Finding Your Folks: The Tidwell brothers of Georgia

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

Last week we left off with the children of William Tidwell who married Mary Amelia Jones and came to the Coweta-Meriwether area. This week we’ll discuss his brother, Benjamin, from whom he was never separated after the two were orphaned in 1783. Much of the information on this family is taken from the book, “McCall-Tidwell and Allied Families” written by Ettie Tidwell McCall of Atlanta in 1931. Some is from my own research.

Before I tell you about Benjamin’s family, I have to interject information I received some time ago in a personal e-mail from J. Bell regarding another possible child of William and Amelia, Bathsheba Jane Tidwell. I have never seen this child attached to this family in anyone’s research, and neither had the author of the e-mail. But, according to her mother’s research, including correspondence with the de Graffenrieds in Switzerland, Bathsheba was William and Amelia’s daughter. She was born in 1812 in Chester Co., S.C. and married James Jameson in 1831. The couple lived for a while in Twiggs County and moved to Columbia Co., Fla. in the mid-1800s. They both died there and are buried in the Old Elim Cemetery.

These are the facts as they were given to me, but I have no idea if they are accurate or if Bathsheba was actually the daughter of William and Amelia Tidwell.

If any of you have any information regarding Bathsheba Jane Tidwell, please let me know. After researching the Tidwells a little for myself (they do connect to my family, you know), I found several other Tidwells in Putnam County in addition to William and Benjamin, the two orphans.

Now, Back to Benjamin Tidwell’s family.

Benjamin Tidwell was born in 1782 in Chester Co., S.C., as previously stated (some Internet sources say Fairfield County), the second son of William Tidwell and Mary de Graffenried. When his parents died, he and his brother moved with their guardian to Georgia, living first in Greene County, then in Baldwin (now Putnam) County.

In 1805, Benjamin married a girl named Milly (Internet sources say her maiden name was Grimes) and they settled in Putnam County. Benjamin and his brother both are found on the 1813 tax list for Putnam County. The 1820 census is very hard to read, but they are both there.

Although Mrs. McCall says they moved to Coweta, I can find no record of them there, but William is mentioned as being an early settler of the First District in W.U. Anderson’s History of Coweta County.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Coweta County, the First District is in the extreme southeastern corner which borders Meriwether. Some of the towns it encompasses include Haralson and Senoia.

By 1830, both William and Benjamin Tidwell are in Meriwether County, although Mrs. McCall states that Benjamin moved to Coweta in 1836 and resided there until his death in 1838. It could be that the county lines were not clear and
I’m sure there were no signs on the roads as we have today telling us we’re crossing from one county into the other.

Mrs. McCall lists only five children for Benjamin and Milly, but comments that there may have been more. The 1820 Putnam and 1830 Meriwether County censuses show the couple with three boys and two girls but Mrs. McCall lists five boys and no girls. Her names for the children include:

(1) John Tidwell b. abt 1809 in Putnam County, married 25 Aug. 1833 in Meriwether County (Mrs. McCall has Coweta but the marriage appears in Meriwether County records) Mary Brown who was born about 1811. John died in 1844 in Meriwether and Mary died in 1914 in Arkansas. They had seven children: Martha E., b. 1834, married Anderson Connor (or Conner); Benjamin, William, Mary E., Nancy A., Milly J., and Rachel F. Tidwell.

(2) Simeon Tidwell, b. abt 1811, married first Martha Mayo, second Matilda Mayo, and had five children, Shepherd Asbury, William, Sarah, Jeremiah and Rebecca Tidwell.

(3) Uriah Tidwell, b. abt 1813, married Rachel Brown (9 Nov. 1836 in Meriwether) and had eight children, Permelia, Simeon, Julia, Mary, Amanda, James K.P., Wiley A., and John Tidwell. (For those of you who may be new to research, when you see those initials on a man’s name in the 1800s, you can bet dollars to doughnuts they stand for “James Knox Polk,” after the president.)

Other sons of Benjamin and Milly Tidwell listed by Mrs. McCall include Benjamin (Jr.) who married Nancy Boyd (22 Dec 1837 in Meriwether) and William who married Martha Andrews.

Many of these Tidwells may be found in the 1850 census of Meriwether County. Milly (Grimes) Tidwell, age 74, was living with her son, Uriah, in 1850, next door to Mary (Brown) Tidwell, widow of Uriah’s brother John.

All the Tidwell families were living in the same general vicinity as the Boyds who went to Bethany and to Carroll County. I have driven that area so often I can almost picture where they all lived.

Those of you who are related to these Tidwell families are most welcome to write and tell us your family stories.

Next week: The Tidwells and the Westmorelands.

Although time does not permit me to do personal research for others, I welcome all letters and e-mails about genealogy and info on south metro Atlanta families. Send them to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214; E-mail or Any letters and/or e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

Until next week, happy hunting!

login to post comments | Judy Fowler Kilgore's blog