Family Tale

The writer of this tale was William Thomas Bidgood, Jr “BUD” 1875-1948  

Bidgood Family Tales

I secured the following ‘family tales’ from my mother and father- W.T. Bedgood, or more correctly Bidgood.  My mother and father were first cousins, children of two Joiner sisters:  ELIZABETH JOINER BEDGOOD and Rachel Joiner Boatright.  Therefore the only names in our side of the family are Joiner, Bidgood and Boatright.

My father told me that it was his opinion that all those three pioneer families came from another state, probably off the Yadkin River in North Carolina around the year 1800, and all settled in one neighborhood in Washington County not far from where Tennille now stands. Plenty of Boatright’s and Joiner’s there last I heard of them, and they are all related to us no matter how they spell their names.

Therefore our ancestors were not the original settlers under General Oglethorpe, but settlers attracted to free government land after the Revolutionary War. It is significant that they arrived in that cotton growing area shortly after the cotton gin was invented. Anyway, they grew cotton, and I have formed the natural conclusion that they left North Carolina for Georgia in order to take up free land and grow cotton.

My father says that tradition in the family claims that JOHN BEDGOOD was a Revolutionary War soldier. There are many Bidgood’s in Virginia, and one old Bidgood, who was a commander of the Virginia Confederate Veterans whose name I secured, wrote me that no doubt all Bedgood and Bidgood’s were the same family, and inasmuch as they are British colonists, and have been in Virginia since long before the Revolution. They were part of the British colonists to Virginia and North Carolina.

Old time people kept no family record. They simply told ‘tales’ of family history by word of mouth and that is all the record we have of them. That is why I, knowing some of my nieces and nephews may want to know of their origin, decided to write all I can remember of what my father told me, to preserve for their children and grandchildren our family history.

Seems none of them were rich, though all owned their own homes. They were farmers.

When I was a child, Aunt Mary Boatright Layton often came down from Washington County to visit us. She would sit around the fire and tell how she and her favorite brother-Thomas, Tom as she called him would go hunting.

Aunt Mary Layton told about Sherman’s Army when it hit her home. The soldiers took all her food from the crib and smokehouse and destroyed everything they could not eat. Her husband, John Leonard Layton was a Mason–the Fraternal Order–so she asked for a Mason among the Yankees, and asked him to protect her and her children. He just said he could do nothing for her. Then the Yankee soldiers took out her feather beds, ripped them open, tied them to the horses and ran the horses through the woods scattering the feathers for sport. They left her without one bite of food and she said she and her children suffered terrible until other neighbors brought them something to eat. John Leonard Layton was a soldier in the Confederate Army.

This brings up another sidelight on my own father, WILLIAM THOMAS BIDGOOD, who was also a Confederate soldier, as well as his father ELI BEDGOOD. My father said he married my mother, Anna Boatright, daughter of Thomas Boatright who was killed during the war. First, because he said he loved her better than he did any other girl, and secondly, because she was the daughter of a brave and good soldier.

He said when he was a ‘young feller’, he went with a lot of nice girls, and especially one he remembers well, but her father fled and hid out in the swamp when officers came for him to join the army. He said this girl was a nice, good girl, and liked him, and he might have married her had it not been that her daddy was a coward. He said he could not bear to think of any children he might have being the grandchildren of a coward. He said if he married Anna Boatright, his children would have a wonderful heritage of self sacrifice and bravery through this grandfather who lost his life in defense of his country.

My mother [MARY ANNA BOATRIGHT BIDGOOD] told me of an incident or two that remained a thorn in my mind all these years. She said she and her brother Jim [James Jason Boatright] worked in the field with the negro girl Caroline.  In those days, the slave owning class did not work, especially the girls. She said some girls passed by the field one day and made fun of her for working out in the field like a negro. Also, she said her hands were sunburned, so when she went to Boiling Springs Church, the girls made fun of her because her hands were sunburned. Their own hands, even during the war, were white, not browned and sunburned.

Now my mother’s father [James Thomas Boatright] was in the Confederate Army and lost his life in defense of their southern rights-which included slavery. Those girls gave her no credit for what her father was doing, hence their ridicule of a girl who worked for a living. Soon the war was over, no slaves, and many people had to go to work who never worked previously. My mother was accustomed to work, and when it was all over, and Lee surrendered, the South was on starvation. She said food was gathered from sections where Sherman failed to march, to take to folks who were on starvation, including the former slave owners. They came to her own mother [Rachel Joiner Boatright] and offered her meat and corn, which she declined to accept because her own corn crib and smokehouse were full. So she asked them to take the food to folks who were worse off than she was. All this food she had, she and her children worked for in the fields. Sherman had missed her, and he went through Washington County instead. Her children’s little brown sunburned hands had done their work well.

Since I have been living in the North, I cannot help but remember these incidents as occurring in the South where I was raised. Some Southern people were unkind to the poorer Southern white people who worked.

Inasmuch as all our family names are plain English, I therefore make bold to say, our whole stock of ancestors are purely British, as were the great majority of colonists in Virginia, NC, SC and Georgia. One evidence of British ancestry are phrases and language habits. For instance, my own mother [Mary Anna Boatright] had an old saying when anything was worthless- “It ain’t worth a thrip”. Once I asked her what a ‘thrip’ was. She replied she didn’t know, except it was something not worth anything. Years later I learned that a ‘thrip’ was a common English contraction for the work “thripence” or three-pence, which is worth six cents…or about a nickel in American money. The thrip or three pence was English money and those who used it were purely English, Scotch or Irish colonists.

Then, another thing, I remember as a child was my mother liked to have egg-nog and cake for “old Christmas Day”, which back then was the sixth day of January (I think now it is the seventh of January). We celebrated regular Christmas day with Santa Claus, so I asked my mother why she said ‘OLD Christmas ‘ day. She said she did not know what old Christmas day was, but her own father and mother had egg-nog and cake on that day when she was a child, and they got the custom from their parents. Later I learned that ‘old Christmas Day’ was a return courtesy to what was actually Christmas Day before the changeover from the Julian calendar to what is now used–the Gregorian calendar, which England took a long time adopting. In fact George Washington was a boy growing up before the English government adopted the newer and more correct Gregorian calendar. But it was hard to break a custom, so the English speaking people still reverenced old Christmas Day with egg-nog and cake, so as to celebrate both. The Julian calendar was still in use in Russia (I believe) until the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, though I am not even sure the Bolsheviks adopted the newer calendar long before England did.

The first of our ancestors, so far as I could remember my father [William Thomas Bidgood] telling me was the aforementioned, JOHN BEDGOOD, Revolutionary War veteran.  He was married twice, and our own ancestor, his son Samuel, who was my father’s grandfather. This SAMUEL BEDGOOD married a woman whose name was Mary Rogers if I am not mistaken. Their son Eli Bedgood was my father’s father, and he married ELIZABETH JOINER. Their son William Thomas was my father.

ELI BEDGOOD, our own progenitor married Elizabeth Joiner and had the following children: Thomas (my father), John, Jackson, and Josie. One daughter Mary Jane died when she was twelve years old.

Eli’s son John married a Hutchinson, and left two sons, Willie and Eli in or around Savannah, Georgia. Jackson married a Miss McCook of Hancock County, but she died in the later part of the 1800’s in Augusta, Georgia. His children, Mack, Eugene, Mamie, and others emigrated out to Los Angeles and San Francisco, California right after the Spanish American War. Mack served with the US Army in the Philippine’s during that war. He was a sharp-shooter and contested in tournaments for marksmanship. He died in Los Angeles, but left no children.

Josie Bidgood died in the latter part of the 1800’s.

Of all the Bedgood families, that of Sias (Cyrus) was probably the most daring. Cyrus himself, and four sons John Andrew, James Allen, William Henry, and Jason Thomas all served as soldiers in the Civil War at the same time. A most remarkable record–a father and four sons. All were fine soldiers and daring. Accounts of their service later. This was the father and four older brothers of cousin Milton Bedgood.

Daughters of Samuel Bedgood. Elizabeth Bedgood married a Crabb (Aunt Betsey Crabb); Jane Bedgood married a Vann; and Mary Bedgood married a Smallpeace.

Our immediate ancestors :

Pioneer JOHN BEDGOOD off Yadkin River in NC, SAMUEL BEDGOOD who married MARY ROGERS.  ELI BEDGOOD, who married ELIZABETH JOINER; WILLIAM THOMAS BIDGOOD who married MARY ANNA BOATRIGHT and their children:   Bud (WT Jr), Claudia, Valdosta, and Grover Cleveland.


Source:  Kelly Bergstrom (Ref: 760-949-8865 as shared by a cousin.  All transcribed and originally posted by Cecile Bedgood Kennedy.



The excerpt above mentions and is a source for the following Bedgood/Bidgood family members:

1-John Bedgood, RS born in Virginia 1730-1740 to 1828

   2- Samuel Franklin Bedgood, born in NC 1780-1870, son of John Bedgood, RS

      m Mary Rogers, born in NC 1785-1870, wife of Samuel Franklin Bedgood

         3-Cyrus Bedgood, born in GA 1815-1874, son of Samuel Franklin Bedgood

                4-William Henry Bedgood 1840-1864

                4-John Andrew Bedgood  1843-1862

                4-James Allen Bedgood  1845-1900

                            4-Jason Thomas Bedgood  1847-1882

                4-Milton (Charles Milton) 1855-1928

         3-Eli Cyrus Bedgood born in GA 1818-1885, son of Samuel Franklin Bedgood

            m  Elizabeth Joiner 1819-1883

                4-William Thomas Bedgood CHANGED NAME TO BIDGOOD 1845-1927 son of Eli Cyrus

                   m Mary Anna Boatright 1852-1917

                        5-William Thomas Bidgood, Jr “BUD” 1875-1948  Writer of ‘Bidgood Family Tales’

                        5-Claudia 1877-1956     Writer of ‘Boatright~Layton Family Tales’

                        5-Valdosta (Mary Anna Valdosta) 1885-1960

                        5-Grover Cleveland 1887-1935

                4-John (John Eli) Bedgood 1848-1923  son of Eli Cyrus

                   m Rutha Hutchinson 1854-1900

                        5-Eli (Joshua Eli) 1874-1935

                        5-Willie (William Henry) 1881-1950

                4-Jackson Bedgood 1850-1887  son of Eli Cyrus

                   m Hannah McCook 1852-1918

                        5-Mack (Henry Matthew) 1870-

                        5-Mamie (Mary Ann) 1878

                        5-Eugene (Eugene Charles) 1882-1940

                4-Josie Bedgood 1853-1900 daughter of Eli Cyrus

                4-Mary Jane Bedgood 1855-1867  daughter of Eli Cyrus

          3-Elizabeth Bedgood Crabb 1819-1910 (married Ryland Wiley Crabb) dau of Samuel Franklin

          3-Jane Bedgood Vann 1823-1900 (married Calvin Vann) dau of Samuel Franklin

          3-Mary Ann Bedgood Smallpeace 1821-1900 (mar Wiley Smallpeace) dau of Samuel Franklin

Others listed:

James Thomas Boatright 1828-1863, father of Mary Anna Boatright Bidgood, favorite brother of Mary Jane Boatright Layton.

James Jason Boatright 1854-1917, brother of Mary Anna Boatright Bidgood

Mary Jane Boatright Layton 1830-1905, sister of James Thomas Boatright

John Leonard Layton 1820-1874, husband of Mary Jane Boatright Layton

Rachel Joiner 1824-1880, sister of Elizabeth Joiner, Rachel married James Thomas Boatright and was the mother of Mary Anna Boatright Bidgood.

Notes by Cecile Bedgood Kennedy

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