Surname Saturday: Dugger

For my Surname Saturday posts, I will be going in the order of my ahnetafel number system.  The person with the number two is my dad, Thomas Dugger.

2. Thomas Dugger

4. Herbert Hoover Dugger (1928 – 2003)

5. Nancy Jean Rogers (1924 – 2002)

8. Monroe Dugger (1885 – 1951)

9. Matilda E. Clawson (1886 – 1936)

16. Benjamin Smith Dugger (1835 -1885)

17. Charlotte Asher (1843 – ?)

Benjamin Smith Dugger is where things begin to get complicated.  So let me explain:

Benjamin Dugger and Charlotte Asher were married in the early 1860s in Johnson County, Tennessee.

Benjamin is then listed as joining the Confederate Army in 1861 in Company K, 1st Infantry Regiment, Tennessee.  Journals and diaries written by others in the county during this time period suggest that many men in the area were “forced” into the Confederate Army.  The diaries describe as a group of men from western Tennessee come into the county to enlist men into the Confederate Army.  Since Johnson County and many surrounding counties in this area were Union leaning, many did not want to join.  So group of men from western Tennessee began to threaten the people of Johnson County and even burned one house to the ground.

According to the Civil War service records on, I know that Benjamin Smith Dugger was serving for the Confederates in January and February of 1864.  On February 18, 1864, Benjamin Smith Dugger enlisted into the Confederate Army for the duration of the war.  However, he is listed as being sick and in the hospital.  Benjamin is also listed on the muster rolls for April 30th – August 31st, 1864 and is still listed as being sick and in the hospital.  He appears on the muster rolls for September and October of 1864 but is once again listed as sick and in the hospital.  Finally, Benjamin Smith Dugger appears on the muster rolls for November and December of 1864 – still sick and in the hospital.  This muster roll also lists Benjamin as having never been paid.

Meanwhile, in Johnson County, Tennessee, Charlotte gives birth to a daughter, Sarah Dugger.  Sarah is born in 1864 – which leads to another question: is Benjamin Smith Dugger the father of Sarah?  Since Benjamin had never been paid, it is easy to assume that Charlotte was probably struggling financially.

But the plot only thickens…

By 1870, Benjamin is found in the 1870 census as living in Union Township, Pendleton County, West Virginia – and he has a new family.  Benjamin now has a new wife, Rachel Lantz (she also went by Rachel Graham).  He also has a son, Benjamin Smith Dugger, Jr.

In 1880, Benjamin is found on the 1880 census as living in Mill Run, Pendleton County, West Virginia.  He is still married to Rachel and has added to his family: Bert Dugger (b: about 1870), John Dugger (b: about 1870), Scott Dugger (b: 10 Jun 1872), Ashby Dugger (b: about 1877),  and William Dugger ( b: about 1879).

But what happens to poor Charlotte?  Well, Charlotte is found in the 1870 census living with her mother, Louisa, in Johnson County, Tennessee.  She has a total of two children: Sarah Dugger (b: about 1864) and William L. Dugger (b: about 1868).  Living next door to Charlotte is Elijah Bunton – a man who is rumored to have been the father of some of her children.  My source for this is an elderly lady that I met in Johnson County, Tennessee while I was visiting my Grandpa when I was 13.  I wish I had taken more descriptive and detailed notes of our conversation, but I did not know better at the time.

Charlotte is also found in the 1880 census in Carter County, Tennessee.  She now has three more children: Mary Dugger (b: about 1874), John M. Dugger (b: about 1876), and Nathaniel Dugger (b: May 1880).  John and Nathaniel are listed as having father’s born in North Carolina.

Is it possible that Benjamin Smith Dugger is the father of all (or part) or Charlotte’s children?  It is incredibly unlikely and the only way to know the answer to this question is a series of DNA tests from descendants of both Benjamin Smith Dugger (from his second marriage) and Charlotte – and then compare the results.

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One response to “Surname Saturday: Dugger

  1. Yes, it would be incredibly easy to compare the DNA of any male descendants of these two lines. However, I would recommend to test even descendants of the male siblings of each family as well, as it seems like Charlotte might have “gotten around.” In other words, I would test descendants of Charlotte’s sons William (b. 1868), John M (b. 1876), and Nathaniel Dugger (b. 180) to make sure all 3 of them had the same father (whoever that might have been); then I would test descendants of Rachel’s sons – Benjamin Smith, Bert, John, Scott, and William Dugger, although because Benjamin is actually enumerated with this family, I don’t believe his parentage is in question as much as it was with Charlotte’s sons so you might be able to get away with just testing one of Rachel’s sons.

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