Home » Family Tree » Mysteries and Family History_William H Grizzard and Mary Louisa Hawkes

Mysteries and Family History_William H Grizzard and Mary Louisa Hawkes

My great-grandmother is Rebecca Nina Grizzard Nicholson.  She was born in Clarksville, Tennessee in 1910 to William Jackson “Bud” Grizzard and Fredonia “Dona” Smith.  Both of Rebecca’s grandfathers (William Henry Grizzard and Josiah Richard Smith) fought for the Confederacy, being Tennesseans and all.  This is interesting since her husband’s grandfather, George W. Nicholson (See:  https://jillbeingstill.com/2013/04/16/nicholson_historymystery/ for further information) fought for the Union Army.

Anyway I said all that to say that today’s Mystery and History was that when I found the marriage record for Bud’s parents, William Henry Grizzard and Mary Louisa, his mother’s name was Mary Louisa Grizzard.  I nearly fainted!  I was like OH NO!  Please don’t be marrying your cousin or sister William Henry!  That’s so not ok!

So I set out to prove that my Grizzards weren’t related.  But alas, they were!!!!  Mrs. Mary Louisa Grizzard was the widow of  Lewis H. Grizzard, William Henry’s brother.  Ahhh.  Wait.  What?   Here’s the rest of the story….

William and Lewis are two of the 5 children of Thomas Ambrose Grizzard (1803-1854) and Nancy Lewis Grizzard (1802-1860).  William is the oldest, born 12 March 1826 in North Carolina before the Grizzards set out for Tennessee.  Lewis was born in 1832 in Tennessee.  Their other siblings are Sarah (1836-1863), Ambrose J (1839-1860) and Major Tiller (1842-1934).   The Grizzards started out in Virginia (after emigrating from France) and went to North Carolina, then Tennessee.


William Henry Grizzard married Susanna Kennedy on the 4th of July 1847 in Tennessee.  They are next found in Saline, Arkansas on the 1850 Federal Census, where William is working as a brick mason.  They have 2 children at this time Ambrose Davie, age 2, and Lewis Edward, 4 months.  Their home is worth $100.  Sadly Ambrose died a year later, at the age of 3.  They also had a son William Johnson (1853-1856).

Per the 1860 Federal Census, William is now a 34 year old farmer whose land is worth $250.  Susanna is now 28, and Lewis is now 10 and their daughter Dora Ann is 3 years old.  Several months later, on September 24, 1860, Susanna dies.

Sometime between 24 September 1860 and 2 December 1861 William returns to Tennessee.  I know this because he enlisted as a private in the Confederate army on 2 December 1861.  Per his Civil War Soldier Profile, he was assigned to Company D in the Tennessee 11th Cavalry Battalion on 24 December 1861.


Lewis H. Grizzard was living in Davidson County, Tennessee in 1850 with his parents, and working as a laborer.  Around 1856 Lewis married Mary Louisa Hawkes, daughter of John Randolph Hawkes and Ann Eliza Foster.  In 1860, Lewis and Lou (as she’s called) are living on his parents farm.  He’s 26 and working as a carpenter and she’s 20.  They have one daughter, Anna who’s a year old.  Then in August 1860 John Franklin “Frank” Grizzard is born.

When Lou is pregnant for their 3rd child, Louella “Eller” Grizzard, Lewis dies in 1862.  I’m not sure how or the exact date, but he dies.  Eller was born in 1863.

William and Louisa 

William returns from fighting in the Civil War in 1864 and marries his brother’s widow.  I’m not sure if this was joining forces to raise their combined 5 children, if they genuinely fell in love or both.  But I can tell you on 22 November 1864 Mary Louisa Hawkes Grizzard and William Henry Grizzard got married.

That next year, my gg grandfather, William Jackson “Bud” Grizzard was born.  Followed by Henry Thorton, Amanda Jane, Mattie Louise, Carrie, George Coffey and Cora Lee.

That’s all for now.  Til Next Time….Velma

Major Tiller GrizzardPS   This is a photo of Major Tiller.  (BIG thank you to Scott Grizzard for loading this on Ancestry).  Major Tiller (Tyler) did fight in the Civil War. But Major is his actual first name, not a title.  Which is random and cool.  He actually fought at the battle of Shiloh and was later captured by the Union army and helt at Ft. Delaware until the end of the War (per his obituary). Almost makes me want to buy a Confederate flag, but I’m also a Nicholson, and we don’t do that. 🙂


  1. Virginia K. Grizzard-Brierley says:

    Nice article! Major Tiller Grizzard is actually my 2nd Great Grandfather.

    • Thank you, Virginia! I love sharing what I’ve found with family, especially those I haven’t met.

      • Jason dority says:

        Thanks for the article my 3rd great grandmother is Dora Grizzard daughter of William Henry Grizzard and Susan’s Kennedy. Does anybody know who Susana Kennedy’s parents are? I saw on the 1850 or 60 census where she was listed close to james Kennedy and zilpha Lindsay Kennedy but not sure if that is her parents. I live near goodletsville, TN where several of William Henry’s ancestors are buried in a cemetery up here.

      • Sorry Jason. I don’t have any record of Susanna’s parents. But I’ll keep my eyes open for you.

  2. Buddy Grizzard says:

    Hello there cousins! I’m William Emory “Buddy” Grizzard, III. Major Tiller Grizzard is my great, great grandfather. My grandfather, William Emory Sr., was the son of Major Tiller’s son Claude Tiller Grizzard:


    I’m on Twitter here:

    I’m so happy I found your site!

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