Dansby Family

 by Willa Deane  Pike Gates, Lena Mae Leigon & Harold Graham

One of the early and prominent families of Decatur was that  of Isham Dansby and his offspring.

Isham Dansby, born 10 March 1801 in Fairfield County, South  Carolina, caught the spirit of his forefathers in finding new horizons to better  his way of life. The son of Jacob and Eleanor Dansby, he lived in the western  part of Fairfield County on a land grant made to his father on 1 September 1794  on the north fork of Rocky Creek, a fork of the Broad River. His paternal  grandparents were Isham Dansby and Martha Noble. The elder Isham Dansby fought  in the 3rd South Carolina Regiment during the Revolutionary War.

Isham probably started his schooling at the James Rogers  Academy, an institution established by the citizens of Monticello in 1791.

The siblings of Isham Dansby were Dr. John Cowsert Dansby,  Martha (Patsy) Dansby Cooper, Jacob Dansby, Jr., Mary Ann Dansby Henry, Carolina  Dansby Collins Duff, Eleanor Dansby McDowell, Isaac Dansby and Robert H. Dansby.  Some researchers think that Dr. Daniel M. A. Dansby and Elijah Dansby were also  his brothers; however, they were not mentioned in the will of Ishams mother,  Eleanor Dansby.

Jacob Dansby moved with his family to Hickman County,  Tennessee, about 1812, then followed other settlers from South Carolina to  Pickens County, Alabama by 1820. The home of Jacob Dansby was in Pickensville  and was the seat of the first court of Pickens County. Jacob was a Justice of  Peace and Police Commissioner there in 1821.

Isham Dansby married on 5 November 1823 to Jane McCreight,  the daughter of Robert and Ann McCreight. The McCreights lived on the east side  of Black Warrior Creek in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. By 1825, Isham and his new  bride were living in Tuscaloosa County and are listed there in the 1830 Federal  Census.

Isham Dansby sold his land in Tuscaloosa County on 18  January 1833 and moved to Sumter County, Alabama. Eleanor Dansby, Ishams  mother, lived with Isham and Jane from 1835 until her death in 1843. In her  will, probated 22 April 1843, Sumter County, Alabama, she left two slaves to  Jane.

Isham & Jane Dansby moved to Decatur, Newton County,  Mississippi, following the death of Eleanor Dansby and were living there as  early as 1847. Shortly after their arrival, Isham established himself in the  town of Decatur as a merchant and druggist. The land they owned was immediately  to the south and east of Decatur, including an area from Highway 15 east along  Highway 503. An early house was known to have been built along that route and  may have been the house of Isham Dansby.

Descendants recall that Indians would camp in the Dansby  front yard to wait for Isham to take care of their medical needs. A tradition  within the Dansby family also states that when Shermans army passed through  Decatur, killing livestock, burning buildings, and destroying crops, that the  women begged him to stop and he complied.

Jane McCreight Dansby died after 7 July 1860 at Decatur and  Isham married (2) on 20 October 1861 at Decatur to Mary Rebecca Thrash Allen, a  daughter of Fielding S. Thrash and Jane D. Butler.

The Dansby were Presbyterian, but it is not known where  they worshipped in Newton County. Both Isham Dansby and his son Johnson Pearson  Dansby were members of the Masonic Lodge. Johnson P. Dansby, like his father,  was also a merchant and druggist.

Isham Dansby died in 1870, about the time his daughter,  Martha Butler Dansby was born. His burial site and that of his first wife, Jane  McCreight Dansby, have not been located, but are believed to be in unmarked  graves in Decatur Cemetery. His second wife, Mary Rebecca Thrash Dansby, moved  with her son-in-law and daughter, William Henry Parks and Lorena Adella Dansby  Parks to Coryell County, Texas and died there.

The children of Isham Dansby and his first wife, Jane  McCreight, were:

  1. Louisa Noblin Dansby married James Ezell
  2. Johnson Pearson Dansby married Sophia M. Taylor
  3. Robert McCreight Dansby, died as a child
  4. Elenor Ann Dansby, died as a child
  5. Jacob Layfayette Dansby married Margaret Bell Ridgeway
  6. Maryann Carolina Dansby married Pat McCune

The children of Isham Dansby and his second wife, Mary  Rebecca Thrash, were

  1. Lorena Adella Dansby married William Henry Parks
  2. Eleanor Bell Dansby married Henry King
  3. Martha Butler Dansby married J. Clark Williams.

Mary Rebecca Thrash had married (1) to John J. Allen and  brought the following step-children into her marriage with Isham Dansby:

  1. Barbara Alice Virginia Allen married Henry C. Williams
  2. William Littleton Yancy Allen, died as a child
  3. Jane Dow Louretta Allen married William Moses (Whit)  Hollingsworth

Most of the children and step-children of Isham moved to  either Coryell or Hutchinson County, Texas; however, Johnson Pearson Dansby and  Jacob Lafayette Dansby remained in Newton County. Johnson lived at Newton and is  buried in the Masonic Cemetery there. Jacob lived in Decatur and is buried in  Decatur Cemetery.

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