Willie Gann

Submitted by Peter J. Gossett

Willie Gann was born September 1845 in Cobb County, Georgia. No one knows much about his early life, except that his mother's name was Martha. He married Sarah Frances A. Garrison (9/19/1843 - 2/3/1907) right after the Civil War. She was the daughter of Coleman Harvey Garrison and Sarah A. (Wilson) Garrison. After her death, Willie married Julia A. Wilson on 8/16/1908 in Winston County. Willie died 3/16/1917, and is buried beside Sarah in Mt. Ararat Cemetery.

The Gann clan arrived in Winston County in the late 1880s, moving from east Alabama (Randolph and Cleburne Counties). According to Arnold Gann, Willie showed up in Rocky Plains, and he would have turned around and headed back home if his horse's feet were not so bad. He complained it was nothing but rocks in the area. According to Ottis Thomas, when Willie and Sarah were married, Sarah's father gave them a rooster. Willie spoke a different dialect that was here in Winston County at the time; it was an Irish dialect. One time, Willie and Sarah had an argument, and Sarah said she was leaving. Willie said, "Don't forget your damn 'ooster!"

Willie and Sarah Gann's children: Martha Lucinda Gann (9/3/1866 - 8/28/1958; Married William Wallace Manasco); Coleman Franklin Gann (12/2/1868 - 9/15/1943; Married Mary Clemantine Brymer); Joseph Malone Gann (5/10/1873 - 10/16/1960; Married Sarah Elizabeth Bell & Mary Elizabeth Edwards); Susan Gann (1875 - 1902; Married Joseph T. Lockwood); Mary Frances Gann (1878 - 7/12/1903; Married James Henry Cagle); James W. Gann (2/5/1881 - 11/10/1903); David Gann (6/4/1884 - 1/29/1912; Married Eliza Jane Cagle); Alice Gann (April 1885 - 2/22/1903); and Emma Gann (12/4/1890 - 2/1/1916; Married Manuel Adam Edwards).

Joseph Malone Gann, son of Willie and Sarah, married Sarah Elizabeth Bell (7/4/1868 - 5/3/1912) on 12/20/1891, in Winston County. She was the daughter of Francis Bell and Lucinda Manasco. She was the granddaughter of James B. Bell & Elizabeth (Lowrimore) Bell and David C. Manasco & Susanna (Papizan) Manasco. According to Ottis Thomas, when Elizabeth and Joe were married, Joe's father, Willie, threw a rope over their house and had Joe get on one side and Elizabeth on the other. He ordered both of them to pull. Of course the rope would not budge. Then he had them get on the same side of the house and pull. The rope came off the house. He then said never go against each other, to do it together.

It was said that Elizabeth had a beautiful voice and sang and went to church at Old Union. A letter written for her in 1910 is here: "The state of Alabama Winston County November the 26 1910. We the Missionary Baptist Church of Christ at Rocky Plains do hereby certify that Sister Elizabeth Gann is a member with us in good standing and in full fellowship with us and is hereby dismissed from us when joined to another church of the same faith an order done by order of the church on day on date above written." [Signed by] Brother H.L. McCarrey and Brother L.A. Strickland.

Joe and Elizabeth Gann's children: Minnie Lucinda Gann (11/5/1892 - 5/14/1962; Married William Harrison McKleroy); Martha Frances Gann (3/24/1897 - 3/10/1983; Married Joseph Columbus Martin); Infant Gann (Abt. 1898 - Bef. 1900); James Virgil Gann (3/6/1899 - 2/19/1977; Married Esther Emily Martin); Luther Gann (5/12/1901 - 1/4/1916); and William F. Gann (10/10/1902 - 10/14/1902).

Joe also adopted his niece, Hattie Merella Edwards (Born 9/14/1915), daughter of Emma Edwards.