Friday, October 5, 2012

General Charles Lafayette Pearson

The Pearson Family

It is inevitable in families large and small that some will stay to carry on and others will leave to seek fame and fortune elsewhere. The reasons for staying or leaving are myriad and fascinating.

James Madison Pearson

My great great grandfather was James Madison Pearson (1817 - 1891). He was born and grew up in Monticello, Jasper County Georgia. In the 1830's, he left for the new state of Alabama. In 1814, General Andrew Jackson and his Indian allies defeated the Red Stick Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend along the Coosa River, 12 miles north of Dadeville in Tallapoosa County.

Read more about the Creek Wars, the Alabama Department of Archives.

James and his wife Elizabeth Ann Brown had nine children. See O'Farrell Family. Included in this brood, was my great great grandfather Benjamin Rush Pearson, born 1849, and his younger brother Charles Lafayette Pearson, born 1854.

Brothers Benjamin and Daddy Matt

Benjamin graduated from medical school in Birmingham, and set up practiced there. His youngest son, named James Madison like his grandfather, spent summers on the family farm. Daddy Matt, as I like to call him, joined the Army and fought in the Philippines and World War I. In France, het met a young French girl, Marguerite. They fell in love and married.

General Charles Lafayette Pearson

General Charles Lafayette Pearson stayed with his father and mother on the farm.

General Charles Lafayette Pearson, courtesy of George Campbell

Charles graduated from of the University of Alabama Law School and for four years attended graduate school in France. There he received the honorary title "General". Returning home, he settled down to farming and the practice of law, and built the family farm up to more than 42,000 acres.

Since my father was in the military, I saw my grandparents only on occasion. My grandfather said that he "helped" on the farm and for lunch break open a watermelon to share with his cousins. The other story my grandfather shared was that of playing Indians on the banks of the Coosa River.

Two story family farm in Alabama in the Auburn University Libraries

A mind is a terrible thing to waste 

The General, like my grandfather, was a firm believer in education.

General Charles Lafayette Pearson married Zenia Blasingame and they raised nine children. In their middle years many of the children went to Emory College in Atlanta. Later, others went north to the "Manhattan Agricultural School", now called Kansas State, in Manhattan, Kansas.One child Varlourd, like my grandfather fought in World War I, where he died on the battlefield during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Another child Bert played football with the Chicago Bears. All of the children, to my knowledge, left Alabama to find peace and happiness.

The General died in 1940, and is buried on his property in a small cemetery along with his parents James and Elizabeth, and a small gathering of others. Find a Grave

The cotton fields of the farm are gone. The family farm is now owned by a lumber company and the cemetery is in a quiet spot far out in the piney woods next to railroad tracks. There is a guest book to sign. Sadly, the site was vandalized and the graves disturbed.


  1. We must be family. My grandfather, Edward H. Pearson was the executor of the General's estate. My father still has the General's Brunswick Monarch Billiard table left to my grandfather. You know the estate was contested, and my grandfather successfully defended the children's inheritance.

    1. I visited the General's cemetery in Tallapoosa County several years ago, way out in the piney woods in a quiet family plot next to the railroad tracks. Sadly, the graves had been disturbed. I would love to hear the General's story.

  2. Was James Madison Pearson an Army General in 1950?

  3. Brigadier General James Madison Pearson served in WWI and WWII. His grandchildren called him Daddy Matt.