by Tommy Claxton


The original of this article was published in the Henry County, TN Family History Book published by Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, KY, 1996.  Items in [ ] are updates or additions.


Jeremiah Claxton was born in 1807 [by all accounts in Bedford County, TN]. Of his parents and early life little is known due to loss of early records, but beginning in 1836 we find pieces of the puzzle which can be fitted into a fair picture. On a tombstone located between Shelbyville and Farmington in Marshall County (formed from Bedford County in 1836) is the name of “Mary Claxton, wife of Jeremiah” who died October 6, 1836, age 31.

In May, 1838 Jeremiah enlisted in the Tennessee Volunteers at Calhoun, Tennessee [this was during the “Cherokee Removal,” also called the “Trail of Tears”] and served 3 months as a private in Co. C, Capt. Hunter's (later Capt. Miller's) Company, of the 1st Regt. Tennessee Infantry, being discharged at Fort Cass, Tennessee. He later (1853-55) applied for "bounty land" based on this service, but his request was denied.

He is listed as paying the poll tax on the available tax lists for Marshall County for 1839-1842, and the 1840 census lists him as working in "manufactures and trades."  He married Emaline Donal [Darnall? Darnell?] February 12, 1846, and in 1853 we find him buying 43 acres of land [in Marshall County] which he then sold in 1856.

By 1860 Jeremiah & Emaline, the progenitors of the Henry County Claxtons, were in Henry County. Jeremiah was a farmer, however there is no record of his having bought land in Henry County.  [In 1872 James P., son of Jeremiah, and Emma, wife of Jeremiah, purchase land in Henry County; Jeremiah died in 1877; why he did not purchase the land is not known.]

They [Jeremiah and Emaline] arrived in Henry County with six children:  James P., Nancy E., Sarah M., William T., Joel Porter, and Robert D. Another child, John Mannely, was born after settling here. Of these children, Joel Porter and Robert D. still have descendants in Henry County. Sarah M. married Lawrence Green Hastings who had children by a previous marriage, but no children were born to her and Lawrence.

Joel Porter (Joe, Sr.) married Catherine Annie Black. Their children are Catherine (Kate), Emma S., Jerry, Robert Wesley (Bob), Mary Jane, Joel Porter (Joe, Jr.), William (Bill) Green, Nannie Myrtle, Julia, Lillian Lee, and George E.

Robert D. married Emma Raines. Their children are James Edmond, John Wesley, Cora Robbie, Leeper Randle, and Herlie Freeman.

All of Joe, Sr.'s children married. Of the boys, Jerry married Mannie Raines, and their children are Tillman Clyde, May (who died in infancy) and Myron Walker. Robert Wesley married Nannie F. Holiday, and their children are Joe Hafford, Herman Wesley, Elbert Jerome (Hooks), and Virgie Marie. Joe, Jr. married May Belle Starling, and their children are Hettie Ann, Clyde Waymon, Sue Belle, Robert Jerome, Porter, Mildred Christine, Merle Marie, Joe (Jack), Dorothy Faye, and Evelyn Inez. William Green married Pearl B. White and had one child who died in infancy. George E. married Mary Elizabeth Bucy, and their children are Emma Katherine and James Paul.

Of Robert D.'s boys, only John Wesley, who married Myrtle Bowen, had children. They are James Lowell and Alice Lorene.

The Claxton family has had an impact on Henry County's development. Some of their contributions are:

William and Robert Wesley owned a livery stable.

Jerry operated the Claxton Clay pit located off Alman Cemetery Road where he was killed at the age of 27 while riding a boxcar into clay sheds at Porter Switch.

Robert Jerome owned Claxton's Food market and later Paris Appliance Store and was a Paris City Commissioner.

Joe (son of Joe, Jr.) was also a City Commissioner and vice-mayor of Paris; he was chief medical technologist of Henry County General Hospital before becoming the hospital's administrator.

Herman Wesley owned Claxton Auto Parts and Paints store.

Clyde Waymon worked as a salesman for the Paris Coca Cola Company.

Elbert Jerome owned Hooks Claxton's Grocery and Pony Farm.

Tillman and his son Rex were conductors with L&N Railroad, Tillman on the last passenger train into Paris. George E. was baggage master for L&N. Rex was also a volunteer fire fighter in Paris for over 20 years, was a foreman at Paris Manufacturing Co., and served once as president of Holley Credit Union.

Tommy (son of Rex) is a teacher and technology supervisor with Henry County School System [now retired]. He was Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 26.

Dr. Robert D. Adams (son of Sue Belle who married Horace Guston Adams) is a physician in Paris.

Billy Joe Adams (son of Sue Belle) retired as superintendent at Holley Carburetor.

Andy Hooper (son of Merle Marie who married Steve Henry Hooper) is Administrator of Eastwood Clinic and currently serves on the Henry County School Board; he was also a city commissioner for 12 years and was mayor of Paris for 4 of those years.