Submitted by Guy Merritt

Elisabeth Smith was born in South Carolina in 1831. I don't know much about her beginnings, except she had a brother, named William H. Smith. I have a letter written by William, and mailed from Cherokee County, Georgia, before the war. The letter is addressed to Squire Joseph and Elisabeth Smith Sanders in Pickens District, South Carolina.

Squire and Elisabeth were married in Pickens District, in 1850. Squire and Elisabeth had 6 children, before Squire died in The War Between The States in 1863. [2nd South Carolina Rifles]. Their children were: Martha A. [born 1851], Frances C. [born 1852], Milford M. [born 1854], Joseph O. [born 1855], Marena M. [born 1858], and James "Squire" [born 1862].

After the collapse of the Confederacy, conditions in Pickens District, now Oconee County, became violent and lawless. During the 1860s, Elisabeth Smith Sanders and several other widows moved from Pickens District to Sevier County, Tennessee, by wagon train. I know the identity of two of the other widows -- Elisabeth Sanders Emory, and Elisabeth Emory Sanders. [Confusing isn't it.]

I have often wondered whom they knew in Sevier County that gave them enough confidence to load their children in wagons and make such a trip in such a time. I wonder if they thought they were in a safer place when the White Caps and Blue Bills began to terrorize Sevier County.

Once in Sevier County, the widows and their children became a part of the community and intermarried with their new neighbors. Martha J. Sanders married James Emory, son of Elisabeth Sanders Emory. Frances C. Sanders married William Lafayette Merritt, son of William T. Merritt. Milford M. Sanders married Caroline Helton and Mary C. "Kate" Helton. Joseph O. Sanders married Mary Ellen Galyean, daughter of John Franklin Galyean. Marena M. Sanders married William H. Covington. James "Squire" Sanders married Emily Catherine Creswell, daughter of Rufus M. Creswell.

Elisabeth Smith Sanders married Ahas Bryan, a Union veteran, in 1890. Ahas died soon after, and Elisabeth drew his widow's pension until she died in 1916. Elisabeth Smith Sanders Bryan lost one husband in the service of the Confederacy, married a Union veteran in later life, and was widowed once again.

After Ahas died, Elisabeth built a house on her daughter and son-in law's, William and Frances Merritt, farm across the Sevier County line in Tuckahoe, Knox County, Tennessee. This community was first called French, then Tuckahoe and now Strawberry Plains.

The house she built was bat and board and was known as "The Granny Bryan House." It was my first home when my father came back from World War II, and was the first home of many families just starting out. The house is gone now, but it was located on Frank Merritt Lane, off of Midway Road.

Martha Sanders married James Emory in Pickens District, South Carolina. They lived in several different communities in Sevier and surrounding counties. I have letters written from them in the 1890s, mailed from Boyds Creek, Luttrell, in Union County, and Concord, in Knox County. They and many of their children are buried in the Masonic Cemetery, in Concord, Knox County, Tennessee.

Frances Sanders married William Merritt in Sevier County. William operated mills. I have letters from him about 1880, mailed from Newport, in Cocke County. He and Frances and some of their older children are listed in the 1880 Cocke County, census. William's occupation is listed as miller. About 1900 they moved to Tuckahoe to work at the Tuckahoe mill. William and his sons built the Peters Mill on Kodak Road.

Milford Sanders married Caroline Helton and, after Caroline's death, married Mary C."Kate" Helton, in Sevier County, Tennessee. I have a letter written by "M. Sanders and Kate" from Henderson Springs. Milford and family moved to Collin County, Texas, in the 1890s. Milford and Caroline had at least two children before leaving Sevier County, Wm. J. and Martha Jane. Wm. J. also went to Collin County, where he married twice, and had many children. Milford was shot and killed by Gabe Crowder in Collin County, Texas.

Joseph Sanders married Mary Ellen Galyean in Sevier County. Joseph and several related families moved to Collin County, Texas. I have six letters written by Joseph from Collin County, Texas, in the 1890s. I have found descendants of John Franklin Galyean, Jr., Mary Ellen's brother, in Texas. Joseph and Mary Ellen had at least three children, before leaving Sevier County: Baxter, Alexander, and Lou. After the death of Mary Ellen, Joseph remarried, and moved to Marshall County, Oklahoma. He and his new wife, Lucy Plank, had at least one child, Lillard Atchley Sanders.

Marena M. Sanders married William H. Covington in Sevier County in 1872. I have two letters written by Marena in the late 1890s and mailed from Cocke County, Tennessee. Marena Margaret Sanders Covington is living in the household of her mother in 1900, where both are receiving Union Widow's pensions. I don't know what happened to William, Marena, and family after 1900, except for one daughter, Sarah Frances Covington, who also went to Collin County, Texas, with her Uncle Joseph and married Joseph E. Foster.

James "Squire" Sanders married Emily Creswell in Sevier County. Squire died young leaving a widow and at least one child, Lee Roy Sanders. Emily married Hugh Randles and had several more children. Emily is buried at Boyds Creek. Lee Roy died in 1951 and is buried at Boyds Creek.

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