CORPORAL JOHN COLUMBUS DEASON
BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
(b. Jan. 3, 1836 – d. Apr 7, 1899)
Butler and Bibb county, Alabama
“John C. Deason was the son of Wiley and Nancy (Caudle) Deason, who moved from South Carolina to Butler County, Alabama before 1830. Around 1891, Deason wrote a brief sketch of his life which reveals that, for the small farmer and his family, life was tough before, during and after the war.
For this and other reason, the entire sketch is quoted. He omitted to mention that he was promoted on November 1, 1864, from 3rd Corporal to 5th Sergeant. His brother, James W. Deason, served as a private in Company B, 44th Alabama.
(This information was written on the back of an 1891 Mt. Zion Church bulletin, and was found in the home of John Coleman Deason. John Columbus Deason was a Clerk in the church.)
“I was born in Butler, Alabama Jan. 3, 1836. When I was about six weeks old, my parents moved to Bibb County. Staying in Bibb County one year and becoming dissatisfied, moved back to Butler. Then about the year 1843 or 44 they moved back to Bibb County, where I was reared to manhood and where I am at this present time.
My father and mother had nine children born unto them, three boys and six girls. Two of my brothers and two of my sisters have gone to their Eternal Home. My parents and my oldest sister joined the Old School Baptist Church at Old Sweetwater in Butler County. Before I can recollect after moving to Bibb County, they joined the Auxiliary Baptist at Haysop Church but they never was satisfied with them. So you can see I was raised up by strict disciplinarian Baptist parents. In my early boyhood, I was very feeble, puny, pale and bloated. Not able to do but little labor. My brothers and sisters called me “dirt eater” and which I denied and yet. do. My dear old Mama spared no puny kin.
Compounding roots and other stuff to recover me from my bloated condition, such as sweet bay root, snake roots, coppers, pills and many, many other things. Units of which I would take almost as same as my daily bread. About the time I reached the age of 18 or 19, I reckon I outgrew it and became real and hardy, tuff as a knot, but small and still so. After I came to be hardy, I loved to visit places of amusement and gay company, rowdy associates were my delight. I attended all sorts of so-called religious meetings, I also took great delight in a debating society and at times it was hard to clean up.
After I was of age, I was with father, then I set in with G. Howard to make a crop. In March, we had a ruckus and I left him and went to one of my cousins and lived with him. In fall I taught a little school near my Father’s. In my 25th year I lived with Mr. Simeon C. Brown but my mind changed. He had a foolish girl about 17 years old by the name of Louisa. On the 20th day of January, me and her married. I rented land from my wife’s father to make crop. We worked hard that year and made a nice little crop. In the fall of the same year, we joined the Missionary Baptist Church at New Macedonia baptized by Elder Isaac Hagler. The same day my wife’s father gave us a little track of land and moved to it and commenced improving the same to make a crop, but alas our living together was about ended. The war was raging, call after call was being made for volunteers, I soon saw that I would have to go – then it seemed to draw the tick of nature of closer; on the 13th of February 1862, our oldest daughter was born.
Then in place of one I must leave two. In March of the same year I bid my wife and child farewell and went to Selma, Alabama in camp of instructions. While there I took measles and almost died out. Got some better, then my wife’s father came after me and brought me home in quite a feeble health. I remained at home until I was well. Then I bid a worser farewell than before to my wife and child. My baby was very sick; I never expected to see her again. I went to the army at Richmond, Virginia. Our regiment was engaged in all principles of battles and sieges that was fought in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Also, the great Battle of Chickamauga and then back to Virginia in time for the Battle of Wilderness. Then we fell back to the cities of Richmond and Petersburg and while there about the first of January, 1865, I got a furlough of 30 days to go home to see my wife and child. When I got home, I found them well, but my wife’s father was dead. I stayed at home awhile and then went off to the Calvary up in North Alabama and stayed with them until the war was about over.
Then I went home, rented some land from my wife’s Ma and started to make a little crop in May. Consequently made very little. In July I took a little school at Macedonia. In fall, I brought 200 acres of land from Simeon Brown, Jr. Paying $400 for it and paid for it in stock and so on, and left us without a penny. One little shabby colt, no meat, no corn as a consequence. then it was we must root hog or die. The next year 1866 we had a severe drought which cut the crop short and we still had to live hard. Then about 1876 we both joined the Primitive Baptist Church at Mt. Zion.”
Deason did not finish his sketch for he ran out of space on the back of the 1891 Mt. Zion Church bulletin. His household ran to ten children by 1880; large families were welcome on the small farm where labor was always needed. In addition to his own, Deason took in an orphaned nephew, Jacob Deason McElroy, whose father, Henry McElroy, did not return from the war and whose mother Harriet Deason McElroy, died at the start of the war. Little Jake grew up to become Elder Jake McElroy the leading Primitive Baptist minister in the area. Elder McElroy, in a memoir published in 1908 under the title of The Orphan’s Travail, tells how an orphan of the war survived in the post-war years and how his labor for a crippled veteran, William Pearson, helped to keep him alive.”(The Devil’s Den, by Charles E. Boyd.)
Sgt. John C. Columbus, Company B, 44th Ala. Reg. Born in Butler County, Alabama, enlisted in Bibb County, Alabama, March 15, 1862 at Scottsville, Alabama by Col. Harrison and served three years or more……..John Columbus Deason married Louisa Catherine Brown, daughter of Simeon and Malinda McElroy on 20 January 1861 in Bibb County and passed down the love for music and poetry he had inherited from his mother (Nancy Caudle Deason) to many of his descendants……..They had twelve children:
- Nancy Melinda Deason married Israel Newton Yeager;
- Margaret EllaJane Deason married James Marion Brown;
- James Andrew Deason ( May 17, 1867 – Jun 23, 1931) married Emma L. Francis Cassady (Apr 5, 1894 – Jan 14, 1979) and Marietta Wayne Yeager (Sep 1864 Mississippi – Dec 1, 1907 Tuscaloosa County, AL)
- Sara Isabelle Deason (July 25, 1869- July 26, 1909) married S. James Champion;
- Marion Huey Deason (Sep 22, 1871 – August 8, 1911) married Dorothy Ann “Dollie” Elam
- Robert Edmond Deason (July 19, 1874 – Mar 5, 1909) married Susan Velma Elam; (Nov. 15, 1880 AL – Nov. 25, 1951)
- John Coleman Deason (Jan 29, 1877- Jun 18, 1950) married Vela Ann Mitchell; (Oct 31, 1884- Apr 10, 1966)
- Wiley Ezra Deason (Mar 9, 1879 AL – Sep 24, 1962 AL) married Mary Sovella Elam (1884- 1968)
- Missouri Lula Ann Deason (Aug 18, 1882 AL – May 10, 1948 AL )married Luda Hester Snipes; (Apr 9, 1882 – Mar 6, 1961)
- Jacob Simeon Deason (Sep 7, 1885 AL – Sep 28, 1983) (adopted nephew above) married Nancy Durana Nelson (July 16, 1888 AL – May 18, 1973)
- Grover Cleveland Elbert Cross Deason (Jan 27, 1888 AL – Mar 25, 1956) married Dorothy Ann ‘Dollie’ Elam (Jan 5, 1877 – Nov. 11, 1968) (widow of his brother Marion H. Deason) and Emma L.
- Francis Deason.
Many of the grandchildren of John and Louisa Deason attended the all day singings with their parents. These memories and the memories of roaming in the hills on a beautiful spring day are cherished by each of them. .”:(The Heritage of Bibb County, AL vol 4 by R. J. Deason & Christopher C. Otts) James Columbus Deason passed away April 7, 1899 and is buried in Little Hope Cemetery, Harmon, Bibb County, Alabama.
- The Devil’s Den, by Charles E. Boyd
- The Heritage of Bibb County, AL, Vol 4 by R. J. Deason & Christopher C. Otts
- Find A Grave Memorial# 13338897 # 55723446 # 41013281 # 68040364 # 13310136 # 41013265 # 41013424 # 64330302 # 41013519 # 41013496 # 55069073 # 76625042 # 76625028 # 52433091 # 64247076 # 41013238
This biography is included in the Book Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Vol. III