The Call of Cahaba:
A Tale of Five Families
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When the movers and shakers of the Alabama Territoryknew it was going to become a state and that the capital would be the newcity of Cahaba, they sent advertising that appeared in major magazinesand newspapers all over the country and even into other parts of the world. What was the call of Cahaba? Was it merely money? Wasit the appeal of the ground floor, of getting in on the start of somethingnew? Was it the thrill of the unknown? Was it simply a placeto be free, to be on one's own? We may never know, but a new nationwas giving birth to a new state, and thousands of families would answerthat call over the early years of nineteenth century Alabama. Andas they moved into that beautiful land they would all call home, some oftheir children would marry each other and become our people.
My objective is sharing this page is to illustratethe number of intermarriages of the children of the following five families. Today, 13 Feb 2001, I discovered at least one of these (intermarriagesheretofore unknown to me) at a new-found cousin's webpage, http://www.phaenom.com/roark/jesse.htm#top. As there are several of the children, still, whose spouses are not yetknown to me, especially in the case of Ezekiel and Sarah Wilson, it isquite possible the number of intermarriages could have been even greater.
Of these five families--Johnand Jane (Walker ) Gwin,Jesseand Nancy (Morris)Roark,Nathanieland Jane (Jones) Wilson,Ezekieland Sarah (Rasco)Wilson,and John and Mary(Miles) Basset,four of their surnames are mentioned--some extensively--in the personaldiaryof Rev. Cotten of the Methodist church in Cahaba where most ofthem did attend and they may have all attended at one time or another.
Generation One, FamilyA: John Gwin and Jane Walker,newlyweds (8 Apr 1812) in Blount County, Tennessee, heard Cahaba callingand headed south. Intermarriage Summary: Of 9 known children,1 married into family B, 2 married into family C, and 2 married into familyE.
- 2.1--Mary Gwin--b.1814 - 1817 in Dallas Co., AL; m1. 27 Dec. 1838 in Dallas Co. to DruryHampton Roark (b. 1812 in SC; d. 18); m2. on 17 May 1849 in a double ceremony withsister Louisa by Rev. Cotten at (prob.) John's home to Mr. Abel Turner.
- 2.2--Thomas Gwin--I've seen absolutely nothingon this son but his name. But he was in Uncle James' notes, so herehe is. Anyone know more about him?
- 2.3--Isom Gwin (17 Mar 1817 - 7 Dec 1853); m. 1837 in Dallas Co., AL, to MaryBurdine Wilson (sister of William's wife"Roe", below) in Cahaba;
- 2.4--William Gwin--b.18 Dec 1820 at Cahaba, AL; m. 12 May 1842 in Cahaba to RosannaCarlisle Jones Wilson (sister of Isam's wife Mary B., above)
- 3.3--WilliamSuttonGwinm.IdaEliza Basset
- 2.5--SarahGwin m.LouisBasset; 2 children
- 2.6--Ann Gwin b.m. Joseph Lavalette Basset
- 2.7--Martha I. Gwin, b. unk.; d. unk.; m 22Apr 1847 in Dallas Co., AL, to Jesse Comelander
- 2.8--Chesley Gwin(Chess--although Rev. Cotten consistently calls him Charley); m1. 20 Mar1850 at Bogue Chitto, Dallas Co., AL, to Fannie Bell, daughter ofa Hard-shell Baptist preacher;
- 2.9--Louisa Gwin; m1. Mr. Gaviness,prob. in Dallas Co.; m2. on 17 May 1849 in a double ceremony with sisterMaryRoark by Rev. Cotten at (prob.) John's home toMr.William G. McKnight.
Generation One, FamilyB: Jesse Vaughn Roark and his sweetheart Nancy Ann Morrisrespondedfrom somewhere along the northern border of South Carolina. Marriedthere about 1805, they'd have been 15-year veterans of the ranks of themarried when Alabama was born in 1820. Intermarriage Summary:Of 9 known children, 1 married into family A, 1 married into family C,and 1 MAYBE married into family D.
- 141. *Sarah (Sallie) B. Roark b. S.C. ca. 1805 m. John J. Wilson,12 Oct. 1838,
- 142. *Saphronia Roark b. S.C. ca. 1810, m. Laughlin Campbell
- 143. *Drury Hampton Roark b.1812 S.C., m. Mary Gwin 27 Dec. 1838,d ca. 1846 Dallas Co., Ala
- 144. *John Washington Roark b. S.C. ca. 1813 S.C., m.MarthaJane Mitchell 26 Oct 1854, Calhoun, Co., Ark.
- 145. Gideon Thomas Roark b.18 Dec. 1817 S.C., m1. Caroline Wilson 4June 1840, m2. Mrs. Emily Manor Dunn
- 146. *Lucinda Roark b. Ala. ca 1821, m. Wm. H. Young Blann12 Jan. 1839
- 147. *Rachel E. Roark b. 1823, m. Warner Lewis Hanshaw on7-2-1846 in Dallas County Co AL
- 148. Mary Roark b. Ala. ca. 1828, m Gibb E.(or H.) Ridgeway21 Mar. 1861
- 149. Richard Hampton Roark b. Ala. ca. 1829
Generation One, FamilyC: TheWilson brothers heard it, too, perhaps also from the South Carolina wilds.NathanielBurdineWilson and his bride Jane Jones,married 4 Jan 1816, agreed that the place to go was this new capital countyof Dallas. Intermarriage Summary: Of 11 known children,2 married into family A, 1 married into family B, and 1 grandchild marriedinto Family E.
- 2.1--Mary BurdineWilson, b. 29 Nov1816; m1. Isam Gwin (1817 - 7 Dec 1853);m2. John Stedman-*
- 2.2--John Jones Wilson, b. 2 Feb 1819,probably in SC, if above info on Mary B. Wilson is correct; m. Sarah (Sallie) B. Roark,12 Oct. 1838
- 2.3--William Wilson, b. 23 June 1821, probably in SC, if above infoon Mary B. Wilson is correct; d. 4 days later; buried ;
- 2.4--Rosanna Carlisle Jones Wilson,b. 22 Aug 1822; m. 12  May 1842 to WilliamGwin (b. at Cahaba, AL, 18 Dec. 1820
- 3.3--WilliamSuttonGwinm.3._--Ida Eliza Basset
- 2.5--Ezekiel Monroe Wilson, b. 23 Feb 1825; m. Sarah JaneCole
- 2.6--William Bramwell Wilson, b. 21 Sep 1827;
- 2.7--Joseph Jones Abernathy Wilson,,b. 7 Jul 1830; d. before 1876, father of Texana (Texas) Wilson whowas living with William and Rosanna Gwin in the 1870 census in Wilsonville,AL
- 2.8--James Washington Wilson, b. 11 Dec 1832;
- 2.9--Samuel Rutherford Wilson, b. 21 Apr 1835;
- 2.10-Nathaniel Marion Wilson, b. 3 Nov 1837;
- 2.11-Isham Griffin Wilson, b. 1 Mar 1841; m. an Amanda A.,
Generation One, FamilyD: His brother, EzekielBurdine Wilson and his young wife Sarah Harrell Rasco,evidently in complete concurrence, joined them in their quest. IntermarriageSummary: Of 1 (maybe 2) known children, 1 may have marriedinto Family E.
- 2._--Washington Wilson
- 2._--Caroline Wilson? She definitelymarried Gideon Thomas Roark;the question is whether or not she is a daughter of Ezekiel and Sarah.
Generation One, FamilyE: And from the southern shores of England,most of the fourteen children of JohnJamesLouis BassetandMary Miles packedtheir sea bags and followed the sun into the promise of Alabama. John Jamesand Mary married 13 Jun 1803, so they'd been married 17 years alreadywhen Alabama became a state. Whether or not they came with their childrenis not known to me. There were no Bassets in Dallas Co. in the 1830census, so they all arrived sometime after 1830. Charlotte Basset(Mrs. Fred) Cheeseman's children in the 1850 census close the gap to between1836, when George was born in England, and ca. 1844, when Arthur was bornin AL. And the marriage of Sarah Gwin to Louis Basset in 1841 narrowsthe window even more. Intermarriage Summary: Of 14 knownchildren, 2 married into family A, and 1 grandchild married into FamilyA/C.
- 2.01--James Basset (m. Susannah Snewin)at least one child
- 2.02--Mary Basset (m. Mr. Isaacs)--diedwithout issue
- 2.03--Charlotte Basset (m.Fred Cheesman)at least 6 children
- 2.04--George Basset (m. unknown) atleast one child
- 2.05--William Basset(m.HarrietBowley) 6 children--(my great-grandparents)
- 3.1--Ida Eliza Bassetm.WilliamSuttonGwin
- 2.06--Louis Basset(m.SarahGwin) 2 children
- 2.07--Sarah Basset (m.Robert Jordan)2 children
- 2.08--John Miles Basset never married--diedwithout issue
- 2.09--Henry Basset never married--died withoutissue
- 2.10--Joseph LavaletteBasset (m.AnnGwin) 2 children
- 2.11--Emma Maria Basset(m3.Carl LudwigNitschke) 6 children
- 2.12--Thomas Archibald Basset, or Thomas Basset (twin) never married--died without issue
- 2.13--Charles Basset, or Archibald Basset(twin) never married--died without issue
- 2.14--Robert Basset or Charles Robert Bassetnevermarried--died without issue