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Stephen Hightower

Stephen Hightower was born 3 October, 1777, in Mecklenburg County, VA. He moved to Panola County, Mississippi about 1836. He acquired two sections of land from the Chickasaw Indians for $7,000. Much of the present town of Sardis was built on this land. The Hightower family owns deeds showing that Mr. Hightower donated land for the Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian Churches and the first public school of Sardis.

While living in Giles County, he was a man of manny accomplishments. He built the first mill on Bradshaw Creek(see Hightower News-A Compilation) soon added burr stones for wheat, then the first saw mill. He built a cotton gin, blacksmith shop and distillery.
In 1855 Stephen Hightower and his son John Deveraux built a house (now called "The Oaks" photo on this page) in Sardis which is one of the present day showplaces in the town. Hightower Street in Sardis is about a half mile in length running east off Main Street.

This Hightower story was written about 1930 by Stephen Hightower and was published in "The Panola Story" in 1984.Stephen Hightower (see Stephen Hightower story on page2) was born 3 October, 1777. Stephen Hightower died 31 July 1860.He married Tabitha Baugh 21 July 1808. Tabitha Baugh Hitghtower died in 1832 (Cemetery records record 1852).They were b oth buried in the old family cemetery one mile north of Sardis, MS. The Baugh and Hightower Families came from Mecklenburg, VA to middle Tennessee. The Hightowers moved from Tennessee to Panola County, MS in 1832.

Their family is as follows:James B Hightower (11'291809-7/28/1828) Agnes B. Hightower 10/30/1811-9/22/1831, Sallie Hightower 5/19/1814-12/28/1889; Joshua Hightower 7/9/1816; Stephen A Hightower 7/15/1819; Tabitha A. Hightower 4/23/1822;Martha E. Hightower 2/11/1825-9/9/1845; John Devereux Hightower 8/14/1832-7/31/1899. Agnes married William Butler, Sallike married Henry Laird, Tabitha married William Smith. After the year 1832 the family lived in Sardis and when they died were buried at the old home place one mile north of town. The Hightowers were very religious and were old school blue stocking Presbyterians. My father, John Devereux Hightower, born 8/14/1832 and died 7/31/1899. He was born near Sardis, MS andied there while on a visit in 1899.
My, was considered a very very pretty and accomplished woman. She was very religious and contracted a cold while attending a revival being held by a presbyterian minister. She later died from the effects. She was a graduate of Martin College for Women. She was a musician of talent. My father was a graduate of the University of Virginia. He was a well read man, a Bible student. His liberality was his worst fault, and before he died, had given away a personal fortune.
After I was old enough to remember, we spent quite a good deal of the summers in and around Pulaski, Tennessee. One of my uncles lived on my grandfather's homestead, the home of many fine horses and I think the prettiest place in middle Tennessee.


Martha Almarine Hightower

Most of the stories we find in genealogical research seems to be the stories of Hightower men. But this is a wonderful story of a strong Hightower woman. I found this story doing research in the Mississippi State Archives. It was written by an unnamed granddaughter and portions of the handwritten story were not legible.

John Puckett Hightower got killed by a neighbor in October, 1844 in a dispute over land. Sarah, his wife was distraught so she left her home and came to Mississippi with some of her relatives . She was 65 years old when she left home. They stopped in Randolph County, Alabama to stay a few months with the Hightowers who lived there.

When Grandma, Martha Almarine Hightower, was in her 80's she would tell of her early life. She was born while the Hightower klan were staying in Randolph, about May 13, 1846, she was grandchild of John Pucket and Sarah Elizabeth Hightower*. Her parents were Thomas Hightower and Keziah Anderson. She moved with her family while yet an infant to Houston, Mississippi.
Grandma said they always lived on a farm near Houston and had about 14 slaves of varied sex and ages. She went to a private school run by a preacher during the week. Her main companionn was her sister Frances who was two years older than she. In 1851, when she was only 4 years old, her mother died.
I do not know much of her early life, but when she met Grandpa they were married and lived on a farm near Houston, MS. The next Saturday afternoon after she was married, Grandma was playing cards with some cousins. They had not left for their homes and in uncle came and took the cards away from her. He told her since she was now a married woman she should not play cards any more. Grandma said she never played cards again.
Although Grandma has left no picture of her as a young woman, she must have been very pretty. She had the Hightower brown eyes and brown hair and creamy complexion.
In 1866 times were really hard. Grandma and Grandpa had this farm in Calhoun County, what is called Skuna Bottom, that is the name of the river that runs nearby. Schools were few and far between. Mississippi tried to restore order following the Civil War, but times were very difficult.
Grandma loved flowers In her home at Pontotoc there were lots of hyacinths, daffodills that came out every spring. Once I asked her what her favorite was and she said Hydrangeas. There were a lot of Walnut and Cedar trees in their yard.
Grandma was a good cook. She did all the cooking on her wood stove. When dinner was served, she would sit at the end of the table and serve all and pour the milk and coffee.
On Christmas they always had a big tree in the living room. They would have lots of candles lit on the tree.
While she lived in Pontotoc, Grandma had all her teeth pulled. The dentist came to the house where they gave her chloroform. I visited her a few weeks before she died. She suffered a stroke and in a few days she died. She was a wonderful woman.


John C. Hightower Kidnapped by Indians

It is believed that John C. Hightower was born in the year 1810. Around 1820, when he was ten years old, he was kidnapped by Indians. We do not know what tribe took him or the circumstance in which he was taken, but it seems as though he was taken peacefully or quietly. Perhaps he was out exploring like any young boy. The Indians took him and used him as a slave. It was also common for a tribe to trade their slaves, so our John C. was traded from one tribe to another over the duration of his captivity. In this way he not only learned to speak the language of the tribe that took him, but also the languages and dialects of other tribes.
In 1830 he was with a tribe in the Dakotas or Montana when he and another slave made their escape. They escaped when their hunting party came upon some trappers. The trappers had some liquor and when all bedded down for the night, the two slaves, not bound as tightly as normal, made their escape.
After growing into manhood with Indians, John Carol Hightower looked like an Indian, so when a band of cavalry came upon the two escapees, they shot at them. Somehow John Carol made his way back south to Texas where his family was living.
Unfortunately, after living as an Indian for so many years, John Carol was no longer able to live with the white man. He left his family and never returned or had any communication with them.
The next 24 years of his life and travels is shadowy until he married our great-grandmother Rebecca Norris in Travis County Texas (FT. Worth) in 1854. He was apparently working for the Army because of his skills with the languages and dialects of the Indians, however he does not appear on the lists of U.S. Army Scouts that I have had access to as of yet. In the 1860 Census for Texas, John Carol's occupation was listed as "day laborer."
John and Rebecca had a child in 1858 and they name him George Washington Hightower. He was born in Stephens, TX. They have a second son, William Norris while living in Breckinridge, TX. Their third child was Mary Jane and fourth son was John C.
In 1881, when our subject was 71 years old, he moved his family to the New Mexico Territory where he would live out the remainder of his life. On September 29,1910, the rest of the family gone to El Paso, TX, on covered wagons for supplies, John Carol was on the way to the barn and corral to help his daughter-in-law feed the cattle. He said he didn't feel well and went back to the house. She found him lying on his pallet in front of the fireplace. He had died in the only bed he had ever known, a pallet thrown on the floor, eleven days before his one hundredth birthday.

Elias Hightower of Ray County, Missouri

Elias Hightower pursued animal husbandry to improve his domestic animals on his Ray County Farm, on section 10, township 53. His father, Joseph Hightower, was born in South Carolina in 1808, and was the son of Thomas Hightower, a hero of the War of 1812, who took part in the battle of New Orleans under General Andrew Jackson.

Joseph Hightower removed from his native state to Virginia and when twelve years of age went to East Tennessee, where he grew to manhood, receiving instruction in the common schools of the country. In Tennessee he married Miss Elizabeth Clevenger, daughter of Elias Clevenger, also one of the soldiers of the War of 1812. After a year had passed, he brought his wife to Ray County, Missouri with their child , Nancy, and settled near Missouri City in the river bottoms. After remaining there a short time, he went to Caldwell County, where the Mormons drove him out (see sidebar: The Mormon War on page 11). Joseph returned to Ray County, where he located on a farm about two miles south of Vibbard, soon buying the farm upon which he afterward lived and finally died, it being about six miles south of Vibbard. He was the father of twelve children and a farmer throughout his entire life and was very successful in his work. He was a member of the Batptist Church, being a deacon; his wife was also a member, and co-operated with him in religious work.
Elias was reared in this county and received a common-school education. In the year 1853, he drove an ox-team across the plains to California, requiring three months and twenty days for the journey. Many hardships were encountered, but were successfully resisted and when he reached his destination he engaged in mining with fair success. Returning to Missouri, he married Miss Nancy Ann Wyman, who died within a year. Immediately after he was married he settled upon the place where he now lives, and which has been his continuous residence to date. Hightower was married in 1857 to Miss Mary F. Wyman, the sister of his first wife, and a native of Ray County, MO. Her mother, Christian Wyman, was born in Kentucky, January 12, 1800, and came to Ray County, Missouri about 1842. Hisfather, Hezekiah Wyman, was one of the brave soldiers of the War of 1812. He died in Ray County at the age of 83 years. His beloved wife departed this life when about the same age as her husband. Her maiden name was Maria Rouner, and she was a daughter of Jacob and Nancy (Harden) Rouner, the latter a cousin of old Gov. Harden of Missouri.
Elias was the father of twelve children, one by his first wife and eleven by his second: Nancy Ann, who married Thomas P. Munford, a prominent author; Cornelia J., wife of Oliver Wood; Fanny E., who died when 12 years old; William A. who died at the age of 8 months; Colonia, who died at the age of 6 months; Robert E., married and living near Vibbard; Lizzie, wife of Joseph C. Hill, residing in Ray County; Harriet, wife of John Cox, living one mile from Elias; Maggie wife of Q.A. Harris, living in Ray County; Lee, married and a resident of Ray County; and Ethel.
The farm belonging to Mr. Hightower consists of two hundred and five acres, and is in a good state of cultivation; upon it the owner is engaged in general farming and stock-raising. He is a member of the Harmony Lodge no 384 F. & A.M., being the Senior Warden. Our subject is a devoted member of the Baptist Church, being faithful to its teachings and an active worker in its behalf. In politics, he is a Democrat, and firmly adheres to the teachings of the party as proclaimed in its platform. He is a member of the Grange and Treasurer of the Farmer's Mutual Benefit Association. To Elias belongs the distinction of being one of the oldest settlers of Ray County now residing within its boundaries.

Battle of Hightower Town

More than 40 years prior to the "Trail of Tears', and the founding of Rome, GA, north western Georgia was Cherokee and Creek Indian Territory. Among the principal Cherokee towns were Ustanali(near present day Resaca, GA), Chatuga(today's Summerville, GA), and Hightower(Rome, GA).

In September, 1793, elements of the Cherokee force under the leadership of the King Fisher arrived at Cavett's Station, a small settlement just a few miles from Knoxville. The residents' three men and eleven women and children were garrisoned in a blockhouse(a small sturdy fort like building designed especially to withstand Indian attacks). The small force held off the raiders for several hours, during which Alexander Cavett and five Cherokees were killed. Given assurance by the Indians that they would be released unharmed, the defenders in the blockhouse eventually surrendered. As they emerged from their protective enclosure, however, and laid down their arms, the enraged Indians killed all but one.
Word of the deaths spread quickly. Revolutionary War hero John Sevier organized an army of 800 volunteers and set out in hot pursuit of the raiding Indians.
A letter written by Sevier describing the situation:
"We made some Cherokee prisoners, who informed us that John Watts headed the army lately out on our frontiers...that the same was composed of Indians, more or less from every town in the Cherokee nation, and had made for a town at the mouth of the Hightower River."
An interesting aside here is the origin of the name "Hightower." Examples of the interactive usage of these words include the Etowah River which is still referred to by some old-timers as the Hightower River, and the northwest area of Lumpkin County known as the "Hightower District," where the Etowah rises. The names are also cross-identified in numerous other spots, such as the Hightower Trail, a former Indian route to the Etowah River.
It was at the Indian town of Hightower at the mouth of the Etowah River that the Tennesseans finally caught the Indian raiders on a fateful autumn day. During the skirmish, the King Fisher attempted to rally his men, but was shot and killed.
After the battle, the Tennesseans pursued the Cherokees and, somewhere west of the forks, crossed the Coosa River. Sevier describes the chase in his report:
"We crossed the main Coosa where they had thrown up some breast works and evacuated. We proceeded on our way down the main river near Turnip Mountain, destroying in our way several Creek and Cherokee towns, which they had settled together on each side of the river and from which they have all fled with apparent precipitation, leaving almost everything behind. We destroyed near three hundred settlements."
The Tennesseans, satisfied that they had eliminated the Chrokee and Creek threat, began their long march home, where Sevier resumed his political career.

Louisianna Hightowers

The way I found the Richard Whites of Ruston, Louisianna is a story in itself. Last summer while doing research in Ray County, Missouri, I found a letter in a local genealogy library. The letter was from a Mary Hightower White, Box 846, Ringgold, LA.and dated, 1988. The letter inquired about a number of Hightower relatives of Ms. White. Knowing that I was going to visit Louisianna the following spring, I filed the address. And on the way to New Orleans a few weeks ago, I stopped by Ringgold, LA, population 400 or so and tried to find Ms. White. I knew she might have passed away because the letter had been sent fifteen years ago. But I got a Ringgold phone book, parked in the local Dollar Store parking lot and started dialing all the "Whites" from the book on my cell phone. I knew this wasn't going to be easy, since there was no "Mary White." I finally dialed a lady who knew a Mary White who had died. She said Mary's husband was also dead, but a son, Richard White lived in Ruston and worked at the local Walmart as a Pharmacist. I had been to that very Walmart earlier in the day, I drove there and checked with the pharmacy. Mr. White was off for the weekend, but the relief pharmacist gave me his address. I called and said, was your mom, Mary Hightower White, and bingo, there was our Hightower descendent! And Richard White is the nicest man you could ever want to meet. He and his lovely wife shared lots of genealogy data with me, including the wonderful photo of his great grandad(page 129)Richard R. Hightower, Tax assessor of Lincoln Parish and the page from an old family Bible. One of the greatest things about doing genealogical research in addition to finding our dead relatives, is finding our terrific live ones! Richard is still sifting through his mom's genealogy files and says he will share his future findings with The Hightower News.




I hope you enjoy The Hightower News Online

Paul H.

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