Head Family History & Genealogy

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Mary Bish Joseph Washington Head - The Rebel
This story was passed on to me, by
William Joseph Head, son of Joseph Washington Head. Mary Penwell Bish

James Allen Head, born 1808, was a Georgian by birth. The family home was originally in Hall County. Later he, his wife, Sarah Cain Head, and two sons moved to Catoosa County near Ringgold, Georgia, and the famed Tunnel Hill. The first two sons were named John Cain Head and Joseph Washington Head (Joe). John was the oldest by two years. Joseph's birth year was 1830.

In 1853, John and Joseph set up law practice in Catoosa County, GA. John was the first Notary Public in that new county, and "Joe" was the first County Clerk. At 25 and 23, respectively, these two Heads did remarkably well for several years.

The Head family, like many other families in that section prior to the Civil War, yielded to the call of the Northwest Territory. They settled in Kansas at Ft. Scott, and by that time the family had grown considerably - mostly boy children. The two older sons, John and Joe, ventured into Arkansas and set up law offices in Greenwood, Arkansas. They also operated a hotel there. They owned no slaves, but there was one darky named Dan Griffith, who hired out to these two young lawyers by agreement with his owner, a Colonel Griffith, from whom he took his name. Loyalty among these three people was a by-word in those parts, and it was many, many years later William Head said he saw his father meet Dan Griffith after years of separation, and that they cried and embraced each other exactly as though they had been blood brothers.

Later, but before the Civil War, the rest of the family in Kansas moved into Arkansas, much further south, and settled in Richmond, in Little River County, which at one time was a thriving farm community.

When the Civil War broke out, all the Head boys who were old enough to carry a gun, joined the Confederate Army. Joe was commissioned an officer and was in command of an independent company, charged with the mission of eradicating all "Bushwackers" in Arkansas and vicinity. By "eradicating," according to army translation was meant simply - apprehending and hanging by the neck until dead. Joe's company also had the mission of providing guard for the city of Little Rock. Arkansas lent itself well to guerrilla warfare. John was Joe's lieutenant, and they worked side by side in war as they had in their profession. They took part in the battles of Prairie Spring, Indian Territory and Poison Spring. During the course of the war, Joe became rather famous for his exploits and successes in carrying out his missions. He was very soldierly; had a fine appearance and a bold manner, and he was greatly feared by the Yankees.

Just before the war ended, Joe met, fell in love with, and married a Southern belle from a plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Her name was Jennie Beall.

When the war ended, Joseph Washington Head, refused to surrender, and refused to pledge allegiance to the new Federal Government. John and the younger brothers took the oath of allegiance, but not Joe. He chose the alternative of having a price put on his head for the rebel that he was! Because of this, the war did not end for this solder. He was a fugitive and subject to capture, and there were many who were willing to collect the reward by informing on him. The incident which changed his whole life occurred in Mississippi when Joe, to whom fighting was second nature, struck an opponent over the head with a two by four, causing injuries and death to the opponent. Joe was immediately taken into custody. It is doubtful whether he would ever have been apprehended for the count of "rebel" but the second count altered the picture. He was to have been taken North by train for trial and sentencing. The day for his transportation was set; a sheriff was appointed to travel with him, and the outlook for the Confederate officer was a gloomy one. Oath or no oath, brother John, back in Arkansas, learned of the plan for taking Joe North. He quickly rallied around him his blood brothers, and some recruits from Joe's old command, and they laid their own plans to hold up the train on which Joe was prisoner and effect his rescue and release. Among the group of blood brothers was one only sixteen years old. This one had been too young to see action in the War, but he was allowed to accompany the older ones on this particular mission. The plan worked according to schedule. Joe was rescued. But, in the excitement and gun brandishing, the younger brother fired and killed the sheriff. The entire group then felt that they must make a run for their lives, and they did just that - going far west into Texas. (This was a hard part for William Head to tell - perhaps he wasn't proud of all the decisions made by his ancestors).

San Saba, Texas was the home of Joe for many years. His wife, Jennie joined him there and from that point was Mrs. Jennie Hardee. Hardee was the name assumed by Joe. She bore several children to Joe. She died and is buried in San Saba, Texas. Joe moved further west. There he met and married Mary Triplett whose childhood home was Springfield, IL. She was William Joseph Head's mother. There are reports of him having lived at Yaleta, Texas and Silver City, New Mexico.

The other Head boys wandered back to Richmond, Arkansas, and evidently nothing ever came of their part in the train hold-up. The youngest brother was the only one who was a drinking man and whether or not he sought forgetfulness in that manner was a thing no one ever really knew for sure.

*William Joseph Head, son of Joesph Washington Head was not raised by his father and mother. He was brought to Richmond, Arkansas as a young boy and was handed over to his Aunt Magee (Joe's sister), and was raised by her and her husband, Dr. Thomas Butler. William Head said his father, Joseph Washington Head, was never apprehended and died still a Confederate Major in his own eyes. William Head once said, by way of heritage, he should be waving the Confederate flag with all the majority in the south who were so frantically trying to revive it, but his environment and knowledge gained precludes that action on his part.
Feb 22, 2003 · Reply
Mary Bish HEAD FAMILY IN THE U S A
Submitted by Mary Penwell Bish
To read more about the Head family go to Head Cemetery on the main page and follow links.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Richard Head, born ca 1750 VA, d 3-11-1795 Chester Dist., S.C., married Sarah Newport, born 1753; d 1825, daughter of Peter Newport, lived in Granville Co., N.C., 1771 had a son named James Head. James Head, born 1782, d after 18ll; and Rebecca Allen, daughter of Sarah and William Allen; had 8 children, one of which was my g-grandfather, James Allen Head.
The particular branch of the HEAD family herein considered is the one whose older members lived for many years in the town of Richmond, Little River County, Arkansas, and a number of whose descendants still live in that vicinity. This branch of the Head family emigrated from Virginia to the Carolinas in Colonial days. From there the family moved to Georgia near Tunnel Hill.

JAMES ALLEN HEAD: James Allen Head was born in Hall County, Georgia, on March 2, 1808 and died at Richmond, Arkansas, of smallpox, on July 16, 1863. He and his wife, Sarah are buried in the old Richmond Cemetery on Braden Branch. James Allen and Sarah were married in November of1827. Sarah Cain, born November 28, 1808, was a member of a substantial family of northwest Georgia. She died at Richmond on September 21, 1888, from injuries caused by a falling door. They were the parents of six children, one of whom was my grandfather, Callie Calhoun Head.
In 1834, James Allen Head moved from Hall County, settling on a farm at the foot of the mountain at Tunnel Hill in Walker County, Georgia, where the family remained for about twenty-two years. Tunnel Hill is still a small hamlet, a mile or so off the main highway, and retaining much of the flavor of pre-Civil War days. In 1853 Catoosa County was formed from a part of Walker County, with the county seat at Ringgold, and James Allen Head, with his two older sons, now grown to manhood and practicing law, took a prominent part in the organization of the county. The father was the first road commissioner, the eldest son, John Cain, the first notary public in the county, and the second son, Joseph Washington, the first county clerk.
In 1856 part or perhaps all of the family moved West, settling first at Fort Scott, Kansas, then in the "Dark and Bloody Ground" of the anti-slavery war. They remained there only two years, moving first to Greenwood in Sebastian County, Arkansas, later to Waldron in Scott County. During the war thosemembers of the family still at home finally moved to Richmond, AR. At the opening of the Civil War, John and Joe Head were practicing law and running a hotel at Greenwood. Four of the sons served in the Confederate Army, the youngest being only ten years old at the outbreak.

JOHN CAIN HEAD: Eldest son of James Allen and Sarah Cain Head, born in Hall County, Georgia, on October 28, 1828, and died at Richmond, Arkansas of smallpox about July, 1904. He was first married to Sarah S.Hinton and became the father of eight children. He commenced the study of law early in life and at the age of 22 he was admitted to the bar of La Fayette, Walker County, GA. He subsequently moved to Ringgold, Ga., and there practiced his profession until 1850. When the Civil War broke out he enlisted in the Confederate Service, Company B, Gibson's and Chew's battalions, and served as quartermaster in Hawthorn's brigade for some time, but later returned home. He was afterward appointed first lieutenant of a detached company commanded by his brother and took part in the battles of Prairie Spring, Indian Territory, and Poison Spring besides several minor engagements. More details of his career are to be found in Goodspeed's Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas.

JOSEPH WASHINGTON HEAD: Second son of James Allen and Sarah Cain Head, born in Hall County, GA, in 1830. He died in 1904 in Kaufman, TX. His first marriage was to Jennie Beall of Mississippi. After her death he married Mary Triplett, a native of Springfield, IL. Joe served in the Confederate Army, for the most part as commander of an independent company, of which his brother, John was lieutenant. After the war ended, Joe refused to surrender and was for the most part a fugitive of the federal government for the rest of his life. Credit for much of this history should be given to William Joseph Head, son of Joseph W. Head. Will lived in Shreveport and devoted a good deal of time to genealogy in hopes that this family would be remembered.
To read more about Joseph Washington Head click link below.
Story of Joseph Washington Head - The Rebel by Mary Bish which includes the letter from Historian Dr. Shane K. Bernard and picture of the Sheriff Ansel Prewitt who was killed.
MAGEE ANN HEAD: Third child and only daughter of James Allen and Sarah Cain Head, born at Tunnel Hill, GA, in May, 1838. She died March 1, 1914 at Wilton, AR. In 1867 she was married to Dr. John Thomas Butler at Richmond, AR. Magee Ann and Dr. Butler raised William Joseph Head, son of Joseph Washington Head.

JAMES MONROE HEAD: Fourth child and third son of James Allen and Sarah Cain Head, born in Tunnel Hill, GA, in 1841, died in Sherman, TX in 1904. He was first married to Mary A Hamilton. "Monroe," as he was known to his mother and sister, served in the Confederate Army and at the organization was a member of Company A, Second Arkansas Mounted Rifles and served in McIntosh's Regiment. During the last three years he was in the infantry service, and served in the Trans-Mississippi Department under Generals Bragg and Johnson, and took part in the battles of Richmond, Murfreesboro and Chickamaugua. and with Johnson from Dalton to Atlanta. He participated in nearly all the battles fought by Johnston's army from the fall of 1862 until the close of the war and surrendered at Greensboro, N.C.

JACKSON POLK HEAD: Fourth son, and fifth child, of James Allen and Sarah Cain Head, born at Tunnel Hill, GA, in 1843, died about 1905. His first marriage was to Joanna Lindsey of Princeton, AR. Uncle Polk served in the Confederate Army, principally east of the Mississippi, and was in some of the hardest fought battles, Shiloh, among others. He also served in the First Arkansas Mounted Rifles.
He farmed near Richmond for many years, then lived briefly in Sherman, Texas, but later returned to Little River County near Ogden, finally moving to Texarkana. His wife, Jo, survived him for several years and died in Texarkana.

CALLIE CALHOUN HEAD: Youngest child of James Allen and Sarah Cain Head; born at Tunnel Hill, Georgia in 1851, died at Mena, Arkansas in 1915. His first marriage ended in a separation and he was later married to Estelle Lovett Joyner, in 1898, by whom he became the father of five children: Callie C., Jr., James, Ruth, Eva and Elizabeth. This was my grandfather. He was only 10 years old at the outbreak of the Civil War and stayed home with his mother. A first cousin to my mother, William Head (son of Joseph Washington Head), of Shreveport said that his Uncle Callie and Aunt Magee had interesting stories of the overland journey from Georgia just before the Civil War. They each had a pony on which they rode most of the way, while the other members of the family rode in a surrey and the household goods were loaded in wagons. As a very young man, "Uncle Callie" served as a clerk on steamboats running from Fulton, Arkansas to Shreveport, LA. Later he went into the mercantile business and also owned farms. About 1907 or 1908 he and his family moved to Mena, Arkansas and he died there in July, 1915.

CALIFORNIA CALHOUN HEAD and ESTELLE LOVETT JOYNER had five children: They were: William Calhoun Head, Ruth Head Highley, James Allen Head II, Eva Magee Head, and Sarah Elizabeth Head Moore who is still living as of 1999. EVA MAGEE "Evelyn" Head was my mother, born November 22, 1906 in Richmond, Arkansas. My father was Dennis Lee Penwell.

Mary E Bish
Mar 10, 2010 · Reply
Mary Bish Joseph Washington Head - The Rebel

This story was passed on to me, by William Joseph Head, son of Joseph Washington Head
Mary Penwell Bish

James Allen Head, born 1808, was a Georgian by birth. The family home was originally in Hall County. Later he, his wife, Sarah Cain Head, and two sons moved to Catoosa County near Ringgold, Georgia, and the famed Tunnel Hill. The first two sons were named John Cain Head and Joseph Washington Head (Joe). John was the oldest by two years. Joseph's birth year was 1830.

In 1853, John and Joseph set up law practice in Catoosa County, GA. John was the first Notary Public in that new county, and "Joe" was the first County Clerk. At 25 and 23, respectively, these two Heads did remarkably well for several years.

The Head family, like many other families in that section prior to the Civil War, yielded to the call of the Northwest Territory. They settled in Kansas at Ft. Scott, and by that time the family had grown considerably - mostly boy children. The two older sons, John and Joe, ventured into Arkansas and set up law offices in Greenwood, Arkansas. They also operated a hotel there. They owned no slaves, but there was one darky named Dan Griffith, who hired out to these two young lawyers by agreement with his owner, a Colonel Griffith, from whom he took his name. Loyalty among these three people was a by-word in those parts, and it was many, many years later William Head said he saw his father meet Dan Griffith after years of separation, and that they cried and embraced each other exactly as though they had been blood brothers.

Later, but before the Civil War, the rest of the family in Kansas moved into Arkansas, much further south, and settled in Richmond, in Little River County, which at one time was a thriving farm community.

When the Civil War broke out, all the Head boys who were old enough to carry a gun, joined the Confederate Army. Joe was commissioned an officer and was in command of an independent company, charged with the mission of eradicating all "Bushwackers" in Arkansas and vicinity. By "eradicating," according to army translation was meant simply - apprehending and hanging by the neck until dead. Joe's company also had the mission of providing guard for the city of Little Rock. Arkansas lent itself well to guerrilla warfare. John was Joe's lieutenant, and they worked side by side in war as they had in their profession. They took part in the battles of Prairie Spring, Indian Territory and Poison Spring. During the course of the war, Joe became rather famous for his exploits and successes in carrying out his missions. He was very soldierly; had a fine appearance and a bold manner, and he was greatly feared by the Yankees.

Just before the war ended, Joe met, fell in love with, and married a Southern belle from a plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Her name was Jennie Beall. When the war ended, Joseph Washington Head, refused to surrender, and refused to pledge allegiance to the new Federal Government. John and the younger brothers took the oath of allegiance, but not Joe. He chose the alternative of having a price put on his head for the rebel that he was!


Because of this, the war did not end for this solder. He was a fugitive and subject to capture, and there were many who were willing to collect the reward by informing on him. The incident which changed his whole life occurred in Mississippi when Joe, to whom fighting was second nature, struck an opponent over the head with a two by four, causing injuries and death to the opponent. Joe was immediately taken into custody. It is doubtful whether he would ever have been apprehended for the count of "rebel" but the second count altered the picture. He was to have been taken North by train for trial and sentencing. The day for his transportation was set; a sheriff was appointed to travel with him, and the outlook for the Confederate officer was a gloomy one.

Oath or no oath, brother John, back in Arkansas, learned of the plan for taking Joe North. He quickly rallied around him his blood brothers, and some recruits from Joe's old command, and they laid their own plans to hold up the train on which Joe was prisoner and effect his rescue and release. Among the group of blood brothers was one only sixteen years old. This one had been too young to see action in the War, but he was allowed to accompany the older ones on this particular mission. The plan worked according to schedule. Joe was rescued. But, in the excitement and gun brandishing, the younger brother fired and killed the sheriff. ( See additional information below)The entire group then felt that they must make a run for their lives, and they did just that - going far west into Texas. (This was a hard part for William Head to tell - perhaps he wasn't proud of all the decisions made by his ancestors).

San Saba, Texas was the home of Joe for many years. His wife, Jennie joined him there and from that point was Mrs. Jennie Hardee. Hardee was the name assumed by Joe. She bore several children to Joe. She died and is buried in San Saba, Texas. Joe moved further west. There he met and married Mary Triplett whose childhood home was Springfield, IL. She was William Joseph Head's mother. There are reports of him having lived at Yaleta, Texas and Silver City, New Mexico.

The other Head boys wandered back to Richmond, Arkansas, and evidently nothing ever came of their part in the train hold-up. The youngest brother was the only one who was a drinking man and whether or not he sought forgetfulness in that manner was a thing no one ever really knew for sure.

*William Joseph Head, son of Joesph Washington Head was not raised by his father and mother. He was brought to Richmond, Arkansas as a young boy and was handed over to his Aunt Magee (Joe's sister), and was raised by she and her husband, Dr. Thomas Butler. William Head said his father, Joseph Washington Head, was never apprehended and died still a Confederate Major in his own eyes. William Head once said, by way of heritage, he should be waving the Confederate flag with all the majority in the south who were so frantically trying to revive it, but his environment and knowledge gained precludes that action on his part.

John Cain Head and his family are buried in the back yard of their old home place in Richmond, AR. The parents, James Allen Head and Sarah Cain Head are buried in the old Richmond Cemetery on Braden Branch. Joseph Washington Head was my great uncle. The 16 year old in this story was my grandfather, C. Calhoun Head..... Mary Bish

_______________________________

Mary,

You'll find the image of Ansel H. Prewitt, my gr-gr-gr-grandfather, the Sheriff of Pike County, Miss., shot and killed during the rescue of Joseph W. Head on Ancient Faces.

I'll send the 1956 article by today's mail; I wasn't able to mail it before the New Year holiday.

I hope to get that other material from the 1870s copied for you eventually; it's in storage until I finish an addition onto my house.

Don't you think somewhere there must be more info about Head? I went to the below web site and found that there are military records for a Joseph W. Head, which suggests that even more military records for him are in the National Archives (or so I've found in the past).

[external link]

(Look under Joseph Head for Arkansas, and there's one entry for a "Joseph W. Head" as belonging to the "

2 Mounted Rifles, Arkansas.")

Someone, somewhere must have a photo of him, don't you think? Do you have any long-lost cousins who might have material?

This is all very interesting, don't you think?

Shane

Shane K. Bernard, Ph.D.
Historian
Mar 10, 2010 · Reply