Micajah Thomas Cooper

He never really thought it would come to this.  His oldest daughter (one had died as a young child, so now she was his oldest) was leaving home.  Not just leaving home, leaving her comfortable home in middle Tennessee, but really leaving!  Going to Africa, maybe never to come home.  And as a father, he was worried and a bit scared.  So, as she left, he wrote her a letter.

Micajah Thomas Cooper was born in 1806 in Rowan County, North Carolina.  His family moved to first Cannon County, then Rutherford County, Tennessee by about 1810.  They settled in the Woodbury area and then moved south into Rutherford County.  In 1829, Micajah married Sarah A. “Sallie” Vincent in Rutherford County.  They had twelve children together and lost at least three of the twelve as children.  Micajah was a fairly successful farmer.  He bought land in Rutherford County, in the Bell Buckle area and grew to have a farm  valued at $8000 in 1860, with personal property valued at $15000.

Micajah and Sallie’s daughter, Elizabeth “Bettie” Cooper, was born in 1834.  By the fall of 1855 and spring of 1856, she had become quite attached to student at the Union College in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  He was studying to be a preacher, a Baptist preacher.  He wanted to share the Gospel not only to the people of middle Tennessee, but across the globe.  This student, Jeremiah H. Cason, wanted to be a missionary in the foreign service.  And Bettie wanted to serve with him, wherever that service would take him.

Micajah and Sallie raised Bettie to be a devout Christian, but this was never what they saw as her future!  The wife of a preacher?  A missionary?  And Africa?  What kind of dangers would she face there?  Was this anywhere for a nice Tennessee girl to be?

Bettie and Jere married in July 1856 and by September that year, they boarded a sailing ship for the Yoruba County of Africa (today’s Nigeria).  Not knowing whether he would ever see his daughter again, Micajah took pen to paper and wrote them a letter, hoping it would find them before they sailed.  In it, he sent them on their way with his blessing, but with more than a little sadness and trepidation.

At Home Aug 10th 1856

Dear Children,
My heart was very much gladdened on the reception of your short letter from Augusta and again by a similar one from Richmond. I hasten to write you a few lines which will have to be consise[sic] – first I would say we have tryed[sic] to submit to your departure with all the fortitude we are capable and am happy to say your mother has bore it better than I could have expected – but not a day has passed that she has not alluded to you – but I busy her up the best I can and mention the importance of your mission and the consciousness you feel – that you are discharging a duty to that God who willeth not that any should perish but that all should have eternal life. This reflection is gratifying but you know how human nature is such that it is hard for us to be willing to be separated from children who would afford us so many pleasures along the journey of life – but enough on this subject – we are all in good health and attending the Garrison Camp Meeting.

Bettie and Jere stayed in Yoruba for about a year, but that’s a story for a different day.

Micajah and Sallie died.  She in 1864 and he in 1874 during a visit to a daughter in Kentucky.  Both are buried right in front of the New Hope Baptist Church, in Fairfield, Bedford County, Tennessee.



Zenas Tennison

A lot of this blog will consist of pictures and stories about the people in the picture.  Sometimes I know a lot, sometimes it’s just a cool picture.

Zenas Ignacious Tennison was born in 1851 in Ponototoc County, Mississippi.  He’s found in his father’s house in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 in Pontotoc and Choctaw counties in Mississippi.  In November of 1875, he married Nancy Elizabeth “Nan” Deshazo in Webster Co., Mississippi.

By 1880, the family had moved to Clark County, Arkansas.  They lived for a period in Yell County, Arkansas.  And in 1900 they were in Antlers in the Choctaw Nation of the Indian Territories (Oklahoma), where they stayed until their deaths in 1936 and 1950.

I don’t know much about Zenas.  I know that he and Nan had five children, and I know a lot of their descendants.  I know that Zenas and his brother, John William Biggers “Bill” Tennyson married sisters.  Zenas married Nan and Bill married Mary Susan Druscilla Deshazo.  I know that Zenas and Bill ran a sawmill in Yell County, at least until Bill was killed in an accident there.

Mostly, I love this picture.  I think that it just grabs you and takes you straight back to The Grapes of Wrath in Oklahoma in the Great Depression.

Welcome to Wrenacres!

As much as anything, maintaining a site like this is for the writer as the reader.  I hope that we can both enjoy and get something out of this effort.

Starting out, I have some ideas as to what I might like to write about, but I am sure that things will change as we go along.  So, let’s go along for the ride.

 Who am I?

I’m Scott Dickson.  I’ve been interested in my family and my family history since the late 1980s.  In all of that time, I have found out a lot and come to a lot of brick walls.  I’ve sort of become the archivist (and chief hoarder) for my family.  I maintain my own family tree at my personal site, wrenacres.com.

By profession, I am a tech guy, a sales engineer with Oracle, specializing in private cloud management, OpenStack, operating systems, virtualization, and system management.  I am a product specialist and travel extensively around North America, working with a variety of large and small companies.  If you want to know more about this, check my LinkedIn profile.

I have been married to Kathleen, my wonderful wife since 1997.  She is the sweetest, most caring, most creative and boldest person I have ever met.  She is a fabulous cook, teaching classes at our local Whole Foods Market.  She helped establish and oversees the food pantry at her church. She has been very involved with The Global Soap Project, working to recruit new hotels to save their leftover soap to be used in impoverished areas to provide basic sanitation.  This is really a cool organization.  She also manages volunteers and recruits new providers to share their leftover food with Feeding America, formerly Second Harvest.  As you can tell, I’m pretty proud to be Kathleen’s husband.

Kathleen and I are crazy about Hawaii, especially Kauai and travel there as often as we can.  So, that will tend to crop up from time to time.

What’s Wrenacres?

I am sure that this will come up again in more detail, but here’s the basics.  My grandfather,  Hudson Wren, was a farmer in northeast Arkansas, around the town of Wilson.  He was farm manager and Executive Vice President of Lee Wilson & Company, one of the largest privately held cotton farms in the nation.  In addition to running the Wilson farm, he had his own farming interests, part of which he named Wrenacres.

So, I’ve used Wrenacres as my web site and as my blog address as a tribute to my grandfather.

What will we cover here?

Some of the things that you might find here over time could be:

  • My family lines and stories
  • Artifacts and stuff that I have collected from the family
  • Pictures, letters, documents about my family
  • Research topics that I am working on
  • Dead ends where I wish I could find some help breaking through
  • Whatever else strikes my fancy

Families and Lines

Just to get things started, here are some of my main lines:

  • Dickson – I know the least here.  Tennessee to Alabama to Mississippi to Arkansas, 1820-present.  It took me 25 years to be able connect John H. Dickson, my great-great-grandfather to any family at all.
  • Wren – George Wren, George Washington Wren, Alonzo Dossey Wren, and their descendants.  Virginia to South Carolina to Georgia to Louisiana to Arkansas, 1770-present.
  • CasonJeremiah H. Cason and his ancestors and descendants.  J.H. Cason is one of my favorites – missionary to Africa, Captain in the CSA, preacher in west Texas
  • HudsonWesley Hudson, who lived primarily around Atlanta from 1830, has been one of the great mysteries to me.
  • Bailey – The Bailey line goes all the way back to Jamestown in 1610 and is a fascinating story.   Francis Baker Bailey came from Virginia to Kentucky to Arkansas prior to Arkansas statehood.
  • Lots of others.  Check my tree at wrenacres.com for details.

So, let’s get on with the show!  Thanks for stopping by!