DENNIS DRIGGERS 1875—Part 1
Written by Rebecca Sellars for the Madison Genealogy Society
A quick short article on the original Madison County Pioneer, Dennis Driggers, turned out to be a little more complicated than expected. Dennis Driggers arrived in Madison County before 1840, and was listed on the 1840 census, before Florida became a state. So, Dennis Driggers is a true Florida Pioneer. Lots of references were used to write this article, including various family trees on Ancestry.com, census records, Googled family histories, information from John Lastinger Family of America, by Mrs. Aurora C. Shaw Lastinger, Genealogist, 1960, and Clydie Driggers Russell’s article on her father, Sim Driggers, in the Madison County Florida Family History Book. And there are probably quite a few mistakes. Please, Driggers Family, help us set the record straight, if you see errors.
You see, the story is complicated by the often told story of two brothers, bringing their families to a new territory to start a new life. And to add to the confusion, the brothers, as often brothers did back then, named their children with the same names.
It seems that Jonas (born 1755) and Elenor (born 1754) Driggers, from South Carolina, by way of Bulloch County, Georgia, where they died, had the following children:
1. William, born 1776 in South Carolina, and died in Columbia County, Florida, who married Emily Lastinger.
2. Jonas, Jr., born 1777 in South Carolina.
3. Dennis, born 1778 in Georgia, and died in Madison County, who married Elizabeth Neville.
4. John, born 1781 in Georgia and died in Georgia.
5. Simeon, born 1785 in Georgia, and
6. Catherine, born 1782 in Georgia.
Dennis was in Madison County before 1840; he would have been around 65 years old. Also in the county, in Dennis’ household on the 1840 Census was another male, who was between 50 and 59 years old, possibly his brother, William. No records were found to indicate that William lived in Madison County. However, it is believed that William and several of William’s children were in the county in 1840 and 1850—possibly Matthew, Jacob and Simeon. Some of William’s children remained in Bulloch County, Georgia, where the family lived before moving to Madison County. Other children of William moved into Lowndes County, Georgia, and over to Lafayette, Columbia and Baker Counties, Florida.
According to various sources, Dennis, who was married to Elizabeth Neville, had the following children:
1) Dennis Franklin, Jr., 2) Marintha, who married Alfred Williams, 3) Andrew Jackson, 4) Simeon, and 5) Berrien. In 1840, Dennis served in Bradley’s Company, Florida, with the Mounted Volunteers.
The children of William, Dennis’ brother, were 1) Mark, 2) Sarah, 3) Rebecca; Mary Ann; 4) Elender; 5) Jonas, born in 1814 and died in Columbia Florida; 6) Jacob, born 1815, married Nancy, and died in Florida; 7) Simeon, born in 1816 and married Catherine Collins in Madison and died in Florida; 8) William H., Jr., born 1817 and died in Florida; 9) Emily (Mily), born 1819 and died in Levy County, Florida; 10) Matthew, born 1821 and married Louisa Elliston in Madison; 11) Catherine; 12) Elizabeth; 13) Penina L.; and 14) Diana.
In 1850, only Dennis and Elizabeth’s children had families in Madison County.
1. Andrew Jackson, born 1824, and married to Mary Polly Williams, in 1845, had Elisha, born 1846, and Rosa, born 1848. We think Alfred was born to Andrew Jackson and Mary Polly in 1852 and William in 1854. Andrew Jackson died around 1855; in 1860, Rosa Ann, Alfred, William and Elisha were living with William and Mary Clemons. Likely, Mary, Andrew Jackson’s widow, remarried a Clemons, as there were also younger Clemons children in the household.
2. Simeon B., born around 1812, and married to Elizabeth Gornto, we think, had Elisha W., born 1846; Rebecca J., born 1848; Matthew, born 1853; Elizabeth, born 1853, and Louisa, born 1861. Simeon enlisted in the Civil War in 1862 in Gainesville and died Feb. 9, 1865, as a POW in Ohio. His widow Eliza and daughter Louisa were in the 1870 census in Madison County in one household. Next door were the rest of Simeon’s children: Elisha, Rebecca, Matthew, and Elizabeth. We think Elizabeth married Thomas Jewel in 1881.
3. Dennis Jr., born around 1817, and married to Elizabeth Sapp, born 1826, had the following children: James E., born 1839; Mary M., born 1842; Dennis III, born 1843; and William J. (Jacob?), born 1845. In 1870 Dennis, Jr. was in Lafayette County, married to Sarah Ann Parker, and had William, born 1858 and Matthew, born 1860. Dennis, Jr. died in 1880, after being a Private in the U.S. Army in the Indian Wars, and in the Civil War. He is buried either in Live Oak, or in Lafayette County.
Generation Three/Andrew Jackson
Alfred, who we think was Andrew Jackson’s son, was married to Emily Phillips in 1872; he and Emily were the only Driggers in Madison County in 1880. He and Emily had James, born in 1872; Mary Ann, born in 1875; Isabella, born in 1877; William Burton, born in 1881; M. J., a daughter, born in 1884; Zilla l. born 1887; Abbee, born 1890, Ella; born 1878, and Ada, born 1882. Ella married Lawrence Winn in 1896, and apparently he died shortly after the marriage, because she was home in 1900 with one year old Annie B. Wynn. Alfred and Emily raised their family in the Macedonia area. We think Mary Ann married T. L. Welch in 1891. Zilla married W. H. Clark in 1898. Abbie married Al Johnson in 1903. Ada married George Tindall in 1906.
Generation Three/Simeon B.
Elisha W., born 1843, was most likely the son of Simeon B. and Elizabeth Gornto; he married Queen Ann Lee, or Ann Elizabeth in 1870. Elisha W. and his wife spent much of their married life in Bradford County, Florida, but were back in Madison County by 1935. They had the following children: Elisha Charlie or Charlie (we think), J. E. M. , 1883; Stephen Elisha, 1890; and Georgia, 1892.
By 1870, many of the Driggers families had moved to Lafayette County, including Dennis, Jr., son of Dennis, and his children. At this time, Susan Poncher Driggers, who had been married to Simeon Driggers, was living with her two children, Ellen and Simeon Kincaid in Lafayette County with Isaac and Rebecca Walker and their children. Susan’s husband, Simeon was the son of Jonas, who was one of William’s children. (William and Dennis, the Madison Pioneer, were brothers.) Simeon, the father of Ellen and Simeon Kincaid, died just before Simeon Kincaid was born, in 1872; Ellen was only two years old when her father died.
Clydie Driggers Russell tells an interesting story in the Madison County, Florida Family History Book. Clydie tells that in 1885, Susan, Simeon Kincaid and Ellen’s mother, died in Lafayette County, leaving Ellen and Simeon Kincaid orphaned at 10 and 12 years old. So Simeon and Ellen walked to Madison County, in search of their half-brother, John Rufus Dickerson. They never found John Rufus, but they found folks that took them in; they worked for their room and board until they married. Ellen married Thomas McCullough, and they had one daughter, Lala. Simeon Kincaid married Elizabeth Frances Holton, in 1895, and the couple had three children, Effie Ola, who married Frank Stokes; George Dewey, who married Neva Evans; and Susie Mae, who married Frank’s brother, Edgar Stokes. They lived in the Lee area. Sim then married Piercie Waters Lane when his first wife died. Piercie brought her three small children, Leon, Etha, and Willie Mae to the family. Then Sim and Piercie had four more children: Milton, Vernice, Clydie, and Adelia. Clydie, daughter of Simeon Kincaid, proudly recalls her father’s dedication to his family. Each May, the S. K. Driggers family reunion is held at the Lee City Hall.
Mrs. Russell tells that there were two Driggers families, in the area when she was growing up: the Will Driggers and the Sim Driggers families. Will and Sim were neighboring farmers, and often met each other. When they met, they always shook hands, and one of them always wondered if they were related. Not until after they both died did the family find the kinship.
Generation Four: Children of Andrew Jackson’s son Alfred
James, born 1872, son of Alfred, son of Andrew Jackson, married Margaret Wood, born 1875, and had, Hunter in 1895 and Gracie in 1905, James and Margaret also lived in the Macedonia area. It seems that James remarried Lila Mae Ward in 1918 and had Raymond, born in 1922.
William Burton, 1881, son of Alfred, son of Andrew Jackson, married Annie B. Clark, 1881, and had Willie, 1900; Howard B., 1901; Audry, 1904; Walter Mikle, 1907; Adell, 1910; Daisy, 1915; J. D., 1917; Richard, 1918; and Mary Lue, 1921. He lived in the Norton Creek area. Howard B. married Hoyette Albritton in 1920. Audry married Parramore McCullough in 1919.
Generation Four: Children of Simeon B’s son Elisha W.
E. C. , or Elisha Charlie, or Charlie was in the 1920 Census, in the Greenville area. He married Ella Thompson in 1894 and Lonie Knight, in 1902 and had Pearl, 1902; Elisha W. or Lige, 1904; Shellie, 1908; and Queen Ann Elizabeth, 1909. We are not positive that Charlie’s parents were Elisha W. and Queen Ann Lee. We think they were because Charlie was named Elisha Charlie, because he named a daughter Queen Ann Elizabeth, and because he named a son Elisha W. or Lige. Queen Ann Elizabeth married English B. Smith in 1924. Charlie is buried in the San Pedro cemetery; he died in 1925.
Generation Five: Children of Andrew Jackson’s son Alfred’s son James
Hunter, 1895, son of James and grandson of Alfred, married Alice Davis and had Marie, 1914; Hunter, Jr., 1918; Walter, 1923; Margret, 1923; and Marion, 1930. Marie married Robert Williams in 1928. (W.D. married Thelma Thompson in 1936.)
Generation Five: Children of Simeon B’s son, Elisha W.’s son Charlie
Elisha E., born 1904, son of Charlie and Lonie, married Faridy Clayton, and had the following children: C. L., born 1926; Mildred, born 1929; Johnnie, born 1931; and Pasco, born 1935. By 1940, apparently Faridy, their mother, had died, and three of the children were living with other families. Mildred was adopted by and living with Thomas and Eddie Studstill. Pasco was adopted by and living with Millie M. and Evelyn Pickles. Johnnie, born 1931, was living with grandparents Leroy and Georgia Clayton. In 1940, Elijah, their father, was married to Beatrice.
Generation Six Children of Simeon B’s son, Elisha W.’s son Charlie’s son
We don’t find any generation six children of Charlie in the 1940 Census. His son Elijah’s children were not old enough to marry and raise families.
Generation Six, Children of Andrew Jackson’s son Alfred’s sons James and William Burton
We also don’t find any children in 1940 Census belonging to sons of James and William Burton. By 1940, only William Burton, 1881, and Annie Clark Driggers, 1882, were living in Madison with their unmarried children, Richard, 1918, and Mary Lou, 1921. Raymond, 1924, son of James, 1872, and Lila Mae Ward, 1909, was living with his widowed mother, also unmarried. Raymond, in 1945, married Laura Lee Bunting.
In 1940, Simeon Kincaid, descendant of William, brother of Dennis, the Pioneer, had a son, George Dewey, 1899, married to Neva Evans, with sons Cleveland, 1924, and Lorenza, 1930 living in the county. So, the Driggers families in Madison County come from either Dennis, the Madison County Pioneer, by way of his sons Andrew Jackson and Simeon B. Or they descend from William, brother of Dennis, by way of Simeon Kincaid. William’s descendants lived in Lafayette, Columbia, and other counties; Simeon Kincaid returned to Madison in 1885,. We do know that the two Driggers farmers, Will and Sim, who met off and on during their lifetimes and wondered if they were related, were distant cousins, by way of Dennis the Pioneer in Madison County and William his brother. And, Will and Sim were William Burton and Simeon Kincaid. And, we know that there were lots of Williams, Simeons, and Elishas in the Driggers families.
[Extracted from the Enterprise-Recorder, 5 Sep 2014]