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THE TATHAM FAMILY
By Marshall McClung
Tatham is a very old name and dates back as far as the year 1066. It is an English name of Saxon origin and is formed from the word "tate" and the Saxon word "ham" for home and originally meant "Tate's home". Today it more nearly means one who came from Tatham in Lancashire County, England.
There is a record as far back as 1652 of a Tatham family in Accomac County, Virginia and a record of Tathams in Buncombe County, N.C. in 1794. The Tathams came into Graham County about the time it became a separate county in 1872. Most of the relatives of the Tatham family in Graham County are descended from Thomas Clinton Tatham and Mary "Polly" Phillips Tatham who settled in Cherokee County near Andrews in 1833. One of their sons, James Tatham was the one who surveyed and laid out what is known as the Tatham Gap Road between Robbinsville and Andrews. Although this road was used for the removal of the Cherokee to Oklahoma, none of the Tathams participated in the removal. Thomas Tatham, another son who was elected to the N.C. House in fact voted against the removal.
The Tathams built what has become a prominent landmark in Andrews. The historic Walker Inn was built by Thomas Tatham and his son Thomas C. Tatham.
John Green "Pird" Tatham moved to Graham County when it became a separate county in 1872, and served as its first clerk of court. He held this office for twenty-two years. He was elected to the N.C. Legislature for one term in 1892. He also held the office of Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue for four years.
One of Prid's older brothers, Pinkney Benton "Bent " Tatham moved to Graham County in the late 1870's. He lived on a farm that was located on the site of the present day shopping center on the Robbinsville by-pass. Four of his children married and settled in Graham County: Jeronia "Rona" Carwella who married Nicholas Hampton; Jeptha "Jep" who married Georgia Slaughter; Jonora Grazel who married Tillman Lovin; and Jo Ellen who married William Gladden.
Today, many direct descendants of the Tatham family reside in Graham County: Roy Tatham, Janice Tatham Waldroup, Mrs. J. Smith Howell, Marty Maxwell, Grace Stewart, Helen Mashburn, Helen Huskey, John Suer, Johnny Ray McClincey, Lois Jones, Sidney Colvin, and Hoke Phillips to name but a few.
Roy Tatham, who spent many years away from western North Carolina serving in the military said that one of the reasons he chose to move to Graham County upon his retirement was that he loved the mountains, and loved to hunt and fish. But his main reason for moving to Graham County was the people. He describes Graham County folks as being his kind of people. Roy mentioned that when he had a serious illness, twenty-three people with seventeen pickup trucks showed up at his home and split a winter's worth of wood in one hour and twenty-five minutes. In addition, they widened the walkway to his home to make it wheelchair accessible. "This kind of people is why I live in Graham county" says Roy.
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These pages are from the people of Graham County, North Carolina.
For additional information on Graham County Adventures
the Travel and Tourism Authority or
go to the Visitors Information Center of the Travel and Tourism Authority Webpage
or call 1-800-470-3790 or 828-479-3790 Fax 1-828-479-4733
This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina