Written by Dr. Tim Hudson
Alexander Wilson Upshaw was born about 1826 in Walton Co., GA, the son of Richard Upshaw and Rebecca Elder. Little is known about his early life as his father left very few records. It appears they lived in Walton County until about 1840, and sometime between 1840 and 1850 Richard Upshaw died. By 1850 Rebecca Elder Upshaw and her younger children were living in Butler Co., AL near Leroy Upshaw, Jr., who was either her brother-in-law or her husband’s uncle.
Alexander Wilson Upshaw married Zilleann Frances Barron in 1847, in either Macon or Tallapoosa Co., AL. She was born in Jones Co., GA in 1824, the daughter of Henry Barron and Sarah Callaway. Her family had lived in Jones, Monroe, and Upson Counties, GA until 1833, when they moved to Alabama. In 1848 Henry Barron moved his family to Tallapoosa Co., AL and Alexander and Zilleann lived with them. In early 1852, Henry and Sarah Barron sold their farm in Tallapoosa County and moved to Union Par., LA. Alexander Wilson bought a portion of Henry’s farm in 1853, located in the Camp Creek community, on Cornie Bayou a few miles south of Spearsville.
Alexander Wilson Upshaw joined the Confederate Army in the spring of 1863 and his unit participated in the Battles of Grand Gulf and Port Gibson, Mississippi in May, 1863. He was present during the siege of Vicksburg and surrendered with Confederate forces on 4 July 1863. His brothers William Elisha and Jonathan W. Upshaw both joined the same company and were sent east in 1861. Elisha survived the war, but Jonathan was impaled with a sword by a Yankee cavalryman in a South Carolina battle in July 1862. He lived for several weeks afterwards, cared for by a local family until he died.
A. W. Upshaw was a Primitive Baptist, and a deacon of New Hope Primitive Baptist Church in Spearsville, Louisiana. He is the earliest recorded member of that church; he was a member of it as early as 1856, although almost certainly his father-in-law Henry Barron was one of the founding members. The surviving minutes show that Upshaw served the church as moderator during the 1870’s on occasions in which there was no minister present.
Ironically, both A. W. Upshaw and Z. F. Barron Upshaw used both of their given names
interchangeably throughout their lives, known at various times as “Alexander W. Upshaw”, “Wilson A. Upshaw”, “Zilleann F. Upshaw”, and “Frances Z. Upshaw”.
Alexander Wilson Upshaw died 11 Feb 1883. Zilleann Frances Barron Upshaw continued to live on their farm and she maintained a household until the mid-1890s. No record of her date of death has been located. She was alive in 1895, but was dead by 1899.