Hardy Hightower was born 29 December, in1779 Buncombe County, North Carolina. He was the son of John Oldham Hightower, a Revolutionary War veteran and his wife, the former Sarah Jane Parker. Hardy was married to Hariett Margaret Neill, born in Burke County, NC. They were married 14 March, 1811 in Buncombe County. Hardy had already moved along with his parents, from North Carolina to Giles County, Tennessee in 1808. The first six of Hardy's and Hariett's eleven children were born in Giles County, Tennessee where Hardy owned land along a 2 1/2 mile stretch of land on the Tennessee River. The family then moved to Lauderdale County, Alabama where the last five were born.
In 1841 Hardy and his entire family moved to Walker County, Texas. They made the move to Texas in a wagon train made up entirely of their families, including eight slaves.
Their first child, Jane S. and her husband, Almon H. Mason came to Texas with them and acquired acreage that they would subsequently sell to William S. Bolding and his wife, the former Cynthia Lowe after they came to Walker County with the Bowden and Lowe children, 1855. The masons had planted a double row of cedar trees in a straight line from the front steps to what is now referred to as the Old Huntsville Rd. The home was eventually called "Cedar Hill" The site commands the finest view of any in the surrounding area.
Catherine Hightower born 19 May, 1813, married Samuel W. Probasco on 10 August 1837 in Florence, Alabama. He was an attorney from Ohio. The couple had no children of their own, but when Hardy and harriett cames they left their tenth child, Caroline M. Hightower to make her home with her aunt.
The Texas home that Hariett and Hardy Hightower had built following the clearing of a sufficient area of land was a rather large, two stuse, the upper floor of which was never partitioned off. There were sleeping areas for the unmarried sons, but the remainder of the space was converted into a ballroom. The columns that extended across the front of the house were felled and heand-hewn there on the place.My father told me that in order to have obtained six such perfectly matched columns, six completely straight pine trees sixty feet in height would have had to be located and painstakingly handled. After the completion of the house and other necessary outbuildings, including slave cabins sufficient in number to house the eighty slaves, a work platoon was assigned the task of digging an extensive drainage ditch around a large section of property.
When the next planting season came, another platoon of workers was put to the task of planting a large, horshoe-shaped driveway from the Old Huntsville Road to the front yard. About 400 cedar trees were planted in double rows around the driveway, to mark the four corners of the yard. They planted crepe myrtle between every tow trees, thus assured of an evergreen approach and colorful flowerings to the yard.
Many years later Mrs. W.O.B Gillespie would tell about attending balls at the Hightower Plantation, of driving up the long and always lovely driveway, of being"handed down" from the carriage by a liveried footman, who stood waiting to receive the occupants of all vehicles due to arrive for the evening's revelry. But the cedar drive has now gone with the wind that swept through Texas as well as through Georgia.
Thomas Hightower, M.D.
Thomas A. Hightower, physician and surgeon of Hot Springs, Ark, was born on the state line between Tennessee and Alabama, in the town of Bethel, June 20, 1850, and is the son of James and Lucy Westmorland Hightower, the former a native of Albemarle, VA, while the latter was born in Giles County, Tennessee. In young manhood the father made his way down through Kentucky to Tennessee, where he was married and took up his abode, locating just across the line in Limestone County, Alabama. There he engaged in farming.
The son, Dr. Thomas A. Hightower, was educated in the rural schools of Alabama and subsequently took up the study of medicine in the medical department at the University of Tennessee, from which he received his professional degree in the year 1873. He began practice near Courtland, AL and in 1879 went to Arkansas, locating in the village of De View, where he remained in active practice for a quarter of a century. He next removed to the town of McCrory, building the first house in the town following the advent of the railroad. His practice to that point grew beyond his ability to care of it individually and he was forced to leave in order to preserve his health, so great were the demands made upon his time and energy. In 1905 he moved to Hot Springs.
In 1875 Dr. Hightower married to Miss Emma K. Simpson of Courtland, Alabama, and to them were born six children: Issac R residing in El Paso, Texas; James B., a resident of Jonesboro, Ark'Katie, who is the wife of Tine Coppage of Jonesboro; Thomas W. living in El Paso, TX; Gladys, the wife of H.W. Schleicher of Jacksonville, FL; annd Linnie, the wife of Lt. C.C. Quinn of the U.S. Army.
Mrs. Hightower died in 1905 and the Doctor was married to Mrs. Ella Hollingshead of East Liverpool, Ohio. Mr. Hightower belonged to the First Methodist Church and his life in all of its relations was guided by his religious belief. Thus it is that Dr. Hightower holds to the highest standards of conduct and is regarded as a most conscientious physician, as a faithful friend and a loyal and progressive citizen.
Sheriff William Hightower
Sheriff William Hightower was the oldest proven son of Thomas and Elizabeth Pollard Hightower. He was a War of 1812 veteran and the first Sheriff of Randolph County, Alabama. He was affectionately known as "Uncle Bill" by the people of Randolph County. His wife was known as "Aunt Liza", and they apparently had no children of their own, although they cared for other young people in their home as various census records indicate.
There are various records that possibly refer to this William Hightower in the area that his family lived. For example, on June 25,1818, in Clarke County, Georgia, a William Hightower was paid to guard a prisoner named William McClendon. Could this have been the beginning of William's career in law enforcement? Then in 1827, a William Hightower was mentioned in family deeds in Newton County, Georgia, while relatives were living there. Of course, there were many men named William Hightower living at the same time, making it difficult to be certain whic! William Hightower each record referred to.
Randolph County, Alabama, was organized on December 18, 1832, and William Hightower was said to live in the area before that time. William was the county's first Sheriff from October 8, 1833 - October 11, and tax collector in 1835.
He built the county"s first courthouse of logs in 1836. It had three hole windows, I door, dirt floor and no furniture. William held court proceedings on Poplar bark as the first jail was a hollow Poplar tree. He built a new jail in 1837 and a new courthouse in 1839.
J.M.K. Guinn, an early Randolph County, Alabama, historian recorded much about Sheriff William's life and character in the book Randolph County, Alabama, Sixty-Two Years Ago the Red Man's Home, The White Man's Eden 1894-I896. The entire portion referring to William will be quoted here because it is the only glimpse into William's character that has been found. Guinn wrote, "Sheriff Hightower, tradition says, was a bachelor when he came to the county. He was here when the county was first organized and had been for some time previously. He was elected in August 1833, to the Sheriff's office. He was rough, wild and mischievous, playing tricks on the credulous. Uncle Bill was perhaps as good material as the county had at that time for Sheriff."
Tradition further said, he was the original owner of the present site of Wedowee. "When we first got acquainted with him he was married and lived on the old McIntosh road about two miles west of GoldRidge, and with the exception of two or three he lived in Wedowee in 1857-8, his home was at the old home place until his death . He was forty three or four years of age when he came to the county, and in 1880 he was 92; this made him near 100 when he died. When he lived here in Wedowee in 1857, and kept a hotel, we got well acquainted with Aunt Liza, his wife. They had no children. They lived where Sheriff Willoughby now lives. Ira Culbreath had the house built and Uncle John Spence hewed the sills and logs.''
"Uncle Bill was a terror to evil doers. He had the first Court House built, it was a log cabin, on lot 108 near R.T. West's present store house. He had a jail too, but the hand of man did not fashion it, except the door. This jail may have been as long in construction as Noah"s Ark, being an old and very hollow poplar tree, and from the best information known by the writer was on lot number 116, near the foot of
the hill east of the present jail and on the bank of Frog Level branch."
"While Sheriff, Uncle Bill had to carry a prisoner to another county. He had one guard in a two horse wagon, went into camp on their trip and after supper, the guard wanted to know which one would guard the prisoner in the forepart of the night. Uncle Bill said I'll fix that when bed time comes. The time came after a while and Uncle Bill took the bed off, turned it bottom side up, put the prisoner under it. He placed his and the guard's beds on top --- the prisoner was on hand next morning."
This insight into Sheriff William Hightower"s life in early Randolph County Alabama, is a remarkable find and gives a priceless look into the life of this rugged pioneer.
In the Randolph County Census of 1840, William and his wife had a female aged 10-15 living with them. in 1870 a "Samford" aged 12 lived with them, and at another time a "Margaret" born in 1836 lived with them. Since it,was said that they were relatives, they had no children, perhaps these were orphans or taken in by William and Liza. On March 1, 1875, property belonging to William Hightower was sold at public auction to the highest bidder for back taxes at the Wedowee Court House."
One record that verifies Sheriff William"s relationship to Thomas and Elizabeth Pollard Hightower's family is the War of 1812 Pension File of his brother Charnell's widow. The affidavit says, "...Charnold (sic) Hightower was a soldier under the command of Cole Jenkins in Cole Jenkins Regiment and Captain Starns Company and volunteered about the 12th day of Aug. 1812. He volunteer enlisted for six months, was discharged at Miledgeville, Ga. about the first of March 1813 in General Charles Floyd's Army --- this 3rd day of Aug. 1881" signed with an "X" by William Hightower of Randolph County, Alabama. Charnell's widow was refused a pension because there was no record of his service. Her lawyers replied on October 9, 1881, "...Hightower's Brother who is now in Alabama and who served in the same Company is now living on a pension." This pension file proves the connection between my Charnell and Sheriff WIlliam. This information is in the War of 1912 Service Pension #39883. On January 1, 1883, William Hightower was listed as a survivor of the War of 1812 living in Wedowee, Randolph County, Alabama. He was receiving an $8.00 pension dating His pension file is #7295."
Another piece of information that links Sheriff William to his brothers and sisters is in the letter dated,March 1, 1937, which has been quoted previously, written by James Monroe Hightower (1850-1940). The letter States, "My Grandmother, Sallie E. Hightower had brothers Raleigh, Joshua and 1 think a William."
Jordan Hightower born in Lunenburg, Co, VA, in 1776. We believe his parents were Presley,Sr and Elizabeth Jordan. He married Cassia Hazelwood in Lunenberg, County, VA where Jordan was not very successful as a planter. He bought land on Hitto Creek in 1800. The two moved to Kentucky before arriving in Limestone County, AL. He built this single-pen house of logs in the traditional manner. Their children were Elisha, born in VA, James Jordan, b.Feb 15, 1814 in KY. And Osborne, Lucretia and Elizabeth, though little records are found of the last three. James Jordan was married to Ann Booth and had Mary Ann. He also married Lucy Morris Westmorland and had John Calvin.
Martin Charnel Hightower
Joshua Hightower, (1670-1726), clan patri arch, and wife, Elinore, lived in Richmond County, Virginia, March 1698. Court records indicate he paid every fine, penalty, or debt in "good, sweet smelling tobacco". Their descendants were: John, Joshua, Austin, Charnall, and Thomas. Our ancestors, (hereafter underlined), Charnall and Sara (Glascock) Hightower, migrated to Brunswick County, Virginia. Court records show that he and brother Austin frequently sued each other. Charnall's son, Joshua, (1739-1841), was a recognized Revolutionary War veteran who died in Marengo County, Alabama, at age 102. Charnall and Sarah's children were: Elizabeth, Sarah, Charnel, Rawleigh, Joshua, Gregory, John, and Thomas. Our ancestor, Joshua's son, Charnel, was born in North Carolina. His son, our ancestor Aaron, was also born (1801) in Caswell County, where he married Dinah. Their son, John T Hightower (GA, 1827), married Anna (Reede) Hightower, September, 1847, in Benton County, Alabama.
Their son, Martin Charnel Hightower, (AL, 1854-1942), married and homesteaded the last of the Indian Lands opened in Cleburne County in 1886. He and his first wife raised six children: Ruben, Nora, Nancy, John, Asa, and Fannie. In 1885, Martin married Pollie Ann (Coleman) Hightower in Cleburne County Their children were: George, Arab, Pearl, Isaac Clinton, Louetta, and Grady. Father Isaac Clinton (1909-1982) married Eliza Magnease Davidson, the daughter of Charlie Theodore Davidson; granddaughter of Ashford Turner Davidson (1861) and Mary Roxanne Elizabeth Jane Hart (1862) from Georgia. Most of them lived in the Oak Level Community. Mother, Magnease, (now in Heflin), was the daughter of Lora Gurtrude (Tanner); daughter of Harrison Tanner and Eliza Jane Elking, (Mars Hill Community); granddaughter of McDaniel D. Tanner, a Cherokee Indian (1826) from North Carolina. It is not known how he evaded the roundup of Cherokees who were marched west to Oklahoma in 1838-39 via the "Trail of Tears", but his knowledge of woods, wildlife, and hunting, helped us survive the rigors of life in Cleburne County.Clint and Magnease Hightower raised four boys in Cleburne County. Clyde Martin and Isaac Claude were born near Oak Level; Simon Clifford was born on Granddad's homestead
Mississippi You're On My Mind
I think I see a wagon rutted road
With the weeds grown tall between the tracks
And along one side runs a rusty barbed wire fence
And beyond sits an old tar paper shack
I think I hear a noisy old John Deere
In a field speckled with dirty cotton lint
And beyond that field runs a little country stream
Down there you'll find the cool green leaves of mint
I think I smell the honeysuckle vine
It's thick sweetness about to make you sick
And the dogs, my brood, they're hungry all the time
And the snakes are sleeping where the weeds are thick
I think I feel the angry oven heat
The southern sun just blazing in the sky
And the dusty weeds and old grasshopper jumps
I wanna make it to that creek before I die.
Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh Mississippi you're on my mind.
I visited Mississippi last year in March-driving across the delta I could smell the new mown hay, which was a real change from the snow back home in Indiana! I was taking pictures on the G.R. Hightower plantation and the smell of honesuckle reminded me of my childhood and of the Jesse Winchester song, Mississippi, You're on My Mind.It is interesting the way I arrived at the Hightower plantation in Mississippi. While doing research a few years ago in the Mississippi State Archives in Jackson, I came across the story that follows. Last spring I started looking for the Selsertown plantation. The story said it was about 10 miles North of Natachez on highway 61 near a town called Stanton. The story was written more than three quarters of a century ago and lots can change in that time. But I found a couple of elderly ladies who lived in the small town of Stanton, and who had heard of Selsertown, though it was not called that today. Sure enough, I found the descendants of G.R. Hightower and made some wonderful friends of our Hightower cousins. The story begins...
After devoting the major part of his life to the service of his fellow-men as a statesman, educator and philanthropist, George Robert Hightower is engaged in the operation and improvement of the plantation, Selsertown, which he owns and operates. After devoting the major part of his life to the service of his fellow-men as a statesman, educator and philanthropist, George Robert Hightower is engaged in the operation and improvement of the plantation, Selsertown, which he owns and occupies and which is situated ten miles northeast of Natchez on Highway 61 at Stanton. It is fitting that at this time he should have the opportunity of furthering his own interests, as through so many years he had devoted himself almost exclusively to the upbuilding of the state, contributing in notable measure to its material, intellectual and civic progress. He has resided in the Natchez area since 1916 and upon his plantation of 3,000 acres since 1920.
Mississippi proudly claims him as a native son. He was born at Smith's Mills, in Grenada County, on the fifteenth of October, 1865, a son of George and Fannie (Kirby) Hightower. The father, who was a prominent farmer of Grenada County, was a native of Tennessee, as was his wife, and in 1836 they came to Mississippi. George Hightower was a son of William and Martha (Dawson) Hightower, both were born in Tennessee in the early part of the nineteenth century, and were there reared and married. The Hightower family came originally from England, having been associated with the history of the South from almost the earliest period of the development of this part of the country. George Hightower, father of G. R. Hightower, served in the Confederate Army through the entire period of the Civil War and died of illness in the spring of 1865 just before the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox. His family numbered a son and daughter yet living, the latter being Mrs. Mattie Mullen, widow of the late Felix Mullen, of Starkville, Mississippi.
George Robert Hightower grew to manhood in Grenada County, Mississippi, and there began his education in the public schools, while later he attended Normal College at Buena Vista, Mississippi, for three years, graduating in 1889. He then took took up the profession of teaching, which he followed for one year in his native county, after which he taught in the Abbeville Normal School of this state for three years. He next spent a year as instructor in the Grenada Female College at Grenada, Mississippi, and Subsequently accepted a teaching position in the public schools of New Albany, this state, where he was later made principal and so continued for two years. In 1895 he retired from teaching to engage in farming in Lafayette County, Mississippi, and while there residing he was elected county superintendent of education in 1898 for a four- year term.
Appreciation of his worth as a citizen and of his devotion to the public good led to his election to the state legislature in 1904 and after serving for one term as a member of the House of Representatives, he was elected to represent Lafayette County in the state Senate in 1906, followed by reelection. After serving a part of his second term however he resigned to become state president of the Farmers Educational Cooperative Union of America, a national farmers' organization, which position he occupied with great credit to himself and his associates until 1912. He resigned to become president of the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College at Starkville, now the Mississippi State College. He remained at tile head of that institution from 1912 to 1916, during which time he greatly furthered the interests of the college and in moulding the lives of thousands of young men and women of this and other states, helping them to become useful and influential men and women. This is attested by the high scholastic standing accorded the institution in national educational circles. Mr. Hightower made notable contribution to the development of the school and to upholding its principles and its purposes. In 1914, while serving as its president, he inaugurated a department of markets, which was the first of the kind to be established in any similar institution in the United States. The department of business of the college was also inaugurated at the college during Mr. Hightower's administration as president and is now one of the most important departments of the institution. He was also instrumental in beautifying the college campus and planting the water oaks and elms, which are today the wonder and admiration of all who behold them.
While Mr. Hightower was a member of the state legislature he was the active spirit in having a state department of agriculture created and in securing the passage of a bill reducing the legal rate of interest from ten to eight per cent per annum. Another public office which Mr. Hightower occupied and in which he discharged his duties in a most creditable and beneficial manner was that of state tax commissioner, to which he was appointed in January, 1924, by Governor H. L. Whitfield, soon after his induction into office. Mr. Hightower served under Governor Whitfield's administration and also under Governor Murphree, who became chief executive Of the state upon the death of Governor Whitfield March 18, 1927.
During the time when he was president of the Farmers Union of Mississippi, He devoted his time almost exclusively to the work of promoting the organization and as the result of his unceasing efforts, energy and tact the Mississippi Union became one of the strongest in the national organization. The Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union had as its chief objectives the promotion of farm welfare and cooperative buying and marketing. There was both a state and national organization and under the guidance of Mr. Hightower the state organization became one of the strongest organizations among farmers in the entire country. The work of Mr. Hightower in its promotion commanded such wide recognition among its officers and also from government officials that in 1908 he was appointed a delegate to the International Cotton Conference held in Barcelona, Spain, which he attended in company with Harvey Jordan of Georgia, representative of the National Cotton Association of the United States and James H. Brooks, who represented the United States Department of State. Mr. Hightower was one of the leading delegates at the conference and took a prominent part in its debates, deliberations and recommendations. He is a man of clear and sound judgment who never jumps to hasty conclusions, but carefully considers the matters under discussion and reaches decisions which are usually correct. However, when once he reaches a conclusion he always as the strength of character to act upon it. His strongly marked qualities, as outlined in this review, have naturally made him a leader in educational and business circles, in civic affairs, in statesmanship and in politics, so that men in all walks of life look to him for counsel and direction, while men prominent in state and national affairs have sought and profited by his opinions.
After many years devoted to public service, Mr. Hightower became identified with plantation interests in his own behalf and is now engaged in the cultivation of more than 3,000 acres of land, specializing in raising long staple cotton, in which he is very successful. He is also largely interested in the breeding of pedigree horses and cattle and has some of the finest stock in the state.
On the eleventh of February, 1892, Mr. Hightower was married to Pearl Bishop, a daughter of M. P. Bishop, a wealthy and prominent planter of Abbeville, Mississippi. They are the parents of three sons. George Bishop Hightower, the eldest, born April 1, 1893, married Meta Perkins, daughter of John Perkins, a leading merchant of Starkville, and they now have one daughter, Meta Hightower, 17 years of age, who is now a student at Mississippi State College, of which her grandfather was formerly president. George B. Hightower is a graduate of Mississippi State College and also a graduate of the law department of the University of Mississippi and is now engaged in the oil business at Jackson. Lynwood, the second son, born June 25, 1905, is now his father's partner in the operation of the home plantation and in the breeding of fine stock. He married Mary Edgecombe, of New Orleans, Louisiana, and they are the parents of two sons, Marion and Lynwood, aged five and three years. Dr. Robert Beall Hightower, born August 14, 1907, is assistant health director of the District of Columbia located in Washington, D. C. He is a graduate of Jefferson Military College of Washington, Mississippi, of Mississippi State College at Starkville, and of the University of Virginia, where he pursued his medical studies.
Mr. Hightower is an active member of the Jefferson Street Methodist Church of Natchez and also belongs to Harmony Lodge, No. 7, F. & A. M. of Natchez, and to the Woodmen of the World. He takes an active part in both county and state affairs and thus continues his work of promoting public progress, in which he has been so long engaged. He has given his service to the people conscientiously, graciously and helpfully and without fear or favor and there is perhaps no man in the state who has rendered more practical or beneficial aid to his fellowmen, whom he has inspired with much of his own zeal and enthusiasm and in whom he has awakened higher ideals. As one of Mississippi's representative men his name should be among the foremost.
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