Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stories by William Ephraim Wiygul, as told in 1925

The following is the first of several upcoming serial posts.  The July 2, 1986 edition of the Itawamba County Times contained a collection of stories that were written in 1925 by William Ephraim Wiygul, one of the earliest settlers in Itawamba County, to his grandchildren.  Wiygul's written recollections were transcribed by his great-granddaughter, Joana Y. Swanson, exactly as written by Wiygul.  

Since I found the information written by Wiygul to be very interesting, I'm sharing it with you in hopes that you do too.  I believe that the collection of stories was also printed in an issue of Tombigbee Country magazine a few years ago.

November 11, 1925     Page 1 at High Noone

I am 67 years old today.  I am going to write some things that I have hird my Granfather and Father tell about the first settling of this Country and What they had to contend with.  My Grate Granfather was born in Germany and the onley Child that was borne to his Parents.  Whin he was about 18 years old he run away from his parents and come to America.  He got here about Two years before the Revolutionary ware and Fought under Washington through the ware.  After the ware he come to Tinace (Tennessee) and Married.

I have herd Granpa Say what his Mothers name was I can't remember it.  Granpas Fathers name was Hinry Wiygul.   He settled in Murry (Maury) County and Intered and bought quite a lot of land.  Murry County is now considered of the richest, if not the richest county in the State.  

They had four children born to them.  Three Boys and one Girl - Elbert Wiygul, Alfert Wiygul, and Rubin Wiygul - I don't remember there Sisters name.  He Married and Settled in Murry County about the year 1785 and raised his family.  My Granfather was born in the year 1797 and lived there until 1824.  He left there and came South and settled in old Cotton Gin Fort in Monroe County.  He was a blacksmith by trade and a Gun Maker.  In 1826 he married Miss Nancy Mayfield - a sister to Uncle Ike Mayfield.  I dont remember her Fathers Name.  My Father was born in old Cotton Gin in 1827.

In 1832 Granpa Wiygul Desided he would Move up into the wild woods where Itawamba County Now is.  He got him an ox and a sack of something to eat and started on an ox to Blaising out his road wright up the ridge untill he he to where Alfert Wiygul now lives.   It is now a Public Road with verry few changes.  He went back and got his Familey.   Pa was then five years old.   He had a yoke of stears and a Waggon.  He hitched them to his wagon and Put his household Stuff on it.  He was living in Monroe County.  It was a County thin.  In the early fall of 1832 he started.  There was not any Briges thin.  He soone got out of Monroe County into the wilderness where no one lived but Indians.  He got to the end of his road and settled about three Hundred Yards east of where my Father lived and died.  Bro. Ike Wiygul lives there now.   He lived there in an Indian hut about two yeares.  He thin built him a house out of logs where Alfert Wiygul Now lives.  

In a few years after Granpa settled in Itawamba Uncle Ruben Wiygul Moved and Settled where Fulton now is.  Judge Boland, in a short while after Granpa settled in Itawambe, settled about Three miles east of Granpa.   Granpa was the first white Man that settled in Itawambe.  Whin Granpa settled there was no one lived in the County but Indians.  Itawamba was the name of an Indian Chief.  This County was Created Feb. 9th, 1836.  Fulton was Made the County Seat.  Granpa Bought some lands from the Indians and he had to go to Pontatoc to fix his dead and have it put on the record.

[End of Part One - to be continued]

MY NOTES:  Tennessee was not organized as a state until 1790 when North Carolina ceded its western territory, and Maury County was not formally organized until 1807 when it was created out of lands previously belonging to Williamson and Davidson counties.   However, there were white settlers in these areas well before official organization took place.  A marriage record, dated September 9, 1796, for Henry "Wegle" and Rutha Logue exists in early record books of Davidson County, Tennessee.    Although Henry and Rutha both died in Tennessee - Henry between 1820 and 1840, Rutha in September 1860 - their sons "Alfert" and "Rubin" moved south into Mississippi.  Elbert lived most of his life in Benton County, Tennessee.

William Ephraim Wiygul, the author of the above history, was the grandson of Joseph Alfred Wiygul, or "Alfert" as he is called.  Alfred married Nancy A. Mayfield, daughter of Austin Benjamin Mayfield and Susannah Henderson, and it is this couple that moved from Cotton Gin Port in Monroe County to the area that became known as the Carolina community of Itawamba County.  Alfred's brother, Reuben, moved from Cotton Gin Port to the emerging town of Fulton.

William Ephraim Wiygul's father was Ephraim Henderson Wiiygul, who married Elizabeth "Betsy" Conwill on July 3, 1851 in Itawamba County.  

Judge Boland referenced by Wiygul was William G. Boland who in 1841 established one of the earliest post offices in the county, called Boland's, in today's Carolina community near the Conwill-Goodwin Cemetery.  Around 1900, the post office was kept in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Wiygul near Wiygul's Cemetery. 

Alfred and Reuben both had large families, and in turn their sons and daughters had large families --  many Itawambians today are descended from these men.  By now, you've probably figured out that Wiygul's Cemetery in the Carolina community was named for this early family of settlers.  

Part Two - click here
Part Three - click here
Part Four (conclusion) - click here

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