He was the son of John William and Martha (Moncrief) Zellner. He married Nancy (Winfield) Pruitt on Jan. 20, 1847, in Harris County, Georgia. They were the parents of John Byrd, George Peter, William Augustus, Michael Hillery, James Madison, Mary Alice "Alabama," Obediah Watson, Daniel Lee "Levi," and Emma Kate Zellner. His wife's family felt that their daughter had married beneath her, but the marriage was a happy one. Although not strictly speaking an abolitionist, he was anti-slavery. In 1855, he inherited 10 slaves from his father-in-law, but by 1860, he had freed all of them except one old man who was too old take care of himself on his own. This did not endear him to his family and neighbors. Anti-slavery sentiments notwithstanding, he was left in dire economic straights by the Civil War. He decided to follow other friends and relatives to Florida to start over. Taking his oldest son, John Byrd, with him, he left Alabama to look for suitable land to buy in Florida. While on the trip, he and John Byrd were caught in a yellow fever epidemic in Florida, and both died of the disease. To the best of my knowledge, no one knows where they are buried. Yellow fever victims who were travelers or strangers were often buried in mass graves with no markers, and it is likely he lies in one such, somewhere in Florida.