, their beloved Captain Cameron was pulled aside and told to wait as the men walked out of sight.  In a defiant act which flew in the face of justice, Santa Anna, ordered him shot.  Cameron, stood with bared chest to the firing squad and cried, “Fire!” and they did.

After reaching the Mexican capital, the forlorn survivors were put to work building a road from Santa Anna’s residence to the nearby village of Tacubaya.  Each man was given a bag filled with sand taken from the river and were ordered to take it to the day’s building site.  They quickly seized on a way to relieve them of their heavy burden.  Collecting scraps of metal, they broke them into tiny pieces, concealing them in the palm of the hand.  Slyly they poked holes in the bags, dropped the metal  The sand streamed out as they walked, leaving in their wake a shimmering patina.  The exasperate guards would search them for knives, give them more bags, and the process would start all over again.

Exhausting the supply of bags and the patience of the guards, the men were next harnessed to wagons and ordered to draw wagons into the mountains to bring back paving stones.  When they reached their destination, they were unhitched long enough to load the wagons, and then the malicious process repeated itself.[37]

Although some of the men managed to escape, most faced many more months of misery, plagued by lice and disease.  Finally, on September 15, 1844, Santa Anna declared a general amnesty for the remaining Texans, eighteen months since the black bean affair.  The next day 104 wretched men, lurched out of their prison and began the long trip home.  Sadly the survivors of the Mier Expedition had been forgotten by much of the country.  But the veterans did not forget and swore vengeance against Mexico.  Their memories of the black bean lottery would propel many of them to face their old adversaries again in 1846 when the United States and Mexico once again did battle.

 

 

The Mistress of Two Rivers

 

Her wedding dress was lace over

beautiful glase silk, with two ruffles

of lace one-half yard around the skirt,

and a bertha and veil of the same kind of lace. 

 

 

Like the other veterans of the Mier Expedition, William Anthony would be haunted by the horrific memories of his experiences for the rest of his life.  He did find great happiness with a lovely wife and began his family in 1849.  The very next year, his niece, Willie Elizabeth Harding,[38] would marry and become the mistress of a sprawling plantation.  Willie was born five months after the death of her father, William Harding, at "Spring Place," which was located about eight miles from Nashville at that time.  This was also where her mother was born.   When she was two years old her widowed mother, Elizabeth Clopton Harding, married the Rev. Francis Asbury Owen, a prominent minister in the Methodist Church.  He was an affectionate step-father.  Brought up in the church, Willie moved from place to place when Rev. Owen took his family with him to his new assignments.

                It was not long before other siblings began to arrive; Mary Ann Hoggatt Owen was born in 1835, James Hoggatt Owen in 1837, and Wilbur Fish Owen came along in 1839.  Sadly, little Mary Ann died in 1838, and Wilbur Fisk was the victim of a fatal gunshot accident at the age of 13.  Willie and her half-brother, James, maintained a close relationship into adulthood.  Possibly the loss of their siblings drew them together.

She attended the "Old Academy" at Nashville.  Following graduation, at age 18, Willie met and wed her young cousin, David H. McGavock.  Her wedding dressed caused quite a stir, and our faithful chronicler, Miss Thomas recalled: 

 

 

                . . . [Willie Harding] was married while I was boarding there[39]  She graduated at the academy here.  While she was at school her cousin, David McGavock,[40] fell in love with her.  After she graduated she went to Memphis to stay with her mother, who had married Mr. Owen, and wrote and asked me to buy her trousseau, which was very beautiful.  Her wedding dress was lace over beautiful glase silk, with two ruffles of lace one-half yard around the skirt, and a bertha and veil of the same kind of lace.  She had her portrait painted in her wedding dress.[41]

 

 

                The blushing bride became the mistress of “Two Rivers,” one of the finest plantations in Tennessee.[42]

 

 

For forty-five years they resided at their beautiful home,[43] eight miles from Nashville, one of the choicest farms in middle Tennessee.  Mrs. [Willie] McGavock was a remarkable woman of superior intellect, well educated, a devoted Christian and a laborious worker in her church.  She was corresponding secretary of the “Woman’s Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church South” from its organization to the time of her death.  Notwithstanding her delicate health she faithfully performed the arduous duties devolved upon her to the entire satisfaction of her associates in the work, and of the whole Methodist Church South.[44]

 

 

As a prominent citizen of Nashville, Tennessee Willie was active in social affairs and was particularly interested in the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  The Methodist Episcopal Church South was organized in 1845 when the slavery issue deeply divided the Methodist Church into two conferences, the Northern and Southern Conferences.  As slave owners themselves, they aligned with the Southern Conference.   Mrs. McGavock was considered a great philanthropist and was generous with her time, energy and money.

 

 

It was through Mrs. Willie Elizabeth (Harding) McGavock that the CLOPTON SCHOOL at Shanghai, China, was established.  A strong appeal was made by Mrs. J. W. Lambreth urging the women of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, at Nashville, Tennessee, to launch out upon their first foreign missionary undertaking.

A contribution in money derived from the gift and sale of Mrs. David H. McGavock’s (nee’ Willie Elizabeth Harding) wedding diamonds, made possible a building for a school which carried with it the name “Clopton” in honor of her mother, Elizabeth Hoggatt Clopton.  This school continued as the “Clopton Boarding School.”

One of her Clopton cousins, The Reverend Samuel Cornelius Clopton, Sr., of Virginia, became the first missionary appointed by the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board in 1846, where he served at Canton, China.  Her grandson, Spence McGavock, presented a large oil portrait of Willie to the woman’s Missionary Council which was hung in their headquarters at Nashville.  The painting shows Willie in her bridal gown and veil.[45]

 

 

            Willie opened her home to her mother and step-father when his health began to fail.  They resided at “Two Rivers” until their deaths, Francis in 1883, and Elizabeth, ten years later.  They were buried at the Mount Olive cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.

           

 

Extreme Misfortune

 

Tragedy could continue to dog the little family. 

When she was sixteen, Virginia Schylleene

would follow her mother into death

and was buried beside her at “Mayfair Place.”

 

 

Another daughter of Anthony and Rhoda Clopton married a prominent Methodist minister.  Virginia Susanne Clopton was their eighth child.  In 1843 she married The Honorable Francis Asbury Lane at the Marshall County, Mississippi home of her brother, John Hoggatt Clopton.  Her sister’s husband, The Reverend Francis Asbury Owen, performed the ceremony.

Her husband’s father, The Reverend Sampson Lane, was a well-educated Methodist minister.  He also owned many slaves and land in Elbert County, Franklin County, Alabama; Desoto County, Mississippi and western Tennessee.  The Lane’s were an old Virginia family.  Thomas Lane, Francis’ great-grandfather resided with his wife Ann in Hanover, Spottsylvania and Louisa Counties, Virginia.

In the course of time Susanne and Francis had two children, Anthony Clopton Lane and Virginia Schylleene Lane.  It is unfortunate that the lives of their young parents would be cut short.  While returning to Mississippi following a trip to the British West Indies where he had gone seeking restoration of his health, Francis Lane died.  They had been visiting relatives in Tennessee and he died at “Clover Bottom Farm,” the home of Susanne’s uncle, Dr. James W. Hoggatt.  He was buried at the plantation with Masonic rites.

In 1854, when the children were aged 10 and 8, Susanne also died.  Fortunately the children were provided for according to the request set forth in their father’s will.  According to his will, he requested Susanne’s widowed sister, Agnes, “in case of extreme misfortune that my beloved wife Virginia Susanne Lane nor myself should ever return,” [my sister-in-law] “shall have the bringing up and educating my children.”  Agnes, now the mother of three sons and the guardian of her sister’s two children, married Dr. Samuel Roseborough in 1855.  But tragedy would continue to plague the little family.  When she was sixteen, Virginia Schylleene would follow her mother into death and was buried beside her at “Mayfair Place.”

As the children of Anthony and Rhoda grew to adulthood, they went their separate ways and met their destinies.  Throughout their lives they looked back on their time spent at home with warmth and appreciation.  Anthony and his wife provided well for their family; a good education, plenty of healthy recreational opportunities, and a concern for religious development that was carried on through succeeding generations.


        1.  Anthony19 Clopton  (Benjamin18, Walter17, William16, William15, Walter14, William13, Richard12, William11, John10, William9, Thomas8, Walter7, William6, Walter5, William4, Walter3, William2, Guillaume1 Peche, Lord Of Cloptunna and Dalham) was born June 28, 1770 at Goochland County, Virginia and was baptized December 25, 1770 by the Rev. William Douglas at St. James Northam Parish Church1, and died July 17, 1848 at Desoto County, Mississippi and buried Desoto County.  He married Rhoda "Rhody" Hoggatt, of "Clover Bottom Farm"2 May 24, 1804 at "Clover Bottoms Farm,"  Nashville, Tennessee3, daughter of John Hoggatt and Agnes Watkins.  She was born December 23, 1785 at Buckingham County, Virginia, and died November 23, 1831 at Covington, Tipton County, Tennessee, and buried at the Clopton Cemetery at Tipton4.

 

Children of Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt are:

        2                 i.    John Hoggatt "Jack"20 Clopton, Sr.5, born April 23, 1805 at Virginia6; died August 31, 1856 at Helena, Phillips County, Arkansas and buried at his plantation near Helena7.  He married Matilda Caroline Drake April 3, 1830 at Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee by Ezekiel Cloyd8; born February 10, 1813 at Nashville, Tennessee9; died June 6, 1865 at Helena, Phillips County, Arkansas.

Their son, The Honorable William Capers Clopton would rise to great prominence in the legal circles of New York City.  At his death in 1926, he had amassed one of the finest collections of violins in the world.  Internationally famous composers and musicians of the day flocked to his home.  His greatest treasures, however, were his wives, Mary Frances Garth, of Pennsylvania, the mother of his two children, and following her death, Louise Espenscheid, of St. Louis.  See An Honorable and Contrite Heart.

        3                ii.    Benjamin Michaux Clopton, C.S.A.10, born March 21, 1807 at Davidson County, Tennessee11,12; died January 14, 1898 at Bastrop County , Texas and buried City Cemetery, Elgin, Texas13.  He married Justine Augusta Haden June 15, 1836 at Bastrop County, Texas; born April 4, 1814 at North Carolina14; died October 23, 1869 at Bastrop County, Texas.

On February 13, 1839, Benjamin purchased a blacksmith shop at the town of Bastrop for $100.00.  On that day he also bought a slave, Polly, and her son, William Henry.  However, he sold Polly for $1000.00 only a few weeks later, on March 8, 1839.  He continued to operate the blacksmith shop until May 4, 1849 when he sold the business for $500.00.

At 1845 while an Alderman at the town of Bastrop, he purchased ¼ of block #9 at a city auction for $41.00.  His fortunes continued to rise and on May 25, 1850, he bought 400 acres of land for $300.00 near Elgin (SW corner of James Standifer).

The 1860 the United States Census lists Benjamin's occupation as a farmer; the 1870 Census, as a blacksmith; and, the 1880 Census lists him once more as a farmer.  At 1886, he sold 120 acres to his daughter, Mary Elizabeth Clopton Sherman, and he told an additional 120 acres at 1888 to his son, John Benjamin Clopton.

        4               iii.    Agnes Watkins Morgan Clopton, born June 28, 1808 at Davidson County, Tennessee15; died July 14, 1878 at Buntyn, Tennessee and buried at Memphis.  She married (1) Thomas Moncrief16 Bef. 1833; born at Covington, Tennessee; died at Tennessee and is buried at Memphis.  She married (2) Samuel Roseborough January 1855; born August 31, 1796 at Rowan County, North Carolina; died April 3, 1862 at Memphis Tennessee.

        5               iv.    Evelina Whitlock "Emeline" Clopton17, born February 19, 1810 at Davidson County, Tennessee18; died March 1, 1845 at Covington, Tipton County,  Tennessee.  She married Samuel Pryor Bernard July 18, 1832; born October 18, 1809; died August 4, 1897.

        6                v.    Elizabeth Hoggatt Clopton, of "Spring Place"19, born February 28, 1811 at "Spring Place," near Nashville, Tennessee20; died March 25, 1893.  She married (1) William Harding, of "Two Rivers" Abt. May 12, 1830 at Davidson County, Tennessee21  She married (2) Francis Asbury Owen, of "Bethel Grove" December 11, 1834; born February 8, 1804 at Brunswick County, Virginia; died 1883.

        7               vi.    William Anthony Clopton, Sr.22, born August 24, 1813 at Davidson County, Tennessee23,24; died July 18, 1887 at McDade, Texas and buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, near McDade25.  He married Mary Kiesiah Moore 1848; born June 15, 1832 at Tennessee26; died October 23, 1898 at Bastrop, Texas and buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, near McDade27.

        8              vii.    James Wilford Clopton, C.S.A.28, born June 29, 181529.

        9             viii.    Virginia Susanne Clopton, of " Mayfield", born October 30, 1817 at Davidson County, Tennessee29; died February 4, 1854 at "Mayfield Place," Desoto County, Mississippi, and is buried at "Mayfield".  She married Frances Asbury Lane, of "Clover Bottoms Farm" May 17, 1843; born May 25, 1813 at Franklin County, Georgia; died July 5, 1851 at "Clover Bottoms Farm,"  Nashville, Tennessee, and is buried at "Clover Bottoms Farm".

He was the son of The Reverend Sampson Lane of Virginia and Tennessee and Mary Thomas Allen, his first cousin, who he married at Elbert County, Georgia.  The Rev. Lane was a well-educated Methodist Minister.  He owned many slaves and owned land at Elbert County, Georgia; Franklin County Alabama; Desoto County, Mississippi and western Tennessee.  The Lanes were an old Virginia family.  Thomas Lane, Francis' great-grandfather, resided with his wife Ann at Hanover, Spottsylvania and Louisa Counties.

        10              ix.    Mary Clopton, of Tennessee, born April 21, 1821 at Davidson County, Tennessee29; died at Helena,  Phillips County, Arkansas.  She married George W. Gray, Sr.; died at Helena,  Phillips County, Arkansas.

 

 

Endnotes

 

1.  St. James Northam Parish Church Registry.

2.  Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, Its History and Landmarks, Refers to Rhody Clopton, "grandmother of Mrs. David McGavock, and sister of Sandifer, James and John Hoggatt of the family that owned Clover Bottom Plantation."  Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, Will Book Number 8, p 381-383.  She is named at her father's will as "my Daughter Rhoda Clopton."

3.  Davidson County, Tennessee, Marriage Book, License issued May 23, 1804.

4.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 156.

5.  Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, Its History and Landmarks, p. 36, Refers to him as "Jack Clopton."

6.  Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt Family Bible,  (Copy located Nashville Historical Society, Nashville, Tennessee).

7.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 167.

8.  35,000 Tennessee Marriage Records & Bonds, 1783-1870,  (Courtesy of Roger Alan Bartlett, Esq.), p. 263, Bond issued March 25, 1830, John Bussard, Bondsman.

9.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 167.

10.  Special thanks to Maggie Elizabeth (Clopton) Wright, Nova Jean (Froelich) McCann, and Mila Jane (Burnett) Reiszner, who provided the information regarding the descendants of Benjamin Michaux Clopton and Justine Augusta Haden unless otherwise noted.

11.  Bastrop County, Texas 1850 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), Gives his age as 42.  He is a blacksmith who was born at Tennessee.  They are Dwelling Number 201, Family Number 216, p. 172.  By the 1880 Census he is listed as 73 and living with Mary E. Clopton and John B. Clopton.  He is listed as a farmere.

12.  Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt Family Bible,  (Copy located Nashville Historical Society, Nashville, Tennessee).

13.  Tombstone, loc. cit.

14.  Bastrop County, Texas 1850 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), States she is 35.

15.  Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt Family Bible,  (Copy located Nashville Historical Society, Nashville, Tennessee).

16.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 168.

17.  Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, Its History and Landmarks, p. 90, Refers to her as "Emeline Clopton."

18.  Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt Family Bible,  (Copy located Nashville Historical Society, Nashville, Tennessee).

19.  Carlyn (McCullar) Bain provided this information unless otherwise noted, Mrs. Bain cited as her sources the work of Annie Ruth Brown and Beverly Conolly.

20.  Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt Family Bible,  (Copy located Nashville Historical Society, Nashville, Tennessee).

21.  Davidson County, Tennessee, Marriage Book, License issued May 12, 1830.

22.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 169-170, Cites as her source for the children's  birth, the Clopton Bible Reocrds iin the possession of Mrs. Dawson, Bastrop, Texas, and Mrs. M. E. Mehl, Austin, Texas.

23.  Bastrop County, Texas 1850 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), Gives his age as 35 and that he is a farmer who was born at Tennessee.

24.  Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt Family Bible,  (Copy located Nashville Historical Society, Nashville, Tennessee).

25.  Clopton Family Association Web Page, "William Anthony Clopton of Texas," by James B. Clopton and Ben M. Clopton.

26.  Bastrop County, Texas 1850 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), Gives her age as 17 and her birth place is Tennessee.  States her name is Kiesiah.

27.  Clopton Family Newsletter,  (Courtesy of the Clopton Family Association), April 1991, p 11, "The Mier Expedition of 1842," by James M McMillen.

28.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 158.

29.  Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt Family Bible,  (Copy located Nashville Historical Society, Nashville, Tennessee).

 

 

 

        1.  William Anthony20 Clopton, Sr.  (Anthony19, Benjamin18, Walter17, William16, William15, Walter14, William13, Richard12, William11, John10, William9, Thomas8, Walter7, William6, Walter5, William4, Walter3, William2, Guillaume1 Peche, Lord Of Cloptunna and Dalham)1 was born August 24, 1813 at Davidson County, Tennessee2,3, and died July 18, 1887 at McDade, Texas and buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, near McDade4.  He married Mary Kiesiah Moore 1848.  She was born June 15, 1832 at Tennessee5, and died October 23, 1898 at Bastrop, Texas and buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, near McDade6.

       

Children of William Clopton and Mary Moore are:

        2                 i.    William Anthony21 Clopton, Jr., born December 1849 at Bastrop, Texas7.  He married Mary Charter "Mollie" Smith Abt. 18768; born October 1857 at Tennessee9.

        3                ii.    Mary Elizabeth Clopton, of Bastrop County, Texas, born 1851 at Bastrop, Texas.  She married Charles Cottingham April 16, 1876.

        4               iii.    Amanda Augusta Clopton.  She married (1) Matheson  She married (2) Wiliam Eastland

        5               iv.    Benjamin Mitchell Clopton, Sr., born March 19, 1859 at Texas; died September 28, 1926.  He married (1) Betty Farmer Black Bef. 1909  He married (2) Hettie DeGlandon Hillman October 10, 1910; born January 24, 1877.

        6                v.    James Wilford Clopton, died at Probably Montana.

        7               vi.    Jane Hill Clopton.

        8              vii.    Charles Clopton, of Texas.

 

 

Endnotes

 

1.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 169-170, Cites as her source for the children's  birth, the Clopton Bible Reocrds in the possession of Mrs. Dawson, Bastrop, Texas, and Mrs. M. E. Mehl, Austin, Texas.

2.  Bastrop County, Texas 1850 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), Gives his age as 35 and that he is a farmer who was born at Tennessee.

3.  Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt Family Bible,  (Copy located Nashville Historical Society, Nashville, Tennessee).

4.  Clopton Family Association Web Page, "William Anthony Clopton of Texas," by James B. Clopton and Ben M. Clopton.

5.  Bastrop County, Texas 1850 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), Gives her age as 17 and her birth place is Tennessee.  States her name is Kiesiah.

6.  Clopton Family Newsletter,  (Courtesy of the Clopton Family Association), April 1991, p 11, "The Mier Expedition of 1842," by James M McMillen.

7.  Bastrop County, Texas 1900 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), States he is a farmer.  They are Dwelling number 170, Family 170 and living at the 6th Precinct.  The 1880 Census, which was taken June 8, 1880, states he is a laborer.  They are House number 35, Family 35 and living at the 16th Precinct.

8.  Bastrop County, Texas 1900 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), States they have been married 24 years.

9.  Bastrop County, Texas 1900 Census,  (Copy located Clopton Family Archives), States she gave birth to ten children and at 1900, eight are living.

 

 

 

        1.  Willie Elizabeth2 Harding, of "Spring Place"  (William1) was born September 28, 1832 at "Spring Place," near Nashville, Tennessee, and died December 23, 1895.  She married David H. McGavock, of "Two Rivers"1 May 23, 18502, son of Francis McGavock and Amanda Harding.  He was born September 1, 1826 at Davidson County, Tennessee.

       

Children of Willie Harding and David McGavock are:

        2                 i.    Frank Owens3 McGavock, of "Two Rivers", born September 25, 1851 at "Two Rivers," near Nashville, Tennessee3.  He married (1) Lula "Lulie" Spence 18753; born September 21, 1853 at Murfreesboro, Tennessee; died January 11, 1882.  He married (2) Clara C. Plimpton 18963

        3                ii.    Elizabeth Clopton "Bessie" McGavock, born August 18, 18643; died June 1870.

 

 

Endnotes

 

1.  Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, Its History and Landmarks, p. 234.

2.  Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, Its History and Landmarks, p. 235.

3.  Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, Its History and Landmarks, p. 334.

 

 

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[1] Sewing Bees and Duels at Dawn is an excerpt from The Ancestors and Descendants of Sir Thomas Clopton, Knt., & Katherine Mylde, and is the property of the Clopton Family Genealogical Society which holds the copyright on this material.  Permission is granted to quote or reprint articles for noncommercial use provided credit is given to the CFGS and to the author.  Prior written permission must be obtained from the Society for commercial use.

Carlyn McCullar Bain is a member of the Clopton Family Genealogical Society & Clopton Family Archives.  She is a direct descendant of Anthony Clopton and Rhoda Hoggatt.

Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton is Founder and Executive Director of The Clopton Family Genealogical Society & Clopton Family Archives.

The Society wishes to thank Julia Cox-Wilson for her assistance.  She is the g-g-g-grandniece of William Andrew “Bigfoot” Wallace, the legendary Texas Ranger.

[2] Davidson County is located in Middle Tennessee and was formed in 1783 from Washington County.  Davidson County, Tennessee Genealogy Page is located at http://www.rootsweb.com/~tndavids/nashgene.htm

[3] Son of Benjamin Clopton of New Kent County and his wife, Agnes Morgan.  An abbreviated genealogy follows.  For a complete genealogy of this Clopton line, see The Descendants of Walter Clopton, The Elder & His Wife Mary Jarratt.

[4] Leona Taylor Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, Its History and Landmarks, Kingsport Press, Inc., Tennessee, 1968, gives a rather detailed account of the Hoggatt family genealogy and history of “Clover Bottom.”  Rhonda Hoggatt was the only daughter of Captain John Hoggatt and his first wife Agnes Watkins.

[5] Aiken, p. 65.

[6] Doranne Jacobson, Presidents and First Ladies of the United States., Todtri Productions Limited, New York, 1995, p. 31

[7] Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, p. 93,  The race between General Jackson’s horse, Truxton,” and Mr. Dickinson’s horse, Ploughboy, was forfeited because Truxton had suffered an injury prior to the race.  One man claimed that Mrs. Jackson was sitting at her carriage and made a joking comment to her friends expressing her confidence that General Jackson’s horse was superior to Dickinson’s and that “Truxton would have left Ploughboy out of sight.”  Hearing the comment, Dickinson loudly rejoined, “Yes, about as far out of sight as Mrs. Jackson left her first husband when she ran away with the General.”

[8] Jacobson, Presidents and First Ladies, p. 31-32.  Andrew Jackson served as the seventh President of the United States from March 4, 1829-March 3, 1837.  He was born on the North Carolina/South Carolina border (both states claim him) on March 15, 1767 and died June 8, 1845 at Nashville.  Rachel (Donelson) Robards was born at 1767 and died 1828.  The couple had one adopted son.

[9] Miss Thomas notes that one student, a contemporary of the Clopton children, Issac Winston, was later Governor of Alabama.

[10] Jane H. Thomas, Old Days at Nashville, House of M. [Methodist] E. [Episcopal] Church South, Nashville; Reprint Nashville Daily American, 1895-6.

[11] Aiken, Donelson Tennessee, p. 37.  Abraham Sadifer Hoggatt, Esq., Rhonda Clopton’s brother, was a prominent young lawyer who married Amanda Walker of Virginia.  He died 11 months after the marriage. “ She was the belle of Nashville, for several years after his death.”  She was considered one of the most beautiful women “ever at Nashville.”

[12] Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, p. 36.  James Hoggatt, Rhoda Clopton’s brother, was a physician who made his home at “Clover Bottom”

[13] Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, p. 36.  Langston was a physician and his brother was a lawyer.

[14] John Hoggatt “Jack” Clopton, Sr., Anthony and Rhoda Clopton’s eldest son.

[15] Thomas, Old Days, p. 82-83.

[16] Thomas, Old Days, p. 105.  States that Jack and Ben [Benjamin Michaux] Clopton attended this fishing exhibitions.

[17] Thomas, Old Days, p. 123-124.

[18] The grave’s exact location is unmarked and unknown.  It is thought to be the first grave on the site and is possibly located near the graves of William L. Winston and his wife, which are marked.

[19] Lucy Lane Erwin (Mrs. William Whitehead Erwin), The Ancestry of William Clopton of York County, Virginia, The Tuttle Publishing Co., Inc., Rutland, Vermont, 1939, p. 157.  Mrs. Erwin was the great granddaughter of Rhoda (Hoggatt) Clopton.  At her Clopton genealogy, she notes:  “Since the death of Rhoda (Hoggatt) Clopton (1831), there has been at the possession of her heirs and descendants a set of hand-wrought table spoons which were made from silver mountings of Mrs. Clopton’s carriage harness.  These spoons have been considered for cabinet display and have never been used for table service.”  At the time of her book’s publication at 1939, Mrs. Erwin had possession of these spoons.

[20] An abbreviated genealogy follows.

[21] The Texians, an Online Database of the People that Lived at the Republic of Texas,  Lyman Hardeman, Editor, http://209.45.151.186/lsj/texians/  Records show William A. Clopton arrived before his brother.  As a single man, he was granted 640 acres, which was the allotment for those arriving between March 2, 1836 thru October 1, 1837.  Benjamin received, as a single man, only 320 acres because his date of arrival was between October 1, 1837 thru January 1, 1840.

[22] The Texians, the Texas government granted over 50 million acres of public land to attract new settlers.

[23] Lone Star Junction, “The Battle of Plum Creek,” http://www.lsjunction.com/events/plumcrek.htm

[24] The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Philip W. Goetz, Editor at Chief, 1987, Volume 6, p. 86.  Samuel Houston (born March 2, 1793, Rockbridge County, Virginia, died July 26, 1863, Huntsville, Texas) was elected President of the Republic of Texas after leading a decisive victory against Santa Anna’s troops at San Jacinto at 1836.  Texas became a state at 1845.

[25] Mexico and Texas continued to squabble over boundaries until the 1846-48 war between Mexico and the United States.

[26] While a Texas Ranger, his brother got into some trouble.  The Rangers wanted to send him after his brother, he refused and was kicked out. A group of vigilantes captured his brother and hung him.  Every man at the group but one was later found shot at the back with a 45, the caliber used by the Rangers at the time.

[27] American History, Cowles History Group, Leesburg, Virginia, Volume XXXII, Number 4, October 1997, “The Black Bean Lottery,” by Peter F. Stevens, p. 36-39.

[28] General Thomas Jefferson Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier,The Library of Texas, Series No. 2 – 1993, edited by Sam W. Haynes, 1993, appendix I, listed the names of the Texians who fought at the Battle of Mier, including their residence and place of birth.  The complete journal may be viewed at http://www.smu.edu/~swcenter/tjgreen/tig_home.htm.   Also, complete list of the men and their individual fate may be found at Tall Trees Family History, http://users.bigpond.com/Tall_Trees/resources/Mier-Exp.htm

[29] American History, p. 39.  “The tall, intelligent, self-styled mercenary had fought with equal fervor against Mexico at the revolution, against Comanche and Cherokee Indians, and as a hired gun for Mexican rebels during an 1839 revolt.  The dissidents’ new commander had once served as President Houston’s secretary of war.”

[30] Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition, appendix I

[31] John Holland Jenkins, Recollections of Early Texas:  The Memoirs of John Holland Jenkins,  edited by John Holland Jenkins, III, University of Texas Press, Austin, p. 109.  Although tales get taller by the telling, the reports of blood flowing at the gutters of Mier was one often repeated by the survivors.

[32] American History, p. 61.  They left their wounded at the ranch with about 20 men who had not joined at the break.

[33] Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition.

[34] Originally Santa Anna had ordered all the men to be executed.

[35] Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition.

[36] American History, p. 63.

[37] Tall Trees Family History, A Tribute to the Prisoners of the Mier Expedition, http://users.bigpond.com/Tall_Trees/Mier.htm.

[38] An abbreviated genealogy follows.

[39] The St. Cloud Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee.

[40] The Rev. Robert Gray authored The McGavock Family, a Genealogical History, at 1903.

[41] Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, p. 235

[42] Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee, p. 237, describes the mansion as an “elaborate middle Tennessee plantation house.  Also is has been described as regally Victorian and Georgian-Colonial.  Be that as it may, it is one of the best preserved antebellum homes at the state.”

[43] Construction of the  “Big House,” was not begun until 1859.  All of the brick was made and the stones quarried by McGavock slaves.  Almost every brick is stamped “David H. McGavock.”  For a complete description of the house, see Aiken, Donelson, Tennessee.

[44] Gray, The McGavock Family, p. 64.

[45] Sarah E. H. Haskins, Women and Missions,” 1920.