Tilman Howell Wheat born 6 March 1839 in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. Later in life Tilman married Nancy Hendricks and lived in the Moore’s Bridge area of Tuscaloosa. Tilman was a farmer by trade and Nancy was a housewife. He also played the organ at Bethabara Church where he attended, it was also said that he played it with only one finger on each hand.

On 13 May 1862 , Tilman enlisted as a Private with the 41st Alabama and was assigned to Company A. During the Battle of Chickamauga he was struck with a minnie ball in his right shoulder. His shoulder bone was fractured which rendered his right arm useless. Tilman was in and out of hospitals from the time of his injury until 1865. On 18 May 1887 he applied for Soldiers Relief and received it. Tilman was bothered by his war wound until his death in 1931.

Tilman and his wife Nancy lived in Northport, on what is now Hwy 171 and the story goes , late one night after being released and wounded, Nancy heard footsteps on the front porch and she called out ” Tilman , is that you ? He replied , Yes, I’m home.” Nancy recognized his walk…
Tilman told Nancy not to touch him, that he needed a bath , he had been walking so long he was covered with dirt and his wound was filled with maggots. Nancy cooked up some bread and applied it to the wound to draw out the poison.

In later years while having an all day singing at Bethabara Church the blessing was said before lunch and afterwards the people hurried to fix their plates and eat lunch because they were hungry. Tilman commented ” They just think they are hungry!” Tilman knew what it was like to be hungry because many of the men during the war starved and did not have much food.

Tilman is buried with his wife at Bethabara Cemetery in Coker, Alabama.