Or, Subtitled: Round-Breasted Methodist Coats and Venerable Circuit Riders
Morgan and Lawrence County, Alabama, Records to 1830 for Mark Lindsey
And so another move for Mark and Mary Jane Dinsmore Lindsey and their family: in 1800, they left Spartanburg County, South Carolina, where both were born (in 1774 in Mark’s case, in 1779 for Mary Jane) and moved with her Dinsmore family to Wayne County, Kentucky. They remained in Wayne County to 1817 (if they moved with son Dennis, who went to Madison, later Lawrence County, Alabama, in that year) or until the fall of 1819, when they sold their homeplace in Wayne County and then begin to appear in Lawrence County records. Mary Jane’s brother John Dinsmore and wife Phebe (Woodruff?) then joined Mark and Mary Jane Lindsey in Lawrence County, selling their land in Wayne County, Kentucky, on 26 February 1821.
About half of counties in Alabama, including Lawrence, are missing from the 1820 federal census, and Mark is not found on that census. He and son Dennis do, however, appear on the 1820 Alabama state census, both in Lawrence County next to each other. Mark’s household has a male over 21, 3 males under 21, and a female over 21. The male and female over 21 are Mark and wife Mary Jane. The three younger males are Mark’s sons William Burke Lindsey (born in 1812), Fielding Wesley Lindsey (born in 1813), and David Dinsmore Lindsey (born in 1815). Mark and Mary Jane also had a daughter Nancy, who was born about 1801, and who did not marry until around 1825; I am not sure why she is not in their household on this census.
Following James Edmond Saunders and his biographical notice of Mark and Mark’s son Dennis in Early Settlers of Alabama, which I cited in my last posting, I’ve stated that Mark moved to Lawrence County, Alabama. Mark actually settled, however, in Morgan County just east of the Lawrence and Morgan County lines, and is found in records of both Lawrence and Morgan Counties. Mark’s son Dennis settled on the Lawrence County side of the county line at a now-defunct community he helped found, to which the name Oakville was given.
As John Knox notes in his book A History of Morgan County, Alabama, the “Orrs, Speaks, and Lindseys were among prominent pioneers and developers of the country around Danville.” Knox provides a history of the Morgan County community called Crowdabout, noting that Crowdabout was southwest of Danville, and that the settlement followed the meanderings of Crowdabout Creek, a tributary of Flint River that trails southwest from a point west of Hartselle, and veers southward. As Knox indicates, Crowdabout got its name from the fact that the early settlers found the landscape in this vicinity crowded with briars and vines.
What may have drawn Mark Lindsey to the Crowdabout community is that it was the site of an early Methodist meeting in north Alabama. As Knox notes, a Methodist society was formed “in the famous Crowd-about Valley” as early as in the Lawrence Circuit, of which the Crowdabout society was a part, with men of prominence and eminence springing from this society. As Rhona H. Summerford states, Reverend Anson West’s History of Methodism in Alabama indicates that a society of Methodists was found in Crowdabout Valley as early as 1823-4. The group was at some point organized into McKendree Methodist church.
Back to James Edmond Saunders’s biographical note about Mark Lindsey again: it states that Mark Lindsey “wore the round-breasted Methodist coat,” and that “the venerable Mr. McFerrin,” who rode the Lawrence County Methodist circuit, “still remembers and speaks of the kindness and hospitality he received from the Lindseys.” The venerable Mr. McFerrin is John Berry McFerrin, a noted Methodist circuit rider who began his church career in north Alabama, where he began preaching in 1825.
By the time Mark Lindsey and his family came from Kentucky to Alabama in 1817-9, they were committed Methodists. As my last posting noted, Mark’s son Dennis married Jane Brooks, whose father was a Methodist minister in Wayne County and trustee of a Methodist church for which Robert Gillespie provided land by his will in May 1819. (Dennis’s brother Dinsmore married Jane’s sister Sarah, too, it should be noted). It seems very possible that what drew Mark Lindsey to the Crowdabout section of Morgan County just before 1820 was its Methodist community, which extended across the county line into Lawrence County where, according to Marion Elias Lazenby, an early church was built of logs by 1818 in the vicinity of what would later be Oakville — a church founded even before the Lawrence Circuit was established, from which a number of prominent Methodist preachers sprang.
One final note about the Crowdabout community in Morgan County: according to A.G. Copeland, the community was also known as Georgia, because many of the people living in this area of Morgan County were Georgians. According to Copeland, “it was famous for refinement and hospitality [and] the people were wealthy and moral.”
Because he settled very near the county line, after Mark Lindsey moved his family to Alabama, he shows up in records of both Lawrence and Morgan Counties. I have a fairly comprehensive list of references to Mark found in documents in both counties, though perhaps not an exhaustive one. Though providing them in a point-by-point list may be boring to many readers, I’m going to present my list to you in that fashion, hoping that anyone wanting to delve into any of these records that are merely listed here without much commentary will find this list useful. Here are the records I have for Mark in both counties up to 1830:
- On 31 July 1821, Mark Lindsey witnessed the will of Robert Price in Lawrence County. The will was probated 30 April 1822. As Saunders states, Price came to Lawrence County from Charlotte County, Virginia, in 1820, and he and his family were “pious members of the Methodist Church.” His wife was Frances Chappell, daughter of Reverend John Chappell, a Methodist minister.
- On 19 October 1826, Mark Lindsey and his son Dennis were appointed, along with Joseph Rhodes, Spottswood Jones, and John Stewart, to appraise the estate of Thomas Dutton, deceased, leaving a widow Mary. Samuel Irwin was administrator along with Mary. Note that On 19 January 1831, Mark would give bond with Samuel Irwin for guardianship of Aaron Dutton in Lawrence County: see infra on this record.
- On 19 January 1827, John M. Jones mortgaged property to Mark Lindsey in a deed of trust in a case in which John M. Jones was indebted to Elliott Jones. All three men signed the deed of trust, which was recorded 2 March. Elliott Jones is the Methodist minister of Wayne County, Kentucky, mentioned in the previous posting, who officiated at the wedding of Mark’s son Dennis to Jane Brooks in Wayne County on 18 February 1813, and who later moved to Lawrence County, Alabama.
- On 18 July 1827, Lawrence County Orphans Court Minutes show Mark’s son Dennis petitioning with John Stewart for the election of a school agent for township 7, range 6 west. I mention this record here because this is the same John Stewart named in the 19 October 1826 appraisal record for Thomas Dutton’s estate listed above. Dennis Lindsey and John Stewart established a school at what became Oakville in Lawrence County, where Dennis’s family lived, and Dennis brought James Beckham Speake, a Kentucky native who married Dennis’s oldest daughter Sarah, to teach in this school.
- On 31 October 1827, Mark Lindsey was made a vice-justice of the peace in Morgan County under Josiah M. Reynolds.
- 21 November 1827, Mark Lindsey gave bond with John Stewart for Asa and William Hodges’s administration of the estate of James Craton. Again, this is the John Stewart mentioned supra who petitioned in 1827 with Mark’s son Dennis for a school to be established at what became Oakville.
- On 1 September 1828, Robert Williams made a deed of trust mortgaging property to Mark Lindsey in a case of debt of Williams to Thomas A. Strain in Lawrence County. All three men signed, with witnesses Edwin L. Price, James J. Strain, and Rachel S. Strain (her mark). The deed was recorded 12 September. As James Edmond Saunders indicates, after Robert Price, whose will Mark Lindsey witnessed on 31 July 1827, died, Price’s widow Frances remarried to Thomas A. Strain, who was a Methodist minister.
- On 22 October 1829, Mark Lindsey was a buyer with son Dennis at the estate sale of James L. Richardson in Lawrence County. The estate also paid Mark $2.75.
- On 25 November 1829, Mark Lindsey patented 159 acres of river improvement land in Lawrence County, the west ½ of section 8, township 7 south, range 6 west.
- Mark Lindsey is on the 1830 census in Lawrence Co., AL, John Glass’ division, with a male under 5, a male 5-10, a male 10-15, 2 males 15-20, a male 50-60, a female under 5, a female 5-10, a female 10-15, a female 20-30, and a female 50-60, as well as 12 enslaved people.
The older male and female here are Mark and wife Mary Jane. The two males aged 15-20 are their sons Wesley (Fielding W.) and Burke; the male aged 10-15 is their son Dinsmore. The children would appear to belong to the female aged 20-30, who is evidently not Mark and Mary Jane’s daughter Nancy, who married William Morris about 1825. The two males under 5 and 5-10, as well as the three females aged under 5, 5-10, and 10-15 likely are her children. Who was she?
The 1830 census shows Mark’s family enumerated next to that of John Hunter, whose son William married Margaret Tranquilla Lindsey, daughter of Dennis Lindsey and Jane Brooks; Margaret’s brother Samuel Asbury Lindsey married William’s sister Mary Jane Hunter.
- On 8 March 1830, Mark Lindsey appears in Lawrence County Orphans Court minutes verifying a bond he had given for Thomas A. Strain’s administration of the estate of Robert Price.
- On 23 June 1830, Mark appealed along with brother-in-law John Dinsmore for a guardian to be appointed for Thomas and John Woodruff, sons of James Woodruff. There are a number of indicators that a sister of Mary Jane Dinsmore Lindsey whose given name has not been found married James Woodruff, son of John and Mary Woodruff of Spartanburg County, South Carolina. This family moved to Wayne County, Kentucky, and then to Lawrence County, Alabama, soon after 1820. The 1810 and 1820 federal censuses show James married to a wife who was born between 1784 and 1794. James had died prior to the 1830 federal census, when a widow whose name is difficult to read in 1830, but which appears as Naomi on the 1850 federal census and other documents, was head of this household. The 1850 census shows her born in 1790, and the 1830 census indicates that she was born between 1790 and 1800. David Dinsmore left South Carolina several years before 1790, and had evidently died prior to 1790, so Naomi cannot be his daughter. It appears that sometime between 1820 and 1830, James Woodruff’s Dinsmore wife had died and he had remarried to Naomi, who was, according to the guardianship filing made by Mark Lindsey and John Dinsmore in 1830, not providing proper care for the orphans — their nephews — Thomas and John Woodruff.
- On 7 July 1830, Mark Lindsey gave bond with Samuel Irwin for Joel Burnum to be appointed constable in Captain Gibson’s company in Lawrence County. This is the Samuel Irwin who was administrator of the estate of Thomas Dutton along with Dutton’s wife Mary, of which Mark Lindsey was appointed one of the administrators on 19 October 1826 — see supra.
- At some point in 1830, Mark Lindsey gave bond with Elliott Jones, Benjamin Jones, Isaac Johnson, and Thomas A. Strain for William Jones to assume the position of assessor and tax collector in Lawrence County. See supra for additional references to Thomas A. Strain and Elliott Jones.
In my next posting about Mark Lindsey, I will provide an account of what I know about him from 1830 to his death on 10 April 1848.
 James Edmond Saunders, Early Settlers of Alabama (New Orleans, 1899), pp. 122-3.
 John Knox, A History of Morgan County, Alabama (Decatur, Alabama: Decatur Printing Co., 1967), pp. 125-6.
 Ibid., pp. 127-8. According to Smith and DeLand’s Northern Alabama Historical and Biographical (Birmingham: Smith & DeLand, 1888), Crowdabout Creek is a branch of the Flint River (p. 63). Note that Saunders’s biographical note about Mark and Dennis Lindsey states that Mark lived on a branch of Flint River when Saunders first knew him. According to Henry G. Sellers, Jr. in his Some Union Soldiers from a Place Called Crowdabout (priv. publ., Gulf Breeze, Florida, 1985), Crowdabout appears now only as the name of a small creek on the most detailed map of Morgan Co., yet the place was actually a community in the past (p. 5). Sellers says that the earliest record of the community is in Hosea Holcombe’s Rise and Progress of Baptists in Alabama (1840), which notes that Hopewell church near Scroudge About Creek united with the Muscle Shoals Baptist Association in 1825. This church was pastored by Reverend Sylvanus Gibson, whose daughter Margaret married John Wesley Lindsey, son of Dennis Lindsey and Jane Brooks. On him, see Mary Novella Gibson-Brittain, Marie Brittain Craig, and Marjorie Craig Churchill, The History and Genealogy of Some Pioneer North Alabama Families (Flagstaff: Northland, 1969), pp. 71f, citing Biographical Sketches of Prominent Baptists (Nashville: Southern Baptist Hist. Com., n.d.), p. 225. The Gibsons moved to Morgan County about 1818 from Wilkes County, Georgia, along with the Orrs, who are mentioned by Knox as early settlers of the Crowdabout community. Also attending the Hopewell Baptist church at Crowdabout was the Torrence family on which History and Genealogy of Some Pioneer North Alabama Families focuses. Dennis Lindsey’s son Thomas Madison Lindsey married Margaret Jane Torrence of this family.
History of Morgan County, p. 157, citing Rev. Anson West, A History of Methodism in Alabama (Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Church South, 1893), p. 297.
 Rhona H. Summerford, “McKendree United Methodist Church,” in The Heritage of Morgan County, Alabama (Clanton, AL: Heritage, 1998), p. 12.
 See O.P. Fitzgerald, John B. McFerrin: A Biography (Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Church South, 1888), pp. 56, 59, citing McFerrin’s memoirs, which state that after he preached his first sermon in Tuscumbia in 1825, he was then assigned to the Lawrence Circuit, which included a portion of Lawrence County and all of Morgan.
 Marion Elias Lazenby, The History of Methodism in Alabama and West North Florida (n.p.: Alabama and West Florida Methodist Conferences, 1960), pp. 1080-1081.
 A.G. Copeland, Alabama Enquirer, 3 October 1889, as cited in Morgan County Genealogical Society, Tid-Bits, vol. 1: Births, Marriages, Deaths, and Other Interesting Items Including Reminiscences of Morgan County (Decatur: Morgan County Geneal. Soc., 1995), p. 46.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Will Bk 1,p. 7.
 Early Settlers of Alabama, p. 120. Saunders erroneously gives Price’s year of death as 1824.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minutes Bk. C, pp. 107-108.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Deed Bk. C, pp. 250-1.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minutes Bk. C, p. 171.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minutes Bk. C, p. 216.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Deed Bk. C, pp. 460-462.
 Early Settlers of Alabama, p. 120.
 1830 federal census, Lawrence County, Alabama, p. 273.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minutes Bk. C, p. 489.
 Ibid., p. 14.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Official Bond Records, 1829-1830, pp. 13-14; see Anne S. Lee, “Probate Court Records,” Old Lawrence Reminiscences 10,4 (December 1996), p. 148.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Official Bond Records 1829-50, pp. 9-10; see Old Lawrence Reminiscences 10,3 (September 1996), p. 110.