Information on the Bethea family
By Lydia Grimes - Features Writer
I am going to take a few weeks and go through the information about some families that I have collected over the past several years.
You won't find a single Bethea listed in the telephone book for Brewton, but there was a family with that name at one time living here and there are still many descendants still living in the area.
The first known Bethea to come here was Goodman Bethea (1792-1863). According to some information I have seen, the name is originally French and records indicate that the family moved to England prior to the French revolution. From England the Bethea family migrated to Norfolk, Va. sometime around the year 1700.
John Bethea had two sons, John Bethea II and Tristram Bethea. John II had two sons, William and John, who moved to South Carolina. William Bethea (1726-1785) married Sarah Goodman (1730) in 1752 and they had at least four children, John (1752), Goodman (1759), Phillip (1761) and Jesse Bethea (27 Aug 1763).
Jesse moved to Alabama and died in Claiborne in Monroe County 2 Nov. 1820. He married Celia Harrelson and they had five children, Goodman (22 July 1792-22 Sept. 1863) who married Charlotte Grice (11 Oct 1798-12 may 1862), Hugh Bethea, William Bethea, Henry Bethea and Tristram Bethea.
Goodman Bethea and Charlotte Grice had at least two children, Joseph Austin Bethea (5 Aug. 1820) and Evander Bethea (abt. 1822) who married Sarah Matilda Sowell.
Joseph Austin Bethea married first Nancy J. Mendenhall and they were the parents of nine children, John H. Bethea ( 1846-1865), Mary Ann Bethea (1847), Frances E. Bethea (1849-1932) who married Daniel Webster Tippins, Goodman Bethea (1851-1927) who married Vida Raburn, Lawrence Bethea (1853), Trustman Bethea (1855), Henrietta Bethea (1856-1931) who married Casper Grice, Ada Bethea (1861-1894) who married Samuel Lewis McGowin and Albert Bethea (1861-1866).
Joseph Austin Bethea married second Elizabeth Grice (1838-1913) and they had five more children, Julia Bethea (27 May 1867-1912), Annie Bethea (17 Nov.1869-1912), Charles (or William) Henry Bethea (29 Mar. 1872-11 Apr. 1943) who married Mary Elizabeth Earle (30 Nov. 1866-22 Sept. 1939), Zella Bethea (29 Oct. 1873-1874) and Evander Bethea (10 Mar. 1875-1957) who married Minnie E. Giles.
William Henry (Charley) Bethea (29 Mar. 1872-11 Apr. 1943) and Mary Elizabeth Earle, a native of Baldwin County, were married 16 Sept. 1901 in Blacksher. They lived on the Andalusia Highway. The community of Bethea used to be about 10 miles from East Brewton on Hwy. 29. There was a post office in one of the rooms of their home where Mary Elizabeth served as postmistress. This was located near "Bethea Mill Creek" which is slightly north of the Bethea Road between the 10 and 11 mile markers. They were the parents of six children, Mable Bethea (6 July 1902-7 Apr. 1980) who married first Arthur Benjamin Parker and second B.D. Dozier, Hortense Bethea (3 Dec. 1903) married first Boland Alford and second Tom Agerton, Basil Lovelace Bethea (4 Feb. 1905-28 Oct. 1964) who married in 1929 Ethel McKenzie, Laura Mae Bethea (30 June 1906) who married Douglas Webb, Estelle Bethea (26 Mar. 1908) who married C.B. Ferdon and Charles Henry Bethea (9 Mar. 1910-14 July 1910).
Evander Bethea (10 Mar. 1875-1957) and Minne E. Giles were married 23 Dec. 1897 and they were the parents of Joseph Stanford Bethea (5 July 1901 who married Edith Burnham, Maud Bethea (1 July 1903), George Leland Bethea (5 Dec. 1904) who married Tallie Bell Parker, Herman Evander Bethea (26 Sept. 1906), Gladys Bethea (15 Apr. 1910), Ivan Maxine Bethea (16 July 1913), Annie Tell Bethea (24 Apr. 1915), Henry Talmage Bethea (5 Mar. 1917) and Marvin Clinton Bethea (26 Sept. 1921).
Through the several marriages with other early families in the area, the name is still a familiar one among some of the current families in the county.
Next week we will cover another family that settled in this area.
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