People of the Crossroads

By VB Fillmore

            Beaty’s Crossroads is a where Alabama state highway 75 and 117 cross. Named for the large number of Beaty families that lived and work on the mountain plateau know as Sand Mountain. A back woods country that announces the end of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Once the home of assorted Cherokee tribes of, its rocky ground and sandy soil made many a new settler old before their time. The strength of the men and women who migrated to this corner of Gods country can only be imagined. It can be said that they loved their God and this land more than life it’s self. This is evidenced by their determination to make a living in a hostile, unforgiving environment. As life was hard so their characters became hard. These were poor people for the most part. The summers hot as a stove top, the winters bitter cold. One season would bring the climate of the Gulf Coast and good harvest; the next season would bound in with the great Arctic cold leaving little for the next year. The folks had to stay prepared for what Mother Nature would sling at them. And ah the good days were so good; you might think it was heaven. One year would bring children; one right after another, the next year would take them away, sometimes before you could give them a name. The grave yards became endearing, not because of grandpa and grandma buried there, but because that is where your children went to Jesus. So come on in neighbor and share a time gone by. A time when all day singing and dinner on the ground was the joyful noise made in thanks giving. A time when broken hearts and broken bodies were mended with the eternal hope of a better day to come. Where love was all or nothing. Where the strength of the individual spirit was written on the faces of the old folks. Where the renewal of that spirit exploded from the cry of a new born babe.

            The first Beaty connection found to DeKalb County Alabama in Rebecca Emily Beaty, who married Warner Lewis Driskill on October 17, 1837.  The next reference is a Robert A. Beaty who secured a land patent 1845 in southern DeKalb County.  Then between 1864 and 1870 Joseph Edward Beaty appears in DeKalb County with his wife and four children, it is this family of Beaty’s that settled in the area which became known as Beaty’s Crossroads. Joseph Edward Beaty arrived in DeKalb County Alabama between 1863 and 1869.  He brought with him three children.  His first son, Young Jackson Beaty, had died a year after his birth.  It is believed that Young Jackson Beaty was named after Elizabeth Roseanna’s brother, Young Jackson Shirley.   Joseph’s wife, Elizabeth Roseanna Shirley would bare him three more children before she passed away April 2, 1862.  It is believed she and Young Jackson are buried in Habersham County, Georgia.  Some where between Habersham County, Georgia, and DeKalb County, Alabama, he met and married his second wife, Orleana.  Based on census research, it is believed that Orleana maiden name was Sandridge, daughter of Giles Sandridge and Lydia Rice.  Joseph and Orleana had a son, Joseph Edward Beaty, Jr. born August 11, 1864, somewhere in Georgia.  Joseph’s second son from his first marriage, William Hiram Beaty was born July 27, 1855 in Clarksville, Habersham County, Georgia.  William Hiram met and married Mary Elizabeth Pinkham, August 26, 1888 in DeKalb County, Alabama, daughter of Matthew Coffin Pinkham and Cansada Lewis.  Joseph’s oldest daughter, Sarah Beaty, born December 6, 1857 somewhere in Georgia, would met and marry Nathaniel Hamick, on August 9 1883 in DeKalb County, Alabama.  Joseph’s youngest daughter, Mary A. Beaty, born March 26, 1860, would marry a Pinkham, but died soon afterward on March 6, 1892.  Joseph Beaty, his second wife and three of his children are buried at Smith’s Chapel, also known as Pannel Chapel in DeKalb County Alabama. Joseph Edward Beaty was the son of George Beaty and Susannah.  George, born 1775, and Susannah, born 1780, believed to be from Virginia.  They had moved to South Carolina before 1810 and a number of their children were born there, including Joseph Edward, who was born on July 22, 1816. By 1820 they were living in Habersham County Georgia. George Beaty died between 1830 and 1840, Susannah on the other hand lived passed 80 years old.  It has been reported that Susannah’s surname before marrying was Cutts, however according to The National Archives Bounty Land Files Act of 55-80-WT-35355 Veteran George Beaty Grade Priv. Service Capt – Towers S C Mil 1812 Can No 219 Bundle No 143, she states her name before marriage was Eaton.
Elizabeth Roseanna Shirley, first wife of Joseph Edward Beaty, was born November 18, 1827 in Georgia.  She was the daughter of Berryman and Susannah Starnes Shirley.  The Shirley family and the Beaty family were neighbors.  Joseph and Elizabeth married March 29, 1852, but their life together would be short as Elizabeth died in April 1862, only ten years after their marriage.
Photo Caption:
William Hiram Beaty , Lena, Sarah, Flavious, Mary Elizabeth Pinkham Beaty, Cornelia and Lepatry.

First Published in The Heritage of Dekalb County, Alabama, Volume II, 2008, Updated 2019 by VB Fillmore