Copyright © Janice Tracy, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Zollicoffer Family in Attala County

I have seen the name "Zollicoffer" many times on U.S. Census records for Attala County when I was researching my own family members, and I often wondered about the origin of the name. Today, I decided to do a little research, and what I found was a family with a legacy that stretched from Switzerland across the Atlantic to Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Attala County, Mississippi. Interestingly, I found the name was originally "Zollikofen," the name of the area in Switzerland where members of this ancient family once lived in a castle.

With a little more research, I found the patriarch of the family in the United States was Baron Jacob Christopher Zollicoffer, a Swiss emigrant who settled in colonial Virginia in the early 1700s. One of Baron Zollicoffer's sons was George Zollicoffer, who was born in 1738. George was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, having commanded a company of the North Carolina militia. One of Captain Zollicoffer's sons was John Jacob Zollicoffer, who was born around 1775 in Halifax County, North Carolina.

In 1803, John Jacob Zollicoffer married his first wife, Martha Kirk, who was born on March 30, 1783, the daughter of Isaac Kirk. On March 27, 1806, John and Martha had their first child, Frederic, who was born in Occonomee, Halifax County, North Carolina. In 1807, John and Martha migrated to Maury County, Tennessee to settle on land that his father had received for serving in the Revolutionary War. Captain Zollicoffer died in North Carolina on June 11, 1815.

John and Martha Zollicoffer settled in Maury County, Tennessee, where he became a storekeeper. On May 19, 1812, near Bigbyville, Tennessee, they had another son, Felix K. Zollicoffer. On June 11, 1815, when Frederic was 9 years old and Felix was barely three, their mother died.

On January 5, 1830, Frederic Zollicoffer married Elizabeth ("Betsy") Petillo Love, who was born on December 28, 1812 to John Draper Love and Susannah Caruthers. Susannah, the daughter of Robert Caruthers, was born on October 10, 1793, in Burke County, North Carolina.

Several years later, Frederic and Martha moved to Attala County, Mississippi, near the town of Kosciusko, where Frederic was a physician and a planter. It is unknown why the Zollicoffer family moved to Attala County, Mississippi, but it could have been that his mother's family, the Love family, were already living in the area. According to the Slave Schedule of the U.S. Census of 1850, Frederic Zollicoffer owned 15 slaves, 6 males, and 9 females.

Frederic's brother, Felix Kirk Zollicoffer, became a printer, and married Louisa Pocahontas Gordon, the daughter of Captain John Gordon and Dolly Cross. Louisa was born on February 21, 1819, at Gordon's Ferry, in Duck River, Tennessee. In 1835, he became State Printer of Tennessee and later, a state Senator. Louisa died on July 13, 1847 and was buried in Old City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. After the Civil War began, Felix received a commission of Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. On January 19, 1862, General Zollicoffer was killed during the Battle of Somerset and was also buried in Old City Cemetery in Nashville.

Frederic Zollicoffer and Elizabeth Petillo Love Zollicoffer became the parents of ten children, nine daughters and one son, who died when he was only 28 years old.

Children of Frederic and Elizabeth are:

Martha Kirk Zollicoffer - born November 18, 1830; died August 22, 1878

Married William Greer

Susanna (Susan) Zollicoffer - born November 26, 1832; died March 28, 1912
Married John Anderson Jackson

John Love Zollicoffer - born November 21, 1834; died April 1862

Marie Amelia Zollicoffer - born July 20, 1838; died July 2, 1879
Married Jesse P. Mills

Tennessee ("Tennie") Zollicoffer - born June 10, 1841; died July 30, 1891Married James M. Edwards and Jesse P. Mills

Sara Augusta ("Gus") Zollicoffer - born January 1, 1844; died August 11, 1923
Married William Francis Drennan and later Albert Litchfield Jenkins

Elizabeth Caruthers ("Bettie") Zollicoffer - born May 17, 1846; died November 27, 1900
Married Wesley Morris and later Albert Litchfield Jenkins

Davidella ("Davie") Zollicoffer - born February 17, 1849; died August 17, 1877

Cornelia Catherine ("Nellie") Zollicoffer - born June 12, 1851; died
May 12, 1892
Married Edmunds Grey Whitehead

Alice Virginia ("Sis") Zollicoffer - born November 7, 1853; died November 18, 1920

Elizabeth Zollicoffer died in 1854, and a review of the U. S. Census of 1860 for Attala County showed Fred Zollicoffer living in the household with his young children, since Elizabeth had died in 1854. Also living in the household was Elizabeth Zollicoffer, age 14, and David Zollicoffer, age 11, who may have been the children of his brother Felix and his wife, Louisa.

When I examined the U.S. Census of 1870, there were 116 individuals in the United States who were named "Zollicoffer." In Mississippi, there were 15 individuals, 5 who were shown to be "white" and 10 individuals who were shown to be "black." Among the five individuals was "Fred" Zollicoffer, age 62, who was born in North Carolina, and was shown to be living alone in his own household. The next household on the census page included Tennie Zollicoffer Edwards, a young widow at 29, and her four young children. Also included in the household were her sisters, Augusta, age 25, Cornelia, age 21, Cornelia, age 19, and Davie, age 16. Included among those shown on the census as "black" was James Zollicoffer, age 40, born in Tennessee, his wife, Caroline, age 25, and children, Louisa, age 11, Thomas, age 8, and Tennie, age 6.

Frederic Zollicoffer, a great-grandson of a Swiss baron, a grandson of a Revolutionary War veteran, and the brother of Civil War General, died on April 26, 1874 in Attala County. He is buried in Kosciusko City Cemetery, shown at the top of this post.

His wife, who had died almost 20 years before, his brother and his only son had all preceded him in death.

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