William Thomas Pride and his wife Mary Fletcher Pride built this house in 1911. While their marriage is not included in the on-line listing provided by the Madison County Records Center (courthouse probate archives) at http://www.co.madison.al.us/mcrc/, the marriage is mentioned in the book about Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher, as written by his daughter Octavia in the early 1900's. Octavia's sister Mary, wife of Dr. William T. Pride, was known to the family as "Tee". Tee and "Willy T." Pride were probably married in Limestone County, since the Fletcher family had roots there. In the census records of 1910 and 1920, Tee is shown as Mary G. Pride, born 1875, whereas William T. Pride was born about 1865. Their firstborn son was listed in 1910 as James W. Pride (age 2), but in 1920 he was listed as Wilsey J. Pride (age 12).
Doctor Pride was one of six children of James Harvey Pride and his wife Amanda Butler. James Harvey Pride was one of three respected citizens of Madison who were seized by the Union forces following a battle in the town on May 17, 1864. They were taken as presumed spies, to be executed for supposedly guiding the Confederate forces to eliminate the Union sentries, but a more reasonable Union officer intervened after a time, and the men were released unharmed. The parents of James were Wilsey and Rebecca Pride. Wilsey's will of 1848 was entered into probate in 1849. Testators were Samuel Trotman, David Blackburn, and James Irvin. The will listed as heirs Wilsey's widow Rebecca and seven children. Specifically named were Mary Jane, Alexander, and Martha, all born to his second wife. The listed heirs also included children by his first wife, who was Eleanor Gray. These children were William, James H., Burton, and Margaret (born 1818, married to John Maxwell). Eleanor was a daughter of William and Eleanor Wardrobe Gray, and she married Wilsey Pride in 1805. After her passing, Wilsey married Rebecca Gray Love in 1839, according to several family trees posted on Ancestry.com. Those trees show that Wilsey was born in 1783, a son of Burton Pride and Sarah Bizwell. Burton Pride was a son of Thomas Pride, whose ancestry was shown back to the 1600s in Virginia and England, including intermarriages with the Burtons and Fowlers, surnames found as pioneers of Redstone Arsenal lands.
James Harvey Pride's brother William G. Pride married Ellen Jane Gray. In the 1850 census of Monroe County, Mississippi, the family of William G. Pride included Nancy Gray, age 65, born in Virginia, so the Pride and Gray families of Madison remained closely connected through the years. James' son Walter married Katie Garner, and James' son Wilsey married Katie Mason. Wilsey fathered another James Harvey Pride, who was born in 1877 and died by 1935. This younger J. H. Pride, grandson of the senior and nephew of Dr. William Pride, was a partner in the firms of Pride & Bradford (drugstore) and Pride & Carter (general store) in Madison, according to the 1905 Alabama Mercantile Book. He became an attorney, according to the 1929 Alabama Blue Book and Social Register. This nephew of Dr. William Pride married Sallie LeRoy Betts, daughter of Judge Tancred Betts of Madison.
Tancred Betts was a son of Edward Chambers Betts. Tancred served as Madison County Attorney, as well as Judge of Circuit Court and later as Judge of the Law & Equity Court. He was a trustee of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University), and served for 10 years as Chairman of the Madison County Democratic Executive Committee. He married Maude Minor Broun, a daughter of Dr. William LeRoy Broun and Sallie Fleming.
Edward Betts (father of Tancred) was born and raised on his father Charles Betts' plantation, a part of which was located between what is now Hughes Road, Gillespie Road, Brown's Ferry Road, and Wall-Triana Highway. This is where the Kroger Shopping Center, the Madison Branch Library, and Bob Jones High School are today. Members of the Maxwell family (married into the Pride and the Blackburn families) are buried in the Gray Cemetery, used by the old Providence Presbyterian Church, just to the northwest of the plantation. There is another old cemetery on the plantation that could have originally been used by the Betts family, but it has no tombstones today, so the Betts family perhaps used the Gray Cemetery. Edward Betts' father, Charles Edward Betts, lived in Lunenburg, Mecklenburg County, Virginia before coming to Madison County, Alabama to establish his local plantation. He married Martha Cousins Chambers, a sister of United States Senator Henry Chambers, namesake of Chambers County, Alabama.
Edward Betts was the first Commissioner of Agriculture for Alabama, as well as an attorney and judge of the County Court. He was educated in private schools in Madison County and by private tutors, going to the University of Virginia before studying and traveling in the east and abroad. After practicing law for a number of years, he retired to the family plantation, serving as trustee of the University of Alabama. In 1854 Edward married Virginia Augusta Swope in Lawrence County, Alabama. She was a daughter of John Swope and Cyntha Early. Cyntha shared common ancestry with General Jubal Early of the Confederacy and her Swope ancestors came from Ireland to Virginia in 1702. The family is descended from Carbri Lifichar, an ancient King of Ireland, born in 225 A.D.
Interconnections of the Pride, Fletcher, Maxwell, Betts, Mason, Brown, and Gray families of the Madison area led to some interesting interactions. For example, when Amanda Pride, widow of the older James Harvey Pride and mother of Dr. William T. Pride, went to court in Madison County to establish the right to inherit and sell the lands of her deceased husband, the case was adjudicated by Judge Tancred Betts, a relative. In fact, one can be sure that members of these interconnected families visited the house at 320 Martin Street in Madison on many occasions as they celebrated special events, like the birth of sons James Wilsey Pride and Richard Fletcher Pride to Dr. William Pride and his wife Mary Fletcher.