This is a brief history of two migrations, involving citizens of Crockett County, Tennessee, who, in 1879 or 1880,
left Gadsden, for Pope County, Arkansas, and later, in the 1890's, went on to Wagoner, Oklahoma, which was
then in Indian Territory.
This information was gathered by W. Herbert Riead, now 91 years old, of Sierra Madre, California. After the
death, in 1971, of his wife, Ada (Dunlap) Riead, he began soliciting, collecting, and writing down, all that he
could find concerning her ancestors, to pass on to the younger generations. He has assembled a wealth of
He remarks: "In searching I have visited many family members in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and
corresponded with numerous others. In each and every one, I found good Christians, honorable citizens,
successful men and women in the business and educational world."
In 1973 he visited Crockett County, Tennessee, in the company of his wife's cousins, Novella (Kee) Green of
Jackson, Tennessee, and other members of their family. Near Gadsden he inquired if someone might be able to
provide information on Dunlaps. The party was directed to the residence of Earl T. and Mary (Williams) Dunlap
in Fruitvale. This couple graciously invited them into their home. In this first discussion, one of the facts
established was that Earl T. Dunlap and Ada (Dunlap) Riead had grandfathers who were brothers, James M.
Dunlap (1824-1880) and Wm. (Billy) Dunlap (1832-1883).
The meeting was the beginning of a new and precious friendship. Independent of each other, Earl T. Dunlap and
W. Herbert Riead had compiled much family history. Through hard work in the next few years, they were to
acquire a great deal more. Most of their census data and information on Tennessee property transfer records
were painstakingly derived and generously shared with them by a retired college professor, Elizabeth
(Craddock) Casale, who is a native of Humboldt, Tennessee, now living in Water Valley, Kentucky, and a
descendant of James M. Dunlap.
The researchers were delighted to discover that Mary (Williams) Dunlap and Ada (Dunlap) Riead were also
related. Mary's great grandfather, Nathaniel Williams (1796-1862) was a brother of Ada's great grandmother,
Rebecca (Williams) Taylor (1800?-1881).
Earl T. Dunlap's grandfather, James M. Dunlap, had come to Gibson County, Tennessee, a child with: his parents,
Wm. D. Dunlap (1800-1846) and Mary (Hefley) Dunlap (1801-1875); his brothers, John M. Dunlap (1827 -
1886), Hilliard J. Dunlap (1829-1859), Wm. (Billy) Dunlap, George Dunlap (1837-1858); and his sisters,
Margaret (Dunlap) James (1822-?-??), and Mary Ann (Dunlap) Raines (1834-1907). Mary (Hefley) Dunlap's
mother, Margaret (Hamilton) Hefley, more than 60 years old, and other Hefley relatives, arrived in the area, at
about the same time. Wm. D. Dunlap and Mary (Hefley) Dunlap had two more children, in West Tennessee,
Henry Dunlap (1840-1912) and Rebecca Jane (Dunlap) Griffin (1842-1914).
Mary (Williams) Dunlap's great grandfather, Nathaniel Williams, and others of the Williams family, reached
Madison County, Tennessee, in the 1830's. Among them were Isaiah Paschal Taylor (1809-1884) and Rebecca
(Williams) Taylor. All were originally from North Carolina. They had settled first in Wilson County, Tennessee,
where Isaiah and Rebecca were married.
Isaiah and Rebecca (Williams) Taylor became the parents of sons, Thomas Turner Taylor (1833-??), Wm. D.
(Doc) Taylor (1839-??), John Wesley Taylor (1844-1922) and daughters, Martha Ann (Taylor) Williams (1834-
??), Sarah Elizabeth (Taylor) Dunlap (1835-1897), Harriett (Taylor) Dunlap (1837-1916), and Rebecca (Taylor)
Medlin (1841-1929). We do not know how many of these children were born after the move to Madison County,
By 1839, all the various families we have mentioned had resettled in that part of West Tennessee which would
later become Crockett County.
The years passed. In 1856 Wm. (Billy) Dunlap married Harriett Taylor. They had seven children: Hilliard George
Washington Dunlap (1859-1921); Mary Ann Rebecca (Becky) (Dunlap) Ellington (1862-1929); William Thomas
Whitfield Dunlap (1863-1940); Sarah Lucinda Elizabeth (Lizzie) (Dunlap) Brewer (1866-1895); John Henry
Paschal Dunlap (1868-1941); Jesse Lee Dunlap (1870-1960); Edward Hall Dunlap (1873-1938).
The Cornatzars moved from Rutherford County, Tennessee, to Madison County, Tennessee, in the 1850's. There
was: Thomas Rooker Cornatzar (1826-1886); his wife, Susanna Margaret (Bowman) Cornatzar (1834-1916);
Thomas' mother, Sarah (Wherry) Cornatzar (1804-??); and Thomas' brothers, Charles E. Cornatzar (1830?-??),
Wm. D. Cornatzar (1837-??), James Robert Cornatzar (1842-1914), and George M. Cornatzar (1845-1909)
(George M. Cornatzar m. Martha "Mattie" Azalea Hall in 1873, daughter of Margaret T. Carter and Jonathan
"Shack" Hall, Jr., granddaughter of John Carter and Sarah (Hefley) Carter). All had been born in Tennessee
except Sarah (Wherry) Cornatzar, born in Kentucky. All of Thomas' children--George Cornatzar (1853?-1878),
Mary Lumira (Cornatzar) Warren (1856-1938), Julia Ann Eliza (Cornatzar) Dunlap (1860-1942, and Louisa
Thomas (Cornatzar) Taylor (1869-1950)--were most likely born after his arrival in Madison County, Tennessee.
In 1878 Thomas Rooker Cornatzar's daughter, Julia, married Hilliard G. Dunlap, in Crockett County, Tennessee.
(Ada (Dunlap) Riead would be third of their nine children.) Clyde Hilliard Dunlap, Jr., one of their grandsons, of
Modesto, California, writes: "Hilliard and Julia were 18 and 17 when they married. They had one child, (Ira
George), when they decided to go to Arkansas. I believe that they heard from people going through that it might
be better country, so they loaded in a wagon, in which they could sleep, and headed west."
Hilliard, Julia, and baby son, Ira George Dunlap, Sr. (1878-1962), were not alone on this 300 mile journey, from
Crockett County, Tennessee, to Pope County, Arkansas. There were probably more than thirty people in the
wagon train. the ages of those whose names we know ranged from 54 down to one year. This group included
grandparents, their children, and their children's children, as in the Wm. (Billy) Dunlap, Hilliard G. Dunlap,
Lemuel G. Ellington, and Thomas Rooker Cornatzar families. There was the family of Mary Ann (Carter)
Reaves (daughter of John Carter and Sarah (Hefley) Carter ), Wm. (Billy) Dunlap's first cousin, and, perhaps
that of Thomas Turner Taylor, Harriett (Taylor) Dunlap's oldest brother.
Veda (Dunlap) Stanbery, a Hilliard G. Dunlap granddaughter, of San Pedro, California, believes the families of
John Granville Kee (brother of Louisa Adaline (Kee) Dunlap, wife of John M. Dunlap) and Samuel L. Kee
were included, because Samuel was married to Lemuel G. Ellington's sister, Louisa Parthenia, and that John
Granville Kee would have been a brother or cousin of Samuel. (Later in West Tennessee, James Robert
Cornatzar's daughter, Mary Ann (Mollie) Cornatzar (1877-1961) would marry Otis Granville Kee (1879-1944),
son of John Granville Kee (1845-1936). their children would be: Granville Hunter Kee, Mary Geneva (Kee)
Jones, Ida Gay (Kee) Green, and Hazel Novella (Kee) Jones.)
Reviewing the federal census for Pope County, Arkansas, taken in June 1880, we recognize the names of many
persons, recently come from West Tennessee. Among them are Hilliard G. Dunlap, 20, pedlar, with wife, Julia
(Cornatzar) Dunlap, 19, and son, Ira, 1; Wm. (Billy) Dunlap, 47, farmer, with wife, Harriett (Taylor) Dunlap, 43,
sons, Willie, 16, Johnny, 11, Jesse, 9, Ed, 7 and daughter, Lizzie, 14; Lemuel G. Ellington (1859-1909), 20,
farmer, with wife Mary Ann (Becky) (Dunlap) Ellington, 18, and daughter Parthenia Elizabeth (1879-1945), one;
Thomas Rooker Cornatzar, 54, farmer, with wife, Susanna (Bowman) Cornatzar, 45, and daughter, Louisa, 11;
George W. Reaves (1831?-??), 49, farmer, with wife Mary Ann (Carter) Reaves (1829-??), 50, sons
Christopher (?-?), 14, James (?-?), 9, and daughter, Georgia (1868-1923), 11; Thomas Turner Taylor, 47,
farmer, with wife, Elizabeth (Hathaway) Taylor (1837-1908), 43, sons, James Monroe (1863-1942), 16, David
(?-?), 9, and daughter, Nancy Rebecca (Nannie) (1867-1934), 13; John Granville Kee, 35, farmer, with wife,
Rebecca E. (Young) Kee (1843-1887), 37, son, Otis Granville, 1, and daughter, Mary J. (1873-1905), 7; Samuel
L. Kee (?-?), 29, farmer, with wife Louisa Parthenia (Ellington) Kee (?-?), 24, son, James H. (?-?), 1, and
daughter, Ada C. (?-?), 4.
W. Herbert Riead writes: "Now the unanswered question is, who, if anyone, picked out Pope County, Arkansas,
for the future home of these families? It is hard to feel so many, likely with very little resources to fall back on
in an emergency, would have made this move without someone having first been to Arkansas. Had one or more
of them gone to locate a suitable community, or, was there already some kin settled in Pope County who had
Elizabeth (Craddock) Casale, who found Thomas Turner Taylor to have sold his two tracts of land in Crockett
County in 1877, believes he may have gone ahead; otherwise why would he have disposed of his Tennessee
property at that early date? Thomas Turner Taylor's granddaughter, Georgia (Ashmore) Threlkeld, of
Russellville, Arkansas, remembers her mother, Nancy (Taylor) Ashmore, telling her that she, Nancy, was 12
when her family came to Arkansas. This would have made that family's arrival between March 1879 and March
1880. We only know for certain that they were in Pope County in June 1880.
The wagon train which brought Hilliard G. and Julia (Cornatzar) Dunlap from Tennessee to Arkansas must have
traveled between October 1, 1879, when Wm. (Billy) and Harriett (Taylor) Dunlap sold their land in Crockett
County, Tennessee, to her youngest brother, John W. Taylor; and April 11, 1880, when in the minutes of the
session Shiloh Congregation, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in Pope County, Arkansas, for that date
was written: "Prayer by Brother Dunlap who was admitted as an advisatory member. Lately from the
Cumberland Presbytery of Tennessee.
Why did all these persons leave Tennessee? The reasons for the emigration were, first, hope for better farmland
in the new country. W. Herbert Riead found in Goodspeed's book on Crockett and Chester Counties,
Tennessee that Crockett County's poorest land was near Gadsden. Earl T. Dunlap said this area was known as
"the barrens". Geneva (Ellington) Vermillion of Spavinaw, Oklahoma, daughter of Lemuel G. Ellington, wrote:
"I recall my mother, Mary Ann (Dunlap) Ellington, (Hilliard G. Dunlap's sister), tell how badly the farm land
washed into gullies in West Tennessee, at Gadsden, where her family and kin lived, most of them being
farmers. that with the lure of opportunity farther west motivated their decision to go."
Another reason was yellow fever. In the Jackson, Tennessee, public library, there is a book, "A History of the
Yellow Fever", published by a Memphis newspaper in 1879. Its contents are described thus: "The Yellow Fever
Epidemic of 1878 in Memphis, Tennessee". Embracing a complete list of the dead, the names of the doctors
and nurses employed, names of all who contributed money or means...together with other data, and lists of the
dead elsewhere." Among these lists is: "Gadsden, Tennessee, population 350, number of cases, 6,, deaths, 4."
Geneva (Kee) Jones of Henderson, Tennessee, wrote Ira G. Dunlap, Jr. , of Lubbock, Texas, a grandson of
Hilliard G. Dunlap: "Your great-grandfather, Thomas Cornatzar, and my grandfather, Jim Cornatzar, were
brothers, and lived across the road from each other in Crockett County, near a town called Gadsden. Your
father was born there in a log cabin. Your grandmother only had one brother. He took yellow fever and died.
(This was George Cornatzar, only 24, not yet married, whose name is listed as one of those Gadsden dead in
1878.) After the death of this only son, they were all so sad, that they decided to move, when your father was
one year old, to Russellville, Arkansas."
Norma Alda Dunlap, of Gilroy, California, writes that her father, Jesse Lee Dunlap, (Hilliard G.'s brother), was a
good-sized boy, when the ten to twelve covered-wagon caravan left West Tennessee for Pope County,
Arkansas. She said they crossed the Mississippi river north of Memphis, as there was yellow fever in that city.
W. Herbert Riead continues: "Tradition has it that a small child died on the move. Nothing remains as to what part
of the journey this tragedy occurred, but the child, a daughter, was buried along the way." Novella (Kee) Jones
told him that it was a child of her grandfather, John Granville Kee. Veda (Dunlap) Stanbery remembers her
grandmother, Julia, telling her that they stayed a day or so, where the child was buried, out of respect, before
Clyde Hilliard Dunlap, Jr. continues: "The trip took six weeks. I remember my grandmother talked of a couple of
events. At one river crossing they had a run-in with horse thieves. They closed the wagons together and had an
all night shoot-out, but at daylight the thieves rode off and the party went on."
"She, Julia, said there were not many people along the way, but those they did run across were very glad to see
folk from the East. At one point they were invited into a home, and offered breakfast, which consisted of yellow
pancakes, made of pumpkin. She said that the young ladies of the party started to giggle at how "back-woodsy"
these people were. She had heard of everything but pumpkin pancakes."
Geneva (Ellington) Vermillion says further: "I remember my mother telling me how elated they were, as they
progressed into Arkansas, to see rocks by the wayside, being so pleased that they picked up the rocks and put
them in their wagons. However, it was not long before the affinity for rocks vanished. There were so many of
them, making the trail so rough, they threw them all out. The wagon train made its way to Russellville,
Arkansas, where they settled, most of them in the country, my parents on a farm on the Dover road."
Norma Alda Dunlap says: "My father's family settled on a farm west of Russellville; then they bought a farm east
of Russellville, some six miles out from town, where my father grew up. Life was centered around one building
where meetings, church and school were conducted." "An ideal rural community" was how he referred to it.
Hilliard G. Dunlap's health was poor. He was unable to do heavy farm chores. for a time he peddled merchandise
from a wagon. Later he went to work in a Russellville store. Hilliard G.'s grandson, Rev. Wm. A. Dunlap, of
Phoenix, Arizona, writes: "My father, Carl Dunlap, Sr., told me of his boyhood in Russellville, Arkansas...
His father, (Hilliard G.), was clerking in White's Store for $30 per month, supporting a family of himself, his
wife, and five children." Clyde Hilliard Dunlap, Jr., recounts that, nevertheless in those years, some $3,000
was set aside. Wm. A. Dunlap adds, "money Hilliard's wife, (Julia), had saved through her extreme frugality."
Between 1880 and 1892, many of the young people, who made the trip were married in Pope County, Arkansas:
In 1882, Nancy Taylor, 16, to George Ashmore, 23; 1883, Lizzie Dunlap, 17, to John Wm. Brewer, 24; 1886,
James Monroe Taylor, 24, to Georgia Reaves, 18; 1887, Christopher Reaves, 21, to Sarah Newton, 20; 1891,
David Taylor, 19, to M. Alice Hughes, 21 and Edward Hall Dunlap, 18, to Sarah Hughes.
Those who died and were buried in Pope County, Arkansas, were: In 1883, Wm. (Billy) Dunlap, aged 51; 1886,
Thomas Rooker Cornatzar, aged 60; and at least one child, Jesse Ellington (1886-1890), aged four.
In the early 1890's Hilliard G. Dunlap was contemplating a new move, this time to what was later to become
Oklahoma. It seemed a new chance for broadening opportunities. He had been in contact with his uncle, John
W. Taylor's sons, Bela Jeffrey (1868-1928) and Hervey Walter (1871-1940). This Taylor family, as far as we
can ascertain, were residents of Crockett County, Tennessee, until 1892.
Bela J. and Hilliard G. traveled together to the Indian Territory, exploring. They selected a town, Wagoner, in the
Creek Nation. Geneva (Ellington) Vermillion states: "The Missouri Pacific Railroad had been built from
Russellville, Arkansas to Wagoner, Indian Territory. That with the M.K. and T. Railroad running north and
south made Wagoner a good prospect for the future."
Before 1887 the Kee family had returned permanently to Tennessee. By 1892 Thomas Turner Taylor was nearing
60, with all his children married and settled. He did not uproot again, nor did the Reaves. All the other, still
living, whom we have identified as making the original trip from West Tennessee to Pope County, Arkansas,
would by 1896, be in or near Wagoner, together with husbands, wives and some additional eleven children.
These children, born during the stay in Pope County, Arkansas, were: Hilliard G. and Julia (Cornatzar) Dunlap's,
Carl Weaver Dunlap, Sr. (1882-1943), Ada Florence (Dunlap) Riead (1884-1971), Ethel May (Dunlap)
Avigliano (1887-1948), Clyde Hilliard Dunlap, Sr. (1889-1958); Lemuel G. and Mary Ann (Dunlap) Ellington's,
Emmit E. Ellington (1882-1895), W. Alvin Ellington (1884-1949), Ora Mae Ellington (1889-??), Vernon B.
Ellington (1892-1932); John Wm. (1858-?) and S. L. E. (Lizzie) (Dunlap) Brewer's, Willie Herbert Brewer
(1884-??), Mace E. Brewer (1890-??); Edward Hall and Sarah (Hughes) Dunlap's, Minnie Lee (1892-1900).
On the original move from Tennessee to Arkansas, housing for the newcomers must have been a problem.
W. Herbert Riead informs us that before this new relocation, Hilliard G. Dunlap and Bela J. Taylor purchased,
in Wagoner, the Bernard, ďa three-story, frame hotel, largely for the families to live in, temporarily, until they
could buy, or build homes. I remember my wife, Ada, telling of her early recollections of cowmen from Texas,
who had shipped cattle to Wagoner to graze during the summer months, staying there, together with local
"The women and children (from Russellville) came the 150 miles to Wagoner by train. The men brought the
livestock, farm implements, etc., over the country roads which at that time were probably pretty rough." The
first arrivals, of the thirty-three who would come from Arkansas to Indian Territory, were there by November
24, 1892, the birth date of Hilliard G.'s son, Bonnie Cyrus (1892-1895).
From Crockett County, Tennessee, to join this group came the family of John W. and Irena (Follis) (1850-1931)
Taylor; their sons, Bela J. and Hervey W.; their daughter, Ursula May (1873-1937) with her husband, Hilliard
Benjamin Raines (1865-1955), a son of Wm. (Billy) Dunlap's sister, Mary Ann (Dunlap) Raines and Erasmus
Benjamin Raines (1833-1896).
Ona C. Raines, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a daughter of Ursula (Taylor) Raines, writes:; "H. B. Raines said, one day,
that they came to Indian Territory in 1892. He believed there were four or five wagons in the group. He and
his wife lived at the old Bernard Hotel until his brick house was built."
Geneva (Ellington) Vermillion continues, "It was while working at the Bernard Hotel, that my sister, Parthenia,
fell in love with and married Bela J. Taylor." Bela J.'s brother Hervey W., married Julia (Cornatzar) Dunlap's
sister, Louisa Cornatzar, in 1893. Their first child, Ina (1894-1972), was born in the hotel.
A new, good life had begun for the pilgrims. Hilliard G. Dunlap's family would have thirty years in Oklahoma,
mostly prosperous and happy. After his death in 1921, his wife and their children, now with families of their
own, (W. Herbert Riead, a son-in-law since 1912, was now one of them), moved on to California. There, years
later, Hilliard G.'s wife, Julia (Cornatzar) Dunlap, would tell their grandchildren about the past,--the travels
and adventures in the new countries, and of happy times as a child and young person in West Tennessee.
Shortly before Earl T. Dunlap's death in September 1976, W. Herbert Riead again visited him and his wife Mary,
in Crockett County, Tennessee. This time, he brought with him a valued friend, his wife's first cousin, Wm.
Earl Dunlap, of Haskell, Oklahoma, born 1897, in Wagoner, Indian Territory. This cousin had been following
the genealogical discoveries made over the months, and had provided the data for his father's branch of the
Thus two Earl Dunlaps met. Earl T. Dunlap was the son of James M. Dunlap's son, James Kendrick Dunlap
(1862-1949). Wm. Earl Dunlap was the son of Wm. (Billy) Dunlap's son, Edward Hall Dunlap. The father
and grandfather of one had remained in Crockett County, Tennessee, and likely bid farewell to the father
and grandfather of the other when they departed, in 1879 or 1880, for Arkansas and eventually Oklahoma.
Earl T. Dunlap, Wm. Earl Dunlap, Mary (Williams) Dunlap, (Wm. Earl Dunlap was, of course, also related to
Mary (Williams) Dunlap, through Rebecca (Williams) Taylor), W. Herbert Riead, and others, visited
the Rosamon Cemetery, near Gadsden. There the two Earls stood beside the grave of their great grandparents,
Wm. D. and Mary (Hefley) Dunlap, and saw the newly erected headstone, marking the gravesite of their great
great grandmother, Margaret (Hamilton) Hefley (click here to view headstone).
This monument, designed by Earl T. Dunlap, jointly financed by him and W. Herbert Riead, the latter in his wife's
memory, set out the important facts of Margaret (Hamilton) Hefley's life, which had included an earlier
Margaret Hamilton Hefley, wife of Michael Hefley, born 1774, died after 1860, came to Gibson County,
Tennessee, from Chester County, South Carolina, 1838, children of Michael and Margaret Hamilton Hefley;
Mary Hefley married William D. Dunlap
Nancy Agnes Hefley married George Let(d)singer
Sarah Hefley married John Carter
Elizabeth Hefley married John D. Rosamon
William Henry Hefley married Margaret S. Boyd
James Madison Hefley married Rebecca Hamilton and Rebecca Ferguson
Henry W. Hefley married Elizabeth James and Sarah Bradford"
The present remembered the past, with respect and affection.
Materials--data, information, letters, etc. compiled by W. Herbert Riead, Sierra Madre, California.
Arranged by--Veda (Dunlap) Stanbery, San Pedro, California
Some notes and editing by H. H. Dunlap (in italics)
Please note my many thanks to the following individuals that shared this
story with me;
Carole in OK, a Dunlap/Raines cousin (descends from Erasimus Benjamin Raines and Mary Ann Dunlap), provided me with a photo copy of original story as it was written.
I also received a copy of the story as it appeared in a column entitled "Bits and Pieces of Crockett History" in the Crockett Time published at Alamo, Tn. The article was entitled "The Gadsden Wagon Train" and was printed in eight segments between Sept. 5, 1979 and Nov. 14, 1979. Louise in Alamo provided me with a copy of this article and it's publication dates.
Thanks to both of you for sharing!
Contributed by: Hugh Dunlap
This article has been provided for personal use only, and is not to be copied,
redistributed, or used for any commercial purposes.