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 Dr. 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, M.D., 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 Massengil 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.


    John David Massengill was born on May 11, 1844 in Sullivan County, Tennessee. His parents were Joseph Massengill and Nancy Smith.

    He married Josephine Evans.

    Norman Hood Massengill
    Samuel Evans Massengill
    Fannie Massengill
    Kate Massengill

    During the Civil War he was was a private in Company B, 4th Tennessee cavalry regiment.

    He graduated from Baltimore College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1874.

    He died on January 8, 1919 in Blountville, Tennessee.




    From Who’s Who in Tennessee, Memphis: Paul & Douglass Co., Publishers, 1911; transcribed by Kim Mohler

    Massengill, John D.
    Physician and stock breeder; Irish-English descent;
    son of John and Nancy (Smith) Masengill;
    born in Sullivan Co., Tenn., May 11, 1844;
    paternal ancestors Henry and Elizabeth (Emmert) Masengill;
    maternal grandparents John and Catherine (Umphreys) Smith;
    educated in private schools and at Jefferson Academy at Blountville, Tenn.;
    graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore, Md., M.D., 1874;
    began life as a farmer and salesman; served as county health officer, jury commissioner of Sullivan Co., Tenn.;
    soldier in the Confederate Army, 1st Cavalry, serving four years;
    married Josephine Evans Oct. 22, 1868;
    Democrat; member of Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

    East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.

    Dr. John D. Masengil died at his home two miles east of Blountville yesterday morning at 7 o'clock. Dr. Masengill had been ill for over a year. He suffered intense pain for nine months, but always bore his pain with patience and fortitude, never complaining.

    Dr. Masengill was born in Sullivan County, May 11, 1844. He served the entire four years of the Civil War as a Confederate soldier, having volunteered at the age of 16 and was a private in Company B, 4th Tennessee cavalry regiment. The first two years of the war he served under General Forrest and the last two under General Wheeler. During this time he participated in nearly all the important battles in which the western army engaged including Perryville, Shhiloh, Missionary Ridge, and Chickamauga.

    After leaving the army he attended school at the old Jefferson Academy at Blountville and later took up the study of medicine, having graduated at the Baltimore College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1874, and since that time has practiced medicine and farmed.

    During his long life he was one of the leading physicians of the country and did a great deal of charity practice.

    He joined the Methodist church, South in 1866 and has been a consistent member since.

    Married in 1866
    On October 22, 1868 he married Miss Josephine Evans, daughter of Major Sam Evans and Frances (Braden) Evans. Surviving him are his wife and the following children: N. H. Masengill and Dr. S.E. Masengil of Bristol, Mrs. H. Smith and Miss Kate Masengill of Blountville.

    Dr. Masengill was a lover of the chase and a great admirer of fine horses, and did more than any other man in the country toward improving this industry, having brought the first standard-bred horse to upper East Tennessee.

    The funeral services will be held at the family home at 2 o'clock this afternoon and internment will be in the cemetery at Blountville at 3 p.m.

    The following will act as pallbearers: Drs. Sam McDowell and Meigs Dulaney of Blountville, J. C. Statzer and Kensinger of Bluff City, Will St. John and M. M. Pearson of Bristol.

    The flowerbearers will be the following: Will Cox, George Humphreys, Robert Rutter, R. F. Smith, Charlie Earhart and Moscoe Lindamood.

    The Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia was September 19 - 20, 1863. Union and Confederate forces fought for control of Chattanooga. It ended the Union offensive in south-central Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. It was the last significant Confederate victory.Espy Dill, Ann Taylor Dill's husband, William C. Baker, Rudolph Baker's grandson was taken prisoner by the south. Josiah Smith was taken prisoner by the north.

    Samuel Evans Massengill was born on February 5, 1871 near Piney Flats, Tennessee.

    He married Ina May Jobe.

    Hattie Pauline Massengill
    John Tipton Massengill

    He graduated from Roanoke College in Virginia with his pre-med degree in 1890. He graduated from the University of Nashville Medical School in 1899.

    He became a pharmaceutical representative for the Arthur J. Connor Company of Boston.

    In 1897, Samuel and his brother, Norman, founded Massengill Brothers which became the S. E. Massengill Company when Norman retired.

    In 1937, the S. E. Massengill Company was responsible for at least 105 deaths. Seventy-one adults and 34 children died after taking a drug called Elixir Sulfanilamide to treat a variety of ailments, from gonorrhea to sore throat.

    Sameul died on December 15, 1946.

    elixir clipping label


    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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