Roger Merritt :: Online
A Brief Family History

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  • Floyd E. Merritt (my father): Born in Coffee County, TN, near Summitville. He was the ninth child out of a family of eleven children. When he was a young boy, the family moved to Tullahoma, where he grew up till he finished high school in 1955. Dad was very active in sports in high school, lettering in three sports. As a young man, Dad worked for four summers in Iowa as a laborer, and served in the National Guard. After graduating from high school, Dad worked for a while at the Arnold Engineering Development Center, near Tullahoma, with some of the best computer technology of that time, but decided to pursue an education at the University of Tennessee, where he attended one year and then transferred to David Lipscomb College. Dad spent 38 years as a college Speech teacher, and retired in December 2000. His B.A. is from David Lipscomb College, 1961; M.A. from Kansas University, 1964; and Ph.D. from Ohio State University, 1973. Dad was a professor at Eastern Illinois University (located in Charleston, IL) in the Speech Department from 1970 until the end of fall semester 2000. Before teaching at EIU, he taught at Ohio State University, Ohio University, Alabama Christian College (Faulkner University), and Kansas University. Dad has traveled to the United Kingdom three times, in 1987, 1993 and 2004, and went to Greece, Crete and Turkey for five weeks on sabbatical leave in 1995. For many years Dad was a patient and longsuffering Chicago Cubs fan. His hobbies were coin detecting, reading, hiking, and spending time babysitting his granddaughters. Life for Dad took a different turn in 2013, and he went on to live for ten months in assisted living, and died on March 14th, 2014, at Life Care Center, in Tullahoma, TN.

  • Betty D. (Hix) Merritt (my mother): Born in Bedford County, TN, near Flat Creek. Mom grew up on a farm in rural Bedford County, and has two brothers. She graduated from Shelbyville High School in 1956, and attended a couple years at David Lipscomb College, until Mom and Dad were married in 1959. Mom has been a homemaker for most of her married life. Mom & Dad lived in Charleston, IL from 1970 till 2001, but moved to Tullahoma, TN in March 2001, to be closer to family.

  • Roger A. Merritt: Born in Olathe, Kansas, near Kansas City, KS. We only lived in Kansas until Dad finished graduate school (1964). Then, we moved to Montgomery, AL, for about three years (1964-1967). My first childhood memories are from there, but then we moved to Athens, OH, in 1967 for a year, and then Columbus, OH, in 1968. I went to kindergarten and first grade in Columbus. Then we moved to Charleston, IL, in 1970, where I attended second grade through high school. I graduated from Charleston High School in May 1981. I am thankful to have lived in Charleston during this period of time, because it was an ideal town to grow up in, in many ways, and I learned to tolerate cold weather. I'm also thankful to my parents for exposing me to cultural events at the university, such as theater, musicals, symphonies, political speeches, sports, etc. I then attended David Lipscomb College in Nashville, TN, from 1981-1986. I was a summer youth minister in Mocksville, NC, in 1984, and in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1985. After graduation, I went to live in London, England for two years, then Nashville for two years, and then I went back to London for three and a half years. I met Linda in 1991, in London, and we were married in 1992. We lived in South Norwood, London, for just about two years, and shortly after Linda graduated from Nursing School, we moved to Tennessee in March 1994. For the first year we lived on my Grandmother's farm at Raus, in Bedford County, which was sort of a dream come true for me personally, and I started working at Motlow College in August. We decided to move a relatively short distance, to Tullahoma, TN in 1995. I started this home page in late 1996. We bought a house in 1997, and have been there ever since. I started graduate school at MTSU in 1998, and Reanna was born in 2000. I graduated with a MS in Mass Communication at MTSU in 2002. We made a long-overdue visit to London and Berlin in summer of 2004. I enjoy sightseeing at places that are historically significant, and outdoor activities, such as hiking and bicycling. For more, see my sections on Travels, and Interests.

  • Linda Merritt: Born in San Fernando, Trinidad. Linda grew up in Trinidad & Tobago and attended primary and secondary school there. She was a government employee in the capitol building in Port of Spain, in the Vital Statistics Department for four years. She attended Kingston & Epsom School of Nursing, in England from 1991-1994. She has been a Registered Nurse at Harton Hospital since 1996. Linda & Roger were married in April of 1992, and live in Tullahoma, Tennessee. We have made several trips to Trinidad & Tobago.

  • Reanna L. Merritt (our daughter): born 2000 in Tullahoma, TN. Reanna is developing quite a personality. She loves school, and is progressing into 12th grade at Tullahoma High School. Her favorite activities are Show Choir, Girl Scouts, Cheerleading, and the church youth group. Reanna has visited ten foreign countries, about 30 states, and D.C.

  • Melanie Neal (my sister): Born in Ohio, and grew up in Charleston, IL. Attended college for a few years, 1988-1992. Melanie is an art lover. She married Michael Shane Neal, in 1994. Shane graduated from DLU in 1991, with a degree in Art. Shane is a professional artist. Melanie and Shane have two daughters, and live in Nashville, TN. Visit Shane's Official Website.

See family portrait made in 1999
See photo of Roger at nine months of age
See photo of Mom, Dad and Roger at about two and a half years old

Merritt Genealogy:

  • Roger Alan Merritt born in Olathe, Kansas
  • Floyd Ernest Merritt (born 1936) in Coffee County, TN
  • Ernest Steve Merritt (1898-1985) born in Cannon Co., and died in Coffee Co., TN; buried in Concord Cemetery, north of Tullahoma
  • Benjamin Madison Merritt (1853-1929) born in Cannon Co., and moved to Coffee Co., TN in about 1901; buried in Farrar Hill Cemetery, NW of Manchester, TN
  • John Merritt (1830-1914) first paternal ancestor born in TN (possibly in McMinn Co.); grew up around Woodbury, in Cannon Co., and moved to Normandy, in Bedford Co., TN, around 1880; died and buried near Normandy, TN
  • Thomas Merritt (1791-?) born in NC; came to TN around 1827-1830, first to McMinn Co., and then to Woodbury, in Cannon Co.; burial place unknown
  • William Merritt (possibly born in 1760's; possibly died in 1820's in NC)

This is just the bare bones of my ancestry as far as we know it. The original research was made by a relative of mine, named Ruby Crook, of Houston, TX. I have done some additional research on my genealogy to fill in some of the gaps. I am pretty sure that my ancestors came from England, but I don't know when, or from where, exactly. They seem to have first settled in Virginia, then moved to North Carolina for a while, and then moved to Tennessee, possibly to McMinn County, in the late 1820's, and on to Cannon County by 1840, for sure. I have been to what is possibly my ancestor's original farm in Cannon County, or at least an early one. It is just about a mile NE of Woodbury. Before migrating to Tennessee a lot of Merritt's settled in north-central NC for some reason, and it is hard to distinguish them from one another in the census records. It is certain that my ancestors have lived in the Tennessee Counties of McMinn, Cannon, Bedford and Coffee (in that order) since they came to Tennessee. Their main occupation was farming until the early 1940's.

I have been to the town of Merriott, England, in Somerset County, which was founded in the 1100's. It is only a village (mentioned in the Doomsday book), but it is a lovely place. Merriott is either of Anglo-Saxon origin, from "Maergeat," meaning "boundary gate," or it is of Norman origin, coming from a place in Normandy (northern France). Which means we may have descended from the Normans, but we could have come from anywhere in southern England. According to the records, nearly all the Merritt's in England have resided in the southern counties, from Somerset to London (especially Hampshire and Wiltshire), for centuries. The Normans ruled England from 1066 to 1154, roughly. While the most likely theory is that we were British, there is the possibility that we descended from the French Huguenots who fled France in 1685, or thereafter, to find religious freedom in America. In that case our name would probably still be Merriott, but you never know. The true origin of our Merritt ancestry is a mystery that I would love to solve!

Merriott parish churchThis is the Merriott parish church in Somerset, England. Linda and I visited this small parish church on our honeymoon trip to Devon in April 1992. A lot of Merritt's have signed the visitor's book inside, from North America, who were researching their family genealogy.

Maternal Genealogy:

  • Betty Delle (Hix) Merritt (born 1938) in Bedford Co., TN
  • Runa Duggin Hix (1908-1990) lived in Bedford Co., TN
  • Bradford Earl Hix (1881-1976) lived in Bedford Co., TN; I remember him pretty well
  • Joshua Wilson Hix (1854-1902) lived in Bedford Co., TN
  • William Penn Hix my first maternal ancestor born in TN (1811-1893); lived in Bedford Co.
  • John Hix Jr. born in Virginia; came to Bedford Co., TN in 1810; b. unknown d. between 1813-1820
  • John Hix Sr. (?-1804) lived in Virginia till his death, as far as we know

This information was researched by Wright W. Frost, a relative of my maternal grandparents. He died in the early 1970's, in Knoxville, TN. It is not known when or where the Hix ancestors came to America, but they apparently settled in Virginia first, and then moved to Tennessee in 1810, which was very early, indeed. I think it is noteworthy that my Hix ancestors have lived in Bedford County continuously since 1810! They were most likely of English origin, but we do not know where in England. Frost thought they might have come from south-west England (Cornwall to the lower Cotswold Hills), based on the knowledge that most Hix and Hicks came from that area. If that is true, it is possible that both sides of my family (Hix and Merritt) came from roughly the same area of England.

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