I am looking for the ancestors of my GGGrandfather William Porter Officer.
Born: 27 May 1838 Died: 13 Oct 1910 in White County, TN and is burried at Plum Creek Cemetary on highway 84.He was married more than once.He is burried with his later wife I think: Emily Unknown...it's states on her grave (Wife of W.P. Officer), though I know nothing about her.He was also married to Sarah Roberson, with this wife he gave birth to Samuel Henry Officer (my GGrandfather) B. 24 May 1883 D. September 04, 1919.This information may not be entirely correct but I believe it is.I was given an article by a William Lesley Officer whom that we were always told that we were related but didn't know how.I am thinking that James Christian Officer mentioned in this article might be William Porter Officer's father. But I haven't found anything saying so. This is the story:
1812 - William Alexander Officer - 1886
William Alexander Officer, or Uncle Billy as he was called by his many friends, was born at Standing Stone on Feb. 22. 1812.He and his brother, William Christian Officer, went to live with their mother and stepfather in Dry Valley after the death of their father.The two boys could not see eye to eye with their stepfather, so they packed their belongings and went to live with their sister, Mrs. Thurman H. Fancher, who lived in the Sinking Cane Community, three miles north of Standing Stone.
The two Officer boys stayed on with the Fanchers and earned their keep by working on the farm.After a few years they married and went their separate ways.William Alexander married Cythia Holford at Sinking Cane on Feb. 11, 1836, at the age of 24.Some years later he purchased a farm from his brother William C. Officer, in the Sinking Cane section of Overton County.James had bought another farm in Blue Cove, to which he moved his family.
William Alexander's newly purchased property consisted of a large tract of farm and timberland and a large two-story house.Little did he know that this house would become the scene of a bloody massacre in just a few short years.Two years after William Alexander and Cynthia married, the first of their seven children was born.Henrietta jane arrived at the Officer home on Aug. 11, 1838.The rest of the children were Sarah Ann (1841), William Alexander Jr. (1843), John Holford (1845), Frances Mae (Fannie) (1847), James Lancaster (1835) and Lee Ann (1859).
By the time the Civil War broke out in 1861, William Alexander Officer had acquired large property holdings and was financially sound.He was a progressive farmer and dealt mostly in livestock.William Alexander often drove stock south, causing him to be away from home for considerable periods of time.Much of what he had worked for during his lifetime was destroyed and confiscated by the Federal Army durng the Civil War years.
March 12, 1864
Dawn was breaking on Saturday, March 12, 1864, and everything was quiet and peaceful at the home of William Alexander and Cynthia Holford Officer, located in the Sinking Cane Community, three miles north of Standing Stone.Mrs. Officer had risen early that morning and with the help of her 17 year old daugher, Frances (Fannie), had prepared a good breakfast for their Confederate Army guest and son, John Holford Officer, who was in the Army and at home on leave that weekend.The Officers and their guest were seated around the table eating when all of the sudden 200 Federal troops rode up to the house and began to dismount.
Seeing the men in blue outside, young John Holford Officer, a 19-year-old Confederate private, jumped up from the table and ran into the kitchen where he climbed up int the loft and hid.He was assisted by Abraham H. (Uncle Abe) Officer, a faithful and trusted slave of the Officers.The six Confederate soldiers were powerless to do anything against such overwhelming odds and knew it was useless to go for their guns, which were stacked in the hallway.In just a shot time the Federal troops burst into the the house and proceeded to terrorize the family and guest.
Colonel William B. Stokes' men never quit until they had shot six unarmed Confederate soldiers in cold blood and inflicted a painful wound on William Alexander's wife.Killed were 2nd Lt. Robert S. Davis, John P. York, Oliver Shipp, Samuel Garret, William Slaughter and William Lipscomb.Contrary to the legend that has existed fr all these years, only one of the six soldiers was a Texas Ranger, which was Slaughter, who belonged to Company C, 1st Regiment Texas Rangers.Lt. Davis, York, Shipp and Garrett were members of the 8th Texas Calvary and Lipscomb was in the 3rd Regiment Alabama Calvalry.
All of these men were slain inside the house except Lt. Davis.He was wounded and carried outside where they stood him up against the gate post and shot him firing-squad style.Johnny King, a young man from Manchester, Tenn., was with the soldiers but he was not harmed.King was not a soldier because the Yankees found him hiding in the corner of a room.Uncle Abe told Col. Stokes that he was an orphan boy that was going from house to house.Had he been a soldier the Union troops would not have let him go.
The five Confederate soldiers from Texas had fought in the Battle of Stones River and following that engagement had become separted from their main body of troops.Lipscomb, the soldier from Alabama, also fought at Stones River and became separated from his Regiment.Somewhere along the way he took up the five Texas soldiers.King, teh boy from Manchester, may have been orphaned by the war and went along with the soldiers as a handyman.The seven had made their way to the home of William Alexander Officer, who was known to take in and entertain soldiers who wore the grey.Then men were most likely directed to the Officer home, where they spent the night of March 11, 1864.
Had not John Holford Officer hid in the loft, he would have been killed too.Imagine the feeling that he hadwhen he heard Col Stokes order his men to burn the house.John knew that if he came down from his hiding place and attempted to escape that he would meet the same fate as the other Confederate soldiers.On the other hand he knew if he remained in hiding and the house set on fire that he would be burned alive.
The Union soldiers started a fire at the corner of the house but William Alexander kicked it out before it could make any headway.The Yankees started the fire again and William Alexander kicked it out just as he did the first time.He was warned that if he kicked the fire out one more time that he would be shot.To this he replied, "Everytime you try to burn my house I will surely put it out"
He then appealed to Col. Stokes and reminded him that his soldiers had already murdered six unarmed men and painfully wounded his wife while shooting at John Shipp.Alexander also told the men in blue that they had heaped upon him as much sorrow as any human being could endure.This seemed to have touchedwhat little human kindness that was left in them and Zeke Bass, one of Col. Stokes' men, told William Alexander that he would not be killed nor his hourse burned.Col. Stokes and his men then mounted their horses and rode away.
The preceeding account of events leading up to the killings of six Confederate soldiers was realated to Mrs. Ermine B. Presley of Dayton, Ohio, in 1935 by Dr. William Carson Officer and William Bradley Ray, grandsons of William Alexander and Cynthia Holford Officer.Dr. W. C. Officer and W. B. Ray were both born and reared in Overton County and later became prominent Monterey businessmen.Dr. Officer founded the Officer Sanitorium, a hospital that specialized in the treatment of TB patients in the middle 1920's and 1930's.Ray was one of the founders of the Monterey Methodist Church (1894) and the Bank of Monterey (1901).
Another version of the killings was an eye witness account by Abraham H. (Uncle Abe) Officer, a faithful and trusted slave of William Alexander Officer.According to Uncle Abe's first hand report to John Trotwood, director of the Tennessee Historic Committee, on Aug. 19, 1922, he said his master stayed away from home a great deal of time, especially during the last two years of the war when enemy guerillas roamed the county.One day while William Alexander was in Sparta, he was caught by seven Union soldiers and they forced him to take the oath of allegiance.
"My master came home once in awhile and during one of those visits there were six Confederate soldiers and a young man at his home.Their names were Lt. Bob Davis, Bill Slaughter, John Shipp, Sam Garrett, John York, Bill Lipscomb and John King.It just so happened that my master's son, Pvt. John Holford Officer, was at home on a leave when the Feds rode up that morning.They never saw him though as I had fixed a place for him to hide.When the Yanks shot at John Shipp he ran through the house and caught Mrs. Officer by the hand.One of the bullets was off mark and stuck her in the shoulder, inflicting a painful wound from which she recovered."
"Shipp was shot and killed inside the house as was Slaughter, Garrett, York and Lipscomb.When they shot Lt. Bob Davis, I was within six feet of them."Uncle Abe said."Bob was wounded and they called him out of the house, stood him up against the gate post and riddled his body much the same way that a firing squad does."
"Just before Lt. Davis was shot, he said, 'You ought not do this.I have never done anything but my sworn duty.'He never flinched as the soldiers opened fire on him.King, a young boyish-looking man from Manchester, was the only one to escape death.He hid in the corner of the house and I told the soldiers that he was an orphan boy going about from house to house."
"Zeke Bass, one of Col. Stokes' men, told William Alexander that it was a shame that his wife got shot but at the same time it was a blessing in disguise to you because we were going to kill you and burn your house.I am going to spare your life so you can take care of your wife.You shan't be hurt."That ended Uncle Abe's statement to the Tennessee Historical Committee in 1922.
Any information that could be given on the ancestors of W.P. Officer would be greatly appreciated.