Forgotten Trails

Published 5:36 pm Wednesday, May 28, 2003

By Staff
More about the Liles family in Escambia
By LYDIA GRIMES - Features Writer
Last week I didn't tell the names of the children of Mary Ann Liles and William Matthews. So far as I know, this family was raised in Dale County, but I am not sure.
Mary Ann Liles (27 June 1820 in Ga.-11 Nov. 1884 in Dale Co.) married William W. Matthews (27 Aug. 1815). Their children were Harriet S Matthews (1840 in Ala.), Rebecca A Matthews (1842), Mary J Matthews (1845 ), Edward P Matthews (1848), Sherwood M Matthews (1851), Elbert M Matthews (1854), Melvina Matthews (1857) and Minty V Matthews (April 1860).
John Madison Liles, child of Sherod Liles and Rebecca Smith, was more connected with Escambia County than the other children and there are many descendants living here today.
John Madison Liles (3 April 1829-27 April 1898) married 15 Aug. 1851 to Elizabeth Campbell (27 June 1831-9 Sept. 1875). They were the parents of at least ten children, Mary St. Clair Liles (18 April 1852-5 May 1905) who married Jack (or Zack) Still, Susanna Liles (14 Jan. 1854-25 Sept. 1923) who married a McLean, William Thomas Liles (27 Sept. 1855-18 Jan. 1895) who married Mary Henderson, Abraham Meredith Liles (25 May 1859-19 June 1861), Rebecca Liles (22 Aug. 1861-16 Sept. 1864), Charles Mathew Liles (21 Jan. 1864-5 April 1876), Ephriam Sherod Liles (18 May 1866-28 Nov. 1945) who married Ada Franklin, George Laborn Liles (1 Aug. 1869-19 Jan. 1902) who married Orie May, and Laura Alice Liles who married Barry Daniel Guy.
William Thomas Liles was a blacksmith by trade and very skilled with his hands. He died at the age of 44 leaving a family of seven children. His wife, Mary Henderson, was the daughter of Alexander Travis Henderson and Amanda Floyd. She was born 31 Jan. 1861 and died 21 Nov. 1934. Her father died before she was two years old; apparently the result of a fight or battle near Claiborne in Monroe County. Her mother got the word of the death and had some of the slaves hitch a pair of mules to the wagon. She and her little girl, along with the slaves, made the trip to Claiborne and recovered his body to bring home for burial. She later remarried to William T. Sills and ran a boarding house at Brooklyn. The hotel was taken over by her daughter, Mary Henderson Liles, and still later by her granddaughter, Bessie Liles Cary.
William Thomas Liles and Mary Henderson had seven children, Bessie Travis Liles (1 March 1879-25 March 1950) who married George Washington Cary, Beulah Benton Liles (29 July 1881-1 March 1959) who married Robert Lee Sowell, Marvin Toulin Liles (1 March 1884-5 July 1961) who married Myrtle Thomas, Duncan Parker Liles (12 Jan. 1887-29 May 1951) who married Sadie Loebman Padgett, Liston Dunbar Liles (26 July 1889-16 Dec. 1952) who married Ella Kate Martin, Ethel Mae Liles (7 Nov. 1891-15 March 1978), Minnie Lee Liles (23 April 1894-13 March 1979) and who married James Coleman Kraker.
Beulah Benton Liles was a homemaker, and along with a number of helpers, she primarily ran the family dairy farm. This farm was in the country north of Brewton. Today, the Brewton Elementary School and the Brewton Heights Shopping Center stand where the farm used to be. The old house is still standing on Belleville Avenue and the farm took up all the land between Douglas Avenue and Belleville Avenue. Mrs. Liles ran the farm while her husband, Robert Lee Sowell (6 Aug. 1877-2 Aug. 1968) worked at T.R. Miller Mill Company. He worked there for over 50 years and his wife sent him a hot meal every day by one of the workers. They were the parents of three children, Chester Luttrell Sowell (4 Aug. 1900-19 Dec. 1958) who married Mary Ellen Spinks, William Benton Sowell (3 Nov. 1902) who married Helen Louis Smart and Robert Lee Sowell II, who married Carol Boswell.
Duncan Parker Liles, son of William Thomas Liles, married Sadie Loebman Padgett (14 July 1890-24 July 1985). He had to go to work early in his life and received very little education. He worked with his uncle in the construction business and later went into business for himself. He was an Escambia County Commissioner, served on the Brewton City School Board of Education and served as president of the Amateur Baseball League. Sadie Loebman Padgett Liles was the daughter of James Monroe Padgett and Mollie Hodge Rabb and attended Judson College. They were the parents of Sara Ruth Liles (22 Aug. 1914) who married Mark Sanford Sowell, Thomas Pershing Liles (24 Aug. 1917) who married Ida Smith, Caroline Liles (6 Oct. 1919) and Duncan Parker Liles Jr. (14 Jan. 1922) who married Margaret Lee Bradford.
Liston Dunbar Liles, son of William Thomas Liles, married Ella Kate Martin (23 Feb. 1882-13 Feb. 1927). He lived in Luverne where he worked in building and construction.
This concludes the information on the family of William Thomas Liles. Next week we will get to another child of John Madison Lilies.

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