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The Powell Family from Lowndes County, Alabama

Updated October 18, 2008

About Our Family Research

Welcome to this Powell genealogy site.

In 1834 or 1835 two brothers, John Lewis Powell and William Rains Powell, then in their twenties, left their family home in Brunswick Co., Virginia, and moved to Lowndes Co., Alabama. Their father, Ludwell Powell, who had been one of the three largest planters in Brunswick Co., had died about 1822. Their mother was Elizabeth Parham. There were four sisters – Rebecca Gee Powell, Sally Ann Powell, Elizabeth Frances Powell, and Caroline Valeria Powell.

John Lewis Powell was born in Virginia about 1807, and on December 17, 1832, married Susan G. Orgain in Brunswick Co., Virginia. She was the daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Orgain of Brunswick Co. Their oldest daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, was born in Virginia in about 1834. After their move to Alabama, seven more children followed – Anna A., Rebecca O., John L., Susan V., Thomas C., Susan Ella, and Rebecca C. Susan V. and John appear to have died young.

William Rains Powell was the younger brother of John, and was born about 1811 in Virginia. He married Frances L. Wigginton on April 6, 1836, in Lowndes Co., Alabama. William and Frances had five children – Theophilus, Ann E., William L., Frances V., and Marcellus H. Powell. Aileen Means was the daughter of Ann E. Powell, and became one of Alabama’s most respected citizens. She married General Robert Fulwood Ligon and built an elegant residence in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1950 the state of Alabama acquired the residence. It is now the governor’s mansion.

Susan Orgain Powell died young at age 41 during a cholera epidemic in 1852. After the start of hostilities in the Civil War, Thomas enlisted in the Confederate Army and served in Goldthwaite’s (Semple's) Battery. One of the Powell sisters, Rebecca Orgain Powell, gave the parting address and presentation of the battle flag on the part of the women of Hayneville to the departing local unit, the Hayneville Guards, in March 1861.

John Lewis Powell died on December 5, 1861. He and Susan are buried in the Hayneville City Cemetery. Before his death, John Lewis Powell saw two of his daughters marry. On May 20, 1858, Anna married David James McCord, the son a Lowndes County planter. Less than a month before his death, Rebecca married Dr. J.B.C. Wright in Lowndes County on November 19, 1861.

Susan Ella Powell was the next to marry. On November 8, 1865, at age 18 she married Valentine Ham Meriwether, also from Lowndes County. Sarah E. Powell, at about age 34, married two and one-half years later on July 16, 1868, in Marengo County, Alabama. She married Felix Grundy Adams, a 55 year old widower. They had one son, Powell Adams, who moved to Texas and lived his life there. Interestingly, the youngest Powell daughter, Roberta, married Felix Adams’ oldest son from his marriage to Huldah Shields, John Howell Adams. They were married in Marengo Co., Alabama, on April 20, 1869, when Roberta was about 19 years old and John was 30 years old. Roberta and John also moved to Texas where John was tragically killed while serving as a marshall in Hempstead, Texas. In 2006 he was inducted into the peace officers hall of fame for fallen officers.

The last child of John and Susan Powell to marry was their son, Thomas Clifton Powell. After the war, he had moved to Louisiana and then Arkansas. On December 19, 1872, he married Mary Alexander "Manie" Winfield, the daughter of a prominent Arkansas Methodist minister. They had three children - Lillian, Sue, and Clifton.

Even though over 150 years have passed since the two families lived in Lowndes Co., their descendants have been washed apart by the "sands of time." One of the purposes of this site is reunite our family, which has undoubtedly grown greatly in the last 150 years.

If you know anything more about these families, or have photos or stories to share, please email me. It would be wonderful to pull this family back together again. – Rod Powell

Family Photos
  • Family of Thomas Clifton Powell (3 KB)
    L to R: Lillian Augusta Powell, Thomas Clifton Powell, Clifton Winfield Powell, Mary Alexander "Manie" Winfield Powell, Sue Louise Powell (c. 1887-1890)
  • Lowndes County Courthouse (03/04) (1 KB)
    It was in the square in front of this courthouse that Rebecca Orgain Powell "presented the flag" to the departing Confederate troops and delivered an oration on behalf of the Hayneville women.
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