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The Story and Letters of Thomas Wayman Hendricks

flagThomas Wayman Hendricks (compiled by Josie Armstrong McLaughlin) - Cherished letters of Thomas Wayman Hendricks. [Birmingham, AL; 1947]

The name Hendricks is Dutch and may be spelled Hendrik, Hendrix, Hendrick. James Hendricks and his wife Jane landed at Jamestown, VA from Holland. The First Generation in America. By the Fourth Generation, Thomas Wayman Hendricks was born Jun 25, 1835, died Feb 8, 1865. He married Dec 18, 1856 to Eliza Jane Deaver(1840-1912). He had children: Benjamin Franklin, Mary, Martha, Eliza , and Thomas.

David Hendricks, the original Hendricks to come to Blount Co. settled in Blountsville, AL in the late eighteen thirites or early forties. He came from Pickens Co. SC, and had a large family. It is the general belief that the early Hendricks were Methodist. They were pious, upright citizens. They were not slave owners, but some of them had a house servant or two.

Thomas Wayman Hendricks is the writer of the Cherished Letters. He had brothers, David Addison (was a Methodist minister), Lemuel Levert (died of fever in the trenches near Murphreesboro, TN during the War), Lihugh (died of TB), James (died in young manhood), and sisters Sarah (died when a baby) and Jane (died when small).

Thomas Wayman Hendricks entered the Civil War on August 19, 1862. He was a volunteer and fought nobly for the Southland until he was killed by the Yankees, Feb 8, 1865. He was a cavalryman in Company B, 12th Alabama Regiment, with his cousin, John David Hendricks as his lieutenant and Mr.Augustus (Gus) Ingram as his captain.

He was in General Wheeler’s Army. He was shot by the Yankees while on scout duty at Pole Cat, South Carolina, near Savannah, GA. He was sent out on scout duty by Sergeant Levi Stephens, who took charge of Lieutenant Hendricks men, when he Hendricks and some of his men were cut off from the main army for a day or two. Mr. George Clowdus, a cousin of Thomas Hendricks’ wife, was with him when he was killed and related the incident leading to his death. He said the little scouting party ran into the Yankees before realizing that the Yankees were so near. They ran from the Yankees down a long, sandy road, on each side of which were thick, scrubby, black jack oak trees and bushes, which made taking to the woods difficult. The sandy road slowed the horses terribly, but Thomas’ horse was making good progress. Mr. Clowdus’ horse was rapidly losing ground when Thomas called back, "Take to the woods George, take to the woods," but his horse would not go through the scrubby oaks, so Mr. Clowdus waved a white handkerchief, but the oncoming Yankees shot him anyway. He lay on the ground until morning, then he crawled down the road a short distance where he found Thomas Hendricks’ body. The Yankees had killed him and completely rifled his pockets. Lt. John David Hendricks was terribly hurt over Thomas’ death. He said he would never have sent the men out on a scouting expedition if he had been with them.

Jane Deaver Hendricks was a noble, Christian lady. Meek, modest, unassuming, yet strong in purpose, determination and convictions of right, she walked steadily and firmly, under her heavy cross of widowhood, through the dark days of Reconstruction, and the years that followed There were no words of self pity or complaint, rather there was humble submissiveness to God’s will and cheerful following of His further guidance. When on furlough once, Thomas had sold their farm and bargained for another near his father and mother to protect his family, but when he went to close the deal for the farm he wished to buy, the owner decided not to sell. Greatly disappointed, he had to return to the army before locating another desirable farm.

Jane kept the Confederate money for which their farm sold until the war ended, hoping that her husband could come home and select a good farm. When the war ended the money was worthless. Her brothers wanted to give her some land adjoining their land on the Warrior River, which was a part of the Deaver estate. It was on this land near the present town of Locust Fork in Blount county that she reared her family.

Her son Franklin was plowing at nine years of age. He was unusually dependable as he grew up and assumed his duties and responsibilities manfully. He loved his horses and gave them the best of care. Their home was a veritable beehive of industry. Spinning, weaving, sewing and knitting were daily activities, and many yards of cloth came from their loom including double woven counterpanes, coverlets, and blankets. They wove the cloth for nearly all of their clothes. There were many pretty quilts too.

Saturdays were very busy days. There were wooden pails, piggins, trays, churns and floors to be scrubbed with white sand, yards to be swept and baking for Sunday to be done. There was much hard work, too hard for young shoulders, but no shoulders ever carried their loads more courageously, more dutifully, or more willingly than did these four children. Despite their tragic loss and the hard work which was their lot in life, there existed a joyous peace and happiness in their home that was seldom equaled. Many fine people enjoyed the hospitality for which their home was noted.

They were all regular attendants of their church, Cumberland Presbyterian services, as well as the services of other nearby churches. The four children grew into fine, Christian young people, whose friends and associates were numbered with the best people of the county. From among these friends they selected their life companions and established four Christian homes.

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