Genealogical KeynotesEdit

The content of this page contributed by: Margie Cowan


  • Born: 25 December 1783 in New Kent Co., VA
  • Married: 16 May 1811 in Eatonton, Putnam Co., GA
  • Died: 06 September 1836 in, most likely, Montgomery, AL
  • Burial: unknown date and/or place. (Possibly Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, AL or a potters grave)

The Clopton Chronicles (online version of Lucy Erwin's book, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County) states that James B. Clopton's middle name was "Brown"; however, there is no proof in the Cowan family Bible or any other document of what the "B" stood for in his middle name. If his mother was Mary Brown and she was the daughter of James B. Brown ... he could have been named for his maternal grandfather and the "B" stood for his grandfather's middle name. Also, there were Clopton marriages with the Bacon and Basset families. Thus, the conclusion by the Clopton Chronicles is unsubstantiated.


James B______ CLOPTON was the son of Waldegrave CLOPTON and .


Mary T______ "Polly" REES was the daughter of Joel REES and Rebekah HARRIS.

Child ListEdit

  1. Virginia CLOPTON b: July 24, 1813 d. 12 October 1876 presumably at Pleasant Hill, Lowndes Co., AL
    • m#1. Theodore Washington LIVINGSTON b: c. 1806 d: 12 October 1832
    • m#2. James M______ LEES b: 22 February 1805 d: 03 October 1842
    • m#3. James Gillespie COWAN b: 27 April 1802 d: 13 April 1872 in Pleasant Hill, Lowndes Co., AL
  2. Waldegrave James "W. J." CLOPTON b: January 1, 1818 in Georgia d: May 14, 1872 in Montgomery, Alabama; buried, Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, AL.
  3. James B______ CLOPTON, Jr.
    Based on census information, James B. Clopton, Jr. would appear to be the third child. If Dr. James B. Clopton used the southern naming pattern for naming his male children, then the first son was named for the paternal grandfather (i.e., Waldegrave … James B. Clopton’s father), the second son then named for the child’s father.
  4. Martha Ann CLOPTON b: April 20, 1830 in Montgomery County, Alabama d: July 31, 1886 in Louisville, KY
  5. Rebecca J. CLOPTON b: 17 July 1828 d: 31 July 1829 in Montgomery, AL

Family HistoryEdit

  1. Kelsey, Michael, Miscellaneous Alabama Newspaper Abstracts, Vol. 2, Heritage Books, Bowie, MD, 1996, p. ___
    MEDICAL NOTICE: The members of the medical board of this place, who were appointed by an act of the Legislature of this State on the 22nd of December, 1823, entitled "An act to regulate the licensing of Physicians to practice, and for other purposes therein named," apprehending that there are persons who are disposed to evade the operations of the said act... The following are the names of those who have been enrolled, and also of those who have been examined and permitted to practice:
    DALLAS COUNTY: George Phillips, Thomas Casey, Thomas 0. Meux, Edward Gantt, Thomas Lesly, Hugh Marshall, Waller 0. Bickley, John H. Miller, John E. Vasser, John W. Patton, Willis Roberts, Willis Carr, Jabez W. Heustis, William C. Stewart, J.L.W. Parkin, Joseph K. Sparks, Noah W. Nicholls, Bamard Johnson, Robert W. M'Henry.
    MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Clernent Billingslea, Joseph W. Bibb, J.B. Simmons, Hugh W. Henry, Charles S. Lucus, Asa Hoxey, Robert J. Ware, Thomas Brown, David Dunn, Charles C. Dunn, Byrd C. Smith, William P. M'Clure, David Barton, A.R. Woodson, Francis Matthews, George Dabney, James H. Martin, Bolling A. Blakey, Archibald Smith.
    AUTAUGA COUNTY: Stephen H. Maxey, Benjamin W. Saxon, William Nunneiey, James Mitchell, Alex. R. Hutcherson, Zachariah Pope, Alexander Talley, James B. Clopton, John W. Withers.
    PERRY COUNTY: Thomas R. Lamar, Samuel J. Larkin, Daniel Long, Seymore Catching, Ephraim Butler, Chas. J. Shackleford, Carnes H. Alexander, James Skinner.
    BIBB COUNTY: Ducalian A. Perry, David R. Boyd, David S. Lipscomb, Adin Wilson.
    SHELBY COUNTY: Carlisle Humphreys, W. Randall, Michael A. Porter, Jack Shackleford, William B. Dunkan, Joshua West. WILCOX COUNTY: Uriah Grigsby, Charles F/P. Stewart, Thomas W. Wilson.
    MARENGO COUNTY: Wlliam Fluker
    CLARKE COUNTY: Epharas Burrows
    DEMOPOLIS: T.W.H. Osbome; SUTLER COUNTY: John Coleman;
    GREEN COUNTY: John T. Bickley

  2. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 32, January, 1924 #1.
    Compiled by Mrs. R. D. Sturdivant, Berlin, Alabama, and
    Mrs. Minnie Reese Richardson, Fort Worth, Texas.
    [Anything in [brackets] was not in the original article, but facts borne out by research.]
    Joel Reese, born -, died ___________, 1812 in Putnam County, Georgia, m. ________to Rebekah Harris. After the death of Joel Reese, Rebekah Harris married (2) Joseph [Addison] Turner of Georgia. Joel Reese served in the Revolutionary War, see Report of the State Librarian, Revolutionary Soldiers of Virginia, 1912, page 369. Rees, Joel, I. P., D. 49, Pitts, 21.
    Will of Joel Reese is recorded in Will Book A, Page 18-19, Eatonton, Putnam County, Georgia. His legatees were his wife Rebekah, (to have one third) and his children to have the other two thirds and to be schooled and supported in a very decent manner. The will was dated Nov. 5, 1810 and proved Nov. 12, 18l2.
    Children of Joel Reese, and his wife Rebekah Harris are as follows:
    Names Dates of Birth To Whom Married
    (2) Polly Reese born July 16th, 1795 James B. Clopton [May 16 1811; Putnam County, GA]
    (3) Betsy Reese born Dec. 31st, 1796 Kinchen Peterson Thweatt
    (4) Jordan Reese born September 4th, 1798 [Maria Saunders January 1, 1821 Putnam Co, GA]
    (5) Blanch Reese born September 16th, 1800 [Ziba] Fletcher [1821 Hancock County, GA]
    (6) Jane Reese born December 31st, 1802 [Henry Gore]
    (7) Joel Reese, Jr. born August 16th, 1805 (1) Miss [Anna] Stinson [6 December 1821; Putnam Co. GA]
    (8) Rebekah Reese born January 19th, 1808 [died at age 4]
    (9) Martha Reese born August 23rd, 1810 Stephen B. Marshall [m. May 1, 1826; Putnam Co., GA]

    (2) Polly Reese, born July 16th, 1795, died August 8th, 1873, and is interred at the Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Pleasant Hill, Dallas County, Alabama. Some of her beautiful needle work is still in the possession of the family. Married [May 16, 1811] to James B. Clopton. He served as clerk of the Court in Putnam County, Georgia, in the year 1812.

    Children of Polly Reese and her husband James B. Clopton are as follows:
    (10) Virginia Clopton, born July 24th, 1813.
    (11) Waldegrave Clopton, born -, 1815.
    (12) Martha Ann Clopton, born April 20th, 1830.
    (13) James B. Clopton, Jr. He was drowned while on a boat excursion on the Alabama River. He was only 8 years old at this time. His body was never found, although the river was dragged for his body, and every means employed for its recovery.

  3. Of interest from Blue's History of Montgomery: pg. 53
    March 20, (1833) — On this day the Alabama river reached the highest point at Montgomery ever known since the earliest white settlement. The water reached the window of the back room of the old tenement at the foot of Coosa street. Dr. James B. Clopton and family were residing in the dwelling at that period. They were compelled to escape by means of a flat boat.
    pg. 24
    In the Spring of 1833 occurred the highest freshet in the Alabama river at this place ever known to the white inhabitants. The highest point was reached on the 20th of March, when the water came into the dwelling of Dr. James Clopton, at the foot of Coosa street, who was compelled to resort to the ferry flat to remove his family and effects. A large portion of the cotton stored in the warehouse on the north side of Water street was carried down the river; and the water flooded the warehouse on the south side of the same street. Very remarkable freshets have occurred here, eleven years apart, namely — in 1822, 1833, 1844, 1855, and 1866; but last year, 1877, the next eleven years period, none put in an appearance.
    pg. 64
    June 19, (1831) — Robert Foster was killed by Dr. J. B. Clopton with a gun. Dr. Clopton being informed that Mr. Foster had fatally stabbed his son-in-law, Mr. T. W. Livingston, he seized his gun and pursued him around the corner of Commerce and Tallapoosa streets, and finally shot him at the corner of Washington and Tallapoosa streets. Dr. Clopton was tried and imprisoned a short time in the jail. Mr. Livingston recovered from the wound. [Even though he survived the stabbing, he died about 18 months later on October 12, 1832!]

Alternative InterpretationEdit

Sue Ellen Blanton's online Clopton Chronicles state that Dr. James B. Clopton was a Civil War doctor. However, this cannot possibly be true for the following reasons:

  1. Cowan family Bible pages record both his birth and death dates in Polly Clopton's handwriting.
  2. 1836 letter written to Virginia (Clopton) Lees references Jame B. Clopton's death and asks Virginia to remind her brother (Waldegrave) of the debt owed by her father to the letter's writer.
  3. 1840 and 1850 census where Polly (Rees) Clopton is living in her children's homes.
  4. Since James B. Clopton was born in 1783, it is unlikely HAD HE BEEN ALIVE, that he would have fought in the Civil War at the age of 78-82 years of age!
  5. Chancery Suit, Mongtomery, AL -- Sledge vs. Clopton -- references the death of James B. Clopton [DAR Library]

No documents or records have been found that ever disclosed what the B. stood for in James B. Clopton’s name. The Clopton Chronicles site states his mother’s name was Mary Brown, and James Brown's will mentions James B. Clopton and Mary T. Clopton. Giving some credence to his middle name being Brown is the fact that his son, Waldegrave, names a son James Brown Clopton.

There is printed material claiming his father had a second wife, Catherine Bassett, but that has not been proven. [At the BASSETT genforum, there was a marriage of Mary Bassett (wife of Thomas) to a Dr. Isaac Clopton (as her 4th? husband) in the late 1600s. On the same forum, a John Bassett (m. Elizabeth) sold land that his father, William, gave him in York County ... and sold it to a William Clopton in the early 1700s. (The timeframe is the correct timeframe for William to have married Catherine Bassett, if such a marriage existed.)] However, there were also Bacons in the lineage.

Thus, lacking a document with a middle name, it is uncertain whether his middle name was Brown, Bacon, Bassett, etc.


  1. Cowan Bible records, in possession of Margie Cowan (2006)
  2. Letter written to Virginia (Clopton) LEES upon the death of her father. (Original is in the Cowan Collection at the Samford University Library, Special Collections, Birmingham, AL ... donated by Margie Cowan)
  3. James B. Clopton and Polly Rees(e) marriage certificate (Putnam Co., GA) ... Copy of License to Marry dated May 14, 1811, signed by Coleman Pendleton, Clerk. Certification dated May 16, 1811, signed by Coleman Pendleton.
  4. Martha Clopton to Elijah Kerr marriage certificate (Montgomery Co., GA)
  5. Montgomery County, AL Chancery Court records for the January Term, 1844, book 12, page 247
    Administrators of the estate of Sledge vs. Clopton, James B., a Doctor, who was owed money for slaves sold to Sledge.
    Waldegrave Clopton and Mrs. Virginia Lees are witnesses. References are made to the fact that Dr. James B. Clopton is dead at the time of this suit.
  6. 1820 Census (Putnam County, GA)
    The 1820 census was GA's first census. James B. Clopton is enumerated in Putnam Co. in Captain Thomas Bustin's District with his family and nine slaves. Also enumerated in Bustin's district were brothers, Miller and Thomas Clopton. Additionally, there was a second Thomas Clopton, possibly an uncle?
    Two males 0-10  (born 1810 to 1820) would be: Waldegrave and James Jr.
    One male 10-16  (born 1804 to 1810):  ????
    One male 26-45  (born 1775 to 1794): James B. Clopton
    One female 0-10 (born 1810 to 1820): Virginia Clopton
    One female 18-26 born 1794 to 1802): Polly Rees[e] Clopton
  7. 1830 Census (Montgomery, AL) 1830 Montgomery census shows James B. Clopton household:
    One male aged 10-16 (born 1814 to 1820) ... Waldegrave = 12 y.o.; James Jr. already drowned and
    One male aged 20-30 (born 1810 to 1800) ... Theodore Washington Livingston (b: 1806 = 24 ... d: 1832) and
    One male aged 40-50 (born 1780-1790) ... James B. = 47.
    Two females under 5 (born 1825-1830) ... Martha Ann Clopton and Mary Cornelia Livingston (Virginia's daughter by T. W. Livingston),
    One female aged 15-20 (born 1810 to 1815) ... Virginia (Clopton) Livingston and
    One aged 30-40 (born 1790 to 1800) ... Mary T. “Polly” (Rees) Clopton.
  8. 1840 Census (Montgomery County, Montgomery Township, AL, roll M704_11, image 5, pg 200)
    Now, 1840 Montgomery ... James B. is not listed. However, W J Clopton is listed in the City of Montgomery
    One male aged 20-30 (born 1810-1820) ... Waldegrave
    One female under 5 (born 1835-1840) ... Mary Virginia Clopton (1st child of Waldegrave and Frances Clopton)
    One female 15-20 (born 1820-1825) ... Frances (Lamar) Clopton, Waldegrave's wife
    One female 40-50 (born 1790-1800) ... Mary T. “Polly” (Reese) Clopton (James B. Clopton’s widow … James having died in 1836, according to: Cowan Bible records, Sledge law suit, and Virginia Clopton letter.)
    There is no James M. Lees household in Alabama in 1840 (online); however, there is a Joseph Lees (but the ages aren’t right for Virginia Clopton, husband, & child).
  9. 1850 census (Montgomery County, AL … Ward 3, roll M432_12, 16 Dec? [June?] 1850, pg 148, image 157, #1204/1257)
    W. “G”. [J] CLOPTON & family. with Mary T. “Polly” Clopton


  1. Sue Ellen Blanton's online Clopton Chronicles ... there are many errors on the Clopton Chronicles pages which have been requested to be fixed, but which have not been fixed. Thus, if the information on this page differs from the online information, follow the sources listed here to verify (or add additional sources in support of the information).
  2. Alabama Department of Archives and History, [1930s] Card File (James B. Clopton) Justice Inferior Court Putnam County, GA 1810-1812 Resigned. (See Justices, Inferior Court 1799-1812 p. 214. Executive Minutes 1811-12, p. 369)
  3. Erwin, Lucy Lane, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County
  4. Clopton, Gene, Ancestors and Descendants of William Clopton
  5. Caver, Larry Eugene; Death, marriage and probate notices from Montgomery, AL newspapers, 1821-1875, v. 1. 1821-1865, Prattville, AL; 2002, p. ___
    August 7, 1829, Alabama Journal
    ”Died at this place on Friday, the 31st ultimo, Rebecca J, the daughter of Dr. J. B. Clopton, aged one year and 14 days.” (died at the age of 1 year and 14 days on July 31 1829, making her born on July 17, 1828)
  6. Miscellaneous Alabama Newspaper Abstracts, Vol. 2, (Michael Kelsey, Nancy Greff Floyd, Ginny Guinn Parsons) Heritage Books, Inc. Bowie MD 1996, p.183
    Sheriff’s sale, Montgomery Court … levied on as the property of Waldegrave J. Clopton, by virtue of an attachment in favor of Nicholas Becker against Waldegrave J. Clopton …
  7. LeMasters, Elizabeth Tidd, Abstracts of Georgia Marriage Notices form the Southern Recorder 1830-1855, Orange County California Genealogical Society, Orange, CA 1971, p. 18
    CLOPTON, Waldegrave J of Montgomery, Ala. and Francis Lamar of Putnam Co. married at the home of John Edmondson, in Putnam Co. Oct. 15, 1839 by P. R. Clements. (Oct. 22, 1839)
  8. Evans, Tad, Milledgeville, Georgia, Newspaper Clippings (Southern Recorder), Vol. 5 1839-1841, [privately published] 1996, p. 131
    Southern Recorder, Tuesday, October 22, 1839
    On the 15th inst, at the residence of John Edmonson, Esq., of Putnam County, by the Rev. P. R. Clements, Mr. Waldegrave J. Clopton, of Montgomery, Alabama, to Miss Frances Lamar, of the former place.
  9. Chamberlayne, St. Peter's Vestry Book & Register.
  10. Georgia Tax Digests of 1815, page 63 -- shows James B. Clopton in Putnam County, Jacob "Gimble" District.

Research NeedsEdit

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