William Alexander Cauthen was born on the 20th of
September 1821 according to a Bible Record that was passed down through the
family. This date is also fairly consistent with the census records. The
Bible Record has his name as Alexandria Cothren but members of
the family said he went by "Alex". In the 1840 census he is listed as
Alexander Cochran and in the 1860 census he is listed as Alex Cotheran. Only in
the 1850 census is he listed as Wm. Cauthen.
The census records state that he was born in Tennessee. Tax records for Maury county show a William A. Cauthan (and variations) as early as 1834 and as late as 1843 first owning then renting land in Maury county in what became the 18th district in 1843. This is the area near Santa Fe, Tennessee which is in the North West corner of Maury county near the border of Williamson county. From 1834 until 1843 there are no other Cauthens in the tax records this researcher could find for this district other than William A. The William shown on the 1834 tax record is not the same William who's birthday is given in the Bible record but is likely his father. The William that was born in 1821 would have only been 13 years old and could not own land in 1834, further research is needed.
The earliest definitive record found so far, that places him in Tennessee, is his marriage to Elizabeth Adkinson on the 28th day of February, 1839 in Maury county at the age of 17 years.
On May 24, 1842 a neighbor Emily Jane Mullins died and Minerva Ann Alford was accused of the murder! Witnesses were called and the list included William and Elizabeth. From the court records of Maury county:
State vs. Minerva Ann Alford --- murder in first
Green Mullins, prosecutor. Not a true bill. Minerva Ann Alford, spinster, on 24 May 1842 did assault Emily Jane Mullins, "did push, force and shove down into the throat a large piece of apple" ---apple 1 and 1/2 inches.
Emily Jane Mullins then and there strangled and suffocated and instantly died. The J.P. who first heard the case
thought she was guilty. She was kept in jail from June 8 until June21, 1842. Witnesses called were Samuel Crawford, Sarah Crawford, Thomas J. Kilpatrick, Dianah McCluney, Emily Gardner, William A. Cothen, Elizabeth Cauthan, Sarah Oakley, John L. Roach, Louisa Roach, Elizabeth Church, Margret Mullen, John Humphrey, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mary Letten, Susan Hutcherson, Thursday Payn, Caleb Fly, Jr., Miles H. Mays.
Many of the people mentioned in this case were listed as living in close proximity to the Cauthens in the 1840 census of Maury county. These were people that lived near Santa Fe. Both the Atkinson and Fly cemeteries are near Santa Fe.
Watkins Grove, was a small community located in
Davidson county near the southern end of river road.
It was to this community that William Cauthen and family came between 1842 and 1850. In the 1850 census his occupation is given as "labourer" so it can be inferred that he came to Davidson county for work. By this time he had a family of five children and a Poly Stamps age 12 and a James Stamps age 18 also listed as "labourer" were living with them.
By 1860 Elizabeth Cauthen had died after giving birth to
her last child Benjamin Franklin in 1857 and William had moved down River road
into newly formed Cheatham county. In the 1860 census he is shown living with
four of his children near the small community of Lillymay.
In the community of Lillymay lived several Lovell families and on August 22, 1861 William married Patsy Lovell in Cheatham county. The only son of this couple David Alexander was born June 3, 1862 during the bloodiest time this nation has ever known, the Civil War. I am not sure where he got the date but Harold Cauthen gave the date of Williams death as July 19, 1865 as the civil war came to a close. This date is recorded in a section on unidentified Cauthens in Maryline Cauthen Westenhaver's book "The Cauthen Family History". In any case there is no further records of him after the 1860 census.
It is not known by this authour where William is buried or if he served in the civil war. Amy Cauthen Frizzel once told me that she thouhgt he had been in the war as her father David Alexander gave her a small spoon that soldiers used that had belonged to him.