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Thomas H. Hightower

by Ted Hightower

Thomas was born in 1821 in Barnwell District, SC. He was the son of Henry Hightower (b. ?, d. about December 1836). He was also the grandson of William and Catherine Hightower. The mother of Thomas is currently not known. He had one sister, Eliza (b. 1827), who married William Tant. Thomas married Morning Rhoden (b.1820, d.1902) before 1845. To this marriage eight children were born: Elizabeth (b. September 3,1845, d. March 1, 1905), married H. Nick Hadwin, Eliza (b.1849), Henry (b. 1851), Harriet (b.1854), Hardy Elijah (b. November 3,1855, d. August 16,1928) first married Susan Washington Dyches (b. about 1858, d. March 9,1880), second married Martha Blume nee Abstance, at that time a widow, third married Julia Hutto, Robert James (b. March 28, 1857 d. January 27,1933) first married Lavinie Nix, second married Beulah Grimes, Owen, (b.1860, d. 1933) married Amelia Barr, and John (b.1863).

For most of his life, Thomas was a planter. He lived on and farmed a portion of the land that was acquired and left to the family by his grand father William Hightower. On September 4, 1863, at the age of forty-two, records show that Thomas enlisted, however he was probably conscripted, into the army of the Confederacy at McClellanville, SC, for the period of the war. He was assigned to Company I, Fifth Regiment, South Carolina Cavalry. This unit was known as Butlers' Brigade, Hampton's Legion, Army of Northern Virginia. After receiving their training, Thomas and his unit was ordered to Virginia. While there, Thomas' records show the following events: sick in quarters on November 1, 1863, on furlough for 20 days from February 25,1864, on furlough for 30 days from April 29, 1964, sick in Jackson Hospital from July 5 through 9, 1864 with intestinal problems and diarrhea, and received clothing for fourth quarter on November 2, 1864. At some time around January 1864, General Hampton and his troops were ordered back home to secure provisions. They arrived in time to help in the final struggle to stop General Sherman's march through the Carolinas. Thomas and his comrades participated in the confederate's last stand against General Sherman's army at the battle of Bentonville, NC, the final major battle in the war between the states. The final tribute paid Thomas' regiment was that the Fifth Regiment, South Carolina Cavalry or what was left of it was selected as the escort for General Joseph E. Johnston at the surrender of this army to General Sherman at the Bennet House near Durham, NC. Thomas was a participant and witness to this historical event. It is also a documented fact that the Fifth South Carolina Cavalry was never surrendered. Instead, their commander escorted them about fifty miles south of there and ordered them to return home along with their horses and weapons with a statement to keep them for they might be needed at a later date. Therefore, Thomas was never paroled. After the war Thomas returned to civilian life in Barnwell district and lived peaceably until his death in 1900. He and Morning are buried at Ghents Branch Baptist Church near Denmark, SC.

The Hightowers of Caswell County

by Walter A. Walker

Editors Note: It is exciting that the lead article of this year's Hightower News is written by a family genealogist who began researching the Hightower line in 1921. A newspaper man by trade, each summer he and his wife would set out in their auto to some county courthouse and there do tedious, basic genealogy research. His personal letters from which the story on this page was taken, are all carefully dated and documented. He never guessed about lineage, I have never found Mr. Walker to be mistaken in his research. All that and he didn't even have the advantage of a census summary or the internet!

Caswell County deed records show that one, Epaphroditus Hightower, son of Joshua Hightower of Richmond and Amelia County, VA, 1695-1772. bought land in Caswell County in October, 1780, more in October, 1784 and another tract in January, 1785. It may have been at about 1789 that John Hightower went to Caswell, for he was married there March 22, 1790, to Agnes matlock. And John's sister Mary and her husband Jackson also seem to have moved to Caswell County, for in July, 1791, John Hightower bought 300 acres of land from Thomas Jackson, and both are described as "of Caswell County, N.C." Epaphroditus (see story, page 54, Hightower: An American Family since 1650) bought his land on Country Line Creek, a little southeast of yanceyville, and others bought on North Hyco Creek and its branches, but living a short distance away from Epaphroditus and Elenor. At this time Joshua Hightower, Sr., bought 179 acres of land on North Hyco, a part of the land of Robert Culbertson. He is described as "of Notoway County, Virginia."

John Hightower died in Caswell County, N.C. in the fall of 1816, and it may be that while in Caswell on the occasion of his death and burial, that Joshua and William decided to move there also, where most of the others had settled. Records show that both Joshua and William did buy land and move to Caswell about that time. It is with William, son of Joshua, of Nottoway County, VA, that we are more concerned in Caswell County, because his descendants remained tin the county, near the old settlement; and many of them are still living there.(as of this writing, Spring, 1955.)

Volume 6 of a History of northa Carolina, [published in 1919 by Lewis Publishing of Chicago, has the following passage: "William Hightower, the Hightower family of North Carolina was established in Caswell County, in the early years of the nineteenth Century, by William Hightower, who was a born in Virginia, the son of Joshua Hightower. William Hightower bought land in what is now hightower Township of Caswell County, and was a planter and slaveholder there until his death. He married Mary Anderson, who was born in Orange County, NC. They reared sons named Joshua, William, John A. and Daniel, and three daughters named Elizabeth, Jane and Parmelia.


Hightowers on the Vietnam Veterans Wall

Cpl. James Larry Hightower of Brownsville, KY killed in 1966
Sgt. George Malcolm Hightower of Seattle, WA killed in 1966
Sp4. Alfred Hightower, Jr., of Waynesville, NC killed in 1968


The following was published in the Terre Haute Tribune Star after the author visited the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


WASHINGTON - It was my intent to visit the memorial for a few minutes. I stayed for eight hours. Thousands of people-mostly Vietnam veterans and their friends and survivors-came here from all over the country to see the unveiling of the statue by Frederick Hart titled "Three Servicemen." One grips an M-16 rifle, another carries an M-60 machine gun and the third, presumably an officer, has a .45-caliber pistol strapped in its holster.

The statues depict three Vietnam-era soldiers, who look as if they have just emerged from the stand of maple and oak trees near the Lincoln Memorial. They could be returning from a patrol as they cast a glance at "The Wall"-the two-year-old monument including
the names of all soliders killed in action in the Vietnam War.

Since its dedication, almost 2 million people have visited the wall to pay respects to all the names inscribed in black granite.

The day was chilly and windy as people inched by the memorial, some in battle fatigues, others in three-piece suits and some much too young to have been a part of the Vietnam experience. Many taped flowers to the wall or left a small American flag near the name of a fallen friend or loved one. Soldiers tossed their battle insignias at the base of the statues.

At the wall, one very old man with white hair was bent and crying. His friends urged him to leave and to remove his fingers from the name of his son, but he would not.

Small groups of people were hugging each other crying and offering mutual comfort. Work War Two veterans hugged Vietnan veterans.
A group of White-House press corps photographers laughed and joked with each other, seemingly untouched by the experience. But they were very young and from different time. To someone from the Class of 1965, the experience brought back the years of Vietnam and the memories of high-school friends who never made it back--except as names on a wall in Washington D.C.


Hightowers Township, NorthCarolina

Hightowers is located in the southeastern part of Caswell County at the crossroads of N.C. 86 and N.C. 119. The settlement was named for Daniel Hightower, who moved to the area from Virginia in 1795.A post office was established here in 1830 and served this community for about 100 years.
Hightowers was among several new voting places opened in 1841 for the next election of congressmen. It has continued to be the precinct voting place throughout the years.Hightowers is in the center of a very prosperous farming region. Tobacco was and still is the chief money crop, cotton was grown at one time, corn and several other varieties of grain fill out the needs of the people.For a while Hightowers had a tobacco manufacturing company located south of the crossroads. John Love lived near Hightowers between Hyco and Panther Creeks and operated a grist mill below his house on Panther Creek. He was listed as a whiskey distiller in Branson's North Carolina Business Directory in 1884. Also listed as offering liquor for sale at Hightowers were J.T. Baynes and T.Y. Banes. Hightowers was among the many Caswell County communities who organized a chapter branch of the Red Cross after the start of World War 1. Among their efforts were supplying clothing for war ravaged countries of Europe, rolling bandages and preparing ''comfort kits'' for soldiers.Daniel Lorenzo (5/28/1909).

Staunch Methodists, the Hightowers were leading members of Bethel M.E. Church, South. There was no high school in the community then, so Clara and Mary boarded in Cedar Grove and went to school there and later taught in Caswell County. Gurney went to Trinity College, now Duke, Clara went to college in Greensboro, and Louise went to business college in Raleigh.

When Ralph died after a brief illness in 1910, he had a few coins tied in a little bag in his pocket. His father carried this same bag in his pocket for the remainder of his life. When Della died in 1915, leaving young children, the older sisters helped theirfather keep the family together.
Gurney was married to Bessie Howell in 1918, Clara to Howard Price Hodges in June, 1923, and Mary to John Clinton Long in October, 1923. Palmetta died of tuberculosis in 1926. Louise had come home from Raleigh to help nurse her. Louise married Asa Conally Long at the home of her aunt and uncle, Joe and Eugenia Smith, in Leasburg in 1927. Daniel married Sue Clayton in January, 1928.
Gurney, Clara, and William moved to the Washington, DC area. Gurney was chief photographer at the Smithsonian Institution for a number of years. Clara, a woman ahead of her time, worked at General Accounting. Mary, Louise and Daniel remained in Caswell County. Mary and Louise were active in the community and church. In 1938, Julia, a nurse, died in January, William "Bill" married Leah Frances "Pat" Patterson in August, and John S. Hightower died on November 30. William served in the navy in World War 11 in the Pacific area. Mary, who had always loved Christmas, was ill for several years, and died on December 21, 1965. In 1974, Daniel died suddenly and the next year, on Sept. 22, Clara died. She was returned to her beloved Caswell County to be buried in the cemetery at Hebron Methodist Church. William and Frances moved to Florida around 1980 to be near their sons's familyr Louise is the only member of this generatior now living in Caswell County.The Hightower family has left these legacies to their descendents: love of God, love of family and community, determination, perseverance, thrift, and hard work.

Sources: Vol. V1 - History of N.C., Lewis Publ. Co. Chicago & N.Y., 1919.; Will on file Cou N.C. Office c Archives & History material compiled by Mary Deste Hightower, 1971; family member - Louise H. Owen, Caswell County records; family Bible and personal know edge.

The Hightowers of Caswell County:

The Hightower family of North Carolina was established in Caswell County in the early years of the nineteenth century by William Hightower, who was born in Virginia, a son of Joshua Hightower. William Hightower bought land in what is now Hightower Township of Caswell County, and was a planter and slave holder there until his death. He married Mary Anderson, who was born in Orange County, N.C. They reared sons named Joshua, William, John A., Daniel and Stephen, and four daughters named Elizabeth, Jane, Sally, and Permelia.

William Hightower's will of October 18, 1850, reads in part as follows: 1 st I bequeath my mansion house and land that I now live on to my two daughters to be equally divided between Jane and Elizabeth for a home free from all claims forever and ever - And I further wish and bequeath to Jane and Elizabeth a bed and clothing a piece and one cow and calf a piece and a sow and pigs . . . " John A. Hightower (1814 or 1819-1869),one of William Hightower's sons, inherited land and bought more land in Hightower Township, and spent his life there as a farmer. On November 9, 1843, he married Mary Jackson, a native of Caswell County, daughter of Daniel Jackson, who was born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. According to the family, the Jacksons were said to be directly related to the famous Confederate general, "Stonewall'' Jackson.

John A. Hightower and Mary Jackson Hightower (1822-1890) reared eight children. They were William Daniel, Susan Ann, Alexander Corydon, Sarah Jennie, James Rainey, John Stephen, Mary Francis "Fannie," and Bettie. The oldest son, W. Daniel (1844-1925), enlisted in Company B of the fourth North Carolina Regiment on January 1, 1863. He was with that regiment in many of its battles including the great conflict at Gettysburg. He was captured near Petersburg when Lee surrendered. After his parole, he returned to Caswell County, was identified with farming there, and later removed to Rockingham County where he was prominent as a farmer, merchant, and holder of several public offices, including Deputy Register of Deeds. Two of the daughters Susan and Jennie, never married and con - tinued to live at the old family homeplace in the Ridgeville community of Caswell County. Susan died in 1919 and Jennie in 1922, but the house, though unoccupied, remains standing today and is known as "Aunt Jennie's" place.

John S. Hightower (b. 6/30/1855). the youngest of John A. Hightower, married Della Susan Smith (b. 10/28,1868), the daughter of William Henry Smith and his wife, the former Mary Dameron, of Hightowers, N.C. on November 20, 1892, in a home ceremony. Della had attended school at Guilford College and John was known to have "a good head for figures." A prosperous farmer, John built a new home for his family on the Ridgeville road near the old homeplace. He and Della were the parents of nine children. They were Gurney Ivey (8/20/1893), Mabel Clara (5/3/1895), John Ralph (7/13/1897), Mary Lollis ( ' 1/9/ '899), Berta Louise (1/16/1902), Palmetta (12/23/1903), Julia Esther (9/28/1905), William Franklin (7/19/1907), and

The Hightowers of Alabama

The buttercups were in bloom at the small crossroads at Hightower, Alabama. The area is not even marked with a sign, if you hadn't seen the official Alabama State map that indicates the tiny hamlet, you might miss it. This past year I visited Hightower, Alabama with its rolling hills, small farms and trees laden with Spanish Moss. When I am in a "Hightower" neighborhood like The North Farnham Parish, or Hightower, NorthCarolina or here in Hightower, Alabama, I feel like I am on special land-land where Hightowers pioneered, built homes, farmed, raised families and worshiped more than 200 years ago. Yes, it is a special place. And here in Hightower, Alabama, I talked with some of the oldest residents of the area and they did not know where the Hightower name came from. Recently I was reading a letter from Hightower researcher, Walter A. Walker: "Lewis Buckner Hightower was born in Florence, Alabama, served in the Confederate Army, was an attorney, 30 years a district judge, town of Hightower, AL, named in his honor" (See story James Buckner Hightower, the Davey Crocket of East Texas, The Hightower News).

Hightower, Alabama
by Roland Smith, Huntsville, Al
This brief treatment covers some of the early personalities of Cleburne County. Of the many notable people harbored in this county from the 1800's to the present, this narrative mentions a few naming only men. Please note that family women deserved as much (if not more) credit for influencing the community. In the late 1800-early 1900 period there were two doctors in Hightower who also were brothers. They were Doctors Jerry and Henry LINDSEY and their practices covered quite a large area surrounding Hightower. They often performed their necessary services without pay, money was often scarce during their tenure in Cleburne County. The Lindsey brothers willing, diligently and faithfully delivered babies and treated the ill and infirm

J.R. Doc Hightower

J.R. Hightower was born February 10, 1845 in Pike County, Alabama to Gregory D. and Rebecca Hightower. He served in the Confederate Army. He enlisted in Company I, 22nd Alabama regiment on January 15, 1862 and served until August 18th, 1864. He was wounded and thought dead until one of the fellow soilders noticed he was able to blink his eyes. He was then taken to the army hospital. His stay in the hospital must have been very instructive as in years to come he was called "Doc" and did doctor everyone in the community and surrending area. J. R. Came to Madison County, Texas in 1876. He left home with 36 head of cattle and one other rider. They had started out for free range and water but the weather in north Texas, where they spent the first winter, was too cold, so they continued their drive south. He purchased land in Gum Springs,Cnncord Community and aquired a large estate of land and cattle. He was said to ride his horse sitting very streight and always wore a starched and ironed shirt even to work cattle. He is said to like to ride a mule on trips and he once owned a large amount of donkeys that had free range between Larrison and Myrtle creeks.

On August 12, 1885 he married Emma Green Spell the daughter of Henry and Martha C. Spell. Henry died shortly after his return home from the Civil War and Martha C. Married H. S. Wallace. Emma came to Madison County with her mother and Mr. Wallace.
J. R. and Emma G. had seven children:
Willie Rebecca Ruth was born December 30, 1886 she married Luther Floyd son of Ira and Pauline (Daniels) Floyd on December 22, 1907. They had two sons to live to be grown, Nolan and Luther Buran.
Susan Stella was born September 14, 1888 she married Andrew Hager. Their first child Kern died at an early age and their daughter billie Esther, married Fletcher Arterberry who came from Oklahoma. They had two children: Mattie Sue and James Wesley. Stella lived to be 92 years old. She and Andrew are buried in the Greenbrier Cemetery along with their son, son-in-law and grandson-in-law.
Henry Gregory was born august 2, 1893 he married Pearl Driver daughter of Will and Mary Driver. They lived in the old Hightower home for a few years and then built their home on land that he had inheirted. He used some of the lumber from the original school house in the Concord Community. Greg was a good farmer and trader, but as he got older and his health and eye sight failed he sold his farm and moved to Madisonville. He died on February 8, 1970 and is buried in the Madisonville City Cemetery. Greg and Pearl had three children: Eugene, Sherman and Doris.Sally Katherine was born July 2, 1891 and married W. Charles Kunze on December 19, 1912. Rev. W. C. Kunze was an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church. He served several churches in Texas and one in Ohio. He died while at the church in Canyon, Texas. Katherine continued to live there for about 25 years and then returned to Madisonville where she died as the results of an auto accident on July 30, 1962. She and Rev. Kunze are buried in the Madisonville City Cemetery. They had no surviving children. Winnie Feddie was born October 27, 1896 she married Emmet C Colwell. Bertha Annie was born December 20, 1898. She was the sixth child of J. R. and Emma G. Hightower. Her first marriage was to Cleve D. Burke ,a September 7, 1918. they had one child from this marriage, Armeda who was born August 29, 1919. Armeda graduated from Madisonville High School in 1935. She then attended West Texas State Teachers College in Canyon and then Sam Houston State Teachers College. She taught school one year at Madisonville Elementary School. She married Vernon Robinson and they have one daughter, Marianne. Marianne is married to Kirby Lynn Nash and their two children are: Kirby Lynn, Jr and Sara Ann. Cleve died and is buried in the Madisonville City Cemetery. Bertha then returned home and attended Sam Houston Teacher's College and taught school in the Jenkins Community. While there she met Thomas Moore Williams of North Zulch, and.they were married on February 10, 1926. She had three children from this marriage: Mavis born December 30, 1926, She graduated from Madisonville High School in 1944 and went to work in Houston. She married E. Ray Morris they had three sons; Gaylon Ray who married Peggy Connevey and they have one child Warren Ray; then Mavis and Ray had twins, Dean Thomas and Gene Patton.


Joshua Hightower-Bad Guy?

Joshua was a magistrate in Randolph County, Alabama. He was a state representative from Randolph County in the 1859-60 legislature and was a Captain in the Civil War under Colonel Jefferson in Falkner's Battalion. The following excerpt is from Historical Records of Randolph County, Alabama 1832-1900. It gives insight into Joshua's community service, his dedication to his cause and his forceful, and perhaps controversial, personality. Since it is such a rare find, this information is quoted here in its entirety: "Joshua Hightower was a farmer, an extreme Democrat, an old settler, 45 years of age, and lived in Jenkins beat. He was a brother of William Hightower, Randolph's first Sheriff (see story page 4).Mrs. Hightower was said to be an exceptionally good lady. But the honorable Joshua Hightower was a Breckenridge Democrate and voted for secession. He made up a company of Home Guards and was its captain. He was arrogant, selfish and egotistical, and said to be tyrannical and oppressive during the latter part of the war, persecuting men and women who differed with him politically, or in any way showed or expressed their sympathy for the Union cause.
It was said, and from personal knowledge, it is believed that Captain Hightower was in command of the squad of men who were detailed by Captain Robinson, commander of the post at Wedowee, to carry Bone Trent and Dock King to Talladega conscript camps, which they never reached nor were seen alive afterwards, but were said to have been found by Captain E. B. Smith sometime afterward."
The above narrative was written in 1894-1896 by J.M.K. Guinn. It is not knnown how accurate it is or if the accusations made against Joshua are true. If so, he was a very tough customer. If not, he at least had a very negative reputation in the community. It is true that Joshua left Randolph County after the Civil War.
James Monroe Hightower (1850-1940) remembered Joshua in a letter dated 3 March, 1937. The letter said, "My Grandmother, Sallie E. Hightower had brothers Raleigh, Joshua and William. This Raleigh I recall seeing oftentimes and the Joshua and his family lived several years within two miles of us in Calhoun County, Mississippi, just prior to their leaving for Texas.
Joshua was not found in the 1870 census, making it difficult to identify children born between 1860 and 1870. Family legend says that Joshua's youngest daughter, Trecy Luella, was taken to the home of her oldest sister, Melissa Frances Herring, to be raised by her. By this we might assume that Joshua's wife, Nancy, died around 1870. The 1880 census shows Tracey Luella living in the Herring home as their eldest child. What happened to some of the other children remains a mystery.

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