By W. Thomas Carden

November 3, 1904
The Aymett Family and Their Progenitors.

The Aymett Family in this section is a large aggregation. They doubtless sprung from the older of two brothers who came to America from Europe. These two brothers, John and Francis, were of Huguenot descent. They came first to Charleston, thence to Newbern, North Carolina, and finally settled in Jones County, about thirty miles from Newbern. There is evidence that the name in that State and the name in this State originated from the same parentage stock. Francis Aymett (grandfather of Mrs. Maude Aymett Bragaw, informant of this data) was a descendant of Francis, the younger of the two brothers. He had two sisters. One married a Banks and the other married a Mercer. Francis Aymett and his wife, Anna, had four children Susan, Mary, Sarah and John. Susan married Joseph Brock. The other two girls died unmarried. John Edward married Mary Haywood of the well known Haywood Family of North Carolina. They had five children - Anna, Elizabeth, Ida, Maude and Mary. The first two died in infancy. Ida died soon after graduation at St. Mary's, Raleigh, North Carolina. Maude married Stephen Garnbreling Bragaw, of the old Blount Family of Eastern North Carolina. Governor Blount of Tennessee belonged to this family. They have no children. Mary married Dr. John Moore Manning, son of Dr. Manning, Professor of Law in the State University of North Carolina. They have one child - Mary Haywood. These Aymett's are all Episcopalians, unreconstructed rebels and Democrats.

The first Aymett to come to this County was William, better known as Jerry. He came originally from Newbern, North Carolina, where he was born July 23, 1797. The name was formerly spelled "Amyett", but, through an inadvertence of some sort, it was changed to the way it is now spelled. William Aymett left horme, when a mere stripling, and went to Philadelphia, where he secured an apprenticeship under a carpenter. He followed that vocation for some time, and came to Nashville, and from there to Murfreesboro. Later he came to Giles County. He married Louisa Hamilton, a niece of Judge McNairy, the first judge of Davidson County. Judge McNairy owned a 5,000 acre tract of land on Buchanan and Leatherwood Creeks. Having no children, he bequeathed and sold this land to relatives. Mrs. Aymett was given 316 acres. Her Brothers, Tom and Andrew Hamilton received 300 acres each. W. M. Oliver now owns the Andrew Hamilton farm. Miss Wilson, whom John McCormick married the first time, secured 250 acres. Bob McNairy, a brother of the Judge, bought 1,700 acres. The remainder was divided into tracts and sold and given to various relatives. Mr. Aymett was a small man of great courage. He was eccentric. For shrewdness, keen wit and repartee he was unexcelled in this County. He was a noted Whig. For years he was assistant clerk in the County Court and Circuit Court. He enjoyed life as few do. His energies were bent toward pleasure. He lived to be ninety four years old. He wanted to live to be 100, and, had he done so, intended giving a banquet to his many friends. His death occurred in 1891. He had eleven children - nine boys and two girls. The oldest child was Katherine. She married K. A. Buchanan and moved to Arkansas, where they raised a large family. Doria married P. B. Buchanan, brother of above, and went to Arkansas, also. They reared a large family, mostly girls. The boys were Hance Hamilton, James McNairy, ("Hub"), W. H. ("Cud"), Henry Clay, John M., F. Duff, E. F. ("Babe"), Tillman and A. S. ("Button").

Major Hance is living on Leatherwood, aged about eighty years. He belonged to the 53rd Tennessee Regiment. His children are: Thomas W., William B., Ben and Mrs. Pink Abernathy, twins, and Mrs. Leodocia Hopkins. Delia and Mary died when young. Anna married Lewis King. She is dead.

W. H. is living on Buchanan Creek. His children are: Professor William D., who is single; Felix; Henry W., a magistrate of the Seventh Civil District, this County; Mrs. Lou McCormick, who recently was left a widow with six boys and two girls, all small; Mrs. Mildred Story, who has three children, and Miss Lucy.

The children of E. F. Aymett are: Estelle, who married a Kennedy and lives at Caruthersville, Missouri; Shelly who recently married John McGinnis, and Mary.

Henry Clay is dead. His children are: Dr. Robert Erskine, and Wesley. Two small children are dead. His widow lives at the old homeplace.

F. Duff died about a year ago. Julian, Elizabeth, Mattie, and McCallum, with their mother survive him. They live on Leatherwood Creek.

Tillman and A. S. are dead. They had no family.

John M., who is a prosperous farmer and prominent citizen, lives at the old Aymett Homestead, to which he has added tracts from time to time. He married, in 1868, Ann Eliza Harwell. She died in 1904. They had two children. The son died when young. Lillie, the daughter, married J. Allen Loyd, a druggist of Pulaski. She married a Mr. Birdsong first but he died in a short time afterwards. Mr. Aymett was a member of General Brown's Company, 3rd Tennessee Regiment. After the fall of Donelson and exchange of prisoners, he joined the Fifty Third Tennessee and was made Sergeant Major. After Hood's retreat from Nashville and Franklin, he was elected Lieutenant in Captain Davis' Company, First Tennessee Cavalry, and went out with Hood. They marched through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. During the battle at Henry Court House the Captain was wounded and the command fell on Mr. Aymett. The Colonel of the Regiment threw him rear guard to cover retreat. He joined Joseph E. Johnson's Army, and surrendered in May, 1865, at Charlotte, North Carolina. They marched back to Knoxville. The horses of all privates were taken from them but the officers were permitted to keep their horses. When they left for home they went two and two and when one would come to a road which carried him home he would turn off. Mr. Aymett and Lieutenant John D. Butler, of the First Tennessee Cavalry were neighbors. They rode home together and were the last to seperate.

James M. Aymett died a few months ago, aged 76 years. He left one son, James V., who has several children. The oldest daughter, Mary Lizzie, married Eddie Lee Hopkins a few months since.

An exciting incident, in which Mr. Aymett figured conspicuously, took place on Leatherwood Creek. There is some variance as to details but the main facts in the case seem as follows: A Yankee soldier, for whom Mr. Jerry Aymett entertained a decided liking, often spent long visits with Mr. Aymett. There was a still house not far away and one day a party of certain men, who lived at that time in this section, came from the distillery drunk. They stopped at Mr. Aymett's and wanted to take the Yankee off with them, and wanted ("Hub") to go with them. Mr. Aymett divined their intentions and protested most earnestly against his Yankee friend being carried away. The men promised not to hurt the soldier. They carried him away and in a short time shots were heard in the direction they had gone. In a few days F. D. and E. F. Aymett passed by where the soldier had been killed and a buzzard was sitting on his breast. The body was never buried. People got the bones and were making knife handles and other toilet articles of them, when the Federal Authorities appeared on the scene to arrest the perpetrators of such indignities. One man was using the skull for a soap receptacle. Years afterwards a long bone was found in a mill-race on Buchanan Creek. A doctor, seeing it, said it was that of a human, and it was discovered that it was the-femur bone of this soldier. Shortly after the murder this whole section was put under strict Military Rule. Mr. Ayitiett had left his father's home and gone to his mother-in-law's home - Mrs. McLin, when the killing happened. He was reported, however, to the authorities and arrested and jailed. He was -the only one arrested. The guilty parties could not be apprehended. The Federals built a gallows and were about to hang Mr. Aymett, whether or no, when he made his escape. A friend, learning that they intended to execute Mr. Aymett the following day, visited him in prison and they formulated a plan of escape. A permit was secured from General Dodge to visit Arney Richardson, and two guards were sent to escort him. Probably Mr. Aymett told the guards he would get them some whiskey. He talked with his friend and came back to the guards. He leaned forward, as to whisper into the guard's ear. When the soldier bent his head, Mr. Aymett knocked him down, grabbed his gun, and knocked the other down, and ran. It was about dusk. In a short time pursuit was made. Blue-coats were running hither and thither all over Pulaski. Some say Mr. Aymett ran to "Frog Bottom" and fell into the branch, where the soldiers had been slaughtering beeves and hogs, and that he covered himself with a skin and crawled down the branch, imitating an old sow, in sight of the soldiers. He managed to get to East Hill and climbed a cedar tree. A little negro saw him and gave the alarm. He dodged again and again and finally got away. He came to Henry Aymett's. Mrs. Eliza Tarpley tore up her riding skirts to make moccasins for him as his feet were torn and bleeding. She also fed him. He hid in a kind of sink hole on his brother Henry's farm and stayed until all danger was over. Dr. R. E. Aymett was a small boy at the time and carried victuals to him. Mr. Aymett was entirely innocent of this dastardly, monstrous crime. When the Yankees learned the particulars in the case and that Mr. Aymett had been reported by an enemy he was never again molested. He lived a long peaceful life on Leatherwood Creek esteemed and respected by all.

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