Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Harvey Alfonso "Bud" Twiggs Family

Harvey Alfonso, better known as “Bud” Twiggs, was the youngest of six children born to the early Union County settlers, Willis (1804-1880) and Margaret England Twiggs (1812-1886). Harvey A. was born at Choestoe, Union County, Georgia on June 1, 1848 and died there March 6, 1932. He married Elizabeth Johnson on July 21, 1876, and to “Bud” and “Lizzie” Twiggs were born five children reared on the farm, part of which was inherited from Bud’s father, Willis.

Margaret M. Twiggs (August 2, 1871-May 28, 1949) married Mancil Pruitt Dyer, a son of Choestoe’s inventor of the “Apparatus for Navigating the Air,” Micajah Clark Dyer and his wife, Morena Ownbey Dyer. Mancil Pruitt had the nickname “Mant”. He and Margaret had seven children: Nellie Naomi who married Dallas Nix; Herbert Carter who married Pearl Duckworth; Patrick Henry Lee Dyer who married Cleo Hix; Celia Wilhemina “Minnie” Dyer who married Marshall J. Nix; Harriet who died at nine years of age; and Chartiers McMillan Dyer who married Pearl Parker and Sibyl Franks. When Margaret died in 1949, she was at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Marshall Nix, in Waverly, Colorado where she had lived during a period of ill health. Her body was returned for burial at Pine Top Cemetery, Choestoe, where her husband was buried in 1916.

Bud and Lizzie Twiggs’ second child was James Willis Twiggs (June 15, 1879 – February 1, 1966) known as Jim, this son had a distinctive career as a teacher, public servant, educator and benefactor. He married on December 28, 1910 to Helen Cordelia Collins (March 1, 1886-December 10, 1981), daughter of Dallas and Rosannah Souther Collins. The Rev. Charlie Rich performed their wedding ceremony at the home of the bride’s parents near New Liberty Baptist Church. They had one daughter, Clarice Lorraine Twiggs who married Thomas Jefferson Stephens. Helen Collins was a teacher when she and Jim Twiggs married. During the first years of their marriage both taught school at Talmo, Georgia (Jackson County) for three years, then to South Georgia for three years, and northward to Gwinnett County for three more years. Then they returned to Union County. In 1920 Jim Twiggs was elected County School Superintendent in Union County where he served two four-year terms (1920-1928). He next was with the sales tax unit of the Department of Revenue. He was elected state senator from the ninth congressional district for one term. Following that service he was a supervisor with the Georgia Department of Education until his retirement at age 72. Jim and Helen Twiggs were known for their Christian compassion and community spirit. I personally will ever be grateful to Mr. Jim Twiggs for loaning me the money to complete my AA degree at Truett McConnell College in 1948-1949 at a time when my father had a not-so-good crop year and did not have the money, even with my working at a campus job, to pay my college tuition. Mr. Jim Twiggs came to my rescue with a loan which I repaid during my first year of teaching.

Bud and Lizzie Twiggs’ third child was John Milford Twiggs (June 9, 1881-September 5, 1960). John married Celia Sarah “Sallie” Collins (October 8, 1884 – October 4, 1972), daughter of Ivan Kimsey and Martha J. Hunter Collins on March 1, 1908. John was a farmer on Choestoe, tilling the land settled by his grandfather Willis Twiggs and passed on to him by his father Bud Twiggs. John and Sallie had two sons, Roy Willis Twiggs (1909-1987) and Mercer Franklin Twiggs (1912-1990). Educated at Young Harris and North Georgia Colleges and Oglethorpe University, Roy taught school for several years. Roy became director of Union County’s Department of Family and Children’s Services (then called the Welfare Department) in 1938. World War II came and he served for four years in the U. S. Army. Following military service, he again assumed directorship of the Department of Family and Children’s Services from 1946 through his retirement in 1971. He was named to the Georgia Welfare Hall of Fame in 1985. Quiet, efficient and unassuming, Roy Twiggs is remembered as a compassionate social worker who sincerely had the welfare of his clients uppermost as he sought to help those who really needed aid. Mercer Twiggs had a career of thirty-seven years with the Georgia Highway Department. He married Ruby June Little in 1942 and they had one child, Sarah Rebecca Twiggs who married James Matthew Thompson. John and Sallie Twiggs were buried in the Old Choestoe Cemetery and Roy Twiggs and Mercer Twiggs in the New Choestoe Baptist Church Cemetery.

Fourth child of Bud and Lizzie Twiggs was Naomi Belle Twiggs (May 17, 1886-August 14, 1941). She married Fulton Huey Gaddis and they lived to Barrow County, Georgia.

The fifth and youngest child of Bud and Lizzie Twiggs was Frank Densmore Twiggs (January 10, 1889-July 4, 1979) who married Margaret Lea Self on October 28, 1934. She was a daughter of Willis C. and Mollie Dyer Self. Lea and Frank lived in the Twiggs house that his father, Bud, built. The house is still standing on Collins Road just off Highway 80 and is now owned and maintained by Frank and Lea’s son, Ralph.

Frank taught school in one-teacher schools for a few years, among which was Pine Top. He became a full-time farmer, saying he “liked to be his own boss.” He and Lea had two children, Ralph (born in 1936) and Opal (1937-1944). Frank and Lea Twiggs were wonderful neighbors and extended such kindness to my younger brother, Blueford, and me after our mother died in 1945 when we were young.

Some interesting stories have been passed down in the Twiggs family about the escapades of Harvey Alfonso “Bud” Twiggs. A favorite is how he “broke” a new horse for his son Jim to ride. Determined to tame the horse, he bridled it up and took it into the field. The horse bucked and reared, but Bud held on for dear life. Finally, the horse reared and fell, with Bud Twiggs still holding on. Those who were watching feared that Mr. Twiggs was badly injured, but he got up and refused help in taking the horse back to the barn. A few days later, Bud Twiggs saddled up the horse and came out riding him, with the animal behaving, well-broken and taken to the saddle, ready for his Jim Twiggs to ride. Bud Twiggs was at the ripe age of 80 when he broke the untamed horse. He lived four more years after the horse-breaking incident.

c2004 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published October 28, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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