About William Israel Standefer
William Israel Standifer (1801) (sometimes incorrectly referred to as William J. Standifer) graduated from Blount College in Knoxville and was a lawyer in Jasper (population 180) in 1830.29 He was married and had at least one son, Lieutenant Leroy Standifer who was killed when Chattanooga, Hamilton County, was shelled by Federals.30 He was one of the first trustees of the Sam Houston Academy in Jasper in 1832.31 He was Deputy Clerk from 1831 to 1833 and Circuit Court Clerk for Marion Co. from 1834 to 1835.
"In early stages of Cherokee Removal in May 1836, a company was mustered in for duty from both Marion and Bledsoe Counties. Capt W. I. Standifer led 56 Marion Co. men and Capt. Scott Terry led 74 Bledsoe Co. men. They were to prevent disorders from breaking out among the Cherokees, who stoutly resisted the execution of the treaty. The volunteers, along with the regular federal troops then on the scene, found this task most distasteful. Not only were they sympathetic to the Cherokees but soon they learned that it was the Indians who needed protection from the riff-raff that gathered to profit from the Indians’ dilemma."32
William was a Tennessee State Representative, serving in the 23rd and 24th General Assemblies from 1839 to 1843.33 William Israel also fought in the Mexican War in 1846. He organized a company and went with it to Mexico in 1846 and served as a captain throughout the war. He was mustered in at Chattanooga 18 Jun 1846 to Company G, 2nd Tenn. Infantry and mustered out at New Orleans, LA 25 May 1847. He donated property and was a trustee of the Masonic Academy in Harrison, TN in 1848 (this later became the first location of Chattanooga Central High School) and was Clerk and Master of Chancery Court in Hamilton Co from 1845-1861. He lived in Chattanooga when the Civil War broke out and was in active sympathy with the Confederacy. He participated in capturing James Andrews of the Andrews’ Raiders who had escaped from prison after being arrested for sabotaging the Confederate railroad by burning bridges and cutting telegraph lines. The Andrew’s Raiders stole the locomotive, General, and were in the famous Civil War chase from Marietta to Chattanooga.
When the Federal Army of Occupation entered Chattanooga, it became known that William was to be arrested and some friends managed his escape by loading a rowboat with food and putting him off in the night from the Chattanooga Wharf. 34 He later moved back to the Sequatchie Valley and was a charter member of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Mt. Airy which was founded 7 Oct 1882. He gave a watch that he carried in the Mexican War to his great nephew, William Israel Standifer (born June 1882 - his namesake).35 In 1887, he was living at Mt. Airy and drawing $8/month pension for serving in the Mexican War. The date of his death and the place of burial are not know.
Citations for this article:
29. Elizabeth Robnett, Bledsoe County TN - A History, 146
30. Biographical directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Vol. I 1796-1861
31. Sequatchie, A Story of the Southern Cumberlands, 111
32. Ibid., 119-120
33. Biographical directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Vol I 1796-1861
34. Chattanooga's Story, 70, 99
35. Conversation with James Standifer
From Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Vol. I, 1796-1861, Nashville, 1975, pp.692-93
- Contributed by Jim Standifer
Standifer, William I. (1801- ?)
HOUSE, 23rd and 24th General Assemblies, 1839-43; representing Hamilton County in 23rd, Hamilton and Marion counties in 24th; Whig. Born, probably in Virginia, in 1801; son of James and Patsy (Standifer); exact date and place of birth not found. Graduated from Blount College, Knoxville, Knox County. Married but name of wife, date and place of marriage not found; among other children was Lieutenant Leroy Standifer who was killed when Chattanooga, Hamilton County, was shelled by Federals. Date when subject came to Hamilton County and his occupation not found. Was a trustee of Masonic Academy at its founding in 1848. Clerk and master of chancery court. Hamilton County, 1845-1861. In 2nd Seminole War; enlisted at Ross Landing, soon to be Chattanooga, November 6, 1837, as private in Captain Sanders Farris' Company, Colonel William Lauderdale's Regiment, Tennessee Mounted Spies; in Mexican War; recruited company first known as Captain Stanifer's Company but became Company G, 2nd Tennessee Infantry; mustered in at Chattanooga June 18, 1846; mustered out at New Orleans, Louisiana, May 25, 1847. Date of death and place of burial not found. Son of James Standifer, sometime member Tennessee General Assembly.
[Sources: Chattanooga Times, November 27, 1877; Armstrong, History of Hamilton County and Chattanooga, I, 116, 180, 190, 320; II, 160; Goodspeed, History of Hamilton County, 816, 865; Moore and Foster, Tennessee, The Volunteer State, II, 355-56; U. S. Census, 1860, 1870, Hamilton County; files, Second Seminole War, roll 6, both in Tennessee Archives; information supplied by Miss Sarah L. Scarborough, Chattanooga.]
Note from Jim Standifer: In addition to the use of the term "Captain Standifer's Company" in 1846, it was also used in 1836. Captain Standifer's Company and Captain Terry's Company were volunteers who assisted the federal troops in the removal of the Cherokees in May 1836. Captain Standifer's Company was led by William Israel Standifer and it was made up of 56 Marion County men. Captain Terry's Company was made up of 74 Bledsoe County men. An interesting point here is that William Israel Standifer's brother, Skelton Carroll Standifer, who lived in Bledsoe County was a Corporal in Captain Terry's Company.
Jim sites from the Sequatchie, A Story of the Southern Cumberlands: "In early stages of Cherokee Removal in May 1836, a company was mustered in for duty from both Marion and Bledsoe Counties. Captain W. I. Standifer led 56 Marion County men and Captain Scott Terry lead 74 Bledsoe County men. They were to prevent disorders from breaking out among the Cherokees, who stoutly resisted the execution of the treaty. The volunteers along with the regular federal troops then on the scene found this task most distasteful. Not only were they sympathetic to the Cherokees but soon they learned that it was the Indians who needed protection from the riff-raft that gathered to profit from their dilemma."