The Family of Austin Whitten
and Hannah Spencer

INTRODUCTION

This page last updated May 6, 2007.

Austin Whitten was born in 1820 in South Carolina, probably in the Edgefield District, to Catherine Whitten. His father may have been Elijah Whitten. Austin's mother Catherine died intestate circa 1843, and the first record of her estate settlement was on November 27, 1843 when Charles Freeman was appointed the administrator of her estate. The property was appraised in December 1843, and Austin received his distributive share of the estate on December 30, 1844. Freeman swore an affidavit confirming this payment in 1845. Then later on December 25, 1848, Freeman paid Austin's brother Pleasant Whitten in full for his distributive share of the estate and also paid Pleasant the balance of Austin's share.

It appears that Austin and Pleasant left Edgefield, SC in early 1845 after settling their mother's estate and migrated southward with other families. For some reason, they stopped in Chambers County, Alabama; and on October 15, 1845, Austin's brother Pleasant married Caroline Spencer in Chambers County with Austin serving as a witness to the ceremony. Caroline's family was also from Edgefield District, South Carolina. She was the daughter of Wiley G. Spencer and the granddaughter of Shepherd Spencer, Sr. who served as a justice of the peace in Edgefield for many years prior to 1830. The majority of the Spencers migrated to Sumter and Pickens Counties in Alabama between the years of 1834 - 1840. Perhaps Austin and Pleasant were following the Spencers?

Austin married circa 1845 to a lady named Hannah, whose maiden name I believe was also Spencer. According to an 1849 gift deed in Winston County, MS, Hannah Whitten was also a granddaughter of Shepherd Spencer, Sr. of Edgefield, SC and Pickens County, AL. I believe that Hannah was a sister to Caroline Spencer (who married Pleasant Whitten, Austin's brother) and a daughter of Wiley Spencer, but I have no proof. She is not the daughter of any of Shepherd Spencer Sr's other children as all of the children of Wiley's siblings have been well documented. I believe that most of Wiley's children settled in the Winston County, MS area instead of with their Spencer cousins in Pickens/Sumter County, AL. The extended families obviously did not maintain contact.

Hannah Spencer Whitten was born in 1828 in South Carolina. She and Austin married circa 1845, but I do not know where. They are not listed in the marriage records for Chambers County, AL nor in the records for Pickens or Sumter Counties. Perhaps they married in Edgefield, SC before they left? Austin and Hannah had their first child, Shepherd Marion, born in November 1845 in Alabama, probably near Chambers County. Their second son, George W., was born the next year in 1846. Both Austin and Pleas moved their families from Alabama to Winston County, Mississippi around 1848. In fact, two of the deeds of gift given by Shepherd Spencer, Sr. to Hannah (Austin's wife) and Caroline (Pleas' wife) were both received in the Winston County courthouse on September 27, 1848. These two deeds had been given to these ladies earlier, one in 1846 and one in April 1848. This makes me believe these two families arrived in Winston County, MS in September 1848. Regardless, both families are enumerated in the 1850 census for Winston County, MS.

Austin and Hannah had four more children born in Mississippi: John A. (1850), William (1852), P.W. "Willy" (1855), and Wiley (1855). Wiley died in September 1856 while Willy was listed in the 1870 Winston, MS census as 14 years old. I believe Willy and Wiley were twins, having been both born in 1855. I also believe Hannah must have died between 1855 and 1859, but her grave has not been found. In August 1859, Austin remarried Elizabeth Jero in Louisville, MS.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Austin's brother Pleasant joined the Confederate Army in June 1861. He was discharged in September 1862 and returned home only to re-enlist in September 1863. This time both Pleas' son James and Austin's son Shepherd enlisted with him into Company I, 11th (Perrin's) Mississippi Cavalry. All three were present on muster rolls through July and August 1864. All returned home, I assume safely. Austin apparently did not join the war effort; perhaps his health was bad? In August 1869, Austin died, but remarkably he is listed in the 1870 Winston, MS census with wife Elizabeth as head. He is also listed in the 1870 Mortality Schedule for Mississippi as having died in August 1869 from heart disease. He was buried in Antioch Cemetery in Winston County, near his son Wiley and near Pleas' son Robert. I wonder if Hannah is buried there also unmarked.

On December 30, 1872, M.E. Whitten sold land to J.A. Whitten. According to the legal description of the land, I believe that this is Austin's second wife Elizabeth selling the family farm to Austin's son John A. Whitten. By 1880, Elizabeth disappears from the household, and John A. is head of the house. Elizabeth probably died, but her grave has not been found. Oddly enough, the 1880 Winston, MS census shows Pleas' wife Caroline and her two youngest sons (Bunk and Jack) living with John A., and Caroline is listed as John's mother. Pleas died in a house fire in April 1880, and the census was taken in June. Pleas' son John Thomas was already married with children by 1880, so I believe this John is really Austin's son. The census taker probably recorded their relationship incorrectly. None of Austin's or Pleas' other children are recorded on the 1880 census. My theory is that inclement weather prohibited the census taker from driving down into the deep "hollow" where many of these Whittens lived. John A. apparently lived up on the "ridge" so as to be accessible when the census taker stopped by.

What became of the sons of Austin and Hannah Whitten? Son John married Cora Ellen Rowland, daughter of his aunt Nancy Ann Spencer Terry and her second husband George Y. Rowland. They settled and reared their family in Warren County, Mississippi near Cora's parents and siblings. Son Shepherd detoured out to Fannin County, Texas circa 1905 (probably visiting his cousin James Whitten in the Red River Valley), but he was back in Mississippi in time to be listed with his daughter Hannah on the 1910 Choctaw County, MS census. Shepherd died in 1911 and is buried in Blythe Creek Cemetery in Choctaw County. No other mention of their other sons George, P.W., or William has yet to be found.

FAMILY TREE

Austin Whitten
Born: 1820 in South Carolina (probably in Edgefield District)
Married (1): about 1845 (probably in Edgefield, SC or Chambers County, AL)
Spouse (1): Hannah Spencer
Married (2): August 23, 1859 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Spouse (2): Elizabeth Jero
Died: August 7, 1869 in Winston County, Mississippi
Buried: Antioch Cemetery, Winston County, Mississippi
Father: Elijah? Whitten
Mother: Catherine Whitten (maiden name unknown)
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Hannah Spencer
Born: 1828 in South Carolina (probably in Edgefield or Abbeville Districts)
Died: after 1855 but before 1859 (probably in Winston County, Mississippi)
Buried: Unknown, probably unmarked in Winston County, Mississippi
Father: Unknown, possibly Wiley Robert (or G.) Spencer
Mother: Unknown, possibly Nancy Spencer (maiden name unknown)
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  1. Shepperd Marion Whitten
    Born: November 4, 1845 in Alabama (probably in Chambers County, Alabama)
    Married: about 1875 (probably near Choctaw County, Mississippi)
    Spouse: L.D. Eliza Starks
    Died: November 11, 1911 (probably in Choctaw County, Mississippi)
    Buried: Blythe Creek Cemetery, Reform, Choctaw County, Mississippi
  2. George W. Whitten
    Born: 1846 in Mississippi or Alabama
  3. John A. Whitten
    Born: 1850 in Mississippi (probably in Choctaw Winston County, Mississippi)
    Married: May 22, 1883 in Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi
    Spouse: Cora Ellen Rowland
    Died: Aft. 1898 in Mississippi
    Buried: Unknown

    John's wife Cora Ellen Rowland was the daughter of George Y. Rowland and Nancy Ann Spencer Terry. Nancy Spencer Terry Rowland was the sister to John's mother, Hannah Spencer Whitten. John was living in Winston County during the 1880 census, and he and Cora were married in 1883 in Warren County. How did they meet? Where did they meet? Did John move to Warren County before or after he met and married Cora? I don't know where John was buried, but wife Cora was buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi. She died in 1949, and I assume he died before she did.

    John and Cora had six children: Annie H. Whitten (1885, married Jasper McBroom), John A. Whitten, Jr (1888), Spencer Buren Whitten (1890, married Susie Watkins), William E. Whitten (February 1896), Mary Lee Whitten (April 1896, married John Boone), and R.F.F. Whitten (1898). I wonder if William and Mary Lee were really both born in 1896. Perhaps one of them was born in 1897? My sources on this line were Ricky Shingler and Lester Barrentine, both of whom are descendants of Spencer Buren Whitten and Susie Ann Watkins through their daughter Alice Pearl Whitten and husband Joe Lenard Barrentine.

  4. William Whitten
    Born: 1852 in Mississippi
  5. P.W. Whitten
    Born: 1855 in Mississippi
  6. Wiley Whitten
    Born: June 7, 1855 (probably in Mississippi)
    Died: September 22, 1856 in Winston County, Mississippi
    Buried: Antioch Cemetery, Winston County, Mississippi

FAMILY HISTORY

1850 Winston County, Mississippi Census: Sept 11, 1850, Dwelling 280, Family 283 (page 335B)
Whitten, Austin -- age 26 (1824), male, Farmer, real estate value = 160, born S.C.
Whitten, Hannah -- age 22 (1828), female, born S.C.
Whitten, Shepherd -- age 4 (1846), male, born Ala
Whitten, George -- age 1 (1849), male, born Miss
         Note: Pleasant and Caroline Whitten lived next door in dwelling 281/284.

1860 Winston County, Mississippi Census: August 10, 1860, Louisville Post Office, Page 62, Dwelling 385, Family 384:
Whitten, A.W. -- age 36 (1824) , male, farmer, real estate value = 300, personal property value = 5000, born SC
Whitten, E. -- age 28 (1832), female, born Ala
Whitten, S.M. -- age 14 (1846), male, born Ala
Whitten, G.W. -- age 12 (1848), male, born Ala
Whitten, J.A. -- age 10 (1850), male, born MS
Whitten, Wm. -- age 8 (1852), male, born MS
Whitten, P.W. -- age 5 (1855), male, born MS
        Note: P.H. and C. Whitten lived next door at 384/383.

1870 Winston County, Mississippi Census: September 5, 1870, Twp 16 Rng 12, Louisville P.O, page 11-12, Dwelling/Family 79/79:
Whitten, Elizabeth -- age 36 (1834), female, keeping house, real estate value = 200, personal property value = 545, born AL
Whitten, Auton -- age 50 (1820), male, born SC, eligible to vote
Whitten, John -- age 19 (1851), male, farming, born MS
Whitten, William -- age 17 (1853), male, farming, born MS
Whitten, Willy -- age 14 (1856), male, farming, born MS
        Note: Pleasant and Caroline Whitten lived at Dwelling 77/77. Also note that Austin is not listed as head of the house. He died in August 1869 but was listed in the census anyway. He is also listed in the 1870 Mortality Schedule of Mississippi as having died of heart disease.
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Winston County, Mississippi Probate Records

(Probate Records 1851-1853)
March 26, 1853 -- Estate sale of Samuel P. Metts:
        Sperate Debts--Pleasant Whitten
        Doubtful Debts--Austin Whitten
        Desparate Debts--James H. Spencer

(Estate Settlements 1858-1867)
May Term 1866 -- Estate of WC McMillin, deceased:
Administrator paid A. Whitten $2.75 (see also page 279, Minute Book 5 P 164)

(Probate Record 9 1860-1862)
October 14, 1861 (p.536-538) -- Estate of Elijah Anderson:
Schedules 1-4 of Firm of Fleetwood and Anderson, Schedule 4 -- Austin Whitten note $12.54 doubtful
Schedule 5-9, open accts of Fleetwood and Anderson, Schedule 9 -- Austin Whitten $45.51 doubtful

(Probate Court Book 1868-1875)
January Term 1868 -- Estate of Elijah Anderson, deceased:
Mrs. Anderson's Claim: Austin Whitten owed Mrs. Anderson
(Minute Book 5 P 448)
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Land and Property Deeds in Winston County, Mississippi

GENEALOGY RESOURCES

LINKS & CREDITS

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