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The Search for Samuel Ebzan Love (Sr.)

Beveryly Loomis' Notes on his life.

  • In searching for the parents of William Walter (“Bill”) Love, we knew only that Bill was born about 1874 in Tennessee, and a family story that Bill’s father had been married twice and had 16 children. 

    The search started with census records.  The 1880 census in Knoxville, Tennessee, lists 6-year old William W. Love as a son of Sam Love, age 50, and Sarah E. Love, age 33.  There are 7 children in the 1880 household. 

    Eventually, research revealed that Sam Love’s full name was Samuel Ebzan Love and he was born in Limestone Springs, Greene County, Tennessee about 1827.  He may have been named after his grandfather.  He usually went by his middle name, Ebzan or “Eb.”  His occupation was blacksmith.  Ebzan’s parents were John Love (born 1793 in Pennsylvania) and Nancy Rinehart (born 1793 in Virginia).  His parents’ families are believed to have moved to Tennessee after it beccme a state and unclaimed lands were being sold off at nominal fees in the early 1800s.

    A search of marriage records show that “E. Love” and Sarah E. Darnell (also known as Sallie) were married on February 13, 1866 in Grainger County, Tennessee.  Sarah’s parents were William Darnell (born 1817) and Ruth Hodges (born 1821)of Tennessee.

    The marriage to Sarah was Ebzan’s 2nd marriage.  He had first been married to Emma Bailey.  They married on October 4, 1852 in Madison County, North Carolina.  Emma died between 1862 and 1865.  The 1860 census shows Ebzan living with Emma in Madison County, North Carolina with the following children:

    • 1.  Nancy E. Love, age 6, born about 1854 in Tennessee
    • 2.  John H. Love, age 4, born about 1856 in Tennessee
    • 3.  James Love, age 3, born about 1857 in North Carolina
    • 4.  Virginia (misspelled Fergena) Love, age 1, born about 1859 in North Carolina

    Between the time of the 1860 census and Emma's death a few years later, two additional children were born:

    • 5.  Ebzan Love, Jr., born Sept. 1860 in North Carolina (railroad engineer for L & N Railroad in Alabama), married Alice Paralee Shelby, died 1917
    • 6.  Edwin Love, born about 1862 in North Carolina

    After Emma’s death, Ebzan married Sarah E. Darnell (our line) on February 13,  1866. The 1870 census in Grainger County, Tennessee shows Ebzan living with Sarah, the above 6 children from Ebzan’s first marriage, plus an additional 2 of their own:

    • 7.  Margaret C. Love, born 11 Feb 1867 in North Carolina, married Anthony Monget Odom, died 1947.  (Margaret's death certificate verifies her parents as Ebzan Love and Sallie Darnell.)
    • 8.  Milton Love, born about 1869 in North Carolina (probably named after Sarah's brother.)

    Ten years later, the 1880 Tennessee census shows the Love household now includes Sarah's widowed mother, Ruth Darnell, and 5 more children: 

    • 9.  Mary J. Love, born about 1871 in Tennessee
    • 10.  Correen Augusta Love (known as Gussie), born 16 June 1872 in Tennessee, married James Houston Breazeale, died 1928
    • 11.  William W. Love, born 1874 in Tennessee, married  Myrtle Dot O’Ryan, died 1949 (our line)
    • 12.  Musiadora Love, born about 1877 in Tennessee
    • 13.  Charles Darnell Love, born 22 May 1878 in Tennessee, married Lillian Riley Keenum, died 1938

    Interestingly (and helpfully), Ebzan was counted twice in the 1880 census, once in Tennessee with his family (listed as Sam Love), and a short time later by himself in Springville, St. Clair County, Alabama (listed as Ebzan Love), about 30 miles from Birmingham.  The Ebzan Love in Alabama in 1880 was living alone, age 53, born in Tennessee, occupation blacksmith, unemployed 3 months out of last 12, father born in Pennsylvania, mother born in Virginia.  It had to be the same person.

    Ebzan undoubtedly went to Alabama in search of better work opportunities.  In the 1880s Birmingham was a booming industrial city.  There were railways, coal mining, and metallurgic industries.  Many companies were producing iron.  There would have been many opportunities for a blacksmith. 

    By 1888, city directories show his son Ebzan Jr., was also living there and working as a railroad engineer.

    Ebzan Sr. found work in Birmingham as a blacksmith and soon sent for his family.  There is reportedly a photo of him in a book on the early history of Birmingham, standing in front of his blacksmith shop.

    Sarah joined Ebzan in Alabama and 2 more children were born:

    • 14.  Eugene Moore Love, born 18 February 1885 in Alabama
    • 15.  Clyde Carl Love, born August 1887 in Alabama, married 1st Louise Hammond, 2nd Lucy Parsons, died 1956 (10 children)

    Sarah died November 21, 1895, in her mid-40s.  The 1900 census shows “Ebyan” Love as a widower, with only the two youngest children, Eugene and Clyde, still at home. 

    The total proven child count for Ebzan adds up to 15, pretty close to the family story number of 16. 

    Ebzan filed a lawsuit in Madison County, North Carolina that went to the Supreme Court of North Carolina in 1854.  The case involved a verbal agreement Ebzan claimed he had with Philip Nielson to build a sawmill on the French Broad River on Neilson’s property at their joint expense, after which Ebzan would become co-owner of the mill.  Ebzan claimed he built the mill but Neilson then reneged on the arrangment.  Ebzan was granted reimbursement of his costs.

    Ebzan was one of over 22,000 Southerners who filed a claim between 1871 and 1873 with the Southern Claims Commission, claiming his property in Hamblen County, Tennessee had been taken by U.S. military personnel for use in the Civil War.  His claim was allowed.  Such claims were allowed if the claimant could prove through the testimony of others that he had lost property and was loyal to the Union during the Civil War.  Although Tennessee seceded from the union and was a confederate state, Ebzan (and many others in the eastern part of the state) remained loyal to the Union.  His brother, Luther M. Love, fought on the side of the Union during the Civil War. 

    Ebzan died in 1910, in his 80s.  He and Sarah are buried side by side in Oak Hill Cemetery, Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama.  This cemetery, established in the 1870s, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the resting place for most of the early Birmingham pioneers.

    • Ebzan Love's gravesite

    Ebzan's headstone is three concrete steps with “E. Love, Sr.” carved on the top step.  Although no years are listed on his headstone, cemetery records give his birth year as “about 1830” (it was probably a few years earlier), and his death date as January 29, 1910.  Sarah's tombstone says, “Sarah E., wife of E. Love, Sr., born April 22, 1849 in Morristown, Tennessee, died November 21, 1895.” 

  • Tennessee, State Marriages, 1780-2002
  • Tennessee, State Marriages, 1780-2002

Samuel Ebzan Love (Sr.), 1827-1910

Original compilation by Beverly Loomis, revised 2017.  (

Owner of originalBeveryly Loomis
Linked toSamuel Ebzan Love, Sr.

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