Widowed Pioneer of North Dade County, Georgia

This chapter is especially dedicated to Sarah Frances “Sallie” Allison Owens (Mrs. Claude E. Owens, Sr.) of Trenton, Georgia, who is the great, great granddaughter of Nancy Scholtz Lankford and the last surviving member of the fourth generation of that pioneer family of Dade County. Also, to Ersaline Blevins Carroll and Allison Blevins, who have devoted so much of their lives to serving Dade County, and to the some 200 living residents of Dade County who make up the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth generations of Nancy’s descendants. Researched and Written By: Claude E. Owens, Jr., Trenton, Georgia 1976)


John Lankford and Nancy Scholtz were born in Europe in the late 1700’s and were married in the early 1800’s.’


As most immigrants did in those days, John and Nancy Lankford came from the coast of America through Virginia, Carolina and Tennessee, where they settled until the death of John Lankford.. After his death, his widow, Nancy Scholtz Lankford, came to Dade County, Georgia. The exact cause of his death is not known, but family legend is he died from either typhoid fever, cholera, or plague, which was rampant in those days and claimed the lives of many migrants and some of the Lankford children and grandchildren as well.


John and Nancy Lankford were this writer’s great, great maternal grandparents. The eldest of their five children, Margaret “Peggy” Lankford Derryberry (Mrs. John Carroll Derryberry) was the writer’s maternal; great-grandmother. The other four children in this family will be discussed later.


*In 1883 Margaret Lankford and Carroll Derryberry were married. Fourteen years later, in 1852, they had three children; John Carroll, II . William Richard “Dick”, and Nancy Derryberry; and one unborn. Another typhoid fever epidemic snuffed out life of the husband and father, Carroll Derryberry, Sr., and their only daughter, Nancy, at that time. Their deaths occurred only nine days apart. The death of these two members of this family was probably the cause of the premature birth of the unborn child, who was born only nine days after the death of her sister Nancy. The child survived and was given the name Manerva Elizabeth Derryberry.


Family legend is that Nancy Lankford also died of typhoid; not during the above mentioned epidemic, but some years later. The exact date and circumstances surrounding her death have not been documented. Her grave site, marked by two plain limestone rocks, is under the shade of a now huge cedar tree in the Baptist Cemetery in Trenton, Georgia.


John and Nancy Lankford had four other children to live to adulthood other than the aforementioned Margaret Lankford Derryberry. Margaret, incidentally, lived in Dade County to the ripe old age of eighty-three. *She was born October 2, 1820, and died November 23, 1903. She and her husband, John Carroll, Sr., and several of their children and grandchildren are buried in the Bethlehem Cemetery in Slygo Valley in Dade County. Their first born, a son, John Carroll, II, and his family are buried in the Coal City Cemetery on Sand Mountain in Dade County.


A second Lankford child, Martha Duggan (Mrs. James “Jim” Duggan) lived all her life in the county. John, Nannie and Sarah Duggan were their children.


The third child, Sarah Lankford Walker (Mrs. George Walker) reared their children in Soddy, Tennessee.


The fourth child, Mary Lankford Bailey (Mrs. Thomas Watson Bailey) also lived her entire life in this county. She had only one son, Sam. He had no offsprings, but did live his entire life in Dade County.


The fifth Lankford child, Thomas Lankford, who was a brother to the four Lankford girls just mentioned, had no descendants in Dade  County. He reared his family in Tracy City and Dunlap, Tennessee.


The largest number of descendants from the Lankford-Scholtz marriage, who still live in Dade County, came from their daughter, Margaret “Peggy” Lankford and John Carroll Derryberry, Sr. They had three children to reach adulthood. Their first child, John Carroll, Jr., married Martha Prince. Both died rather young. Their children moved to the Chattanooga area. They have no known living offspring in the county today; however, their youngest son, John Milton Derryberry, married a Dade County girl, Elizabeth Parker, from south of Trenton. She, too, died young and is buried in the Parker family plot in Dade County.


William Richard “Dick” Derryberry, their second child, and their only daughter to survive, Manerva Elizabeth, each have many, many descendants living in this county at the present time. Dick has no living children, however, he has many grand, great-great-grandchildren living in Dade County today.

  1. Roy Chadwick

    This Lankford line may be my relatives. my GGGfather was Thomas Lankford brn abt 1778/80 possible Rowan/Surry/Stokes co Nc,died after 1850 possible Grundy Co TN or Dekalb/Etowah co AL,married Pheobe unk last name.

    Thomas,and Pheobe had 2 children I know of,

    Vachel Lankford brn abt 1795/1804 NC/TN,married Sarah Seitz.

    My GGfather Silas Lankford brn abt 1812 TN,married Mary Seitz/Sitz.

    Gparents Levi Lankford brn abt 1859 Warren/Grundy co TN,married Caroline Vaughn,both died Harlan Co KY.

    Thanks again,
    Roy Chadwick.

  2. Johannah

    this is my line too- only my line is to Silas Lankford and Mary sitz

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