William Thaxton of Elkhart Co., Indiana, and Berrien Co., Michigan

UPDATE 9/26/2015:  Since posting this several years ago, we have located William (Williamson) in 1850, we have found Martha Bowers’ two later marriages and her death record, and we have more information generally on the family.  Contact us for the latest.  Karra and Betty


Since we recently posted our belief that this man is in fact Williamson Thaxton, son of Thomas Thaxton and Hannah Williamson, we thought we would post a summary of information about this William Thaxton, who lived in St. Joseph Co., Indiana, Elkhart Co., Indiana, and Berrien Co., Michigan:


            William Thaxton was born about 1808 in Pendleton District, South Carolina.  (Birth year and birthplace of South Carolina are from 1860 and 1870 census; Pendleton District is from William’s Civil War enlistment papers.)  The first record we have found of William is his marriage to Nancy Ann Smith in St. Joseph Co., Indiana, 13 Aug 1837.  (Transcribed by clerk as “William Phthaxton.”)

            According to the biography of a relative, Nancy was a daughter of Daniel Smith, a veteran of the War of 1812, and sister of John W. Smith of St. Joseph Co., Indiana.  (This relationship is also confirmed by a statement from John Smith and his daughter in the pension application of Samuel M. Thaxton.)  Daniel Smith was born about 1789 in Pennsylvania, but located in Ohio by the 1820s.  The last record we have of him is in the 1860 census of Elkhart County, Indiana, Jefferson Twp.

            William Thaxton and Nancy Smith’s first known child was born about 1838, probably in St. Joseph Co., Indiana.  (His second child, Samuel M. Thaxton, stated that he was born in St. Joseph County.)  We have not been able to find William in the 1840 or 1850 census.  In the “Michiana” area, St. Joseph Co., Indiana, Elkhart Co., Indiana, and Berrien Co., Michigan, are close to each other on the border; as reflected by the birth places of his children, he was in this general area during that time period.

            William was married for a second time to Martha Bowers in Allen Co., Indiana, 15 Apr 1852.  According to the 1860 census of Niles Township, Berrien Co., Michigan, and 1870 census of Buchanan Twp., Berrien County, Martha was born about 1827 in Ohio to parents of foreign birth.

            On 01 Feb 1864, William enrolled in the Union Army to serve during the Civil War.  He was mustered in to Company E of the 129th Indiana Infantry 06 Mar 1864 at Michigan City, Indiana.  At the time, he said he resided in Elkhart Co., Indiana (which is consistent with the fact that his daughter Laura was born in Elkhart County in 1863).  He was described as a farmer, 5’10” tall, with light complexion, gray eyes, and dark hair.  Under state of birth, he reported South Carolina, and under “city or county,” he stated Pendleton.

            The 129th, commanded by Col. Charles Case, was initially stationed at Michigan City, then in April 1864 Charleston Tenn.  In the Spring of 1864, the Regiment was sent to Georgia, first Marietta, Decatur, and Rome.  In November 1864, the Regiment participated in what has been called “the greatest drama in American history,” the Battle of Franklin, Tennnessee. (Horn).  In that Battle, and the ensuing engagement at Nashville, the Confederate Army of Tennessee was effectively destroyed.  At Franklin, the 129th Indiana was assigned to the Second Brigade, commanded by Col. Orlando H. Moore, of the Second Division, commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Ruger, of the Twenty-Third Army Corps, commanded by Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox.

            Following the victory at Franklin, most of the Twenty-third Corps was held in reserve at the Battle of Nashville two weeks later.  In January and February 1865, the 129th Indiana was stationed at Fort Anderson, North Carolina.  The regiment ended up at Charlotte North Carolina in late spring 1865.  William was reported sick at Morehead City, North Carolina, that spring.  His regiment was mustered out 29 Aug 1865 at Charlotte, but William was ill and had been transported to a hospital in New York.  He was discharged a few months later.

            After the War, William returned to Berrien Co., Michigan.  The 1870 census of Berrien County is the last record we have of this William Thaxton.  On 22 May 1873, Martha Bowers Thaxton married William Batson at Buchanan, Berrien County, Michigan.  We have not located her in the 1880 census, or any further record of her.

            William Thaxton had the following known children:

            + Lydia Thaxton Clippinger – born about 1838 in Indiana.  She married Samuel John Clippinger and resided in Elkhart Co., Indiana.

            + Samuel M. Thaxton – born about 1838-39.  According to his Civil War enlistment, he was born in St. Joseph Co., Indiana.  He married (1) Irene Low and (2) Sarah Curtis.  (The validity of a third marriage was contested by the pension office.)  He died in Marshall Co., Indiana, in 1895.

            + Elizabeth “Libbie” Thaxton Smith – born about 1841 in Elkhart Co., Indiana, according to census records and the biography of a son-in-law.  She married Harvey J. Smith, and died in Marshall Co., Indiana, in 1908.

            + Aaron Thaxton – born about 1847 in Elkhart Co., Indiana.  He married Sarah Taggert and died, probably in Elkhart County, about 1880.

            + Mary Louisa Thaxton Anders – born about 1848 in Michigan.  She married George W. Anders, and died in Marshall Co., Indiana, in 1913.

            + Alice Thaxton Cann – born about 1849 in Michigan.  Her death record says that Alice was a daughter of John Forney, but she was actually placed in his household when an infant, as confirmed by the 1850 census and John Forney’s probate records.  Alice married John Cann, and died in Chicago, Illinois, in 1925.

            + David Henry Thaxton – born about 1852 in Indiana.  He married (1) Ida Gertrude Mattison and (2) Eva Inglewright, and died in Berrien Co., Michigan, in 1933.

            + John Thaxton – born about 1854 in Michigan.  He married Frances Hyatt and died between 1910 and 1920, probably in Lenawee Co., Michigan.

            + Martha Alma Thaxton Ferry – born in 1855 in Berrien Co., Michigan, or possibly Indiana.  (Her obituary states that “She was born in Indiana, July 2, 1855, and came to Weesaw township [Berrien County] as a girl of 14 years…”)  She married Emory Franklin Ferry, and died in 1933 in Berrien County.

            + Rosa Ann Thaxton – born about 1858 in Indiana.  She married David Hartline in Berrien Co., Michigan, and apparently died before 1880.

            + Jesse Edwin Thaxton – born 1860 in Berrien Co., Michigan.  He married Mabel Clayton and died in Hills Co., Michigan, in 1947.

            + Laura Estella Thaxton, born 1863 in Elkhart Co., Indiana.  She married (1) Francis Ferry, (2) Ephraim Murdock, and (3) Lewis Armantrout, and died in Kent Co., Michigan, in 1954.

            Sharlotta Thaxton, born about 1868 in Indiana.  We have no record of her other than the 1870 census.


Filed under Biography

11 responses to “William Thaxton of Elkhart Co., Indiana, and Berrien Co., Michigan

  1. Brenda Bailey

    Thank you for posting this information. Our family belongs to his first wife Mary Ann Sherry and we have been searching for years trying to find him after he left her. I have the family group sheet of him and his first wife. I also have the information of Hannah his mother, who applied for a Revolutionary War Pension and lists Williamson Thaxton son, who if now living resides in Illinois & is about 47 years of age which ties him into this same William Thaxton. Please send your email address. I would love to exchange information.

  2. Judy McCollough

    Descended from Mary Louisa Thaxton Anders. Have further information on her beginning with 1850 census of Whitley Co., IN until her death (including a photograph) Very little on the Thaxton ancestors. Thanks for sharing your research efforts. Work in the Marshall Co. Historical Museum research library and willing to help with resources there. Email address at the museum is judymccollough@mchistoricalsociety.org

  3. Beth

    Thank you so much for your post. I’m a Thaxton descendent through Jesse Edwin Thaxton. We’ve been looking for his death date and place for years. This line has been somewhat a brick wall for my family…again, thanks for the information.

  4. Sally Finley

    Descendent of David Henry Thaxton, (GG Grandfather) William GGG Grandfather, I have some pictures from Elkhart Indiana that I can not ID, most likely my G Grandfather Walter’s (Thaxton), both sides of this branch hail from Berrien county and later Mason and Oceana County Michigan, would love to get in touch with other descendants.

  5. Sally Finley

    Beth and Brenda would love help with picture ID, I have posted my e-mail above

  6. sally Finley

    Your newest comments says to contact you for the attest information, I am contacting you! I very much need this information to complete my tree, thank you for your help

  7. thaxtongenealogy

    Hi, Sally, happy to “meet” another Thaxton descendant. In addition to the posts we have done on William (Williamson) on the blog, we have quite a bit of information about his parents Thomas Thaxton and Hannah Williamson. (Our line is through Thomas Thaxton and his first wife, Jemima Cobb.) Would love to exchange information. Have you had any DNA tests in your family? Karra, thaxtongenealogy@yahoo.com

  8. Sally

    Karra, will you be posting pictures to the site? I have boxes from all my different branches, no labels, I am sure there are Thaxtons, but no way to ID the, it would be helpful if we had a spot to post them..

  9. thaxtongenealogy

    That’s a good idea. I would be happy to post photos here in case someone recognizes them. I would just need electronic/digital copies.

  10. Sally

    I will get busy!

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