ZDUTTON – A Big Hello

From: Richardson <richardson-decatur-al@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: ZDUTTON – A Big Hello
Date: 1999-06-11 23:50:21
Dear Cousins,

	How has everything been with you all? I am doing pretty well. I've been
at home for the past few months on leave from school, but I've still
been pretty busy. I started my first "real" job last month--I'm now
working in the Electronics Department at Wal-Mart. It's a tough job--our
Wal-Mart is extremely understaffed right now, and I often find myself
running the whole department by myself! But I'm fairly happy; I'm
learning work skills and people skills, and I'm making money, too. I
work the night shift, so my schedule is somewhat strange, but this does
allow me to use an occasional morning to do some things I love. I've
recently taken up photography in addition to my genealogy, and I've been
fairly active in my genealogy research since I've been home.

	(Just a note: this message has in fact been on the back-burner for
several months now; I've been so overwhelmed by all that I have to say
that I 
never felt it was quite ready to send. I suppose I better go ahead and
send it,
before I get even more behind!)

	I've been nicking away slowly at various parts of the Big Dutton
Puzzle, and I'm gradually accumulating information. Although right now I
feel somewhat aimless and without a mission, I have been concentrating
on a few sparse places in the tree. (I think right now I'm just tired.)
While I was in Tuscaloosa (and even more on the way back and forth) I
became extremely interested in the Dutton families in Walker County,
Alabama, the family of Gerald Dutton, Rose Spencer, and Eula Coleman. It
all began the very first time I left Decatur for school--I had mapped a
route down through Jasper and Walker County, claiming it was "the most
direct, most logical route", but deep down, I really just wanted to get
down to some roots. I had never even seen a map of Walker County, and
had no idea where to look for my Duttons, but somehow, my heart led me
to Dutton Hill Baptist Church, the resting place of the early members of
this family, without so much as a wrong turn. Even after I discovered
that the Interstate route through Birmingham to Tuscaloosa is quicker,
and actually shorter, I still insisted on going through
Jasper--something inside of me longed to seek out my kinsmen, who
themselves had left their homes in Morgan County some 150 years ago to
settle in that untamed land.

	I was very busy at school, and never managed to make a dedicated
genealogy trip to Jasper--although I did manage to contact a cousin,
Wayne Wakefield. Since I've been back in Decatur, however, I've made
several day-long trips to Walker County, and I've found a great deal of
information, which I hope to be sharing soon. Many thanks to Gerald
Dutton for his FTM database file, which was an immense help in tying in
some of the detached Dutton families I had come across there. 

	The Walker County branch of the Duttons, of which I knew next to
nothing before, has grown in my database and in my heart. As I learn
more and more about each branch, each one takes on new life, and each
presents a different flavor and feel. I've said many times about the
different families that each is "a completely different set of Duttons,"
each having their own characteristics, and each full of colorful
characters and stories--but all of this is made more and more beautiful
in the fact, ever-lingering and exciting, that somewhere deep-down and
far-back, our blood is one and the same.

	I've also been doing a lot of research on the Edmund Dutton family, and
I've tracked down (or at least come a little closer to tracking down)
another couple of his children and their families. I've worked a lot
lately on the Nance family, which married into the Duttons--James H.
Dutton married Edna E. "Edney" Nance, Samuel Dutton married Sarah A.
"Nettie" Nance, and Martha S. Dutton married William H. Nance--the last
two being, incidentally, the sole ancestors of all of the present Nance
families native to Morgan County. (The three Nances were siblings;
Samuel and Martha Dutton were brother and sister--children of
Edmund--and James was a cousin.) Also some work on the elusive family of
Louisa Dutton, daughter of Edmund, who married Joel W. Watkins; and on
the seemingly endless harvest of descendants of Lovinda Dutton, daughter
of Edmund, who married Kelso D. Hogan. 

	The latest volume in the popular series of Heritage books, THE HERITAGE
OF MORGAN COUNTY, ALA. was released last month, and in it, I made a
number of wonderful discoveries. You may recall me speaking of Mrs.
Estelle Hunter Smith, a great-granddaughter of Edmund Dutton and
Margaret Barnett Ross. Her mother, Mrs. Odie Dutton Hunter, was the
last-born and last-living grandchild of Edmund Dutton; the daughter of
Edmund's son John. A close and beloved cousin and friend of my
Great-Grandfather Dan Dutton and his family, "Ms. Odie," as she was
lovingly called, knew more about the Edmund Dutton family than probably
anyone else who lived this century. She was close to her father John,
who remembered all of the "old Duttons" and shared with her many stories
and legends about the family. He died when she was still young, but not
long after, Odie's uncle, George W. Dutton (youngest child of Edmund
Dutton), a recent widower himself, remarried to John's widow (Odie's
mother). He, too, knew much about the history of the family. He had
grown up during the years of Edmund Dutton's retirement and old age, and
no doubt heard many stories from his aged father, which he lovingly
shared with Odie, now his step-daughter as well as his niece, and with
his own daughter, Trannie Dutton (who married Dennis Marshall Speake).

	Mrs. Odie Dutton Hunter was a vital bridge between this generation and
the generations that went before. Much of what she knew, she wrote down
and passed on to her children, thus preserving our priceless heritage
for ours and future generations. When genealogical research was first
begun on our family several years ago by my cousin Julie Dutton, Ms.
Odie's daughter, Mrs. Estelle Hunter Smith, proved a valuable resource,
providing a remarkably accurate account of Edmund Dutton's family from
memory, without ever having seen the records which I later worked over
painstakingly to come up with that information. Admittedly, I still
haven't sat down and interviewed Estelle, but you can bet I will soon
after what I recently found out. Estelle submitted her Dutton history
(which Julie later provided to me) to the Morgan County Heritage Book (I
also submitted a brief history). I was surprised to see her story
published, not knowing anyone else had submitted--but I was even more
surprised--and amazed--by the one crucial addition which was included
with her report. It was something unbelievable and astounding--something
I had no idea even existed--something to be preserved and cherished for
all time: two old photographs, ca. 1870, of Edmund Dutton and his wife
Margaret Barnett Ross.

	They are, indeed, a jovial old couple; they resemble very much their
children and grandchildren--and Edmund looks like a Dutton. I can't wait
to see the originals! I plan on contacting Estelle very soon to meet
with her, and of course to see about copying her pictures. She also has
photographs of her grandfather John Dutton and his family, some of her
other grandfather, John Hunter (son of John T. Hunter, an early Lawrence
County, Ala. pioneer, whose family incidentally ties back in with the
Dutton family in several other places), and who knows what other untold

	Anyway, I'm glad to be back in the circuit, and I hope to once
again be contributing often. I sure have a lot to tell you guys about! 
You can bet I will be writing soon.

Cousin Joseph

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