The Family of Pleasant Whitten
and Caroline Spencer

INTRODUCTION

This page last updated August 11, 2009.

Pleasant William Whitten was born in December 1824 in Edgefield District, South Carolina. He and his brother Austin Whitten were sons of Catherine Whitten (ca. 1800-1843) and possibly Elijah Whitten (ca. 1800-1835?). On Nov. 27, 1843, Charles Freeman was appointed the administrator of the estate of Catherine Whitten, who had died intestate in the Edgefield District of South Carolina. Her property was appraised on Dec. 13, 1843, and on Dec. 30, 1844, Austin was paid for a part of his distributive share of the estate. Then later on Dec. 25, 1848, Freeman paid Pleasant in full for his distributive share of the estate and also paid Pleasant the balance of Austin's share of the estate. It appears that Pleasant and Austin left Edgefield, South Carolina 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, Pleasant married Caroline Spencer in Chambers County with Austin serving as a witness to the ceremony.

Caroline Spencer was born in 1820, and her family was also from Edgefield District, South Carolina. She was the daughter of Wiley G. and Nancy 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. Since Pleas' brother Austin married Hannah Spencer, who appears to be Caroline's sister, my assumption is that Pleas and Austin were migrating towards central Alabama where the rest of the Spencer family settled.

In 1846, Pleas and Caroline had their first son, James S. Whitten, born in Alabama, possibly near Chambers County or Pickens County*. In 1848, it appears that Pleas went back to Edgefield to finalize his mother's estate, then both Pleas and Austin moved their families from Alabama to Winston County, Mississippi sometime that same year. In fact, two of the deeds of gift given by Shepherd Spencer, Sr. to Caroline (Pleas' wife) and Hannah (Austin's wife and probably Caroline's sister) 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. According to the his tombstone, Pleas' second son, John Thomas, was born in Alabama in July 1849. However, I now believe the year was probably 1848 instead. Regardless, both Pleas' and Austin's families are enumerated in the 1850 census for Winston County, MS.

New!! 8-09
* Note on Pickens County, Alabama: Gift deeds from Shepherd Spencer to Hannah E. Whitten and to Caroline Whitten were given originally in Pickens County, Alabama in 1846 and 1848. James and John Thomas were likely born during this time frame, so they could have been born in Pickens County.

According to census records, Pleas' daughter Lucinda was born 1849-1850 in Mississippi; and by 1860, their house had filled to include children Nancy C. (1851), Mary Jane (1854), Hanna Elizabeth "Betty" (1854-56), Pleasant "Bunk" (1858), and Robert (1859). I believe Robert must have died as a young child, because there is a child, Robert L. Whitten, buried close to Pleas with dates of 1857-1859. I am not sure about Robert's birth date because he was listed as only one year old in the 1860 census.

In June 1861, Pleas responded to the call of duty to defend his country. On June 22, 1861 he was enlisted in the Confederate Army at Union City, Tennessee by Captain Eckford. He became a private in the old Company B, new Company A (Winston Guards), Thirteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers. He served in the battles at the First Manassas, VA; Leesburg, VA; Garnett's Farm, VA; Savage Station, VA; and Malvern Hill, VA. On September 28, 1862, at New Winchester, he was discharged by virture of the Conscript Act. His discharge did not last long, however. On September 1, 1863, Pleasant and his nephew Shepherd M. Whitten (Austin's son) enlisted at Greensboro, Mississippi under Capt. T.B. Foard into Company I of the 11th Mississippi Cavalry. This company was part of Perrin's Cavalry, but most history books have recorded the deeds of Perrin's Company K (I believe) so I do not know much about the service of their Company I. In January 1864, Pleas' oldest son James enlisted into Company I of the 11th Mississippi also. He enlisted at Canton, Mississippi, also under Captain Foard. Pleasant was promoted from the ranks to 3rd Corporal on March 5, 1864. Pleas, Shep, and James are all present on company muster rolls for March/April 1864 and for July/August 1864. There is no record of their ever being paid for their military service. All three returned home, and there is no record of their being wounded.

After Pleas returned from the Civil War, his and Caroline's last child, William Jackson, was born in June 1864. When baby Jack was only 3 years old, Pleas' older children began to leave home. Marriage records for Winston County show that Lucinda married John Long on Jan. 22, 1867, and brother James married Sallie (Sarah) Barron the next weekend on Jan. 30, 1867. Pleas' second daughter Nancy C. married David P. Foster on Jan. 4, 1870 and were listed as newlyweds in the 1870 Winston, Miss. census. Hannah Elizabeth (Betty) married F.M. Ellis on Aug. 15, 1873, and sister Mary Jane married J.K. Starks two weeks later on Aug. 27, 1873. John Thomas was not listed with his parents in the 1870 census of Winston County, but he did not marry Sue Mayo until Feb. 7, 1878.

After the War was over, Pleas returned home to continue working on his farm with his family, but he began drinking regularly. On the night of April 10, 1880, he came home drunk and angry. When he started shooting his gun in the house, his wife Caroline ran out of the house. He picked up a feather bed and shoved it into the fireplace, and the bed caught on fire. Becoming even more enraged, he drew his gun and shot up at the clock. The bullet "bounced off the bricks" (his wife's words), striking and killing him. The house burned to the ground with his body still inside. Pleas was buried at Antioch Cemetery near his brother, Austin Whitten, who died in 1869. This story has come to me from several sources. I originally heard it from Beulah Watson, whose father Jack was living at home at the time Pleas' death occured. Jack's son Curney shared the story with his daughter Dorothy Jean Dodd, whose son Clif Dodd shared it again with me. And even a descendant of Pleas' daughter Elizabeth Ellis from Texas said the story had been handed down through her family also. But the final confirmation for me came when Jack's grandson Jack Rhodes told me he had actually seen (and could take me to) the Old Burned-Out House Place in what is now the Tombigbee National Forest in northern Winston County. He said that the trees still have burn scars on them from the house fire!

Pleas died in April 1880. In June of that same year, Austin's son John A. was listed as the head of the house with Caroline in the 1880 census of Winston County. Caroline was listed as John's mother, but she was actually his aunt. Caroline's son John Thomas married in 1878 and had two children by 1880, but he and his family are not listed on the 1880 census for either Winston or neighboring Choctaw County. Maybe they were not home when the census taker visited? Bunk and Jack were still living at home with their mother at the time of the 1880 census. Jack married Mary Ann "Mollie" Thomas on April 12, 1883. Bunk married Lula Talley on January 31, 1884.

During 1917-1918, John Thomas' son Jack Jr. sued all his father's brothers and sisters and the surviving children of his Uncle Jack Sr. over the ownership of a small piece of land in Winston County. Jack Jr. had paid back taxes on the land for years and now desired the land to be sold and the money distributed among the owners in order to reclaim some of his tax money. The court ordered this to be done. The law suit lists many names, all of whom received ownership of this land as their inheritance. Specifically named are the following people: Mrs. Mollie Whitten (wife of Jack Whitten Sr), Bill Whitten, Mrs. Lum Taylor, Mrs. Florence Arnett, Mrs. Clara Westbrook (of Helena, Arkansas), Beeman Whitten, Kerney Whitten, Rube Whitten, Bulah Whitten (all were children of Jack and Mollie Whitten); Bunk Whitten of Staples, Texas; Mrs. Bettie Ellis, the unknown heirs of Mrs. Nannie Foster, and Jim Whitten, whose residences were unknown (all of these are children of Pleasant Whitten); Mr. J.K. Stark (who married Pleas' daughter Mary Jane) and his daughter Mrs. Edna Hunt, both of whom had already appeared in the court; and lastly, Mrs. Mary Crosby. Mary's residence was not listed, and I have inferred that she must have been a residence of Winston County at the time.

I believe this piece of land must have been from Pleas' estate, which would have been divided when he died in 1880. Pleas died without will and no probate settlement was recorded -- I have checked thoroughly. There probably was not enough of value in the estate to settle in court. But apparently this 40 acres of land was given to Pleas' children. When Jack Sr. died, his share of the land passed on to his children (thus they are all named in the suit except for Tolbert, Meredith, and Pleas, all of whom were deceased.) In addition, all of Pleas' children are named in the suit except for Lucinda Long (died before 1896), Robert (died 1859) and John Thomas (died 1911). Jack Jr., who brought suit, was the oldest child of John Thomas and the only one of John's children listed. Who is this Mary Crosby? Updated!! 8-09 For years I have wondered who this person was. Based on census evidence and conversations with Porter researcher Billy Weeks, I believe Mrs. Mary Crosby is Mary Long who married Luther Crosby and that Mary Long was one of the two orphaned daughters of Lucinda Long. (See Lucinda's page for more information.) With this discovery, all of the heirs of Pleas' estate should now be accounted for. Click here to read full text of the lawsuit.

FAMILY TREE

Pleasant William Whitten
Born: December 18, 1824 in Edgefield District, South Carolina
Married: October 15, 1845 in Chambers County, Alabama
Died: April 10, 1880 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Buried: Antioch Cemetery, Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Father: Elijah? Whitten
Mother: Catherine Whitten (maiden name unknown)
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Caroline Spencer
Born: September 28, 1820 in South Carolina
Died: November 6, 1904 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Buried: Noxubee Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Father: Wiley G. Spencer
Mother: Nancy Spencer (maiden name unknown)
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  1. James S. "Jim" Whitten
    Born: 1846 in Alabama (possibly Chambers County or Pickens County)
    Married: January 30, 1867 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse: Sarah E. "Sallie" Barron
    Died: Unknown
    Buried: Unknown
  2. John Thomas Whitten
    Born: July 9, 1849 in Alabama (possibly Chambers County or Pickens County)
    Married: February 7, 1878 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse: Sue Mayo
    Died: April 2, 1911 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Buried: Noxubee Hill Cemetery, Winston County, Mississippi
  3. Lucinda A. Whitten
    Born: 1849 in Mississippi (probably Winston County)
    Married: January 22, 1867 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse: John N. Long
    Died: between 1890 - 1896, probably in Winston County, Mississippi Updated!! 8-09
    Buried: Unmarked grave in Antioch Cemetery in Winston County, Mississippi
  4. Nancy C. Whitten
    Born: 1851 in Mississippi (probably Winston County)
    Married: January 4, 1870 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse: David P. Foster
    Died: Late 1880's near McGregor, McLennan County, Texas Updated!! 8-09
    Buried: Near McGregor, McLennan County, Texas -- cemetery washed away by flood in later years
  5. Mary Jane Whitten
    Born: 1854 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Married: August 27, 1873 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse: Jake K. Stark
    Died: March 10, 1892 in Meridian, Mississippi Updated!! 8-09
    Buried: Probably in Meridian, Mississippi (or unmarked in Winston County, Mississippi)
  6. Hannah Elizabeth "Bettie" Whitten
    Born: July 1856 in Mississippi (probably Winston County, Mississippi
    Married: August 15, 1873 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse: Frances Marion Ellis
    Died: 1920 in Bangs, Brown County, Texas
    Buried: Mukewater Cemetery, Bangs, Texas
  7. Robert L. Whitten
    Born: June 29, 1857 in Mississippi (probably Winston County, Mississippi
    Died: September 27, 1859 in Mississippi (probably Winston County)
    Buried: Antioch Cemetery, Winston County, Mississippi
  8. Pleasant William "Bunk" Whitten, Jr.
    Born: 1858 in Mississippi (probably Winston County)
    Married: January 31, 1884 in Choctaw County, Mississippi
    Spouse: Loula Talley
    Died: 1937 in Delerio, Texas
    Buried: Staples, Guadelupe County, Texas
  9. William Jackson "Jack" Whitten
    Born: June 7, 1864 in Mississippi (probably Winston County)
    Married: April 12, 1883
    Spouse: Mary Ann "Mollie" Thomas
    Died: November 1, 1908 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Buried: Noxubee Hill Cemetery, Winston County, Mississippi

FAMILY HISTORY

1850 Winston County, Mississippi Census: Sept 11, 1850, Dwelling 281, Family 284 (page 335B)
Whitten, Pleasant -- age 22 (1828), male, farmer, real estate value = 160, born S.C.
Whitten, Caroline -- age 37 (1813), female, born S.C.
Whitten, James -- age 4 (1846), male, born S.C.
Whitten, John -- age 2 (1848), male, born S.C.
Whitten, Lucinda -- age 1 (1849), female, born Miss
         Note: Austin and Hannah Whitten lived next door in dwelling 280/283.

1860 Winston County, Mississippi Census: August 10, 1860, Louisville Post Office, Page 61-62, Dwelling 384, Family 383:
Whitten, P.H. -- age 32 (1828), male, farmer, real estate value = 1000, personal property value = 3500, born SC
Whitten, C. -- age 34 (1826), female, born SC
Whitten, Jas -- age 13 (1847), male, born Ala
Whitten, J.T. -- age 11, male (1849), born Ala
Whitten, L -- age 10 (1850), female, born MS
Whitten, N.C. -- age 8 (1852), female, born MS
Whitten, M.J. -- age 6 (1854), female, born MS
Whitten, Elizabeth -- age 4 (1856), female, born MS
Whitten, Pleasant -- age 2 (1858), male, born MS
Whitten Robert -- age 1 (1859) male, born MS
Spencer, Nancy -- age 70 (1790), female, personal property value=1000, born SC
         Note: A.W. and E. Whitten lived next door at 385/384.

1870 Winston County, Mississippi Census: September 5, 1870, Twp 16 Rng 12, Louisville P.O, page 11, Dwelling/Family 77/77:
Whitten, Pleasant -- age 47 (1823), male, farmer, real estate value = 1000, personal property value = 715, born MS, eligible to vote
Whitten, Caroline -- age 49 (1821), female, born MS
Whitten, Mary -- age 16 (1854), female, born MS
Whitten, Betie -- age 14 (1856), female, born MS
Whitten, Pleasant -- age 12 (1858), male, born MS
Whitten, Jackson -- age 7 (1863), male, born MS
         Note: Elizabeth and Auton Whitten lived at Dwelling 79/79.

1880 Winston County, Mississippi Census: June 5, 1880, Enum Dist 21, Page 51, Dwelling 414/414:
Whitten, John A. -- age 28 (1852), single, farming, born MS, parents born MS
         [MKJ note: I believe this is Austin's son.]
Whitten, Caroline -- age 55 (1825), mother, widowed, born MS, parents born MS
Whitten, Bunk -- age 23 (1857), brother, single, born MS, parents born MS
Whitten, Jack -- age 17 (1863), brother, single, born MS, parents born MS
Curtis, Sal -- black, age 30, servant, married, farm labor, born MS, parents born MS
Curtis, Mag -- black, age 22, servant, married, farm labor, born MS, parents born MS
Curtis, Bob -- black, age 21, servant, single, farm labor, born MS, parents born MS
         Note: I believe Caroline should be listed as John's aunt and Bunk and Jack as cousins.
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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

March 28, 1853 -- Estate sale of James Stark:
Pleasant Whitten -- work bench and scrue (sic)

November 10, 1853 -- Settlement of Estate of Uriah Davis:
Pleasant Whitten received $1.25

(Probate Court Book 1855-1857)
Week, James R. Estate: P. Whitten was owed $15.77 (p.570)
Pleasant Whitten owes James Weeks $1.68 (p. 575) (See also Probate Minute Book 3 P 270)

(Probate Record 9 1860-1862)
March 1860 (p. 86-87): Estate Settlement of William B. Welch:
Desparate claims -- acct on Pleas Whitten $5.76
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Land and Property Deeds in Winston County, Mississippi

GENEALOGY RESOURCES

PHOTOS
See pictures of Pleas' family in my Whitten Family Picture Album.

LINKS & CREDITS

| Main Whitten Page | History of Winston Guards |

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