|Birth: ||May 10, 1840|
|Death: ||Jul. 23, 1904|
George Washington Runyan was born in Tennessee in 1840, almost certainly in the Sweetwater farming community, now called Edwina, which is south of Newport in Cocke County. This is where his parents (Henry & Margaret (Mantooth) Runyan) were living and farming when the 1840 census was taken, and it is where both sets of his grandparents had lived. Much of the land is still farmed by their descendants, a mile up the Edwina-Bridgeport Road from the Pigeon River. (See map in the photo section.) George’s paternal line was descended from Vincent Rongnion, who came to America from France in 1665 to escape persecution of Protestants. Vincent’s descendants felt free to spell their surname in diverse ways, even on the same document, so one finds it spelled Runion, Runyon, Runian, and Runyan, often with an ‘s’ on the end, and sometimes with two ‘n’s. It was only in the twentieth century that individual names became fixed in their spelling.
Around 1859 George married the girl next door, Nancy Jane Mantooth, who was his cousin once removed and the granddaughter of Thomas Mantooth Sr, the progenitor of the Mantooth clan. The 1860 census shows them living in the home of George’s family, with her parents living next door. That year they had their first baby, Mary Florence. George was a farmer. Farmland was scarce in mountain valleys, which meant he probably raised chickens, hogs, and dairy cows, had a corn field and a vegetable garden, and grew feed for the livestock.
In 1861 the southern states seceded from the union and formed a confederacy. Most people in eastern Tennessee supported the Union, but on June 8, voters in Tennessee as a whole voted to secede. Twenty-six eastern counties then voted to secede from Tennessee and remain with the United States. The Confederate army responded by occupying eastern Tennessee and enforcing its rule on most of the counties, including Cocke. In 1862 the Confederacy began drafting young men into its army in the counties it controlled. Men were given a fifty dollar bounty for volunteering, but if they refused to serve, they could be hung. (See the political cartoon in the photo section.) Runyan and Mantooth relatives ended up in both armies, depending on which county they lived in. On October 1, 1862, the eligible young men of Newport were enlisted into Company I of the 60th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Mounted. This included George, his cousin Henry Runyan, and James “Pigtail” Mantooth, the brother of his wife Nancy Jane. It also included three brothers who were cousins to George and had grown up living next door to him: William, John, and Robert Mantooth. (Robert was not enlisted until March, when he came of age). The new inductees were sent to guard the eastern Tennessee railroad hub at Haynesville (now called Johnson City). Only a month into service, William Mantooth was killed, leaving a wife and four children. His brother John promptly deserted and was not heard from again; most likely he joined the Unionist guerillas and died without a record.
The 60th mounted infantry regiment was sent to Mississippi as part of General Vaughn’s Brigade. Henry’s brother, Joseph Manning Runyan, had enlisted earlier into Capt. Lynch’s light artillery company and was already stationed in Mississippi. The Union army, under Ulysses Grant, launched a major campaign against Vicksburg, which guarded the Mississippi River. Both Vaughn’s Brigade and Lynch’s artillery company were sent to defend Vicksburg. Also present at Vicksburg were the 3rd Tennessee Infantry, which included his uncle Levi and cousins Noah and Joseph Runion from Polk County, and the 31st Tennessee Infantry, which included his uncle Joseph Runion Jr from Blount County. George’s unit arrived on December 26, in time for the first battle. The Confederate forces defended Vicksburg for the next five months from behind ramparts, but in May they left their defenses to attack the Union forces. On May 17th, 1863, at the Battle of Big Black River, the Confederates retreated across two bridges, which they then burned, leaving 1800 of their comrades to be captured by the Union army. (See map of campaign in the photo section.) Henry Runyan was captured at this time and was sent to Point Lookout POW Camp, where he died on January 25, 1864. George Runyan had been in the hospital on sick leave, so he escaped the battle, while Joseph Runyan had been stationed in Vicksburg to man the artillery.
The Union siege of Vicksburg led to the depletion of all food and ammunition, so on July 4, the city and its forces were surrendered to the Union Army. It seems possible that by the time of the surrender, George at not fired a shot at Union soldiers. A few days later, on July 10th, the Confederate servicemen were paroled, meaning they were released on a pledge not to fight until they had been exchanged for Union prisoners. A parole camp was established for some of them at Jonesborough, eastern Tennessee, but most were simply sent home to await release from parole by an exchange of Union prisoners, at which time they would have to rejoin their units in the war. But most people in eastern Tennessee had been loyal to the union, and increasingly so as the war progressed. In September, 1863, Union forces reoccupied Knox, Blount, and Polk counties and were greeted with jubilation by the local population. George’s cousins seized this opportunity to escape the Confederate army, and they pledged allegiance to the United States, generally at the government office in Knoxville. It seems likely that George did as well, since after September there are not further records of him in the Confederate army. George’s uncle Joseph Runion went further and joined the Union Army that was defending Knoxville. George’s close cousin Joseph Runyan was evidently in a Confederate parole camp, but he slipped away and made his way to Knoxville, where he swore allegiance to the United States on January 17, 1864.
During the war, Senator Andrew Johnson was the Unionist military governor of Tennessee. As the state came under increasing union control, he disenfranchised supporters of the Confederacy on the grounds they were rebels. He called an election in Tennessee on March 4, 1865, and only pro-Unionists could still vote. The voters decided overwhelmingly to secede from the Confederacy and rejoin the Union. Johnson was running for vice-president rather than for governor, and the voters elected William Brownlow, a Unionist newspaperman from eastern Tennessee, to be the governor. Three days before taking office Brownlow published his policy for Confederate veterans and sympathizers: “Let them be impoverished and made bankrupts. Let them be beggars, going from door to door for their bread. They brought on this rebellion—they caused all this suffering and trouble—let them be made odious, and let their estates be confiscated.” He passed a law stripping Confederate veterans of both the vote and their equal status, and initiated a period of persecution and disadvantage for them. As a result, many Confederate veterans moved from Tennessee to Arkansas. But these pioneers faced another difficulty, namely that Confederate veterans were not eligible to claim homesteads on the federal lands being opened for settlement, even if they had pledged allegiance to the US and joined the Union army.
The Iron Mountain Railroad wanted people to settle along its railway corridor through Arkansas, and it put out posters encouraging people to settle there. (See example in photos.) In 1870, George and his cousin Joseph Manning Runyan traveled from eastern Tennessee to Arkansas. (See map for likely train route.) Men like them wanted tracts of good land they could both farm and pass on to their children. Although they did not qualify for free homesteads from the federal government, because they had “taken up arms” against the US, they nevertheless had more opportunity in Arkansas than in Tennessee, where they had been disenfranchised from the political and economic processes. When the census reached George and Joseph on July 29, 1870, they were on a farm near Oil Trough, not far from Newport, Arkansas. In August, George and Joseph returned to Cocke County, and the census there on Aug 24 shows George and his family still living next to his parents and younger siblings. (Later is brother John would occupy that house.)
By this time George and Nancy Jane had five children: Mary Florence (1860-1899), Dora “Dory” (1863-1900), James “Jim” (1866-), Malcom “Make” (1869-1915), and Theodocia E. “Docia, Doshie” (1870-1913). His cousin Joseph and wife Sarah had three children: Jerome (1846-1890), John Richmond (1867-1953), and Russell Manning (1869-1928).
So the next year, 1871, the families of George Runyan and Joseph Runyan moved to Arkansas, along with the family of George’s late cousin Lawson Mantooth. The latter two families settled on farms between Oil Trough and Newport. George and Nancy Jane probably stayed there a while, but evidently they missed the mountains. So they and their children traveled 110 miles up the White River and its North Fork and settled in the sparsely populated Bennetts Bayou region of the Ozark Mountains, just south of the Missouri border. There they rented a farm on the Bennett River. George’s cousin Willis Leatherwood, a Baptist preacher, rented a farm next to him, where he and his family settled. The two families might have traveled up the White River together, and might even have left Cocke County together.
Margaret Park provides the following description of the area:
“As to farm land, only the valleys of the Ozarks are suitable for farming, and only if they have been cleared. This terrain is rough and rocky, but there are areas near the rivers and creeks that are suitable for grazing and small gardens, once some of the trees have been cleared. Up in the bayou area, the cleared land is mostly used for small cattle operations. Otherwise, lots of very rocky land, much more rock than soil. The climate is quite similar to central Oklahoma, except there are fewer tornados.”
The strips of land next to rivers and creeks had already been claimed, and in any case George was disqualified from claiming a homestead because he had served in the Confederate Army. So the Runyans rented farmland at section S11-T20N-R11W, a location later known as Vidette. This was good bottom land, well watered by the Bennetts River, a tributary of the Bennetts Bayou that ran beside the property. Click to see earth view of the property. The river itself provided transportation for people and their produce, as well as water for their livestock and a place to catch fish. The land was on an extensive property that Matthew Brown, a Union Army Captain from Ohio, had bought in 1869 and sold to his son Edward in 1872.
According to an article by Pauline Hodges in the Click to see earth view of the church. Pauline Hodges continues, “Election time was another special time for people. Everyone was interested, and the people campaigned as much as a candidate. On 'speaking days' at Vidette they would have picnic stands, selling pink lemonade. Everyone liked these big days not only for their interest in their government but to visit with each other. Not far from the chapel people built a track for racing horses, and races were a popular event.”
Although good farmland was in short supply in the area, George was a frontiersman, and the forests provided abundant opportunity for hunting and trapping and for foraging for honey and berries. In his book Bennetts Bayou, Bennetts River 1830-1900, Donald S. Hubbell Jr describes the frontier families of the region at this time (p. 10):
“As they moved from Virginia into the Carolinas, Kentucky, Tennessee and later into Arkansas, they became hunters and trappers to a large degree and farmers to a lesser extent. In his journal. Henry Schoolcraft remarks on several different occasions of the exceptional hunting ability of the settlers. He mentions large numbers of bear and deer hides hanging to dry in front of the cabins and the family members dressed almost exclusively in buckskins. He also noted a lack of gardens around any of the cabins. The only sign of any cultivation being small parcels of corn for corn meal and possibly other home uses.”
Most likely the Runyan family earned their living like other mountain people in that area, namely from hunting, trapping, fishing, foraging, raising hogs and chickens, and keeping dairy cows, supplemented with vegetable gardening and home crafts. In the case of the Runyans, it seems they also cut hair and made clothes for people.
It is evident that George and his family traveled down the river at times to visit their Runyan and Mantooth relatives in Oil Trough, and they probably did some buying and selling as well. Their cousin Lawson Mantooth Jr had married there in 1874, to Sarah Bollinger, and through this connection Dora Runyan became acquainted with Sarah’s brother Harden Hulsey Bollinger. In 1879 they were married and made their home in Oil Trough. George treated Joseph Runyan’s children like his own, and one of them, Russell, was destined to become his chief protégé and heir.
George and Nancy Jane were not the first of their clan to move to Arkansas. Their cousin John M. Mantooth (1811-1880), a blacksmith whose mother Choctaw Indian, had moved with his family to Franklin County, Arkansas, sometime prior to 1860. When the civil war came to his area in September, 1863, he enlisted at Fort Smith into the 2nd Arkansas Calvary of the Union Army, in spite of being nearly 52 at the time. (He told the recruiter he was 44, which was the maximum age.) His son Jasper, a farmer, enlisted in the same unit at the same time. Jasper’s detachment escorted trains, while his father John served as a farrier, sometimes riding with the detachments. Both were later hospitalized in Memphis; Jasper died there, and John was discharged with a heart condition. John and his wife Sophia had a son John Mantooth Jr, who married a woman named Nancy Pendergrass. She and their children will figure again in the Runyan story. John Mantooth Sr. had a sister Mary, called “Polly,” who was married to William Morris Bryant. They moved to Franklin County in 1869 with their sons Lawson and John and their several daughters, most of them married. Mary Bryant was Nancy Jane’s cousin, and George’s as well, and the two families were destined to converge in significant ways.
In eastern Tennessee it had been commonplace for families to brew their own beer and distill their own whiskey. Most of them were Baptists, and at that time it was only the Methodists who objected to alcohol. The federal government tried to hinder this by requiring home brewers to pay a prohibitively expensive penal bond (a requirement which was not repealed until 1979). In Cocke County, Tennessee, people just ignored this law, but such was not the case in Arkansas. Soon after Lawson Bryant settled in Franklin County in 1871, a local man filed a complaint that he was distilling his own whiskey. This led to further complaints and a great deal of cost and trouble for Lawson and his family, even though the cases were eventually dismissed, late in 1873. It seems that Lawson died soon after all this, because his wife returned with their son to her family in North Carolina as a single woman. Then in 1874, while the father William Bryant was across the state line in Indian Territory, he seems to have felt threatened by another man and pulled a gun on him. The other man turned out to be a U.S. cavalry officer on leave, and William was charged in federal court with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
William decided to leave Franklin County, so he and most of his family moved to the sparsely populated Bennetts Bayou region, among the Ozark mountains of northern Arkansas. In April of 1876 William and his widowed son John purchased a property on the east bank of the North Fork, at W½NW¼S33-T21N-R12W, in Baxter County. The property was in an attractive and well-watered location, with easy access to river travel. One could travel down the North Fork to a landing near Mountain Home or travel down the White River to Newport. (The part of the property that is still above water is now a park and river landing called the Red Bank Use Area.)
Soon afterwards John got into trouble with the law. A family tradition says he was accused of assault, which was the accusation against his father. The US District Court in Little Rock has a record of a case against a “John Bryant,” but the date and nature of the complaint is not mentioned. The case file was sent to the national archives and repository in Fort Worth, where it was misplaced. Whatever the complaint was, John took the precaution of moving to the Fulton side of the county line and changing his name to William Thomas "WT" Mantooth. In Fulton he lived beside the Runyan family, who were his first and second cousins.
WT set up a still in the woods, but the Runyans’ landlord objected, particularly his brother Asa Brown. They were Methodists, and Methodists were leading a campaign for prohibition. Asa Brown initiated a federal complaint against WT in 1876 and again in 1877, alleging that WT was distilling spirits near their property. The complaints were sent to the US district court at Fort Smith, which simply referred it to the court in Little Rock. So again in 1877 Asa initiated a third complaint, with several new witnesses, and sent it to the US district court in Little Rock. WT was formally charged in 1879 and was presumably jailed in lieu of bail to await trial. Then in August 1881 he was tried and sentenced to a year in prison and a one thousand dollar fine, which was equivalent to three years’ average earnings. While WT was in jail and then prison, his parents cared for his three children, since WT’s wife had died, but then his mother Mary died in 1880, and his two youngest children died. In February, 1882, his widowed father sold their property to Thomas and Rebecca Hicks, most likely to raise money to pay his fine. The sale was temporary, until WT could pay them back. As for WT’s son William, evidently went to live with his sister Sarah Trammell in Mountain Home, where he learned the blacksmith trade from her husband. Early in 1883 the Trammell family and William Bryant moved back to Franklin County.
When WT was released from prison, he went back to the Bennetts Bayou region, but stayed on the Baxter County side. On Sep 14, 1883, he procured a claim to a homestead of 158 acres of federal land that bordered his former property on the east bank of the North Fork of the White River in Baxter County (at NE¼ S33-T21N-R12W). The property was in an attractive and well-watered location, with easy access to river travel. Click to see earth view of the property. One could travel down the North Fork to a landing near Mountain Home or travel down the White River to Newport. Then early in 1884, when WT had had time to build a cabin and dig a well, etc., he married the eldest Runyan daughter, Mary Florence, who was his second cousin. He was 36, and she was 23, which was old for a bride in those days. (Mary Florence’s sister Dora had married when she was 15.) It is not known whether WT had a store for trade with the river traffic, or a farm, but most likely both. He and Mary did well, and in 1885 he bought back his original property at W½NW¼S33, for the same amount he paid for it, but this time in the name of “Thomas Mantooth.” He also bought adjoining properties at S½SW¼S28 and E½SE¼S29. Meanwhile his son William was married in Franklin County to Fannie Vest.
By the fall of 1888, WT and Mary Florence Mantooth had lived on the homestead the required five years, but the federal government had not yet granted them patent to the land. Among other things, this required the government’s certification that they had improved the property significantly, and sometimes that took a while. Meanwhile the federal government had announced plans to open the fertile "unassigned" lands of Indian Territory for homesteading on April 22, 1889, with the expectation that all homesteads would be claimed in a race that same day. The Mantooths decided to take advantage of this opportunity. So on Nov 18, 1888, "Thomas Mantooth of Baxter County and M. F. Mantooth his wife” sold their property to “G. W. Runyan of Fulton” County for $800, after which they left for Oklahoma Territory (as it would soon be called).
George and Nancy Jane and family moved into their new home, on their own land. No doubt they improved the land by building housing suitable for a family of ten and developing agriculture sufficient to sustain them all. (Click to see a terrain map of these locations.). Sometime after they moved to their new farm, their daughter Lou died. They buried her in the Bean Cemetery, which was just two miles upriver from the farm. (In 1941 the cemetery was relocated to Gamaliel to make room for Lake Norfork.) On March 26, 1890, the federal government approved the patent to the farm, and the Runyans could file their deed to it in the Baxter County office. They now owned their own farm, and in a lovely location.
While living in Arkansas George and Nancy Jane had given birth to five more children: Naomi Darlene "Oma" (1875-1936), Richard Houg "Hodge" (1877-1908), Lou (1879-), Alonzo "Lon, Lonzo" (1882-), and Lillie May (1885-1914). George and Nancy Jane’s son Jim was 14 in the 1880 census, but according to his niece Ruth Crouch Pratt, he “died young,” so presumably in Arkansas.
Meanwhile, WT and MF had claimed a new homestead in Oklahoma County, where they are found in the 1890 census. But in the August 1890 directory of residents they are gone. They sold their claim that same year, no doubt for a good profit, and moved across the South Canadian River from Oklahoma Territory to the Chickasaw Nation, in Indian Territory. (The two territories were not united until Oklahoma became a state in 1907.) There they used their accumulated capital to open a general store in Johnsonville, at that time the only one. There are two likely reasons for the move. One is that WT was one fourth Choctaw, and Johnsonville was populated primarily by mixed-blood people with Choctaw and Chickasaw ancestors. It had been established in 1870 by Montford Johnson and was one of the first towns in Indian Territory. Another likely reason is that Indian Territory was a more suitable place for the Runyan family than Oklahoma Territory. The land available in Oklahoma Territory was covered by the Homestead Act, which precluded George, as a Confederate veteran, from buying anyone’s homestead claim, but there was no land ownership in Chickasaw Nation, and non-Indians could settle on the land simply by paying an annual fee to the government of the Chickasaw Nation, and perhaps a rental fee to an Indian who was occupying the land. In addition, the Johnsonville area of Chickasaw nation was only two miles south of the border with Oklahoma Territory, and only 18 miles from the railroad line, and it was still only sparsely settled. According to a report of the census bureau, in 1890, the 7,267 square miles of Chickasaw Nation was populated by only 3,129 full-blood Chickasaw Indians, plus many mixed-blood Chickasaw Indians (whose number was rapidly increasing through intermarriage). In contrast there were over 50,000 non-Indian settlers, but that is still only seven people per square mile, which was the number in an average family. The land was considered ideal for grazing stock, and the soil was rich for growing corn and cotton.
The Runyans evidently liked the reports they heard from their daughter and her husband WT about the Johnsonville area, and they decided to move there. On Jan 12, 1891, George and Nancy Jane Runyan sold their 208-acre property in Baxter County to the William B. Grimes Dry Goods Co. of Kansas City. Nancy Jane evidently negotiated the deal herself, since she was the sole signatory. They received $1500 for the farm, nearly double what they paid for it, but they had undoubtedly improved its value by erecting buildings and clearing ground. The Runyan family then traveled to Indian Territory, where their married daughter Mary awaited. As for their other married daughter, Dora Bollinger, she and her family had been living in another part of Arkansas. Around the time the Runyans were going to Indian Territory, Dora’s husband Harden got into a fight with a friend. Harden thought he had accidently killed him, so that night they packed up and left town to take refuge in Indian Territory. It turned out the friend was all right, but they did not come back.
Most likely the families traveled by train via Texas, arriving in Pauls Valley, Chickasaw Nation, then travelled 18 miles overland to Johnsonville. (Click to see map of journey.) They probably camped out near WT and Mary Florence until they found the land they wanted. They found a great location in what is now the northeast quarter of section 29 of Township 5N-R3E. (Click to see earth view.) Although not as mountainous as Cocke County, Tennessee, or Fulton County, Arkansas, it was the highest point around, with rocky outcrops and steep ravines, a spring, a creek, and eventually a pond. George did farm work, but their daughter Naomi (“Omie”) was a seamstress, as were perhaps the other women, and their son Malcom (“Make”) was a barber. Their crippled son Hodge learned the barber trade, as did their son Alonzo (“Lon”). Their daughter Dora (Runyan) Bollinger and her family settled on a farm a few miles to the east. Dora gave birth there to her fifth child, Mary, in 1892. (Her fourth child, Pearl, had been born in Arkansas in 1890). Just a year after the family arrived, Malcom was married to Lottie Nichols, whose brother James was a mechanic in a cotton gin, and later a merchant and newspaper editor.
George evidently sent word to his cousin and life-long friend, Joseph Manning Runyan, encouraging him or some of his children to join him on the Runyan Farm, and informed him that the pioneers had need of medical services that could be provided by his son John, who was studying medicine. So 1894, two of Joseph’s sons moved to the Johnsonville area: John Richmond ‘JR’ Runyan and Russell Manning Runyan. JR Runyan provided services commensurate with his training, then in September, 1895, he went to Missouri Medical College to complete his medical education. Russell became acquainted with the family of Nancy Jane’s nephew Clayborn Mantooth, who worked on the Humbard Ranch in Collin County, Texas, but was hoping to find land for himself and for his heirs in Indian Territory. A courtship began between Russell Runyan and Clayborn Mantooth’s daughter Moodie, carried on by mail. Then in February, 1895, they were married in Collin County, Texas.
According to Clayborn’s grandson Talmage Mantooth (via Donna Minke), after their wedding, Russell and Moodie traveled to Indian Territory and moved onto the property where the George Runyan family lived, along with her parents Clayborn and Eudocia “Docia” Mantooth and their children. Later that year (1895), when Moodie was pregnant, and she and Russell returned to Newport, Arkansas, to stay with Russell’s family there until after the birth. Most likely this was because doctors were still scarce in that area, and Russell’s brother John had gone to St. Louis to resume his medical studies. Moodie gave birth to baby Selma on December of 1895, after which she and Russell and their baby traveled back to Indian Territory and settled onto the Runyan farm, where Russell raised poultry and dairy cattle and planted peach trees. In 1897 JR Runyan completed his medical degree, and after some residency in a hospital, he returned and set up a medical practice in the village of Johnsonville, just two miles from the Runyans. In October of 1897, George and Nancy’s daughter Theodocia “Docia” Runyan was married to William Brown and moved to Pauls Valley, where they lived for five years before moving to Johnsonville.
A description of the Runyan farm, lifestyle, cuisine, and music, at least as it existed later, can be found in this section of the biography of George’s wife Nancy Jane.
Elizabeth Mantooth, whose late husband John was a cousin to both Nancy Jane and WT, moved with her family to the Johnsonville area. Choctaws were welcome to settle there, and her children were an eighth Choctaw. She and her family were horse ranchers, so they came overland from Texas, driving their cattle, mules, and horses and barely surviving a flood. WT’s son William came to Johnsonville with his family, as did and three of WT’s sisters, Sarah, Emma, and Alice. William worked as a blacksmith, Alice raised chickens, and the others farmed. All of whom were second cousins to Nancy Jane and George and had lived in Baxter County with them and WT. So by 1899, George and Nancy Jane had been joined by a large number of cousins and their families. Almost all the adults among them had been born in Cocke County, Tennessee, and had moved to Arkansas before settling in Indian Territory, in some cases after a stay in Texas. So George and Nancy were surrounded by their many cousins and children and a growing number of grandchildren.
Although the families had their own physician in Dr. JR Runyan, effective treatments did not yet exist for many of the infectious diseases, and life expectancy was short. At the time, tuberculosis was endemic and the leading cause of death in America and Europe. In large part this was because people thought it was a hereditary disease and was not contagious, and so they took few precautions against it. It was not until after 1910 that it became widely known that TB was very contagious among susceptible individuals, and that what was hereditary was the (genetic) susceptibility to it. The Runyan women seem to have been susceptible, although in some cases the cause of their death was not recorded. In March, 1899, Mary Florence (Runyan) Mantooth died without issue, aged 38, and her husband WT remarried. In January, 1900, Nancy Jane Runyan died, aged 57.
In 1900 their daughter Dora (Runyan) Bollinger became ill with tuberculosis, after giving birth to her last child that May. The family rallied to their aid. Harden moved with his wife and eight children to Johnsonville, where WT gave him a job in his general store there. Dora was treated by Dr. Runyan, who did what he could. George Runyan and his family moved to Johnsonville as well. Oma and Lillie Mae took care of Dora’s young daughter Pearl and perhaps one other; meanwhile Oma worked as a seamstress, presumably with Lillie Mae as an assistant. George’s sons worked in Johnsonville as barbers. Dora’s married sister Docia Brown moved to Johnsonville and took care of the youngest child, Beulah. The last week of June, 1902, Dora passed away. Harden raised the remaining minors, while working as a farmer and sales clerk.
In 1904 George himself passed on, aged 64, and was laid to rest with his deceased family members. A notice appeared in the Byars Banner, July 28, 1904, page 5: “G. W. Runyan, an old and highly respected citizen of Johnson, died of dropsy at his home Saturday, July 23. His remains were interred in the Johnson Cemetery Sunday at 2 p.m.”
(With grateful acknowledgement to Steve and Virginia Street, Margaret Park, and Donna Thompson Minke, for information they provided, respectively, on the Civil War in East Tennessee, history, places, people, and property records in Baxter County, Arkansas, and the Russell Runyan family.)
Henry Runnion Runyon (1804 - 1875)
Margaret Mantooth Runyon (1817 - 1880)
Nancy Jane Mantooth Runyan (1842 - 1900)*
Mary Florence Runyan Mantooth (1860 - 1899)*
Dora Runyan Bollinger (1863 - 1900)*
Malcom C. Runyan (1869 - 1914)*
Theodocia E. Runyan Brown (1870 - 1913)*
Naomi Darlene Runyan (1875 - 1936)*
Lou Runyon (1879 - 1890)*
Alonzo Runyan (1882 - ____)*
Lillie Mae Runyan Crouch (1886 - 1914)*
George Washington Runyan (1840 - 1904)
Mary J Runnion Burke (1841 - ____)*
Luthanna Runyon Holder (1844 - 1918)*
Amanda Runnion Roberts (1851 - 1916)*
Thomas Winfield Runyan (1852 - 1921)*
John McDonald Runyan (1855 - 1936)*
Old Johnsonville Cemetery
Maintained by: Darrell Brown
Originally Created by: Tammy
Record added: Aug 28, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 29387225
This may be the George Runyan who enlisted at Newport, TN as a Pvt. in Co I 60th TN Inf. - CSA. He probably was captured and paroled at Vicksburg, MS 7/4/1863.|
Added: Jan. 13, 2015