The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: David Dinsmore Lindsey (1815 – 1873)

Lindsey, David Dinsmore, Moulton Advertiser, 22 Dec 1908, p. 1, col. 5-6 (1)
S.W. Barbee, “Old Lawrence Reminiscent,” Moulton Advertiser (22 December 1908), p. 1, col. 5-6 (1)

Or, Subtitled: Irish Linen, Thirst for Red Liquor, and a Loyalist Grandfather

Now to the last of the children of Mark Lindsey and Mary Jane Dinsmore, their son David Dinsmore Lindsey (after which I’ll turn to Dennis, their oldest son): Mark and Mary Jane’s last child was named for Mary Jane’s father and, like his brothers Burke and Wesley, was called by his middle name. As we found when I did a series of postings about David Dinsmore previously, David was an Ulster Scots immigrant who arrived with wife Margaret in Charleston, South Carolina, on 10 December 1767. The couple sailed from Belfast aboard The Earl of Donegal, and immediately after their arrival in South Carolina, claimed land under the Bounty Act in what was then Craven County (and by 1769, Ninety-Six District) and would later become Spartanburg County. The Earl of Donegal’s passenger list states that David was aged 17 in 1767. (I’ve provided links to the six postings in my series about David Dinsmore at the end of this posting.)

Some Notes on the Grandfather for Whom David Dinsmore Lindsey Was Named

When the Revolution began, David took the British side and found himself exiled to Nova Scotia when the British evacuated South Carolina Loyalists fleeing the colony out of Charleston in 1782. David then filed a Loyalist land claim in Hants County, Nova Scotia, in April 1786 and was granted land, which he sold in January 1787 after having bought land in Hants County in August 1786 from a William Densmore who appears to have been his relative. From January 1787 forward, I find no record of David. Many indicators suggest to me that after he went to Nova Scotia, he never reunited with his wife Margaret and their five children, one of whom was his daughter Mary Jane, who married Mark Lindsey in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, about 1793.

I have not been able to find a death or burial record for David, though I’ve been to Nova Scotia to do research in the provincial archives and land records office, as well as local libraries and genealogical societies. On that trip, I met a descendant of the Densmore family from whom David bought land in 1786, who has an impressive knowledge of her family’s history with documents going back to their arrival in Nova Scotia from Northern Ireland. She told me that her family has no records about David, and they, too, think he was a relative. After his sale of his Loyalist grant in January 1787, David simply disappears from all records I’ve been able to find.

The naming patterns of David and Margaret Dinsmore’s children suggest that his children honored their father and his memory. Of the four children who had children of their own — Mary, John, Mary Jane, and a daughter who married James Woodruff and whose given name I have not found — three named sons David. In addition to Mary Jane, her sister Mary (married Samuel Woodruff) and her brother John (married Phebe, thought to be a Woodruff) also had a son named David. The name Dinsmore passes down as a given name among the descendants of Mary Dinsmore and her husband Samuel Woodruff.

An Eyewitness Account of David Dinsmore Lindsey

David Dinsmore Lindsey was born 3 November 1815 in Wayne County, Kentucky, and died 18 March 1873 at Oakville in Lawrence County, Alabama. These dates are inscribed on his tombstone in the Lindsey cemetery near Speake in Lawrence County.[1] The tombstone gives his name as D.D. Lindsey and states that he was aged 58 years, 4 months, and 15 days when he died. It is also inscribed, “Died in the faith.” (On the Lindsey cemetery at Speake, see the previous posting about Dinsmore’s brother Fielding Wesley Lindsey.)

Lindsey, David Dinsmore Tombstone, Lindsey Cem., Speake AL
David Dinsmore Lindsey tombstone, Lindsey cemetery near Speake, Lawrence County, Alabama; the photo is by F.H. Terry and is at D.D. Lindsey’s Find a Grave memorial page, created by Warren Glenn
Lindsey, David Dinsmore, Moulton Advertiser, 22 Dec 1908, p. 1, col. 5-6 (2)
S.W. Barbee, “Old Lawrence Reminiscent,” Moulton Advertiser (22 December 1908), p. 1, col. 5-6 (2)
Lindsey, David Dinsmore, Moulton Advertiser, 22 Dec 1908, p. 1, col. 5-6 (3)
S.W. Barbee, “Old Lawrence Reminiscent,” Moulton Advertiser (22 December 1908), p. 1, col. 5-6 (3)
Lindsey, David Dinsmore, Moulton Advertiser, 22 Dec 1908, p. 1, col. 5-6 (4)
S.W. Barbee, “Old Lawrence Reminiscent,” Moulton Advertiser (22 December 1908), p. 1, col. 5-6 (4)

As with his father Mark and brothers Burke and Wesley, we have an eyewitness account of Dinsmore Lindsey. This was published by S.W. Barbee in one of his “Old Lawrence Reminiscent” columns in the Moulton Advertiser newspaper.[2] Writing on 22 December 1908, Barbee had the following to say about Dinsmore Lindsey, noting as he wrote that he knew him personally:

There are but three classes of men who ever quit the use of liquor, after once the habit has been formed — the man who cannot get it, the man who has been saved by the grace of God, and the man who is dead. An exception to this rule, however, and the only one I [have] ever known, was a man who lived in Lawrence county. There is perhaps no more evil in the world than strong drink, and the Bible truly says, “Whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

The man I am speaking of was, naturally, as we of the South would say, a “clever” man, a word with us of a very different meaning than the one given to it by our English cousins, but every man, woman and child in “Old Lawrence” knows what I mean when I say that the character I am about to describe, was a “clever” man. He had a generous disposition, and [was] simple and truly democratic in his life. Although at one time possessed of considerable means, he did not feel himself on this account elevated above his neighbors.

He was a farmer, owned a large plantation, which was worked by his own negro slaves, of whom he had a goodly number, and success crowned the labor of his hands. He was contented and happy in his home life, and there was an augury of permanent and stable prosperity. But in an unsuspecting hour, through friends who did not mean to do him harm, he was beguiled into the taking of a social glass while on one of his visits to Oakville. The taste of the liquid was fascinating, his visits to Oakville became more frequent, and sooner than he had expected or foreseen he had found himself fettered by chains which, strange to say is the case with every one who becomes ensnared, he had not the purpose to break and cast aside.

The consequence was, that he became more and more enslaved by the habit, which soon divested him of the cash at his disposal. The first move he made to replenish his exchequer was to exchange his large plantation for a smaller one, and receive the difference in price in ready cash, which in turn became a temptation and a snare, for he was found at Oakville more frequently, and his drinking became more regular and more excessive, and whereas at the first his drinking was not to intoxication it soon became apparent that he was fast becoming a drunkard.

But as is always the case, his second supply of money was sooner exhausted than he had suspected, and the taste for whiskey had increased in immense ration to the loss of his money, and he must consequently obtain a new supply from some source. So one by one his fine family of negroes began to slip away from him, to satisfy his craving thirst for strong drink, and to meet the expense of loss sustained by his neglect of his business.

By and by every negro had been sold, the farm had been dismembered, my father and one of my brothers taking a nice slice each of it, and the homestead itself was in danger of being sacrificed for ruin.

And now comes the strange part of the story — a truth which is stranger than fiction — and it is hard to believe it. But just before the final act of self-destruction came, which would have involved likewise an innocent and dependent family, for they would have been reduced to penury by any further sacrifice of the small holdings, David D. Lindsey, for he was the man, suddenly quit drink, went to work, added somewhat to his wasted material resources, regained in a measure his lost manhood, lived many years, and was never known to drink again!

But I would forewarn any who may read these lines not to follow the example of David D. Lindsey, lest they be engulfed in the maelstrom of the cup and sink not to rise again forever. It is a truism, that no man is stronger than the weakest point in his character. Add to this, or qualify it hereby, that no one knows the weakest point in his character and that every man is quite sure that he can, and will, resist temptation, and hence will stand and the danger becomes proportionately greater to him who plans himself, or allows himself to be placed, in a condition to be tempted.

Let no man flatter himself, therefore, by the unique and anomalous example of David D. Lindsey, whom this writer knew personally for years, that he can indulge in the use of intoxicants, and escape the consequences. Had Mr. Lindsey taken just one more step, who will dare say he would not have gone the way of all drunkards before him?

How prone men are to take a “dare,” or to cover a “bet,” as if this were an evidence of the sanity of the mind, or a proof that the one accepting the challenge is a wiser man than the one making it. Perhaps nothing proves the insanity of the mind more clearly, nor argues greater danger to one assaying the hazard, than to undertake a perilous risk whereby nothing may be gained, and all may be lost.

The only really safe rule of life rests on the immutable law of the peril of temptation as made known by the Master: “lead me not into temptation.” In Webster’s old “blue-back” spelling book — a book in memory so precious even now to many of us in “the fifties” in “Old Lawrence” — occurs this line: “The path of duty is the path of safety. And that grand old warrior-civilian, Gen. R.E. Lee, soon after the close of the war when writing to his son, said, “Duty is the grandest word in the English language.”

As I noted when I discussed the records I have for Dinsmore’s brother Wesley, this theme of a fondness for liquor also runs through eyewitness accounts of his father Mark and brothers Burke and Wesley. To balance that observation, it might also be noted that Barbee’s reference to Dinsmore Lindsey’s “generous disposition” is echoed, as well, in accounts of Mark, Burke, and Wesley by those who knew them.

In his brief biographical statement about Mark and his oldest son Dennis, James Edmond Saunders, who knew Mark and Dennis personally, states that the Methodist circuit rider John B. McFerrin spoke of the kindness and hospitality shown to him by the Lindseys as he rode his circuit in north Alabama.[3] After staying with Burke Lindsey and his wife Carolina in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, on 3-4 August 1854, Reverend Samuel Agnew stated that, though he and his traveling companion had arrived unannounced, Burke and Carolina fed them a good meal, and Burke then offered Agnew and his companion cigars. Agnew concludes — after having recorded scurrilous gossip about the couple in his diary — that Burke and Carolina had treated their guests “very kindly.” He also states that the couple refused payment for their hospitality.[4] And S.W. Barbee’s April 1909 reminiscence of Wesley Lindsey, whom Barbee knew personally, notes that Wesley was “naturally generous” and “open-hearted.”[5]

We know, by the way, that Dinsmore Lindsey was called by his middle name because another local writer who knew him, A.G (Anderson Guinn) Copeland, a Methodist minister, states in his remembrance of Mark Lindsey published in October 1889 that Mark’s sons Dinsmore and Wesley Lindsey were “two of the best men Oakville beat ever had.”[6]

In addition to what he says in the 1908 reminiscence discussed above, S.W. Barbee mentions Dinsmore Lindsey in another of his “Old Lawrence Reminiscent” articles published in February 1909.[7] Here, in an extended remembrance of and paean to James Beckham Speake, who had been Barbee’s teacher, he notes that Speake, who married Dinsmore Lindsey’s niece Sarah Brooks Lindsey, daughter of Dennis Lindsey and Jane Brooks, bought an enslaved man named Tom when Dinsmore’s propensity to drink caused him to have to sell his property.

Noting that James B. Speake was acquiring enslaved people to work on his farm right to the eve of the Civil War — as many other planters and farmers in the South were also doing ­— he states:

The last purchase of negro property that Mr. Speake made, was in 1858. And hereby hangs a tale. David D. Lindsey, whom I have sketched in a former letter, had consumed in drink quite a goodly number of negroes, having sold them one by one to satisfy his craving for the cup. In 1858 he had one solitary negro left, and his thirst for red liquor increased, and must be satisfied. Mr. Speake had the money, and a trade was struck between himself and Mr. Lindsey. “Tom,” a fine looking mulatto about thirty years of age, was the prize, and so Mr. Speake counted out just 3000 bright dollars, and took “Tom” to his own home.

Documents of David Dinsmore Lindsey’s Life in Lawrence (and Morgan) County, Alabama

As I noted in my discussions of Dinsmore’s brothers Burke and Wesley, I suspect that my information about Dinsmore Lindsey from Lawrence County records is incomplete, and that there’s more information to be found in those records. Once again, I’ll direct readers to the helpful, well-organized website of the Lawrence County Archives, which indexes many county records and provides a search engine for these indices.

Here are listings of David D. or D.D. Lindsey that I find by searching indices of deed, orphans court, and inventory and will books using the search engine provided by the Lawrence County Archives (and it should be noted that David named a son David Felix Dinsmore Lindsey, and that son had a grandson also named David Dinsmore Lindsey, so it’s possible some of these citations refer to the younger men named David Dinsmore Lindsey — though I suspect that they may all refer to the son of Mark Lindsey and Mary Jane Dinsmore):

David Dinsmore, Lawrence Co AL Deed Bks
David Dinsmore Lindsey references in Lawrence County, Alabama, deed books indexed by Lawrence County Archives
David Dinsmore, Lawrence Co AL Orphans Ct. Minutes
David Dinsmore Lindsey references in Lawrence County, Alabama, Orphans Court minutes indexed by Lawrence County Archives
David Dinsmore, Lawrence Co AL Inventory and Will Bks.
David Dinsmore Lindsey references in Lawrence County, Alabama, inventory and will books indexed by Lawrence County Archives

On 1 May 1838, Dinsmore Lindsey married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Brooks and Sarah Whitlock, in Morgan County, Alabama.[8] His brother Dennis married Sarah’s sister Jane in Wayne County, Kentucky, on 18 February 1813, and Dennis and Dinsmore’s brother Wesley married Jane and Sarah’s first cousin Clarissa, daughter of James Brooks and Nancy Isbell, in Lawrence County on 24 June 1835. The record of Dinsmore and Sarah’s marriage says that Reverend E.W. Martin performed the marriage ceremony.

Lindsey, David D. Marriage to Sarah Brooks, Morgan AL Marriage Bk.1, 338
David Dinsmore Lindsey and Sarah Brooks, marriage record, Morgan County, Alabama, Marriage Bk. 1, p. 338

At the time Dinsmore Lindsey and Sarah Brooks married, her father, who was a Methodist minister, was approaching death. Thomas Brooks died 25 October 1838; he had been preceded in death by his wife Sarah on 16 August 1837. Receipts in Thomas’s loose-papers probate file in Morgan County indicate that both Thomas and Sarah died at Oakville in Lawrence County at the home of their daughter Jane Lindsey, who was providing care for them in their final illnesses. Her husband Dennis Lindsey had died at the rather young age of 41 on 28 August 1836, leaving her with a large family, including several infant children, and with many debts.

Though Sarah Brooks’s father Thomas was nearing death at the time she married Dinsmore Lindsey and her mother Sarah had died in the recent past, receipts in Thomas’s estate file indicate that he gave his daughter a festive wedding.[9] Receipts in the estate file to the firm of Hogan & Lindsey show Thomas buying on 14 April, some two weeks before his daughter married, 10 yards of fancy silk, 3½ yards of Irish linen, a white belt, 2½ yards of blue ribbon, ¾ yards of white satin, and ½ yard white ribbon were bought. These items were surely to dress Sarah for her wedding, and also perhaps to decorate her father’s house as she was married.

Three days later, Thomas purchased 4 yards of white ribbon, 4 yards of lace, an ounce of cinnamon, 2 nutmegs, a large bowl, a headdress, a bunch of flowers, and a paper of pins. On the 20th of April, he bought a pair of silk gloves along with 3 skeins of yellow silk and a pair of silk hose, and on the 23rd, receipts state that he bought more white satin. Prior to this in March Thomas had purchased two fine combs and two jugs of whiskey.

These are clearly items being bought for Sarah’s wedding and perhaps for a party prior to the wedding. The large bowl would likely have been for punch, and the cinnamon and nutmeg may well have been used to spice the punch, and a wedding cake for Sarah. It’s touching to see a father dying of an illness that appears to have been progressive and painful, perhaps cancer — receipts show the doctor repeatedly visiting Thomas at his daughter Jane’s house from July through October when Thomas died, prescribing laudanum and morphine — showing such solicitude for his youngest daughter as she married in the final months of his life.

On 25 February 1839, Dinsmore Lindsey gave bond with his brother-in-law Charles M. Brooks for Charles’s execution of his father’s will and settlement of his estate in Morgan County.[10] Late in the same year, on 7 September, Dinsmore signed as security for his brother Wesley as Wesley mortgaged property to their father Mark Lindsey in a case of debt that I discussed previously when we looked at records for both Mark and Wesley. The posting for Mark I just linked provides a digital copy of the original mortgage with the signatures of all three men.

As noted in a previous posting, Dinsmore Lindsey acted as security on 13 September 1839 when his brother Wesley (Fielding W.) Lindsey mortgaged property to their father Mark Lindsey in Lawrence  County. Wesley Lindsey was evidently indebted to his father Mark; details about this document can be found in the posting linked at the head of this paragraph.

As I’ve noted in a previous posting, I think it’s likely that Dinsmore and his wife Sarah are a younger male and female enumerated in the household of his father Mark in Morgan County, Alabama, on the 1840 federal census.[11] Their infant son John Wesley Lindsey, born in 1839, also appears to be listed in his grandfather’s household in 1840.

On 17 June 1840, Dinsmore Lindsey bought from the estate of his father-in-law Thomas Brooks a tract of 80 acres, perhaps Thomas Brooks’s home place, the east ½ of the southeast ½ of the southeast ¼ of section 30 (evidently township 7, section 5) in Morgan County. Dinsmore paid $720 for the land with his father Mark and H.H. Terry giving bond on his behalf.[12]

In a previous posting about Dinsmore’s father Mark Lindsey, I discussed a 24 June 1841 mortgage of property including his homeplace (and enslaved people) that Mark made to Benjamin Cooper and Dinsmore Lindsey. Cooper and Dinsmore Lindsey had acquired promissory notes Mark owed to Johnson Wise and S. Stovall as administrators of Daniel Johnson.[13] The posting to which the link above points provides detailed information about this document.

As a previous posting notes, Dinsmore Lindsey also appears along with his father Mark in deeds related to land sales held by Lawrence County sheriff Christopher C. Gewin in March 1842 in a case of debt against John Hodges by the Bank of Alabama at Decatur. If I am reading the deeds about the sheriff’s sale of tracts of land to satisfy Hodges’s debt correctly, Mark Lindsey had (along with other men) given security for the note Hodges could not pay, and was therefore implicated in the case. The deeds recording these land sales also state that D.D. Lindsey was “liable for a forfeit delivery bond.”

Lindsey, David Dinsmore Receipt for Share of Thomas Brooks Estate Aug 1842
David Dinsmore Lindsey receipt, 4 August 1842, for payment of part of his share of estate of Thomas Brooks as husband of Sarah; from loose-papers estate file of Thomas Brooks, Morgan County, Alabama, Archives

The estate file of his father-in-law Thomas Brooks has a 4 August 1842 receipt submitted by David Dinsmore Lindsey, acknowledging his receipt of $250 as part of his share of Thomas’s estate in right of wife Sarah. After Milton McClanahan, who assumed administration of Thomas Brooks’s estate from Charles Brooks in April 1840, resigned as administrator on 27 October 1846, Dinsmore Lindsey became estate administrator until the final settlement on 29 March 1851. Because of his involvement in the estate’s settlement, the probate file contains many documents pertaining to Dinsmore Lindsey, of which quite a few show his signature, which is clear and suggests that he was man with more than minimal education.

Among the interesting documents in the file is a 12 June 1850 receipt by Nathaniel G. Blackford for $5.00 paid to him by Dinsmore Lindsey for Blackford’s work on the grave of Thomas Brooks. The graves of Thomas Brooks and his wife Sarah Whitlock Brooks have not been located. The receipt indicates that Thomas’s grave was certainly marked with a tombstone following his death, and the same would likely be true for Sarah.

On 20 January 1851, Dinsmore reported that, on 17 April 1847, William H. Campbell had paid Thomas Brooks’s estate $665.60, and he himself had paid it $125. He had also paid out $147, leaving $443.10, which was distributed among the heirs.[14] On the same date, the court ordered publication of the estate settlement.[15] Dinsmore Lindsey’s final estate account was entered into court records on 29 March 1851.[16] Prior to this final settlement, the estate documents show Milton McClanahan reporting on 27 October 1846 that the estate contained $3993.87 in proceeds from sales and notes still owing. McClanahan reported on the same day that he had paid the estate’s heirs and debtors $3583.02.

Lindsey, David Dinsmore, List of Thomas Brooks Legatees, Final Settlement
List of legatees of estate of Thomas Brooks submitted by David Dinsmore Lindsey for final settlement, 20 January 1851; from loose-papers estate file of Thomas Brooks, Morgan County, Alabama, Archives

The original 20 January 1851 report of the estate’s status as it was finalized, filed by Dinsmore Lindsey, is in the estate file. It shows that the estate still had a balance of $643.10. This final account also contains a list of legatees and heirs of Thomas Brooks compiled by Dinsmore Lindsey showing their whereabouts in January 1851: Charles Brooks, Mississippi; Thomas W. Brooks, Missouri; Alexander M. Brooks, Texas; Samuel K. Brooks, Lawrence County, Alabama; James Brooks, California; Jane Lindsey, wife of Dennis, Lawrence County, Alabama; Ransom Vanwinkle, husband of Margaret, Illinois; Wesley Huffaker, husband of Hannah, Kentucky; and David D. Lindsey, husband of Sarah, Lawrence County, Alabama.

At the final settlement, the estate file suggests that Dinsmore Lindsey’s own debts to the estate, still outstanding, had caused some concern about his ability to pay what he owed to the estate. This suggests to me that his problems with alcohol may have begun by this point.

Lindsey, David Dinsmore, Wesley Huffaker Letter Exterior, Thomas Brooks Estate
Letter of Wesley Huffaker to David Dinsmore Lindsey, estate of Thomas Brooks, exterior of letter; David Dinsmore Lindsey receipt, 4 August 1842, for payment of part of his share of estate of Thomas Brooks as husband of Sarah; from loose-papers estate file of Thomas Brooks, Morgan County, Alabama, Archives

One of the more interesting documents mentioning Dinsmore Lindsey in Thomas Brooks’s estate file is a 2 May 1850 letter Dinsmore’s brother-in-law Wesley Huffaker wrote him regarding a debt Huffaker owed the estate. Wesley Huffaker married Thomas Brooks’s daughter Hannah in Wayne County, Kentucky, on 9 December 1828, and this family remained in Wayne County, Kentucky, after Thomas and Sarah Whitlock Brooks went to Alabama.

When Thomas and Sarah Brooks sold their land in Wayne County, Kentucky, in November 1836 as they moved to Morgan County, Alabama, they sold the land to Daniel Shearer. An inventory of notes owed to Thomas Brooks’s estate compiled by Milton McClanahan on 10 March 1840 shows Shearer owing the estate $750 — evidently for this land sale and several others Thomas Brooks had made to Shearer in Wayne County.

The estate file shows Charles Brooks as executor of Thomas writing his brother-in-law Wesley Huffaker on 9 April 1840, asking Huffaker to pay Milton McClanahan $250 out of Daniel Shearer’s note to the estate. Charles’s request to Huffaker notes that the execution of the estate had passed from Charles to Milton McClanahan. This suggests that a portion of Shearer’s note of $750 owed to the estate had somehow passed to Wesley Huffaker.

The 27 October 1846 account of the estate compiled by McClanahan mentioned above shows Daniel Shearer’s debt to the estate as an insolvent debt — that is, it was doubtful the estate was going to recoup this debt. However, a receipt of Dinsmore Lindsey in the estate file shows that Shearer did pay the estate $665.61 on 12 April 1847.

But it appears that the portion of Shearer’s debt owed by Wesley Huffaker had not been paid and that Dinsmore Lindsey had written Huffaker a reminder about the debt as estate administrator. This provoked Huffaker’s 2 May 1850 letter to his brother-in-law regarding the debt of $255.50 Huffaker still owed the estate.

Huffaker sent the letter (postmarked from Wayne County, Kentucky) to Dinsmore through the hands of Dinsmore’s brother Wesley: an exterior note on the letter states, “Favoured by the polightness of F.W. Lindsey.” It addresses Dinsmore as “dear brother,” and it states that Huffaker had never received Charles Brooks’s request that he pay his debt to the estate. Huffaker then goes on to tell  his brother-in-law that he “cannot conceive that I would doo myself justie to take in the hole order but you seam to grumble about it,” and then asks that Dinsmore either credit him $200 or deduct that amount from his share of the estate (in right of his wife Hannah). Huffaker says that his “presant feelings” would not permit him to pay the balance of $50.

Huffaker’s letter ends with an invitation to Dinsmore to pay a visit to him and wife Hannah, an invitation delivered with a bit of a sting, since Huffaker also states, “I presume that you are well off anuff to lay in the Shade a good deal of your time and come up and pay us a viset[.]  this you ought to doo[.] we would like to see you and come prepared for a final settlement[.]” Wesley Huffaker concludes, “I think you are a reasonable man if this don’t satisfy you let me now [sic] what will[.]  nothing more but remain yours truly.”

As he was engrossed in settling his father-in-law’s estate, Dinsmore Lindsey also bought land (80 acres) on 11 January 1849 from William P. and Laura Nichols of Madison County, Alabama.[17] The deed notes that Dinsmore was of Morgan County; the land was Morgan County land, and was the west ½ of the northwest ¼ of section 19, township 7, range 5 west. The land had been conveyed in trust to the Nichols by Harry T. Pendleton. The deed was proven on 9 February 1849 and recorded on 18 May.

Lawrence AL DB M 452 Mary Lindsey copy 2

Lawrence AL DB M 453 Mary Lindsey copy 2

Later in 1849, on 9 June, Dinsmore’s mother Mary sold to Dinsmore and his brother Wesley an enslaved woman named Edy who is described in the deed of sale as sixteen years of age and of a yellow complexion.[18] The deed notes that Mary was the widow of Mark Lindsey and states that Dinsmore and Wesley paid their mother $510 for Edy. Mary signed the deed by mark with Robert M. Johnson witnessing. Edy had been mentioned in a list of enslaved people mortgaged by Mark Lindsey in the June 1841 mortgage he made to Benjamin Cooper and Mark’s son Dinsmore, which is discussed above. That document gives her age as 9 in 1841, and also states that she was of a yellow complexion.

Dinsmore Lindsey and his family were enumerated on the 1850 federal census in Lawrence County (Dinsmore’s name is given as D.D. Lindsey).[19] He is 34, a farmer born in Kentucky. Wife Sarah is 28, also born in Kentucky. In the household are children John, 10, Mark, 9, Washington, 5, Mary, 3, William, 6 months, and mother Mary, 71, born in South Carolina.

The 1850 agricultural schedule lists Dinsmore in the same district of Lawrence County with 110 acres of improved land and 130 unimproved acres.[20] The slave schedule for Lawrence County in 1850 shows D.D. Lindsey in district 8 with five enslaved persons: females 23, 16, 3, and 2 and a male 19. The male and 16-year-old female are listed as mulatto, and the other enslaved persons as black — though the designation is smudged for the 23-year-old woman, and may be either black or mulatto.[21] The same page shows a listing of three enslaved persons belonging to Dinsmore’s brother Wesley (F.W.) Lindsey.

As the 1850 census indicates, following the death of Mark Lindsey on 10 April 1848, his widow Mary Jane lived with her younger son Dinsmore Lindsey and his family. When Mary Jane died on 10 March 1853, Dinsmore gave bond on 25 March with his brother Wesley for Wesley’s administration of their mother’s estate.[22] At the sale of Mary Jane’s estate on 29 April, Dinsmore bought the bulk of the estate’s property, including a bed and furniture, a table and coffee mill, a lot of books, a bed and furniture, a bureau, two stands of curtains, two pairs of plow gears, a loom, and livestock.[23]

The family of Dinsmore (D.D.) Lindsey is enumerated on the 1860 federal census in Lawrence County in the county’s southern division at Moulton post office.[24] Dinsmore is aged 45 a farmer born in Kentucky with $1300 real worth and $400 personal worth. Wife Sarah is 40, also born in Kentucky.  In the household are children John W., 20, Mark, 18, Charles, 14, William, 12, Melvina, 10, Alex, 9, Felix, 7, and Joseph, 5, all born in Alabama. He also appears on the 1860 agricultural census in the same location with 90 acres of improved land and 130 unimproved.[25] He is not shown owning any enslaved persons on the 1860 slave census.

The 1870 federal census shows David Lindsey enumerated in Lawrence County in township 7, range 6 west at Danville post office (Danville is in Morgan County; Dinsmore lived at Oakville in Lawrence County near the county line).[26] He is aged 55, born in Kentucky, a farmer with $1000 real worth and $400 personal worth. Wife Sarah is 49, born in Kentucky. In the household are children William, 20, and David, 17, both born in Alabama and working on the family’s farm.

Notes about David Dinsmore Lindsey’s Wife Sarah Brooks Lindsey and Their Children

As noted above, Dinsmore Lindsey’s wife Sarah was the daughter of Thomas Brooks and Sarah Whitlock. She was born on 4 March 1822 in Wayne County, Kentucky. This date is recorded in her parents’ family bible, which also states that she was baptized by Reverend Henry Grigg on 13 December 1824.[27]

Lindsey, Sarah Brooks Tombstone, Lindsey Cem., Speake AL
Sarah Brooks Lindsey tombstone, Lindsey cemetery near Speake, Lawrence County, Alabama; the photo is by F.H. Terry and is at Sarah Brooks Lindsey’s Find a Grave memorial page, created by Warren Glenn

Sarah Brooks Lindsey’s tombstone in Lindsey cemetery at Speake, Alabama, gives her date of birth as 24 March 1822, rather than the 4 March date in her parents’ bible.[28] However, an obituary of Sarah published in the Moulton Advertiser on 8 July 1897 also gives 4 March 1822 as her date of birth, and confirms that she was born in Wayne County, Kentucky.[29] Both Sarah’s tombstone and her obituary in the Moulton Advertiser state that she died 30 May 1897. A notice published in the Moulton Advertiser on Thursday, 3 June 1897, states that she had died the previous Sunday (i.e., 30 May) at the home of her son D.D. Lindsey.[30] D.D. Lindsey was Sarah’s son David Felix Dinsmore Lindsey, who was living at “their old home in Lawrence county” when Sarah died, according to her 8 July 1897 obituary. This would place her death at Oakville in Lawrence County.

On the 1880 census, Sarah was enumerated in the household of her son William Burke Lindsey at Oakville.[31] He was named for his father’s brother William Burke Lindsey. The census identifies Sarah as William’s mother, and states erroneously that she was born in Alabama, when numerous other documents give her birthplace as Wayne County, Kentucky. It also has her parents born in Alabama, though both were born in Virginia. Also in this household in 1880 were William Burke Lindsey’s wife Frances and the couple’s children Sarah, Mary, and John.

The death notice for Sarah published in the Moulton Advertiser on 3 June 1897 states that she was “aged about 80 years” when she died and had been a member of the Methodist church for “fifty years or more.” It also notes that Sarah was “a most estimable lady, indulgent mother, obliging neighbor, true friend.”

Brooks, Sarah Lindsey Obit. Moulton Advertiser, 8 July 1897, p. 3, col. 4
Marion Briscoe, “In Memoriam,” Moulton Advertiser (8 July 1897), p. 3, col. 4.

Sarah’s obituary in the Moulton Advertiser on 8 July 1897 was written by Baptist minister Marion Briscoe (1866-1912), who married Sallie Brooks Lindsey (1875-1974), a daughter of James Dennis Lindsey and Martha W. Kitchens. James was a son of Dinsmore’s brother Fielding Wesley Lindsey, and therefore a nephew of Dinsmore and Sarah Brooks Lindsey.[32] Reverend Briscoe’s states the following in his obituary of Sarah:

Mrs. Sallie Lindsey, nee Brooks, was born in Wayne Co., Ky., on the 4th of March 1822. She removed to Alabama in early childhood, where she lived to be loved by all who knew her until the 30th day of May, 1897, when she joyfully answered the summons of her Master to come and continue her sweet life, so honest in purpose, so Christlike in nature, so perfect in love.

At quite an early age, she professed faith in Christ, which faith was the polar star of her voyage and which only grew stronger and stronger till the haven was reached at last.

When 16 years old, she was married to David Dinsmore Lindsey, to whom she was a dutiful, affectionate wife till his death, she having survived him some 23 years.

One daughter blessed this marriage, Mrs. Mollie Robinson, of New Decatur, and five sons, viz. Washington Lindsey, of Hillsboro, Burke, of Danville, and David, who resides at their old home in Lawrence county —   the other two dead. She was known and called by every one “Aunt Sallie.” Every one loved her, for she was every body’s friend.

Sympathetic, affectionate, benevolent, she was the admiration of every one.

She was a model Christian. Her life was an open epistle read of all around her. She spurned hypocracy [sic] and detested deceit.

On the contrary, she was frank, honest and true. She was a member of the M.E. Church, South, for over 60 years. He[r] faith grew strong in God, and trusted all to him. Her month’s [sic] of affliction she bore with greatest of fortitude, though she often expressed her longing to go to her heavenly award. In the language of the inspired writer:

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her friends also, and they praise her.”

Her highest ambition, and daily prayer was, that her children and many grand children might enter the pearly gates, walk the golden streets, and strike the harps of joy with her. May the Lord of mercy hear that prayer.

God bless you, Aunt Sallie, in your home of love, for you kept your favorite quotation: “Be thou faithful untill death, and thou shalt have a crown of life.”  MARION BRISCOE

July 3rd, 1897.

The October 1889 remembrance of Sarah Brooks Lindsey’s father-in-law Mark Lindsey cited above speaks of Sarah and her cousin Clarissa, who married Dinsmore Lindsey’s brother Wesley, in similarly glowing terms: “No better women live this side of Heaven. None ever sung and shouted more, none will have a better right to the tree of life than they.”

Though Reverend Briscoe’s obituary of Sarah Brooks Lindsey implies that she and Dinsmore Lindsey had one daughter and five sons, and that claim is echoed by John Knox in his history of Morgan County, other records indicate that the couple had nine children.[33] Here’s a brief summary of information about the children of Dinsmore and Sarah Brooks Lindsey:

  1. John Wesley Lindsey, born April 1839, Lawrence County, died ?. On 3 July 1862 in Lawrence County, John married Martha Jane, daughter of Ephraim S. Hampton and Lemanda K. Hampton. On 26 April 1868 in Lawrence County, Martha Jane married Alexander, son of Edmond Dutton and Margaret Barnett Ross. In a 4 December 1978 letter to Henry C. Lindsey of Brownwood, Texas, Mrs. Robert McCaghren of Danville, Alabama, states that John moved west in 1862, and his family in Alabama had no further record of him after that date. A copy of Mrs. McCaghren’s letter is in my possession.[34]
  2. Mark Thomas Lindsey, born about 1841 in Lawrence County, died 1860-1870, probably in Lawrence County. I do not find a match for Mark in databases of Alabama Civil War soldiers, so have concluded he did not die during the war.
  3. Mary Jane Lindsey, born 31 January 1847 in Lawrence County, died 12 February 1898 in Morgan County. On 14 March 1865 in Lawrence County, she married Flavius Joseph, son of Higdon Robertson and Mary L. Ponder. Mary Jane is buried in Lindsey cemetery near Speake. Joseph is buried in Decatur cemetery in Decatur, Morgan County.
  4. Charles Washington Lindsey, born 7 January 1848 in Lawrence County, died 2 February 1914 at Ogden in Little River County, Arkansas. On 15 May 1872 at Hillsboro in Lawrence County, he married Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of William F. Moseley and Elizabeth C. Davidson. Charles and Sarah Elizabeth are buried in Ogden cemetery at Ogden in Little River County, Arkansas.
  5. William Burke Lindsey, born 28 January 1850 in Lawrence County, died 20 July 1921 at Hartselle in Morgan County. On 18 February 1875 in Lawrence County, William married Frances Tranquilla, daughter of John Kitchens and Sarah L. Mowry. Following her death on 6 March 1892, he married Martha Odelia, daughter of William Richardson Frazier and Mary Praytor in Lawrence County on 17 October 1906 in Morgan County.
  6. Melvina Lindsey, born in 1850 after her family was enumerated on the federal census in Lawrence County on 5 November, died between 1860 and 1870 in Lawrence County.
  7. Alexander Lindsey, born about 1851 in Lawrence County, died between 1860 and 1870 in Lawrence County.
  8. David Felix Dinsmore Lindsey, born 23 December 1852 in Lawrence County, died 6 July 1941 in Morgan County. On 26 January 1876 in Lawrence County, he married Sarah Emily, daughter of John William Hargrove and Martha Ann Reeves. David and Sarah Emily are buried in Hartselle cemetery at Hartselle, Morgan County.
  9. Joseph Lindsey, born about 1855 in Lawrence County, died between 1860 and 1870 in Lawrence County.

For further information about David Dinsmore, the grandfather for whom David Dinsmore Lindsey was named, see the following postings:

David Dinsmore, Ulster-Scots Loyalist in South Carolina and Nova Scotia Exile: Every Life Worth a Novel (1)

David Dinsmore, Ulster-Scots Loyalist in South Carolina and Nova Scotia Exile: Every Life Worth a Novel (2)

David Dinsmore, Ulster-Scots Loyalist in South Carolina and Nova Scotia Exile: Every Life Worth a Novel (3)

David Dinsmore, Ulster-Scots Loyalist in South Carolina and Nova Scotia Exile: Every Life Worth a Novel (4)

David Dinsmore, Ulster-Scots Loyalist in South Carolina and Nova Scotia Exile: Every Life Worth a Novel (5)

David Dinsmore, Ulster-Scots Loyalist in South Carolina and Nova Scotia Exile: Every Life Worth a Novel (6)

[1] The tombstone inscription is transcribed in Phil Waldrep, Cemeteries of Lawrence County, Alabama, vol. 1 (P.O. Box 148, Trinity, Alabama, 1993), p. 323. A photo of the tombstone is in Henry C. Lindsey, The Mark Lindsey Heritage, 1740-1982 (priv. publ., Brownwood, Texas, 1983), p. 39. See also D.D. Lindsey’s Find a Grave memorial page, created by Warren Glenn, which has photos of the tombstone by F.H. Terry and Ray and Marty Lindsey.

[2] S.W. Barbee, “Old Lawrence Reminiscent,” Moulton Advertiser (22 December 1908), p. 1, col. 5-6.

[3] James Edmond Saunders, Early Settlers of Alabama (New Orleans, 1899), pp. 122-3.

[4] Diary of Rev. Samuel A. Agnew, 3-4 August 1854, original in the collection of University of North Carolina’s Wilson Library (Chapel Hill).

[5] S.W. Barbee, “Old Lawrence Reminiscent,” Moulton Advertiser (20 April 1909), p. 1, col. 2-4.

[6] A.G. Copeland, “Reminiscences of Morgan County, No. 3,” Alabama Enquirer (Hartselle) (17 October 1889), p. 3, col. 4.

[7] S.W. Barbee, “Old Lawrence Reminiscent,” Moulton Advertiser (16 February 1909), p. 1, col. 3-6.

[8] Morgan County, Alabama, Marriage Bk. 1, p. 338.

[9] Thomas Brooks’s loose-papers probate file is held by the Morgan County Archives in Decatur.

[10] Morgan County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minute Bk. 5, p. 354.

[11] 1840 federal census, Morgan County, Alabama, p. 24.

[12] The sale is documented in an estate return in Thomas Brooks’s loose-papers estate file in Morgan County; the return was made by Milton McClanahan, who assumed administration of the estate from Charles Brooks in April 1840. I do not have the deed record for this land sale.

[13] Morgan County, Alabama, Deed Bk. D, pp. 548-9.

[14] I’m citing accounts in the probate file. This record is also filed in Morgan County, Alabama, Final Probate Record Bk. 11, pp. 226-9.

[15] In addition to the court order filed in the original probate papers file, see also Morgan County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minute Bk. 10, p. 232.

[16] See the probate file and also Morgan County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minute Bk. 10, p. 283.

[17] Morgan County, Alabama, Deed Bk. F, pp. 301-2.

[18] Ibid., pp. 346-7; and Lawrence County, Alabama, Deed Bk. M, pp. 453-3.

[19] 1850 federal census, Lawrence County, Alabama, district. 8, p. 381B (dwelling and family 242; 5 November).

[20] See Myra Borden, “Agricultural Schedules, 1840-1910,” Old Lawrence Reminiscences 11,3 (September 1997), p. 79.

[21] I’m citing the digital copy of the original document uploaded to Ancestry from the original: NARA, Seventh Census Of The United States, 1850; microfilm M432, RG 29.

[22] Lawrence County, Alabama, Orphans Court Bk. A, p. 446.

[23] Ibid.

[24] 1860 federal census, Lawrence County, Alabama, southern district, Moulton post office, p. 929 (dweling and family 305, 13 July).

[25] See Myra L. Borden, “1860 Agricultural Census,” Old Lawrence Reminiscences 12,4 (December 1998), p. 150, citing p. 9 of the original.

[26] 1870 federal census, Lawrence County, Alabama, township 7, range 6 west, Danville post office (p. 35B, dwelling 69, family 70; 18 August).

[27] The register of Thomas and Sarah Whitlock Brooks’s bible is transcribed in the journal Itawamba Settlers 8,3 (September 1988), pp. 151-2. The transcript is accompanied by a photocopy of part of the original bible register. The journal’s transcript of the bible register does not contain information about where and when this bible was published, about who recorded the information in the bible register, or about who owned the bible when its transcript was published in 1988. The bible appears to have passed down in the family of Thomas and Sarah’s oldest son Charles M. Brooks (1800-1861), who moved from Lawrence County, Alabama, to Itawamba County, Mississippi, in 1840.

[28] Sarah is buried beside her husband in Lindsey cemetery at Speake in Lawrence County, Alabama. Her Find a Grave memorial page, which was created by Warren Glenn, has photos of the tombstone by F.H. Terry and Ray and Marty Lindsey. A photo of the tombstone is also in Mark Lindsey Heritage, p. 39. Tombstone record is in Cemeteries of Lawrence County, Alabama, vol. 1, p. 323, also transcribes the tombstone, stating that the stone is inscribed, “We shall meet again sweet mother / In a brighter time than this / Where the anguish of this world of ours / Is lost in deathless bliss.”

[29] Marion Briscoe, “In Memoriam,” Moulton Advertiser (8 July 1897), p. 3, col. 4.

[30] Sarah Brooks death notice, Moulton Advertiser (3 June 1897), p. 3, col. 4.

[31] 1880 federal census, Lawrence County, Alabama, township 7, range 6, beat 9, p. 400C (dwelling and family 172; 12 June).

[32] An unnamed infant of Reverend Marion and Sallie L. Briscoe who was born and died 23 February 1900 is buried in Lindsey cemetery at Speake.

[33] John Knox, A History of Morgan County, Alabama (Decatur, Alabama: Decatur Printing Co., 1967), p. 126. Mark Lindsey Heritage, p. 39, lists nine children for the couple, who can be identified if one adds together the names of children listed in the couple’s household on the 1850 and 1860 censuses.

[34] Notes sent to me by Betty Taylor of Athens, Alabama, state that John deserted his wife, at which point she married Alexander Dutton.

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