Name: Pugh Houston Thrasher
Birth: 3 MAR 1843 in Florence, Lauderdale Co, Al 1 2
Death: 2 NOV 1922 in Selmer, McNairy Co, Tn 2
_MILI: Civil War, Co H, 6th Tn Calv, USA, pvt 1863 3
Reference Number: |
Left, Pugh H. Thrasher.
Right, Pugh Thrasher holds his
great grand daughter in Downtown Searcy, Ar.
Photos courtesy of Gail Compton.
The following article contributed by Gail Compton:
From "Shiloh Remembered"
p. 10 "Burn the THRASHER's Out:
Nineteen year old Pugh Houston THRASHER joined Company H, 6th Tennessee
Cavalry when the war broke out. He and his 4 brothers served in the Union
Army and would frequently return home to Lauderdale County, Alabama, for a
visit with their family. The area was extremely Confederate and the
THRASHER brothers had to slip in and out of the area avoiding their former
friendly neighbors as well as the Rebel troops and bushwhackers who infested
On one occasion, the THRASHER brothers came home on furlough and as they
were visiting, a party of Rebel cavalry paid a visit to the THRASHER place to
take all the eggs, milk, meat, in fact everything that was not nailed down.
Finally when everything was taken one of the Rebels suggested that they burn
the THRASHER place. For some unknown reason one of the Rebels was against
burning out the THRASHER's. It may have been that he was more humane than
the others or it could have been that he lived nearby and feared retaliation
by local Rebs. Whatever the cause, an argument erupted between the Rebs.
Pugh THRASHER and his brothers waited and watched tensely in the barn with
their cap and ball rifles ready. Finally, on becoming overcome by the abuse
being heaped upon their family, they opened fire on the would-be
houseburners. The men mounted and put spurs to their horses. One fled on
foot leaving a trail of blood. The one who had been against burning the
THRASHER house yelled "save me, madam, save me!"
Mrs. THRASHER enveloped the Reb soldier in her skirt (which was probably big
enough to conceal two soldiers and their gear).
The THRASHER's rushed by their mother and the Rebel she had wrapped in her
skirt on pursuit of the others. They followed the trail of blood through
the woods to a rail fence then to a branch where they found the Reb dead.
The other Rebel back in the skirts, no doubt took off in their absence
thankful for escaping the wrath of the THRASHER's.
NOTE: Part 2 "Tennessee in the Civil War" list Elias THRASHER, 1st Lt. B
Co., 2nd Mtd. Inf.; James C. THRASHER, Pvt. B Co. 2nd Mtd. Inf.; John C.
THRASHER, Mus. B Co., 2nd Mtd. Inf.; Michael L. THRASHER, Cpl. F. Co., 6th
Tn. Cavalry. These are the brothers of P.H. THRASHER who is
not listed but definitely served in Co. H., 6th Tenn. Cavalry under Capt.
The following article contributed by Gail Compton:
By: George Thrasher Anderson, taken from an article written in 1938.
The subject of this sketch, Pugh Houston Thrasher, was born in Lauderdale County, AL, eight miles
north of Florence, March 12, 1843, next youngest of nine children. His father, William Bishop Thrasher,
affectionately called Uncle Billy by his community, was a substantial citizen of means, owning more than
a thousand acres of land. He was conscientiously opposed to human slavery, so he never owned any
slaves but taught his seven boys, to work. This training was a valuable asset to Pugh when he started
out on his own after the Civil War in which he had served three and a half years in the Federal Army.
After the war he and an older brother, Hendson, opened a small general store at Wailing Springs, TN, but Pugh
soon decided that he was not cut out to be a merchant, sold his interest to his brother and came to McNairy
County to visit a sister, the wife of Dr. G.H. Butler. While on this visit he met Miss Howard, daughter of
William Howard, who became his wife in 1866.
He settled in McNairy County and for 55 years was identified with this county's interest.
For a number of years he lived in Adamsville. In 1884 he moved his sawmill to a point on the railroad which
was known as "Pharr Old Field." Within 200 yards of the present McNairy County Court House, he cleared
a place and put down his mill and began sawing lumber, railroad timber, cross ties and etc.
A county seat town at the present site of Selmer originated in the mind of P.H. Thrasher. The town of Purdy, the
county seat, began to go down soon after the M&O railroad was built. Agitation for removal to the railroad
began as far back as 1870. Election after election was held but failed to get the two thirds majority necessary.
Falcon and Bethel Springs both failed to win county seats.
At one time the County Court appointed a committee to go over the territory between Falcon and Bethel and
select the most available site for a town and upon the report of the committee the Court intended to call an
election. The Court unanimously selected the spot called Pharr's Old Field.
P.H. Thrasher was a member of this committee. The Court failed to take action on this report. This land was
owned by James Pharr. Early in 1884, James Pharr died, leaving his property to nephews and nieces. One
of whow was the wife of the late J.W. Purviance.
This was the opportunity Pugh Thrasher had been waiting for and he lost no time in forming a partnership
with Purviance and together they bought out the other heirs. After about two years of partnership,
Thrasher became the sole owner of about 500 acres of land including the site of Selmer. Immediately after
acquiring title to the property, he started on a plan to move the county seat here. He cleared off the land
where downtown Selmer is now located, laid out the streets, numbered the lots, etc. One election to New South,
the first name for the town suggested by J.W. Purviance, having failed, Thrasher organized the McNairy
County Real Estate and Investment Co. to which he deeded fifty acres for the proposed town with an
agreement that his company build a Court House to cost no less than $10,000 and deed it to the county, the
money to come from the sale of these lots.
Stockholders were R.D. Anderson, John T Warren, Samuel Chambers, A.B. Hamm, H.L.W. Lancaster,
H.P. Wood, and James W Purviance.
The next election was declared, carried and the Court House was built in 1891. Purdy brought suit and the
case was tried before Chancellor Hawkins in the new Court House at Selmer and thus ended a 20 year fight
for removal, P.H. Thrasher was active in politics, civic betterment and his church. He was uncompromising
for the right, but with charity for all. He left his surviving children and grand children a heritage of courage,
honesty, integrity, generosity, sympathy, and optimism of which they are justly proud.
Father: William Bishop Lamar Thrasher b: 25 MAY 1798 in MD
Mother: Rachel Holshousen b: 17 FEB 1805 in Tn
Mary Elizabeth Howard b: 1 JUN 1845 in Adamsville, McNairy Co, Tn
13 MAR 1866
in Selmer, McNairy Co, Tn 2
- John Randolph Thrasher b: 15 JAN 1867 in Adamsville, McNairy Co, Tn
- Georgia Ella Thrasher b: 14 JUL 1868 in Adamsville, McNairy Co, Tn
- B. L. Thrasher b: 1869
- Minnie May Thrasher b: 5 MAY 1870 in McNairy Co, Tn
- Maggie Thrasher b: 20 FEB 1872
- Edgar Thrasher b: 26 MAR 1874 in Adamsville, McNairy Co, Tn
Christie "Annie" Gerhart b: MAY 1855 in Corinth, MS
16 MAY 1893
in Alcorn, Ms
Susie Hill b: 1883
- Abbrev: Family Group Sheet dated 5 Jun 1996 from Sylvia Rhodes. provided by James C. Moule in Rootsweb database "jmoule".
Family Group Sheet dated 5 Jun 1996 from Sylvia Rhodes. provided by James C. Moule, http://home.earthlink.net/~jmoule/
- Abbrev: Gail Compton, "Descendants of Pugh Huston Thrasher". Three page file received by J. Moule 29 MAR 2000.
Gail Compton, "Descendants of Pugh Huston Thrasher". Three page file received by J. Moule 29 MAR 2000.
- Abbrev: ReportOf The Adjutant General Of The State Of Tennessee Of The MilitaryForces Of The State From 1861 to 1865, published
Report Of The Adjutant General Of The State
Of Tennessee Of The Military Forces Of The
State From 1861 to 1865, published in
- Abbrev: Letter dated 13 Oct 1894 from Elias Thrasher of Florence, AL reprinted in "History of the Thrasher Family" p. 82. as re
Letter dated 13 Oct 1894 from Elias Thrasher of Florence, AL reprinted in "History of the Thrasher Family" p. 82. as researched by Jim Moule, http://home.earthlink.net/~jmoule/