PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Plunk-Pusser Connection

Yesterday was the annual Plunk family reunion, which assures each guest of three things: an abundance of good food, music from the talented Plunk clan, and good ol’ stories. I got to hear a re-play of one of my favorites.

The Plunk presence in Tennessee began in 1824 when Jacob Plunk, his wife, seven sons and one daughter traveled from North Carolina to McNairy County, TN. Also in the pilgrimage was Jacob’s brother, John, his wife, five sons and several daughters. Those Plunk sons each had large families and . . . well, you get the picture. That's a lot of Plunks, and that’s why Mike says that all Plunks are related. They can all be traced back to Jacob or John. The reunion Saturday was just for Plunks descended from Mike’s grandfather, David Simpson Plunk, who was the grandson of Jacob’s son, David.

McNairy County is most famous, however, for producing Walking Tall, club-totin’ Sheriff Buford Pusser. The Plunks are twice related to the former sheriff through his mother, Helen Harris Pusser.

The younger Pusser was first police chief of Adamsville, McNairy County, and then elected McNairy County sheriff. The six and a half foot tall Pusser immediately declared a one-man war on the area’s organized crime that ranged from bootlegging and gambling to prostitution. He was relentless and was making a dent in the illegal activities as well as the skulls of some bad guys.

During his campaign against corruption, Pusser survived a bombing of his home and several assassination attempts including an ambush that killed his wife and shot off part of his jaw. In 1974 he died in a mysterious, one-car auto accident. His family and many others believe that his car had been tampered with.

Sheriff Pusser’s story, and fictionalized versions of it, has prompted several books, movies and a brief television series.

Buford was not the first lawman in his family. His father, Carl, had also been the Adamsville police chief.

Roll back to 1937. Newlyweds Hercial (pictured above) and Eloyce Plunk, Mike’s parents, attended a dance in McNairy County, which was Hercial’s home turf although the couple lived in Memphis. During the festivities, Hercial noticed that Carl Pusser was dancing with pretty, young Eloyce, and, in Hercial’s opinion, Carl was holding her a bit too close. Hercial was certainly not a troublemaker, but did strongly hold his opinions. Hercial marched onto the dance floor, separated Carl from Eloyce, and took a swing at Carl that landed solidly. Mike didn’t know until after his father’s death that the crooked pinky finger on his dad’s right hand had been broken on Pusser’s jaw.


Anonymous said...

Is it possible the Plunks who own the Plunk funeral home in Camden/Benton County TN, I`ve been curious since they opened a few years ago. My Mom was a Bivins her Dad Edgar and Mom Betty/Elizabeth Plunk. I've always enjoyed finding new/more family members

Anonymous said...

Betty Magdalene Plunk was my mother in law,s name

Cinnabar Sweets said...

Ruby Plunk (daughter to Joseph Paul Plunk) was my grandmother.

Anonymous said...

Betty Magdealene Plunk Bivins is my mother

Mary Rush said...

the Plunks who own the Funeral Home in Camden Tn are the sons of Walter Plunk son of Ervin Austin Plunk. Ervin Austin Plunk was my Grandfather and was the son of Jonathan David Plunk and Sarah Lilly.

Mary Ann Plunk, Rush

Anonymous said...

Hi How is Mary Harris Pusser related to the Plunks? I am related to Minnie Plunk. Thanks! Kim

Anonymous said...

My name is Richard Watson Bivins my father was Edgar Jackson Bivins my mother was Betty Magdealene Plunk Bivins I know my mother had 2 sisters Luler Plunk Younger and Niece and 2 brothers she died before we got any information on grand parents cousins and so on anyone can help I would love more info, I do know Beuford was a Cousin long before his movies met him in Adamsville once and again in Memphis at family affairs