Meet the descendants of Memphis’ founding fathers

Published: Jun. 28, 2019 at 3:45 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Though none of the founding fathers of this city ever actually called Memphis home, their descendants certainly did.

WMC Action News 5 sat down with a couple of them to talk about their connection to our bicentennial Bluff City.

Ten years before Andrew Jackson became President in 1829, he helped found Memphis alongside General James Winchester and Judge John Overton.

"Memphis is a fabulous place and it's home to me,” said Nap Overton, descendant.

"I think it's the coolest city in the world,” said Graham Winchester, descendant.

Descendants of Winchester and Overton still live in Memphis, 200 years later.

By day, Graham Winchester rises with Sun Studio's endless stream of tourists who want to see the spot where rock 'n roll began.

"Great place to start. Good person to start with right back there on the wall with his sunglasses, that’s right, Roy Orbison,” said Winchester.

By night, after helping his wife Erica put his boys two boys to bed, the 31-year-old plays live music solo or with one of his seven bands.

He played a solo tribute to his late cousin, recording artist Jesse Winchester. He was a Memphis singer/ songwriter who wrote for the likes of Elvis Costello, Joan Baez and the Everly Brothers.

The musical Winchesters are kin, not only to city co-founder James Winchester, but also his son, Marcus Winchester. He was also the first mayor.

The Overton’s have had their share of Memphis mayors, too

"It's been an interesting ancestry,” said Overton.

An image captures four Overton generations including John Overton, Junior, Memphis Mayor 1881-1883 and the baby, Samuel Watkins Overton, a then future Mayor and father of Nap Overton.

"My father was the Mayor of Memphis from the late 20s through sometime in the late 40s or early 50s,” said Overton.

A contemporary of political Boss Crump, Mayor Watkins-Overton died when Nap was only four months old.

“So I did not even know my father. I heard about most of this. I read about it in books or heard about most of it through my mother,” said Overton.

Nap Overton is a Chartered Financial Analyst who teaches Finance at the University of Memphis.

He lived through Memphis' tortured history of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination when Nap was 10 years old.

“I've regretted that for a long time. Seems like a difficult thing for Memphis to have dealt with. But now we have the National Civil Rights Museum Downtown. And I think that's a fairly direct outcome of that terrible event,” said Overton.

Andrew Jackson cashed out of his Memphis investment quickly and kept his family in middle Tennessee.

However, the Overton and Winchester families have led this Bluff City for generations, giving back in their own ways, even to this day.

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