Jonathan Withrow

by Bruce Whitaker

Jonathan Withrow was born in Fairview on May 14, 1815. He was the son of John Withrow (1770-1850) and Susannah Ashworth (1782-1852). Jonathan’s father was from Rutherford County, NC, and his mother Susannah was the daughter of John Ashworth, Sr. (1735-1805) and Nancy Ann Wood (1745-1833). John and Ann Ashworth were among the first settlers of Fairview and lived at the site of Sherrill’s Inn. Ann Ashworth was Fairview’s first doctor (or a witch, as many said).

John Withrow was a prosperous man for that era. He owned 340 acres of land around Ashworth Creek in Fairview and an additional 340 acres on Clear Creek in what is now eastern Henderson County. Jonathan Withrow’s parents moved the family of 10 children to Haywood County around 1830. Jonathan became a captain in the Haywood County Militia. He married Margaret Patterson in Haywood County on July 16, 1836. Margaret was born on April 10, 1814. The couple’s first two children were born in Haywood County.

Jonathan Withrow, his wife Margaret, his parents and brother and sisters moved to Gilmer County, Georgia, around 1840. Jonathan and his extended family moved to the Mountaintown section of west Gilmer County. His former neighbors, William and Catherine Garren Sumner, moved to the Mountaintown section of Gilmer County around the same time. Jonathan engaged in merchandising, stock raising and farming.

Jonathan Withrow was elected judge of the Gilmer County Court in 1843. When Withrow took office Gilmer County was $4,000 dollars in debt (a large amount of money at that time) and had a high rate of taxation. Jonathan’s frugal management of financial matters and speedy reforms allowed him to pay off the debt and reduce the county’s tax rate in four years.

Withrow was also known for his generosity and for his kind heart in regard to the poor. During the Civil War he donated 4,000 pounds of bacon, 50 sheep, 80 head of cattle and 600 bushels of corn to the Confederate Army. He served as a captain in the local Home Guard and provisioned his men out of his own supplies.

Judge Withrow owned what was considered a large plantation for the mountain region of Gilmer County. He also owned several slaves. When Withrow’s farm was raided by the Yankees in the Civil War, one of his slaves buried his gold and other valuables and prevented them from falling into the hands of the enemy. After the end of the Civil War and the freeing of the slaves, it was said his slaves remained on his farm as employees.

Withrow’s wife Margaret died in June 1, 1866. He married a second time in March 1872 to Nancy Plemmons.

The people of Gilmer County elected Judge Jonathan Withrow to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1880. He was reelected in 1881 and 1882. Jonathan Withrow served on 50 grand juries while he lived in Gilmer County and served as the foreman on 45 of them.

Judge Jonathan Withrow was a member of Mountaintown Baptist Church. He died in Ellijay in Gilmer County, Georgia on December 22, 1889. He was buried next to his first wife Margaret in Mountaintown Baptist Church Cemetery.

Jonathan and Margaret Patterson Withrow had eight children.

Robert Marion Withrow was born in Haywood County on July 11, 1836, and married Martha Hill (1852-1902). She died in Gilmer County, Ga. He died May 19, 1914 in Wayne County, Ga.

Sarah Ann Withrow was born in Haywood County on November 29, 1839. She married David Garren (born December 25, 1833 in Fairview), son of Joseph Garren and Bertha Russell. He died on October 11, 1909 in Ellijay, Gilmer County, Ga. Sarah Ann died on Jan. 1, 1860 in Gilmer County, Ga.

Caroline Matilda Withrow was born on March 31, 1843 in Gilmer County, Ga. She married William M. Hipp (1841-1920) They moved to Lewis County, Washington. She died on October 30, 1930.

Thomas J. Withrow was born in Gilmer County, Ga., on May 13, 1845. He married Martha “Mattie” Anderson. They lived in Oklahoma. Thomas died on November 17, 1918 in Tahlequah, Cherokee County, Ok.

Margaret M. Withrow was born on October 5, 1848 in Gilmer County, Ga. She died there on May 24, 1911.

James Patterson Withrow was born on April 5, 1851 in Gilmer County, Ga. He married Mallisa Ann “Milly” Fore (1851-1921). They moved to Lewis County, Washington. James died there on July 11, 1936.

John A. Withrow was born in Gilmer County, Ga on September 25, 1853. He died there on July 7, 1874.

David Jeptha Withrow was born in Gilmer County, Ga on March 26, 1862. He married Elizabeth C. Dunn (she was half Cherokee) on February 3, 1893 in Tahlequah, Indian territory (Oklahoma). She died in 1932. He died on September 17, 1935 in Davidson, Ok.

Jonathan Withrow and his second wife Nancy Plemmons had three children.

James W. Withrow was born in Gilmer County, Ga., on May 20, 1873. He married Hester Selina Defoor (1872-1928). They moved to Lamb County, Tx. James died there on July 9, 1948.

Lou Ella Withrow was born in Gilmer County, Ga., on October 14, 1876. She married John C. Garner (1869-1939). Lou died on May 22, 1962. Both died in Lexington, Ok.

Pinkney Lafayette Withrow was born in Gilmer County, Ga., on August 25, 1878. He died on July 25, 1950 in Cheotah, McIntosh County, Ok.

Local historian Bruce Whitaker documents genealogy in the Fairview area. You can reach him at 628-1089 or email him at
[email protected].

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