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MURRAY COUNTRY FAMILIES

E. O. Stafford, Physician


JE. O. Stafford, physician, living at Dennis, is one of Murray county's leading physicians. He is a native of Sevier county, Tenn., where he was born in 1834. In 1846 he moved with his parents to Georgia, settling first in Chattooga and later in Dade county, where he grew to manhood.

The father of Dr. Stafford was Mathew A. Stafford, born in North Carolina, who was a son of Henry Stafford, of Virginia. Mathew married Sally M. Smith in Tennessee, reared a family and died in that state about 1857.

Dr. Stafford was educated in the common schools of the country and at Sulphur Springs academy, Alabama. He taught in the common schools for a time, but having manifested a strong desire to engage in the practice of medicine, he resolved to prepare himself for that profession. In 1855 he entered the medical department of the university of Georgia at Augusta, where he pursued a course of study until the autumn of 1856, when he entered the Nashville (Tenn.) Medical college, and was graduated from that institution in the spring of 1857.

Immediately thereafter he commenced the practice of his profession in Marion count}', Tenn., where he continued to reside until the first year of the late war of 1861-65. He enlisted in Company H, Third Tennessee cavalry, of which company he was made first lieutenant and afterward captain. His regiment was attached to Gen. Forrest's brigade, that was organized at Murfreesboro, Tenn., in 1862.

He saw active service during the. Tennessee and Kentucky campaign of 1862-63, and fought at Mumfordville, Perryville, Fort Donelson, Shiloh and many other places. In 1862-63 he participated in the celebrated raid made by Gen. Forrest over the Mobile & Ohio railroad and fought during this raid at the battle of Lexington, Tenn., and other engagements. In this raid more than 200 miles of railroad were destroyed from below Grand Junction to Union City and more than 5,000 Federals made prisoners of war.

He was again engaged under Gen. Forrest at the battle of Spring Hill, Tenn., both followed and preceded by active skirmishing. His command covered Bragg's retreat from Tullahoma to Chattanooga, and in September, 1863, he fought at the great battle of Chickamauga. In May, 1863, he participated in the pursuit and capture of Gen. Strait and his command near Rome, Ga. The object of this raid of the Federal force of 2,500 cavalry was the destruction of the arsenals and cap factories at Rome and Atlanta. As senior captain, Dr. Stafford commanded the advance guard of Gen. Forrest's brigade during this running fight. The pursuit commenced at Moulton, Ala., and continued for five days and nights, in which there were quite a number of engagements, and resulted in the capture of Gen. Strait and his forces at the widow Lawrence's, twenty-three miles west of Rome.

During the pursuit and just before the capture the advance guard, under command of Capt. Stafford, arrived at a stream in the immediate rear of Strait's forces. The stream was swollen, and the bridge had just been destroyed by the Federals and was still burning and falling in. Capt. Stafford realizing that immediate action was necessary, hastened back to an adjoining residence, some three or four hundred yards, where he inquired of a young girl sixteen years old, a Miss Sansum, whether the stream could be safely forded anywhere near by, as it was dangerous swimming at the bridge. During the conversation Gen. Forrest and his command came up at double quick time. The young lady pointed out a fording place a half mile distant. She was invited by Gen. Forrest to direct the course of the troops, and leaping upon the horse of Gen. Forrest, she rode behind him, and soon succeeded in piloting over the stream the entire command, an event which resulted a few hours later in the capture and surrender of Gen. Strait and all of his forces.

In the fall of 1863 Dr. Stafford retired from the service in the Confederate army. Being in constant danger of capture by lawless and marauding bands, he surrendered himself to the Federals soon after, and was appointed surgeon of the First Vidette cavalry, United States volunteers, where he served for nearly a year.

At the close of the war he settled in Murray county, Ga., where during the past thirty years he has been actively engaged in the practice of his profession, in which he has risen to eminence, and enjoys a high reputation as a skillful physician and surgeon. His practice at one time was very large and extended over a good portion of the counties of Murray, Whitfield, Gorden, Pickens and Gilmer. He is an active man of affairs in Murray county, and took an active part in the suppression of white-capism in 1894-95.

He is a master Mason, and a member of the Methodist church south. Dr. Stafford is the father of four children, two of whom are living: Laura M., wife of James G. Prigmore, of South Pittsburg, Tenn., and Emmie O., a recent graduate of the Dalton Female college, in the class of 1894.

Note this was written in 1895 from Memoirs of Georgia, 1895.

 



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