William Eddins


Throughout his life, William Eddins cited the state of Alabama as the place of his birth. According to his children, he was born January 5th, 1824, and reared in the Pineapple community of Wilcox County. 


On July 30th, 1846, William and Martha Jane Hardee were united in marriage. Oral family history suggests that the ceremony took place at the Friendship Baptist church in Pineapple, AL. The 1850 census of Pineapple documents William and Martha living in their own household with two children, William Abner, age 3, and Joseph, age 6 months. A third child, Richard Thomas Eddins, is absent, having died in 1849 after falling from a horse.


Prior to 1854, William and Martha departed from Alabama, seeking a new life in the Southeastern region of Mississippi. This move was likely motivated by the relocation of Martha's parents, Kindred and Margaret Hardee, from Pineapple to Clarke County, Mississippi.


The 1860 United States Census of Jasper County records William and Martha living in the Twistwood community. The child named Joseph is absent from this census. George Manning Eddins, my Great-Grandfather, born January 23rd, 1854 is listed as the first of their children to be born in Mississippi.


William and Martha resided together in Jasper County for the balance of their marriage. The location of their home is unknown, but there appears to be some connection with the community known as Davisville. Based upon older United States Geological Survey maps, Davisville is notated near the site of Old Salem Church. The remaining cemetery, where we have gathered today, is the lone relic of this vanished landmark.


Fourteen (possibly fifteen) children would result from the union of William and Martha. On February 8th, 1948, Mattie Eddins Land, their youngest child, published a family document that listed these children in the order of their birth:


1.         William Abner Eddins

2.         Richard Thomas Eddins

3.         Elijah Richard Eddins

4.         Mary Ann Elizabeth Eddins

5.         John Henry Eddins

6.         George Manning Eddins

7.         Rufus Obid (Obadiah) Eddins

8.         Amanda Hasletine Eddins

9.         Newton Irby Eddins

10.       Judson Eddins

11.       Julia Eddins

12.       Charley Eddins

13.       Fannie Eddins

14.       Mattie Eddins


The year of 1861 saw the start of a terrible war in this nation and thus marked the beginnings of many hardships that would befall the residents of the south. Although he was too young to enlist into the Confederate Army, it was reported by his sister, Fannie Eddins Morris to her daughter Lillian, that William Abner joined the Confederate forces as a drummer. On February 6th, 1863, at the age of 39, with an expectant wife and 8 children at home, William Eddins enlisted at the rank of private within the Army of the Confederate States of America. Confederate records state that he joined at Paulding, MS, under LT. E.W. Stafford, Company H, 27th Infantry. William's company, called the Jasper Blues, was raised in the counties of Jasper and Lauderdale. It is not known if William and his son, William Abner, joined at the same time or served in the same unit. 


It is reasonable to assume that William, and possibly William Abner, may have been present at a portion of the engagements recorded by the 27th. Based upon the date of William's enlistment, this involvement could have included the battles at Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, Jonesboro, Columbia, Franklin, and Nashville.


We are all aware of the outcome of this war. William Eddins surrendered on May 4th, 1865 in Citronelle, AL and was paroled on June 15th, 1865. His physical description was recorded as follows: Age: 41, Height: 5'-10", Complexion: dark, Eyes: gray, Hair: light.


Following his parole, William Eddins returned to his home and family in Jasper County, Mississippi, and resumed his life as a father and a farmer. In later years, Fannie Eddins Morris reflected to her daughter that her eldest brother, William Abner, had been severely injured during the war and later died as a result of those injuries.


The 1870 the United States Census of Jasper notes William and Martha at home with ten children. William is farming and Martha is keeping the house. William Abner is absent, having succumbed to his war injuries on the December 10th, 1868.


Shortly after 1870, Mary Ann Elizabeth, likely in her teens, reportedly eloped to Alabama with a "railroad man". She later died while giving birth. The date of her death and burial location are unknown.


On October 12th, 1876 William's wife, Martha Jane Hardee Eddins died as a result of unknown causes at the age of forty eight . Their productive marriage had spanned thirty years. Two months later, young Charley, who is reported to have suffered throughout his life with health problems, also died. Martha Jane and Charley were laid to rest, here, in the Old Salem cemetery.


In 1880, William was living alone with a few of his younger children. As was a common occurrence in those days, William chose to marry Martha's widowed sister, Mary Ann Hardee Gough. The remaining children of William and Martha soon migrated from home, some through marriage and some to live with their siblings.


Due to unknown reasons or circumstance, William and his new wife, Mary Ann, departed Jasper County and relocated to an unknown location in Clarke County, Mississippi. A short time later, on May 18th, 1882, at the age of fifty eight, William's life came to an end. He was returned to Davisville and laid to rest with Martha Jane and his children.


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