Sunday, September 26, 2010

Black Sheep Sunday: Great Great Grandfather JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON b 1825 AL, 1857 Court Case, Bradley Co TN

This  week's Black Sheep,  JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON (born Oct 1825 AL, died bet 1900-1908 Jackson Co AL), was the spouse of last week's Black Sheep, SARAH THOMPSON,  who was thrown in jail in 1856 Bradley Co TN for either having a wild party or running a bawdy house, depending on one's interpretation of the court documents (and it's important to note that the sheriff & deputy of Bradley Co TN at that time threw people in jail for such heinous crimes as "obstructing a road" and "making noise outside a church window",  according to the court records I saw).

Great great grandfather MONROE, as he was known,  first lived with SARAH THOMPSON's sister,  MALINDA THOMPSON, in Bradley Co TN and had three children with her without benefit of marriage:  MARYLINE THOMPSON born 1846,  DANIEL JACKSON THOMPSON b 1847 and GEORGE WILLIAM THOMPSON b 1848. This is according to the THOMPSON oral family history from Christian Co MO, which was written down in the 1980s by ALTA THOMPSON STEWART and LELA HALL--who was a descendant of MARYLINE THOMPSON & JAMES HALL.

(The family legend was that JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON was a Cherokee, but that has since been disproved. )

Records from the Mexican-American war of 1846-1848 show that MONROE WHITECOTTON enlisted Nov 9, 1847 at Athens, McMinn Co TN, and served in the 5th Tennessee Volunteers (foot soldiers), Company C under Col George B McClellan (of later Civil War fame). His name was spelled White Cotten on the records. His birthdate was listed as Oct 1825, and later in life he received a pension for his service.

Whether or not it was because of his going off to war,  the relationship with MALINDA THOMPSON did not work out.  MONROE then married MALINDA's sister, SARAH THOMPSON, who bore him three children, SILOAMA K WHITECOTTON, my great grandmother,   born 1848-1849 TN;  JAMES JOSEPH THOMPSON born 1850 probably Morgan Co AL, and who probably died young; and SOPHRONIA WHITECOTTON born 1854 AL? TN?.

The family is listed in the 1850 Decatur, Morgan Co AL census, near MONROE's mother, HAPPY WHITECOTTON, wife of MOSES WHITECOTTON (who died before 1840)  and the rest of her children.

MONROE WHITECOTTON and SARAH THOMPSON must have separated sometime between 1854 and 1856, when SARAH was thrown in jail in Bradley Co TN.

In 1857, MONROE WHITECOTTON also had a run-in with the law in Bradley Co TN, as per the following court record:

Offence: Stealing pistols from Harden Woody, Aug 1857

State of Tennesse, Bradley County: to any lawful officer to execute and return: Harden Woody having given information to me on oath that MONROWE (sic) WHITECOTTON on the 17th day of Aug, 1857, in the county of aforesaid did unlawfully steal take & carry away out of the possession of the complainant two self cocker pistols. Therefore (illegible) you in the name of the State to take the body of said MONROWE WHITECOTTON and bring him forthwith before me as (illegible) acting Justice of the peace for said county to answer the said charge and be dealt with as the law directs. This 18th day of August, 1857, J K Brown, Frank Holt, Wm J Campbell.

The State of Tennessee vs MONROE WHITECOTTON
It is considered by me after hearing the evidence that the defendant is guilty as charged in the warrant and that he be committed to the jail of Bradley county unless he will enter into recognizance with sufficient security to (illegible) the the next term of the circuit Court for said county on the first monday in Sept next; to be further dealt with as the law directs this 18th day of Aug 1857 Wm J Campbell, J P Forbes

No. 636 The State vs MONROE WHITECOTTON  executed by arresting the body of said MONROE WHITECOTTON and retunred for trial on the 18th day of Auygust , 1857, before me J K Brown, Deputy Sheriff.
Trial Aug 20th , 1857 J H Payne clerk.

State of Tennessee, Bradley County: To any lawful officer to execute and return: Summons Mary Romines and Stephen Davis, to appear before me instantly at my office in Cleveland to testify & give evidence in the case the State of Tennessee vs. MONROWE  (sic) WHITECOTTON, on behalf of the defendant.This 18th day of August, 1857 Wm J Campbell, J P Forbes
(Note: Stephen Davis may be related to MONROE; his aunt Sarah Whitecotton married James Davis and lived in Madison Co AL)

State of Tennessee, Circuit Court, Bradley County: September 7, 1856
The Grand Jurors on behalf of the state of Tennessee elected, empannelled (sic), sworn and charged to inquire after the body of the county of Bradley county Tennessee from their oath present that a certain MONROE WHITECOTTON, late of said county, on the 17th day of August 1857 with force and arms in the county aforesaid unlawfully and feloniously did steal, take and carry away from and out of the possession of Harden Woody two pistols of the value of seven dollars good and lawful money, the property of Harden Woody then and there being formed; contrary to the form of the Statute in said case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the state.
George W Bridges, Attorney General

State of Tennessee, Bradley County:
The State of Tennessee vs MONROE WHITECOTTON. The State Dr to John K Brown, jailor of Bradley County, to boarding defendent in jail from the 18th of August 1857 to the 10th of Sept 1857, in all 24 days at 40 cents each total $9.60 (rest of this is very illegible--an accounting of the costs of keeping Monroe in jail for 24 days???)

There is no indication from the documents what the outcome of this trial was--but I suspect gg grandpa MONROE WHITECOTTON  did jail time for his crime. This court case does place him in Bradley Co TN in 1857,  just a few years before the Civil War.

Apparently he returned to Jackson and/or Madison Co AL (where his grandmother, aunts & uncles lived) after his jail time; he lived mostly in Jackson Co AL from 1870 until his death, which occurred sometime between 1900 & 1908.

While I have not been able to locate MONROE WHITECOTTON in the 1860 or 1880 census, I have found him in census records 1870 and 1900 census.

According to census & marriage records, JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON was married three more times after SARAH THOMPSON:
He married MRS. SELINA SMITH on Dec 13, 1869 in Jackson Co AL.
He married ADELINE BARNES Dec 31, 1879 in Jackson Co AL.
He married MRS NANCY E CLOUSE, a much younger woman with children, on Sept 14, 1896 in Jackson Co AL.

Corroborating census records show that this particular JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON was born in 1825, which matches the Mexican War Pension record. Apparently he did not have any children with his later wives.

MRS NANCY E CLOUSE was age 46 at the time of their marriage and MONROE was age 70.  NANCY had children from her previous marriage that were listed as MONROE's step children in the 1900 census.

NANCY (CLOUSE) WHITECOTTON can be found in Jackson Co AL census in 1910 and 1920, a widow with children. She died Nov 8, 1926 in Pisgah, Jackson Co AL, and is buried in the Friendship Cemetery.

It is unlikely that JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON ever had any contact with his children by the THOMPSON sisters.  Nearly the entire THOMPSON family moved to Carroll Co AR in 1858, and after the Civil War to Taney & Christian Co MO.

There is no evidence that JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON ever left Jackson Co AL during  the rest of his lifetime.  And so far, I have not found any indication that he was ever again charged with a crime (although his uncle JAMES "JIM" WHITECOTTON (b 1811 KY) was put in prison for murder...but that's a story for another day).

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010


1 comment:

Lidian said...

What an amazing story - James Whitecotton certainly was a busy man! And forty cents a day for jail - I assume that was for meals, but what else? I don't know much about prison records (yet, and I say yet because my Black Sheep this week was probably in jail in the 1820s).

Lidian/Laura from the Virtual Dime Museum