Sunday, October 29, 2017

Felty Devault Massengill (1815-1894)

Portrait from "The Massengills Massengales and Variants, 1472-1931".

   The Strangest Names in American Political History continues its trek through Tennessee to highlight the life of another obscure Volunteer State representative, Felty Devault Massengill of Sullivan County. Like Whitthorne Bell and Skipwith T. Foote before him, minimal information could be located on Massengill, excepting brief mention of his being a state representative, farmer and mill owner. The son of Henry and Elizabeth (Emmert) Massengill, Felty Devault Massengill was born in Tennessee on April 30, 1815.
   Acknowledged as having "received the usual country advantages" in regards to schooling, Felty Massengill married in May 1836 to Deborah Webb (1811-1874), to whom he was wed until her death. This marriage would produce eight children, and a year following his wife's passing remarried to Martha Latture Mauk/Mauck (1844-1890), a union that would produce a further three children, Mary Porter (born 1877), Martha Ema (born 1880) and Walter Clark (born 1882). 
   A farmer for a good majority of his life, Massengill also "boated down the Tennessee and Holston rivers" and owned a mill on the Weaver Branch of the Holston River, operating it until his death. In 1854 he was elected as Sullivan County's representative to the Tennessee General Assembly and during the 1855-57 session served on the committee on New Counties and County Lines
  Little else could be found on Massengill's life following his term, excepting notice of his death in Sullivan County on March 30, 1894, at age 78. He was later interred alongside his wives at the Massengill Cemetery in Piney Flats, Tennessee. One should also note that Massengill's last name has a few variations in spelling, being given as both Masengill and Massengale.

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