An American Family History

Nancy Ann Cross Smith Massengill

In the Civil War (1861 to 1865) eleven Southern states seceded from the U.S. and formed the Confederate States of America.

Diseases have transformed history and the lives of our ancestors.

Nancy Ann Cross Smith Massengill was born December 7, 1820 in Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Her parents were John Smith and Catharine Humphreys.

She was named for the wife of Jesse Cross (father of "Black" Will and Jacob Cross), who was a prominent man in Sullivan County. He represented the county in the legislature.

Nancy married John Masengill, Sr. about 1840. John was born in September, 1816 in Sullivan County. His parents were Henry (Hal) Massengill and Elizabeth Emmert. He had been married before to Mary Scott who died a few months after their marriage.

John and Nancy lived in Piney Flats, Tennessee where John farmed and was frequently a deputy sheriff.

Nancy and John's children:
were James F. (Felty) Massengill (1841),
George Massengill (1842, died age 16),
Elizabeth Massengill (1843, died age 18),
John David Massengill (1844, married Josephine Evans).

According to Samuel Massengill, Nancy died in 1849 when she was just 35 yeas old. She was buried at Smith-Cross Cemetery.

After Nancy died, her children were placed among the relatives. John was raised by his Grandmother, Catherine Smith and Aunt, Elizabeth Deck. Elizabeth was sent to Deborah Masengill Banner in Jefferson County, Tennessee. Elizabeth died in 1861 when she was 18. George died when he was 16 of diphtheria.

According to Samuel Massengill during the civil war, Felty was in Gammon's Company 19th Tennessee Infantry. He died of fever in camp at Iuka, Tishomingo, County, Mississippi before the battle of Shiloh. John David was a private in Company B of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry. Massengil recounted:

His brother John D. Masengill, who was a member of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry, C.S.A., was also in that section and heard of the serious illness of his brother. On account of the impending battle he could not get leave of absence but for sufficient time to be with him but an hour or two. He thought that he recognized him. Felty died a short while afterward and left no issue.

After the battle John D. again procured a pass to visit Felty, but found that he had died, and had been buried at Iuka with many other Confederate soldiers.

John Massengill married for a third time after the Civil War. He married Mary Jane Colbaugh. Mary was born in 1825 in Piney Flats and was the daughter of John Colbaugh.

John and Mary Jane's children included:
Debora Lucinda Massengill (1855, married Luke Sylvester Bayless and William Allen Massengill), and
Hiram Alexander Massengill (1866, married Kitty Ellen Shell).

Mary Jane died June 20, 1909 and was buried in the Massengill Cemetery.

John D. Massengill died on January 8, 1919 and is buried in the Blountville cemetery.

Deery Inn
The Deery Inn
Blountville, Tennessee

Children of John Smith
and Catherine Humphries
  • MaryAnn Smith
  • George Washington Smith
  • Elizabeth (Bettie) Smith Deck
  • John Humphreys Smith
  • King Henry Smith
  • Polly Eliza Smith Webb
  • Prince David Smith.
  • Nancy Ann Cross Smith Massengill
  • Samuel Rhea Smith
  • Josiah Smith
  • William Hart Smith
  • Sullivan County is in far northeast corner of Tennessee between North Carolina and Virginia and was originally part of those states. It was formed in 1779 when it was divided from Washington County.

    Diphtheria is a serious contagious respiratory illness where a membrane attaches to the tonsils, pharynx, or nasal cavity. Diphtheria can lead to loss of motor control and sensation.
    Pertussis is also contagious and was known as whooping cough. It starts with a mild respiratory infection and the coughing develops into uncontrollable fits followed by a high-pitched "whoop" sound as the patient struggles to breathe.
    Tetanus was also called lockjaw and occurs when wounds are contaminated. As the infection progresses, muscle spasms develop in the jaw as well as other parts of the body.

    Learn more about Piney Flats.

    The Confederate States of America (CSA), also known as the Confederacy, was a government set up by southern states during the Civil War. The states who left the Union were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.




    The Massengills, Massengales and Variants, 1472-1931 by Samuel Evans Massengill, M.D. The King Printing Company, Bristol, Tennessee, 1931.

    Nancy Ann Cross Smith m. John Masengill. She was named for the wife of Jesse Cross (father of "Black" Will and Jacob Cross), who was a prominent man in Sullivan County. He represented the county in the legislature.

    p. 889 Nancy (Smith) Masengill, the wife of John Masengill, Sr., died and left a young family, and the children were placed among the relatives. Father, age 5 years was taken by his grandmother, Catherine [Humphreys] Smith, and his aunt Elizebeth (Smith) Deck, and a new home was established with Simon Deck, who was of Dutch descent and an excellent man of high character.


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