John W. Bynum was the eldest child of James and Susannah Bynum, born less than a year after their marriage. He and his wife, with their birth dates, both appear in the family Bible of their son Daniel W. Bynum1 and descendants confirmed his parents by interviewing his children in the early 1900s. He was born in Tennessee, prior to his parent’s move to Alabama, which is consistent with his later census records. Although the Jackson County, Alabama records for the period are essentially non-existent, the land records at Huntsville do show he entered a claim for 40 acres in Jackson County, Alabama in 1837, for which a grant was issued in 1839.2 The grant was issued to “John Wesley Bynum”, apparently to differentiate him from his cousin John William Bynum.3 Another 40 acres were granted in 1848.4
His wife, according to the Bible, was Keziah Stephens, whom he married about 1830 or 1831. He was apparently still in his father’s household for the 1830 census, but we know from the family Bible that his eldest child was born in January 1832. He appears in the 1840 census of Jackson County, Alabama listed adjacent to Daniel Stephens, his father-in-law, and just a few households away from his father and brothers. He was apparently living on the land he had claimed in 1839.5 In 1850, he is enumerated next door to his father James Bynum in Jackson County. Both had moved before 1850 into the extreme southern part of Jackson County that would be redistricted into DeKalb County a few years later. He had several small grants of land in that area in between 1852 and 1854.6
Several families from the Jackson and DeKalb County area migrated to Titus County, Texas beginning in the late 1850s. We know that John W. Bynum was still there in late 1855, for two daughters were married in DeKalb County in the fall of 1855, but he and most of his family evidently migrated to Titus County, Texas sometime in 1860. He must have left Alabama before July 1860, since he is not in the 1860 census taken that month. Nor is he in the 1860 Titus County census taken about the same time for the district in which he settled. His son Daniel W. Bynum wrote in his Bible that he himself came to Texas on 2 October 1860, and made the same declaration in his CSA pension application.7 Another son, James W. Bynum, declared in his CSA pension application that he had also arrived in Texas in 1860.8 A third son, Isaac Lafayette Bynum, declared in his own CSA pension application that he had been in Texas since 1859. The 1860 Titus County census was taken over a period of several months. The only Bynums who appear in it are John W. Bynum’s brother Isaac Bynum, who was enumerated in July 1860, and John W. Bynum’s eldest daughter Mary Reynolds, in a district enumerated on 10 September 1860. It therefore seems likely that John Bynum himself left Alabama by July 1860 and arrived in Texas a few months later, too late to be counted in the census for his district.
As in Jackson County, there are limited records in Titus County. The county courthouse burned in 1895, destroying essentially all records. Luckily, we have a statement by an old resident of Titus County which mentions him:9
The Southerland brothers, who were Elihu, Polk, and Jacanais (also known as Pete and J. S.), together with John (J. W.) Bynum, came to Jefferson, Texas on a boat about 1850 [sic]. They came on to Upshur County and then Elihu and Jacanais and the Bynum family came to Titus County about 1860. Elihu married Rebecca Bynum, daughter of John Bynum, about 1860, and they settled on and patented 160 acres of land from the State of Texas, which is located about 2 miles northeast of Cookville. John Bynum also patented some land in the same area. Elihu Southerland, together with Isaac, James, and Daniel Bynum, sons of John Bynum, all went into the Confederate Army and served throughout the entire war…Many descendants of John Bynum still live in the Cookville area…
John W. Bynum appears in the 1870 Titus County census, located in Cookville, but I did not find him in 1880. There are no records of his death owing to the Titus County courthouse fire, but the death date in 1882 is recorded in his son’s family Bible. He and Keziah are both buried in the Concord Cemetery north of Cookville, their stones now unreadable.
Children, according to censuses, death records, family Bibles, and several descendants were:
- Daniel Webster Bynum (9 January 1832 – 17 August 1920) See separate page.
- Mary Bynum (4 January 1834 – 19 December 1902) She married Thomas David Reynolds in DeKalb County on 11 October 1855 but they were in Titus County census by 1860. They had eight known children.10 One of her children, James Calvin Reynolds, married a daughter of Jeremiah Ellis Stephens (her mother’s brother).
- Sarah J. Bynum (c1835 – c1911) She married Henry Taylor 25 November 1855 in DeKalb County. They were in Lebanon, DeKalb County in the 1860 census but later joined the rest of her family in Texas and are in the 1870 and 1880 censuses there. Following Henry Taylor’s death she married Phillip B. Gilbert. She apparently had no children by either husband, as no children appear in any of her census households. Her marriage to Gilbert is mentioned in an 1898 letter posted in the Slone pages of this site. He was in the 1850 Cherokee County census, and the 1860, 1870, and 1880 DeKalb County censuses in Collinsville and Lebanon with a wife named Elizabeth Ann and several children, but moved to Texas to marry Sarah. Philip Gilbert died sometime before 1910, when Sarah appeared in the Titus County census living with her brother Isaac L. Bynum.
- Rebecca I. Bynum (April 1838 – c1923) According to the 1900 census, she married Elihu Southerland in 1860, apparently after their arrival in Texas. The 1900 census also gives her birth date as April 1838, which is generally consistent with earlier censuses. She had 10 children according to the 1900 census, 9 of whom were living. The 1870 and 1880 censuses, and Traylor Russell11, list those ten children as Sarah J., John H., Margaret Ann, B. F., Allie C., James C., George W., Mark L., T. C., and Mytle. Both Elihu and Rebecca are buried in the Concord Cemetery in Morris County, Texas. Interestingly, their 1880 household included William Marcus Pate, the half-brother of Daniel W. Bynum’s wife, who later married Rebecca’s neice.
- James Wesley Bynum (c1840 – 19 July 1909) He served with Daniel Bynum in the same CSA unit12 and after the war, on 9 November 1865, married Arminta VanZandt. They remained in Titus County, appearing in the censuses through 1900. They had at least ten known children. One of the children, Susan Alice Bynum, married William Marcus Pate, the half brother of Sarah Louisa Slone Bynum, the wife of Daniel W. Bynum. James Bynum’s headstone in the Cookville cemetery reads simply” J. W. Bynum, Co, A, 22 Texas Inf., CSA”.
- Solomon Bynum (c1841 – ?) He appears to have died in childhood. He is in the 1850 household but is not found thereafter, and Daniel W. Bynum’s Civil War letters do not mention him.
- Isaac Lafayette Bynum (March 1846 – aft 1911) He also served in the CSA and afterward married Celia Jenkins. He was a farmer and a preacher in Titus County, and had at least five known children. He apparently moved to Logan County, Arkansas around 1876, where he homesteaded 80 acres and appeared in the 1880 census, but returned to Titus County shortly thereafter. A child, Aurora Hattie Bynum, was born 8 February 1876 in Logan County, according to the information her husband, George Connor Vest, provided on her death certificate. The death certificate identifies her parents as I. L. Bynum and Celia Jenkins.
- Ellendes Bynum (c1845 – bef 1860) She appeared in the 1850 census for the family, but did not appear thereafter and probably died as a child. Daniel W. Bynum did not mention her in his letters or in the family Bible.
- Susannah A. Bynum (20 May 1848 – 16 December 1941) She was “Susan” in the 1850 census, but called “Susannah” in Daniel Bynum’s Civil War letters. She married James Dixon sometime in the late 1860s, as they appear together in the 1870 census. The 1880 census shows her as a recent widow with four children. She is said by descendants to have later married George Hollingsworth, and to have lived and died in Ellis County.
- Frances Elizabeth Bynum (30 March 1853 – 24 December 1940) She married William Jasper VanZandt on 22 March 1870 in Titus County and had eleven known children. They were in Titus County for the 1880 census (with four children). The 1900 Titus County census shows them with seven children still in the household, and states they had 11 children, nine of whom were living. The two children dead by 1900 were Raymond Columbus and Abbie Louise. The living children were Thomas Bee, Keziah Ellen, George Monroe, Daniel Ellis, Samuel Wesley, John Luther, Burl Edward, Earl Lafayette, and Joseph Lee. The last child was still alive in 1960 to provide details on the family. Frances Bynum Van Zandt died in Brown County according to descendants.
- In the possession of Daniel E. Bynum of Bogota, Texas as of 1979. He was the son of Daniel Edward Bynum, Daniel W. Bynum’s youngest child. [↩]
- Huntsville land office, document #11708. [↩]
- This is the only occurrence of his middle name, In all other records, including the Bible, he is “John W. Bynum”. Several grants in Jackson County were made to John W(illiam) Bynum, the son of Jesse Bynum. [↩]
- Huntsville land office, document #12884. Although this grant may be to John William Bynum, the son of Jesse Bynum, its location relative to the 1850 census entries appears to refer to John Wesley Bynum. [↩]
- Alabama land records, grant #11708 issued 1 August 1839. He apparently used his middle name to differentiate himself from John William Bynum, a cousin of about the same age. [↩]
- Lebanon land office, documents #13821, 15636, and 16379. [↩]
- Texas Confederate Pension Application #16687 [↩]
- Texas Confederate Pension Application #13155. [↩]
- History of Titus County, Texas, Vol. 1, Traylor Russell (1965), p174. [This information was furnished to the author by Lee Smith, a grandson of Elihu Southerland and Rebecca Bynum, a daughter of John Bynum.] [↩]
- This information from a descendant, Norma Mae Crye of Espanola, New Mexico in correspondence 1980-82. She had access to a family Bible and other records. [↩]
- Russell, Vol. I, p174. [↩]
- Brown’s Company A, 22nd Texas Infantry. James served from May 1862 to May 1865 according to his pension application. [↩]