Finding Your Folks: The John W. Hutchinson family

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

I've been sitting here wrestling with myself for the past week, trying to decide which family to do first (of those discussed in last week's article). I fully intended to do the Kempsons but something just didn't "feel" right. I went over the material again and finally realized what it was. I was trying to write about the wrong Benjamin Kempson! What a disaster that would have been! Let me explain.

The Benjamin Kempson alluded to in the newspaper article about the prolific families in the Line Creek area was not the Benjamin Kempson whose two daughters married into the Herndons. After doing a little more research, I discovered that Benjamin (whose daughters married Herndons) moved to Carroll County and died there in 1887. The Benjamin in the newspaper article was still alive, or so it seems, when the article was written in 1907. So, he was a much younger Benjamin.

After going over the Kempson material (and there isn't much out there), I believe I have pinpointed the correct Benjamin and will write about his family later. The delay also will give me a chance to see if I can find any court records on the other Benjamin here before he left for Carroll County.

And so, I have decided to take the families in the order in which they were mentioned and will begin with the Hutchinsons.

Recapping the information in the newspaper article, which reads, "One of the most remarkable families in Coweta County is that of J.W. Hutchinson, a member of the board of Commissioners for Coweta County living in Haralson District.

"Mr. Hutchinson was married just 20 years ago, to Miss Gray, a daughter of
Uncle Hosea Gray whom everyone in the county knew.

"Before Mr. Hutchinson and his wife had been married nineteen years they were the parents of twelve children. There were neither twins nor triplets born to them and the first was a girl, now a beautiful young lady. The next was a boy and then a girl, alternating a girl and boy until the twelfth one a boy which was born some time last year ... "

I found this Hutchinson family in the 1900 Coweta census, Haralson Dist. (the last census before this article was written), household number 16, all born in Georgia: husband, John W., b. Jan. 1861, age 39, married 13 years; wife, Mary F., b. Dec. 1861, age 38, married 13 years; daughter Nellie F., b. Sept. 1887, age 12; son, Homer G., b. June 1889, age 10; son, Arthur G., b. Jan. 1891, age 9; daughter, Annie S., b. Aug. 1892, age 7; son, Alva R., b. Oct. 1893, age 6; daughter, Katie L., b. Feb. 1896, age 4; son, William A., b. Sept. 1897, age 2; and daughter, Mary B., b. June 1899, age 11 months.

That's eight, and four more came along before 1907: Hewlette, b. 1900; Martha, b. 1902; John Wilbon Jr. b. 1904; and Sadie Jacque, b. 1906. (Additional four children's names and birth years from the Coweta County history book, page 282).

John Wilbon (also seen as Welbon) Hutchinson was the first child of Benjamin Hutchinson and Camilla Ann Kelley and the grandson of John Hutchinson and Fairby (Pheriby, Fairiby) Hollon. The history book information adds a "d" to Fairby's name but Hollon is more than likely correct. This family has many Pike County connections in the Hollonville area, including a connection to the Coggin family so prominent in that part of Pike County.

John Hutchinson, the grandfather, came from Newberry County, S.C. to Georgia and settled in the Hollonville area where Benjamin, his son, was born in 1832. This information comes from a newspaper article in the Newnan "Herald and Advertiser" in April 1908, giving a tribute to Benjamin Hutchinson following his death. Benjamin lived in Pike County until 1860 when he sold his farm and bought a farm one mile west of Haralson where he remained the rest of his life. Benjamin was a Master Mason, a member of the Haralson Lodge. He married Camilla Kelley in Fayette County in 1859. They had nine children:

(1) John Wilbon, b. 1861, married Mary (Mollie) Gray in 1886, dau. Of Hosea and Susan Elizabeth Kempson Gray;

(2) Mary Bennie, b. 1862, m. Rufus Luther Hardy in 1889, son of Rufus Wesley Hardy and Lucy Mariah Bailey;

(3) Lee, b. 1866, m. Elizabeth Arnall in 1892;

(4) Arthur, b. abt 1868, m. Annie Callahan in 1901;

(5) Martha (Mattie), b. abt 1870, m. Henry J. Hodnett in 1890;

(6) Lewis Otto, b. 1873, m. Ethel Owen in 1903;

(7) Rufus Ector, b. abt. 1874, m. Lillian Cole in 1904;

(8) James Atticus, b. abt 1876, m. Mary Fox Camp in 1909; and

(9) Andrew, b. aft. 1880, d. 1893.

Camilla died in 1902 and Benjamin died in 1908. Both are buried at Haralson United Methodist Church cemetery.

John Wilbon Hutchinson, son of Benjamin and Camilla, was a Coweta County Commissioner. In "The Coweta Chronicles," it is written: "J. Wilbon Hutchinson served as County Commissioner for about twenty years, being one of those stalwarts who built the courthouse regardless of the fear of the people or favor from them."
His wife, Mollie Gray, was from another prominent family from South Carolina. Mollie's grandfather, Abraham Gray, also migrated to Georgia in the 1820s from the Dutch Fork area near Newberry. Her family members are buried in nearby cemeteries in Meriwether, Coweta and Fayette counties. John and Mollie Gray Hutchinson are also buried at Haralson UMC cemetery.

It would be interesting, sometime in the future, to feature a series of stories of the South Carolina families from Newberry who were responsible for the settlement of our area.

Stories and family histories about your ancestors who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send them to or . Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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