1816 A Tierce Comes to Tuscaloosa, people
Some Members of our Family
(1) Some of this information came from Elliott Catlett Tierce who died in 1906 in Tuscaloosa, Al. He was the grandson of Jonathan Andrew Tierce.
(2) Over the years Tierce has been spelled several different ways. For the sake of authenticity it appears here as it was shown in original records.
(3) The bulk of the following information was provided and written by Memnon Tierce, Sr.
Jonathan Andrew Tierce (1745-1797) and his brother Peter Bailey Tierce set sail from Ireland in 1764 headed for Connecticut. They came to this country by route of Nova Scotia, but it is not known whether they traveled by land or sea. Most likely they came by land and Jonathan Andrew met his wife, Catharine Ely (1745-1830), along the way to New York. The Richard Ely family came from Plymouth, England to Boston in 1655 and was given a land grant in Lgome, Connecticut by the King of England around 1660. Catharine’s brother settled Elytown, Alabama which is now called Birmingham and played a prominent role in the development of Tuscaloosa.
At times, Catharine and Jonathan quarreled, probably because of differences in their backgrounds. The 1790 census of New York lists her name twice so apparently they even lived apart some of the time. According to Memnon Tierce, Sr., “she was of the high and mighty blue blood type and he was a down to earth, matter of fact person. She felt her English blue blood was far superior to that of the Tierce’s Huguenot and never let her husband and children forget that fact.”
At some point, Jonathan Andrew converted to Methodism and he held strong beliefs regarding salvation. He dropped Jonathan and used Andrew from then on.
New York Census records of 1790 show that members of the (Jonathan) Andrew Tierce household included a wife, one male over 16 and 2 males under 16 (possibly William George Tierce and Benjamin Tucker Tierce) and two slaves.
In 1793 the Tierce family moved to Culpepper County, Virginia and bought two lots in Stevensburg for 30 pounds, however, the deed from Stevensburg Trustees was recorded in Book R, page 482 for 40 pounds. The tax was $7.00 per lot. After Jonathan Andrew’s death in 1797 his estate paid the property tax for two years. Then, in 1799 his heirs sold both lots for $110 to Harry Talliiagerro. The following names appear on the seller’s deed dated June 3, 1799: Catharine Tierce (widow), George William Tierce and wife Eleanor, Sally Tierce and her husband Reuben Ross, Eleanor Tierce and husband Jonathan Ross, Ann Tierce (single) and Elizabeth Tierce (single). On some records the last named is spelled “Tearce.” Benjamin Tucker Tierce, my (MT, Sr.) great-grandfather, was too young to sign the deed.
Jonathan Andrew’s birth date of 1745 was confirmed by Virginia tielhing (tyhling) tax records. All males over 16 years of age residing in Virginia were required to pay the tielhing tax. Jonathan Andrew Tierce died in 1797 and records show he was buried in a private cemetery in Culpepper County, Virginia owned by the Hitt family, but Memnon Tierce, Sr. was not able to find the grave marker when he visited the area in 1965.
Other notable facts about Jonathan Andrew Tierce: he was a Private in Rawlings’ Regiment, Westfally Company (listed as John Tiercy) in the Revolutionary War in Captain Benjamin Ledyard’s Company, First Regiment of New York Forces under command of Col. Alexander McDowell (as shown on Company Muster Roll June 28 to October 26, 1775).
@ Library of Congress - Jonathan Tierce - Private Rawlings regiment - Westfally Company. John Tiercy @ archives - New York Reg. Revolutionary War - Private, Captain Benjamin Ledyard’s Company in the 1st regiment of the New York Forces under the command of Col. Alexander McDowell appears on Company Muster Roll 6-28 to Oct. 26, 1775 enlisted July 26 “Re____?” drafted Aug. 16. No. 2898, Card No. 35437214.
Note: Some of the above personal information was given by Elliott Catlett Tierce, the grandson of Jonathan Andrew Tierce.
Peter Bailey Tierce (1751-1802) is the earliest Tierce that we have found documents on. Some records show his name as “Tearse” and that he was born in or around New York in 1753, but according to other, more accurate sources he was born in France on May 10, 1751. No living ancestors have been found probably due to a change in surname spelling.
Peter came from Ireland to Connecticut with his brother, Jonathan Andrew, about 1765. He petitioned the New York legislature for land and received 1500 acres. Peter studied law with Joseph at Yates University. He served as Justice of the Peace, then Sheriff and later was appointed Judge.
Peter married Mary “Polly” Hunter on September 14, 1777. They had the following children, (order not known): William Tearse, (possibly the William who died at Glenn Falls on May 9, 1826) who married Polly Stewart; Archibald Campbell Tierce who married Catherine Prince and Elizabeth Tearse, born August 1, 1790. Elizabeth married Lynann Derby and died at age 67 in Glen Falls, New York. One particularly interesting story about Polly Hunter Tearse is that she was kidnaped by relatives, but was rescued on the high seas.
The Census of 1790 shows “Peter B. Terice, resident of Argyle Town, family of six males over 16, nine males under 16, 5 females and 2 slaves, servants being included in the list.”
On July 24, 1782, Peter was appointed Captain in Willet’s Regiment. His assignment was to recruit men for regiments to defend the state of bounties of unappropriated lands.
Throughout the Revolution he served as acting adjutant and the Provincial Congress described him as a “good adjutant”.
Peter Bailey Tierce died in Ballston, Saratoga County, New York in 1802.
William Coplin Tierce (1813-1873) gave the land for the Tierce School (see story). As of 1996 his family still owns land inherited from him called “the Old Piney Woods place.” Several of his heirs are buried in the Camp Ground Church Cemetery, about 25 miles North of Tuscaloosa, AL
Eleanor "Nellie" Gaines (Abt. 1778-Abt. 1856) For information about the Gaines Family contact L.P. Gaines, Adairsvilles, Ga or Mary Gaines Korstin, Rome, Ga.
Richard Tierce (1799-1857) was counted in the 1840 Census, page 074, in Laurens Dist., SC. He was also in the 1843 Census. About 1856 Richard Tierce and eight of his 13 children along with the Brack and Higgins families from Ringold, Georgia, started to Texas by mule and ox wagons. They were on the road a year or more when Richard died and was buried by the roadside near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The family went on west and settled first on Marine Creek where in later years was near the Fort Worth Stock Yards. Later they moved where the Cox Graveyard is located, 4 ½ miles east of Millsap, Texas. Other information suggests he was buried near Red River Crossing at Shreveport, LA. He had also lived in Alabama.
Benjamin Tucker Tierce (1785-1865) is first shown in the records of Culpepper County, Virginia. In 1804, at age 19, he paid tax on one male slave. He owned and operated a blacksmith shop and stables and was employed by the Culpepper County Court as a jailor from 1807 to 1811. On May 23, 1811, he was given permission to move his business off public lots at his expense. Benjamin and his brother, George William Tierce, then moved to Laurens County, South Carolina and bought some farm land and lived there until around 1831. He is shown in the census of 1820, Laurens County, (pg. 5).
In 1816, Benjamin and George visited Tuscaloosa County with their uncle, William Ely, and then moved there permanently in 1831. In 1833/4 they bought land in and around North River for a mill site (parts of Section 35 T-19, R-10W from Jacob Clements, recorded in Land Deeds, Tuscaloosa), for $600. During the next 10 years many other deeds were recorded where Benjamin purchased more land around North River. His descendants operated this saw and grist mill until around 1960 when the City of Tuscaloosa flooded the area for Lake Tuscaloosa. Benjamin’s great-grandson, Benjamin Collier Tierce, was killed in an accident at the mill in the 1940's. “Some of this land is still owned by my family.” Mem Tierce, II
Benjamin is buried at the Macedonia Methodist Church on Highway 69, north of Tuscaloosa, Alabama beside his son and grandson.
Elliott Catlett Tierce (1827-1906) was born in Laurens Co., South Carolina and is buried beside his parents, Benjamin Tucker and Susannah Clardy Tierce, at Macedonia Methodist Church, highway 69 North of Tuscaloosa, Al. He was listed in the 1860 Alabama Census, Tuscaloosa County, Western Division of Tuscaloosa. His occupation was shown as Miller and his assets included real estate valued at over $1500 dollars, and personal property valued at $9,900. This was a considerable sum in 1860 and he would have been considered a wealthy man. Elliott Catlett Tierce and Frances Caroline Doss were married by Reuben Dodson, Minister of Gospel, Book II, Page 159, Tuscaloosa County in 1851. He served in Warrior Guards & Fowler’s Battery C.S.A. and was known as "Fed.”
Eugene Benjamin Tierce (1865-1918) In April of 1865 the invading Yankees, under the command of General J. T. Croxton, captured Tuscaloosa and burned the University of Alabama. Eugene Benjamin Tierce was born just over one month later on May 15, 1865. General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at The Appomattox County Court House in Virginia. The Union forces had occupied most of Alabama. His father, Elliott Catlett Tierce, had served in the Warrior Guards and Fowler’s Battery C.S.A. After the end of “The War Between the States,” times were hard throughout the community and state. Gene had four older sisters and a brother two years’ older than he. His grandfather, Benjamin Tucker Tierce, the son of the immigrant Jonathan Andrew Tierce, lived nearby.
Tierce’s Water Mill was only a short distance away and had provided a good living for the family along with their farms and town property. The water mill was both a sawmill and gristmill powered by a large water wheel, producing both flour and lumber. Generally the people paid for the milling by giving 10% of the product. The lumber or flour could be sold for cash. The Mill on Tierce Creek, a tributary of North River, had been constructed on land owned by the Tierces since 1833. Gene’s oldest son, Benjamin Collier Tierce, was killed in 1946 in an accident at the mill.
Gene was an outstanding person with great foresight according to his son Memnon Tierce. Memnon Tierce quoted his father many times as saying, “this land will be valuable someday, water runs downhill and Tuscaloosa will need the water.” The mill along with many acres of the Tierce land is now covered by Lake Tuscaloosa. The dam still stands about 65 feet under water. When the City of Tuscaloosa built Lake Tuscaloosa in the 1960's the remaining land skyrocketed in value and is now the area’s most sought after residential property.
Macedonia Methodist Church was nearby and was regularly attended by Gene and his family. His forefathers had been church founders and were always active in the religious and social affairs of the church.
Gene’s grandfather had owned a blacksmith shop and contracted road work for Culpepper County, Virginia before moving to Alabama. Eugene Benjamin Tierce had learned these trades and continued operating the mill and built roads for Tuscaloosa County.
On January 16, 1889 at the age of 24 he married Veturia Scales and their first son was born on June 2, 1890. He and Veturia had six children and soon built a large “L” shaped home about one mile from the mill. The house was set back off Crabbe Road (Hwy. 69 North) so the dust from the wagons and buggies would not be a bother. The house had a long, wide front porch.
Gene built a two-room log school house about 3 miles south of his home so all the area children could use it. As a child, his son, Memnon Tierce, complained many times about having to walk so far when his father could have built the school near their home. Gene’s answer was, “a little walk will not hurt you and many more children can attend.”
When his children grew to high school age, Gene built a townhouse in the City of Tuscaloosa so his children could have a better education. The home located on 21st Avenue near 10th Street was just about two blocks from the Stafford School. His wife Veturia Scales died in this house of a very high fever. In 1907 the doctors said "feed a cold and starve a fever.” She died of dehydration.
The North River home was later sold to Herman Boyd after Gene’s second wife, Lela Alma Hyche died. The family felt it would be better for the community to have a new land owner rather than a renter. Boyd divided the house into two houses. He moved one side of the “L” to use as another dwelling. Both the houses decayed until about 1960, when Billy Blakney bought the land joining Lake Tuscaloosa. The part of the house that was moved was beyond saving and later fell down, but the other part was restored and is a beautiful home today. Gene also built the first telephone line north of Tuscaloosa to his home. This was very rare because Alexander Graham Bell had only produced the first telephone in 1877.
Eugene Benjamin Tierce died on August 30, 1918 at the age of 53 about a week after slipping and falling on the sharp handle of an axe. It was felt he had an internal injury. He died intestate (without a will) and Memnon Tierce was appointed the administrator of the estate. At the time of Gene’s death he had two minor children by his second wife and two teenagers by his first wife. Court records of his estate show vast holdings. He owned Tierce Block 9 (105/6 Helgreen Survey) in downtown Northport, Alabama. Almost all of the business section of Northport had burned in 1914. Gene was one of the first to rebuild his rental property which today includes Adam’s Antiques and the Globe Restaurant. This started the rebirth of the town of Northport.
Gene Tierce also gave additional land for the Macedonia Methodist Church and Cemetery where many of his ancestors and descendants are buried. (See church history and notes).
Eugene Benjamin Tierce is buried at The Macedonia Methodist Church. He and his first wife, Veturia, have the two tallest markers in the cemetery and are buried alongside his parents and grandparents. Most of his children are buried in the graveyard as well.
William H. Ely (? - 1847) Catherine Ely Tierce’s brother, was the founder of Elytown, Alabama, which later became Birmingham. In 1816, he traveled through Tuscaloosa looking for land for the Connecticut Deaf and Dumb Asylum as their land agent. Several Tierces came with him - two nephews, George William and Benjamin Tucker Tierce and great-nephew, William Cathar Tierce. William Ely and William Cathar Tierce stayed in Alabama. In 1819 Congress granted the Asylum 36,000 acres of land and Ely chose 2,880 acres in and around Tuscaloosa. Our great-great-great-granduncle sold the land in and around Tuscaloosa on 1-17-1821 and returned to his home, Hartford, Connecticut, where he died in 1847. I understand a remarkable amount of information is available about the Ely family.
William Cathar Tierce (1800-1862), a.k.a., “Wild Bill” came to Tuscaloosa around 1816 with his uncle, William Ely. His occupations were real estate investments and horse trading. He was married to Rebecca Forester by Justice of the Peace, H. Shortridge, of Tuscaloosa County. Records show that Rebecca was given a negro girl of yellow complexion, named Minnie Malinda by her father, William Forester (Book T, page 104 of Tuscaloosa County, August 17, 1842). William Cathar began deeds of trust in 1834 for his wife and two minor daughters to be used if he did not return from his travels, as his hobby was “exploring.” He and Rebecca borrowed $500 from E. B. Mayfield on Minnie and her child, Jane. (Book W, page 418, March 10, 1848 Tusc. AL). On May 30, 1849, William Cathar sold his land and slaves and moved to Graysport, Mississippi to live with his daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Jefferson Hardwell Hodnutt of Tuscaloosa. (Elizabeth and Jefferson were married on November 25, 1847 in Tuscaloosa.) Elizabeth disappeared during the Civil War. William is buried 7 miles from Doffeeville, Mississippi in the New Hope Cemetery, but has no grave marker because a road passes over his grave.
Thomas Luke Scales (1787-1830) The Alabama Census shows Thomas Luke Scales was born in Europe in 1787 and his wife, Sara, was born in Europe in 1805. Census records show: 1 male under 5, 2 females under 5, 1 male over 5 and under 10, 1 female over 5 and under 10, 3 females over 10 and under 15, 1 male over 15 and under 20, nine children altogether.
Thomas lived in the Coker, Al. area where he found the Alabama Stone. “The Alabama Stone is one of the earliest evidences of the white man’s exploration in America”; it is a cut stone with the date of 1232 (in Spanish), which weighs over 200 pounds. It is now on display in Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Ward (1815-1875) was married to Jonathan Scales in 1832. They had seven children. Elizabeth’s parents were mostly Indian and it is said that she was a Cherokee princess. She is buried in the yard of her home overlooking the Warrior River. “My father showed me her grave and as I remember it is located off the road toward North River Yacht Club behind the old church that Jack Warner rebuilt.” Mem Tierce, II
George William Tierce (1776-1858) moved to Laurens County, SC around 1810, purchased some land and lived their until 1831. His brother, Benjamin Tucker Tierce, came to Tuscaloosa from Laurens County, South Carolina. He was counted in the 1820 Census of Laurens, Laurens Co., SC, page 5. In 1831 George and his brother settled permanently in Tuscaloosa. George William owned and was granted land on South Sandy Creek about 12 miles south of Tuscaloosa. As a result of the Military Act of 1850 which granted land to those who served their country in the War of 1812, George William received land grant #14666 in Section 23 T 24 S Range 6 East, SW 1/4 of SW 1/4, Tuscaloosa County on July 8, 1853. George lived and died in South Sandy Community, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama and is buried in Big Sandy Cemetery. Most of his land grant is now part of the Talladega National Forest.
James M. Tierce (1840-1921) moved to Graysport, Mississippi with his father, William Cathar Tierce, at age nine. He served in the Civil War as a Private, Co. KRMCs, 17th Regiment of Mississippi Infantry, C.S.A. He enlisted in the 60-day Regiment in October of 1860. James fought in the Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellerville and Spotsylvivia and received a pension of $3.00 per month for his service. He owned a home and property in Yalabush County, Mississippi valued at $100. He and his wife, Charity Conners, had eight sons and one daughter, all born in Graysport, MS.
Hulda Tierce (1841-?) and her husband, Argy Price, were early settlers of Palo Pinto County, Texas. Argy had a total of 21 children, 5 of them with Hulda.
William “Billie” Rhody Tierce (1845-1927), was the son of George William Tierce, Jr. Billie was married to Frances Armendy Mize who owned the Mize Plantation of Yazoo County, Mississippi.
James Turner Collins (1817-1919) father came from Ireland. James Turner Collins was in the Civil War and fought at the Mustang Grounds battle on the Collins Farm, about 5 miles east of Crossville, Tennessee. All Collins information came from a Family Bible.
James Williams Collins (1850-1913) was a doctor and three of his sons were doctors. He lived in or around Berry, AL. His daughter, Aggie Collins, married Doctor John Lebron Wilson.
Sara Adaline Tierce (1833-?) was one of seven children of William Coplin Tierce, Jr. She and her husband, Festus Deal, had one child, Inez. Sara’s grandson, John W. McLure, wrote to Mem Tierce, Sr. in 1961. His letter stated, “Grandma Tierce told of the wild country north of Tuscaloosa in the 1850's and she mentions a Dutch(?) ancestor who was so scared of witches that she flipped a red nightgown in each corner of her bedroom before retiring at night.”
Lewis Hart Tierce (1838-?) was killed in the Civil War, Co. K 16th Miss Inf. C.S.A.
Benjamin Fletcher Tierce (1842-1861) died during the Civil War and is buried at Old City Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. He was the son of George Andrew Tierce.
Eugene Levert Tierce (1839-1861) died during the Civil War. He was the older brother of Benjamin Fletcher Tierce and son of George Andrew Tierce.
Myra Clark Gains (1878-1966) was the daughter of Eleanor Ann Tierce. Myra was married to Dr. George Hagan and they had two sons.
Henry Richard Tierce (1825_1889) deserted the Southern Army and went to Marinsville, Indiana where he and his wife raised nine children. Letter dated 3_17_1957 from son Roy Tierce.
W. Archie Deason A letter in the file from Nancy Tarpley (Mrs. Henry Payne), great-grand-daughter of Archie Deason. 514 Van Wie Avenue, Rockford, IL, dated 3_4_1967.
George Bradford Tierce Taylor father George Taylor was accidentally killed at a saw mill several months before his son Bradford was born. Bradford was raised as a Tierce rather than a Taylor.
Mary Jane Palmer (1869-1969) “My “li’l grandmother” (great-grand-mother) lived about a block from her son, Dr. J. L. Wilson, in Hackleburg, Alabama. During my adolescence I spent part or most of every summer vacation visiting my grandparents, relatives and friends in Hackleburg. I remember a lot about “li’l grandmother”. She was very small and fragile and almost always wore a bonnet. The few times I saw her without one, I remember that her hair was dark brown even though she was 70 or so. Her old home was like a museum to me. She had a hand crank phone, a kaleidoscope and a photography viewer showing pictures in three dimensions. She would always cook me an apple pie, but I would have to bring her fresh nutmeg from Tuscaloosa for it. We also dried apples from her orchard. She and I would make a board game(“Fox and Hounds”) on a piece of cardboard and she’d play it with me. Her backyard was one of my favorite places. She had an orchard with apple and pear trees, and scuppernong vines. Sometimes she would let me hunt “bad” English sparrows with my BB gun, if they were eating her fruit. Although her physical appearance was very small and fragile, my great-grandmother lived by herself till she was near 100. - Mem Tierce, II
Benjamin Anthony Renfroe (? - 1955) was a 2nd cousin and good friend of Memnon Tierce, Sr. He owned over 1,000 acres of land on the south and west sides of North River adjacent to Mem, Sr.’s land. I remember a sunken road and a river ford accessing his land. - Mem Tierce, II. He died on March 14, 1955 and left his land to Lester and Mattie Sue Taylor who took care of him. It is believed that he never married nor had any children.
Jennie “Jen” Pauline Croker (1910 - abt. 1989) was the second wife of Memnon Tierce, Sr. She had six sisters and one brother. Jen grew up around Magnolia, Alabama in Wilcox and Marengo counties. After her divorce from Mem, Sr. she married A. B. Rainey and lived in Laurel, Mississippi.
“Jen’s sister, Sue Carillon, called me in the fall of 1995 replying to a request for Tierce family information in the Birmingham News. My wife, Tammy, went to Birmingham and interviewed Sue during Christmas of 1995 and she gave the following story”: - Mem Tierce, II
“Memnon Tierce was gassing up his LaSalle Roadster Convertible when this girl rode up on a motorcycle. Mem told his buddy, “that’s going to be my gal!” He went up to Jen and said, “Hello, my name is Memnon Tierce and I have something you’d rather be driving than that motorcycle.” Jen had a figure “fit to hell” and really got the whistles. Even after Jen and Mem divorced Jen would get drunk and go see Mem. She was always crazy about him.” Note by Mem Tierce, II “ I remember Jen came to visit us until I was 16 or 17.”
Martha Ann Cox (1835-1913) was a granddaughter of the Higgins family that came to Texas with the Tierces.
Tom Cox (1851-1930) was a grandson of the Higgins family that came to Texas with the Tierces.
Benjamin James Tierce (1823-1903) was a son of Benjamin Tucker and Susannah Clardy Tierce. He served for four years in the Civil War Infantry. His wife, Martha Marilla Pearson aka “Aunt Matt” operated the water grist mill in his absence. Benjamin Tucker lived with Uncle Ben & Aunt Matt for a while after Susannah’s death in 1862. On one occasion the Yankees came through the area and took all their meat and food along with Ben T.’s mule, Rhoda, and his high top hat. Benjamin James Tierce is listed in the 1860 Alabama Census of Tuscaloosa County, Al., with a Value of Real Property of $3,000 and personal property of $4,400. His occupation was shown as Farmer and Miller. W. H. Renfroe and Susan M. Tierce, parents of Benjamin Anthony Renfroe, were married in this house. Above information from the notes of Benjamin Anthony Renfroe.
Benjamin Collier Tierce (1890-1946) was the oldest son of Eugene Benjamin Tierce. Benjamin Collier’s 1933 Real Property Tax Return of Tuscaloosa County shows 735 acres and much of this land was inherited from his father. The Tierce Mill was located at the West ½ of the NE 1/4 of Section 35, Township 19, Range 10 and this property has been in the Tierce family since 1833. The mill and mill pond were flooded for the completion of Lake Tuscaloosa in the 1960's. Benjamin Collier died in an accident at the mill in 1946. “The first time I saw my father (Memnon Tierce, Sr.) cry was when he heard the news of his brother’s death.” Mem Tierce, II. Some of the Tierce heirs still own part of the land and other areas have been subdivided into beautiful residential lots.
Fred Otto Tierce (1909-1987) is buried in Mulligan Spring, Stewart, MS.
George Andrew Tierce (1856-1943) moved from Alabama as a small boy.
George Washington Tierce (1863-1943) - letter in file dated 1-30-1930 for family history.
Mrs. Milton Tierce, (Amanda Ellen Newberry) (1876-1962) Millsap, TX. Notes from her to Mem Tierce in 1962 state that “George Tierce supposedly had a tanning yard in England.” When he came to this country, he brought a whetstone which is at the home of Emmett Tierce in Lockney, TX.
Eugene Levert Tierce (1839-1861) was a Civil War casualty.
Eva Tierce - Her address in 1960 was 1215 S. Longview, TX. She was married to William D. Bostick, Sr. in 1959.
Ethel Tierce Adan Van Sichee - (1892-1955 or 65) died in Crockett, Texas and was buried in New York Cemetery, New York La Rue Community. Information from Janice and Jimmie Adams of Houston, TX 713-723-1768.
Alexandra Audrea Tierce (1883 - ?) 515 College St., Jacksonville, Texas, was visited by Mem Tierce, Sr. Celebrated Golden Wedding with Mary Hanes.
James William Tierce (1874-1945) His grandson, James Marvin Tierce, wrote M.T. several letters (in file) in 1955. His address was P.O. Box 291, Clinton, MS.
Joseph Thomas Tierce (1892-1959) served in the US Navy aboard the USS Utah during WWI.
Lewis Hart Tierce (1838 -?) was killed in the Civil War, Company K 16, MS Infantry, C.S.A. His wife, Laura Boozer, filed a war death claim in Oak Ridge, AL.
Robert Roy Tierce (1895-1933) was killed, hauled, and dumped in a river. Someone found his body when it surfaced. He had one child who was stillborn.
Tammy Tierce Fleming (1965- ) is the daughter of Festus and Sarah Tierce. In 1995 she wrote me a letter about her parents and it reads as follows:
Festus and Sarah Tierce, my biological parents, divorced when I was around 9 months old. My father received custody of my sister, Darlene, and me. My biological mother, Sarah, left us and never looked back. Due to my father's age (he was 65 at that time) he was required by the Court to find a home for Darlene and me. He asked his niece, Elsie Tierce Guy, and her husband, Raymond, to take us into their home. My sister and I learned to love Elsie and Raymond as our mother and father. We still loved and visited our father, Festus, but in my heart I was the child of Elsie and Raymond Guy. They raised me as their own and I'm very thankful that my biological father loved me enough to give me my very own first cousin to be my mother. Both of my fathers are now deceased (Festus in 1988 and Raymond in 1994) and I love and miss them both.
Tucker Richard Tierce (1825-1887) was a son of Benjamin Tucker and Susannah Clardy Tierce. He helped organize the Los Angeles County Fair of 1882 and died there in a tragic accident. Several newspapers printed the story of his death as copied below.
A sad accident. News reached this city last night that T. R. Tierce, one of Downey's most respected citizens, had met with an accident which caused his instant death. Mr. Tierce had been taking stock to the fair which will commence today, and was riding on a wagon driven by his son, when the horses became frightened and started to run away. The sudden start threw Mr. Tierce off of his balance and he fell to the ground, alighting on his head. Being a very heavy man, the weight with which he struck was sufficient to cause instant death. Coroner Meredith will go to Downey this morning and hold an informal inquest on the remains. From: Los Angeles Daily Herald, October 4, 1887. P. 12, col. 2.
DOWNEY CITY. Yesterday was the opening of the Fourth Annual Fair of the Los Angeles County Agricultural Association. This Association was founded by the good people of Downey City, and the fair is held at that place each year.
The opening yesterday was made under a deep pall of woe owing to the death of T. R. Tierce, an old resident of Downey, one of her most progressive and respected citizens, and a director of the association. From: Los Angeles Daily Herald, October 5, 1887. P. 2, col. 1.
...The Los Angeles County Agricultural Association, as it is called, has done much toward the development of South California. In the accidental death of Mr. Tierce, one of the most valued members of the association, it and the whole community suffer. He will be missed in many ways. From: Ibid. Oct. 5, 1887. P.4, col. 2.
Tierce, Victor C. (1897-1968) My Uncle Vic lived with us most of the time I was at home. The first I remember of him was when he showed up in a homemade camper. He had taken the body off of a car or truck and built a nice camper out of wood. He had returned from Detroit and was traveling the country in the mid 1940's. He had lost an arm, but could do about all a two_arm man could, from driving a car or tractor to tying his shoes. He had his own suite at our home, One Pinehurst, consisting of a living room, bedroom and bath. At meal times he would come down and eat with us and visit a while. He was always very polite to Mother and well mannered, but sometimes I felt she resented him living with us.
He helped my dad on the farm and stayed at the farmhouse sometimes. Many weekends he would not show up at home and Dad said he had a drinking problem. He never married. I always considered Uncle Vic a good friend. He is buried at the Macedonia Cemetery, Tuscaloosa, County Al., SS #419_24_9309. Mem Tierce, II
Willard Richard Tierce (1898-?) of Fort Worth Texas corresponded with Memnon Tierce, Sr., letter in file dated 8_9_1962.
William Tierce (Abt. 1797 - ?) was counted in the 1790 Census, page 123 New York Co., NY. The information shows: “Household, 1 free white male over 16 including head of house, 1 free white male under 16, 3 free white females.”
William Clyde Lewis Tierce (Abt. 1918 - ) called 10_1_1995, will mail info he gave me on the phone.
Wanda Faye Tierce (1948- ) called in 1991 about family information. She gave me information about the Horace Mitchell Tierce family. She is in charge of the family reunion held in Rome, Georgia, Lock and Dam, 2nd Sunday of July.
Lewis Frederick Tierce (1866-1954) was a farmer in Mississippi and lived in Elgin, TX.
Julius Ray Tierce (1927 - ) served in US Army 1950_52, Korean Conflict.
Kenneth Tierce (1933 - ) lives in Parker County, Texas. He and his wife have three children. In 1966 Kenneth was Pastor of the Seventh Street Baptist Church in Parrish, Texas.
Richard Price Tierce (1840-1861) died in the War Between the States due to the measles.
Richard South Tierce (1833-1877) came to Texas around 1856, was an ordained preacher and lived in Parker County, Millsap, Texas. He is buried at the Cox Cemetery, Texas.
Robert Cleao Tierce (1898 - 1972) His daughter, Jean Tierce Smith, provided the following information:
“Robert Cleao Tierce enlisted in the Army at age 18. I am enclosing a copy of his discharge and his service record. He was proud that he had the opportunity to serve this country from August 28, 1916 until his honorable discharge with the rank of Sgt. on April 17, 1919 at Camp Gordon, Ga. At this time he received $321.88 as payment in full. This included $50.00 bonus. He was involved in several battles: Champagne _ July 15, 1918, Chateau Thiery _ July 28, 1918, St. Miahiel _ September 15, 1918, Argonne Forest _ September 26. This battle coast more than 117,000 U.S. casualties, but Robert came through unscathed. He was hospitalized in Bordeaux, France for 15 days 11/5/18 _ 11/20/18 suffering from dysentery. Dysentery and vermin were constant companions in the fox holes and trenches. Information derived from service record and discharge papers...and my memory.”
Caroline Elliot Tierce (1837-1919) and husband, William Hardy Green, lived in Atlanta, Georgia and Will fought with the army of Georgia during the Civil War. In 1870 they moved to Parker County, TX. The trip was made in a covered wagon along the Old Towson Trial. The Indian retaliations were so bad that Caroline was afraid to stay alone, and they went back to Atlanta. In 1878 they returned to Parker County on the train. They lived near Weatherford. In 1888 they moved to Stephens County. On the way to Texas, they came through DeQueen, Arkansas and liked the looks of the country. In 1917 they moved to Cross Trails, a community about four miles NE of DeQueen. Caroline died there and is buried in the Redmond Cemetery west of DeQueen. After her death, Will Green moved to Eastland Texas, where he lived until his death in 1929. When the Cherokee Indians moved to Oklahoma, Caroline Elliot Tierce was entitled to land on the reservation, but did not take it because her family had homesteaded in Texas.
Gilbert L. Tierce, Jr.
I know the history will not be printed again but for your information I tell you that Gilbert L. Tierce, Jr. passed away on 19 March, 1997. He wanted to give his body to medical research because he had been through so many traumatic events. Such as his plane going down in Tokyo Bay and a second crash where his plane ran out of gas. He had suffered a broken back and two damaged knees from the crashes. Two open heart surgeries sustaining 7 by passes Os thought was that they might be able to learn from his body to help others.' It was his desire then to be buried at sea in the South Pacific where he served during WW 11 aboard the USS Enterprise , the USS Boxer, the Shangri La and the Hornet among others. When his cremains were returned to me from the Medical Research Center, I shipped them to San Diego whereupon the Navy flew Gilbert to San Francisco to the Naval Air Station and put him aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln nuclear Carrier and he was taken to sea. Seventy five miles off the coast of California they scattered his ashes. This was his desire and I know he was pleased. I am happy I was able to carry out his wishes. Gilbert was a Commander in the Navy, when he went into the Reserve his grade was diminished to Lt. Commander.
The Navy sent me a video tape of the Ceremony. They sent the flag that was flown at half mast during the ceremony where the Ship was stopped and a twenty one gun salute was given by the marines. . They also sent still shots . A Letter from the Captain of the USS Abraham Lincoln in a lovely navy blue leather folder. By Jeanne Kennedy Tierce September 6, 1997
Sarah Sally South (Abt. 1800 - ?) was 1/8 Cherokee; was married to Richard Tierce.
Memnon “Trip” Tierce, III (1961 - ) was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and presently lives on Lake Tuscaloosa about 3/4 of a mile from Tierce Creek. This is the location of the mill where Tierces first bought land in the 1830's. Trip is a contractor and manages his properties and the Tierce family land along with his sister, Joni.
Laura Joan “Joni” Tierce (1959 - ) was born in Montgomery, Alabama. She and her husband, Glen D. Adams, live in New Orleans, LA. She attended college in New York and Paris. Later, she decided she wanted to be a school teacher like her grandmother and great-aunt and returned to school. She currently teaches inner-city kids in New Orleans. She and Glen also renovate and manage rental property.
John Lebron Wilson, M.D. ( 10-6-1883 to 2-12-1952)
Dr. John Palmer and wife Harriet Goggans had four children Mary Jane Palmer, Cleo Palmer, Belton Palmer, and Dizenia Palmer.
Mary Jane Palmer married Edgar Neal Wilson and they had two children John Lebron Wilson and Edgar Ellen Wilson. Edgar Neal Wilson died just before his daughter Edgar Ellen was born. She was only 23. Mary Jane Palmer went to live with Uncle Billy Wilson in Chesterville, MI near Tupelo, MI where Edgar Ellen was born.
They live there until the John Lebron Wilson was nine. The Billy Wilson family moved to Texas and Mary Jane Palmer and her children came back to Guin, Alabama by train and Uncle Brooks Palmer met her.
When John Lebron Wilson was 14, he developed tuberculosis of the bone, Edgar (age 7) walked at night threw the forest to get the Doctor.
When John Lebron Wilson was 17, he delivered Vina (AL) Bank’s payroll by horseback. This had to be done at night but his mother sat on the porch and waited for him. He was paid 50 dollars. He moved to Hamilton Al and rented a house and moved by time summer school was out.
Mary Jane Palmer came to Hamilton from Butthatchee and bought a house from Jesse Arnold. They ran a boarding house with Edgar Ellen Age 12 doing the cooking. Dizenia Palmer was the Post Mistress, but quit to help out. All the boarders wanted to board at The Wilson’s. John Lebron Wilson tried to work in the mines but could not due to his childhood illness, later went to Hall’s Mill to teach. John Lebron Wilson had been taught good manners from his mother who use white table cloths for each meal that was served in courses. John Lebron Wilson made a crop that year on rented land and realized he could not do the required physical labor required. He went to Mobile and to the Mobile Medical School.
The above was transcribed from notes give to Mem Tierce, II from Betty Wilson Wood, John Lebron Wilson’s daughter. These notes were taken from a journal of Mary Jane Palmer Wilson.
Dr. John Lebron Wilson, my dad carried me with him on house calls. When we came to a creek, he said its time to roll up the windows, Someone was ill and needed him and he went no matter where or what it took to get there.
One day he carried me with him down near Hodges (ALA) and there was no road except one that had been carve out by loggers who carried out timber. A young man was lying on the ground his leg crushed by a falling tree. My dad told the men to take planks and hold his leg still to bring him to town. He was high on the hilly mountainous terrain.
Dad gave him an injection to help stop the pain. It took almost an hour to get up that high hill. A log truck followed dad’s black coupe to keep us from slipping all the way down. Finally we drove out.
Dad used the hospital in Russellville, Alabama. When we reached the hospital, dad stretched the leg then put it in a cast. His leg was as good as before the accident. This was the only place my dad said he wished he had not carried me.
Dad was a wonderful obstetrician. He delivered almost all the people in Hackleburg, where we lived and all the people in Marion County and the surrounding counties. I helped him in the office from the time I was twelve years old. A man, Mr. Hudson from Union Hill was brought in with a crushed leg. Dad told me how to drip the cholaform. When the cast came off the leg was as good as it was before it was crushed.
Dad owned three automobile dealerships, one in Hamilton, one in Russellville and one in Red Bay. There were not many cars in Hackleburg. When the people saw him, get in his car they called “sail out, Doc!”
Dad was the surgeon for this area of the Illinois Central Rail Road. This gave my family passes to ride the trains all over the United States He never wanted to leave Hackleburg. This gave my family passes to ride the trains all over the United States. My dad wanted Mother and me to see the U.S. and we did. This was the era of the streamline trains. That is why I got to see and experience live theater in St. Louis and the beauty of Chicago. I loved Marshall Fields miniature coal mine in its lowest story. The Burlington-Northern route made it possible for me to see the clear water which was very close to the track. Washington State was fun. My Uncle Tom lived there and I loved picking blueberries with Frank and his sister, Uncle Tom’s step grandchildren, fishing for salmon in the Snake River. I caught a salmon bigger than I was and Uncle Tom had to reel me and it in.
Growing up in the 1930's and 40's in this small town:
I loved the gypsy caravans, horse drawn wagons overflowing with hard-working people. Our gypsies arrived each spring and stayed until frost carved patterns on the hilly ground. During the day our gypsies let us play in their wagons. In the early evenings, when campfires began to flicker we children found shawls and danced to the beat of the gypsies’ tambourines. Of course, we children didn’t know Dad permitted them to camp there free. We didn’t know all children didn’t have their own gypsies. And of course, we children did not know what a depression was. My dad had compassion for those who needed a place to stay and food to eat. He never embarrassed them. He let them work in the yard or in the house.
Also, I loved the stories of our hobos who weren’t seasonal. Sometimes my father, a real country doctor and surgeon, carried me with him to the hobo jungle beneath and beside our steel trestle which was in a wooded area about ten miles from our town. The big, black pot always had a fire under it. While my father stitched up the injured hobos, the other hobos told me stories of their far away homes and children. Of course, I didn’t know the kindness of my father and the townspeople gave us our hobo. I was paying the bills and realized I was paying for more milk than was on the bill. I asked Mr. Flower the reason. He said, “your daddy paid the bill because he had delivered a baby and the baby had to have milk. The baby’s father didn’t even try to work.”
After my dad recovered, he found me getting bills ready to send out. Daddy said, “I had rather lose the whole amount than to send one bill to someone who didn’t owe me anything.” The amount he had showing on the book was fifty thousand dollars.
The above was written by Betty Lee Wilson Wood, 1997
Dr. J. Lebron Wilson, my grandfather was a doctor and was loved and respected by all in the area. In fact, he was the one that assisted most of the town’s births. He was also a very successful businessman. He owned nearly the whole town! Too bad it was only about two blocks long. He owned The Bank of Hackleburg and during the Great Depression his bank was one on the few that did not close because he used his own money to keep the bank open. He also owned several thousand acres of land and the Ford and Chevrolet dealerships in nearby Hamilton.
My grandfather was a great influence on me as a growing boy. He had a great sense of humor, which hopefully I inherited. I spent most of my summers vising my grandparents in Hackleburg, Al. I remember sitting around the dinner table and him trying to trick us into eating a very hot pepper. He had two peppers and was showing us one was not hot by taking a large bite. The joke was on him because he confused the peppers and bit the wrong one. I still remember how red his face turned! I learned to drive the summer that I was thirteen, my grandfather was recovering from a stroke and could not drive, his man Dude Grison had drive us about ten miles from home to one of the farms. Dude need to work there and Granddaddy ask me to try us back! I was very honored, but afraid to drive on the highway.
By Mem Tierce, II
Abraham Goggans & his wife Permeloa Mary Galbraith are buried in Goggans Baptist Church Cemetery In Bexar, Marion Co., AL. Contact Karen Goggans Taylor 11729 Clearglen Ave. Whitter, CA 90604 for information on The Goggans Family.
The following 8 pages are photostat copies of the original letter Mem and Frances Tierce compiled in 1964. At this time they had been actively researching the Tierce family tree for about 10 years. Also included are over sixty years of my father personal memories of his family. They mailed copies to relatives they had visited or that had contributed information. There were several revisions and corrections. This copy shows revisions in my father’s hand writing.
(to be added)
Memnon Tierce, II
I was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the Druid City Hospital on January 22, 1937. Dr. Joe E. Shirley was my doctor. We were living at 523 Bridge St. in Northport, Alabama. A few years later Bridge St. was widened and raised to stop the street from flooding and this ruined the character of the house and grounds. We then moved to One Pinehurst Drive in Tuscaloosa. Originally, the Northport house sat on a hill, with a large “L” shaped front porch on several acres, a stable and garden in the rear and about ten tenant houses on the north side of the property. My daddy was in the timber and cattle business and most of the tenants (hands) worked for him or were my baby sitters, playmates or worked as mother's maids. The people were both black and white. My nanny, Martha Hyche, a Negro of very light color with blue eyes, owned her home a short distance away. Daddy enjoyed telling of Martha pushing me in my stroller and people coming to her and saying, "how cute her grandchild was." As a young child her son, Howard, was my best friend, sitter and playmate. He would lead my pony and drive my buggy. I fell out one day and cut my head and Howard thought my dad was going to kill him!
I slept in Mother’s and Dad’s room for a long time (spoiled) until Dad built an addition for my room. I remember the house had a basement and a large garage. The garage was full of old office equipment, including several roll top desks from my father's cotton brokerage business that went broke during the Great Depression (1929 to the 1940's, 1933 was the height). My dad said he traded his last ten bales of cotton for an Indian Motorcycle.
The front yard was a long sloping hill tapering down to Bridge Street and to Old Rice Mine Road on the south side. There was a large cane (like fishing poles) patch in the front yard which was a great playground with secret paths and rooms. I once found a snake in the cane, but I could not kill it with my BB gun. I was scared to play in the cane for a long time. Also in the front yard was a Long Leaf Pine that was unusual for our area. We brought two horned toad frogs back from a trip visiting my great_aunt (Edgar Ellen Wilson Dinkins) in Texas. They lived in the tree a long time. A chain or rope swing hung from a large hardwood tree in the front yard that was great fun and the tree must have been old because the roots were exposed. I also played "little cars" around the tree.
Several years before I was born a tornado struck Northport and killed many people and did a lot of damage.
( The caption reads; The destroyed home of Mims Tierce) My uncle, Festus Tierce, lost a leg. The house was mostly destroyed and Dad said he watched the storm coming till the last minute, jumped into the basement and then rushed out to see the house flying in the air. He had a brass ship bell mounted on a post outside the house that the storm blew up. I was nearly spanked once for shooting the bell with my BB gun. One day a kid that lived in one of our tenant houses said “damn” in front of me. Dad overheard him, jerked him up and warned him that no one cursed in front of his son and he would get spanked if he did it again. I must have been worrying my mother one day and she locked me outside. I remember screaming and crying until she let me back in. Remember, I was not of school age yet, but YES I had a BB gun and a small Shetland pony named Bob. Daddy brought Bob home in the back seat of his car. We kept him in the stable at the back of the house. I could ride him or I could ride in my buggy (we still have it, Joni and Trip (my children) won several costume classes in it). The buggy had been my mother's father’s (Doctor. J. Lebron Wilson) buggy and he had used it to make house calls and later had it cut down to pony size for me.
At five I was not old enough for public school so I started 1st grade at the Catholic school located on 7th street in Tuscaloosa on the site of the present Methodist Church property. All I remember of the first grade was one day a mean Sister would not let me go to the bathroom and I wet my pants. This was a traumatic experience and probably why I turned out like I am! The next year I was old enough to go to public school and I went to Northport Grammar School on Main Street in Northport. Mrs. Bessie Booth was my teacher and I was the teacher’s pet. In the third grade we studied Mexico and soon I talked my dad into taking us to Mexico. My parents bought me a hand made Mexican saddle while in Mexico and we still have it. Walking home one day (Mother normally drove me) I called one of the older boys Senior' or Senorita' and he nearly beat me up. No moreSpanish for me. Many mule drawn wagons were still on the streets and sometimes we would just hop on one to catch a ride to town which was about four blocks away. One Christmas I felt I was big enough for a bicycle and asked for one with small tires and sure enough, Santa brought me a bicycle. The front tire was small with a large basket and a standard large rear tire; it was the type of bicycle that was used to delivery groceries! Mother said it was the only small tire bike she could find, but I asked her to please take it back! One year I was given roller skates, but the few sidewalks were too rough, so I never learned to skate. Soon after learning to ride a bicycle I told Mother if I had a motor on my bike she would not have to drive me to and from school and not too much later I had a "WHIZZER" motorbike. It was just a motor bolted on a bicycle, a forerunner of today's Moped, but mine would run nearly fifty miles per hour!
My mother was born in 1915. She ran off and married my Dad in 1936. I was born about one year later. Mother went on and finished The University of Alabama with a degree in Education. She taught school off and on. She did charity work all her life and was well respected for her work. The Veterans Administration dedicated and named a room in her memory at the Tuscaloosa VA hospital. She also did a great deal of work for The United Fund and the Salvation Army. I am afraid she had a way of pressuring people into giving or doing what she wanted! Her father left his Bank “Bank of Hackleburg” and other property to mother, her sister and brother. My Dad felt my uncle stole a large part of the estate. My uncle had a wife who was a drug addict, anyway my Mother ended up as the sole owner of the bank and was president at the age of 36. I was on the board of directors and loan committee when I was 18. Dad said his wife owned one bank, but he owned two banks. Both banks of North River, a small river that ran through some of his land. Mother was active in the League of Business and Professional Women and American Bankers Association. She ran for Tuscaloosa County Tax Assessor, but did not do very well. She was my father’s third wife. He said "he married his first wife to live with, his second wife to play with, and his third wife to die with." Mother was 22 and dad was 44 when I was born. My father had always been a strong (physically and mentally) man. When he about 80 he suddenly had a heart problem and had a pacemaker installed. The doctors said he could continue his life and work as before but "just slow up a little". I felt Mother took this opportunity to smother, dominate or control Dad. Mother had cirrhosis of the liver. She drank very little, but she had contracted hepatitis as a child. Mother died when she was 62, about four years after dad’s illness. By this time Dad had become very dependent on Mother. He died of old age about two months later, I felt he just gave up. Memnon Tierce married his first wife when he was in his early twenties. They had a daughter named Veturia. Dad said she left him for a shoe clerk. I think he married Gin, his second wife, during the roaring twenties after knowing her only three days. Dad claimed he soon realized his mistake and asked her for a divorce. Her answer was, "no! Mem, you know I love you so". She had figured Dad had some money. Dad started having bad dreams or nightmares and talking in his sleep. In his dreams he was spelling out in detail how he was going to kill her to end the marriage. The next time he asked for a divorce she agreed. They stayed friends until I was a teenager.
My father was always warning me about people. He said "the first generation made money; the second expanded, and the third generation lost it.” (He was implying I may or would lose the money he left me). My mother always thought he was too hard on me and she probably over-compensated by trying to smother me! I felt I spent the first 30+ years of my life living as they (Mother, Dad, society) wanted me to. I remember when I was just 30 I went to my dad and said "well, here is a million dollars! What do you think now?" He answered "business was so good anyone could have done it." Soon afterwards I "dropped out."
Many thought of my dad as somewhat of a rogue; he had a reputation (in the 1930's ) as a gambler and a bootlegger. I never doubted either! Most women thought he was a handsome southern gentleman. Remember the basement? I learned to count watching my dad shoot dice there. I barely remember him having a few friends over for a game of chance. Later, I remember him going to several “hunting clubs” in the Black Belt. During the late 1940's Alabama was booming and people were throwing money away. Dad never cheated or “gambled”, he said if one knew the odds and bet properly you would not lose.
About 1950 Mother and Dad bought One Pinehurst. This was rumored to be the largest home in Tuscaloosa. In fact, it did have the highest property tax at that
time. At the age of 13 I started high school at Tuscaloosa High School not knowing a soul.
During "Prohibition" 1920 to 1933
During World War II Childersburg, Alabama (near Sylacauga) was a booming area due to an Army shell plant. Mem, Sr. was a steam fitter, (high-priced plumber), a man of many talents and we moved to Childersburg so he could work in the plant. Dad also built a large frame building that was a road-house, dance hall and our temporary home along with the girls. I was not school age and was everyone’s “baby”. The building burned soon and we moved back to Northport. About all I remember is leaving my BB gun by the door and not grabbing it during the fire.
Daddy had a one thousand acre cattle ranch about 10 miles north of town. Some adjoining land had been in the Tierce family since 1833. North River ran through the land and you could ford the river when it was low. He had built a narrow walkway across the creek (North River) so one could cross it when the river was up a few feet. The other way around was about seven miles. He and I went to check on the cattle one afternoon and the river was rising so he left me on the near side and he walked across the walkway. The river rose and had covered the walkway when he returned. He shouted for me to walk to my Aunt’s and get them to come get him. It was a long scary walk for a little boy, but not as far as my dad would have had to walk. Later, he built a narrow low water bridge so one could cross when the river was too high to ford. The foundations of the bridge and walkway are on the bottom of Lake Tuscaloosa today. All our farm land is now Four Winds, Beacon Point and The Stonehedge subdivisions. I sold the first water- front lot before the lake was full, one acre for $3,000. Previously the property had been appraised at $150 per acre. Now the lots sell for 300 times that amount. (Thanks to me for getting it started). Daddy said his father always said that Tuscaloosa would need the water from North River.
My father, Memnon Tierce, Sr., was born on September 26, 1892. Remember, in 1892 the outlaw gangs were robbing banks and trains just a few hundred miles west in Arkansas. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were still active. My father was a teenager when the feud between the Bigham's and the Tierce's started. One Sunday during church at the Macedonia Methodist Church on Highway 69 North, (then the road was called Crabbe Road), a group of men was drunk and raising hell on the road outside the church. My grandfather asked them to go away, but they cursed him and made more noise. He later had them arrested. After the Bighams burned five of my grandfather’s tenant houses, they were quoted as saying, "if fire won't move Gene Tierce, shotguns will." Daddy said he never killed anyone but probably would have if Ole Ben hadn't backed into him. The story goes like this...One night Dad and Ole Ben, a black man that worked for the Tierce's, were hiding along a trail protecting their property when the Bighams came by in a wagon to burn another house. Dad stood up to shoot them, but Ben was in front of him and was back stepping in a hurry! Dad said he was always mad that he shot the wagon and not the men.
The Shoot-Out at Lake Tuscaloosa
The City of Tuscaloosa had just condemned about 500 acres of my father's land for Lake Tuscaloosa. The road and bridge crossed North River between Four Winds and our lake cottage. We had permission for the cattle to graze on our old pasture; Dad was very possessive of his land and cattle. Growing up he fussed at me many times for driving on the pasture or bothering the cattle.
One day a young man in a convertible stopped on this road and was shooting a 357 Magnum up the pasture in the vicinity of the cattle. Dad and Champ, his handy- man, drove up and asked (told) the man to stop, he might hit a cow. The guy replied this was not Tierce land anymore and he could do what he wanted, but soon left. Dad followed him several miles to the intersection of the Tierce-Patton Road and Hwy. 69. Dad always had a double barrel shotgun in the back seat. At the intersection the man swung his pistol on Dad and shot three times through thewindshield. Dad stepped out so he could shoot and shot the man in the car. Champ had jumped out and was in the woods. The man drove himself to the hospital. After Dad got Champ back in the car, he drove himself to where I was working. I immediately took him to the hospital. He was shot in the shoulder, through the loose skin on the neck and one joint of his finger was shot off. Both parties were in the emergency room and I called the police! We all agreed not to press charges.
Planes, Trains and Boats
My First Boat and Train Ride
(during the 1940's)
Boats - All of downtown Northport was in the flood zone of the Black Warrior River. This included our house and it would have flooded every spring if it was not on a hill. The low-lying houses and streets flooded about every year. Just up river was Spencer's Mill and when the creek was at flood stage the whole area was a huge lake. It was impossible to cross the river to Tuscaloosa by road and old downtown Northport was flooded out. The railroad crossed the river over a high bridge and the company would let one get on the train at the station, near Holman's Lumber Company, and ride to Tuscaloosa. But, my most exciting trip was by boat. One of Dad’s friends picked us up at our house. It was no problem getting in, the water was up nearly to the front porch. As I remember, the boat was an outboard, I was very scared and excited!
The Corp. of Engineers has rebuilt the lock and dam system on the river and it's not like it was. The old bridge was a two_lane draw bridge with gates that closed off each end. One day Mother was in a hurry and did not stop when the lights and siren went off. The bridge tender did not see her and dropped the gates and opened the draw. We were stuck on the open bridge!
When I was sixteen I had saved a few hundred dollars and bought my first boat and motor. The boat was about 12' long with a Johnson 9 horse power, which was older than I. But it ran and it was mine! My dad always thought I would drown. He taught me to swim doing the side stroke. We were in Panama City one time and he showed me “Little Birmingham”, a road-house. When he was a young man, he nearly drown in the gulf there and was forever apprehensive around water.
My friends and I made a pair of skis; they were about 6' long and 1' wide, but we learned to ski. We could ski in a straight line, but if the boat turned we would sink into the water. When I was about 17 I had a hydroplane that would run about 60 mph and I raced it. One day my dad came to the river to watch and the boat did a back flip. This broke my back (minor) and I had to wear a brace for six months. I was a senior in high school and hated the brace because the girls couldn't put their arms around me! These boats were a long way from my present boat, HOT NUMBER, a 42 foot Baja with three engines (over 1000 HP), air conditioner and generator. This boat will run nearly 70 mph. Other boats were: Lit Screamer, (1950)Terror (12' 25 HP), Sterling Bell (Hank's boat)/ my motor (60 HP Scott-Atwater - the most powerful they made), 1977 red white & blue jet boat, 1977 41' sailboat "Escapade", 1979 24' Bottoms Up, 1984 30' Scarab "Decadence".
Trains - When I was about 10 or so my grandmother and Aunt Betty (Wilson) rode the train back from visiting my great_aunt in Texas. I remember a long, rough, boring ride. The University of Alabama played in the Sugar Bowl and the school had a special train to New Orleans. This was much better, we used the train as our hotel in New Orleans.
Planes: I learned to fly and received my licenses in my late twenties. Over the years I owned many airplanes and belonged to the “Mile High Club.”
Hackleburg, Alabama (Marion County)
My mother's family lived in this nice, small town of about 600 people. My grandfather, Dr. J. Lebron Wilson, was a doctor and was loved and respected by all in the area. In fact, he was the one that assisted most of the town’s births. He was also a very successful businessman. He owned nearly the whole town! Too bad it was only about two blocks long. He owned The Bank of Hackleburg and during the Great Depression his bank was one on the few that did not close because he used his own money to keep the bank open. He also owned several thousand acres of land and the Ford and Chevrolet dealerships in nearby Hamilton. My father had met my grandmother before she was married and while traveling in the area he stopped to visit her. He inquired at the local drug store and, "this prissy girl (my future mother) wanted to know why he was asking about her mother". I spent nearly every summer visiting my grandparents until I was about 13 when they died.
In 1950 Mother, Dad, Uncle Vic and I took a two-month trip by car to Alaska. We drove through the west, Canada and up the Alaska Highway.
Alaska Highway. Formerly Al•can Highway A, road extending 2,450.5 km (1,523 mi) northwest from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Fairbanks, Alaska. Originally built by U.S. troops in 1942 as a supply route for military installations, it was opened to unrestricted traffic in 1947.