From Revolutionary War to Desert Storm: Teel family has served their country for over 200 years
by Mark Ledbetter
Not yet a colony and with a population of 1,200 it should not be surprising to learn Alabama had very little involvement in the Revolutionary War. Alabama’s limited involvement includes refugees fleeing the war and the Spanish taking of the British Colony of West Florida which included Mobile.

What might be surprising is the number of Revolutionary War veterans who are buried in cemeteries across the state.

Information collected by the Alabama Daughters of the American Revolution includes an 1840 Census of Pensions listed 189 men buried across the state.

On behalf of The Alabama Society of Sons of the American Revolution Billie Thomson Lockard complied a database that includes over seven pages listing the names, places of origin, and counties of burial of Revolutionary War veterans.

Many haled from southern colonies and a few from above the Mason Dixon line. Surprisingly among those listed are the names of men as from Ireland, England, Scotland, Portugal, and even Santo Domingo.

On page seven of the database is the name of Loderick Teel, the ancestor of Sylacauga resident Joe Teel, and buried in a cemetery in the Stewartville community.

“I had no idea he was buried there,” Teel said.

Once learning of Loderick Teel’s status as a Revolutionary War veteran, Teel began a search for his burial place and discovered so much more about his heritage and just how the Teels ended up living in Alabama.

According to sworn documents obtained by Teel from his cousin, Loderick Teel was born in Pitt County, North Carolina, between 1740 and 1747. Later drafted into the militia, Teel eventually moved to Georgia before moving to Alabama.

The Creek Indian War of 1813-1814 brought Teel to Alabama. Teel’s son Henry joined Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee Volunteers and fought in the battle at Horseshoe Bend.

Henry Teel remained in Alabama, married, built a home in Weogufka in the 1820s in an area near the Ben Calloway Plantation, and is buried atop a hill that overlooks the old homestead.

Loderick Teel was also brought to Alabama after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend but with a different mission. Joining others from Georgia, Teel came to Horseshoe Bend to help bury the soldiers who were killed during the battle.

After the Indian treaty was signed, Teel moved to Chambers County, and then to Tallapoosa County on the Tallapoosa River.

According to an 1853 issue of “The Huntsville Advocate,” the 113-year old Teel visited a granddaughter in Madison County but later died after returning to Coosa County and was buried.

Joe Teel’s research for the burial site of Loderick Teel led him to a private cemetery in the Stewartville community where he lies interred in an unmarked grave in the Ferguson’s Family Cemetery.

Henry Teel’s son, Calvary, fought with the Confederate Army and served in the Alabama Infantry. After the Battle of Petersburg, Calvin contracted a fever and died several months later while on furlough and was buried in the Teel family cemetery near the Ben Calloway plantation in Weogufka in 1864.

Calvary Teel had three sons, all of which served during the War Between the States. John was killed at the Battle of Arlington while both William Henry and Thomas Jefferson survived and returned to Alabama.

Thomas Jefferson Teel had two sons, Jessie, who served in World War I and Lonnie, who is the Joe Teel’s grandfather.

In more recent history Joe Teel’s father, Joseph Harrison Teel, fought in the European Theater during World War II as a member of the U.S. Army.

Teel wrote a book about his father who left his job at the munitions plant in Childersburg to join the army. While stationed in Europe Teel writes that his father met his mother, Felica, in Belgium where they married. Teel tells their story in his book, “Jitterbug and the War Bride.”

Teel has two uncles, Van Teel and Harold Lloyd Teel, both of which served in the Navy during WWII.

Teel, who serves as pastor of The Rendezvous (The Meeting Place) in Sylacauga, has authored another book, an autobiography entitled, “Welcome Home Joe.” Teel is a Vietnam veteran and served in the 101st Airborne Division from 1968-1969.

Teel said hearing of his parents’ romance he had a “romantic notion” of what war was like. He said when he went to Vietnam his eyes were opened to what war was really like.

Teel’s nephews have carried on the Teel legacy of serving their county in armed services. Serving during “Desert Storm” are nephews Scott Morris (U.S. Navy) and Brandon Blankenship (U.S. Army).

Teel expressed his thankfulness to O.J. Mooney and F.O. Ferguson for assisting him in locating the cemeteries where his ancestors are buried. He also expressed thanks to Bob Gorham who now owns the land where the Teel family cemetery is located.

Teel said the search for his ancestors had an emotional impact and he is proud of his family’s heritage. He hopes to secure appropriate markers for each of his ancestors that served in America’s earliest wars and honor them for their efforts.

“I’m sure people would find that they have a very similar ancestry.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at

© 2013