Sara Landman Whitworth, A Vintage Vignette

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Sara Landman Whitworth
A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin
April 2, 2009

One of the most genteel Southern ladies that I ever met passed away last year, as did her husband, both in the 82nd year of life. Sara Landman Whitworth was a descendant of William Landman, who is buried on Redstone Arsenal in a family cemetery on his land. William was a son of a German immigrant, and he patented 160 acres of arsenal land in 1813, owning 240 acres by 1815. His children included Perlina, who married Joshua H. Beadle, a Madison-area landowner who had a store in Huntsville. Another child of William was George Landman, who lived beside three Beadle families, including Abraham Beadle and his nephew Joshua. George had a son James Henry Landman, who worked as a clerk for six years in the store of Joshua Beadle. James was later assistant quartermaster in Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s command. James became Madison County’s Tax Assessor in 1880. By his second wife, James had at least four sons, including Charles T. Landman, who was the father of Sara.

Thomas Jerome Whitworth was licensed to marry Sara Landman on March 1, 1950, per Madison County Marriage Book Volume 95, page 22. Sara Whitworth is best known to current Madison residents as the owner of Whitworth Realty, operating out of the oldest storefront in town, at 110 Main Street. Her home was 12 Main Street, at the corner with Sullivan Street. As advancing years curtailed Sara’s active business participation, her realty office became an art gallery of her son “Jerry” (Thomas Jerome, Jr.), of Paris, France. Jerry himself paints, as well as collecting art in Europe and New York. Another son, Charles Darwin, is a local veterinarian, who lives in a house on Mill Road that incorporates and preserves the two-story log cabin of James and Sarah Bailey. That log cabin is almost certainly the oldest house in the Madison area, if not all of northern Alabama. It is believed to date back before 1818, when it served as the first stagecoach stop on the route from Huntsville to Mooresville at Bailey Springs.

The Whitworth heritage of the area goes from Thomas Jerome to Arthur David, called “Dutch” Whitworth. Dutch married Leona Alvada Sexton in 1912 and had seven children: Brazzie (died young), Arthur David Jr. (“Shine”), Jeffolene, John Marion (“Buck”), Kathryn, Thomas J., and Emma Jeanne. Shine married Edna Doris Tuck, Jeffolene married Stanley Vance, Buck married Willie Metta Strong, Kathryn married Jack Lewter, and Emma Jeanne married Marshall McAfee. Dutch’s father was John David Whitworth, who married Emma Virginia Tribble in 1896 and had eleven children. Emma was a daughter of Robert Donnell Tribble and Mattie Gooch (granddaughter of Roland and sister of William Tell Gooch, who married John David’s sister Ada).

John David Whitworth was a son of William Whitworth and Mildred Bowers, married in 1858. Mildred was a daughter of David Bowers. William’s middle name is reported as Jason, Jansen, and Jefferson in various records. He was a son of Daniel Whitworth and Elizabeth Dedman, married in 1833. Elizabeth was a daughter of Madison County pioneer Francis Dedman. Of John David’s siblings, Mattie Susan married Madison entrepreneur Jim Williams and lived at 19 Front Street, Laura married William Dublin, Ada married William Tell Gooch (brother of Mattie Gooch Tribble, mother of John David’s wife Emma), Archie married Mattie Trotman, and Charles Hatton married Maggie Donaldson. John David’s father William J. had siblings Samuel Thomas, James Edmund, Elizabeth, Martha Ann (married Charles Carter), Powhatan, John, and Carter or Cortes (also known as Toby) Whitworth. Samuel married Ann Carter and was severely wounded at Cold Harbor during the Civil War, while Powhatan was killed at Chickamauga. Daniel’s father was Rowland Whitworth, earliest known of the line. Rowland married Martha, a daughter of Daniel Walthall, in Virginia in 1790. Their children besides Daniel were Jane, Thomas (who married Susannah Winn), Nancy (who married Walter Aday), William, Sophia, Elizabeth, Edmund, and John (who married Francis Alice Watson). John, Edmund, Elizabeth, and Nancy are all known to have come to Madison County, as well as Daniel Whitworth and his descendants. Perhaps no other pioneer family was so extensively integrated by marriages into the fabric of Madison.

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