Albert B Osborne.

Makers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) online

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Cumberland County. In Salisbury District, Rowan County,
there was a Nathan Morgan, head of a household of seven, and in
Halifax District, Franklin County, was another Nathan Morgan,
head of a household of five.


As stated before, Jesse Morgan, son of William Morgan, an
ancestor of Lina Morgan, was an emigrant from England to
Virginia, who later removed to North Carolina, where he settled
in Elevation Township, in Johnston County, and married. He
had a son, Nathan Morgan, who was born, reared, married, died
and left a family in Elevation Township. One of Nathan Mor-
gan's brothers removed to Alabama, w r here he founded a family,
another removed to Kentucky. John Tyler Morgan, who was
United States Senator from Alabama for many years, was a de-
scendant of one of those brothers. He was a man of magnificent
attainments. Nathan's son, John L. Morgan, represented the
third generation of Morgans in Elevation Township, where he
combined the callings of farmer and merchant. He married Miss
Mary Willie Barber, whose great-grandfather, Ply Barber, had
come, with his wife, from Roanoke, Virginia, and established
their home in or near Elevation Township. Their son, Burwell
Barber, had a son, James, who married Edith Avery, and they
lived near Clayton, North Carolina, where their daughter, Mary
W T illie, who became the wife of John L. Morgan and the mother
of Lina Morgan, was born.

Miss Lina Morgan, representing the fourth generation of
Morgans to reside in Elevation Township, was born near the town
of Benson, in 1872. She had a brother, J. D. Morgan, who later
served as registrar of deeds in Johnston County for four years.

After completing the course of study at the elementary
schools of her home neighborhood, Lina entered the Turlington
High School in Smithfield, North Carolina, where she spent some
years, doing creditable work as a student. Soon after the com-
pletion of her course of study at this institution, she began to
make preparations for her marriage, at which time she was just
twenty years of age.

Her home w r as blessed with two fine sons, Paul Daniel John-
son, Johnie Aulsey Johnson, and a little daughter, Pearl Vestal
who died young. On September 28, 1904, while still in the prime
of her womanhood, Lina Morgan Johnson, followed her little

Miss Georgia Anna Denning, who became the second wife of
Cauin Timothy Johnson, belongs to a family which has an inter-
esting history. It seems probable that the name, Denning, had a
French origin, for in the year 1601, "Dening," is on record as a
family name in England, and is found there to-day in the family
of the late Lieutenant-General Sir Lewis Denning, K.C.B.;
D.S.O. ; L.A., one time Colonel of the Twenty-sixth Punjabs, at
Maymyo, Burma.

The earliest information obtainable about the Dennings in
America is that Nicholas Denning, a resident of Gloucester, was


married in 1697, and in 1708 George Denning of the same place
was married. Both of these men left families.

In the year 1791, George and Simeon Denning, brothers, came
from Salem, Massachusetts, to what is now Mechanic Falls, in
the State of Maine, obtained lots favorably situated on a hill, and
founded families which are still represented in that section.
George married Elenel Rollins, by whom he had twelve children,
while the children of Simeon, who married Rebecca Chickering,
numbered eleven. Descendants of these two pioneers have taken
a prominent part in the affairs of the town ; one of these is J. K.
Denning, a member of the School Committee, and a Selectman.

Under a granite monument in the Presbyterian Cemetery at
Newville, Pennsylvania, lie the remains of "William Denning, the
soldier-artificer of the Revolution." He resided in Chester County
at the beginning of the Revolution, enlisted in a company, of
which he was made Second Lieutenant, was with Washington at
Trenton and Princeton, and of his experiences he could tell
graphic tales. By reason of his mechanical talent, especially in
making articles from iron, he was placed in command of a com-
pany of artificers in Philadelphia, whose work it was to make
bayonets, gun barrels and cannon for the American troops. It is
said that William Denning made the only successful attempt
to manufacture wrought iron cannon that had ever been made
up to that time. He himself related that while making a twelve-
pounder, he had to desist, as the heat was so great that the lead
buttons were melted from his coat. He died at the age of ninety-
four in 1830, and on November 6, 1890, the State of Pennsylvania
erected a monument to his memory. James Denning, his son,
was a soldier in the War of 1812, and died two years after his

Another William Denning, who was a contemporary of the
patriotic blacksmith, was born in 1740. He was a native of
Devonshire, England, or of St. John's, Newfoundland. He was
very young when he came to New York. At the age of twenty-
five, he married, having already acquired a business of his own.
His wife was Sarah Hawkshurst, daughter of his former em-
ployer. He early espoused the cause of the Colonies, and was
elected member of the Committee of One Hundred, whose work
was to organize and prepare for the war with England. He was
one of the fifteen prominent men authorized by the New York
Provisional Congress to sign the bills which were necessary to be
issued to the amount of one hundred twelve thousand, five hun-
dred dollars to meet the expenses of the campaign. He enlisted
in, and was appointed a Lieutenant of, a New York military
organization; was a member of New York Provisional Congress
in 1776, and later a member of the New York State Convention.
His genius for finance was such that he was twice a member of a


Commission dealing with flic accounts of the Treasury, the first
Commission serving just prior to the taking up of this work by
Robert Morris, and the second, after Morris had found it neces-
sary to lay asido the work. At William Denning's beautiful
country place of Salisbury, in Orange County, General Washing-
ton and other prominent men were frequent visitors. Of the six-
children of William and Sarah (Hawkshurt) Denning, two
daughters, and a son, William, lived to maturity and married.
Denning's second wife was Mrs. Amy Mclntosh, sister of his first
wife, and by her he had two daughters, and a son who died at the
age of twenty-one.

Other Dennings have been prominent in various spheres of
activity. One is Margaret B. Denning, the author of a delightful
and instructive book, "Mosaics from India." Another eminent
member of this family was William Frederick Denning, F.R.A.S.,
once President of the Liverpool Astronomical Society, who has
written much on telescopes, planetary observations, and kindred
subjects for scientific serials, and who is the author of an inter-
esting and popular work, "Telescopic Work for Starlight Even-
ings." Another Mr. Denning, an American, is an authority on
high-class woodwork, including marquetry and fretwork, and
its care and necessary treatment.

Prior to Revolutionary days, the Dennings had become estab-
lished in North Carolina; four individuals of the name, Ensign
Denning, James Denning, Stephen Denning, and William Den-
ning are alluded to in early State records. A member of a Den-
ning family, w^ho had removed from England to Ireland, George
Denning, left the latter country for America, some time during
the eighteenth century, and became a resident of Wayne County,
North Carolina, wJiere he married and continued to live during
his lifetime, and where his son, Joel Denning, the great-grand-
father of Miss Georgia Anna Denning, was born. Joel Denning
combined his father's name with that of the father of his coun-
try in his son's name.

George Washington Denning married Mary Winiford
Woodard, whose family was then represented by many branches
in North Carolina, and whose father was Jesse Woodard, who
had been born and reared near Goshen Swamp, in Duplin County.
Jesse Woodard's wife, and the mother of Mary Winiford Wood-
ard, was Ridley Ryals, whose father w^as Richard Ryals, and
whose mother had been Miss Millie Baggett. It is known that at
least two North Carolina Baggetts served in the Continental
Army during the Revolution, Drew Baggett, and Drury Baggett.

The great-grandson of Rich and Millie ( Baggett /Ryals, and
son of George Washington Denning and Mary Winiford Wood-
ard, David Bryant Denning by name, married Miss Ocea Anna
Neighbors, and w^as a farmer in Johnston County, near Benson.


Here, on September 17, 1880, their daughter, Georgia Anna Den-
ning was born. Her early education was received in the schools
of her home neighborhood, and under the guidance of capable
teachers and the loving care of devoted parents who filled the
home life with refining and elevating influences, she reached her
'teens. Her parents desired that their daughter's education
should be continued at a first-class boarding school, and she was
sent to such a school in the town of Benson, and later attended
one in Srnithfield, North Carolina. She successfully completed
her course of study and returned home.

On September 6, 1905, at Benson, North Carolina, Georgia
Anna Denning became the bride of Cauin Timothy Johnson. Be-
sides being a kind and capable mother to her step-sons, Paul
Daniel and Johnnie Ausley, now grown to young manhood, she
has been blessed with five sons of her own : Cauin Timothy John-
son, Junior, Kenneth Denning Johnson, William Russell John-
son, David Linwood Johnson and Raymond Kendall Johnson. To
the care and training of these splendid promising boys, Mrs. John-
son is devoting herself, and is living an honored, useful and very
happy life with her husband Cauin Timothy Johnson in their
beautiful and spacious new home "Elmholm," which was com-
pleted in the spring of 1912.


Ailie foot of Lookout Mountain where ilic shimmering Ten-
nessee coils iiito picturesque Moccasin Bend, to again
stretch its length across the States, nestles the growing
city of Chattanooga, and on the slope of the far-famed
mountain, upon the field of "The Battle Above the Clouds," stands
"Kilmarnock," the home of Lewis Minor Colernan, second.

Mr. Coleman was born May 20, 1861, at the University of
Virginia, where his father was resident professor of Latin. He
is an able lawyer, a man of poise; a genial, dignified gentleman,
who is discharging his duties in the Nation's Department of Jus-
tice, honorably and well.

He is senior member of the law firm of Coleman and Frier-
son, and was prominent in bringing about the reforms in the
criminal cost svstem in Tennessee. He was chairman of the


Board of Excise Commissioners in Chattanooga which segregated
and controlled the liquor traffic from 1907 to 1909. The experi-
ence with the liquor traffic made him a total abstainer and a
pronounced prohibitionist.

Mr. Coleman received his elementary training in Jacquelin
Ambler's "Clifton School," Fauquier County, Virginia. From
thence he went to Hanover Academy in 1874. This school had
been founded by his father, Lewis M. Coleman. Following his
course at Hanover, he went, in 1878, to the University of Vir-
ginia, where he received the degree of Master of Arts in 1882. He
returned to the University in 1885 to study law under the direc-
tion of his kinsman, Professor John B. Minor, receiving the
Bachelor of Laws degree in June 1886 ; and in August of the same
year he began the practice of law in Chattanooga. In the interim
between his graduation and his law course, in company with
Charles W. Kent now professor of English in the University
he opened the Coleman and Kent School, later the University
School, at Charleston, South Carolina.

Mr. Coleman was one of the first directors of the Chatta-
nooga public library. He is a director in the Security Bank and
Trust Company, the Title Guaranty and Trust Company, the
Chattanooga Abstract Company and also, in various commercial
enterprises of high standing, such as the Frictionless Metal Com-
pany. At college he was a member of Sigma Chi, an Eli Banana
(ribbon fraternity), and final President of the Washington Liter-
ary Society. By Virginia Beta Chapter, he was elected an



honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1916. In addition to
State and national bar-membership, he is fraternally an Elk and
a Pythian. His clubs are the Mountain City of Chattanooga,
and the Cumberland Club of Knoxville.

In politics, he is an active Democrat. He was a delegate to
the Baltimore convention in 1912, and a member from Tennessee
to notify Governor Woodrow Wilson of his nomination for the
Presidency. He was appointed District Attorney for the Eastern
District of Tennessee by President Wilson.

On September 7, 1892, Mr. Coleman married Julia Wingate
Boyd, of Portland, Maine. Mrs. Coleman is the daughter of Ma-
jor Charles Harrod Boyd and his wife, Annette Dearborn, the
latter a descendant of General Henry Dearborn, who was Secre-
tary of War under Jefferson. During the Civil War, Major Boyd
was on the staff of General Thomas, "The Kock of Chickamauga."
Mr. and Mrs. Coleman had two sons Lewis Minor Coleman 3 ,
born July 2, 1894, and Charles Boyd Coleman, born August 30,
1904. The younger boy is now at school.

Lewis Minor Coleman 3 was drowned in the Tennessee Kiver
on August 28, 1914. He was in person handsome, in bearing
charming and lovable; a true scholar and artist, and for one of
his years a genealogist of no mean ability. He had graduated in
some classes at the University of Virginia and had commenced the
study of law.

Mr. Coleman was blessed with a mother of broad mind, inde-
fatigable energy, wonderful economy and business ability. Left a
widow while war still darkened the national horizon, she reared
and educated three children, at the same time preserving undimin-
ished her modest patrimony and the estate of her husband. She
made a small but delightful home for her children at a Sunnv

* ' e-

Side," near Markham, Virginia, where each summer, friends and
relatives gathered and enjoyed her hospitality.

Lewis Minor Coleman, Mr. Coleman's father, born February
3, 1827, was educated at "Concord." At the age of seventeen he
entered the University, and two years later graduated, Master
of Arts, in 1846. He then became assistant to his uncle Fred at
"Concord," where he introduced many needed reforms. "Despite
his loyalty and reverence for his old master and kinsman, he had
seen the faults in the conduct of the school," the celebrated old
academy having been notoriously lax in discipline as measured
by present day academic regulations. On the other hand, a happy
condition of "Concord" of moral and mental co-operation
existed between boys and master which was, on the whole, satis-
factory. "Be a man be a gentleman" was the alpha and omega
of its curriculum. The master, a Spartan in morals, stern and
severe, was equally loved and feared. Yet his severity consisted
not so much in iron rules of behavior, in fact, there were none,


as in whimsical dictates, swli, for instance, as sending "Old Ben."
the negro janitor, to summon the sleepy boys from bed to class-
room on cold winter nights. The familiar cry of "Sophocles, with
your candles, young gentlemen;" sometimes after midnight,
would always bring the youngsters tumbling out of bed directly.
When "Concord" was closed in 1849, Professor Lewis M. Colernan
opened Hanover Academy near Richmond. Here he earned the
name of "the Arnold of Virginia," and his school was a most
celebrated one.

He married Mary Ambler Marshall August 2, 1855, at Leeds,
Fauquier County, Virginia. She was a daughter of James Keith
and Claudia Hamilton Marshall (nee Burwell) and was named
for her grandmother, the wife of Chief Justice John Marshall of
the Supreme Court. She was a descendant, through her mother,
Claudia Burwell, of Martha Bacon, sister of Nathaniel Bacon,
"leader of America's first great rebellion, antedating the Revolu-
tion by one hundred years." Robert Carter, John Page and
Thomas Nelson were also her ancestors.

Of this marriage there were three children: Matilda (Maud)
Minor, who died in 1879; Claudia Burwell, who died in Chatta-
nooga in 1914; Lewis Minor Coleman 2 .

In 1859, Lewis Minor Coleman was elected professor of Latin
in the University, but resigned at the opening of the Civil War
to join the Confederate forces. "He w r ent back to his old county
and raised the Hanover artillery, which he humorously dubbed
'The Helltown Howling Horribles,' as many of the battery came
from the neighborhood of that euphoniously named settlement."

His battery was at Manassas, Battle of Seven Pines, and in
the Seven Days' Fight around Richmond. At second Manassas,
he contracted typhoid fever and was invalided home, thus regret-
fully missing Lee's first invasion of Maryland. When he recov-
ered, his command was attached to Stonewall Jackson's corps,
and took part in the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862.
"A few days before the battle, riding with a brother officer to-
wards Port Royal, he said, 'If I am to fall in this war, I prefer
to fall here, for hard by my father lies buried.' As Lieutenant-
Colonel of the First Virginia Artillery, he was in the great artil-
lery duel at Hamilton's Crossing, and was wounded in the leg
by a fragment of shell, another piece of which instantly killed
Randolph Fairfax, his pupil. As he gazed on the beautiful fea-
tures of the young man, lying under the gun he had served so
well, Colonel Coleman said, 'Fairfax looked more like a woman
and acted more like a man than any soldier in the battery.' Colo-
nel Coleman was removed to the home of his sister, Mrs. Mary O.
Schooler, near Guinea's Station, where he died March 21, 1863."

Research uncovers the fact that there was a Coleman in
Virginia as early as 1640. "There is some evidence that the Cole-


maiis came from Essex, England, but absolutely trustworthy his-
tory of the Caroline County, Virginia, Colemans begins with
James Coleman, who married Mary Key of the Maryland family
about 1725 (though this marriage may have occurred in Eng-
land). He settled probably in Essex County, Virginia, whence
the family removed to Caroline County. His children were:
Julius, who died young there is a hill on the Concord farm
named for him ; a son who went South ; a son who settled south
of James River, probably in Pittsylvania ; Colonel Daniel Cole-

"Colonel Daniel Coleman, of the Virginia troops during the
Revolution, was a member of the Virginia Legislature. His home
was at Concord, in Caroline County, near Guinea's Station, and
the old house is still standing. His first wife was Mary Childs,
and their children were: James D., born November 27, 1773;
Thomas Burbage, born January 29, 1780; Harry and Mildred.
There were children by a second wife." The Virginia records
show that in May, 1779, Daniel and Julius Coleman were recom-
mended by the county court of Caroline for commissions as First
and Second Lieutenants, respectively, in Colonel George Madi-
son's batallion.

Thomas Burbage Coleman (son of Daniel) married Elizabeth
Lindsey Coghill. He represented his county for twenty consecu-
tive years in the Virginia Assembly and was a Jeffersonian Demo-
crat of the straitest type.

The children of Thomas and Elizabeth were: At well, who
moved to Texas; Frederick W. Coleman, who was founder of the
celebrated Concord Academy, a Master of Arts of the University
of Virginia in 1835, known as "Old Fred;" Reverend James D.
Coleman, who married Miss DeJarnette; Betty, who married a
Mr. Coleman ; Thomas Burbage Coleman, born February 5, 1803 ;
Virginia M., who married Doctor Whithead; and Judge Richard
Coleman, who married Miss Shepard.

Thomas Burbage Coleman, a young surveyor, on April 27,
1826, married Mary Orrell, daughter of Robert Coleman, of the
Woolfolk-Coleman family of Chantilly, in Hanover County, which
for a centurv and a half has furnished distinguished teachers.

*/ cj

Her mother was Matilda Minor, daughter of Captain Vivian
Minor of Revolutionary fame who married Elizabeth Dick, daugh-
ter of "Parson" Archibald Dick. Captain Minor's company of
minute-men was at Williamsburg, under Colonel Richard John-
son. He was a great-uncle of Professor John B. Minor, and uncle
of Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury.

"Of the union of Thomas Burbage Coleman and Mary Orrell
Coleman came Lewis Minor Coleman 1 , born February 3, 1827, who
was named for his maternal great-uncle, Lewis Minor; Matilda
Minor, who married Edward Watts Morris, of Clazemont, Han-

41- i. i:\vis .M INOI: col, K.M \\

over County; Doctor Robert T. ('olenian, of Richmond, who mar-
ried Mildred Irving, a cousin of America's delight I'nl writer.
Thomas Knrbage ('olcmnii died young and his widow married
Doctor (ieor^e Fleming. Their children were Mary Kli/a Flem-
ing, who niari-ied Samuel Scliooler; Sallie J., who married
Colonel J.eKoy IJronn, Lee's ^rcat ordnance officer; Malcolm N.
Fleming; Doctor < Jeorge W. Fleming and N'ivian Minor Fleming."
Of such sterling stock is Lewis Minor Coleiiian, the "Friend
of Truth and Democracy/' who believes that the best interests of
the State and nation demand honest disinterested participation
by every citizen in public affairs, municipal. State and national.
His daily motto is that of the Minor family of Virginia, of whose
blood he is justly proud : "Spero ut fidelis."



NO man or woman who knows even the merest outline of
the story of the State of Virginia, will ever deny the high
and honorable prominence of the Nelsons of Yorktown.
The story of that house, and of the families with which
it was and is related, would be almost, it may be said, a history
of the Old Dominion.

Thomas Nelson, first of the family in the State, was the son
of Hugh Nelson, of Penrith, County Cumberland, England, and
was born at Penrith, February 20, 1677. He emigrated to Vir-
ginia about 1700. He was the founder of Yorktowu, York
County, Virginia, and built, about 1715, the first brick house in
that town. From the fact that his parents lived in the North
of England, close to the Scottish Border, he was popularly called
"Scotch Tom." He died at Yorktown, October 7, 1745, and his
tombstone in the Episcopal Cemetery at that place is carved with
a Latin inscription, and bears his coat of arms. These arms are
identical with those of Nelson of Yorkshire in England.

"Scotch Tom" Nelson married first, about 1710, Margaret
Reid, and second, about 1721, Fannv Houston, the widow Tucker.

/ / t> /

The Nelsons of Virginia are usually divided by the public into
two branches, these being the descendants of "Scotch Tom" Nel-
son's sons, "President" William Nelson, and "Secretary" Thomas
Nelson. Judge Frank Nelson's immediate line of ancestry springs
from the older son.

William Nelson, of Yorktown, the child of "Scotch Tom"
Nelson and Margaret Reid, his first wife, was born in 1711, and
died November 10, 1772. He was President of His Majesty's
Colonial Council, and President of the Dominion of Virginia.
Bishop Meade, in his "Old Churches and Families of Virginia,"
says that he "was called President Nelson because so often Presi-
dent of the Council, and at one time President of the Colony."
The Nelson House at Yorktown was built about 1740 by Presi-
dent Nelson for his eldest son, then a baby, afterwards Governor
Thomas Nelson, and the father caused the first brick used in the
building to pass through the son's little hands. President Nelson
bequeathed handsome estates to every one of his five boys. His
portrait in three-quarter length, still holds honored place in his
Yorktown home.

President Nelson married, about March, 1738, Elizabeth
Bur-well, only daughter of Nathaniel Burwell, of Gloucester



County, Virginia, and Elizabeth Carter, his wife. The latter was
the second daughter of the well-known Robert, called "King,"
Carter, and his first wife, Judith Armistead.

Thomas Nelson, the eldest son and child of President Nelson,
was born at Yorktown, December 26, 1738. From his fourteenth
year, he was educated in England. He was a desk-mate at Eton,
of Charles James Fox. His portrait, taken at the age of sixteen,
was sent home to Virginia, and copies of it now hang on the
walls of the Richmond State Library, among Virginia Governors,
and on the walls of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, among the
signers of the Declaration of Independence. While on his voyage

Online LibraryAlbert B OsborneMakers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) → online text (page 31 of 48)