Monday, March 30, 2009

Asa Allen and Amanda Jane Samples

Asa Allen was born about 1863 probably in the Fairgarden or Jones Cove area of Sevier County. The son of Polly Ann Allen, his father is unknown. He had an older brother or possibly half brother named Dave, and there may have been a third sibling who died young. Nicknames were quite common at that time, and he was apparently called Acey.
Asa Allen as a young man

Amanda Jane Samples, called Mandy, was born on January 10, 1874, probably in Jefferson County probably somewhere off what is now US 411 between Bush Brothers at Chestnut Hill and where she and her husband would eventually settle off Upper Rinehart Road near the Cocke County line.

Thought to be Amanda Jane (Samples) Allen; photo courtesy Mary (Allen) Maloy

Amanda was the daughter of William Jasper Samples and Rachel Griffin. Rachel died when Amanda was just 5; William remarried, to Mary Edmonds, but he died about a year after Rachel, leaving his widow to care for Amanda and her two brothers who were not her children -- with just $30. Apparently, William had been ill for quite some time and had few assets. Mary (Edmonds) Samples, unable to care for the children, sent them to live with different uncles. Amanda grew up in the household of her uncle Samuel Harrison Griffin. Mary (Edmonds) Samples did, though, share a portion of the pension she received for William's Civil War service with the children, although she was not legally required to do so. She would later become the second wife of the children's maternal uncle, Thomas Benjamin Griffin.

Asa and Amanda Jane (Samples) Allen with son Randolph

Asa Allen and Amanda Jane Samples were married in Jefferson County, Tennessee, on August 22, 1889; she was only 15, and he was about 26. Nine months and 5 days later, they had their first child, Randolph, born May 27, 1890. Their second child, Rachel Parlee, was apparently born in August of 1892; the photo above was probably taken when Amanda was pregnant with Parlee.

Jefferson County marriage book entry for Asa Allen and Amanda Jane Samples

Although other moves are possible, at present, the couple is thought to have first purchased land on what is Beecarter Road in Jefferson County, although the exact location is not known.

At some point while Randolph was quite young, Asa swapped his land for land on what is now called the Upper Rinehart Road, including what is now called Marshall Way. It is this farm where Randolph and Parlee were raised and where Randolph later raised his own children.

Asa died of unknown causes, apparently in 1899. Although Randolph was about 9 when his father died, no one remembers him discussing why his father died. Certainly, tuberculosis, typhoid, accidents, and many other possibilities were common at that time. Asa's date of death is assumed given that he is listed as "Asa Allen" on the 1899 tax list for Jefferson County, while the 1900 entry on the same list is for the "Heirs of Asa Allen".

According to Randolph's daughter Gertrude, Randolph begged his mother not to remarry, but as a young widow with a small farm, Amanda had few options. She became the second wife of Isaac Newton Holt on November 8, 1899, in Cocke County.

Cocke County marriage book entry for Isaac Newton Holt and Amanda Jane (Samples) Allen

As far as is currently known, Ike (pictured at right) and Amanda lived on the farm that Asa had bartered to obtain. The location is known, although the house was torn down and replaced perhaps in the 1920s. A few months after the marriage, Amanda became pregnant by her new husband.

Ike Holt was, well, a story for another day, but according to the story told by Randolph to some of his children, Ike sat drinking and playing cards while Amanda died in childbirth. In fairness to Ike, men typically had little to nothing to do with births in that era. Both Amanda and her daughter, Daisy, are buried in the Allen Cemetery on the old farm. Neither grave is marked but both are known.

The family has long thought that Daisy perished at birth along with Amanda, who died February 10, 1901. However, more recently, evidence has suggested that Daisy may have lived a few years. Specifically, Randolph's daughter Daisy remembered Randolph talking about a sister who died at about age 3 of an intestinal blockage. The comment, which no one else has been able to recall, could refer to Daisy Holt, to an unknown child born to Asa and Amanda, or to a child that Ike Holt had by another wife.

Tellingly, though, is the location of Daisy Holt's grave, and, for that matter, the fact that she was not buried in the same grave. At that time, if a mother and child died in childbirth, they typically would be buried in the same casket. Daisy was buried in her own grave. Moreover, Daisy's grave is not next to her mother. Instead, the graves of both Asa Allen and his brother Dave are between the two, and Dave lived several years after Amanda died. So Daisy Holt seems likely to have lived for some time.

Exactly who raised Randolph and Parlee at all times is not known; Ike may have raised them continuously, although he did not remarry for about a year and a half. Certainly, though, for a majority of the time they were orphaned, Ike did raise Randolph and Parlee. At some point, Randolph took over the farm and bought out his sister. Randolph continued to own the property until he moved to North Carolina in the early 1940s, although he appears to have rented it out and moved around for quite some time as his children were being born.

For the latest and complete research, see Asa Allen in my Family File.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dave Allen

David M. Allen, called Dave, was the oldest of the known children of Polly Ann Allen; his father is unknown. He was born about 1857 probably in Sevier County around Fairgarden / Jones Cove near the Cocke County border, and he grew up in that area. The Census enumerator in 1900 recorded his birth date as October 1848, which is inconsistent with all other evidence of his age, but the apparent error may point to an actual birth date in October 1858.

Not a great deal is known about Dave. At age 13 in 1870, he was attending school in Sevier County, but he is sometimes listed as literate and sometimes as illiterate depending upon Census. There are no known examples of his signature or use of an "X" either.

He has not been found in the 1880 Census, although there is a David Allen, age 1, living in the same household as his mother. This David may in fact be a bad entry in the Census and may be Dave.

A David Allen of the same age, though, can be found in the state prison in Knoxville; there are no family legends that indicate that Dave ever got into any sort of legal trouble but I have, just today, requested information from the Tennessee Department of Corrections to see if the man in prison in Nashville might be our Dave Allen.

Quite possibly, though, Dave was working for someone else and just wasn't counted on that day. While every Census is supposed to represent where people were on an single day in time, in reality, especially then, the enumeration could take several months. By the time the enumerator reached where Dave had been on the official enumeration day, he may well have moved on and his presence not mentioned to the enumerator. In short, single men who worked on other people's farms were often missed in the Census.

The exact timing and circumstances of Dave's death remain something of a mystery. Several children of Dave's nephew, Randolph Allen, remember their father telling them that Dave outlived his mother but that, shortly after she died, Ike Holt, with Randolph along for the ride, took Dave to the poor farm, where he soon died. He was taken home for burial and is buried under an uninscribed stone on what is now called Marshall Way near the Jefferson/Cocke County border off what is now called Upper Rinehart Road.

His mother is known to have been alive in 1907 although apparently ill by that point, and neither she nor Dave appear in the 1910 Census, suggesting that he died sometime between 1907 and 1910. Randolph's story also suggests that Randolph himself was somewhat young and perhaps not married; Randolph married in 1909, again suggesting the 1907 to 1910 timeframe for Dave's death.

The family story is not clear as to whether Dave was taken to the Poor Farm in Cocke County or in Jefferson County. Most records for both poor farms have been lost, and his name does not appear in the few remaining mentions of the farms in county court records in either county.

For the complete and latest research, see David M. Allen in my Family File.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Polly Ann Allen

Polly Ann Allen, pictured at right, was my 3rd great grandmother. She was born about 1834 probably around the Fairgarden/Jones Cove area of Sevier County, Tennessee, to Alfred Allen and Elizabeth Fox.

Polly Ann might have been as young as 6 but certainly was under 16 when her father died, leaving her at home to help her mother make a living and raise her younger siblings. By 1860, her mother was taking in washing, and Polly Ann was weaving to earn money.

She never married, but she had two sons, David M., called Dave, and Asa; Dave was born about 1857, and Asa about 1863. Family stories, attributable directly to her grandson who knew her, name only the two children. However, the 1900 Census indicates that she had a third child; if so, that child presumably died young or at birth.

Births out of wedlock were not particularly uncommon in that era and, in fact, did not carry quite the stigma that would be attached later in the Victorian era. Unfortunately, knowledge of the circumstances of the births has been lost. Family legend indicates that Asa's father may have been a Fox; however, since Polly Ann's mother was also a Fox, some confusion may have arisen. For that matter, no one is certain whether Asa and Dave had the same father.

Polly Ann lived for a long time with her mother, then a nephew, and then her son Dave. She might have lived for a while with Ike Holt, who was raising her grandchildren, as one family story indicates that her grandchild Randolph sometimes cared for her while Ike's third wife, who was not related to her, would not bring her water. Polly Ann probably died in or shortly after 1907 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. She is buried in the Allen Cemetery on what is now a gravel road called Marshall Way off Upper Rinehart Road just over the Cocke County line in Jefferson County. While there is a tombstone on her grave, the stone is not inscribed.

View Larger Map
Fairgarden/Jones Cove Area (Sevier County, Tennessee)

For the complete and latest research, see Mary Ann Allen in my Family File.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jim Bagby, Jr.

I wrote a long article for the Newport Plain Talk that was published in three parts shortly before the 2007 World Series; this is the third of the three parts to be published. For my latest research and full details, see James Charles Jacob Bagby Jr. in my Family File.

James Charles Jacob Bagby, Jr., was the son of Jim Bagby and his wife Mabel Margaret Smith, the latter being a native of Newport, Tennessee. He was born 8 September 1916 in Cleveland, Ohio, while his father was playing for the Cleveland Indians.

Jim Bagby, Jr.

From a young age, Jim was coached by his father to be a pitcher. Even in 1934, his father said, “I’m sure he’s headed for the majors. He’s a great prospect. He has control and confidence, his curve ball is as good as mine was, and he’d rather play baseball than eat.”1

Jim Jr. played with the Dixie Amateur League in the summer of 1934, winning ten and losing five for Montgomery, and he would soon be playing in the minor leagues, first for Charlotte in 1935, Rocky Mount in 1936, and then Hazelton in 1937. For Hazelton, he won twenty-one games and lost eight, with a 2.71 ERA in the New York-Penn League .2

His performance did lead him to the majors, playing first for the Boston Red Sox in 1938. Expectations were high given his famous father, and some writers suggested that expectations might be too high given his famous father, as many sons had not been able to live up to their fathers’ legends.3

In fact, though, Jim performed quite admirably in that first year, winning more than his well-known teammate Lefty Grove. As a rookie, he was the starting pitcher for the Red Sox opening game, a rare honor not given again to another rookie by the Red Sox until 1998.4 Jim was a sensation in the first season but was used primarily as a relief pitcher in the next two seasons, 1939 and 1940.

In 1940, he was still playing for the Red Sox and was a part of an event that still inspires baseball trivia questions: the one game in which Ted Williams pitched.5 During the first game of a double header that the Red Sox were losing badly to Detroit, Red Sox manager Joe Cronin wanted to rest his pitching staff, calling Williams in from left field to pitch and sending the pitcher out to left field; that pitcher was Jim Bagby, Jr. Also that year, he became the first of only three pitchers to date to be credited with three put-outs in an single inning.

Before the next season, as part of a major trade involving several players among three teams, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians, joining the team for which both his father and uncle had played.6 He would play for Cleveland for several years, and he was picked as an all-star in 1942 and 1943, leading the American League in starts both years.

In 1941, his first year for the Indians, Jim once again was an integral part of a legendary game. Joe DiMaggio had managed a hit in fifty-six consecutive games, still a record today. One of those hits, his twenty-eighth, had been off Jim Bagby. But, more importantly, Jim Bagby was on the mound when the streak ended. Starting pitcher Al Smith and finishing pitcher Jim Bagby, with some help from the infield, held DiMaggio hitless on July 18, 1941.

World War II posed many problems for baseball, with many players serving in the armed forces and many others working in war industries during the off season; Jim, for instance, was a tool designer for Bell Aircraft in Marietta.7 Some biographers note that Jim served as a Merchant Marine in 1944 and, as a result, missed most of the season. Press coverage at the time, though, presents a more complicated picture.

Lou Boudreau was a premier shortstop for the Indians, having made his major league debut with them in 1938. In fact, it was he who fielded the last ground ball that DiMaggio hit, in his last at-bat, in the game where the streak was broken. He was named player/manager of the Indians in 1942, causing considerable friction as some other players who had applied for the position quit the team, and some of the remaining players were not particularly happy with the decision.

Jim also had a feud with Boudreau, although that feud appears to be for completely different reasons and began in September 1943. In Jim’s version,8 the feud began when Boudreau fined him $100 for not taking a warm-up run before a night game in Washington. Jim had already done his warm-up run before Boudreau showed up at the park. Jim wrote to a sportswriter that “he never took that fine off, and from then on I said what I thought.” Boudreau responded that Jim was out of shape and that “Jim and I don’t see eye-to-eye on some things.” However, Boudreau also said, “I’d rather have a disgruntled winner than a happy loser.”9

Despite Boudreau’s comment, he did shop Jim to other teams, coming closed to trading him to the Detroit Tigers in December 1943, but Boudreau called off the negotiations immediately when Al Smith, another strong Indians pitcher, was reclassified as 1-A, being immediately eligible to serve in the military.10

After the failed trade, Jim went public again, expressing his dislike of Boudreau and desire to be traded.11 He then demanded more money from the Indians and became the last holdout in the American League two months later. Instead of signing, he requested “voluntary retirement for the duration”12 in March 1944. At the same time, he applied to become a Merchant Marine, with the service indicating that he would have to wait three weeks for examination and probably another week after that to enroll if accepted.

A month later, Jim announced that the Maritime Commission had accepted him and had ordered him to report in early May.13 In the meantime, he had been working out with the minor-league Atlanta team. He reported to the Commission, but he resigned in July, and immediately reported to his local draft board for induction into the Army.14

The next day, the press reported that, while Jim would not state explicitly that he was rejoining the Indians, he did say, “I’m through being bull-headed. From now on I’m going to do all the listening. I’m sorry I had all that trouble with Manager Lou Boudreau last year, but it won’t happen again because I have learned to keep my mouth shut.”15

And the next day, the press reported that Jim had reported for his preinduction physical at Fort McPherson in Georgia. The head of the local draft board indicated that Bagby himself requested the examination, but also noted that recent quotas for the draft board had not been high, with enough registrants in the twenty-six and below age group to fill the quotas; Jim was twenty-seven.16 A week later, Jim was rejected from the Army and rejoined the Indians, with catcher Jim McDonnell being optioned to a minor league team to make room for Jim on the roster.17

After rejoining the Indians, Jim continued to perform well but never again reached the heights of his previous seasons. After the 1944 season, the Jim was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Vic Johnson, who was another pitcher, and an undisclosed sum of cash.18

He was a starting pitcher for the Red Sox but pitched fewer innings than the other starting pitchers that year. However, the Red Sox won the pennant that year and went to the World Series against the Saint Louis Cardinals. The Red Sox would lose the series four games to three, but, in game four on October 10, Jim was called to pitch in the third inning, marking the first time in history that both a father and a son had pitched in a World Series game.

Following that season, Jim was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a fee reported to be in excess of the standard $10,000 waiver fee under which he had been offered. The season with Pittsburgh would be his tenth and last in the major league, surpassing his father’s tenure, but the United Press article at the time of the trade felt the need to describe him as having “never fulfilled the hope that he might become as great a pitcher as his father.”19

Oddly, his father had ended his career with Pittsburgh as well, and, in the end, both father and son played on exactly the same three major league teams, although in a different order.

After Jim left baseball, he became a golf pro. In 1982, his cancerous larynx was removed, and he was unable to talk again, but his wife could read lips and talked for him,20 especially when reporters would inevitably call in the Julys to follow in order to discuss the end of DiMaggio’s streak. Jim said he threw “just fastballs” and that “Joe hit one of them hard, but he just hit it at somebody.”

Jim died 2 September 1988 in Marietta, Georgia. In 1992, Jim Bagby, Jr., was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Footnotes (omitted when article was published):
1 The Washington Post, “Jim Bagby Heads Jim Jr., 18, to the Majors”, 5 November 1934, page 17.
2 The Washington Post, “This Morning... With Shirley Povich”, 13 January 1938, page X17.
3 The Washington Post, “Jim Jr. Due to Stick”, Dillon Graham, Associated Press, 4 April 1938, page X17.
4 The Houston Chronicle, “Around the AL”, 11 April 1998, page 6.
5 The New York Times, “Question Box”, 13 August 1984, page C4.
6 The Washington Post, “Walker Goes to Cleveland in 3-Ply Deal”, Shirley Povich, 13 December 1940, page 24.
7 The Washington Post, “Pitcher Says Their Dislike Is Mutual”, Associated Press, 20 January 1944, page 18.
8 The Washington Post, “Pitcher Says Their Dislike is Mutual”, Associated Press, 20 January 1944, page 18.
9 The Washington Post, “This Morning... With Shirley Povich”, 1 December 1943, page 18.
10 The Washington Post, “Tribe Deal for Bagby Collapses”, 3 December 1943, page 14.
11 The Washington Post, “Pitcher Says Their Dislike is Mutual”, Associated Press, 20 January 1944, page 18.
12 The Washington Post, “Indian Pitching Ace, J. Bagby, Requests Retirement for Duration”, 9 March 1944, page 8.
13 The Washington Post, “Bagby To Be Called By Merchant Marine”, Associated Press, 12 April 1944, page 10.
14 The Washington Post, “Jim Bagby Resigns Maritime Service; To Take Army Exa[m]”, Associated Press, 12 July 1944, page 8.
15 The Washington Post, “’I’m Through Being Bull-Headed,’ Says Jim Bagby”, United Press, 13 July 1944, page 8.
16 The Washington Post, “Bagby Reports for Army Physical Test”, 14 July 1944, page 10.
17 The Washington Post, “Indians Make Room for Bagby”, Associated Press, 21 July 1944, page 10.
18 The Washington Post, “Bosox Get Bagby From Cleveland”, United Press, 13 December 1945, page 12.
19 The Washington Post, “Bosox Sell Bagby to Pittsburgh Club”, United Press, 12 February 1947, page 13.
20 The New York Times, “Views On Sport; A Mystery Man in the End to DiMaggio’s Streak”, John B. Holway, 15 July 1990, A7.

Sarge Bagby (James Charles Jacob Bagby)

I wrote a long article for the Newport Plain Talk that was published in three parts shortly before the 2007 World Series; this is the second of the three parts to be published. For my latest research and full details, see James Charles Jacob Bagby in my Family File.

James Charles Jacob Bagby (1899-1954) was not from Newport; instead, he married a Newport native, Mabel Margaret Smith, who had moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and was a sister to Clarence Ossie Smith. Jim would have a successful career in the majors, and the couple would have a son who did as well.

Jim Bagby in 19211

Jim was born 5 October 1899 in Barnett, Georgia,2 the son of William H. Bagby and Minerva Rocker. He started playing professionally a year before Clarence Smith, in 1910, for the Augusta Tourists in the old South Atlantic League, but the same season was transferred to the Hattiesburg Lumberjacks in the Cotton States League. Under manager Link Stickney, he won five games and lost eleven. In 1911, though, for the renamed Hattiesburg Woodpeckers, he led the league with wins, twenty-two, while losing sixteen under managers George Moore and Carlos Smith.

After that performance, he was called to the majors, playing in 1912 for the Cincinnati Reds under manager Joe Tinker and owner August Herman. He played his first game on April 22nd and pitched reasonably well that season but pitched only 17.3 innings and failed to impress the Reds management. He was sold for $750 to the minor league team in Montgomery, Alabama, on August 17th that year.3

Presumably sometime while playing for Montgomery, he met Clarence Ossie Smith who was playing for Birmingham, and he would marry Clarence’s sister, Mabel Margaret, a native of Newport, Tennessee, on February 10, 1913,4 about two months before Clarence got his first chance in the majors with the Chicago White Sox.

By 1913, Jim was playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. In his first season with New Orleans on August 19th, he was trying to catch a fly ball and crashed into his own second baseman, breaking Jim’s left arm;5 thankfully, he was a right-handed pitcher, but he missed part of the season due to his injury.

He signed again with New Orleans the next season6 at a time when his brother-in-law was abandoned in California. In 1914, he achieved twenty wins and nine losses, and, in 1915 when Clarence Smith joined him in New Orleans, he won another nineteen games, with Clarence winning twenty for the Pelicans that year.

His performance got him called up to the Cleveland Indians on July 22, 1915,7 with him reporting to the Indians after the end of the Southern League season. His brother-in-law Clarence Smith would join him on the Indians in the middle of Jim’s first season there.

By the time that Clarence arrived, Jim had already established himself as a strong starting pitcher, pitching in forty-eight games, winning sixteen and losing sixteen, with an ERA of 2.61, and three shutouts. By the end of the season, Jim was fifth in the American League in terms of the number of games pitched, fourth in the number of saves, and second in the number of games finished. He was a very controlled pitcher; he rarely struck out batters, but he very rarely walked them.

While 1917 finished his brother-in-law’s major-league career, it proved to be a very good year for Jim. He won twenty-three games, including eight shutouts, with thirteen losses and seven saves and an ERA of only 1.96; he even managed to bat .231. He ranked in the top five in the American League that year for the number of wins, games played, inning pitched, games completed, and batters faced. His ERA was fourth best in the league even though he was first in the number of hits allowed and was second for the number of home runs allowed.

In 1918 and 1919, he continued with very solid performances. In 1918, he pitched in a league-leading forty-five games, winning seventeen and losing sixteen with six saves, two shutouts, an ERA of 2.69, and a batting average of .212. In 1919, he pitched thirty-five games, winning seventeen and losing eleven with three saves and no shutouts, an ERA of 2.80, and a batting average of .258, including the first of his two home runs in the majors.

About this time, he picked up the nickname “Sarge”, not because of any military experience but because of a character, Sergeant Jimmy Bagby, in the Old Judge Priest stories by humorist Irvin S. Cobb. Some of the players had seen a show on Broadway, which quite possibly was Boys Will Be Boys, which ran in October and November of 1919 at the Belmont Theater on West 48th Street.

1920 would be the high point of his career. He led the league in innings pitched and games played; in fact, he won 31 games; since 1920, two other pitchers, Lefty Grove (1931) and Denny McClain (1968) have tied that total, but no one has beaten it. He lost only twelve and pitched thirty complete games with three shutouts and an ERA of 2.89; he batted .252.

In 1920, the Indians were on track for their first pennant win ever in one of the oddest races ever. On August 16th, with the Indians in first place and playing the third-place Yankees, the Indian’s shortstop, Ray Chapman, was hit in the head by a pitch by Carl Mays; he died the next morning and remains the only major league player killed during a game. The Indians suffered a slump after the game but were able to recover.

1920 Cleveland Indians; Jim Bagby is seventh from left.8

Then in September, Chicago White Sox were challenging the Indians in the pennant race when the Black Sox scandal of 1919 was exposed, revealing that a number of the White Sox players had participated in a scheme to throw the 1919 World Series. Despite the pennant race, Sox owner Charles Comiskey immediately suspended the players who were later banned from baseball for life, ending the White Sox challenge.

The same day that the Black Sox players were suspended, September 28th, Jim got his 30th win, against the Saint Louis Browns; on October 2nd, Jim won his 31st and last regular season game, clinching the pennant for the Indians.

The next week, the Indians were playing the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. The first three games were played at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Stan Coveleski was credited with the Indians win in the first game, but the Dodgers took the next two games, including game two, when Jim was credited with a loss against opposing pitcher Burleigh Grimes, a legal spitball pitcher who was, in fact, the last person allowed to throw spitballs when he retired in 1937.

Moving to Cleveland for game four, Coveleski again delivered a win for the Indians, and game five was a rematch between Jim and Grimes. The game became legendary. In the bottom of the first inning, Jim’s teammates Charlie Jamieson, Bill Wambsganss, and Tris Speaker, were on base when Elmer Smith hit the first grand slam home run in the history of the World Series.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Jim himself was at bat with Doc Johnston and Steve O'Neill on base. Jim knocked a home run into center field, becoming the first pitcher to hit a home run in a World series game.

And, in the top of the next inning, Bill Wambsganss, the Indian’s second baseman, made an unassisted triple play; not only was it the first triple play in World Series history, he made all three outs himself.

Jim pitched the entire game while Grimes was relieved in the fifth inning. Jim actually gave up thirteen hits but only allowed one score, when, with one out remaining in the ninth, Dodgers player Ed Konetchy got that thirteenth hit and drove in a run. Cleveland had also managed one more run in the fifth and won the game 8-1 in front of a hometown crowd. With Duster Mails and Stan Coveleski throwing shutouts in the next two games, the Indians won the World Series five games to two.

Jim’s career never again achieved the same heights. In 1921, though, he did have another brush with fame that was barely recognized at the time9 . At this writing (2007), Barry Bonds is rapidly closing in on Hank Aaron’s record 755 career home runs. In 1974, Aaron had beaten with much fanfare the previous record set by Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth himself took the title in a nearly-forgotten game in 1921 – with Jim Bagby on the mound.

The record prior to Ruth is somewhat in dispute; to many, including the New York Times in 1921, the relevant record was held by Gaavy Cravath, who had achieved 119 home runs in his career in the modern, post-1900 era. Historically, three other men had higher numbers, but the ball parks, the balls, and other aspects of the game were very different before 1900.

In any case, at Yankee Stadium on June 10th, 1921, Jim Bagby threw to Ruth when Ruth hit his 120th home run, breaking Cravath’s record. The New York Times mentioned the record only as a small blurb.10 In total, Jim would be pitching for three of Ruth’s 714 home runs.

Overall in 1921, Jim performed reasonably well but gave up considerably more runs than in prior years; he won fourteen games and lost twelve with an ERA of 4.70. In 1922, his ERA leaped to 6.32, and he won four games and lost five in a season that was cut short for him by appendicitis in August.11

In December 1922, the Indians sold him for an unannounced price12 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched only occasionally, winning three games and losing two with an ERA of 5.24. In September of the next year, he was released as a free agent and signed first with the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League.13 He continued to play in the minors for Atlanta, Rochester, Jersey City, Newark, Monroe, and York. He retired after the 1930 season as manager of the Monroe (Louisiana) Drillers in the Cotton States League.

For the most part, he spent the next several years managing his cleaning and pressing company in Atlanta, and he also owned a gas station. In 1941, though, he returned to baseball – as an umpire in the Coastal Plains League.14 He suffered a stroke in 1942 and suffered bad health for the rest of his life,15 although he recovered enough to work in a couple of department stores in Atlanta.

Jim had another stroke and died July 28, 1954, at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia; he is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

A year after Jim’s death, his widow, Mabel, had an association with one of the most controversial television game shows in history. “Strike It Rich”, hosted at the time by Warren Hull, invited destitute people on to answer a few questions and win some money. If they failed to win, they could appeal directly to the home audience, who could call in with donations. The show received substantial condemnation but lasted for a number of years. In 1955, Mabel, a diabetic, had lost both of her legs, and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch agreed to play in her stead so that she could afford a better wheelchair and a sewing machine. He won her $300, and the Indians donated $100 and an Atlanta clothing company, $200; another Atlanta company donated a portable sewing machine.

Jim Bagby, Sr., was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. In August of 2007, he will be inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame.

Footnotes (omitted when this article was published):
1 Library of Congress
2 World War 1 Draft Registration Card, James Charles Bagby, Augusta, Georgia.
3 The Atlanta Constitution, “Bailey and Waldorf Are Now Property of Crackers; List of Optional Players”, 18 August 1912.
Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: Baseball, Revised and Expanded Edition, A-F, David F. Porter, editor, 2000: Greenwood Press, West Port, Connecticut
5 The Atlanta Constitution, “Thompson Wins Fourth Straight By Trimming Birds In Saturday’s Game”, 20 July 1913.
6 The Atlanta Constitution, “Catcher Yantz Sold to Toledo Ball Club”, 28 January 1914, page 7.
7 The Atlanta Constitution, “Jim Bagby Sold to Cleveland Team”, 23 July 1915, page 8.
8 Library of Congress.
9The Virginian Pilot, “A Record Homer from a Long-Ago Era That Hardly Anyone Noticed.”
10 The New York Times, “Curves and Bingles”, 11 July 1921, page 10.
11 Danville [Virginia] Bee, “Bagby Has Appendicitis”, 23 August 1922, page 7.
12 The New York Times, “Landis is Firm on Meeting Date”, 6 December 1922, page 25.
13 The Washington Post, “Indians Release Bagby”, 12 September 1923, page 14.
14 The Washington Post, “Old Sarge Becomes one of the Boys in Blue”, 1 June 1941, page SP2.
15 Atchison (Kansas) Daily Globe, “Sports in Brief”, 29 July 1954, page 7.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pop Boy Smith (Clarence Ossie Smith)

I wrote a long article for the Newport Plain Talk that was published in three parts shortly before the 2007 World Series; this is the first of the three parts to be published. For my latest research and full details, see Clarence Ossie Smith in my family file.

Clarence was born 23 May 1892 in Newport1 to William Bruce Smith and Margaret C. Dennis. Both of his parents were born in and married in Sevier County, but they lived in Cocke County for decades; Margaret’s parents, John Edward Dennis and Miranda Hartsell, were both born in Cocke County as well and descended from early Cocke County families.

Clarence was the third of the eight children who lived and the only boy in the family. He was first cousin to, among many others, the late Newportians Vella Allen and Ed and Royce Dennis. His father, Bruce Smith, was a carpenter in Newport as were Bruce’s brothers-in-law, John Joshua Dennis and Joel Leonard Dennis. When Clarence was about 10, the family relocated permanently to Birmingham, Alabama, where Bruce was a contractor, eventually working for himself.

The family’s new city had a baseball team, the Barons, which was a member of the Southern Association, a now-defunct league that was among the higher-level leagues of the era. The 8-team league included Birmingham, the Atlanta Crackers, the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Little Rock Travelers, the Memphis Chicks, the Nashville Vols, and the New Orleans Pelicans; typically, the eighth team was either the Knoxville Smokies, the Mobile Bears, or the Shreveport Sports.

In 1908, Carlton Molesworth became the player-manager of the Barons, and he would manage the team until 1922. Although he had pitched briefly in the National League for the Washington Senators, he played outfield for the Barons in addition to being the manager. Over the years, he built what is considered one of the strongest organizations in minor league history.

In 1909, A.H. “Rick” Woodward purchased the Barons and quickly built a new stadium, Rickwood Field, which was the first concrete and steel stadium in the minor leagues and is today the oldest professional baseball stadium still standing. The stadium was finished in time for the opening of the 1910 season.

Bruce & Margaret Smith family about 1908; Clarence is the one son, sitting with the dog. His sister Mabel is presumably in the photo, but her appearance at this time is not known.2

Clarence Smith got a job in that brand-new stadium in 1910 – selling drinks in the stands as what was then called a “pop boy”. A huge baseball fan, he took the job to be able to attend all the games. During practices, he would sometimes pitch to the players, and Molesworth, the player-manager, quickly noticed him. Molesworth signed Clarence in the spring of 1911 for $90 per month, farming him out to the Anniston (Alabama) Models of the now-defunct Southeastern League. From then on, Clarence would be known as “Pop Boy” Smith.3

In Clarence’s year with the Models, the team won the pennant, and Molesworth credited that win largely to Clarence’s pitching. They beat out the other teams in the league, which consisted of the Models, the Bessemer Pipemakers, the Gadsden Steel Makers, the Huntsville Mountaineers, the Rome (Georgia) Romans, the Selma Centralites, and the Talladega Highlanders.

After his year with the Models, Clarence in 1912 reported to the Birmingham Barons and began pitching for the team. Molesworth said of Clarence that year, “My opinion is he’s going to develop into a wonder and there’s nothing to keep him from getting into the big league. He’s only nineteen years old.”4 That season, for the first time under Molesworth, the Barons won the pennant. A letter from booster William Millikan to Clark Griffith, the legendary long-time manager of the Washington Senators, gave much of the credit to Clarence and outfielder Jimmy Johnston.5 Griffith expressed an interest in getting both for his team, but expressed little confidence in being able to sign either player.

Clarence Smith as a White Sox player in 1913

Instead, after just two years in the minor leagues and shortly before his twenty-first birthday, Clarence made it to the majors with another team, the Chicago White Sox (also known as the Americans during the era) as a pitcher; he was their youngest pitcher that year.

Nixey Callahan at the time was the manager of the White Sox, then as now an American League team. Charles Comiskey, who built the first Comiskey Park in Chicago, was the notoriously frugal owner who forced the players to, among other things, pay for laundering their own uniforms.

The White Sox had a pitching staff of thirteen that year, lead by the talented Eddie Cicotte who six years later would go down in infamy in the Black Sox scandal. Pitchers at the time threw in far more games than in the modern era and with often far more damage done to their arms. As the youngest, Clarence himself got very little playing time, playing in just fifteen games and pitching a total of thirty-two innings throughout the season.

Clarence’s performance for the White Sox was quite respectable, but Comiskey was apparently not very happy with his entire relief pitching staff. He was looking to create a powerhouse team, which would win the 1917 World Series and then famously throw the 1919 World Series. By midseason, Comiskey apparently was already trying to pare down the number of pitchers, and the White Sox roster by the next season was reduced from thirteen pitchers to nine. In fact, Comiskey ended up keeping just his five starters and one relief pitcher, pulling three new pitchers from the minor leagues.

The Atlanta Constitution reported on July 3rd that year6 and again the next day7 that Comiskey offered Clarence to the Atlanta Crackers, a minor-league team in search of an exceptional pitcher, for $2,000, a high sum at the time. The offer was sent the night of July 2nd and accepted by the Crackers on the 3rd. However, in a game on the 3rd against the Detroit Tigers, Clarence performed exceptionally well, and Comiskey reneged on the deal. While Atlanta probably had legal claim, they were not about to anger Comiskey.

Chicago Americans/White Sox, 1913, team photo; Clarence Smith is sitting third from left.8

Later that month, Clarence created a minor stir by playing with the Coulon Athletics, a semi-pro team, violating American League rules. But the president of the American League, Byron Bancroft “Ban” Johnson decided that, although several players had been fined the previous year for the same offense, Clarence was “just a youngster” and did not know he was violating the rules, so he was forgiven without consequence.9

That December, a rumor was floated again that Clarence would be sold, this time to the Chattanooga Lookouts,10 with the Crackers still being quite interested in him. However, Comiskey kept Clarence on the White Sox through spring training in California in 1914. Allegedly, during a game in California, the San Francisco fans taunted Clarence to the point that he retorted, “I should worry; we'll be back in the United States next week.”11 Unbeknownst to Clarence, Comiskey decided on March 30th to leave him in California after spring training.12

Clarence was sold at that time to the Venice Tigers, owned by Edward Maier and managed at the time by Hap Hogan. The team more commonly was known as the Vernon Tigers but played in Venice in 1913 and 1914 in the Pacific League. The Pacific League apparently was the closest to becoming another major league without becoming one, and it could often offer salaries high enough to keep players from going to the majors.

Clarence was not happy in California. Billy Fritz, the baseball writer for the Oakland Tribune, called him “fractious”13 and taunted him in the press over his “United States” remark,14 and Clarence would also chafe from his lack of playing time.15 While Hap Hogan made it clear that he was not trying to sell or trade Clarence, he also indicated that he would not object if Clarence found a better deal. Apparently, Clarence did, and sometime around late 1914, he ended up with the pennant-winning Portland Beavers in the same league under Walter Henry McCredie. Rather soon, Portland sold Clarence to the New Orleans Pelicans, with the sale completed in March 1915.16

Clarence apparently welcomed the move to New Orleans, where his brother-in-law, Jim Bagby, had gone after his year with the Reds. Jim had been a sensation in New Orleans, winning twenty and losing nine in 1914 for the Pelicans, and Clarence then followed up with the incredible feat of winning more than twenty games in two consecutive seasons; he won twenty and lost twelve in 1915 and won twenty-three and lost thirteen in 1916.

In the midst of his hot streak in 1916, Clarence found himself late in the season being called to the majors again, when he was sold on August 19th to the Cleveland Indians.17 His brother-in-law, Jim Bagby, had also gone to the Indians earlier that season. Being called up so late in the season, Clarence had little opportunity to pitch, especially since the Indians had seventeen pitchers on the roster. He pitched only five games, with one win, two losses, and one save; he started three games and finished two, pitching a total of 25.7 innings.

In Cleveland both years, Clarence played under manager Lee Fohl and owner Jim Dunn. Early in the 1917 season, despite his incredible record in the minors, Clarence apparently began to lose his arm. Fohl placed him on probation in late March because of his inability to “hold the mound”18 that year. Clarence played a few more games, but played his last major league game on May 2, 1917, oddly enough against his first team, the White Sox, and was sent back to the New Orleans Pelicans.

How long he played for the Pelicans the second time is not currently known. In 1921 and 1922, he was a manager in the West Texas League, a short-lived Class D league that functioned from 1920-1922 and 1928-1929. He and Roy Brashear were managers of the Ballinger Bearcats in 1921 with the team moving from Mineral Wells to Balinger on May 19th that year. The team won 57 and lost 72, finishing fourth of six teams at 15.5 games behind. In 1921, Clarence was manager for the Sweetwater Swatters, who had led the league the prior year; they won 62 and lost 73, finishing fifth out of eight teams at 24 games behind.19

On February 16, 1924, Clarence died suddenly at his home in Sweetwater, Texas. His body was brought back to Birmingham for burial at Elmwood Cemetery. Details about his personal life, including whether he married or had children, are not currently known.

Footnotes (omitted when this article was published):
1 World War 1 Draft Registration Card, Clarence Ossie Smith, New Orleans, Louisiana.
2 Photo courtesy Janice (Dennis) Hance who inherited it from her father, Ed Dennis.
3 The Atlanta Constitution, “Clarence Smith, Baron Hurler, Got Starts While Selling Drinks at the Birmingham Ball Park”, 27 June 1912, page 13.
4 The Atlanta Constitution, “Clarence Smith, Baron Hurler, Got Starts While Selling Drinks at the Birmingham Ball Park”, 27 June 1912, page 13.
5 The Washington Post, “Johnson is to Twirl Against Virginia Nine”, 15 March 1913, page 8.
6 The Atlanta Constitution, “’Pop Boy’ Smith Bought by Locals”, 3 July 1913, page 10.
7 The Atlanta Constitution, “Comiskey Backs Down on Locals”, 4 July 1913.
8 Library of Congress.
9 The Atlanta Constitution, “’Pop Boy’ Smith Will Not Feel Iron Hand”, 7 July 1913.
10 The Atlanta Constitution, “’Pop Boy’ Smith May Go To The Lookouts”, 17 December 1913, page 10.
11 The Daily Review [Decatur, Illinois], “Late Stories of the White Sox”, 1 April 1914, page 5.
12 The Atlanta Constitution, “Clarence Smith Sold”, 31 March 1914, page 9.
13 The Oakland [California] Tribune, “Billy Fitz Says, Says He”, 31 March 1914.
14 The Oakland [California] Tribune, “Diamond Flashes”, 10 September 1914, page 12.
15 The Oakland [California] Tribune, “Baseball by Billy Fritz”, 31 July 1914, page 18.
16 The Atlanta Constitution, “Farrell’s Decisions”, 14 March 1915, page 5b.
17 The Washington Post, “Indians Buy Players”, 21 August 1916, page 6.
18 The Fort Wayne Daily News, “Rookies and Regulars”, 28 March 1917, page 14.

Newport and Major League Baseball: Pop Boy Smith, Sarge Bagby, & Jim Bagby Jr.

I wrote a long article for the Newport Plain Talk that was published in three parts shortly before the 2007 World Series. The prologue is here, and the three parts will follow as separate postings.

Apparently little known in the city’s history, Clarence Ossie Smith (1892-1924) is the only known Major League Baseball player born in Newport, Tennessee. Discovered while selling drinks at his local stadium, he proved to be a pitching sensation in the minor leagues but had a somewhat fitful experience in the majors. Still, he played in the majors for three years, and just reaching the majors was an incredible achievement.

His sister, Mabel Margaret Smith, also born in Newport, married a fellow pitcher, James Charles Jacob Bagby. Jim Bagby became the first pitcher to hit a home run in one of the most fascinating World Series games ever and was pitching when Babe Ruth passed a major milestone. In addition, Jim and Margaret had a son Jim Jr. who would also pitch in the World Series, making the two Jims the first father and son combination ever to pitch in the championship.

Samples Family of Cocke County (Overview)

The following is an article I wrote for the Newport Plain Talk which was published in October 2008. For all details and my most recent research on the Samples family, start with Josiah Samples in my family file.

My great grandfather, Randolph Allen, died in 1972, leaving little information even about his own parents, Asa and Amanda (Samples) Allen. The truth be told, he probably did not know much, especially about the Samples family; after all, Randolph was only 9 when his father died and just 10 when his mother died. He and his younger sister, Rachel Parlee, were raised by his mother’s second husband, Ike Holt, and Ike’s third wife, Lula Ollis, not by actual relatives. [Asa, Amanda, and Randolph are pictured at right.]

Randolph did know his mother’s brothers, Clem and Joe Samples, but whatever he learned from them, if anything, has been lost. Through research, I have since learned that Amanda (Samples) Allen lost her own mother, Rachel (Griffin) Samples, when Amanda was just 5, and lost her father, William Jasper Samples, the very next year. She, Clem, and Joe were farmed out to three different maternal uncles at very young ages and probably did not know much about the Samples family either.

With two successive generations of orphans, practically no knowledge of the Samples family was passed down to my family other than an old tintype photograph taken in 1890 of Asa, Amanda, and my great grandfather as a baby on Asa’s knee. Over the past couple of years, my genealogy research has turned to the Samples family, and through research, especially pension records, a picture of the Samples family has begun to emerge, answering many questions but creating new ones, too.

Josiah and Lucinda (Martin) Samples

Josiah Samples was born 11 March 1805 in Virginia and died in the 1860s, most likely in Cocke County. He was the son of Moses and Mary (Rutherford) Samples from Virginia who settled in upper East Tennessee in the early 1800s. Josiah had a number of siblings in the surrounding area, but most if not all of the Samples family in Cocke County itself appears to descend from Josiah.

Josiah married Lucinda Martin on 23 April 1830; they probably already lived in Cocke County when they married, but, in any case, they were there soon thereafter. Lucinda was born 28 December 1808; according to the family Bible, she was born at a place called Smith’s Fork in West Tennessee. The exact location, though, is unclear, since Smith’s Fork is unknown, and what is now considered West Tennessee was not particularly settled in 1808. Lucinda died 21 February 1878, probably in Cocke County. Where the couple was buried is unknown.

This article gives a brief sketch of the family of Josiah Samples and Lucinda Martin and the main lines of descent in Cocke County. Josiah and Lucinda raised a family of 9 children, 8 of them boys, and most are thought to have been born in Cocke County. However, their son James Alexander Samples said he was born in Sevier County, specifically at Tuckaleechee Cove, which is actually in Blount County; the Cocke County courthouse fire has made the tracking of the early movements of this family difficult. Regardless of where they were actually born, their children lived their lives in Cocke County.

Many Cocke County families suffered losses in the Civil War, and the Samples family was heavily hit. Of the eight sons, seven were old enough to fight, and all are thought to have done so. Only three, though, returned home alive, and one of those died several years later from what the family believed was an illness contracted during the war. Even Josiah himself, who is not known to have fought, appears to have died sometime during or shortly after the war.

Some of the Samples sons fought and died for the North and some for the South; some of the Samples sons actually fought first for the South and then for the North. In fact, many Cocke County men did the same. In Cocke County, about 400 men enforced a Confederate draft, often dragging men from their homes and marching them to Knoxville to enlist. We cannot know the real sympathies of all of the Samples brothers because of both the forced conscription and the fact that many of them did not live to tell the tale.

Even men who supported the Confederate cause were often infuriated by the behavior of Cocke County enlistment troops, and many changed sides as soon as they could, usually going to Kentucky to enlist in the Union army. According to Duay O’Neil, a man named George Sisk was one of the Confederate enlistment officers in Cocke County. After the Civil War, he fled with his family to Texas, where he wrote in 1880 that he feared for his life if he ever returned to Cocke County because of the animosity over forced Confederate conscription.

The children of Josiah Samples and Lucinda Martin were:

Reuben S. Samples

Reuben was the oldest of the children, born 27 January 1831. He married Elizabeth W. Hatley, who was about two years younger than he, on 13 May 1852 in Cocke County. Although a number of Reuben’s younger brothers were drafted into Confederate service, no record has been found of Reuben serving the Confederacy. Instead, he enlisted in the Union army, enrolling on 9 March 1863 in Loudon Kentucky, into company H of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry. He mustered into service as a sergeant in Nashville on August 31 that year.

For almost two years, Reuben fought in horrific battles up and down the Mississippi River, surviving them all to return with his unit to Nashville to await final discharge at the end of the war. Unfortunately, just a few weeks before that discharge, Reuben contracted chronic diarrhea and died in Cumberland General Hospital in Nashville on 25 July 1865; he is buried in the Nashville National Cemetery in Madison, Tennessee.

Several years after the war, his widow, Elizabeth, married Michaux Moss on 20 November 1872 in Cocke County. She appears to have died between 1880 and 1885, and her place of burial is not known. With Moss, she may have had a son Rederick and other children, but her second marriage has not been fully traced.

Reuben and Elizabeth had only four children together. She had another child after Reuben’s death but before her remarriage, Aaron Thomas Samples, whose parentage is not known. Their children were:

  • James Wiley Samples (11 August 1854-1900s), who married Emily T. Corn (April 1854-1920) about 1870. Their known children were William Joseph and John Henry Samples. Emily had been married previously, to Robert Featherstone, and had a daughter named Emily Louisa Featherstone who would marry James’s brother Felix Alexander Samples.
  • Josiah Samples (5 July 1856-after 1880), who married Amanda Hance (ca. 1860-after 1880) on 21 February 1878 in Cocke County. The only known child was James R. Samples, but this family has not been found after 1880, and more children are possible.
  • George Washington Samples (24 August 1859-after 1870). George has not been found after 1870 and may have died as a teenager or may have left the area.
  • Felix Alexander Samples (19 May 1861-20 June 1925), also known as Alexander P. Samples. He first married Emily Louisa Featherstone (12 June 1865-6 January 1931) on 28 June 1879 in Cocke County. Emily was the daughter of Emily T. Corn, the wife of James Wiley Samples, by her first husband. Alex and Louisa apparently had three children together, Wiley, Lizzie, and James A. Samples, and appear to have divorced before 1889. According to Census records, Louisa appears to have had at least four more children after the divorce who went by the name of Samples, namely Annie, Emma, Georgia, and Hugh Samples; their parentage is unknown to me. Alex married again on 3 April 1889 to Elizabeth Watts (19 May 1872-20 August 1948). He and Lizzie had 9 children: Ella, John Robert, Callie, George W., Sarah, Dorthena, Ed Joseph, James Alexander, and Aden Samples.
  • Aaron Thomas Samples was born about 1867, well after Reuben’s death. Elizabeth’s application for a pension does not list him as Reuben’s natural child but does not indicate who his father was. Aaron lived at least until 1880 but has not been found beyond that time.

Fielding Samples

Fielding Samples, the second son of Josiah and Lucinda (Martin) Samples, was born 4 June 1832. In the 1850s, he married his first cousin, Mary Henry (2 January 1832-after 1900), who was the daughter of Josiah’s sister Abigail and Abigail’s husband John Henry. Fielding is the one brother whose service in the Civil War is quite likely but cannot be proven with certainty. In fact, the timing of his death suggests that he, too, probably died in the war. Most likely, he was the Fielding Samples who served as a private in company H of the 1st Tennessee Calvary (Carter’s), a Confederate unit formed in Jefferson County, but not enough is known for certain to know whether the Fielding Samples in that unit was this Fielding Samples. There was also a Fielding Samples in company G, Thomas Legion Infantry Regiment, North Carolina. Additionally, there was an F. Sample in company C of the 14th Illinois Infantry who might have been this Fielding. No pension has been found.

In any event, if Fielding did not die during the war, he died soon after, and his widow appears in 1870 in Gallatin County, Illinois, where she had moved with some of her relatives. On 7 February 1886 in Gallatin County, she remarried to a man named Francis M. Clayton. She and Francis both died sometime after 1900 possibly in Gallatin County; their places of burial are unknown.

Fielding and Mary (Henry) Samples had two known children:

  • Laura A. Samples (ca. March 1860-1890s), who married George D. Foster on 27 March 1888 in Gallatin County. They had one known child, Mary, before Laura died.
  • Frances E. Samples, born about 1863, was still alive in Gallatin County in 1880. If she married or had children, the details are not known.

James Alexander Samples

J.A. Samples, the third son, was the first of the children who is thought to have actually survived the Civil War, having fought for both the Confederate and Union armies, and he lived his later life near Carson Springs. He was born on 10 April 1834, and married three times. He died 8 May 1920 in Cocke County and is buried in Dunn Cemetery next to his third wife; his other two wives may well be in Dunn Cemetery, too, in unmarked graves.

J.A. definitely was one of the men who was forcibly conscripted in Cocke County into the Confederate army, specifically, as a private in company F of the 5th Tennessee Calvary (McKenzie’s). He deposed quite bluntly in his application for a Union pension that he sympathized with the Confederate cause and had intended to join the Confederates. However, when they forced him to join, he was so angry that he deserted at the first possible opportunity and later joined the Union Army, serving as a private in company M of the 8th Tennessee Cavalry with some of his brothers.

His first wife was Malinda Davis, whom he married 25 June 1857. Malinda was born in North Carolina about 1838 and died probably in Cocke County on 21 February 1886. His known children with Malinda were:

  • William H. Samples (20 October 1859-27 March 1929). He first married Louisa Hall (ca. 1862-early 1880s) on 21 February 1879 in Cocke County; they had at least one child, a son named James W. Samples. On 9 October 1884 in Cocke County, he then married Laura T. Maloy (6 October 1861-27 August 1938) and had at least 8 children: Chester Arthur, Wesley Valentine, Benjamin Harrison, Creed Fulton, Charles, Laura, Della, and Lillie Samples.

  • George W. Samples was born about 1864 and was alive at least as late as 1898. Little is presently known of him. He may be the George Samples who married Nannie Hall in 1890 and might be the George Samples who was the sheriff killed in Cocke County in 1914. [Further research since this article was written suggests that he was.]
  • James Crockett Samples (August 1867-before 1930), who married Susan Melvina Fine (April 1871-after 1930) on 31 January 1892 in Cocke County. They had Ila M., Bessie L., Ruth E., Sarah C., Arthur M., and Eula C. Samples.
  • Laura Samples, who was born about 1867 and was still living in 1898; she has not yet been found after 1898, and who she may have married is unknown.
  • Telitha Ann Samples, born about 1872 and still living in 1898.
  • Margaret Samples, born about 1875 and still living in 1898.
  • Thomas W. Samples, born in November 1879. He died as an infant in July 1880 in Cocke County of dysentery.

After Malinda’s death, James Alexander Samples married Maranda Sims on 30 October 1890 in Cocke County. Maranda was born in July 1837 in Tennessee and died 3 December 1909 probably in Cocke County; she was the daughter of Elliot Sims Jr. and Phoebe Jones and was sister to Martha Jane Sims who married Reese Samples, another son of Josiah and Lucinda (Martin) Samples. James and Maranda had no children together.

Very soon after Maranda died, James married a final time on 4 February 1910 in Cocke County to Callie Dovie Woolener. Callie was born 9 September 1873 in Greene County, Tennessee, and died sometime after 1920. She and James had one child:

  • George Samples (21 February 1913-26 June 1986)

Mary Jane Samples

Not much is known of Josiah and Lucinda (Martin) Samples’s daughter Mary Jane. She was born 27 June 1836 and was still alive and unmarried in 1880, living at that time with the family of her brother Reese. What happened to her after that is unknown, although she could easily be in one of the unmarked graves at Dunn Cemetery.

John Harvey Samples

John was born 4 February 1838. About 1859, he married a woman named Elizabeth (ca. 1841-after 1861) whose maiden name is unknown. Whether by choice or by force, he was a Confederate private in company C of the 26th Tennessee Infantry, also known as the 3rd East Tennessee Volunteers. John was killed in the Civil War, although the circumstances are a bit hazy. Official Civil War records indicate that he died at the battle at Fort Donaldson, which was 11-16 February 1862; however, the family Bible places his death more than a year later on 9 March 1863. Quite likely, the family Bible date is off by a year, with John succumbing to wounds received at Fort Donaldson about a month after the battle.

John Harvey Samples and his wife Elizabeth had only one known child:

  • Marcus/Marquis D. Lafayette Samples (12 December 1861- 26 October 1931), who married Martha Canipe about 9 August 1881 in Cocke County. Children were Joseph Toss and Cora Gertrude Samples.

What happened to John’s wife Elizabeth is also hazy; she either died or remarried by 1870, when Marcus can be found living with his grandmother, Lucinda (Martin) Samples. Marcus and his wife Martha left Cocke County in the 1890s, moving to Union County, Kentucky, where Martha died soon thereafter. The burial place of John Harvey Samples is not known; if he did, in fact, die at Fort Donaldson, he was probably buried in one of the mass graves there. Alternately, having possibly survived some time after the battle, he may have been sent home.

Bethuel Samples

Bethuel was born 21 June 1841 and is not known to have been married. However, given the loss of Cocke County records, a brief marriage is not out of the question. Like his brother John Harvey Samples, he was a Confederate private in company C of the 26th Tennessee Infantry, also known as the 3rd East Tennessee Volunteers. He apparently survived at Fort Donaldson but then went on to join another Confederate unit, company F of the 5th Tennessee Cavalry (McKenzie's). He was captured at the Battle of Gettysburg (1-3 July 1863) and ended up in a Union prison camp, Fort Delaware, on Pea Patch Island in Delaware. Prison camps were hotbeds for disease, and he contracted chronic diarrhea there and died 12 July 1864, a year after his capture. He is buried in Finn's Point National Cemetery in Salem, New Jersey.

Reese B. Samples

Reese was born about 1843 and died 19 February 1901 probably in Cocke County. About 1874, he married Martha Jane Sims, a sister of his brother James’s second wife, Maranda. Martha was born 20 January 1840 near Newport and died 30 May 1919 in Cocke County. Reese and Martha are buried in Dunn Cemetery. Like his brothers John Harvey and Bethuel, Reese was a private in company C of the 26th Tennessee Infantry (Confederate). But then he and his brothers James and William all joined the Union army on the same day as privates in company M of the 8th Tennessee Cavalry. He survived the war but lost his voice.

He and Martha had the following known children:

  • Sarah Samples (July 1875-after 1900); she was still living in 1900 but has not been traced further.
  • George Bose Samples (26 December 1876-14 April 1937), who married Pearl Holt (21 August 1888-12 June 1935); both are buried in Dunn Cemetery, and Pearl was a daughter of George Holt and Sabra Harper. Their known children were Golda, Velma, Ted G., Gemima, Lester, Holley, Edward R., Anna, and Oscar Samples.
  • Joseph Sars Samples (26 April 1878-after 1930). Nothing is known of his life after 1930. Like his cousin, Joseph Sar Samples, his unusual name may be a corruption of his grandfather Josiah’s name.
  • Barthlow T. Samples (30 March 1881-after 1930), who married Nannie Woods (10 October 1882-4 February 1934), daughter of Bart Woods and Mary Barnes; Nannie is buried in Dunn Cemetery and Barthlow might be. Their known children were Donald Mack, Ruby E., Mary L., Gladys T., Georgia May, and Carl Samples.
  • Alice Samples (8 May 1883-15 December 1924), who married William H. Hansel. Alice is buried in Dunn Cemetery. Known children were Grady, William Hugh, Edgar, Minnie A., Benjamin, Connie Alden, Reese, and Beulah Hansel.

William Jasper Samples

William Samples was my own direct ancestor. He was born 20 November 1846 and died 29 October 1880 on Samuel Harrison Griffin’s farm near Chestnut Hill in Jefferson County. His place of burial is unknown. William apparently was too young to serve at the time that his brothers were forced into or chose Confederate service. By 1863, though, when some of his brothers decided to join the Union, he was of age, and he joined with them as a private in company M of the 8th Tennessee Cavalry; at one point, he was transferred to company D but then was transferred back.

William survived the war, but, according to his brothers, he contracted a cough during an assignment in Middle Tennessee from which he never completely recovered. His brothers thought that William probably died of that same cough, but by the time they made that statement, the doctor who treated William before his death had moved to Texas and was not available to give the specific cause of death.

In his short life, William Samples married three times. In 1866, he married Margaret Elizabeth “Lizzie” Click (23 December 1852-9 May 1911), the daughter of David Paxton Click of Newport, at her father’s house. Her father, among other things, built the Click House in downtown Newport which was long a hotel, then Newport City Hall, and is now the police station. A year later, though, the couple divorced, having no children together. Lizzie went on to marry Matthew Newton Gheen and moved to Sanger, Texas.

A few years after his divorce, around 1871, he married Rachel Griffin, the daughter of George Griffin and Olive Dunwoody/Dinwiddie who lived near Chestnut Hill in Jefferson County. Rachel was born about 1848. Together, they had three children, William’s only children:

  • Samuel Clemens “Clem” Samples (1 May 1872-after 1920), who married Bell Henderson (April 1874-after 1920) on 22 June 1890 in Jefferson County. Where both are buried is unknown. Their children were: Arthur William, Charlie Oscar, George Mitchell, Flora J., Joseph Leonard, Alfred James, Ida, Julia, and Luther.
  • Amanda Jane “Mandy” Samples, my great great grandmother, born 10 January 1874. She married Asa Allen (ca. 1863-1899), son of Mary Ann Allen, on 22 August 1889 in Jefferson County. They had two children, my great grandfather Randolph Allen, who married Gracie Bell Bailey, and Rachel Parlee Allen, who married Columbus Clevenger. After Asa died, Amanda remarried on 9 November 1899 to Isaac Newton Holt. She had one child with Ike, but both she and the child died in childbirth on 10 February 1901. Asa and Amanda are buried in the Allen Family Cemetery on Upper Rinehart Road.
  • Joseph Sar “Joe” Samples (11 August 1877-26 October 1964), who first married Mary Virene Rinehart (ca. 1881-12 May 1926) on 24 June 1897 in Jefferson County; she was a daughter of James and Eliza (Thornburg) Rinehart. They had four children, Vira, Lettie, William Luther, and Ruble Winfield Samples, in Jefferson County but they moved to Gastonia, North Carolina, in the late teens or early 1920s. Vira, who had already married Charlie Cody, stayed in Newport. Virene died in Gastonia and was taken back to Newport somewhere for burial. Joe then married Laura Jane Strange (22 August 1876-27 October 1953) in the late 1920s; she was the daughter of Bill Strange and Edith Edmonds. Joe and Laura are buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Gastonia.

Rachel (Griffin) Samples died in May 1879, and William married a final time, to Mary A. Edmonds (31 July 1859-15 April 1944) on 29 January 1880 at the home of Theodrick Edmonds in Jefferson County. They had no children together, and William died nine months to the day after his wedding. Where he and Rachel were buried is unknown.

Apparently, William had been ill for quite some time; at his death, he owned no real estate and only about $30 worth of property. Mary (Edmonds) Samples sent the children to live with three different brothers of their mother: 8-year-old Clem went to Samuel Harrison Griffin, 6-year-old Amanda to Andrew Jackson Griffin, and 3-year-old Joe to Thomas Benjamin Griffin, as Mary was unable to provide for them herself. About two years later, she fathered a son out of wedlock who she named William Edmonds (born 27 March 1882); William Van Dyke was the father. Several years after that, she married Rachel (Griffin) Samples’s brother Thomas, and she and Thomas are buried in Hills Union Cemetery in Jefferson County.

Josiah Samples, Jr.

Josiah was the last child of Josiah Samples and Lucinda Martin and the only one too young to have fought for either the Confederacy or the Union. He was born 31 July 1852 and died 5 May 1930; he married Rhoda Darthula Calfee (5 October 1857-15 January 1938) and both are probably buried in New Home Cemetery. They had 12 children:

  • Alice (12 June 1872-18 September 1939), who married James Breckenridge Fox (2 May 1870-13 September 1949) on 11 May 1889; they are probably buried in Point Pleasant Cemetery. They had at least 13 children including two sets of twins: Vernium, Lafayette, Luther G., Anna Lee, Bertie Ree, William Earl, Bessie Parlee, Hester, Ester, Mae, Delsie, Cressie, and Connie Fox.
  • Martha Loucinda Samples (29 June 1874-5 October 1955), who married James Walker Gibson on 22 April 1894; nothing more is known.
  • William Wilbourn Samples (5 October 1877-13 September 1867), who married Susan Elizabeth Gibson (16 May 1876-24 September 1942) on 26 February 1894 and eventually went west. Children included Claude C., Floyd, Mally D., and Nora Samples.
  • Cauley Samples (8 May 1880-4 April 1970), who married Nannie Smith (18 January 1879-16 July 1958) about 13 August 1898 in Cocke County. Children included Dee, Marion, Ulyssis S., and Ray Samples as well as another infant.
  • John Henry Samples (3 February 1882-8 January 1949), who married Sarah J. Dawson (8 May 1888-5 March 1971). Children, if any, are unknown.
  • Delie Samples (9 August 1885-9 September 1885).
  • Calley Samples (18 September 1886-18 August 1963), who married German R. Atkins (28 March 1889-18 October 1959). They had at least one child, Rutha, who died as an infant.
  • James Samples (28 July 1889-11 July 1948), who married Flora Holt (1891-1920). Children, if any, are unknown.
  • Paul Samples (11 March 1892-1 February 1954), who married a woman named Hattie and had at least one child, Ruth.
  • Amanda Samples (15 August 1894-18 February 1988), who married Mack Lingo (17 March 1897-11 June 1984). Children were Ruth and John.
  • Mary Nellie Samples (20 August 1897-23 January 1953), who married Thomas Woodson Talley (20 February 1893-30 April 1968) on 9 January 1917 in Cocke County. Children were Margaret Pauline, Ralph Houston, Kathryn Lucille, Mary Jean, and Frank Waylyn Talley.
  • Porter Samples (1 October 1900-16 February 1976), who married Bernice Fox (17 December 1901-12 May 1976). Children were Edward C., Bruce, Joe, Johnnie R., Orville, Alvin Lee, Loretta, Delcie Mae, Billy Frank, Richard, Mary, and Junior Lee Samples.

For More Information

Practically everything I know of the Samples family comes from research, not personal knowledge, and contact from any family member on any branch is appreciated… All of my Samples research is published on the Internet at, where you will find additional descendents and more details.


I have created this blog for sporadic postings related to my maternal side of the family, the Allens from upper East Tennessee in Cocke, Jefferson, and Sevier Counties. For detailed information on my paternal side, see my site Genealogy of Edward B. Walker. For source information on every last member of both sides, see my family file.