|ZERELDA ALLEY CONNER
Zerelda Alley was born December 1835 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. She was the oldest of twelve children born to Henry Alley and Elizabeth Spicer. Henry Alley was a well-to-do brick maker in the city of Nashville. Zerelda had some education and was able to read and write English.
On December 30, 1856 in the City of Nashville, Zerelda Alley married Edmund P. Conner. Edmund was a son of Abednego and Lennis Ferguson Conner from Appomattox, Virginia. Edmund was one of sixteen children born to Abednego and Lennis and had migrated to Nashville between 1850 and 1856 along with his younger brother John R. Conner. Both Edmund and John were brick masons so that was probably how Zerelda met Edmund since her father Henry was a brick maker.
It seems that after the Conner's arrived in Tennessee, their name shows as Connor with an "or" instead of "er" on various documents. I'm not sure why the difference in spelling.
Edmund and Zerelda had five children in nine years, (1) Henry, born about 1858 and died April 29, 1873. (2) Lenice, born October 10, 1860 and died January 22, 1940; she married Walter S. Williams who was also a brick mason, and they had ten children: Alva, Eugene, Edward, Rena, Kate, Ira, Randle, Jesse, Hadley, and Nellie Williams. (3) Ira, born about 1862 and died August 29, 1899; he was married twice, first to Louise McCollum who died in 1890. Secondly, Ira married Carrie Vashti Tucker in 1894. Ira was known as a singer and also worked in the coal business. (4&5) There were two infants born to Zerelda and Edmund that died prior to 1870.
Edmund Conner died in 1865 from consumption, leaving Zerelda alone after only a nine year marriage. The 1873 Nashville City Directory shows Mrs. Zerelda Connor, widow of Edmund, living at 428 S. College. She also shows up in several other city directories as Zerelda Conner, still living at the 428 S. College address. By the 1900 census for Davidson County, Tennessee, Zerelda is living with her daughter Lenice and son-in-law Walter Williams. It read that Zerelda had five children and only one is living, that being Lenice.
Zerelda must have had a sad life as there was so much death in her family. She lost her husband and four children in such a short amount of time. Zerelda never remarried, and died June 3, 1910 from old age in Nashville and is buried in the Nashville City Cemetery. Following her death in 1910, a notation was made on the City Cemetery 1908 Plat map which identified the location of her tombstone in Section 11 Lot 23. Her tombstone inscription "Mrs. Z. Connor 1835-1910" was listed in the 1911 Supplement of Inscriptions and in 1971 Garrett's Inscriptions. Since 1971, her tombstone has been lost to weather and time.
Sketch by Jo Pace. April 16, 2013