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Polk County Heritage
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Article Author: By Marian Bailey Presswood Polk County Historian
Some Stewarts, Johnsons, and Christians
Some Stewarts, Johnsons, and Christians

By Marian Bailey Presswood
Polk County Historian
 
(continued from last week)

Besides George and Mamie there was Jack, Grady, Mary Ruth, Bobbie Sue, George O., Parnick, Fred, and grandson, Melvin (all Stewarts), and Fannie, Charles, Ruby Anne and Roy Campbell. (Fannie and J. D. later had four more children, Betty, Daphne, Bud and Linda.)  George and Mamie Stewart actually had at least four more older children who were married and living nearby, Betty (Brackett), Hayes, Irene (Lanning) and Evelyn (Wright). When George Otis died 15th March 1967 his obituary said he was survived by six sons and six daughters.
  Another surprise (to me) in the Stewart family was that George O.’s mother was Mary ‘Mollie’ Christian, daughter of Joseph Edmund Christian and Minerva Boyd - and are those historic old Polk families! Minerva was the daughter of Thomas Boyd and Mary Hunt from over in Greenville and Pickens, South Carolina. And I knew a little about the Christians, and that my good friend Margie Gilliland was a great granddaughter of Richard, ‘Pappy Dick’ Christian through his son William and Almira Evans Christian. According to an interesting article in our Heritage book written by Jim Christian, Edmund and Richard were two little Cherokee Indian boys said to have been picked up by Jacob Lake McClary down in Charleston, South Carolina and brought back to Polk County. It seems that their mother had been taken away on the ‘round-up’ that preceded the Trail of Tears and somehow the young boys were left behind - whether by accident or design, I don’t know. The informant for Richard’s death certificate says their parents were Robert Christian and Margaret Baxter.  I wonder if Ed or Richard ever heard from their mother again? No one seems to know for sure what happened to Edmund, but think that he may have been killed in 1865 after being captured by Union forces during the Civil War. He and Minerva had about six children, Jeff, Mollie, Robert Spencer, Joseph, Napoleon and Mack, and were here in Polk County in 1860.  
   By the way, speaking of Miss Margie Gilliland, I want to wish her a belated Happy 100th Birthday she just celebrated Thursday the 21st of this month. She is still such an active, alert, and absolutely delightful lady to talk with, and has helped me so much with different families over the years. I wish her a hundred more!
   Just to wrap up what I’ve found about the Stewart lineage, Fannie’s great grandfather Newton Stewart was married to Charlotte Ann McSpadden, daughter of Samuel and Eliza Butcher McSpadden, buried in Red Hill Cemetery over in Bradley County.  And I forgot to say that Fannie’s grandfather, Joseph Johnson, born 24 June 1847 (died 29 January 1915) and was the son of Daniel Johnson and Margaret Brannon. A final note of interest is that Fannie’s great granddaughter, Burgundy Payne, was the valedictorian for the Class of 2013 at Polk County High - wouldn’t Fannie be proud?  
   So, see what all I can learn by a bit of digging around in our records. With as many families as I research I probably won’t remember it until tomorrow, but it was fun learning today. I hope some of you can also relate to the story about the preacher telling a little elderly lady that she might ought to be thinking about the ‘Hereafter’, to which she replied, “Law, Preacher, I do that every day.  I go in the kitchen and think, “Now what am I here after” Or I go in the bedroom and wonder what I’m here after. Why, I think of the Hereafter all the time!”  (Me, too!) Just don’t forget to “Preserve YOUR Heritage!”

Note: Thanks so much to Betty Campbell Beard for sharing the pictures of her family and the one of Ode and Mamie. I think I called half of Polk County trying to find one of Ode’s family with no luck. If any of you have Stewart related pictures you would be willing to share for our files please do contact me. (423-338-4506 Historian’s office.)

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