Major James Thomas Watt HAIRSTON ID#114, b. 25 January 1835, d. 19 January 1908
Father*Hardin HAIRSTON b. 23 Oct 1786, d. 23 Oct 1862
Mother*Sarah "Sally" Stovall STAPLES1 b. 1 Oct 1791, d. 4 May 1845
Birth*Major James Thomas Watt HAIRSTON was born on 25 January 1835 in Old Fort, Patrick County, Virginia, the 1900 census shows Feburary as birth month.1,2,3 
He was the son of Hardin HAIRSTON and Sarah "Sally" Stovall STAPLES.1 
Census 1850Major James Thomas Watt HAIRSTON appeared on the 1850 census of Thomas B. BROOKS on 1 June 1850 in Lowndes County, Mississippi; Thomas B 34 GA, Sarah A 32 VA, Harriet E 15 MS (see Note), Mary T 4 MS, Hardin H 3 MS, James T W Brooks 15 VA (see Note), Samuel Thomas 45 SC (Overseer); Note: both Harriet and James were born 7 years before Thomas and Sarah were married and they are not listed in the Harden Bible with their other children. They could be from a previous relationship.4

CollegeJames Thomas Watt applied to West Point Military Academy in 1854 and 1855. 
College*Major James Thomas Watt HAIRSTON graduated college in 1858 in Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia.5 
Property*JTW received 8,000 acres in Lowndes County from his father, Hardin, after he graduated from VMI.6 
Census 1860He appeared on the 1860 census of Hardin HAIRSTON on 14 July 1860 in Lowndes County, Mississippi; Harden Hairston 73 - Planter, J.T.W Hairston 24 - Planter, J. H. Walker 35 - Negro Manager.7

MilitaryJames Thomas Watt Hairston - Captain, mustered 15 February 1861, at Crawfordsville, Mississippi, in the Prairie Guards. age 26. He was a graduate of the Virginia Military institute and was elected Captain of Company E on 26 April 1861.8

Military*Major & A.A.G.on Major General J.E.B. Stuart's Staff - Cayalry Division A.N. Virginia, Confederate States Army.5 
WillIn Hardin HAIRSTON's will dated 29 September 1862, Major James Thomas Watt HAIRSTON was named as an heir; Hardin Hairston left a will dated 29 September 1862, Lowndes County Courthouse, Mississippi, page 122. PDF transcript and a copy of will attached.9
MilitaryMajor J T W Hairston resigned as an officer in the calvary due to physical problems on 15 May 1863. He was the Division Provost Officer for Major General JEB Stuart. 
Census 1870*He appeared on the census of 18 June 1870 in Crawford, Lowndes County, Mississippi, J T W Hariston 35 born in Virginia, living alone.10

Marriage*He married Elizabeth Perkins HAIRSTON, daughter of Marshall HAIRSTON and Ann Marshall HAIRSTON, on 24 June 1873 in Beaver Creek Plantation, Henry Co., Virginia.1,11,3 
Census 1880Major James Thomas Watt HAIRSTON appeared on the 1880 census of Marshall HAIRSTON on 15 June 1880 in Martinsville, Henry County, Virginia; Marshal 77, Ann 77, Ann 40, James T Hairston 45 (married, son in law), Elizabeth 44 (married), Watt 3 (grand son.)12 
ProbateMajor James Thomas Watt HAIRSTON was mentioned in the probate of the estate of George HAIRSTON on 6 June 1885 in Lowndes County, Mississippi; Case No. 2019, Estate Files 2011-2051. A pdf copy is attached.13
Census 1900*Major James Thomas Watt HAIRSTON appeared on the census of 19 June 1900 in Lowndes County, Mississippi, J T W 65, E P 64, Watt H 23.2


HAIRSTON, GENERAL JAMES THOMAS WATT, of Martinsville, Henry county, Virginia, was born in Patrick county, Virginia, on the 25th of January, 1835. PeterHairston, the first American ancestor of that family name, came to this country in 1747, settling in Campbell county, Virginia. He had followed the fortunes of the Pretender; and he left Scotland after the battle of Culloden Moor (Note: The date and reference to battle is incorrect). On his mother's side, members of the Staples family came to America in 1638, settling in Massachusetts ; and in 1666 John Staples had removed to Virginia and married Miss Penn, of Patrick county, Virginia. His father, HardinHairston, was a planter and a manufacturer of tobacco in Virginia, and afterward a cotton planter in Mississippi, who served as quartermaster in the War of 1812 and was afterward associate- justice of Patrick county, Virginia ; — a "man of great energy, close attention to business, strict ideas, strong prejudices, and constant in his friendships." His mother's family (she was a Miss Perkins) had settled in Henrico county, Virginia, in 1620. HardinHairstonmarried Miss Sallie Stovall Staples, daughter of John Staples, of Henry county.
Their son, James Thomas WattHairston, passed his boyhood on his father's plantation; and because his health in his early boyhood was delicate, he devoted much time to athletic exercises and out-of-door life, throughout his youth and in his early man hood. He attended the schools within reach of his early home; and in them, with some assistance from private instructors, he was prepared for a course in civil and military engineering. He pursued such a course at the Virginia Military institute: and was graduated in 1858. In January, 1859, he established himself as a cotton planter, in Lowndes county, Mississippi, upon a plantation, and with a working force of slaves, given to him by his father.
In the Civil war he was in the Confederate service from the taking of Fort Barancas and the Navy Yard at Pensacola, serving as captain of the prairie guards. While the first Confederate Congress was in session, he was appointed second lieutenant in the Confederate States regular cavalry, stationed at Mont gomery, Alabama; and after this, he was employed by the state of Mississippi, mustering in troops for the Confederate service. On May 1st, 1861, he was mustered into the regular Confederate service at Lynchburg, Virginia, and was commissioned captain of Company E, 11th regiment Mississippi volunteers, and ordered to Harper's Ferry. In the Summer of 1861 a severe attack of fever, beginning July 2d, incapacitated him for field duty for four months, and he asked for service which he could discharge until he regained his strength. In October, 1861, he was made commandant of Libby prison, in Richmond, Virginia, holding that position until May, 1862. " The Blue and the Gray," a journal published at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, expressed high appreciation of Commandant Hairston’s treatment of the Federal prisoners while he was in command of Libby prison.
When he had recovered strength for active service, in May, 1862, he was ordered to report to General James E. B. Stuart, who was then operating on the Rappahannock. He was ap pointed inspector of outposts, and afterward inspector and acting adjutant general of the division, remaining on General Stuart's staff for nearly two years, for a part of the time acting as chief of staff; and he took part in all the battles fought by General Stuart during that time. Early in 1864, he suffered a severe attack of rheumatism and was compelled to ask a transfer to a point farther in the South; and there he served during the year 1864 and until the surrender of the Confederate troops there in July, 1865.
Since the close of the war he has continued his business as a cotton planter in Mississippi. His plantation, called "Hairston," which was named after and inherited from his father, is situated near Crawford and contains about eight thousand acres of land. He removed to Virginia in 1889, and located at Beaver Creek where he has a fine farm of about four thousand acres, and is largely interested in the cultivation of tobacco.
On the 24th of June, 1873, he married Miss Elizabeth PerkinsHairston, daughter of Marshall and AnnHairstonof Henry county, Virginia. They have had two children, one of whom is now (1907) living.General Hairstonhas never held any political or civil office, nor has he ever sought office. In his political associations he is identified with the Democratic party, and he never swerved from allegiance to the party of his choice. By religious conviction as well as by early training, he is connected with the Protestant Episcopal church. He is a Mason. He is a member of the Elks. As a young man he was fond of athletic sports. For the last fifteen years he has been an invalid, and has found his only exercise and recreation in driving a motor car.
To the young men of Virginia he offers this advice : " Truth fulness and honesty, with close attention to business, will insure success for almost any man."
The address of GeneralHairstonis Martinsville, Henry County, Virginia.
From: Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, 1853-1935. Men of Mark In Virginia: Ideals of American Life; a Collection of Biographies of the Leading Men In the State.Washington: Men of Mark Pub. Co., 1906.6

The Columbus Commercial, March 12, 1907. 
Death*He died on 19 January 1908 in Lowndes County, Mississippi, at age 72.1,5,11,14 
Burial*He was buried in Beaver Creek Plantation, Henry County, Virginia.15,5 


Elizabeth Perkins HAIRSTON b. 29 Feb 1836, d. 24 Apr 1922

Sources (

  1. [S55] Harden Hairston Family Bible, 1750-1908. The Holy Bible containing The Old & New Testaments: Translated Out of the Original Tongues,.....J. Holbrook's Sterotype Copy., Eighth Edition, Brattleborough, (Vt.), 1817, Library of Virginia -
  2. [S1900] 1900 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
  3. [S3044] Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.
  4. [S1850] 1850 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
  5. [S30] Trout, Robert J., They Followed the Plume The Story of J.E.B. Stuart and His Staff, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, 1993, Personal Collection - printed book.
  6. [S28] Hairston, Peter Wilson - The Stories of Beaver Creek as Gleaned from Family Letters and Records, 2003, Personal Collection - printed book.
  7. [S1860] 1860 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
  8. [S3458] Howell, H. Grady Jr., For Dixie Land I'll Take My Stand, A muster listing of All Known Mississippi Confederate Soldiers, Sailors and Marines,, unknown repository.
  9. [S271] Will of Hardin Hairston - 29 Sep 1862, Lowndes County Will Book #1, page 122. Mississippi Probate Records, 1781-1930," images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), Lowndes > Wills 1847-1889 vol 1 > image 82 of 341; county courthouses and public libraries, Mississippi., Lowndes County Courthouse,.
  10. [S1870] 1870 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
  11. [S249] George Hairston Family Bible - 1750-1916, Peter Hairston Bible - 1750-1928, The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Translated Out of the Original Greek: and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. Cooperstown, (N.Y.) Sterotyped, Printed and Published by H. & E. Phinney, 1829., Library of Virginia -
  12. [S1880] 1880 Federal Census - National Archives and Records Administration - and
  13. [S3317] Lowndes County Chancery Court Records, Lowndes County Courthouse,.
  14. [S3500] Bible - Marshall Hairston 1750, owned by Mrs. Anne Covington of "Beavercreek" transcribed by Mrs. Lillian Schwertz and printed in "Local History & Genealogical Society" Volume VII, March 1961, Number 1. (NOTE: There are several errors in this transcription.), Family Search, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  15. [S15] Beaver Creek Plantation Cemetery, Henry County, Virginia.
Last Edited23 Nov 2021