Finding Your Folks: The Tidwells and Westmorelands

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

There were several marriages between the Tidwell and Westmoreland families but we’ll only discuss one this week; the marriage of William de Graffenried Tidwell to Angelina Westmoreland. 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. William de Graffenried Tidwell was Mrs. McCall’s grandfather.

I have supplemented Mrs. McCall’s information with some from my own research. These Tidwells also married into to my Boyds.

William de Graffenried Tidwell was born 22 Sept. 1818 in Putnam County, Ga., the son of William Tidwell and Mary Amelia Jones. He had eight brothers and sisters: Benjamin (also seen as Benajah), Amelia (Milly), John J., Mark, Grace, Julia, Pleasant Madden and Littleberry.

For those of you descended from James and Milly Boyd of the Bethany community, this information involves your cousins since William was Milly Tidwell Boyd’s brother.

William’s boyhood was spent on a large plantation owned by his father in Meriwether County and his education was obtained at the “old field” school. Land records from Meriwether show William Tidwell Sr. purchasing several hundred acres of land in the Upper Ninth district of Meriwether not far from Mt. Carmel Methodist Church. This land today lies roughly along Sullivan Mill Road, extends into what is now Coweta County, and abuts both Line Creek and the Flint River.

When William (Jr.) was 18, he volunteered during the Creek Indian War of 1836 and was a member of the cavalry under Capt. Gilbert D. Greer and Col. Julius Alford. Two years later, on Nov. 22, 1838, he married Angelina Westmoreland (Mrs. McCall says in Coweta County but there is no record in the book). Angelina was the daughter of Reuben Westmoreland and Keziah Simmons and the granddaughter of Joseph and Martha Shores Westmoreland and John Simmons and his second wife, Rebecca, maiden name unknown.

Keziah Simmons Westmoreland’s story is interesting in itself. Orphaned at the age of 16, she traveled to Mississippi with her guardian where she met and married (as his second wife) Reuben Westmoreland. After their marriage, they traveled back through Mississippi and Alabama, through Baldwin, Jasper and Fayette counties in Georgia, eventually settling in Coweta County near County Line Christian Church, which, of course, was near where the Tidwells lived.

After her husband’s death in 1845, Keziah made her home first with her son, and later with her daughter, Angelina Westmoreland Tidwell in Atlanta.

In their early married years, however, William and Angelina Tidwell did not live in Atlanta, but settled on a 1,500-acre plantation in Meriwether and Coweta counties. In 1850, William purchased a larger plantation in Campbell County (now South Fulton) and moved there with his wife and only son, Reuben William Tidwell, born 30 Dec. 1840 on Line Creek in Coweta County, near the Meriwether County line.

When the Civil War broke out, William de Graffenried Tidwell volunteered, serving with the Campbell County Home Guards. Later he was promoted to lieutenant with Co. D, Georgia State Troops, and was engaged in the Battle of Atlanta. William’s home was burned during that battle and his wife and mother-in-law fled to Woolsey where they remained until after the war. William’s only son, Reuben William Tidwell, also served in the Confederacy.

With his plantation destroyed, William accepted life on a smaller scale and moved to a smaller plantation in DeKalb County, struggling through the Reconstruction period. The plantation was called “Poplar Grove,” and was located on Briarcliff Road in what is now Druid Hills.

William de G. Tidwell died at his home 15 June 1872 and was buried in the family burying ground at Poplar Grove. His obituary noted, “ ... Although reared in the most troublesome times, with meager educational advantages, living as he did on the very frontier of Georgia, his nobility of character, strong common sense, and spotless integrity, combined to secure for him the confidence and respect of all ...”

William’s wife, Angelina Westmoreland Tidwell, died at the home of her son in Atlanta, Feb. 16, 1885, She, also, was buried in the family burial ground at Poplar Grove.

Their only child, Reuben William Tidwell, married Elizabeth Augusta Judson in 1868 and lived on his parents plantation for a time, later moving with his wife to Atlanta. After the death of his father in 1872, Reuben used the plantation, Poplar Grove, as his summer home.

In 1924, Poplar Grove was sold and the remains of William de Graffenried and Angelina Westmoreland Tidwell were reinterred in the Tidwell lot, Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta.

Reuben Tidwell and his wife, Elizabeth Augusta Jordan, had seven children: Lilien Reube, Ettie Augusta (author of the book), William de Graffenried, Charles Reuben, Albert L., Minnie Avis, and Reuben Frank Tidwell. I would be willing to bet that much of this story is firsthand from Mrs. McCall’s grandmother.

Next week we’ll learn more details about the Westmoreland family’s ancestry.

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!

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