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Genealogy of the Pettus Family of Huntsville, Alabama  
(version June 9, 2016) 
Please email corrections to Mike Clark


The Pettus Family of Monrovia (near Huntsville) in Madison County, Alabama descends from Colonel Thomas Pettus, who sailed from England to the Virginia colony in late 1630 or early 1631 to settle in historic Jamestown. Most of his descendants remained there in New Kent, Hanover, Lunenburg and other Virginia counties until the early 1800s, when several of them traversed the wilderness of eastern Tennessee to settle in Limestone and Madison Counties in northwestern Alabama. Although some of these early pioneers moved on to Texas, Arkansas and other frontiers, many of them remained in the Huntsville area, and are buried today in forgotten cemeteries hidden on the outskirts of the city. What follows is a brief history of those Pettus family pioneers and their descendants whose tombstones survive, for the most part, in the Douglass-Pettus, Joyner and Pettus cemeteries in the Monrovia and Harvest districts on the outskirts of modern Huntsville. Although not part of the original effort for this website, many family members in the Mount Zion, Maple Hills and Pettusville Church cemeteries are included also.

Probably the first of the Pettus family to settle in Alabama were Freeman Pettus (c.1780-1827) and his younger brother William Albert "Buck" Pettus (1787-1844), who came to the Huntsville area as early as 1810, back in the days when it was still part of the Mississippi Territory and only five years after the arrival of the first Huntsville pioneer John Hunt. However, both of them sailed in 1822 to Texas. Their cousin David Walker Pettus II (1780-1852) came in the early 1820's to Alabama with his wife and children. They are the Pettus family of Branch 2 of this lineage. They settled in Monrovia, on the outskirts of modern Huntsville, where they were joined a few years later by David's older brother Thomas Pettus (1779-1854), and his children. They are the Pettus family of Branch 1 of this lineage. Branch 1 continues with Thomas' son William Rowlett Pettus (1808-1864), whereas Branch 3 descends from Thomas Walker Pettus (1815-1870), who is one of the younger sons of Thomas, Sr.


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  1. Col. Thomas Pettus (c.1598-1669) was born in Norwich, Norfolk County, England, and baptized there on Feb. 19, 1598/99 at the St. Simon and St. Jude parish church. He was born into a wealthy, but large family that ultimately grew to include seventeen children, all the progeny of Thomas Pettus, the elder (c.1552-1620) and his wife Cecily King (d. c.1641). The elder Thomas was a draper, who held at various times a number of public offices, including sheriff and mayor of Norwich. He was also the younger brother of Sir John Pettus (c.1550-1614), a Member of Parliament, a wealthy woolen merchant, and an investor in the Virginia Company, with business interests in the American colonies.

Although he was only the seventh son, the younger Thomas still received a considerable inheritance from his father of properties in Norwich. However, he killed a man on March 24, 1628 in a street brawl at a New Year's Eve festival, and following his acquittal in 1629 of the murder, he felt it wise to sell his holdings and relocate elsewhere. This led him in late 1630 or early 1631 to sail to Virginia and begin a new life, possibly at the behest of his family. Thomas apparently was preceded in Virginia by at least one sibling, his younger brother Theodore Pettus (b. c.1600), who arrived in 1623 in James City (Jamestown), but of whom nothing further is recorded.

Thomas Pettus acquired land soon after his arrival and built a large plantation house, which he named Littletown, at a location on the James River about four miles down river from the Jamestown settlement. He also, in time, acquired the adjacent Utopia Plantation, a nearby tract called the Burnt Ordinary, and some unsettled lands in New Kent County, which was the next county up river from Jamestown. His Littletown plantation house has since been excavated, and the site can be visited at the modern Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Although some accounts attribute to Thomas a wife named Elizabeth Mouring, and possibly four children with her, there is no documentation for this in either the Norwich or Jamestown town and church records. However, his son Thomas did marry a woman with the similar name of Mourning Burgh, which might be the source for some of this confusion. Some accounts also claim that Thomas fought in the Thirty Years War, and was sent to Jamestown with 40 men to protect the colonists from Indian aggressions, which earned him the title Colonel. Again, there is little evidence for this either. However, his name does appear in one 1642/43 document as "Capt. Thos. Pettus", when he was serving on the King's Council for the colony and all of the councilors received appointments as captains in the colonial militia. He also appears in a 1652 document as "Coll. Thomas Pettus", when British warships sent by Oliver Cromwell appeared in Jamestown Harbor and fears were raised of a possible confrontation.

Thomas Pettus, due to his wealth and family connections, received in 1641/42 an appointment to a life term on the King's Council of State for Virginia, and served until at least sometime after July of 1661, which establishes him as the longest serving member of the council. He is known to have had at least one wife, Elizabeth Freeman (b. c.1608), the widow of Richard Durrent, whom he married about 1638 in Jamestown when he was 39 years old. There is also evidence for an earlier Indian wife named Ka-Okee (a daughter of Pocahontas), with whom he may have fathered four or five children, but this is somewhat speculative. Col. Pettus is known to have had at least two sons - the Stephen Pettus, who follows, and a younger son named Thomas, who inherited his father's Littletown and Utopia plantations. He died sometime between 1663 and 1668. 

(Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 107-120, no. 31; Pettus, 2013 - v. II, p. 1349-1360)

  1. Stephen Pettus (c.1642-c.1677), the son of Thomas Pettus and possibly his Indian wife Ka-Okee, was born about 1642 in James City County, Virginia, most likely at his father's Littletown Plantation. Little is known about Stephen, but presumably he married, and he is believed to have had at least two children, a son and a daughter. Although he did not inherit the Littletown or Utopia plantations from his father, both of which went to his younger brother Thomas, Stephen presumably received other properties, as he is known to have been a large land holder in New Kent County. He probably died about 1677 in the Blisland Parish where he was living, possibly in the aftermath of an armed rebellion in the Colony led in late 1676 by Nathaniel Bacon of the nearby Curles Neck Plantation. The likely son of Stephen Pettus is the John Pettus who follows. 
    (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 206-210, no. 63)

  2. John Pettus (c.1662-after 1704), who is probably the son of Stephen Pettus, was born about 1662 in Blisland Parish in New Kent County, Virginia. Even less is known about him than his father, but he is known to have been a member of the vestry (a governing body) for the Blisland Parish in 1703 or 1704 when he signed a letter from the vestry to Governor Nicholson of the Virginia Colony. He probably married and had a son named John who follows. 
    (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 270-271, no. 104)

  3. John Pettus (c.1680-c.1750), who was probably the son of the John Pettus above, was born about 1680, most likely in the Blisland Parish of New Kent County, Virginia. Although he is unquestionably either a grandson or great-grandson of Col. Thomas Pettus, the immigrant ancestor, his line of descent from Thomas Pettus is not known for certain. The most likely lineage, given the present state of knowledge, is shown here. He married Anne Overton on or prior to about 1702, probably in New Kent County, but some accounts say Yorktown. Some accounts also give her name as Elizabeth, and others as Mary. He and Anne at some point migrated upstream (northwest) along the Pamunkey River with other members of the Pettus clan to a frontier region near the area of modern Richmond, Virginia that came to be known as the St. Peter's and St. Paul's parishes, the latter parish later becoming part of Hanover County. He probably died about 1750 in St. Martin's Parish in Hanover County, Virginia.

John's name in some accounts appears as John Dabney Pettus, but this is incorect and derives from a series of Pettus family assumptions published in 1921 by Patrick Baskervill. John Pettus did in fact have a contemporary cousin named Stephen Pettus (c.1679-c.1759), who was married about 1700 to Elizabeth Dabney. Like John, Stephen Pettus participated in the move up the Pamunkey River, and he similarly died in St. Martin's Parish in Hanover County, Virginia. He also inherited much of the original Littleton, Utopia and Burnt Ordinary estates, and he did indeed have a number of descendants named John Dabney Pettus. However, these descendants do not tie back to the John Pettus of the present narrative. John and Anne had several children, including the son who follows. 

(Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 310-313, no. 125)

  1. Col. Thomas Pettus (1712-1780), second of the name in this line and the son of John Pettus and Anne Overton, was born on Dec. 25, 1714 in St. Paul's Parish in New Kent County, Virginia, but grew up in "New Forest", an estate built by his grandfather William Overton. He married Amey Ann Walker (1717/18-1778) on Nov. 10, 1735 , probably in Hanover County, and brought her and their family about 1751 to Lunenburg County along the southern border of Virginia. He served in various public offices and was a member from 1769-1775 of the Lunenburg County House of Burgesses during the American Revolution. Because he signed a protest against British taxation, and the British embargo against import, he is considered a patriot, and his name is honored on a monument in Williamsburg, Virginia. Despite his epithet of colonel, he never physically served in a militia, as far as we know, and the title of colonel is an honorary one that is largely the product of later generations. He died on March 18, 1780 in Lunenberg, and left a will (Will Book 3, p. 33-35 in Lunenburg County, Virginia) that was probated on April 13, 1789 in the county court. This will names his children, who follow. 
    (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 362-374, no. 139)


Children - Pettus

John Pettus (1736-1799) was born Sept. 24, 1736, probably in New Kent County, Virginia. He supposedly married Susannah Winston on Nov. 17, 1757, but little is known about her, and they had several children. He died on April 24, 1799 in Charlotte County, Virginia.

Overton Pettus (1739-1749) was born Oct. 13, 1739, probably in New Kent County, Virginia; and died before he had reached his 10th birthday on May 20, 1749, probably in Amelia County, Virginia.

Thomas Pettus (1741/12-c.1797) was born March 10, 1741/42, probably in New Kent County, Virginia. He married Mary Henderson, with whom he had several children. He served in the Mecklenburg County Militia during the American Revolution; and died about 1797 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

Mary Walker Pettus (1746-1812) was born November 6, 1746, probably in New Kent County, Virginia. She married Thomas Branch Brown of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, with whom she had several children. Various online genealogies place her death in 1812 in Mecklenburg County.

Ann (Anna) Pettus (1749-1831) was born Jan. 31, 1749, probably in Amelia County, Virginia. Her name in some account appears as Virginia. She married Rev. James Shelburne of Lunenburg County with whom she had several children. She died on March 9, 1831 in Lunenburg County.

Samuel Overton Pettus (1751-1819) was born March 1, 1751, probably in Amelia County, Virginia. He and his first wife Jane Feeman (1755-1783) appear to have had at least four children, including the two sons listed below. Samuel is said to have served as a lieutenant in an artillary unit during the American Revolution, but his unit has not been identified. He died Feb. 12, 1819 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. It is not known if he and his second wife Hannah Minor (c.1755-1829) had any children. (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 476-482 & Muncy Family Tree)

Freeman Pettus (c.1780-1827?) was probably born at his parents house in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He came to Madison County, Alabama, only a few years after the arrival in 1805 of the first white settlers to the area. The date of his arrival is uncertain, but he was probably there by 1810 when he is listed as a homesteader to 160 acres of land. He was joined in 1815 or earlier by his youner brother Buck, who brought his family with him and probably joined Freeman at the homestead. However, they both sailed in 1822 on the Revenge to Texas, where they settled with their families, and each took title in 1824 a separate block of "two leagues and a labor of land" (about 9,200 acres) each. Freeman died about 1827, possibly later, in Austin, Texas, his actual death date being uncertain. His oldest son Samuel Overton Pettus (c.1803-1836) was killed in the March 27, 1836 Goliad Massacre during the Texas War of Independance, for which Samuel's heirs received 3,840 acres of Texas land for his sacrifice to the Texas cause. Another son Edward Craddock Pettus (1812-1863) also fought for Texas, and is buried in the Pettus-Stanfield Cemetery in Staples, Texas. (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 578-586, no. 271)


William Albert "Buck" Pettus (1787-1844) was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and married his fist wife Sarah Lester (1774-1852) in Charlotte, Virginia. They had two children, but parted ways prior to his Dec. 7, 1807 marriage to Elizabeth Patrick (1790-1873) in Charlotte. He came in 1815 or earler to Hunstville, Alabama, where his bother Freeman since 1810 had been a landholder. So far as we know, Freeman and Buck are the earliest members of the Pettus family to make the trek west from Virginia and settle in Alabama. However, the two of them in 1822 sailed on the Revenge to Texas, where Buck served with distinction in the Texas War of Independence, and died in 1844 at Washington-on-Brazos, Texas, the year before Texas was annexed by the United States. His son John Freeman Pettus (1808-1878), from his second marriage, was a prominent figure in the war as well, participating in the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto where Texas independance was won. John was also a Texas Ranger, and later served in the North Carolina Home Guard during the Civil War. Although he and many descendants are buried in the John Pettus Cemetery in Goliad, Texas, it is not known where his father Buck is buried. (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 587-594, no. 273 & Muncy Family Tree)

William Pettus (1753-1759) was born on July 3, 1755 in either Amelia or Lunenburg County, Virginia; and died a child on Dec. 10, 1759 in Lunenburg County.

David Walker Pettus (1755-1805) who follows:

Rebecca Pettus (1759-1820) was born June 21, 1759 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. She never married and died without children. Various online genealogies place her death in 1820 in Lunenburg County.


  1. David Walker Pettus I (1755-1805), the son of Col. Thomas Pettus and Amey Ann Walker was born on July 3, 1755 in either Amelia or Lunenburg County, Virginia. He was probably named after his maternal grandfather David Walker. He served with the Lunenburg County Militia during the American Revolution as an ensign, and then in 1802 as a second lieutenant in Capt. Ellison Ellis' company. He married his first wife Anne Whitworth(1750-1802) on Nov. 28, 1776, and shortly after her death married his second wife Elenor or Ellinor Wilson, the widow of Robert Wilson, on Sept. 25, 1802 in Lunenburg County. He died on Nov. 8, 1805, probably in Lunenburg County. Although he is unlikely to have ever ventured out of Virginia, through his pioneer sons who did, he is the patriarch of the Pettus family in the Huntsville-Monrovia area of Alabama. David and Ann had twelve children, including the two sons who follow. 
    (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 483, no. 176)


Children - Pettus

Thomas Pettus (1779-1854) who follows in Branch 1 of this lineage.

David Walker Pettus II (1780-1852) who follows in Branch 2 of this lineage.

ten other children born between 1777-1795 in Virginia.

(The Pettus Family of Douglass Road, Huntsville)


  1. Thomas Pettus (1779-1854), the son of David Walker Pettus I and Anne Whitworth was born on Feb. 27, 1779, probably in Lunenburg County, Virginia . He married Elizabeth Jouett Rowlett (b. c.1780) on Nov. 24, 1803 in Halifax County, Virginia. He brought his family to Madison County, Alabama on Oct. 25, 1832, and a year after his arrival established himself there as a lawyer. He died on _____________, 1854 in Madison County, and although it is not known where he and Elizabeth are buried, they may be in unmarked graves in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery on Douglass Road. It is possible, but seems less likely, that they are buried in ummarked graves in the nearby Joyner Cemetery. Thomas and Elizabeth had several children, including the ones who follow. (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 595-596, no. 279)


Children - Pettus

Susan Gude Pettus (1804-1844) was born August 4, 1804 in Virginia, and married William Christopher. They settled in Lone Wolf in Kiowa County, Oklahoma where she died in 1844.


David Walker Pettus III (1806-1881) was born June 17, 1806, proably in Halifax County, Virginia; and married Sarah Coats (1806-1889) there on Dec. 13, 1830. He came to Limestone County, Alabama with several members of his family and lived there for a number of years before moving on in 1846 to Texas. He next moved in the early 1850s to White County, Arkansas, where he was a charter member of the Center Hill Baptist Church (organized in 1853), located 10 miles west of Searcy. He died on Feb. 4, 1881 in White County, and both he and Sarah are buried there in the Center Hill Baptist Cemetery. They had several children, all born in Alabama, including four sons - William Thomas Pettus (b. 1831), John Jouett Pettus (b. 1834), Alexander Lafayette Pettus (b. 1836) and Demarcus Coats Pettus (1843-1864) - some or all of whom are said to have been killed during the Civil War. David is easily confused with his less adventuresome first cousin of the same name in branch 2, who died in Madison County, Alabama in 1852. (Pettus, 2013 - v. II, p. 752-754, no. 377)

William Rowlett Pettus (1808-1864) who follows below. Members of this branch of the family are buried in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery just off of Douglass Road in Hunstville, Alabama.

Samuel Jouett Pettus (1811-1892) was born on either June 7, 1811 (according to Pettus, 2013), or July 7, 1812 (according to several online genealogies), probably in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He married Martha Brown Allen (1819-1881) on Nov. 16, 1836, probably in Limestone County, Alabama. He died in 1892 in Madison County, Alabama. (Pettus, 2013 - v. II, p. 755-756, no. 378) They had several children born in Madison County, including the two listed below.

  • Mary E. Pettus (1837-1919) was born Aug. 17, 1837, probably in Madison County, Alabama; and married James Johnston (b. c.1823). She died on Oct. 22, 1919 in Madison County, and is buried there in the Vasser-Pettus Cemetery.

  • William Allen Pettus (1845-1916) was born Aug. 10, 1845 in Madison County, Alabama. He enlisted as a private on June 15 1863 in the 4th Alabama Cavalry and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War under the command of Col. Phillip Roddey. He was captured on Jan. 4, 1865 by Union Forces, and sent to the Chase Prison Camp in Ohio, where he served out the remainder of the war. He returned home and married a Tennessee girl Maria Josephine Stephens (1848-1910) on Feb. 7, 1867, near Savannah, Tennessee. They settled on his family's farm in Huntsville, in Madison County Alabama, where in 1880 William was elected a county magistrate and served at least three terms. Susan died in 1910 in Madison County, according to the May 16, 1927 Sons of the American Revolution application of her son Joseph Jouett Pettus (1880-1949), and William died on Aug. 15, 1916 at Bryce, Hospital in Tucaloosa, Alabama. It is not known where they are buried. However, they had several children, at least three of whom - Elizabeth "Lizzie" Mattie Pettus (1868-1950), Rev. William Harry Pettus (1871-1902) and Susan Davis Pettus Sanderson (1876-1903) - are buried with William's sister Mary Johnston in the Vasser-Pettus Cemetery in Madison County, Alabama. Thus, this makes it very possible that William and Maria are buried there as well in graves that are now unmarked. Their son Dr. Joseph Jouett Pettus is buried in the Athens City Cemetery in Limestone County, Alabama, where the family of his father's cousin Dr. Joseph Albert Pettus are also buried.

Elizabeth Ann Pettus (c.1813-c.1853) was born about 1813, probably in Mecklenburg County, Virginia; and married David Gilbert (his sixth wife) of Giles County, Tennessee. She died at the age of sixty.

Thomas Walker Pettus (1815-1870). who follows in Branch 3. Members of this branch of the family are buried in the Pettus Family Cemetery just off of Pettus Road in Hunstville, Alabama.

James Shelburn Pettus (c.1817-c.1853) was born about 1817, probably in Mecklenburg County, Virginia; and was married in 1850 to Olivia Ann Smith. He died about 1853.

Charlotte Pettus (b. c.1819) was born about 1819, probably in Mecklenburg County, Virginia and died an infant.

John Pettus (b. c.1821) was born about 1821, probably in Halifax County, Virginia and died an infant.


  1. William Rowlett Pettus (1808-1864), the son of Thomas Pettus and Elizabeth Rowlett was born on Dec. 12, 1808, probably in Halifax County, Virginia . He married his first wife Rebecca Love in _______________ on _________________. He and his brother Thomas W. Pettus left Virginia for Alabama with their parents in October of 1832 and settled on adjacent farms in Monrovia, near Hunstville. Rebecca died there on Aug. 29, 1849 and is buried in the Joyner Cemetery near the intersection of Wall Triana Highway and Nick Davis Road. Her obituary appeared on Sept. 7, 1849 in a Hunstville newspaper called "The Southern Advocate." William married his second wife Charlotte Harris Day (1829-1903) on Aug. 12, 1851 in Madison County, Alabama, Charlotte being the daughter of Richard and Lucinda Day of Spotsylvania County, Virginia. William died on May 25, 1864 in Huntsville, and both he and Charlotte are buried in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery. William had several children who follow. (Pettus, 2013 - v. II, p. 754-755, no. 378)


Children with Rebecca Love

Thomas Jones Pettus (c.1841-1865) is said to have been killed during the Civil War, possibly in Mississippi, but his has not been confirmed.

William David Pettus (1843-1906) who follows:

Samuel Wilburn Pettus (1849-1916) was born Oct. 4, 1847, probably in Madison County, Alabama; and married Antoinette Louisa Atkins (1848-1883) on _______________ in ___________________. He died on July 9, 1916 in Madison County, and is buried there with Antoinette in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery. Antoinette was born Oct. 29, 1848 and died July 17, 1883.

Eula Lee Pettus (1869-1954) was born on Nov. 29, 1869 in Madison County, Alabama; and married John Nick Rogers (1864-1950) on Dec. 4, 1887 in Madison County. She died on July 14, 1954 in Limestone County, Alabama, and is buried there with John in the Mount Pisgah Cemetery in Athens.

Joseph Atkins Pettus (1879-1930) was born on Nov. 3, 1879 in Madison County, Alabama; and married a neighbor girl Belle Wall (1882-1958), the daughter of David Kenyon Wall (1847-1927) and Virginia Evoline Hilliard (1853-1932), on Dec. 23, 1901 in Madison County. He ran a general store on the southwest corner of Pettus Road and what is now called Pine Grove road (formerly Goat's Bottom Road), on the opposite side of the intersection from where his cousin and brother-in-law Thomas L. Pettus (1886-1975) had a blacksmith shop. Joseph died on Oct. 28, 1930 in Monrovia, and Belle, who had been born there on Jan. 31, 1881, and died on Oct. 27, 1958 in Monrovia. His son Joseph Pettus, Jr. was born on Oct. 4, 1916 in Monrovia, and died there on Oct. 31, 1992. Both Joseph, Sr. and Belle are buried in the Mount Zion Cemetery in Monrovia, Madison County; and Joseph, Jr. is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery also.


Children with Charlotte Day

Walker Alexander Pettus

Richard Emmet Pettus (1853- ) was born Nov. 18, 1853 at French's Mill near Athens, Limestone County, Alabama; and married Julia Augusta Gunn. Their son Carlos Pettus (1885-1886) was born Nov. 10, 1885, died July 1, 1886, and is buried in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery

Wilbert Egbert Pettus (1858-1930).

Walter Alexander Pettus (1859-1864) died a child on July 1, 1864 at the age of 4 years, 8 months and 20 days in Monrovia, Alabama and is buried there in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery.

Milton Oscar Pettus (1867-1936) was born on May 18, 1867, probably in Madison County, Alabama; and died on Feb. 26, 1957 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


  1.  William David Pettus (1843-1905), the son of William Rowlett Pettus and Rebecca Love was born on April 12, 1843, probably in Madison County, Alabama. He served as a private in the 9th Alabama Infantry Regiment of the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and later followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a doctor. He married Ann Dew(1843-1916) on Dec. 23, 1869 in __________; and died on Aug. 13, 1905 in __________________, and both William and Ann are buried in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery. The children of William and Ann follow.


Children - Pettus

Willie H. Pettus (b. c.1871).

Annie R. Pettus (1872-1928) who follows:

Ella H. Pettus (b. c.1875).

Mary B. Pettus (b. c.1877).

Nora Estelle Pettus (1879-1960) was born on Feb. 25, 1879 in Monrovia, Alabama; and married Edley Dometric Totherow (1876-1952) on Dec. 12, 1905 in Bartow County, Georgia. She died on Oct. 11, 1960 in Gadsden, Alabama and is buried there with Erdley in the Crestwood Memorial Cemetery.

Martha E. Pettus (1881-1881) died an infant on Aug. 8, 1891 at the age 2 of months, 9 days in Monrovia, Alabama and is buried there in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery.

Lavina Dew Pettus (1885-1885) died an infant on Aug. 17, 1885 at the age 11 days in Monrovia, Alabama and is there buried in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery.

Thomas Joseph Pettus (1888-1888) died an infant on Aug. 12, 1888 at the age of 11 days in Monrovia, Alabama and is buried there in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery.


  1. Annie R. Pettus (1872-1928), the daughter of William David Pettus and Ann Dew was born on Nov. 25, 1872, probably in Madison County, Alabama; and married Thomas J. Douglass (1868-1963) on Jan. 7, 1895 in Madison County. She died on Sept. 2, 1928 in Monrovia, Alabama, and Thomas, who had born on Sept. 20, 1868 in Tennessee, died there on March 17, 1963. Both are buried in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery.


Children - Douglass

Thomas David Douglass (1895-1969) was born on Nov. 23, 1895, probably in Madison County, Alabama; and married Agnes Johnston (1894-1973) on __________________ in __________________. He died on Dec. 21, 1969 in Huntsville (Harvest), Alabama and is buried there with Agnes in the Mount Zion Cemetery.


David Douglass (b. c.1897).

Kate P. Douglass (b. c.1899) was born Oct. 18, 1897 in ________________________. She died on May 15, 1980 in ___________________ and is buried under her maiden name in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery.

Wilburn Douglass (b. c.1901).

Erle Pettus Douglass (1903-1989) was born on April 1, 1903 in Madison County; and married his cousin Alma Evelyn Pettus (1908-1985) on May 28, 1928 in ________________. He died on Sept. 19, 1989 in ____________ and is buried with Evelyn in the Mount Zion Cemetery.

Frank D. Douglass (1905-1996) was born on Aug. 5, 1905 in _____________, and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Second World War. He died on Feb. 27, 1996 in Huntsville (Harvest), and is buried nearby in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery

Ruth Douglass (1908-1945) was born on Feb. 27, 1908 in ___________________; and married James E. Stewart on __________________ in ________________. She died on July 1, 1945 in and is buried in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery.

Mildred A. Douglass (1910-1911) was born May 31, 1910 in ______________________. She died on Nov. 12, 1911 in ____________ and is buried in the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery.

Thomas L. Douglass (b. c.1911).

(The Pettus Family of Jeff Road, Huntsville)


VII.            David Walker Pettus II (1780-1852), the son of David Walker Pettus I and Ann Whitworth was born on Dec. 20, 1780, probably in Lunenburg County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Boswell (1784-1835), the daughter of John Iverson Boswell and Mary Coleman, on Dec. 24, 1802 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. He subsequently sold his farm in Lunenburg County on Feb. 18, 1824 to William Stone and relocated his family sometime after that to Madison County, Alabama, where he appears in the 1830 U.S. Census. His wife Elizabeth died on Jan. 27, 1835 in Madison County, and a short obituary for her appeared on Feb. 20, 1834 in Hunstville newspaper called the "The Democrat." David died on Feb. 25, 1852, and he is probably buried with is wife in one of the now unmarked graves in the Joyner Cemetery, as several other members of his immediate family are buried there. Although several of his children are buried in graves maked only by field stones with carved initials, there are also two now unmarked, adult-size box tombs made of square cut stones that likely mark the resting sites of David and his wife. According to a family bible, David and Ann had the ten children who follow. (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 596-599, no. 280)


Children - Pettus

John Iverson Pettus (1803-1826) was born November 1, 1803 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. He died on August 19, 1826 in Madison County, Alabama. He is probably buried in the Joyner Cemetery in Madison County in a grave marked by a field stone that is inscribed with the clearly carved initials J.I.P. His obituary appeared on Aug. 26, 1826 in a Hunstville newspaper called "The Democrat."

William Boswell Pettus (1805-1834) was born July 4, 1805 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. He is probably the Wm. B. Pettus who married Frances O. Wilburn (Welbourn) on May 27, 1827 in Madison County. He is said to have been killed in a hunting accident in 1834, most likely in Alabama, leaving behind a wife and three children. He is probably buried in the Joyner Cemetery in Madison County in a grave marked by a field stone that is inscribed with the clearly carved initials W.B.P.

David Walker Pettus III (1807-?) was born June 6, 1807 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Jones (1812-1884), the sister of Confederate hero Col. Egbert Jones (1818-1861), and the daughter of John Jarrad Jones of Hunstville and his wife Martha Wilburn. He and Elizabeth had seven children, and though they lived for a time in Giles County, Tennessee, they later returned to Madison County. He died sometime before 1852, and he is probably buried somewhere in Madison County, Alabama, but we do not know where. He is very easily confused with his contemporary cousin of the same name in branch 1, who lived in Limestone County, fought in 1846 for Texas, and later settled in Arkansas, where he died. (Pettus, 2013, v. II, p. 756-758, no. 387)

Richard Elliott Pettus (1809-1827) was born January 17, 1809 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. He most likely came with his family to Madison County, Alabama, and died there on May 22, 1827 not long after his arrival. He is probably buried in Madison County in the Joyner Cemetery in a grave that is marked only by a field stone inscribed with the clearly carved initials R.E.P. His obituary appeared on June 1, 1827 in a Hunstville newspaper called "The Democrat."

Cluverius Coleman Pettus (1810-1814) was born December 6, 1810 in Lunenburg County, Virginia; and died Oct. 31, 1814, probably in the same county.

Mary Ann Colgate Pettus (1815-1892) was born Jan. 2, 1815 in Lunenberg County, Virginia, and married her cousin Thomas W. Pettus, most likely in Madison County, Alabama on Sept. 16, 1841. She died on the family farm on March 20, 1892 (many online genealogies incorrectly state 1842), and is buried in the Pettus Family Cemetery with her husband and several of her children.

Thomas Coleman Pettus (1816-1890) who follows:

Martha Jane Pettus (1818-1834) was born December 17, 1818 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. She died Feb. 7, 1834 in Madison County, Alabama. She is likely buried in the Joyner Cemetery in Madison County in a grave marked by a field stone that is inscribed with the clearly carved initials M.J.P. Her obituary appeared on Feb. 24, 1834 in a Hunstville newspaper called "The Democrat."

Joseph Cluverius Pettus (1820-1886) was born October 16, 1820 in Lunenburg County Virginia; and married Permelia (Pamelia) Fowlkes (1828-1886), the sister of his sister-in-law Mary Catherine Fowlkes on Jan. 8, 1846 in Madison County. Joseph and Permelia at some point, probably in December of 1858, or early in 1859, moved their family to Arkansas. Joseph died on Feb. 24, 1905 in Okolona, in Clark County, Arkansas, and is buried there with Permelia and other members of their family in the Pettus Cemetery, a small family cemetery with only six remaining tombstones. Permelia and Joseph are said to have had sixteen children, including their daughter Viola, who is listed below. (Pettus, 2013, v. II, p. 761-763, no. 393)

                                      o      Viola Emmett Pettus (c.1853-1858) was born about 1853 in Madison County, Alabama; and is said in her obituary in the Huntsville Southern Advocate (Thursday, December 16, 1858, col. 3, p. 4) to have died on Nov. 26, 1858 at about the age of 5 years. Although this obituary places her death at Pine Bluff in Jefferson County, Arkansas, she is more likely to have died at her parents house in Madison County, as there is a grave there for her in the Joyner Cemetery, with a smashed, but partially readible headstone. There is also a footstone with the initials V.E.P. Family tradition states that Viola died and was buried initially in Alabama, but that her coffin was later exhumed and reburied in Arkansas, after her parents had relocated to that state. If true, then the Joyner Cemetery tombstone is actually a cenotaph, and she was probably reburied in a now unmarked grave in the Pettus Cemetery in Okolona, Arkansas, which contains the graves of her parents and her younger brother John Edwin Pettus (1858-1859).

                                      o      John Iverson Pettus (1860-1895) was born on Feb. 2, 1860 in Okolona, Clark County, Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry amd became a dentist. He died on May 25, 1895, probably in Okolona, where he is buried with his wife Zena Penelope Rice (1864-1954) in the Okolona Cemetery. Two of their sons are Joseph Walton Pettus (1885-1976), who died in Walnut Creek, California, and is buried in the Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito, California; and Erwin Iverson Pettus (1887-1956), who is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Graham, Texas.

Elizabeth Susan Pettus (1822-1852) was born on Aug. 4, 1822 in Mecklenberg County, Viriginia, and came sometime in the 1820s with her parents to Madison County, Alabama. She married George Washington Joyner (1818-1875) on Dec. 11, 1837, probably in Madison County. She died on June 18, 1852 in Athens, Alabama, a few days after the June 3, birth of an infant son, and is buried with two of her infant children in the Joyner Family Cemetery in Huntsville. As her husband George Washington Joyner (1818-1875) was born on Feb. 22, 1818 in Huntsville, his family was among some of the earliest pioneers there. He died on Feb. 24, 1875 at Sand Mountain in Jackson County, Alabama.


VIII.            Thomas Coleman Pettus (1816-1890), the son of David Walker Pettus II and Elizabeth Boswell, was born on July 27, 1816 in Lunenburg, Virginia. He came as a boy about 1824 or so with his parents to Madison County, Alabama, supposedly returning to Virginia as a young man to attend William and Mary College, where he is said to have studied medicine. However, the college never had a medical school and no records survive of his attendance there. Nonetheless, he styled himself as a physician, and he apparently was held in high esteem in the communities where he lived. He married Mary Catherine Fowlkes (1824-1898) on March 25, 1844 in Madison County, and settled near Athens in adjacent Limestone County.

Although the order of events is uncertain, Dr. Thomas did in 1847 purchase from the Federal Government 40 acres of land in Limestone County, near the Alabama-Tennessee state line, and received in 1849 a patent (full ownership) to the property. The U.S. census then shows that he was living with his wife and children in 1850 just across the state line in Giles County, Tennessee on a plot of land next to his brother David Walker Pettus. About this same time, but possibly earlier, he built in Limestone County a home, and twelve-room hotel not far from a mineral spring in the SE/4 of Sec 10-1S-4W rich that was rich in iron salts (chalybeate) said to have healing powers. Relocating to this new home, he donated land nearby in 1850 for a church and cemetery, and succeeded in 1852 in getting a post office established there for a growing community that by now was being called Pettusville. He also aquired additonal property, including in late 1850 another 40 acres of public lands in the general area.

Although Dr. Pettus by 1860 had sold the Pettusville Hotel to a Mr. Trotter, he remained an investor in a company that Trotter set up to bottle the healing waters from the Pettusville Spring and to turn the hotel into a health resort. However, the resort plans never quite came to fruition , and the Pettus family sold off their interests in the project around the turn of the century, a few years after Dr. Pettus had passed on. The hotel in 1928 burned to the ground, and little remains of Pettusville today, except for the Pettusville Church. Dr. Pettus died on July 9, 1890 in Pettusville, and is buried there with his wife and several descendants in the Pettusville Church Cemetery that he helped to found. Thomas and Elizabeth had the several children who follow (Pettus, 2013, v. II, p. 759-761, no. 391).


Children - Pettus

Joseph Albert Pettus (1845-1926) who follows:

Robert Emmil Pettus (c.1847-1852) was born about 1847, probably in Limestone County, Alabama; and died on May 27, 1852 in Pettusville, where he is probably buried in a now unmarked grave in the Pettusville Church Cemetery.

David William Pettus (d. 1849) died on Nov. 2, 1849 in Limestone County, Alabama, but it is not known when he was born. He is probably buried in a now unmarked grave in the Pettusville Church Cemetery.

Charles Stout Pettus (1852-1876) was born on Sept. 6, 1852, probably in Giles County, Tennessee is also a possibily. He died on June 1, 1876 in Pewttusville, where is buried in the Pettusville Church Cemetery. He apparently died just after completing medical school at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Edgar Whitehead Pettus (1853-1919) was born on March 7, 1855, probably in Limestone County, Alabama. He does not appear to have married, and died on Oct. 15, 1919, probably in Pettusville, Alabama, which is shown as his residence in the 1910 U.S. Census. He is buried in the Pettusville Chruch Cemetery.

Mattie Celestia Pettus (1858-1899) was born Jan. 9, 1858, probably in Limestone County, Alabama; and married Joseph Simpson Whitfield (1855-1936). She died on Oct. 10, 1899, probably in Limestone County, but we don't know this for sure, and is buried with Joseph in the Pettusville Church Cemetery.

John Richard Pettus (1863-1863) was born Feb. 24, 1863, died April 11, 1863, and is buried in the Pettusville Church Cemetery.

Iverson Colgate "Lawson" Pettus (1864-1917) was born Aug. 13, 1864 in Limestone County, Alabama. He married first Anna Vaughan (1869-1898), with whom he had several children, and second Lola Hardiman (1886-1964), with whom he had additional children. He died on Dec. 12, 1917 in Pettusville, and is buried there with both wives in the Pettusville Church Cemetery.

Benton Sanders Pettus (1869-1943) was born May 2, 1869 in Pettusville, Limestone County, Alabama. He obtained a medical degree in 1892 at Vanderbilt University and practised his profession Pettusville. He married Mattie Davis (1869-1932), with whom he had several children. He died on May 19, 1943 in Pettusville, and is buried there with Mattie in the Pettusville Church Cemetery.


IX.             Joseph Albert Pettus (1845-1926), Physician, the son of Thomas Coleman Pettus and Mary Catherine Fowlkes, was born on June 8, 1845 in Limestone County, Alabama, posibly near the town of Athens. He served as a Sergeant in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. After the war, he attended Vanderbilt University in Tenneessee, graduating in 1868, and became a doctor. He married Musidora (Musie) Cartwright (1846-1924) in 1870 or 1871 in ______________________. He died at the age of 80 on April 6, 1926 in Athens, Alabama, and is buried with his wife in the Athens City Cemetery. Joseph and Musie had the several children who follow.

children - Pettus

Maia Pettus (c.1872-1956) was born about 1872, probably in Limestone County, Alabama. She died on Aug. 20, 1956 in Athens, Alabama, and is buried under her maiden name in the Athens City Cemetery.

Pierre Pettus (b. c.1875) is known only from the 1880 U.S. Census.

Claude E. Pettus (1875-1931) who follows:

Erle Pettus (1877-1960) was born Feb. 4, 1877 in Elkmont, Alabama; and married Ellalee Chapman (b. c.1884) of Huntsville on Nov. 17, 1907, probably in Huntsville. He became a lawyer and later served as the U.S. District Attourney for the Northern District of Alabama. He died on July 6, 1960 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Floy Pettus (1880-1962) was born in April of 1880 in ______________, Alabama. She died on Dec. 1, 1962 in Athens, Alabama, and is buried under her maiden name in the Athens City Cemetery.


    X.             Claude E. Pettus (1871-1931), Physician, the son of Joseph Albert Pettus and Musie Cartwright was born in Elkmont, Alabama on Sept. 12, 1871. Like his father, he attended the University of Nashville, graduating in 1896, and became a doctor. Settling in Hunstville, Alabama, he built a large house on Jeff Road in the Monrovia part of Hunstville in 1902 and married Harriet (Hattie) Florence Seay (1880-1962) in Huntsville on Oct. 31 (Halloween), 1903. He ran his practice in a parlor in the front of his home, with Hattie as receptionist. Some said that this historic house, which once sat at 1120 Jeff Road, was haunted, which apparently resulted in it being torn down in late 2013 so that the lot could be sold. Claude died on Aug. 4, 1931 in Huntsville of tuberculosis; and Harriet died in 1962 in the Jeff Road house. Claude and Hattie had several children who follow.

children - Pettus

Florence Pettus (1904-1991) was born Aug. 18, 1904 in Huntsville, Alabama and married Warren C. More (1904-1989). She died on Nov. 22, 1991 in Huntsville; and is buried there with Warren in the Maple Hill Cemetery.

Claude Malcom Pettus (1906-1973) was born June 17, 1906 in Huntsville Alabama; and married Helen Kelly (1913-1971). He died on Dec. 31, 1973 in Mobile, Alabama, and is buried with Helen in Huntsville in the Maple Hill Cemetery.

Louise Pettus (1907-1994) was born Aug. 21, 1907, probably in Hunstville, Alabama. She died under her maiden name on Oct. 14, 1994 in Huntsville, and is buried there in the Maple Hill Cemetery.

Harriet Seay "Hattie" Pettus (1915-2000) was born Jan. 22, 1915 in Monrovia, Alabama; and married William Burns Marsh (1910-1968) on Oct. 21, 1936 in Bessemer, Alabama. She died on June 10, 2000 in Montevallo, Alabama.

Richard Barr Pettus (1922-2003) was born on Jan. 22, 1922 in the house on Jeff Road in Monrovia, Alabama. He married Florence Louise ______________ (1926-1987) and had at leat three childreen. He died on Sept. 26, 2003 in Hunstville, and is buried there with Louise in the Maple Hill Cemetery.

(The Pettus Family of Pettus Road, Huntsville)


VIII.            Thomas Walker Pettus (1815-1870), the son of Thomas Pettus and Elizabeth Rowlett was born on May 13, 1815, probably in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He married his cousin Mary Ann Colgate Pettus on Sept. 16, 1841, most likely in Madison County, Alabama. He came from Virginia to Monrovia (Hunstville), Alabama with his brother William Rowlett Pettus and died there on August 7, 1870. Mary Ann, who had been born Jan 2, 1815 in Lunenburg County, Virginia, died on March 20, 1892. Thomas and Mary Ann had several children who follow. Both are buried in the Pettus Cemetery. (Pettus, 2011 - v. I, p. 596, no. 381)

children - Pettus

Martha J. Pettus (1843-1869) was born Jan 15, 1843, married William F. Easter on Nov. 14, 1866, died Sept. 20, 1869 and is buried in the Pettus Cemetery.

Mary Thomas Pettus (1844- ) was born July 15, 1844 in Madison County, Alabama.

Williametta Dixie Pettus (1846-1920) was born Sept. 14, 1846 in Madison County, Alabama; and married James Henry Thompson (1852-1901) on Nov. 27, 1878, probably in Madison County. James, who had been born on March 8, 1852 in Madison County, died there in Meridianville on June 11, 1901, and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Pettus Cemetery. Williametta died on June 1, 1920 in Nashville, Tennessee and is buried in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville.

William Robadore Thompson (1878-1879) died on Oct. 9, 1879 in Madison County, Alabama and is buried there in the Pettus Cemetery.

Alberter Thompson was born about 1881 in Madison County, Alabama.

Infant daughter (1882-1882) died on Feb. 4 1882 in Madison County, Alabama as an infant, and is buried there in the Pettus Cemetery in a grave for which the tombstone is now missing, probably fallen over and covered by leaves and ivy.

Clarence Rufus Thompson (1883-1949) was born on May 24, 1883 in Huntsville, Alabama, and married Bess Valma Gilliam (1897-1953) about 1919 in _____________________. He died on Jan. 8, 1949 in Greensboro, North Carolina and is buried there with Bess in the Forest Lawn Cemetery.

James Leo Thompson was born about 1885 in Madison County, Alabama and married Anna Lowe on Oct. 22, 1908 in _________________. He died on Feb. 22, 1952 in Huntsville, Alabama.

Anna Ragsdale Pettus (1848- ) was born July 19, 1848 in Madison County, Alabama; and married William Allen. Their daughter Massie U. Allen was born May 7, 1868, died Oct.21, 1892, and is buried in the Pettus Cemetery.

Ethelred Leslie Pettus (1850-1886) was born on June 25, 1850 in Madison County, Alabama. He worked the Pettus farm after his father died, and married Allie A. Vaughn (1860-1937) on June 9, 1874. He died before his mother on May 10, 1886, and is buried in Pettus Cemetery. Allie died on Sept. 27, 1937, and is buried in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville. He and Allie had the three children listed below.

Olivia Estelle Pettus (1875-1921) was born March 22, 1885 in _____________ Alabama; and married Percy E (RC) Lewis (1875-1924) on __________________ in __________________. She died Oct. 13, 1921 in __________________, and is buried in the Decatur City Cemetery.

Mary Florence Lucille Pettus (1883-1911) was born Dec. 2, 1883 in Madison County, Alabama; and died July 4, 1911 in ______________.

Thomas Leslie Pettus (1886-1975) was born in Madison County, Alabama on Jan. 26, 1886; and inherited the Pettus farm. He married Florence Irene Wall (1890-1997), the daughter of David Kenyon Wall (1847-1927) and Virginia Evoline Hilliard (1853-1932), in Madison County on Dec. 3, 1909. Thomas for awhile ran a blacksmith shop where he repaired wagon wheels on the southeast corner of Pettus Road and what today is known as Pine Grove Road (formerly Goat's Bottom Road). His brother-in-law and cousin was Joseph A. Pettus, Sr. (1879-1930), who had a general store just across the intersection from Thomas. Later, Thomas was in charge of transportation for the Madison County School District. He died on March 21, 1975, and is buried with Florence in the Mount Zion cemetery in Monrovia, Madison County.

Elizabeth S. Pettus (1852-1854) was born March 30, 1852, died Dec. 17, 1854, and is buried in the Pettus Cemetery.

Seleine Pettus (1854-1854) was born May 10, 1854, died June 21 of the same year, and is buried in the Pettus Cemetery.

Catherine J. Pettus (1855-1857) was born March 29, 1855, died Nov. 26, 1857, and is buried in the Pettus Cemetery.

Leo Mastin Pettus (1857-1927) was born on May 28, 1857 in Madison County, Alabama, and married Mollie Elizabeth (Eliza) Alley (1862-1922) on April 12, 1883, probably in Rutherford County, Tennesee, as that is where several of their six children were born. He owned a grocery store for many years in Nashville, Tennesee. He died on Aug. 23, 1927 in Nashville, and is buried there with Mollie in the Mount Olivet Cemetery. He appears in some genealogies as George, but this may me a transcription error confusing Leo with Geo.

Pettus Pioneers of Madison County

Various members of the Pettus family were among some of the earliest settlers to arrive in the Hunstville area, which is named after John Hunt, who in 1805 moved his family into small cabin near the so-called "Big Spring" that today is at the heart of the city. Alabama did not yet exist as a state in 1805, and was still part of the Mississippi Territory. Madison County, which was located along the northern frontier of this territory, covered more than twice the area that it does today, and included all of modern Limestone County as well. No one of the name Pettus appears in Madison County in an 1809 Federal census for the territory, but land records from 1810 to 1812 show that William, Freeman, and John Pettus had all acquired land in Madison County by then and presumably were living in the county.

William Pettus (1787-1844) and his brother Freeman (1780-1827) were probably the first of the family to arrive in Alabama, when in 1810 they picked up 320-acre tracts of land in the Huntsville area in sections 23 and 11 of T3S-R2W along Indian Creek, which runs through the district known today as Monrovia. About this same time, their distant cousin John Pettus arrived from Virginia by way of Tennessee, and picked up 160 acres located six miles to the east of them in the Drake Mountain area of northern Huntsville. Although William and Freeman Pettus by 1823 had left Hunstville and moved on to Texas, their cousin David Pettus (1780-1852) arrived about this time from Virginia, and a few years later was joined by his brother Thomas Pettus (1779-1854). They occupied 160-acre tracts of public lands in sections 7 and 17 along the modern Wall Triana Highway to the west of Indian Creek. They were subsequently allowed as pre-exisiting occupants to claim these lands from the Federal Government in 1834 and 1835 for $1.25/acre. Later, their descendants purchased and inherited more land in sections 9 and 10, in the area of Pettus and Douglass Roads.

Although Thomas and David Pettus are the subjects of main interest, their distant cousin John Pettus was also an early Madison County settler. As noted above, he initially picked up tracts of land in 1810 in the Huntsville area, but ultimately settled with his family 25 miles west of Huntsville, picking up at least two 160-acre parcels along Limestone Creek in modern Limestone County during an 1818 government land sale. One of John's sons, John Jones Pettus (1813-1867) was born in Tennessee, yet became governor of Mississippi during the early Civil War years. Another son Edmund Winston Pettus (1821-1907) was probably born on the family homestead on Limestone Creek, which would have been a little more than 6 miles directly southeast of Athens, Alabama. He became a confederate general during the Civil War, and many years later served as a U.S. Senator from Alabama. Like their cousins David and Thomas Pettus, John and Edmund Pettus descend from Col. Thomas Pettus (c.1598-1669), but along an entirely different line that is summarized as follows.

·         Thomas Pettus (c.1652-1687/88), the younger son of Col. Thomas Pettus, the immigrant ancestor, married Morning Burgh (c.1663-1711/12), and had the son who follows. (Pettus, 2011, p. 211-224, no. 64)

·         Stephen Pettus (c.1679-c.1759) married Mary Dabney and had the son who follows. (Pettus, 2011, p. 271-279, no. 106)

·         Dabney Pettus (c.1723-1788) married Elizabeth Rhodes (d. 1799) and had the son who follows. (Pettus, 2011, p. 316-321, no. 127)

·         John Rhodes Pettus (c.1752-1822) had two wives. With his first wife, whose name is unknown, he had the son who follows. (Pettus, 2011, p. 407-415, no. 149)

·         John J. Pettus (1782-1822) married Alice Taylor Winston (1790-1871) and had the sons John Jones Pettus and Edmund Pettus, who were mentioned above. Although both have many descendants in Alabama, and elsewhere, none of them, so far as we are aware, are buried in either Madison or Limestone counties. Both sons are shown below, with John on the left and Edmund on the right. (Pettus, 2011, p. 500-504, no. 231)


Pettus Family Cemeteries 
(Huntsville, Alabama)

Douglass-Pettus Cemetery

Located on a grassy knoll on the north side of Douglass Road near the intersection of Legacy Trace Drive with Douglass, this is the best cared for of the private family cemeteries in the area, and it is still in use. A tombstone transcription exists, and photos of all the tombstones have been entered into  .

There is also an abandoned, and largely forgotten workers and servants cemetery, located in the woods just off Legacy Trace Drive, about 740 feet south east (154°) of the Douglass-Pettus Cemetery. Unfortunately, it is completely overgrown, most of the graves are unmarked, and it is being encroached upon by the building of new homes. Only the tombstones of two black farm workers remain - the brothers Jim and Willie Warren. However, there are some interesting square stones that may have once marked graves. Photos of the two surviving tombstones have been entered into .



Pettus Heritage

What you should know about the Pettus family

Misinformation on the Pettus family

After researching records on both sides of the Atlantic, I learned that early books on Pettus family genealogy contain many erroneous statements, particularly with regard to the early generations of the family in Virginia. Most of the errors were due to two reasons: (1) early family historians, faced with gaps in the records in the Tidewater Virginia counties where early Pettuses lived, jumped to unwarranted conclusions, and (2) insufficient research or misinterpretation of extant records. Most later authors simply copied the mistakes of previous writers. The problem has now proliferated on the Internet as well-meaning writers relied upon earlier publications for their websites. Sadly, one website refuses to correct obvious errors despite the author’s advice.

In view of the situation the present author has decided to create a new website in the hope that it will motivate others who have compiled websites on their Pettus ancestry to make whatever corrections are appropriate or that will help others in the future.

Many of the questionable or incorrect statements involve Thomas Pettus who immigrated to Virginia and became a member of the Governor’s Council (also known as the Council of State).




Identifying Thomas Pettus, 17th C. Virginia Immigrant

The first known attempt to trace the English ancestry of Thomas Pettus, Virginia immigrant, was by Dr. William J. Pettus in 1890. Dr. Pettus consulted two genealogists in Norwich, England, where the Pettus family had been prominent from the 16th century to 1772, when the last male Pettus, Sir Horatio Pettus, Bt., died. Having traced the Norwich Pettuses and its branches in England back to a certain Thomas Petyous, tailor, who gained the Freedom of the City of Norwich in 1492, the genealogists had constructed a family tree of the Pettus family in England. The genealogists reported that they had found two candidates for the Virginia immigrant, an uncle and his nephew, of the right age and for whom they could find no death record; however, the genealogists did not find any evidence indicating which of the two candidates was the Virginia immigrant.

The uncle, bapt. 1599 at St. Simon and Jude Church, Norwich, was the son of Thomas Pettus of Norwich and his wife Cecily King. The nephew, bapt. 1610 at St. Peter Hungate Church, Norwich, was the son of William Pettus of Norwich and his wife Mary Gleane.

Dr. Pettus never published his findings, though one of his correspondents, Charles J. Colcock did publish a Pettus family history in 1908 that identified the immigrant Thomas Pettus as the son of William Pettus of Norwich (d. 1648). William was the eldest son of Thomas Pettus, mayor of Norwich in 1614, and his wife Cecily King. Among the other sons of Thomas and Cecily was Thomas Pettus, uncle of William’s son Thomas.

The pioneering investigators did discover a major clue, that a Thomas Pettus had been tried for murder in Norwich in 1629, but they did not mention that finding. Evidently, they chose not to reveal what they regarded as a “family scandal.” Because the immigrant Thomas Pettus had been a member of the Virginia Council of State, appointed by the king, the investigators were convinced that the immigrant could not have been the man charged with murder in Norwich. Without further explanation, the first of the pioneering investigators, Charles J. Colcock, concluded that the immigrant Thomas was the son of William Pettus of Norwich. A later investigator, P. H. Stacy, who wrote several articles and a book on Pettus family genealogy during the mid-twentieth century, concluded just the opposite–the immigrant was the uncle! Stacy based her conclusion on the observation that “eldest sons of eldest sons never left England.” The nephew was the eldest son of an eldest son. Because the immigrant was not his father’s eldest son, he must have been the immigrant.

After examining the records in Norwich, which included parish registers and the city records of the trial, this writer concluded that the two candidates identified by the early investigators were indeed the only ones worthy of further consideration. A possible clue pointing to the uncle as the immigrant is that the Norwich court ordered the constables to search for and seize the property of the Thomas Pettus accused of murder. Since the nephew’s father was still living, the nephew probably did not have property subject to seizure. Of course, the wording of the bill of indictment may have been pro forma, even if did not apply in the nephew’s case.

Finally, a breakthrough on this vexing “brick wall” problem occurred when Mr. C. H. C. Whittick of the Norfolk Record Office in Norwich whom the writer had retained to look for further evidence relating to the problem, happened by chance to find a previously overlooked record made in 1699, long after the death of Thomas Pettus of the Virginia Council.  The key record shows that a certain John Pettus appeared before the Mayor’s Court in Norwich seeking to prove that “Capt. Thomas Pettus of Virga in America, dec’d” was his late uncle! To prove his case, John submitted two parish records and brought with him witnesses who knew his relationship to Capt. Pettus. The parish records were from the registers of St. Simon and St. Jude parish and St. Lawrence Parish in Norwich. As previously mentioned, the older candidate was baptized in St. Simon and St. Jude parish. The St. Lawrence Parish register has the baptism of John, son of Henry Pettus. Henry was the younger brother of the elder candidate mentioned previously. John did not offer the St. Peter Hungate parish register in evidence. The only logical conclusion is that Capt. Thomas Pettus of Virginia was the elder of the two candidates; i.e., he was the son of Thomas Pettus of Norwich and his wife Cecily King!

The long-standing “brick wall” problem was finally solved by the chance discovery of a record made years after the death of the Virginia Councilor. Stacy was correct in identifying Thomas Pettus of Virginia as the uncle though for the wrong reason!

Unfortunately, later writers have simply copied the conclusion of one or the other early writers without doing the necessary research in the Norwich records.




Here is a list of unsolved problems in Pettus genealogy. Many fall into the category of “brick wall” problems.

  1. Did TP, immigrant, marry Pocahontas’s daughter, Ka-Okee?

  2. What became of Stephen Pettis/Pettus of London, b. 1629?

  3. Identify the Stephen Pettis named as a headright in 1637?

  4. Identify “Thomas Pettus, Jr.”, named as a headright in 1644?

  5. Identify Stephen Pettus assigned land by Awell and ?? in 16??

  6. Identify Stephen Pettis accused of concealing tithes

  7. Identify Stephen Pettus of New Kent Co. in 1662

  8. Identify John Pettus of King and Queen Co., Va., who paid quit rent on land in Essex Co. in 1704

  9. Identify Stephen Pettus in Hanover in ??

  10. Identify John Pettus in Hanover in ??

  11. Identify the John Pettus and his wife Anne, who were the parents of Thomas Pettus, burgess of Lunenburg Co.

  12. Was Amey Walker, wife of TP, burgess, related to Alexander Walker, Jr., grantee in the sale of Pettus estates in 1700?

  13. Who were the parents of John Pettus, sheriff of Lousia Co., in 1770?

  14. Who was the wife of John Pettus, sheriff of Lousia Co., in 1770?

  15. How was John Pettus, sheriff of Louisa Co., related to John Pettus, guardian of John’s children after 1770?

 Did Thomas Pettus marry Pocahontas’s Daughter, Ka-Okee?

Information about the supposed marriage did not come to the writer’s attention until 2010, when he read a post by Arthur Mitchell, historian of the Pamunkey Indian tribe of Virginia. Mitchell stated that Pocahontas had previously been married to Kocoum, an Indian brave, before she married John Rolfe of Jamestown. According to Mitchell, Pocahontas had a daughter, Ka-Okee, by Kocoum. Ka-Okee married a Pettus and had a daughter, Christian Pettus, who was the ancestor of many persons living in Stafford Co., Va., and other counties in the vicinity. Mitchell thought perhaps the Pettus who married Ka-Okee was Theodore, who arrived at Jamestown Island, Virginia, in 1623.

This revelation leads to further questions:

1. Did Pocahontas marry an Indian brave before marrying John Rolfe?

2. Did Pocahontas have a daughter named Ka-Okee by her first marriage?

3. Did Ka-Okee indeed marry a Pettus?

4. If so, which Pettus did she marry?

5. Did Ka-Okee have a daughter named Christian Pettus?

6. Did Ka-Okee have other children besides Christian?


Subsequent email exchanges with Bill Deyo, historian of the Patawomeck Tribe. confirmed Mitchell’s claim, describing his clam as “sacred tradition.” Upon further investigation, I pointed out that the last record of Theodore Pettus in Virginia was made in 1626. Theodore’s elder brother, Thomas, was probably in Virginia in the early 1630s and remained there until his death after 1661. Thomas, moreover, held 1,000 ac. on Potomac Cr. which is now in Stafford Co., Va., where many of Ka-Okee’s descendants now live. In 1660, Thomas sold his Potomac Creek plantation to Mr. Henry Meese. Meese was married to one of Ka-Okee’s relatives. Adjacent properties were also owned by Ka-Okee’s relatives. When informed of these particulars, Deyo agreed that Ka-Okee must have married Thomas Pettus.


Rethinking the Ancestral Line of Thomas Pettus, Burgess of Lunenburg Co., 1712-1780

As discussed in the introduction to my book, many records from the Tidewater counties in Virginia during the colonial period were destroyed at one time or another. As an unfortunate consequence, genealogists often have only fragmentary evidence upon which to establish family relationships. Of course, this situation often leads to some degree of speculation.

In the case of Thomas Pettus, burgess of Lunenburg Co. (1712-1780), I knew that his parents were John Pettus and Ann, but their identities have been the subject of considerable speculation on the part of family historians, including myself.

Originally, I thought that Thomas’s father was the John Pettus who settled in Hanover Co. c1711. None of the other family historians mentioned him in their publications. I also thought that John was the son of John Pettis, vestryman of Blisland Parish, New Kent Co., Virginia, in 1704. Thomas had served as clerk of Blisland Parish from 1736 to 1746.

More recently, I started exploring the possibility that John Pettus of Hanover Co. and John Pettis, vestryman of Blisland Parish, were one and the same person. Of course, that possibility raised the question of the vestryman’s identity.

Over the past several weeks, I considered all the known Pettuses in Virginia who could have been John’s father and concluded that he probably was a second son of Thomas Pettus II of Littletown plantation, James City Co., Va. I knew that Thomas had a son Stephen who sold the Pettus plantations in 1700 to James Bray, Jr., of Wilmington Parish, James City Co., but I had not considered the possibility that John Pettis was Thomas’s second son. After considering all the other known Pettuses who could have been John’s father, I concluded that the most likely candidate was indeed Thomas Pettus II.

Once I have made sure there are no loopholes in my rationale, I expect to update this website with a more detailed account of my thinking.

My new trial version of the ancestry of Thomas Pettus, burgess of Lunenburg Co., goes as follows:

Generation 1: Col. Thomas Pettus and his wife Elizabeth (Freeman) Durrent of James City Co., Va..

Generation 2: Thomas Pettus II, d. 1687, of James City Co., Va.

Generation 3: John Pettis, vestryman of Blisland Parish, New Kent Co., Va. and his wife Ann.

Generation 4: Thomas Pettus, burgess of Lunenburg Co., Va., b. 1712.

I have also been rethinking the identity of Thomas’s mother Ann. Was she truly the daughter of William Overton and his wife Mary (or Elizabeth) Waters of Hanover Co., Va.? I hope I will be able to shed further light on the question and post an update to this web site later.






Pocahontas ancestry and DNA - Sullivan Family Connection

How I discovered my ancestor Pocahontas and her Sullivan family descendants of Northern Virginia using the web - a genealogy posting by Bob Atchison.

The web is essential for researching family history.  I use as my primary tool to construct my tree and attach data and stories.  Today I am writing about adding Princess Pocahontas of the Powhatan tribe to my tree.

My father was born near Stafford, Virginia.  The earliest Atchison ancestor I have been able to locate is a man named Johannes Filius Abe, who was a Scottish emissary to the Pope in 1320.  My family in Scotland spelled their name is different ways -  Achessone and Acheson are examples. In the early 1600's my ancestors John Acheson and his wife Katherine moved to Ireland at the request of James I as Protestant colonists. The Achesons were a well-known and successful family in Northern Ireland.

One hundred years after John and Katherine moved to Ireland from Scotland, in 1733 my ancestor, John Acheson/Atchison married Catherine Calhoun in county Armagh and left Europe entirely.  After their first son Matthew was born they sailed for America, arriving in 1735.  They came with family money - buying 300 acres in Little Britain, Pennsylvania.  I think they were following other Scots-Irish Presbyterians who had recently setted there.  John's grandson, David, moved to Stafford county sometime around 1810. Henceforth, all of my Atchison ancestors lived within a few miles of each other in Stafford. If anyone knows anything more about them in Stafford I would appreciate hearing from you.

Above:  Melvin Atchison, my grandfather; Robert Richard Atchison, my father and Stella Sullivan, my grandmother.

My grandmother on the Atchison side was Stella Sullivan.  My first Sullivan ancestor in America, Darby, came from Ireland in around 1660.  Sometimes his name is spelled Swillivan or Suilivan.  He lived near the docks as a boy and once stole a hot gingerbread from a windowsill where a woman had left it to cool. The story goes that he ran aboard a ship at the docks to hide and eat his treat, but fell asleep.  When he woke up the ship had sailed and he was on his way to America and Westmoreland County.

Darby's grandson, Darby Sullivan III was born in 1722.  He married Ann Fugate, who had Patawomeck Indian blood through both sides of her family. Her mother was Mary Martin,  the grand daughter of Ka-Okee, who was, in turn, the daughter of Pocahontas and Kocoum, the brother of Chief Japasaw.  Kocoum was murdered by the Jamestown settlers in 1613 when Pocahontas was kidnapped. Ka-Okee, who was two years old, stayed with the tribe.  In 1645, when Ka-Okee was 34 she married Theodore Pettus, they called her Jane.  In 1636 they had a female child, Christian Pettus.  We don't know the date of Ka-Okee's death.

Since I published this article I received the following information from William Pettus and I would like to share it with you, thank you William:

NOTE: Hi, I just had a quick look at your website, which claims that Theodore Pettus m. Ka-Okee, daughter of Pocahontas and Kocoum. I first heard about that claim a year or so ago, when I read a posting by Arthur Mitchell on After some exchanges with Mitchell and William Deyo, who is the historian for the Patawomeck tribe, Deyo and I concluded that the evidence more strongly favors Thomas Pettus, Theodore’s elder brother. The last record of Theodore in Virginia was in 1626, when he testified about a disputed shipment of tobacco in a court case heard at Jamestown. Thomas, on the other hand, patented 1,000 ac. of land on Potomac Creek in 1650. He sold it to Mr. Henry Meese in 1660. Potomac Creek is in Stafford Co. Meese was married to another Patawomeck woman. - I have received this information from William Pettus - I discussed this matter in the second volume of my books on the Pettus family of England and Virginia. Do you have any further information I may not be aware of?
William Pettus

To recap a bit - geneology can be confusing - Christian married John Martin, their daughter Mary married Josias Fugate and their daughter Ann Fugate married Darby Sullivan III (grandson of the gingerbread stealer) mentioned earlier.

The Sullivans have always been close to the Patawomeck tribe of Northern Virginia, even until today, because of this ancestry, which has been recognized by the tribe for hundreds of years. They were very proud of their Patawomeck heritage.  The Sullivan family claimed to retain Patawomeck features even up until my dad's generation.  I used to hear about Ka-Okee and Princess Pocahontas of the Powhatan tribe, but I didn't think much of the stories when I was a kid.  I wasn't interested in my family history until a few years ago.

I took the DNA test and my ancestry was confirmed back to Ka-Okee a few months ago.  Pocahontas was my 9th great grandmother. After so many generations the genetic markers proving my decent are small, actually only about 1% of my DNA is native American, but it is unique and matches other descendants of Pocahontas.

The story my family - and the tribe - tells of Pocahontas is very different than the one we have received through popular culture.  That tradition claims Pocahontas was kidnapped by the settlers at Jamestown and held captive as a slave.  The lack of women at the settlement forced the English men to grab women and girls from the tribe and use them as servants and sexual partners. The story that Pocahontas saved John Smith and having a relationship with him is simply not true.  She was only 10 or 11 at the time Smith was with the tribe, much too young to have a relationship with him.  The true history of Pocahontas can be learned from "The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History" by Dr. Linwood "little Bear" Custalow. The book can be ordered from

It's interesting that the Powhatan and Patawomeck tribes stayed in Northern Virginia and have maintained their identity/history even until today. They lived alongside my Sullivan ancestors for more than 400 years, just within a few miles of each other. My DNA results helped verify that lineage and history.


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