Benjamin Franklin and Adalissa (Wheeler) Birdwell


John Harvey and Martha (Chaffin) Birdwell


October 6, 1841 in Jackson County, Tennessee


Aletha Billingsley in 1865 in Jackson County, Tennessee

Adalissa Wheeler on March 8, 1875 in Jackson County, Tennessee




March 19, 1898 in Jackson County, Tennessee

Buried in John L. Billingsley Cemetery – Shady Grove, Jackson, Tennessee


1850, 1860, 1870, 1880


Co. E. 28th Tennessee Infantry CSA

Civil War National Archive Records:

page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7, page 8

Prisoner at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio

Member of the S.S. Stanton Bivouac, you can learn more about it here or go directly to Bejamin’s page here.


 Died Intestate

Estate paperwork: page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4


Children Guardianship Bond papers: page 1, page 2, page 3


Mary Birdwell, Joseph Birdwell, Thomas Wilson Birdwell, Bama Davis, Aleatha West, Wheeler Birdwell, Lina Hanner


It is widely noted that Benjamin Birdwell had a child with his first wife, Aletha Billingsley.  Most people note this child as being JOAB BIRDWELL.  I have never located any information stating this to be fact.  I have however located, on the 1870 Census, a MARY A. BIRDWELL (age 2) listed as a daughter of Benjamin and Aletha Birdwell.

It is possible that Benjamin and Aletha had more than one child, yes?  Vital records were not kept in the state of Tennessee until 1914, so there would be no record of a birth of either child.

Here are the facts, I know to be true:

  • There is no record of Aletha’s death; not even a grave marker to locate.
  • On the 1880 census, a MARY GWIN listed as adopted was living with Thomas and Luisa Billingsley (Parents of Aletha Billingsley) along with a Joseph Birdwell, who was listed as a grandson.
  • On the 1880 census of Benjamin Birdwell he had already married, for a second time to Adalissa Wheeler and started a family with her.  But you will find a son named Joseph living with Benjmain and Adalissa.

My Theories:

Aletha (Billingsley) Birdwell died shortly after giving birth to her child.  Having no choice; Benjamin, now being a single father, gave custody of his children to his in-laws to care for.

Somewhere there is a mix up.