About Us
County Mail List
Historical Markers

Family Websites

Genealogy Dept at County Library

Local Societies

Montgomery County Records  & Resources
Neighboring Counties


Research Links
The Handbook of Texas Online
TX Family Group Sheets
TXGenWeb Counties
TXGenWeb Project

Some Files require
  Adobe Reader


People with Connections to
Montgomery County Texas

ABERCROMBIE, LEONARD ANDERSON (1832-1891). Leonard Anderson Abercrombie, lawyer, Confederate Army officer, and legislator, was born in Macon County, Alabama, on December 1, 1832, the son of Milo B. and Sarah (Anderson) Abercrombie. He was educated in Alexandria, Virginia, and read law in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was admitted to the bar in 1854 but later that same year moved to Madison County, Texas, then to Huntsville. In 1860 he was elected prosecuting attorney for Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, and Walker counties. On January 1, 1860, he married Lavinia Chilton in Tuskegee, Alabama; the couple eventually had seven children. From January 28 until February 4, 1861, Abercrombie represented Walker County as a delegate to the state Secession Convention. During the Civil War he served as lieutenant colonel of Col. Henry M. Elmore's Twentieth Texas Infantry. This regiment, organized in the spring of 1862, was composed primarily of middle-aged men, many of whom were prominent citizens. It was assigned to guard duty on the Texas Gulf coast from Galveston to the Sabine River and did not see duty outside of the state. It did, however, play an important role in the Confederate recapture of Galveston in January 1863 (see GALVESTON, BATTLE OF). After the war Abercrombie returned to his legal practice at Huntsville and was elected to represent the Ninth District as a state senator in the Twentieth Legislature. He was reelected to a seat in the Twenty-first Legislature. He died at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 23, 1891, and his body was returned to Huntsville for burial.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Norman Kittrell, Governors Who Have Been and Other Public Men of Texas (Houston: Dealy-Adey-Elgin, 1921). Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861-1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Thomas W. Cutrer

ALLISON, JOHN (1791-1871). Judge John Allison, son of Sarah Ogilvie and Robert Allison, Jr., was born in Granville County, North Carolina, in March 1791. He and his wife, Naomi (Gillespie), moved with his parents to Bedford County, Tennessee, in 1815, and then to Pulaskie, Mississippi, in 1836, to become cotton planters. Due to financial reverses from the 1837 depression, Allison moved on to Montgomery County, Texas, by 1840. Health problems encouraged another move in 1842, to what is now Horton, Panola County.

When Panola County was organized in 1846, Allison became the first chief justice (county judge) of the county. Pulaski, on the east bank of the Sabine River, became the temporary county seat. Since Allison had come from Panola County, Mississippi, he asked that the new county be called Panola, an Indian word meaning "cotton." Though he is said to have named Pulaski also, a Sabine ferry was called that before he arrived in the area. When his term as county judge ended in 1848 Allison bought John Williams's headright on the western side of the county and established his family on the "Old Grand Bluff-to-Douglas Road." There he put his slaves to work on the farm and opened a store and wagon yard camp for travelers. The community known today as Fairplay developed at the site. Allison lived there until his death, in 1871. The Allisons had five children. They and two generations of their descendants are buried at the Old Williams Cemetery, near Fairplay.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. T. Allison, The History of Fairplay, Panola County, Texas (Henderson, Texas: Park Print, 1948?). History of Panola County. (Carthage, Texas: Carthage Circulating Book Club, 1935?). Leila B. LaGrone, ed., History of Panola County (Carthage, Texas: Panola County Historical Commission, 1979). Lawrence R. Sharp, History of Panola County, Texas, to 1860 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940).

Leila B. LaGrone

BARNES, NED EASTMAN (1866-1950). Ned Eastman Barnes, a black inventor, was born in January 1866 in Waller County, Texas. He attended public schools and then moved to Willis, where he acquired a farm and joined the Farmers' Improvement Society. He then turned to invention and had an office in Houston by 1915. He developed a brace to maintain the distance between train tracks, an electric projector for display of railroad arrival and departure times, and several other items of railway equipment. He was a Mason and Knight of Pythias and became a lay leader in his Baptist congregation. Barnes married Ada Barnes in the 1880s, and they had three sons who reached adulthood, as well as an adopted daughter. He died in Montgomery County on November 14, 1950.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Red Book of Houston (Houston: Sotex, 1915). Alwyn Barr

BAYS, JOSEPH L. (1786-1854). Joseph L. Bays, Baptist minister, was born on December 28, 1786, in North Carolina to Isaiah and Abigail (March) Bays. Isaiah Bays, a Scots-Irish nonconformist, died near Boonesboro, Kentucky, when Joseph was seven. Abigail taught her children to memorize and read from the Bible, and Joseph Bays was preaching at the age of sixteen. In Missouri, at the age of eighteen, he married Rosenia (or Roseina) Whicher; they had three children. In 1825 the family came with thirty-two others to Texas. Although Stephen F. Austin granted Bays a league and a labor of land in June 1825 and Bays preached at Moses Shipman's home the same year, he left Texas because he was hindered from preaching by the authorities. He therefore settled in Louisiana and crossed the Sabine River to preach in Texas. In 1827 he moved to the area of present San Augustine County, Texas, where he was arrested by Mexican authorities for preaching a religion other than Catholic. Bays again left Texas but again returned and lived in the area of present San Augustine County in 1833-34, then left Texas yet again on the advice of his friends. He fought several battles against Indians before 1836. He returned to Texas in 1839 and lived in Montgomery County. On July 10, 1839, he petitioned the Republic of Texas Congress for compensation for his land, but the petition was denied. In 1846 missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came through Texas, and Bays's wife and son Henry joined the Mormons. Bays petitioned the Texas legislature on April 9, 1851, for the return of his land, and this time the petition was granted. Bays died at the home of his daughter Susan DeMoss in June 1854 and was buried in Matagorda County, Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: James Milton Carroll, A History of Texas Baptists (Dallas: Baptist Standard, 1923). Dan Ferguson, "Forerunners of Baylor," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 49 (July 1945). Zenos N. Morrell, Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness (Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1872; rpt. of 3d ed., Irving, Texas: Griffin Graphic Arts, 1966). Daniel Shipman, Frontier Life: 58 Years in Texas (1879).

Samuel B. Hesler

BENNETT, JOSEPH L. (?-1848). Joseph L. Bennett, military officer, moved to Texas in the spring of 1834 and settled in what is now Waller County. At the outbreak of the Texas Revolution he joined the army. About March 1, 1836, he set out with his company for San Antonio, planning to march to the relief of the beleaguered garrison at the Alamo, but learned of the fall of the fort at the Colorado River. Thereupon Bennett joined Sam Houston's army at Beeson's Crossing and was commissioned captain on March 12. With the reorganization of the army on April 8 he was elected lieutenant colonel of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers. Bennett fought with distinction at the battle of San Jacinto. According to his account in a letter to Houston he actually led the regiment of which Sherman was the nominal commander, while Sherman skulked in "a small island of timber." On May 27, 1837, Bennett received Houston's commission as colonel and appointment as commander of a regiment of "mounted gunmen" for the protection of the frontier.

Bennett served in the House of Representatives of the Third and Fourth congresses of the Republic of Texas, November 5, 1838, through February 3, 1840. He represented Montgomery County as a stout supporter of the policies of Sam Houston. During this period he also held the government contract for the delivery of mail between Houston and Montgomery.

In 1842 Bennett raised a battalion for the Somervell expedition, but when most of his men returned to their homes soon after the expedition reached the Rio Grande, he joined the battalion commanded by Maj. Bartlett Sims. When Alexander Sommervell ordered the command back into Central Texas, however, Bennett agreed to return and not take part in what became known as the Mier expedition.

In 1848 he moved from Montgomery to Navarro County and settled on his headright, located partly in Navarro County and partly in Freestone County. The present town of Streetman is within three miles of the old Bennett home, where Bennett died in the fall of 1848. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and five children.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813-1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938-43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

Thomas W. Cutrer

BESSER, JOHN SLATER (1802-1893). John Slater Besser, explorer, prison administrator, and public servant, the son of Jacob and Susannah (Tinsley) Besser, was born on August 13, 1802, in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. His father was a native of Heidelberg, Germany, and his mother a native of London, England. When Besser was two, his family moved to Philadelphia, where he attended the public school. In 1818 he left Philadelphia for the West. In St. Charles, Missouri, he spent three years learning the trade of a tailor. He accompanied William H. Ashley and his partner, Andrew Henry, in 1822 on a trapping and trading expedition up the Missouri River to the Yellowstone.

Subsequently, until November 1840, Besser was a resident of Missouri, where he served in the state militia and rose through the ranks to general. He was elected a justice of the county court of Lincoln County in 1830 and served in that capacity for four years. In 1834 he was elected as a Democrat to the Missouri legislature. After his terms he set out for the Republic of Texas.qv He settled near Huntsville in February 1841. In 1849 he moved into Huntsville, where he lived the remainder of his life. He served as a member of the commissioners' court of Montgomery County for two years, until the county was divided in 1846 into Montgomery, Grimes, and Walker counties.

Besser built the first jail in Walker County and was appointed purchasing agent, later known as financial agent, for the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, a position he held from 1852 to 1863. For twenty months during Sam Houston's administration he was out of office; in retaliation for Besser's failure to support his gubernatorial candidacy, Houston relieved Besser of his duties, an act that Houston later claimed was the only mistake of his administration. Besser is credited with having drafted rules for the regulation of the penitentiary, and during his administration a revenue-producing factory was instigated there. During Governor Francis R. Lubbock's administration Besser was investigated by the Texas legislature for mismanagement, possibly an event motivated by his Union sympathies. He was not accused of wrongdoing, but neither was doubt thoroughly erased. In 1863, after Confederate soldiers took cloth from the prison factory at gunpoint and fired shots into his office, Besser resigned.

He was a Mason, a Presbyterian elder, and a lifelong Democrat. He was one of two persons in Lincoln County, Missouri, who voted in 1824 for Andrew Jackson for president. In Texas he opposed annexation to the United States. Although he was an anti-Houston "Southern Rights" Democrat in 1859, he considered secession from the Union unwise and in 1861 voted against it. In 1878 he was county judge of Walker County, although he was not a lawyer. His administration of county affairs and his economical management of the public money won him praise from his peers.

Besser was married four times, but had children only with his first wife, Julia Hampton, daughter of Thomas Hampton, an American Revolutionary War soldier and relative of Gen. Wade Hampton. The couple married in Lincoln County, Missouri, in June 1825 and had nine children, of whom six grew to majority. Besser died on May 19, 1893, in Huntsville and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery there.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

Allie Mae Whitley

BOATWRIGHT, THOMAS (1760-ca. 1830). Thomas Boatwright, early Texas settler, was born in Virginia, moved to Illinois, and by 1819 was living in old Miller County, Arkansas. In the early fall of 1821 he and his wife, Amy, and their ten children traveled with the Gilleland, Kuykendall, Williams, and Gates families down Trammel's Trace to Nacogdoches. In early December they left for Austin's Spanish land grant and arrived at the La Bahía Crossing on the Brazos River on December 31, 1821. They immediately crossed over into Austin's land grant, traveled ten miles beyond the crossing, and on the last day of 1821 camped beside a flowing stream, now known as New Year Creek, in Washington County, Texas. Here, the families of Thomas Boatwright and Abner Kuykendall settled until they received their land grants in 1824.

On July 27, 1824, Boatwright was granted a league of land now in Austin County, Texas, fronting upon the Brazos River. His son-in-law, Daniel Gilleland, received a grant of a labor in the southeast corner of Boatwright's grant. Neither the Boatwright nor the Gilleland families ever lived on these grants. About 1825 Boatwright and his family returned to Miller County, Arkansas, with numerous other families who had settled in Austin's colony, to protest the United States agreement with the Choctaw Indians that gave to the Indians all of the property owned by these settlers in Miller County, Arkansas. They were unsuccessful in their protests, and the Boatwrights moved to Pope County, Arkansas, where Boatwright died; he was still listed in the 1830 census, but by 1833 his wife was a widow. In 1833 Amy Boatwright and three of her sons, Thomas, Friend, and Richard, were back in Texas making applications for land grants. Mrs. Boatwright was seventy-two. On October 24, 1835, she received a grant of a league then in Montgomery County and now part of Madison County. She died by 1839.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970).

John G. Gilleland and Thomas R. Underwood, Jr.

BOWEN, REUBEN DEAN (1859-1939). Reuben Dean Bowen, agricultural promoter, the son of William Abraham and Clementine Dalmatia (Richards) Bowen, was born in Montgomery County, Texas, on December 18, 1859. He attended St. Mary's University, Galveston, and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University), 1877-78. On May 15, 1890, he married Bonnybel Wright of Paris, Texas. By 1895 he had become active in agricultural promotion in the Southwest. He was president of the Kiomatia Planters Company of Red River County. He began the movement to popularize the use of cotton in manufacturing and was chairman of the Farmers' Union committee to study greater consumption of cotton. He was instrumental in securing competition from other states in bidding for cottonseed in Texas. Bowen helped organize the Mississippi Valley Association, the American Farm Bureau, and the Farmers Manufacturing Association. He died at New Orleans on August 27, 1939.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2

BOWSER, OLIVER P. (1842-1915). Oliver P. Bowser, businessman and legislator, son of David and Mary A. (Bookwalter) Bowser, was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, on March 21, 1842. The family moved to Dallas County, Texas, in 1856. Bowser enlisted as a private in Company E, Eighteenth Texas Cavalry, in 1861, and rose to lieutenant; he fought in the battles of Franklin and Nashville under John Bell Hood. In 1873 he and W. H. Lemmon became partners in an implement company, acquired considerable land, and developed the Oak Lawn section of Dallas. Beginning in 1892 Bowser served one term in the Texas House of Representatives, one four-year and two two-year terms in the state Senate, and another term as representative. He wrote the Dallas County road law, the county auditor law, and a Texas house-insurance measure. He was president of the Texas Good Roads Association and the Texas Manufacturers Association.qv In July 1866 he married Virginia L. Murray. He died in Dallas on December 15, 1915, and was buried in Grove Hill Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

BUFFINGTON, ANDERSON (1806-1891). Anderson Buffington, soldier at San Jacinto and Baptist minister, was born in South Carolina on February 14, 1806. After being reared by a stepmother, he ran away from home with his brother John and settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where he learned the printing trade. In Nashville he was licensed to preach by the Nashville Baptist Church. Buffington and Parolee Cobler were married on October 1, 1834, and eventually became the parents of two boys and four girls. The Buffingtons left Tennessee in 1835 and crossed the Red River into Texas in an ox wagon on January 10, 1836. They settled at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Two months later Buffington joined Capt. William Kimbro's company in the Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers as a private. He was discharged on June 15 at San Augustine and received 640 acres of land for fighting in the battle of San Jacinto.

Buffington and his wife became members of a prayer-meeting group organized at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Later in the year they formed a small church, Washington Baptist Church No. 1, the first missionary Baptist church in Texas. Buffington was on a committee that requested missionaries from the United States. The church dissolved in 1838. During this time Buffington was operating a sawmill at Washington-on-the-Brazos. He also served in the 1839 campaign against the Cherokee Indians and published a newspaper, the Tarantula, at Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1841. On October 19, 1841, he was ordained by Washington Baptist Church No. 2 and appointed by the American Baptist Home Mission Society as a missionary to Montgomery County.

The Buffingtons moved in 1848 to Anderson, where Buffington opened a store with a man named Van Alstyne. They later sold the business, and Buffington opened another store, but it did not last long. He then opened the second hotel in Anderson and operated it for many years. Buffington preached to Negro congregations in Anderson for twenty years. He was also a strong Mason. At the beginning of the Civil War he was one of the few men in Grimes County who voted for the Union and Sam Houston. Both his sons fought in the Confederate Army. Buffington served briefly as postmaster in Anderson in 1865-66. He died on December 20, 1891, and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery at Anderson.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Irene Taylor Allen, Saga of Anderson–The Proud Story of a Historic Texas Community (New York: Greenwich, 1957). Grimes County Historical Commission, History of Grimes County, Land of Heritage and Progress (Dallas: Taylor, 1982). Zenos N. Morrell, Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness (Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1872; rpt. of 3d ed., Irving, Texas: Griffin Graphic Arts, 1966).

Samuel B. Hesler

COMBS, JESSE MARTIN (1889-1953). Jesse Martin Combs, jurist and congressman, son of Frank and Mary (Beck) Combs, was born in Shelby County, Texas, on July 7, 1889. He was orphaned as a small child and raised by his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beck. After graduating from Center High School, Combs attended San Marcos State Teachers College (now Southwest Texas State University) and received his degree in 1912. He taught at several rural schools before becoming the Hardin county agent in 1914. Four years later he was admitted to the bar and elected county judge. He subsequently served as judge for the Seventy-fifth District Court, which served Tyler, Hardin, Liberty, Chambers, and Montgomery counties. He moved to Beaumont and sat on the Ninth Court of Civil Appeals from 1933 to 1943. He was also influential in developing Beaumont's South Park school district, and was president of the Board of Trustees of Lamar Junior College (now Lamar University) from 1940 to 1944.

In May 1944 Combs announced that he would challenge incumbent Martin Dies for the Second Congressional District seat. Faced with a difficult battle, the controversial Dies decided not to seek reelection. Combs served four terms in Congress as a key associate of fellow Democrat Samuel T. (Sam) Rayburn. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Combs was influential in securing federal appropriations for housing, industrial, and water projects, such as those at Dam B and McGee Bend (see B. A. STEINHAGEN LAKE, SAM RAYBURN RESERVOIR). He opposed a large reduction in the capital-gains tax and supported President Harry Truman's 1947 loyalty order for government employees. Combs generally backed Truman in Congress, although he broke with the president over the Tidelands Controversy. Poor health led him not to seek reelection in 1952. He died of lung cancer on August 21, 1953, at Beaumont and was buried there in Magnolia Cemetery. He was a Baptist. Two sons and his wife of forty-two years, Katherine (Alford), survived the former congressman.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Beaumont Enterprise, August 22, 1953. Dallas Morning News, August 23, 1953. New York Times, May 13, 1944, May 14, 1947, May 18, 1950, August 23, 1953.

Robert Wooster

COLLARD, ELIJAH SIMMONS (1778-1846). Elijah Simmons Collard, early settler and government official, was born November 9, 1778, in Augusta County, Virginia, the son of Joseph and Margaret Collard. As a child he moved with his family to Kentucky. On May 2, 1801, in Bullitt County, Kentucky, he married Mary Stark; the couple had eleven children, ten of whom lived to adulthood. Collard served in the War of 1812 as a private in the Upper Louisiana militia and later as a captain in the Missouri militia. A plaque commemorating this service has been placed at his gravesite. The family lived in Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas before moving to Texas. Preceded by at least three of his sons, Collard arrived in what would become Montgomery County in 1833 and was given a league south of the site of what is now Willis. There is some question whether he actually lived on this league. He later moved north to what became Walker County. As trouble developed with the Mexican authorities he became a member of the Consultationqv from Washington Municipality. On January 5, 1836, he became a member of the General Council. When Montgomery County was being organized in 1837, he was one of five commissioners chosen to select a county seat. In 1844 he served as a justice of the peace. When Walker County was established from Montgomery County in July 1846, he was selected county commissioner. He died March 13, 1846, and is buried in Gourd Creek Cemetery near New Waverly in Walker County. A Texas historical marker is at his gravesite.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: D'Anne McAdams Crews, ed., Huntsville and Walker County, Texas: A Bicentennial History (Huntsville, Texas: Sam Houston State University, 1976). William Harley Gandy, A History of Montgomery County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Houston, 1952). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Anne M. Rackley

COLLARD, WILLIAM E. (1839-1902). William E. Collard, attorney and judge, son of James H. and Julia (Robinson) Collard and grandson of Elijah S. Collard, was born in Conroe, Montgomery County, Texas, on October 3, 1839. He attended McKenzie College before the Civil War. During the war he enlisted with the Tenth Texas Infantry and transferred to the Fifteenth Texas Infantry, where he served with Company B. He was admitted to the bar in 1865 and established his practice in Robertson County. He served as district judge from November 1880 until he was appointed to the Commission of Appeals on September 15, 1887. On April 15, 1891, he became judge of the Third District Court of Civil Appeals. In 1865 Collard married Mattie Glaize, who died in 1867. In 1868 he married M. E. Heth, and they had three children. He died on April 14, 1902.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). James M. Day, comp., Texas Almanac, 1857-1873: A Compendium of Texas History (Waco: Texian Press, 1967). Deborah D. Powers, The Court of Appeals at Austin, 1892-1992 (Austin: State House Press, 1992).

Carolyn Hyman

COOKE, EDWARD F. (1875-1931). Edward F. Cooke, clinical pathologist, was born on August 24, 1875, in Oldham, Lancashire, England, the eldest of the five children of H. C. and Elizabeth Ann (Fenton) Cooke. The family moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1890 and to Galveston, Texas, the following year. After attending Ball High School, Cooke went to work as an office boy for a shipping firm. In 1894 he entered the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he obtained his M.D. in 1897. In 1898, after completing most of a year's internship at St. Mary's Infirmary (see ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL) in Galveston, Cooke left to begin contract practice at a Montgomery County sawmill. In 1900 he moved to Ellis County and set up practice, first in Waxahachie and subsequently in Forreston. He moved to Houston in 1907 and limited his practice to clinical pathology two years later. He was chairman of pathology, histology, and bacteriology at the Texas Dental College and pathologist at Methodist and Jefferson Davis hospitals and at St. Joseph's Infirmary. He served as a captain in the medical corps during World War I; after the war he maintained his association with the military through the Medical Reserve Corps, in which he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

While still in Ellis County, Cooke was appointed chairman of the Committee on Public Health and Legislation for the county medical society and in that capacity worked to secure enforcement of laws regulating medical practice. After transferring his membership to the Harris County Medical Society in 1907, he served as secretary (1908-10), president (1910), delegate to the state association (1912-14), and member of the Council on Medical Defense (1914-16). During this same period he served as secretary (1907-13) and president (1913-14) of the Southern Texas District Medical Society. He was also president of the Texas Pathology Society and was a charter member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (1922). Cooke married Pearl Florence McClusky of Galveston on June 10, 1899. They had four children. He died on January 8, 1931, in Houston after a brief illness. He was a Mason.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Houston Post, January 9, 1931. Texas State Journal of Medicine, May 1931.

Patricia L. Jakobi

COOKE, WILLIAM GASTON (1820-1890). William Gaston Cooke, early settler, the son of Henry Marchant and Frances (Buxton) Cooke, was born at New Bern, North Carolina, on December 20, 1820. He came to Texas in 1835 with ten brothers and sisters to claim land granted to their father, who died en route. Two of his older brothers, Thomas and Francis J., joined the troops at San Jacinto and left him in charge of the family. Cooke and his family were forced to flee from the Mexicans during the Runaway Scrape, and near Richmond on the Brazos River they participated in a minor skirmish with the Mexicans. Cooke resided in Montgomery County until 1840, when he moved to Houston to work as a carpenter. He subsequently moved to Navarro County and bought a farm. In 1853 he bought a farm of 125 acres in Ellis County, where he remained until his death. During the Civil War he was in the state militia but saw no action. He was a member of the Christian Church, a school trustee, a Mason, and a member of the Farmers' Alliance. He was married to Angeline Salmon in Harris County. After her death he married Catherine Kendall, in 1850; they had ten children. Cooke died in 1890.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Memorial and Biographical History of Ellis County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., as Ellis County History, Fort Worth: Historical Publishers, 1972). Agnes R. G. Smith, Back When and Now: History of the Family of Agnes Rust Gordon Smith (San Angelo, 1976).

Steven A. Brownrigg

DAFFAN, LAWRENCE AYLETT (1845-1907). Lawrence Daffan, Texas railroad official and Confederate soldier, was born on April 30, 1845, in Conecuh County, Alabama, to John Warren and Mary Julia (Jones) Daffan. The family moved to Montgomery, Texas, in 1849. Daffan first worked carrying the United States mail between Montgomery and Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1859 and 1860. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate Army as a private and was sent to Virginia, where he served under Capt. John William Hutcheson as a member of Company G, Fourth Texas Regiment, Hood's Texas Brigade. He fought for the Confederacy in numerous engagements, including the battles of Second Bull Run and Antietam. He was captured at Lenore Station, Tennessee, on November 19, 1863, and was confined at Rock Island Prison, Rock Island, Illinois, until June 19, 1865. He reached his home in Navasota on July 6, 1865.

In October 1865 Daffan entered the service of the Houston and Texas Central Railway. He served first as brakeman, then advanced to passenger conductor, trainmaster, superintendent of the Second Division, and finally general agent of transportation, the position he held at the time of his death. Daffan was a lifelong Democrat and Baptist. He was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan, a Knight Templar, a Shriner, and a charter member of the Houston Elks Lodge. He married Mollie A. Day of Brenham on January 23, 1872, and they had six children, including Katie L. Daffan. Daffan died at his home in Ennis on January 28, 1907, and is buried there in Myrtle Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Katie Daffan, My Father As I Remember Him (Houston: Gray and Dillaye, 1907?).

Andrea Ivie Webb

DAVIS, NATHANIEL HART (1815-1893). Nathaniel Hart Davis, pioneer and county official, third son of Nathaniel Bowe and Martha D. Davis, was born in Fayette County, Kentucky, on November 6, 1815. In 1817 his family moved to Alabama, where he received his early education. He attended Transylvania University and later taught at Marion Military Academy. He received a license to practice law in Alabama in 1837. In 1840 he moved to Montgomery, Texas. He served as county attorney, commissioner, and chief justice of Montgomery County, and as judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District from 1867 to 1870. As a member of the Somervell expedition he served under Col. Joseph L. Bennett, in whose home he had lived during his first years in Texas. In 1851 Davis married Sarah Elizabeth White, a native of South Carolina; they had seven children. He died on October 8, 1893, and was buried in Montgomery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Nathaniel Hart Davis Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Houston Post, October 10, 1893.

Margaret Davis Cameron

DICKINSON, ANGELINA ELIZABETH (1834-1869). Angelina Dickinson, called the Babe of the Alamo, daughter of Almaron and Susanna (Wilkerson) Dickinson, was born on December 14, 1834, in Gonzales, Texas. By early 1836 her family had moved to San Antonio. On February 23, as the forces of Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna entered the city, Dickinson reportedly caught up his wife and daughter behind his saddle and galloped to the Alamo, just before the enemy started firing. In the Alamo, legend says William B. Travis tied his cat's-eye ring around Angelina's neck. Angelina and Susanna survived the final Mexican assault on March 6, 1836. Though Santa Anna wanted to adopt Angelina, her mother refused. A few days after the battle, mother and child were released as messengers to Gen. Sam Houston.

At the end of the revolution, Angelina and her mother moved to Houston. Between 1837 and 1847 Susanna Dickinson married three times. Angelina and her mother were not, however, left without resources. For their participation in the defense of the Alamo, they received a donation certificate for 640 acres of land in 1839 and a bounty warrant for 1,920 acres of land in Clay County in 1855. In 1849 a resolution by Representative Guy M. Bryan for the relief of "the orphan child of the Alamo" to provide funds for Angelina's support and education failed. At the age of seventeen, with her mother's encouragement, Angelina married John Maynard Griffith, a farmer from Montgomery County. Over the next six years, the Griffiths had three children, but the marriage ended in divorce. Leaving two of her children with her mother and one with an uncle, Angelina drifted to New Orleans. Rumors spread of her promiscuity.

Before the Civil War she became associated in Galveston with Jim Britton, a railroad man from Tennessee who became a Confederate officer, and to whom she gave Travis's ring. She is believed to have married Oscar Holmes in 1864 and had a fourth child in 1865. Whether she ever married Britton is uncertain, but according to Flake's Daily Bulletin, Angelina died as "Em Britton" in 1869 of a uterine hemorrhage in Galveston, where she was a known courtesan.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Clipping File, Library of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, San Antonio (Historic Sites, Alamo, Alamo Defenders, Susanna Dickinson). C. Richard King, Susanna Dickinson: Messenger of the Alamo (Austin: Shoal Creek, 1976). Amelia W. Williams, A Critical Study of the Siege of the Alamo and of the Personnel of Its Defenders (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1931; rpt., Southwestern Historical Quarterly 36-37 [April 1933-April 1934]).

Katherine L. Massey

DICKSON, DAVID CATCHINGS (1818-1880). David Catchings Dickson, physician, legislator, civil servant, Confederate soldier, and lieutenant governor of Texas, was born in Pike County, Mississippi, on February 25, 1818, and at the age of twelve moved with his family to the Copiah County community of Georgetown. There he married Sophronia L. Magee. In 1841, after graduating from medical school in Lexington, Kentucky, Dixon and his wife moved with a group to the area of Anderson, Texas, then in Montgomery County (now in Grimes County). He served for a time as a surgeon in the Army of the Republic of Texas.  On June 4, 1845, he was elected justice of the peace of Precinct Two in Montgomery County.

Dickson was elected to the House of Representatives of the First Texas Legislature on August 25, 1849, was reelected to the Third Legislature, and in 1851 was elected to the state's Fourth Legislature, which he served as speaker of the House. He continued to serve in almost every session of the state legislature until secession. By 1850 his property was assessed at $1,500. He then had two children. During his terms in the house he continued his medical practice in Grimes County. On February 12, 1853, he announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor, with Elisha M. Pease as the party's gubernatorial candidate. He and Pease were inaugurated on December 21, 1853. In 1855 Dickson ran for governor against Pease; he was endorsed by the American (Know-Nothing) party, though he was a staunch Democrat. Although defeated in his run for the statehouse, he was reelected to the House of Representatives on August 10, 1859, by a 175-vote majority. On November 16, 1859, when Dickson moved that Representative Basilio Benavides of Webb County be allowed an interpreter, the Dallas Herald (see DALLAS TIMES HERALD) responded: "Don't you think it would be a good idea to allow an interpreter apiece to all the members who cannot speak Spanish? There is as much reason in one as in the other." Dickson chose not to run for reelection in 1861. By 1860 his real estate was valued at $50,000 and his personal property at $130,000. At that time he was married to Nancy Ann E. (Magee) and was the father of seven children.

During the Civil War Dickson served as captain of a local militia company. On September 1, 1866, he was appointed financial agent of the Huntsville Penitentiary (see TEXAS STATE PENITENTIARY AT HUNTSVILLE). Governor James Webb Throckmorton praised Dickson's performance in that job, writing that he had "acted with much prudence in [his] purchases" and expressing himself "quite sure" that Dickson had "managed the whole affair better than it [had] ever been managed." In the penitentiary Dickson cared for convicts during a yellow fever epidemic.

After his service to the state penitentiary ended in 1867, when Throckmorton was removed from office as an "impediment to Reconstruction," Dixon retired to Grimes County, where he continued his medical practice. After his death he was buried in the family cemetery near his home at Anderson, on June 5, 1880. Dickson was a Mason. His papers are preserved at the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Austin Texas State Gazette, August 25, February 12, June 18, December 27, 1853. Compiled Index to Elected and Appointed Officials of the Republic of Texas, 1835-1846 (Austin: State Archives, Texas State Library, 1981). Dallas Herald, August 10, November 16, 1859, September 1, 1866. David Catching Dickson Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Thomas W. Cutrer

DUPREE, J. GOLDSTEEN (?-1873). J. Goldsteen Dupree, who represented Montgomery and Harris counties in the Twelfth Legislature in 1870, was probably born in Texas between 1822 and 1846. He was residing in Montgomery County when voters from the Fourteenth District elected him to the House of Representatives. He served on the State Affairs and the Public Buildings and Grounds committees and was one of twelve blacks in the House. Dupree, who only served a single term, became involved in a controversy over voter fraud after his term expired. He appeared before a legislative investigating committee and helped unseat two black legislators, Richard Allen and E. H. Anderson,qqv by testifying that nonresidents of Harris and Montgomery counties had voted in the election of 1872. His critics charged that he had received money to testify against the two contested legislators. Dupree allegedly died at the hands of white vigilantes who opposed his campaigning for Governor Edmund J. Davis'sqv reelection in 1873.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Alwyn Barr, "Black Legislators of Reconstruction Texas," Civil War History 32 (December 1986).

Paul M. Lucko

FROST, JOHN LIGHTER (1862-1900). John Lighter Frost, lawman, son of Samuel C. and Nancy Frost, was born on January 14, 1862, in Jessamine County, Kentucky. The family moved to Denton County, Texas, when John was a young boy and moved in 1878 to Chambers County, where they settled near the site of Fort Anahuac. After the death of his father in 1879 Frost took over the operation of the family farm and supported his mother. He was elected county commissioner of Precinct 2, which included Anahuac, in 1890. He ran successfully for county surveyor in 1892, was reelected in 1894, and was elected county sheriff in 1896. He was reelected to the office in 1898 and 1900.

Frost met his death at a large hunting lodge owned by William Lewis Moody of Galveston. The lodge, located on Lake Surprise in southwestern Chambers County, became a point of dispute between Moody and several of his employees, including William Kennedy, his son Lee Kennedy, and Robert Heiman. The employees received an eviction notice after claiming to own the lodge. Political enemies of Frost began to accuse the lawman of cowardice in not moving rapidly to remove the Kennedys from the lodge. Frost, determined to answer the critics, set out for Lake Surprise alone on November 9, 1900. He made a visit to the hunting lodge that afternoon, then returned the following day. No further trace of him was ever seen. Although his body was never found, his horse was found wandering on the prairie on the afternoon of November 11, the reins having been cut and blood found on the saddle. The Conway, a boat belonging to Heiman, was seen leaving Smith Point on the same day. Lee Kennedy and Robert Heiman were arrested on board the boat at a Galveston wharf; William Kennedy was arrested in Houston, and the three were charged with murder. Heiman made a series of confessions, stating variously that the body had been buried in an old grave, sunk in the waters of East Bay, and dismembered before being cast into Galveston Bay. The trial was moved to Conroe in Montgomery County in September 1901, and Heiman repudiated all his confessions upon arriving there. With no body and no confession, the district attorney filed a motion dismissing the case on January 14, 1902.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Galveston Daily News, November 15, 17, December 21, 24, 29, 1900. Jewel Horace Harry, A History of Chambers County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940; rpt., Dallas: Taylor, 1981). Ralph Semmes Jackson, Home on the Double Bayou: Memories of an East Texas Ranch (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961). Forest W. McNeir, Forest McNeir of Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956).

Kevin Ladd

FROST, SAMUEL R. (1846-1908). Samuel R. Frost, state representative and district judge, was born to William and Louisa Frost in Montgomery County, Texas, on March 1, 1846; the family moved to Navarro County that same year. Frost's parents had come to Texas from North Carolina in 1845. He grew up on his father's farm in the Dresden-Raleigh community and was educated in Navarro County schools until the outbreak of the Civil War. At the age of seventeen, he entered the Confederate Army as a private in Company I of the Nineteenth Texas Cavalry. He traveled with this unit to Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana during the war. He subsequently returned to Texas and began a farming career, which he gave up in 1867 after Texas suffered an unusual blizzard. Frost attended school in Alvarado in 1867-68. He taught in county schools and studied law in the office of Clinton M. Winkler from 1868 to 1870, when he was admitted to the bar in Navarro County.

He was appointed county attorney for Navarro County in 1871 and elected county judge on February 15, 1876. He was unanimously elected to represent his district in the Texas House of Representatives on November 5, 1878. He became district judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District in 1886 and served as flotorial representative of Johnson, Hill, Ellis, and Navarro counties in the Twenty-first Legislature in 1889. Frost later was tendered a position as judge of the Court of Civil Appeals for the state of Texas but declined. He was a strict believer in states' rights and a staunch Democrat. He was one of the organizers of the first water and gas plants of Corsicana. After his service in the Texas government, he returned to Navarro County to practice law and became the attorney for the Cotton Belt and the Houston and Texas Central railroads.

He married Mary L. "Mollie" Winkler, daughter of Clinton Winkler, on June 4, 1872. They had nine children. On January 1, 1908, Frost died during an operation in Fort Worth. He was buried in Corsicana. Frost, in Navarro County, was named for him.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Annie Carpenter Love, History of Navarro County (Dallas: Southwestern, 1933). Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone, and Leon Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893).

Julie G. Miller

GALLATIN, ALBERT (1809-1898). Albert Gallatin, soldier, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on August 1, 1809. He was single when he moved to Texas from Missouri in 1832. He enlisted in the revolutionary army on November 1, 1835, took part in the Grass Fight in John Crane's company, was discharged on December 13, 1835, and reenlisted as a first sergeant in William Ware's Second Company, Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers. Gallatin was slightly wounded in the battle of San Jacinto and was discharged on June 12, 1836. In January 1841 he was captain of a company in Edwin Morehouse's regiment in an expedition against the Indians on the upper Brazos River. Gallatin lived in Montgomery and Milam counties but died in Brazos County, on February 16, 1898. Both he and his wife, the former Sarah Louise Jones of Alabama, whom he married on November 23, 1837, were buried in Cottonwood Cemetery, near Bryan.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Louis Wiltz Kemp Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Texas Almanac, 1872.

Albert R. Gallatin

GARRETT, CHARLES (?-?). Charles Garrett, early settler, was in Texas by August 16, 1823, when he voted in an alcalde election. On July 10, 1824, he was elected fourth sergeant of the San Felipe militia. As one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred settlers, he received title on July 15, 1824, to a league of land on the south bank of the San Bernard River in what is now western Brazoria County, and a labor of land now in Waller County. The census of 1826 classified Garrett as a farmer and stock raiser aged between twenty-five and forty. He had a wife, Catherine, two daughters, and a son. The 1840 tax rolls list a Charles Garrett in Montgomery County with three slaves and twenty-five cattle.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924-28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897).

GRIMES, JESSE (1788-1866). Jesse Grimes, judge and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, son of Sampson and Bethsheba (Winder) Grimes, was born in what is now Duplin County, North Carolina, on February 6, 1788. In 1817 he moved to Washington County, Alabama. His first wife, Martha (Smith), died in 1824; they had nine children. In 1826 he married Mrs. Rosanna Ward Britton; they became the parents of six children.

Grimes moved to Texas in 1826 and settled temporarily in Stephen F. Austin's second colony on the San Jacinto River in what is now Harris County; in the fall of 1827 he settled on Grimes Prairie, now in Grimes County. On March 21, 1829, he was elected first lieutenant of the First Company, Battalion of Austin. He was elected síndico procurador of the Viesca precinct in December 1830 and in December 1831 was elected a regidor of the ayuntamiento On October 5, 1832, he was put on a subcommittee of safety and vigilance for the Viesca District and on October 6 was appointed treasurer of the district. He represented Washington Municipality in the Consultationqv and on November 14, 1835, was elected a member of the General Council of the provisional government.

Grimes was one of the four representatives from Washington Municipality to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. On June 3, 1836, he enrolled a company of volunteers for three months' service in the Texas army. He represented Washington County in the Senate of the First Congress of the Republic of Texas from October 3, 1836, to September 25, 1837. From November 1, 1841, to December 8, 1843, he represented Montgomery County in the Sixth and Seventh congresses. He filled out Robert M. Williamson's unexpired term in the Eighth Congress, representing Washington, Montgomery, and Brazos counties, and was elected to the Ninth Congress, which ended on June 28, 1845. After annexation he was a member of the Senate of the First, Second, Third, and Fourth legislatures. Grimes County was probably named for him.

Grimes died on March 15, 1866, and was buried in the John McGinty cemetery, ten miles east of Navasota. In 1929 his remains and those of his second wife were reinterred in the State Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Grimes County Historical Commission, History of Grimes County, Land of Heritage and Progress (Dallas: Taylor, 1982). Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959).

L. W. Kemp

HAMMETT, SAMUEL ADAMS (1816-1865). Samuel Adams Hammett, humorist, son of Augustus J. and Mary (Wright) Hammett, was born at Jewett City, Connecticut, on February 4, 1816. His parents moved to New York City, where his father operated a wholesale grocery. After a good public-school education Hammett became a member of the first class of the University of the City of New York, but in the summer of 1834 he withdrew from the university to devote himself to his father's business. Late in 1835 he moved to Texas, where he remained until 1848, working as a surveyor and peddler in and around Montgomery and as part owner of a wholesale produce and flour firm in Houston and Galveston. Upon his return to New York City he went into business and began writing both serious and humorous magazine articles about Texas. In 1853 he published these articles and others as A Stray Yankee in Texas. Two years later he issued a second volume, The Wonderful Adventures of Captain Priest, a collection of sketches and humorous tales with a down-east background. In his third book, Piney Woods Tavern, or Sam Slick in Texas (1858), which was published in Peterson's Illustrated Uniform Edition of Humorous American Works, he returned with obvious delight to the Texas scene. Meanwhile, he had moved from New York to Brooklyn.

In his day Hammett was extremely popular as a humorist and teller of Texas tall tales, a fact well illustrated by the inclusion of one-half of Stray Yankee in Die Illustrierte Familien Biblioteck, a sixteen-volume anthology of representative world authors published in Dresden and Leipzig. Like other books of their genre, Stray Yankee and Piney Woods Tavern are full of horseplay, frontier dialect, and amusing anecdotes based largely on personal experience, but they also contain a wealth of factual details on Texas life during the republic. Hammett wrote under the pseudonym of Phillip Paxton, sometimes signing his articles "P. P." The author confessed to having borrowed the sobriquet "Sam Slick" from Thomas C. Haliburton. Hammett died in Brooklyn on December 24, 1865.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dictionary of American Biography. Telegraph and Texas Register, May 20, 1846.

W. Stanley Hoole

HAMPTON, JOSEPH WADE (1813-1855). Joseph Wade Hampton, newspaperman, was born on July 7, 1813, to Thomas F. and Elizabeth Hampton in Catawba County, North Carolina. In 1836 he married Sarah Stirewalt, who died in 1841 after bearing one daughter. Hampton learned the newspaper trade under Dr. Ashbel Smith, first as an apprentice, then as a coeditor, of the Salisbury, North Carolina, Western Carolinian. He assumed the editorship of the paper when Smith immigrated to Texas in 1837; he hoped to join Smith in establishing a newspaper in the new republic, but ill health forced him to remain in North Carolina. He probably hoped to regain his health when he left journalism and purchased a resort at Catawba Springs, North Carolina, in 1838. He could not stay out of journalism, however, and after he moved to Charlotte in 1841, he founded and edited the Mecklenburg Jeffersonian, a Democratic organ through which he continually squabbled with the Whigs in opposition newspapers. In 1844 he married Cynthia R. Wilson, first cousin of Samuel Polk (President James K. Polk's father). They had five children.

Hampton's health and finances grew worse, and he reconsidered moving to Texas. He arrived in Montgomery on December 28, 1848, and moved to Huntsville almost immediately. He taught English at the Huntsville Male Institute, studied law in the county clerk's office, and was appointed to the original board of trustees of Austin College. In 1850 he moved to Austin, where he was offered a job on the Texas State Gazette (see AUSTIN STATE GAZETTE). In October of the same year he was elected clerk of the legislature. In December Hampton purchased a one-third interest in the Gazette. He became publisher of the paper in 1853 and was elected public printer for the Fifth Texas Legislature. When ill health forced him to retire in 1854 he sold his interest in the paper to John Marshall.

Hampton died on June 13, 1855, after a short but active involvement in community and state affairs. He was a ruling elder and charter member of the First Presbyterian Church in Austin; he was a motivating force in the agricultural societies and Democratic party of North Carolina and Texas; and he endeavored to bring the railroad into Charlotte and Austin. More important, he helped to improve the cultural and social life of Texans by advocating progressive causes, supporting various educational institutions, and editing widely read and influential newspapers. He was buried in Austin.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ronnie C. Tyler, Joseph Wade Hampton (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1969).

Ron Tyler

HIGHTOWER, LEWIS BUCKNER, SR. (1838-1918). Lewis Buckner Hightower, Sr., legislator and judge, often known as "the Bear-Hunting Judge," was born on October 20, 1838, in Florence, Lauderdale County, Alabama, a son of John Oldham and Apphia (Allen) Hightower. The elder Hightower, an attorney, moved the family to Texas in 1842 and then to Lafayette County, Arkansas, in 1844. He served as a circuit court judge and as a member of the state legislature and was shot to death in Lewisville, Arkansas, in 1848. The younger Hightower moved to Texas and studied at Austin College in Huntsville and later at the Baylor Law School at Independence, graduating there in 1859. He then returned to Huntsville to open his law office, but his fledgling practice was quickly interrupted by the Civil War. Hightower first served with Company I, Bates's (Fourth) Regiment Texas Volunteers, and later Company I, Brown's (Thirty-fifth) Texas Cavalry Regiment. He was elected as its captain on March 27, 1863. After the war Hightower resumed his law practice and as a Democrat was elected in 1876 to the Texas legislature from Willis in Montgomery County; he served only one term. He later settled in the Gladstell community near Cleveland in northern Liberty County. He was appointed by Governor Lawrence S. (Sul) Ross to the Ninth Judicial District bench in July 1888, and then in November 1888 won election to the office over two challengers. He was never challenged again and held the office until his death. His most celebrated case came in August 1889, when Governor Ross appointed him as a visiting judge in Fort Bend County during the Jaybird-Woodpecker War. Hightower was a renowned bear hunter and was often known to dismiss court to make time for hunts. He is credited with having killed some 200 bears during his lifetime. He once explained, "I practice law for recreation and hunt bear for a livin'." Judge L. B. Hightower died at his home near Cleveland on January 13, 1918, and was buried in Wells Cemetery in Montgomery County. He had been married four times and was the father of twenty children. In 1860 he married Sallie Riggins (d. 1863); in 1868, Cora A. Polk; in 1874, Jacquelina Moore (1852-1884); and in 1886, Jane Lockhart (1864-1945). Three of his sons held elective office: L. B. Hightower II, as chief justice of the Ninth Court of Civil Appeals (1916-32); Lockhart Valentine Hightower, as sheriff and county clerk of Liberty County; and T. J. (Tommy) Hightower, as district attorney and county judge of Liberty County.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Beaumont Enterprise, June 23, 1961. Houston Chronicle, March 6, 1960. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Walker County Genealogical Society and Walker County Historical Commission, Walker County (Dallas, 1986).

Kevin Ladd

HOLLAND, FRANCIS (?-1834). Francis Holland, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, traveled down the Coushatta Trace from Louisiana into Texas in 1822 with his own family, his brother William Holland and his family, and his sister Mrs. Mary (Holland) Peterson and her two sons. They settled on Ten Mile Creek (later Holland Creek) in what is now Grimes County on property bought from Andrew Millican. Holland received title to his Grimes County league on August 10, 1824. The census of March 1826 listed him as a farmer and stock raiser aged between forty and fifty. His household included two servants, his wife (a sister of Mrs. William Holland), three sons, and two daughters. Francis Holland was defeated by John P. Coles in the alcalde election in 1826 but was comisario in 1830 and represented Montgomery County (later Grimes County) in the Convention of 1833. Holland died in 1834. He is mistakenly listed on a monument at the Grimes County Courthouse as a soldier in the revolutionary army, but the mistake arises from the fact that two of his sons, Francis and Tapley, were killed in engagements in 1836.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924-28). E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970). Harold Schoen, comp., Monuments Erected by the State of Texas to Commemorate the Centenary of Texas Independence (Austin: Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations, 1938). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Carolyn Hyman

HOLLAND, JAMES K. (1822-1898). James K. Holland, Texas legislator, son of Spearman Holland, was born in Paris, Tennessee, in 1822. His family lived for some time in Holly Springs, Mississippi, before settling in Harrison County, Texas, in 1842. After serving as a captain during the Mexican War, Holland followed his father in politics by representing Panola and Rusk counties in the Third Legislature. He was United States marshal for eastern Texas in 1851 but returned to politics as a senator in the Fifth Legislature. Holland declined nomination to the Secession Convention but represented Brazos, Grimes, and Montgomery counties in the Ninth Legislature and served as a colonel on Governor Pendleton Murrah's staff during the Civil War. Holland was a delegate to the National Union Convention at Philadelphia in 1866. He moved to Austin in the 1880s and made the first report ever presented in the legislature on the University of Texas. He was killed in a fall from a buggy while riding in Tehuacana, Texas, on May 26, 1898.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin). Annie J. Holland, "A Texas Volunteer in the Mexican War," Texas Magazine, March 1913. James K. Holland, "Diary of a Texan Volunteer in the Mexican War," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 30 (July 1926).

Carolyn Hyman

JONES, ALLEN CARTER (1785-?). Allen Carter Jones, early settler, the son of Jacob Jones, was born in 1785. With his wife and family he arrived at Nacogdoches, Texas, on July 1, 1826. He was detailed for service in the home guard to protect the women and children against the Indians. He received one of the earliest headright certificates from the Republic of Texas, for a league and a labor of land now in Montgomery County. His eldest son, Keeton, also received land for his services in the Texas Revolution. In 1832 Jones married his second wife, Maria Davis, and made his home in Grimes County thereafter. He had ten children with his first wife and four with his second.

Eleanor D. Pace

KONE, EDWARD REEVES (1848-1938). Edward Reeves Kone, son of Samuel R. and Rebecca (Pitts) Kone, was born on March 15, 1848, in Montgomery County, Texas. The family moved to the Stringtown neighborhood in Hays County about 1855. Kone clerked in a store in San Marcos and worked as a cattle driver, then began the study of law at Coronal Institute. He was appointed county attorney before he reached the age of twenty-one and before he was licensed to practice law in 1869. For three years he was a law partner of William O. Hutchinson. Kone served briefly as sheriff of Hays County during Reconstruction. In 1872 he married Lucinda H. Martin of Fayette County. Four of the seven children born to them survived. Kone was county judge from 1878 to 1892 and was reelected to that office in 1894. In 1904 he was unsuccessful as a candidate for United States congressman-at-large. Governor T. M. Campbell appointed him commissioner of agriculture in August 1908. He was assistant commissioner of agriculture from 1914 to 1920, when he became corporation judge for the city of Austin. He was city judge when he died on January 30, 1933, in Austin. Kone was a lifelong Democrat and a Methodist.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Austin Statesman, January 31, 1933. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

Lura N. Rouse

LANE, THERESA ANGELA (1915-1974). Theresa Angela (Sister M. Claude) Lane, teacher, librarian, and archivist, was born in Dobbin, Montgomery County, Texas, on February 7, 1915, the oldest of four children of Michael W. and Mary Lou (Pace) Lane. She joined the Dominican Sisters and took the name Mary Claude upon graduation from St. Agnes Academy in Houston in June 1932. Her education included a B.A. in Latin from Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio in 1953 and an M.L.S. from the University of Texas in 1961.

Sister Claude taught and served as librarian and choral director in Dominican elementary and high schools throughout Texas from 1933 to 1960. Upon completion of her graduate studies at the University of Texas, she became the first professionally trained archivist at the Catholic Archives of Texas in Austin, a position she held part-time, full-time, or in absentia from 1960 to 1974; her status was determined by the availability of funds over the years. During her tenure as archivist she expanded the holdings of the archives to include documentation on Catholic clergy, religious communities, and parishes and dioceses throughout the state. She was a tireless speaker on the subject of Texas Catholic history. She contributed articles to Catholic Library World, Texas Library Journal and the Texas Catholic Herald. She also wrote more than twenty articles for the Handbook of Texas Supplement (1976). Her master's thesis was published as Catholic Archives of Texas: History and Preliminary Inventory in 1961.

Sister Claude was a member of the American Library Association and the Catholic Library Association; in the Texas Library Association she served as vice chairman in 1969. She was also a member of the Society of American Archivists and in 1972 served on a subcommittee of the Church Archives Committee (since renamed Religious Archives Section), to investigate discrimination in hiring practices among church archives. Sister Claude was a founding member of the Society of Southwest Archivists in May 1972 and was elected to that group's executive board.

She died after a long illness at the Dominican Retirement Home in Houston on August 6, 1974. After her death a memorial award was established in her honor by her colleagues in the Society of Southwest Archivists. The award is presented annually by the Religious Archives Section of the Society of American Archivists to a person who has made a significant contribution to the field of religious archives.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Catholic Archives of Texas, Files, Austin.

Kennon H. Garofalo

LEWIS, JOHN M. (?-?). John M. Lewis, early legislator, a Virginian by birth, moved to Texas in February 1842. He represented Montgomery County in the House of Representatives of the Eighth and Ninth congresses of the Republic of Texas and was speaker in the Ninth Congress. He was a delegate to the Convention of 1845 and an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Congress in 1846. Lewis settled in Montgomery County, where he was a farmer and stock raiser.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John S. Ford, Memoirs (MS, John Salmon Ford Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin). Texas Democrat, March 4, 1846. Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Robert Bruce Blake

LINDLEY, JOSEPH (1793-1874). Joseph Lindley, son of Simon and Anna (Stanley) Lindley, was born on January 7, 1793, in Orange County, North Carolina. Early in 1808 he moved with his family to Christian County, Kentucky, and afterward to what is now Bond County, Illinois. Late in 1811, when Lindley was eighteen years old, conflicts with Indians motivated settlers to build a fort near Greenville. During the War of 1812 the family lived in the fort, but after four years of Indian attacks and military protection, they moved to Edwardsville, Illinois. Lindley fought in the War of 1812 as a United States Ranger. He married Nancy Ann Hicks on June 17, 1817, in Bond County, Illinois, and they moved to Humphreys County, Tennessee. Ten years later they arrived in Texas with four children. Lindley was unable to get clear title to his 2,592 acres of land because he was involved in the Fredonian Rebellion at Nacogdoches. He received title to 4,428 acres in Montgomery County on April 6, 1835. He participated in the siege of Bexar in 1835, signed the letter of endorsement required by the Mexicans for the entry into Texas of Alamo defender Jonathan Lindley, and fought at the battle of San Jacinto.qv Mirabeau B. Lamar,qv president of the Republic of Texas, appointed Lindley an Indian agent with a charge to keep the peace. He was an elected civil officer for Montgomery County in 1839 and laid out the first road from Austin to the "springs at the headwaters of the San Marcos" (Aquarena Springs), so that a military post could be established there in 1840. He was appointed by the Congress of the Republic of Texasqv to survey a road from Washington to the Sabine in 1844. About 1846 the Lindleys moved to Limestone County, where they settled four miles north of the site of present-day Mexia. Lindley was elected county commissioner in 1854 and served one term. On January 20, 1874, he died. He was buried in Limestone County and later reinterred at the State Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 26, 1986, during the Texas Sesquicentennial.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Horace Lindly, The Lindlys and Allied Families (Colby, Kansas, 1970).

Delma Cothran Thames

KEENAN, CHARLES G. (1813-1870). Charles G. Keenan, legislator and physician, was born on February 28, 1813, in Giles County, Tennessee, the son of John Keenan. His father served Walker County, Texas, as its first treasurer, and Charles was the first physician to locate in Huntsville, Texas. Dr. Keenan was selected to the first board of trustees of Andrews Female Academy and was an original member of the Forest Masonic Lodge at Huntsville. In addition to his local affiliation with the Masons, he served in the Grand Lodge as grand junior warden in 1850 and held the office of grand treasurer of the Texas Grand Chapter of York Rite Masons for ten years. Before his arrival in Texas Keenan had served as a United States surgeon in the Indian campaigns. He was elected to the state legislature from Walker County three times. He represented Montgomery County in the First and Second legislatures and Walker County in the Third Legislature, where he was speaker in 1849. He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1851 and served for a period as superintendent of the State Asylum for the Insane. Keenan died at Huntsville in 1870.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: D'Anne McAdams Crews, ed., Huntsville and Walker County, Texas: A Bicentennial History (Huntsville, Texas: Sam Houston State University, 1976).

MARTIN, PHILIP (ca. 1800-ca. 1876). Philip Martin, early settler, was born in North Carolina around 1800. He moved to Texas in the middle to late 1820s, and in 1831 received a league of land in David G. Burnet's colony in what is now Anderson County. The Nacogdoches census of 1835 lists as a resident of that municipality one Philip Martin-a carpenter married to Mary (Coffee), with a two-year-old son, Andrew. Martin joined the Texas army at the Colorado River in March 1836 and became a member of Capt. William Smith's spy company. The group proceeded from the Colorado River to the Brazos River and thence to Harrisburg and the battle of San Jacinto. About April 19, Martin joined Capt. Hayden S. Arnold's Infantry Company of the Second Regiment, commanded by Col. Sidney Sherman and Lt. Col. Joseph L. Bennett. He participated in the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. He was honorably discharged from the Army of the Republic of Texasqv in June 1836. Muster rolls from the Texas Revolution indicate that in July, Philip Martin enrolled in one Captain Walden's Company A, Texas Rangers, then reenlisted on November 30 to serve with that same regiment through December 1836.

In November 1838 Martin was granted a headright certificate by the Board of Land Commissioners and received a labor of land in Montgomery County. In December 1838 he received a donation warrant for 640 acres for having served in the battle of San Jacinto. In his veteran's pension application he stated he also received a bounty warrant for 320 acres. Martin and Mary Johnson were married in February 1839; they had one son, Samuel Houston Martin. They resided in Danville, near Willis and New Waverly in Montgomery County. Martin was a friend and staunch supporter of Sam Houston. In 1857, when Houston was embroiled in a feud with Col. Sidney Sherman concerning the conduct of each in the battle of San Jacinto, Martin wrote a letter to Houston condemning Sherman's conduct in the battle. In a speech before the United States Senate, Houston read the letter, which was later printed in the 1860 Texas Almanac. After the Civil War, Martin was among those who took the amnesty oath and registered as voters of Montgomery County. In 1870 he filed for a state pension as a veteran of the Army of the Republic of Texas; a pension in the amount of $250 was approved in 1871. The Galveston Daily News of October 20, 1877, in reporting on the convention of the Texas Veterans Association, announced that Philip Martin of Montgomery County had died during the previous year. His place of burial is unknown.

Apparently another Philip Martin moved to Nacogdoches in 1835. This Philip Martin, a Texas Ranger stationed at Fort Colorado, Travis County, was killed in a raid against Comanches in 1837.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). William T. Field, "Fort Colorado: A Texas Ranger Frontier Outpost in Travis County, Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 72 (October 1968). Galveston Daily News, October 20, 1877.

Christine Mitchell

MAYES, ELIAS (1831-?). Elias Mayes, who represented Brazos County in the Texas House of Representatives during the Sixteenth and Twenty-first legislatures, was born as a slave in Conecuh County, Alabama, on February 15, 1831, the son of Louis and Gillette Mayes. He moved to Montgomery County, Texas, in 1863 and was living in Grimes County by 1866. He was a farmer and Methodist Episcopal Church minister. Around 1877 he moved to Brazos County, where he was elected to the legislatures that met in 1879 and 1889. While in the legislature, Mayes, who lived in Bryan, opposed racial segregation legislation and served on the Penitentiaries and Representation and Apportionment committees. Though he was a member of the Republican Party, Mayes also received support from the Greenback Party in 1878. He reportedly organized a "Colored Farmers' Union" in Brazos County in 1907.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868-1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985). Lawrence D. Rice, The Negro in Texas, 1874-1900 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971).

Paul M. Lucko

MCCOMB, JOHN EVANS (1848-?). John Evans McComb, state legislator and United States attorney, son of Rev. Thomas Benton and Mary Elizabeth McComb, was born in Miller County, Missouri, on August 5, 1848. In 1852 the family moved to a farm near Sherman, Texas. He attended Ladonia Male and Female Institute and Myers Academy as preparation for Waco University, where he graduated with an A.B. degree in June 1871. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar in Sherman in September 1872. On February 24, 1873, he married Sallie E. Linton in Montgomery; they had two children. They moved to Montgomery County in January 1875, and McComb became well known as a member of the Democratic party there. He served in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth state legislatures and was twice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He also served as a presidential elector for Grover Cleveland. From 1872 to 1891 he was a delegate to state Democratic conventions, and in 1880 he was a delegate to the national Democratic convention. In 1885 he was appointed United States attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, a post he held until 1889. He was a charter member, director, and chairman of the executive committee of the Central and Montgomery Railway Company. McComb was described as a champion of public schools and a benefactor of schools, charities, and churches. He was also known for his oratory on the floor of the Texas House. He was a Mason.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewis E. Daniell, Types of Successful Men in Texas (Austin: Von Boeckmann, 1890). Montgomery County Genealogical Society, Montgomery County History (Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Hunter, 1981).

Rebecca L. Borjas

MCGARY, DAN H. (ca. 1820-1902). Dan H. McGary, soldier and journalist, was born around 1820 in Hopkins County, Kentucky, according to his descendants, but in Indiana according to the 1850 census report. After a brief sojourn in Nebraska he immigrated to Texas and in 1840 was residing in Montgomery County, where he owned 1,000 acres and a wooden clock. At the same time he owned an additional 640 acres in Harris County. In 1847, during the Mexican War, he served for six months as a corporal in Capt. James Gillaspie's company of Col. John C. Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers. After leaving the army McGary lived for a time in Walker County, but by 1850 he was residing in Limestone County with his wife, Sarah.

McGary served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and after the breakup of the Confederacy moved to Washington County, where he established the Brenham Banner in the fall of 1866. An ardent Democrat and fiery opponent of radical Reconstruction, McGary was jailed for his intemperate editorial attacks on military officials, and when he continued to publish his views from jail, his newspaper offices were burned by arsonists; the fire started a conflagration that destroyed most of Brenham.

McGary thereupon moved to Harris County, where in 1871 he became owner and editor of the Houston Age. He subsequently moved the paper first to Wallisville in 1897 and then to Beaumont in 1900. He died there on April 22, 1902. He was the brother of Jonathan McGary, who married the widow of George A. Lamb.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). C. W. Raines, Year Book for Texas (2 vols., Austin: Gammel-Statesman, 1902, 1903). Samuel O. Young, True Stories of Old Houston and Houstonians (Galveston: Springer, 1913; rpt., Houston: Green Bottle Antique Shop, 1974).

Thomas W. Cutrer

MCGARY, ISAAC (1800-1866). Isaac McGary, early settler and soldier, was born in 1800 in Butler County, Ohio, the son of John McGary. He moved to Texas with Stephen F. Austin and fought at the battle of San Jacinto, after which he helped guard Antonio López de Santa Anna. McGary received a donation land grant for his participation in the battle, and his name is on the San Jacinto monument. He also served as a private under Capt. James Gillespie in the Mexican War. His name is on the Gillaspie Memorial Marker in Huntsville. McGary served as sheriff of Montgomery County in 1843. When Walker County was formed, he was elected the first county clerk. He served in this capacity from 1846 to 1852. In 1854 he was chief justice of Walker County. McGary was a Mason in Forest Lodge No. 19. In the 1850 census he is listed as fifty years old, married to Elizabeth (Visier), a French immigrant, age thirty-four. Three children are listed. Elizabeth died in 1853 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville. While on a trip to the coast, McGary died in Galveston in 1866. He was buried in Soldier's Rest Cemetery, Galveston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: D'Anne McAdams Crews, ed., Huntsville and Walker County, Texas: A Bicentennial History (Huntsville, Texas: Sam Houston State University, 1976). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Walker County Genealogical Society and Walker County Historical Commission, Walker County (Dallas, 1986).

Viva M. McComb

MORSE, CHARLES S. (1849-1902). Charles S. Morse, lawyer, son of L. B. and Elizabeth Morse, was born in Troy, Pennsylvania, on October 23, 1849. During the Civil War he enlisted at the age of fourteen in Company B, Fifth Georgia Regiment, which in April 1862, owing to the considerable loss of men, became part of the First Regiment of Georgia Regulars under Col. Sandy Wayne. After the war Morse was in the mercantile business for a short time before he entered Savannah Medical College, from which he received his diploma in March 1870. He moved to Navarro County, Texas, in March 1871 and practiced medicine briefly before he became a business manager of the Navarro Banner at Corsicana, where he was deputy collector of taxes in 1874-75. On October 12, 1875, he married Helen J. Chambers of Montgomery County. They had a daughter. He studied law in the office of Clinton M. Winkler and on April 21, 1876, was appointed clerk of the Supreme Court at Austin, a position he held for twenty-one years. Morse was secretary of the Texas Bar Association (now the State Bar of Texasqv) from 1882 to 1902. He was also a thirty-third-degree Mason. He died on May 13, 1902.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Austin Daily Statesman, May 14, 1902. Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). C. W. Raines, Year Book for Texas (2 vols., Austin: Gammel-Statesman, 1902, 1903). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

Jeanette H. Flachmeier

PARKER, JESSE (ca. 1776-1849). Jesse Parker, soldier, pioneer, and early Texas colonist, was probably born in North Carolina around 1776. He moved around 1798 to Georgia and then in 1809 to St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, where he volunteered for ninety days' service in the Thirteenth Louisiana Regiment in the War of 1812. In 1822 he moved his family to Texas and farmed a Spanish land grant near the site of Huntsville as a member of Vehlein's colony (see VEHLEIN, JOSEPH). He attended the Convention of 1832 at San Felipe de Austin as a representative of the Sabine District. He received a land grant of one league, approved on February 11, 1835. He was on the Old Three Hundred original tax list of Washington County in 1837. On December 15, 1837, he was elected by the Republic of Texasqv legislature to be associate land commissioner for Montgomery County, the last public office he held. His name is on a monument at Franklinton, Washington Parish, Louisiana, for the War of 1812, and on a monument at the courthouse in Hemphill, Texas, honoring prominent men of the area. A Texas Historical Commission marker was dedicated on his grave on March 17, 1981. Jesse Parker married a woman named Sarah around 1798, and they had seven children. She died in the spring of 1828 in East Texas. There he married Elizabeth Barker in January 1829, and they also had seven children. The eldest son, Mathew (Matthew) Arnold, was in the Texas army during the Texas Revolution and served as the first county judge of Sabine County. Wiley, the second son, served in the Texas army and was in Wier's detachments at Harrisburg during the battle of San Jacinto.qv Parker died on May 27, 1849. His wife died on March 4, 1898. Both were buried in a family cemetery near their home. On October 20, 1979, their graves were moved to the lot of their youngest son, Samuel David, at Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville, Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Jesse Parker, Matthew Parker, and Elijah Isaacks," Texana 5 (Summer 1967). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

B. Elmer Spradley

Date: Friday, January 30, 2004 15:24:50


Jane McGuffin, born in Ireland in 1811. From Ireland Jane and her mother Elizabeth McGuffin (born 1775) went to Canada and from there they traveled by covered wagon down to Louisiana in 1823. Jane was 12 years old.

Later Jane met and married Joseph West Neal. Joseph was born in Alabama. He had been married to another unknown woman and had five children, Joe born about 1825, Jesse born about 1826, Willis Benjamin born about 1829, Thomas Franklin born about 1831 and George Washington born about 1833. Joseph and Jane married and had three more children, Menerva Evalina and William. Jane was pregnant with their third child, Susan Frances Neal when Joseph was murdered, Tuesday, December 9, 1845.

Joseph and Jane Neal owned a commissary in Many Louisiana. On December 9, 1845, two outlaws came in to rob Joseph. He refused to give the robbers his money and reached for his rifle that was standing behind the counter. The robbers shot and killed Joseph in front of his wife and children. They took his money and hightailed it out of town. Susan’s two brothers, Joe Neal and Jesse Neal started practicing their fast gun draw and got to be really good. Soon they went to work at a sawmill. They worked there for a few months, just long enough to earn a few dollars. One day, Joe and Jesse Neal collected their pay, went home and got the money they had been saving. They gave their brothers, Willis and George some of the money to give to their mother and told them to let their mother know they were going after the men that had killed their father. The boys lit out on the cold trail of the two outlaws. They crossed over into Texas checking the saloons in all the little towns and settlements and any known outlaw hideouts along the way. They finally found the two men in a saloon standing at the bar. When the two men looked into the mirror over the bar they saw the boys standing behind them. They turned and drew their guns but the young Neal boys were faster on the draw. They shot and killed the two men that had killed their father, then got on their horses and rode out of town. The law was hot on their tails. The Sheriff and his posse trailed the boys back to the family farm in Many, Louisiana. The boys had come back to tell the family that the two killers were dead and that they were ok. The boys grabbed some food and cartridges. From the family farm you could see someone coming before they could see you. When the Neal boys spotted the posse riding toward the family farm the boys lit out for the neighboring farm. The posse searched the family farm and neighboring farms but could not find them anywhere. When the posse got to the neighboring farm the boys had doubled back passing, and hiding from, the posse. The posse finally split up. Half of them camped on the edge of town, and sneaked back into town on foot, hoping to catch a glimpse of the two Neal boys. One of the men from the posse sat in a chair beside the front door of the Neal Commissary and another deputy sat across the street in front of the saloon owned by David Recknor.

The other half of the posse camped on the edge of the family farm watching for the boys to return home. In the dark of night the two boys sneaked back to the family farm, kissed their family goodbye, managed to turn the posse’s horses loose and headed out of town. After about six months the law finally gave up and went back to Texas. The trail was now too cold to follow. As far as the law was concerned the two boys had vanished from the face of the earth. The two Neal boys were never heard from again except for the few messages they managed to get to their family. Finally the messages stopped coming. The boys had headed for “No Man’s Land”. The area between Sabine in Texas and the Arroyo Hondo in Louisiana was called the “Neutral Ground” or “No Man’s Land”. It had no laws, no government and no one to enforce any kind of control over the people living in this zone. This made a perfect place for criminals and low life to gather. It was soon filled with desperados of the worst kind. Men who robbed and murdered without fear of any type of punishment. The United States and Spain finally put an end to this condition by agreeing upon the present day boundary between Louisiana and Texas. But it took time to bring law and order to this part of the country.

In about 1848 Jane McGuffin Neal married David Recknor, owner of the town saloon. They had three more children.

Although Joseph Neal himself never lived in Montgomery County, his descendants like, Jesse Malachi Real I & II, Allen Zachariah {A.Z.} Real, Hugh McGuffin, John Neal and their descendants did and do live in Montgomery County, Texas.

Other members of the Neal related families moved to San Augustine, Liberty, Polk, Montgomery, Trinity and Leon Counties, Texas.

Submitted and Copyright © by Sue Real Mullins 2004

PARSONS, WILLIAM HENRY (1826-1907). William Henry Parsons, newspaper editor, legislator, and Confederate colonel, son of Samuel and Hannah (Broadwell) Parsons, was born in New Jersey on April 23, 1826. When William was still a small child, his father moved the family to Montgomery, Alabama. As a young man William attended Emory College at Oxford, Georgia, but resigned in 1844 to enlist in the war with Mexico, where he fought under Zachary Taylor. After the war Parsons settled in Texas. On February 18, 1851, he married Louisa Dennard of Jefferson, with whom he had five children. In 1852 Parsons joined a stock company, bought a newspaper, and became editor of the Tyler Telegraph. In 1854 he sold his interest in the paper and moved to the Brazos River region of Central Texas. Throughout the 1850s he lectured and wrote on local, state, and national issues for various Texas papers. In 1860 he founded his own newspaper in Waco, the South West, a weekly devoted to supporting southern rights. When the Civil War began he received a commission as a colonel from Governor Edward Clark with authorization to raise a regiment for state service. First known as the Fourth Regiment Texas Volunteer Cavalry, when the unit mustered into the Confederate army on October 28, 1861, it became the Twelfth Texas Cavalry. In the spring of 1862 the Twelfth took part in successfully defending Little Rock against Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis's Union army, and by October Parsons had command of a brigade consisting of his own Twelfth Texas, Nathaniel M. Burford's Nineteenth Texas Cavalry, George W. Carter'sqv Twenty-First Texas Cavalry, and Joseph H. Pratt's Tenth Texas Field Battery. At various times Parsons also commanded several independent companies, and some of these later joined the brigade as a battalion under Charles L. Morgan. Throughout the war Parsons's men served as scouts and raiders along the west bank of the Mississippi from Missouri to Louisiana. They participated in numerous skirmishes and several battles including the ejection of Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks's federal army from Louisiana during the Red River Campaign of 1864. Parsons was recommended for the rank of brigadier general several times, but never received a promotion because of a dispute over precedence with Colonel Carter. Both men at various times led parts of the brigade. When the war ended Parsons left Texas to investigate the possibility of establishing a Confederate colony in British Honduras but soon returned to Houston, where he became the editor of a newspaper. He was elected to the state Senate and served in the Twelfth Legislature (1870-71) as representative of Harris, Montgomery, Anderson, Henderson, and Van Zandt counties. In 1871 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him a United States Centennial commissioner, and he moved to New York. In his later life Parsons held various government positions and lived in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. After his younger brother Albert R. Parsons was arrested as a consequence of the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886, Parsons visited him before his execution. In the late 1870s Parsons, by this time a widower, was married a second time to Myra Berry. He died on October 3, 1907, at the home of his son Edgar in Chicago and was buried next to Myra in Mount Hope Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John Q. Anderson, ed., Campaigning with Parsons' Texas Cavalry Brigade, CSA (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1967). Anne J. Bailey, Between the Enemy and Texas: Parsons's Texas Cavalry in the Civil War (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1989). B. P. Gallaway, The Ragged Rebel: A Common Soldier in W. H. Parsons' Texas Cavalry, 1861-1865 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988). Parsons' Texas Cavalry Brigade Association, A Brief and Condensed History of Parsons' Texas Cavalry Brigade (Waxahachie, Texas: Flemister, 1892; rpt., Waco: Morrison, 1962).

Anne J. Bailey

PIERSON, JOHN GOODLOE WARREN (1795-1849). John Goodloe Warren Pierson, Indian fighter, surveyor, land developer, and judge, was born on February 15, 1795, in Person County, North Carolina, one of five sons of John and Elizabeth (Warren) Pierson. He moved in 1805 with his parents to the area of western Kentucky that later became Union County. His father served in Gen. George Washington's Continental Army at Valley Forge, Camden, and in other actions during the American Revolution. Pierson married Purity Ruffin Pennington on January 17, 1815, in Union County, Kentucky, and they had three children before her death. In 1818 Pierson moved to the Red River area of Texas, which in 1820 became Miller County, Arkansas. The site where he settled was marked in 1936 as the first Anglo-American settlement of Lamar County, Texas. Pierson became a county surveyor, judge, and commander of the Ninth Militia with the rank of major in Miller County. In 1828, when the Indian situation worsened there, he requested permission of George Izard, governor of Arkansas Territory, to remove the Shawnee Indians with the militia. With the governor's approval Pierson commanded sixty-two volunteers, who with the assistance of Col. William Rector, adjutant general of the militia of Arkansas Territory, forced the troublesome Shawnees to leave the territory peaceably.

On December 11, 1826, Pierson married Elizabeth Montgomery, the daughter of William Montgomery of Miller County. They had three children before her death on September 15, 1833. Montgomery County, Texas, was named for her family. Pierson moved to Nacogdoches, Texas, about 1830 and joined Stephen F. Austin's colony in October 1831, where he continued his surveying activities. He received one league of land in Fayette County through Austin's third empresario contract on November 2, 1832. Sterling C. Robertson, empresario of Robertson's colony, appointed Pierson on December 22, 1833, his "true and lawful attorney" to issue certificates to all settlers wishing to settle in the colony and to "do all things relative of said colony." On September 17, 1834, William H. Steele, land commissioner of the colony, appointed Pierson the principal surveyor. In 1834, in cooperation with Robertson, Pierson laid out in 1834 the capital of the colony, Sarahville de Viesca, on the west bank at the Falls of the Brazos. Pierson assisted Robertson for two years, issuing certificates, surveying, and supervising development activities much of the time while Robertson was absent. In 1835 Pierson married Narcissa (Cartwright) Slatter, a daughter of Peter Cartwright. They had three children. Slatter and Pierson each received title to one league of land in the Nashville colony (Robertson's) on December 10, 1834.

During the early stages of the Texas Revolution, Pierson became a member of the Committee of Safety and Correspondence of Viesca when it was established on May 17, 1835. He was elected on October 5, 1835, a delegate to represent the Municipality of Viesca at the Consultationqv at San Felipe de Austin, where he served on the "Committee of Five" who established the Texas Rangers on October 17 and signed both of the "Texas Declaration of Causes for Taking up Arms Against Mexico" on November 7 and the ordinance that established the provisional government of Texas on November 13. He was appointed a commissioner to organize the militia at Viesca in the war against Mexico on November 26 and served as secretary of the General Council. He was the second judge of Viesca in the same year. Pierson entered into an agreement on December 2, 1835, with Colbert Baker, A. F. Burchard, and Robert M. Stevenson to lay out a town site of seventy-eight acres in Washington County. They named the town Independence. On November 30, 1835, after surveying and laying out the townsite, Pierson and Baker sold one-fourth of their undivided interest in the town site to A. F. Burchard.

During the election held in the Nashville colony on February 1, 1836, Pierson was defeated by Sterling C. Robertson and George C. Childress as a delegate to represent the Municipality of Milam (Viesca) at the Convention of 1836.qv The acting governor and commander-in-chief of the militia of the provisional government of Texas, James W. Robinson, commissioned Pierson on February 13, 1836, his aide-de-camp for Milam with the rank of colonel. Pierson was ordered to recruit and equip men for military service in the war against Mexico and to report them to the commander at Gonzales. He was "empowered to do all things in the defense of Texas for she must now fight." Pierson informed Robinson that the militia would be ready on March 19 or as soon as arms, ammunition, and provisions were procured. Pierson also provided aid to Robertson's company of rangers at Fort Milam during 1836 and 1837 and the Texas army in 1836 by supplying them with food and other supplies.

After the defeat of Antonio López de Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto, Pierson moved his family in June 1836 from Milam to an area of Washington County (later partitioned into Montgomery and Grimes counties) that he named Hi Point, near the present settlement of Stoneham. Pierson built his home at Hi Point, where he farmed, operated a general merchandise store, and raised fine horses and other livestock. He built and operated a racetrack nearby where horse races were held regularly.

Based on reports that the Mexican Congress had repudiated the agreements that Santa Anna had made with the ad interim government of Texas and that Gen. José de Urrea was organizing a large Mexican army to invade Texas, on June 20, 1836, ad interim president David G. Burnet issued a proclamation calling for volunteers to meet the enemy. On June 30 in Washington County Pierson organized a militia company of seventy-four men. He reported his company to Brig. Gen. Thomas Jefferson Green, whose brigade was at Coles Settlement on a campaign against the Indians. On the same day Pierson was commissioned a captain of cavalry, Green's Brigade, Army of the Republic of Texas, by Green and ordered to proceed to the main army near Victoria by way of the La Bahía Road and to provide security to the settlers and chastise any Indians that had committed depredations against them. Pierson sat on the court-Marital of Lt. Moses L. Lazeras on July 14 after reaching the army. On August 22, 1845, for his service from June 30 to December 30, 1836, he received a 640-acre land grant in Milam County. Pierson was nominated captain of volunteers of Washington County on May 31, 1837, by President Sam Houston to serve in the Regiment of Mounted Gun Men. During "Archer's War" in June 1840, after most of the Montgomery County Militia had abandoned the chase, Pierson led his militia company in hot pursuit of a band of Cherokee and Kickapoo Indians that had murdered J. M. Tidwell and had taken his wife and three children hostage near the site of present Calvert.

After the capture of San Antonio de Bexar by Gen. Rafael Vásquez and Gen. Adrián Woll in March and September 1842, President Houston ordered Alexander Somervell to organize the militia and volunteers and invade Mexico. Pierson organized a company of volunteers and joined the South Western Army at San Antonio, later called the Somervell expedition. While on a scouting expedition of the area, Pierson's company skirmished with Comanches on November 9. After the Texas army had captured Laredo and Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Somervell ordered the army on December 19 to return to Gonzales and disband. Pierson, with four other captains and most of the army ignored the order and organized the Mier expedition. The reasons given by the captains for not obeying the order were provided in a letter written by J. D. Cocke and endorsed by the captains on January 12, 1843. Pierson and his company reluctantly surrendered to Gen. Pedro de Ampudia on December 26, 1842, at Mier, Tamaulipas, after a battle of eighteen hours. In 1845 General Green in his book on the Mier expedition gave Pierson and his men "lasting credit" for their united stand against capitulation. On May 20, 1843, Col. William S. Fisher, commander of the Mier expedition, described the morale of his men immediately prior to surrender. He wrote, "I found two of the smallest companies under the command of Captain Reese of Brazoria [County] and Captain Pierson of Montgomery [County] united to a man and prepared to fight to the last extremity. The others were in indescribable confusion." Pierson was one of the Texas prisoners of war who overpowered the Mexican guards at El Rancho Salado on February 11, 1843, and escaped. He was later recaptured, drew a white bean on March 25 (see BLACK BEAN EPISODE), and was later released from Santiago Prison at Mexico City on September 16, 1844. On their return to Texas, Pierson and thirteen other Texans who had been prisoners of war in Mexico petitioned President Houston to ask Santa Anna "as a personal favor" to release José Antonio Navarro from the dungeon of San Juan de Ullóa, Mexico. Houston agreed to their request and wrote Santa Anna on December 10, 1844. Pierson served in 1844 on a committee that petitioned the Congress of the Republic of Texas requesting compensation for the men who participated in the Mier expedition.

He served in 1848 as county commissioner of Grimes County. He died at Hi Point on May 7, 1849, and was buried beside two sons in the Joel Greenwood Cemetery, later called the Saunder's Cemetery, near Plantersville. He left an estate of 20,000 acres of land in Texas. After Texas seceded from the Union in 1861, Pierson's five living sons fought in the Confederate Army. During the Sesquicentennial Celebration of Texas Independence, a monument honoring Sterling C. Robertson, J. G. W. Pierson and other Nashville colonists, was erected on March 2, 1986, at the Falls County Courthouse by the Falls County Historical Commission.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Thomas Jefferson Green Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Malcolm D. McLean, comp. and ed., Papers Concerning Robertson's Colony in Texas (19 vols., Arlington: University of Texas at Arlington Press, 1974-93). Thomas L. Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, 1835-1888 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Robin Navarro Montgomery, The History of Montgomery County (Austin: Jenkins, 1975). A. W. Neville, The History of Lamar County, Texas (Paris, Texas: North Texas, 1937; rpt. 1986). Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813-1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938-43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970). William P. Zuber, My Eighty Years in Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971).

Edwin G. Pierson, Jr.

PLASTER, THOMAS PHINEY (1804-1861). Thomas Phiney Plaster, soldier and planter, was born in North Carolina on June 26, 1804. He moved from Giles County, Tennessee, in 1835 with his wife, Dollie B. (Samuel), and established a plantation near the site of present Bedias in Montgomery (now Grimes) County, Texas. From March 1 until April 1, 1836, he served as a lieutenant in Capt. L. B. Franks's ranger company on the northern frontier. On April 2 he enlisted in Lt. Col. James C. Neill's so-called "Artillery Corps" and was elected second sergeant. At the battle of San Jacinto Plaster manned one of the "Twin Sisters."

He was tried by court-Marital for a now unknown offense and sentenced by Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Rusk to be reprimanded before the entire army on parade on the evening of June 27, 1836, and dismissed from service. He rejoined the army on July 5, however, as a private in Capt. George Washington Poe's First Artillery Battalion, and by August 1 had been promoted to quartermaster of the First Cavalry Regiment of the First Brigade, Army of the Republic of Texas. From then until November 22, 1836, he was stationed at Camp Johnson, on the Lavaca River.

Thereafter he returned to his plantation, where by 1840 he owned 2,952 acres. By 1850 his Grimes County real estate had increased in value to $1,400. By 1860 it was worth $11,000, and that year he reported $6,000 in personal property. His wife died in 1857, at age forty-nine, in giving birth to their ninth child, named Dollie after her mother.

Plaster served for several years as postmaster at Bedias, and after annexation he was elected to the First Legislature of the state of Texas. He died of pneumonia in Austin on March 27, 1861, and is buried in the State Cemetery. At the time of his death he was doorkeeper of the Texas House of Representatives.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Frontier Times, June 1939. John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Texas State Gazette, March 30, 1861.

Thomas W. Cutrer

POWELL, BENJAMIN HARRISON (1881-1960). Benjamin Harrison Powell, lawyer and judge, was born in Montgomery, Texas, on November 12, 1881, the son of Benjamin Harrison and Eleanor Inez (Meacham) Powell. In 1903 he received Litt. B. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Texas, where he was an editor of the Texan, predecessor of the Daily Texan. In 1949 he received an honorary doctorate from Sam Houston State Teachers College. Powell practiced law at Huntsville with the firm of Dean, Humphrey, and Powell from 1903 until 1919, when he became judge of the Twelfth Judicial District. From 1920 to 1927 he served on the Commission of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Texas. In November 1927 in Austin he founded and became senior partner in the law firm Powell, Wirtz, Rauhut, and Gideon. Senator Alvin J. Wirtz was an early associate in Powell's law firm. Powell was chairman of the board of directors and president of the Texas Bar Association. He served on a special committee to assist the Supreme Court in writing the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. He was also a member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and the American Law Institute. He strongly supported the statute requiring all Texas lawyers to belong to the State Bar of Texas, successor to the old voluntary Texas Bar Association. He was chairman for over thirty years of the Salvation Army Advisory Council in Austin and was active in several public, civic, cultural, and patriotic organizations. He was a leader in Austin business and financial development. On November 12, 1913, Powell married Marian Leigh Rather, who helped found the Austin Public Library; they had two sons. He died on December 3, 1960, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

W. St. John Garwood

RANKIN, ROBERT (1753-1837). Revolutionary War veteran Robert Rankin was born in the colony of Virginia in 1753. He entered the service of the Continental Army in 1776 with the Third Regiment of the Virginia line and participated in the battles of Germantown, Brandywine, and Stony Point, as well as the siege of Charleston, where he was captured; he remained a prisoner of war until exchanged, at which time he received a promotion to lieutenant. On October 1, 1781, during a furlough, he married Margaret (Peggy) Berry in Frederick County, Virginia. He returned to active duty on October 15 and served until the war's end. Robert and Margaret Rankin had three daughters and seven sons, one of whom was Frederick Harrison Rankin. The family moved to Kentucky in 1784. In 1786 Rankin was named by the Virginia legislature as one of nine trustees for the newly established town of Washington, in Bourbon County (later Mason County), Kentucky. In 1792 he served as a delegate from Mason County to the Danville Convention, which drafted the first constitution of Kentucky. He also became an elector of the Kentucky Senate of 1792. The last mention of Rankin in Mason County, Kentucky, is in the 1800 census. The Rankins moved to Logan County, Kentucky, in 1802 and to the Tombigbee River in Mississippi Territory in 1811; the area of their home eventually became Washington County, Alabama. Four of the Rankin sons fought in the War of 1812. The family suffered a severe financial reversal around 1819-20, probably in conjunction with land speculation and the panic of 1819. In July 1828 Rankin first made an application for a pension for his Revolutionary War service.

In 1832 the Rankins moved to Joseph Vehlein's colony in Texas, along with the William Butler and Peter Cartwright families. Rankin was issued a certificate of character by Jesse Grimes on November 3, 1834, as required by the Mexican government. He applied for a land grant in Vehlein's colony on November 13 of the same year and received a league and labor in October 1835. The town of Coldspring, San Jacinto County, is located on Rankin's original grant. Rankin had the reputation of being a just and diplomatic man. He was a friend of Sam Houston, and his influence with the Indians in the region was well known. Houston reputedly called upon him in the spring of 1836 to encourage neutrality among the Indians during the crucial Texan retreat toward San Jacinto. Toward the end of 1836 Rankin became ill, and he and his wife moved to St. Landry parish, Louisiana, where he died on November 13, 1837. His body was brought back to the family home near Coldspring, in the new Republic of Texas, and buried in the old Butler Cemetery. In 1936 he was reinterred at the State Cemetery in Austin. His widow lived in Texas with her sons, William and Frederick, in Polk, Montgomery, and Liberty counties until her death sometime after December 1852.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Louis Wiltz Kemp Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Veterans Administration Records, U.S. National Archives, Washington.

Ann Patton Malone

RENTFRO, ROBERT BYRON (1874-1953). Robert Byron Rentfro, lawyer, was born on September 25, 1874, in Montgomery County, Texas, the son of Robert Byron and Laura (Linton) Rentfro. In 1880 his family moved to Brownsville, where he received his preparatory education in the Brownsville public schools. He attended Texas A&M, Southwestern University, and the University of Texas law school. After receiving his LL.B. degree in 1896 he began law practice with his father in Brownsville. He served two terms (1898-1902) as county attorney of Cameron County. From 1907 until 1912 he was deputy collector for the United States Bureau of Customs and postmaster of Brownsville. In 1920 he was elected to the Brownsville city commission and in 1929 was elected mayor, a post he held for five consecutive two-year terms. As mayor he helped secure the establishment of the Rio Grande Valley International Airport and the Port of Brownsville. Rentfro was an authority on water law and administered water control and development projects in the Valley. He headed the law firm Rentfro and Cole from 1912 to 1939, when he formed a partnership with his sons Robert B. and Russell. Rentfro served as chief counselor for the Brownsville Navigation District and the Port of Brownsville from 1933 to 1953 and was city attorney from 1943 to 1953. He was a Republican and Episcopalian and belonged to the Cameron County and the state bar associations, Phi Delta Theta, and the Brownsville Country Club. On April 27, 1904, Rentfro married Eleanor Russell of Brownsville. They had eight children. He died on April 19, 1953.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 41.

Eleanor Russell Rentfro

ROBBINS, NATHANIEL (?-1837?). Nathaniel Robbins, soldier and Indian agent, came to Texas from Arkansas in 1819 and received a labor of land that is now part of Montgomery County, but settled first at Pecan Point in what is now Red River County. On February 20, 1827, he and Dr. Lewis R. Dayton protested to the Mexican government because United States authorities were taxing the inhabitants of Pecan Point. On September 15, 1834, Robbins applied for a league of land at the mouth of Bedias Creek on the Trinity River in Benjamin R. Milam's colony, where he settled his wife, Lucy, and their six children. Near their home the Old San Antonio Road crossed the Trinity, and Robbins's Ferry became a focal point for traffic across North Texas. The present Madison County community of Randolph is located on the site of the Robbins homestead.

In 1835 Robbins attended the Consultation at San Felipe de Austin. During the Texas Revolution he served as a private in Capt. Thomas J. Rusk's company at the siege of Bexar and participated in the Grass Fight. With the honorary rank of colonel, Robbins was commissioned by Gen. Sam Houston to "seize all arms and guns, and such weapons of war as may be useful to the army" and to "arrest all deserters from the army." On August 8, 1836, Robbins received Houston's appointment as collector of public property, and on September 10 he enlisted as a private in Capt. Elisha Clapp's company at Mustang Prairie. Robbins was discharged on December 10. He was said to have had great influence among the Indians of the region, and on November 8, 1836, he received Houston's appointment and the Senate's confirmation as commissioner to the Indians. He died sometime between December 1836 and April 1837.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council of the Republic of Texas (Houston National Intelligencer, 1839). Gifford E. White, 1830 Citizens of Texas (Austin: Eakin, 1983). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813-1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938-43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

R. B. Blake

ROBINSON, WILLIAM (1785-1878). William Robinson (Old William), early Texas pioneer, was born in Virginia on September 14, 1785. Little is known about his childhood years, and there is some evidence that there were two William Robinsons in Texas at this time. One source suggests that he may have moved with his parents to Kentucky or Tennessee. By 1810 he was in New Madrid County, Missouri. When New Madrid became part of the newly formed Lawrence County, Arkansas Territory, in 1815, Robinson was appointed one of the county commissioners charged with selecting a location for the Lawrence County Courthouse. He served as county surveyor and justice of the peace. Around 1810 he married a woman named Elizabeth; they had eight children. In the early 1820s Robinson and his family moved to Louisiana, where his youngest son, Joshua, was born in 1825. Robinson asked for admittance as a settler in Joseph Vehlein's colony on September 18, 1834, and was granted a league of land on March 7, 1835, in what is now Walker County. In 1830 he was fourth regidor at San Felipe de Austin. He served at the conventions of 1832 and 1833 as a delegate from the Viesca District. In 1832, during the Anahuac Disturbances, he served as a volunteer in Capt. Abner Kuykendall's company. Robinson was also a delegate at the Consultation in San Felipe in 1835, which was held to form a provisional government for the Republic of Texas. When Montgomery County was organized in December 1837, Robinson was elected county surveyor. For most of the rest of his life, he lived in what was known as Robinson's Settlement, on a hill in the piney woods eight miles south of Huntsville. Robinson was a devout Methodist; he donated 30.5 acres of his headright for a Methodist church and school. In the agricultural census of 1850 he was listed as a farmer and stock raiser. During his last years, blind and almost completely deaf, Robinson lived with his son Joshua in Burleson County. He died on December 31, 1878, and was buried next to his wife in the Elizabeth Chapel Cemetery near Caldwell, Burleson County.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eugene C. Barker, ed., "Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, 1828-1832," 12 parts, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21-24 (January 1918-October 1920). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Anne M. Rackley

SCOTT, JAMES (1799-1856). James Scott, early plantation owner, was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, on March 15, 1799. In Tennessee, where he was a friend of David Crockett, he married Sarah Lane. The couple moved to Mississippi, where Scott studied law and became a judge of the Mississippi Supreme Court. In 1838 or 1839 they moved to Montgomery County, Texas, and established a plantation. Scott represented his district at the Convention of 1845 and protested the homestead exemption provisions in the Constitution of 1845. In August 1856 he was returning to Texas from a trip to sell slaves in the East when the steamship Nautilus, on which he was a passenger, was sunk in a storm, and he was drowned. The $30,000 he had received for his slaves was lost.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Annie Doom Pickrell, Pioneer Women in Texas (Austin: Steck, 1929). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

SEALY, MAGNOLIA WILLIS (1854-1933). Magnolia Willis Sealy, wife of George Sealy, daughter of Peter James and Caroline (Womack) Willis, was born in Montgomery, Texas, on June 15, 1854. As a result of the uncertainties of the Civil War and the deaths of her mother in 1863 and a sister in 1864, Magnolia and her two remaining sisters left the family plantation in southeast Texas and were enrolled at an early age in boarding school in New York. Meanwhile, back in Texas, Magnolia's father and his brother, Richard Short Willis, were busy establishing P. J. Willis and Brother, one of the largest mercantile establishments west of the Mississippi. After completing her education, Magnolia emerged on the scene of Galveston's "Golden Era" as the daughter of one of the island's most prosperous businessmen. It was here that she fell in love with and later married George Sealy, one of her father's business associates and twenty years her senior, on May 12, 1875, in Galveston's Trinity Episcopal Church. During the next eighteen years Magnolia and George Sealy had five daughters and three sons, including George Sealy II. It was during the early years of their marriage that George and Magnolia built their luxurious home, Open Gates, which became a center of Galveston business and social life. According to family legend, the construction of the landmark mansion was instigated by a statement made by Magnolia after the birth of the couple's fifth child in 1885, "Sir, I'll give you a second son, if you'll build me the finest home in Galveston."

Whatever the actual circumstances, Magnolia Sealy visited New York in 1886 and procured the services of the nationally acclaimed architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White. The resulting neo-Renaissance mansion was completed in 1889 and is thought to be the only building in the South designed by Stanford White. An elaborate carriage house, designed by Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton,  was finished in 1891, the same year the couple's second son was born. As the wife of one of Galveston's leading businessmen, Magnolia Sealy devoted her life to her husband, children, and community, and her home provided an important focal point for family and civic activities. Befitting her position in Galveston society, she was a leader in church and philanthropic pursuits and ladies' aid societies. She helped found the Women's Health Protective Association, later known as the Galveston Civic League. Following the Galveston hurricane of 1900, she opened her own lavish home as a shelter to some 400 victims, some of whom had been literally washed up on her doorstep. The house was later the setting for gatherings honoring such notables as Clara Barton and President Theodore Roosevelt. An avid gardener, she also helped initiate the establishment of Galveston as "The Oleander City." Magnolia Sealy died on November 8, 1933, in Hot Springs, Virginia. Open Gates, complete with furnishings, was conveyed to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 1979 and is designated for use as a conference center for the university.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A Century of Service: The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 1891-1991 (Galveston, 1991). "The Open Gates: The George Sealy House in Galveston," The Magazine Antiques, September 1975. Richard Payne and Geoffrey Leavenworth, Historical Galveston (Houston: Herring Press, 1985). Jane and Rebecca Pinckard, Lest We Forget: The Open Gates, the George Sealy Residence (Houston, 1988).

Leslie A. Watts

SHEPHERD, WILLIAM M. (?-?). William M. Shepherd, physician and early settler, a native of Virginia, moved to Texas before the revolution and settled in Washington Municipality, which he represented at the Consultation in 1835. He was appointed a surgeon in the Army of the Republic of Texas on May 10, 1837. Upon the removal of S. Rhoads Fisher, Shepherd became secretary of the Texas Navy, a post he held from December 5, 1837, to December 13, 1838. As a private in Company C on the Mier expedition in 1842, he was captured and confined in Perote Prison, where he acted as official physician for the prisoners. He was released on September 16, 1844, and returned to Texas. He was married to Mary Steptoe and became a land developer in Montgomery County. On February 13, 1858, he signed the warrant issued for his Mier service.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pat Ireland Nixon, The Medical Story of Early Texas, 1528-1853 (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Lupe Memorial Fund, 1946). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Herman L. Crow

SIDECK, PETER (1784-1838). Peter Sideck (Sydeck, Saidet, Sydix, etc.), an early settler in Refugio County, was born on September 20, 1784, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, the son of Pierre Clavis (François) and Ursula (Schleyter or Chletre) Sideck. Around 1803 he probably moved from Natchitoches to the vicinity of Opelousas, Louisiana. In 1807 a Peter Sideck unsuccessfully sought land at Prairie Anacoco, east of the Sabine River, within the Neutral Ground. On August 22, 1811, a land certificate was issued by the commissioners of the Western District of Orleans Territory to a Peter Sydix for 200 acres on Beaver Creek near Bayou Chicot in St. Landre Parish. Sideck served as a private in the militia in Louisiana during the War of 1812. It was alleged that he participated in filibustering expeditions into Texas. He had a headright certificate issued by the Montgomery County board of land commissioners. It is not known exactly when he moved to Refugio County, where his brother John Baptist Sideck resided. It appears that Peter was killed in an Indian raid on the San Antonio River in Refugio County in 1838.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955). Immaculate Conception Church Birth Records, Natchitoches, Louisiana. Marion J. B. Pierson, comp., Louisiana Soldiers in the War of 1812 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Society, 1963).

Talmadge Buller

SMITH, HARRIET FRANCES (1870-1958). Harriet Frances Smith, geographer, was born on November 7, 1870, in Huntsville, Texas, the daughter of John Lyle and Sarah (Murray) Smith. She received a diploma from Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) and the New England Conservatory of Music, studied at the University of Chicago, Cornell University, and Clark University, and received a master's degree from George Peabody College for Teachers. She taught in Montgomery, Brownwood, Paris, and Huntsville, then was director of the music department at Texas Christian University when that institution was located in Waco. From 1914 to 1941 she taught geography at Sam Houston State Teachers College. She was the author, with Darthula Walker, of The Geography of Texas (1923) and contributed to the Grolier Society, Texas Outlook, and Journal of Geography. She was never married. She died on November 27, 1958, in Huntsville and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery there.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Augusta Lawrence, comp., Faculty of Sam Houston Normal Institute and of Sam Houston State Teachers College, 1879-1940 (Huntsville: Sam Houston State University, n.d). Notable Women of the Southwest (Dallas: Tardy, 1938).

Elizabeth Oliphant and Aline Law

STEELE, ALFONSO (1817-1911). Alfonso (Alphonso) Steele, last Texas survivor of the battle of San Jacinto, was born on April 9, 1817, to a pioneer family in Hardin County, Kentucky. At the age of seventeen he traveled by flatboat down the Mississippi River to Lake Providence, Louisiana, and there in November 1835 joined Capt. Ephraim M. Daggett's company of volunteers bound for Texas to aid in the revolution. They arrived in Washington-on-the-Brazos on New Year's Day 1836 but quickly disbanded, since the Texans had not yet declared their independence. Many volunteers returned home, but Steele stayed, working in a hotel and grinding corn for bread to feed the delegates gathered to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence. Once independence was declared, Steele set out with a company of men under Capt. Joseph L. Bennett to join William B. Travis in San Antonio, but when they reached the Colorado River they received word that the Alamo had fallen. Near Beeson's Crossing on the Colorado the company fell in with Gen. Sam Houston's army on its retreat from Gonzales and marched under Houston's command to Buffalo Bayou. In the battle of San Jacinto Steele was a private in Capt. James Gillespie's company of Sidney Sherman's regiment. He was severely wounded in the first volleys of the battle but continued in the fight until it ended. Houston rode Steele's gray horse through much of the battle, until the animal was shot beneath him. After months of recuperation, Steele was discharged and made his way to Montgomery County, where he farmed and raised cattle. There he married Mary Ann Powell on September 28, 1838. In 1844 they moved to a part of Robertson County later organized into Limestone County; they resided there until Mrs. Steele's death in 1903. The couple had ten children and many descendants who distinguished themselves in military service. In 1907 Steele revisited the San Jacinto battleground at the invitation of Houston's son, Andrew Jackson Houston, and retraced the course of the historic engagement. On February 10, 1909, the Thirty-first Texas Legislature honored him as one of two living survivors of the battle of San Jacinto. A poem entitled "The Last Hero" was written and dedicated to him by Jake H. Harrison. Steele died on July 8, 1911, near Kosse, at the home of a grandson, and was buried in Mexia. A portrait of him hangs in the Capitol.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Notes and Fragments, October 1911. Hampton Steele, Biography of Private Alfonso Steele (MS, Special Collections, University of Texas at Arlington). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin (Alphonso Steele, Alonzo Steele).

James R. Curry

STEWART, CHARLES BELLINGER TATE (1806-1885). Charles Stewart, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 6, 1806, to Charles and Adrianna (Bull) Stewart. He studied medicine in the early 1820s, and after 1825 he worked as a druggist in Columbus, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina; he subsequently resided in Cuba for a few months and conducted a trading partnership. He returned to South Carolina and received his license in pharmacy in June 1829. Stewart then moved to New Orleans and worked as a coffee merchant. He moved to Texas in the spring of 1830 and operated an apothecary shop in Brazoria. In June 1832, during the Anahuac Disturbances, Stewart joined Francis W. Johnson's command and fought at the battle of Velasco. He was later appointed to the Subcommittee of Safety and Vigilance of the Brazoria District by the Convention of 1832. In November 1834 Stewart was appointed secretary of the judicial district of Brazos. In the spring of 1835 he moved to San Felipe de Austin and opened a drugstore. On May 4, 1835, he obtained a license to practice medicine in Texas. On July 17, as secretary for the Austin delegation, Stewart attended a meeting with representatives of Columbia and Mina to discuss the capture Antonio Tenorio's troops by William B. Travis's troops at Anahuac. On October 11 Stewart was elected secretary of the Permanent Council. On November 11 he was appointed by the General Council as enrollment clerk and secretary to the executive, thus becoming in effect the first Texas secretary of state. Stewart and Thomas Barnett were elected to represent Austin at the Convention of 1836. On March 2, 1836, Stewart signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. He moved to Montgomery in 1837, established a medical practice, and opened a drugstore. In 1839 he served on the committee appointed by the Third Congress of the republic to design a new state flag. Stewart is credited with drawing the original draft of the Lone Star flag. On March 5, 1840, he was appointed district attorney pro tem of Montgomery County, and President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed him notary public on May 11, 1841. Stewart represented Montgomery County at the Constitutional Convention of 1845. He also represented Montgomery County in the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth legislatures. Stewart married Julia Sheppard in March 1835, and the couple had five children. After the death of his first wife he married Elizabeth Antoinette Nichols Boyd. They had two children, and he also adopted her two children from a previous marriage. Stewart died on July 2, 1885, and was buried in the Montgomery Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959). Robin Navarro Montgomery, The History of Montgomery County (Austin: Jenkins, 1975). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Virginia Stewart Lindley Ford

STRAKE, GEORGE WILLIAM (1894-1969). George William Strake, pioneer oilman and philanthropist, was born on November 9, 1894, in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of William George and Anna (Casper) Strake. He was educated in the public schools of St. Louis and received a B.S. degree from St. Louis University in 1917. He served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War I, then worked in the oil industry in Mexico from 1919 to 1925. Afterwards, he went to Havana, Cuba, where he lost almost all of the $250,000 he had made in Mexico. In 1927 Strake moved to the Houston area and, as an independent oilman, leased land near Conroe. His 8,500 acres of South Texas Development Company land was the largest block of land leased up to that time for oil exploration. Geologists claimed that no oil was to be found there, however, and Strake could not get outside financial backing; nevertheless, after drilling many dry wells, he struck oil in December 1931. Other successful wells followed in the Conroe oilfield, which proved to be the third largest oilfield in the United States. Strake's discovery proved that the Cockfield sand was an oil-producing formation and opened wildcatting in an area fifty miles wide and 500 miles long, from Texas into Louisiana and Mississippi. His oil operations eventually spread into coastal and West Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, the southern states, and as far north as Michigan and Nebraska. His oil fortune was estimated to be between $100 million and $200 million. In addition to his oil interests, Strake was a director of the Mercantile-Commerce Bank and Trust Company in St. Louis, chairman of the board and president of the Aluminum Products Company in Houston, an original stockholder and founder of the Houston Tribune, and an officer in many other companies. In 1937 he represented the governor and the state of Texas at the United States presidential inauguration, and during World War II he served on the citizens' committee for Houston-Harris County civil defense and as Texas representative for Belgian war relief.

Strake, a devout Catholic, gave much of his oil fortune to educational institutions, civic organizations, and charities. He served on the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America and donated several thousand acres near Conroe to the scouts; the land, named Camp Strake, was the third largest scout camp in the United States. Strake donated $500,000 to the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation in Houston and thus became a founding benefactor of that institution. He was also a generous contributor to the University of St. Thomas and a member of its board of trustees, and to Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston, which was named in his honor. He was on the board of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, served Our Lady of the Lake College (now Our Lady of the Lake University) in San Antonio in an advisory capacity, and was a trustee of the Institute of Chinese Culture in Washington. He was also on the board of governors of the American National Red Cross and the Southwest Research Institute and was a trustee of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Strake was cited as the most generous contributor to the Houston-Harris County United Fund charities. He was a member of numerous professional and civic organizations. In recognition of his gifts and support, Strake received several honorary degrees and four papal honors between 1937 and 1950, including two of the Vatican's highest honors for a layman-the Order of St. Sylvester and the Order of Malta. The National Conference of Christians and Jews, in which he served as a member of the national board, honored him in 1950 for outstanding contributions to business, civic, and religious affairs. On June 5, 1957, the citizens of Conroe honored Strake on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the discovery of oil in Montgomery County by dedicating a monument to him on the city hall lawn; Governor Price Daniel read a proclamation designating the day George W. Strake Day in Montgomery County. Strake was married to Susan E. Kehoe on September 10, 1924, and they had three children. He died on August 6, 1969, in Columbus, while on a trip to San Antonio, and was buried in the Garden of Gethsemane Cemetery in Houston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Houston Chronicle, June 4, 5, 1957, August 7, 1969. Houston Post, May 1, 1966, August 7, 1969. Time, August 15, 1969. Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Vol. 2.

One of two Biographies of William Stanhope Taylor:


TAYLOR, WILLIAM STANHOPE (1819–1869). William Stanhope Taylor, soldier and planter, was born in Canton, Stark County, Ohio, in 1819, the son of Thomas and Sarah Hoyland (Bull) Taylor. William’s family moved to central Tennessee in the mid-1820s. His father obtained a Mexican land grant on April 27, 1831, via the Austin colony in present-day Fayette County. In 1832 William and his brother, George A. Taylor, traveled to Texas with their father, and then the boys returned to Tennessee that same year. After the death of his father to yellow fever in August 1833 in Louisiana, Taylor returned to Texas to take care of his father’s estate.

As reflected in Comptroller’s Military Service Record No. 1441, William Taylor enlisted in the
revolutionary army on October 17, 1835, and served with Capt. John M. Bradley (Volunteers from Tunahan District) at the Siege of Bexar, to include the Grass Fight, and was discharged on December 23, 1835. He re-enlisted on March 12, 1836, and served under Capt. William Ware (Second Company, Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers) and Capt. William Smith (Company J, Second Regiment, Volunteer Cavalry). On April 20, 1836, Taylor, who served as a scout/spy, volunteered to participate as part of Col. Sidney Sherman’s cavalry force in an attempt to capture the Mexican cannon at San Jacinto. On April 21 he was reassigned to Captain Smith’s Company J in the cavalry charge on the Mexican left flank, followed by the pursuit of General Santa Anna and his cavalry towards Vincent Bridge. William received Texas land via Headright Certificate No. 183 and Donation Certificate No. 353 for his military services.

Taylor married Agnes Elizabeth Garrett on June 7, 1838, in Montgomery County, Texas, and they had eleven children. In 1853 he achieved Master Mason (3rd degree) with Masonic Lodge No. 25 in Montgomery County. He was one of the vice presidents of the 1860 Know-Nothing (see American Party) convention at San Jacinto that nominated Sam Houston for president of the United States as “the people’s candidate.” In 1866 he wrote a personal letter to William C. Crane, president of Baylor University and biographer of Sam Houston, defending Gen. Sam Houston’s conduct at the Battle of San Jacinto and refuting incorrect information about the pursuit of Santa Anna that was printed in the Texas Almanac. Taylor’s personal account of the pursuit of Santa Anna and his cavalry was published in the Texas Almanac of 1868 and is recorded in the Texas State Archives. William Taylor died of yellow fever on February 2, 1869, in Montgomery, Montgomery County, Texas, and was buried with Masonic honors at the Montgomery Old Cemetery. In February 1879 his widow filed for a Republic of Texas veteran’s pension; she died later the same year and is buried at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Montgomery County. A Texas Centennial marker was erected at William’s grave in 1936 to honor him as a San Jacinto veteran.

H. W. Brands, Lone Star Nation: How a Ragged Army of Volunteers Won the Battle for Texas Independence—and Changed America (New York: Doubleday, 2004). James M. Day, Soldiers of Texas (Waco: Texian Press, 1973). Gregg J. Dimmick, Sea of Mud (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2004). T. R. Fehrenbach, Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans (New York: Macmillan, 1968). Stephen L. Hardin, Texian Iliad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994). Stephen L. Moore, Eighteen Minutes: The Battle of San Jacinto and the Texas Independence Campaign (Dallas: Republic of Texas Press, 2004). The Texas Almanac for 1868 (Galveston: W. Richardson & Co., Galveston News, 1867).

Norman B. Taylor

from The Handbook of Texas Handbook of Texas Online, Norman B. Taylor, "Taylor, William Stanhope," accessed January 22, 2017, 
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 24, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

TAYLOR, WILLIAM STANHOPE (ca. 1819-1869). William Stanhope Taylor, soldier and planter, was born in Ohio about 1819, the son of Thomas and Sarah (Hayland) Taylor. Before moving to Texas, probably in 1832, he lived in Tennessee. He settled in Fayette County and later moved to what is now Montgomery County. Taylor enlisted in the revolutionary army on October 17, 1835, and was discharged on December 23, 1835. He reenlisted on March 12, 1836, and served under captains William Ware and William Smith. He was involved in the Grass Fight and the battle of San Jacinto. For his services he received a headright in Milam County. In 1840 he owned 10,048 acres in Montgomery County and two slaves. Taylor married Agnes Elizabeth Garrett on June 7, 1838; the number of his children is uncertain. Taylor was vice president of the 1860 Know-Nothing convention (see AMERICAN PARTY) at San Jacinto that nominated Sam Houston for president. Taylor died on February 2, 1869, and was buried at Conroe. In February 1879 his widow filed for a Republic of Texas veteran's pension. A Texas Centennial marker was erected at his grave in 1936.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Robin Navarro Montgomery, The History of Montgomery County (Austin: Jenkins, 1975). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Gifford E. White, ed., The 1840 Census of the Republic of Texas (Austin: Pemberton, 1966; 2d ed., Vol. 2 of 1840 Citizens of Texas, Austin, 1984). Amelia W. Williams, A Critical Study of the Siege of the Alamo and of the Personnel of Its Defenders (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1931; rpt., Southwestern Historical Quarterly 36-37 [April, July, October 1933, January, April 1934]). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813-1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938-43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

John G. Johnson

TUMLINSON, PETER (1802-1882). Peter Tumlinson, early settler and soldier in the Texas Revolution, son of John Jackson and Elizabeth (Plemmons) Tumlinson, was born in Lincoln County, North Carolina in 1802. His parents left their home in North Carolina and after several years of wandering settled on the Petite Jean River thirty-five miles south of the site of present Fort Smith, Arkansas. The community became known as Tumlinson Township. When Stephen F. Austin began accepting settlers in his first colony, Peter traveled to Texas with his parents but soon returned to Arkansas, where several Tumlinson families still lived. There he married Tinnie Tidwell; two children were born to this marriage. Tumlinson returned to Texas with his new family in 1830. He was active in the areas now known as Lamar, Red River, Shelby, Grimes, and Montgomery counties. Not long after his return to Texas Peter's wife died. In 1835 he married a widow, Harriet West McIvail, who had one daughter; this couple had seven children. During the Texas Revolution Tumlinson served with a company of cavalry from San Augustine. In 1845-46 he carried the mail in this area. By 1852 he had resettled in Atascosa County on 480 acres on Gallinas Creek. He was frequently away from his property defending his community from raids by Indians and Mexicans. This service covered a great area along the Nueces River and as far south as the Rio Grande. He and his company of rangers engaged Juan N. Cortina and his followers in the lower Rio Grande valley. In 1876 Tumlinson moved to Carrizo Springs, where he died in 1882. Harriet died there in 1897. Both are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Carrizo Springs. They were Baptists, and Tumlinson was a Mason.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dan E. Kilgore, A Ranger Legacy: 150 Years of Service to Texas (Austin: Madrona, 1973). Samuel H. Tumlinson, Tumlinson, A Genealogy (Eagle Bay, British Columbia, 198?).

Samuel H. Tumlinson

WALLACE, CALEB (?-?). Caleb Wallace, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, is said to have moved from Virginia to Texas. On May 14, 1828, he received title to a league of land on Beason Creek three miles southeast of old Washington-on-the-Brazos in the area of present southern Grimes County. In December 1830 the Wallace home was a polling place for the election of the alcalde for 1831. In January 1838 Wallace was appointed administrator of the estate of Owen Wingfield.

A Caleb Wallace living in Montgomery County is listed on the 1840 tax rolls. He declared for tax purposes 3,328 acres patented, 6,158 acres under survey to be patented, eight slaves, eight horses, and 125 cattle.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eugene C. Barker, ed., "Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, 1828-1832," 12 parts, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21-24 (January 1918-October 1920). E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970). Texas Gazette, November 6, 1830. Gifford E. White, ed., The 1840 Census of the Republic of Texas (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966; 2d ed., Vol. 2 of 1840 Citizens of Texas, Austin, 1984).

WARE, WILLIAM (1801-1853). William Ware, soldier, was born on January 15, 1801, the son of Joseph W. and Elizabeth Dawson (Howell) Ware, in Muhlenburg County, Kentucky, according to some sources, and in Richmond County or Augusta County, Georgia, according to others. In 1828, with a wife and three children, he moved to Texas, settling on Ware Creek, two miles west of the site of present Willis. His wife died soon thereafter. Ware raised and commanded a company of volunteers at the siege of Bexar at which he was slightly wounded. With Antonio López de Santa Anna's return to Texas in 1836, Ware reenlisted in the Texas army on March 12, 1836, and was elected captain of the Second Company of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. He took part in the battle of San Jacinto, where James Washington Winters described his effort "like a wild mustang." In Montgomery County in 1836 Ware married Elizabeth Ann Crane, the daughter of John Crane. In 1840 he owned 3,864 acres in Montgomery County, as well as eleven horses and seventy-five head of cattle. In 1844 he moved his family, which had now grown to eight children, to Kaufman County where they remained until 1849. The family then moved to a farm on York Creek, twelve miles south of New Braunfels, where Elizabeth Ware died on December 20, 1849. In 1850 Ware's family, eight children and three of his wife's younger siblings, were living on Cibilo Creek in Bexar County, where their property was assessed at $3,500. In 1852 Ware moved west again, establishing on August 17, 1852, the community of Waresville (now Utopia) in Uvalde County. At that time his was said to be the only Anglo-American family between D'Hanis and the Rio Grande. Ware died at Waresville on March 9, 1853.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Andrew Jackson Sowell, Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas (Austin: Ben C. Jones, 1900; rpt., Austin: State House Press, 1986).

Thomas W. Cutrer

WEST, CLAIBORNE (ca. 1800-1866). Claiborne West, political leader and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born in Tennessee about 1800. He moved to Louisiana and married Anna Garner in 1824. The West's came to Texas seven years later. West represented the Liberty District at the Convention of 1832 and served as a member of that body's subcommittee for safety and vigilance for the district of Cow Bayou. In 1835 he served in the Consultation from the Liberty Municipality. Upon the formation of the General Council West was selected to represent the Jefferson Municipality. At the Convention of 1836 he signed the declaration of independence from Mexico. During the Runaway Scrape West returned to Southeast Texas, where he furnished provisions to soldiers prior to the battle of San Jacinto. He subsequently enlisted in a company under Benjamin Franklin Hardin and served from July 1 to October 7, 1836. He was elected by Jefferson County voters to the House of the First Congress of the Republic of Texas in 1836-37. After serving as postmaster for the hamlet of Jefferson, West moved to Montgomery County, where 1840 tax rolls include six slaves, four horses, and fifty cattle among his possessions. His wife died on March 3, 1847; shortly thereafter, West married Mrs. Prudence Kimbell, widow of George C. Kimbell. By 1850 the Wests had moved to Guadalupe County, where his estate included $3,000 in real property and nine slaves. After his second wife's death in 1861, West was married for a third time, to Mrs. Florinda McCulloch Day. West was a Mason and the father of nine children by his first marriage. He died on September 10, 1866.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959).

Robert Wooster

WINTERS, JAMES WASHINGTON, JR. (1817-1903). James Washington Winters, Jr., soldier, was born in Giles County, Tennessee, on January 21, 1817, the son of James Washington Winters, Sr., and Rhoda Creel (Beal) Winters. After sojourning in Memphis for a time, Winters's father moved his wife and numerous children (as many as sixteen) to the Vehlein colony in present Montgomery County in 1834. In company with George A. Lamb, they settled on Winters Bayou in the Big Thicket between the forks of the San Jacinto River twelve miles below the site of present Huntsville. For a time Winters apprenticed to a blacksmith in Montgomery. In late 1835, with his father and brothers, he volunteered for service at the siege of Bexar. Upon reaching San Felipe de Austin, however, the party learned of the surrender of Martín Perfecto de Cos and so returned to their farm. On March 18, 1836, Winters enlisted in Capt. William Ware's company of independent volunteers. Also serving in this company were his brothers, Sgt. William C. Winters and Pvt. John F. Winters. Ware's company tried to hold Dewees's crossing on the Colorado River against the army of Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, but was ordered to fall back by Sam Houston, who was retreating from the Colorado. Ware's company then joined Houston's army and was designated the Second Company of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. All three of the Winters men took part in the battle of San Jacinto, where William C. Winters was severely wounded.

In 1837 Winters served under Capt. Jerry Washam in pursuit of a group of Indians who had raided near present Anderson. At Montgomery on September 14, 1837, he married Pearcy (Percy) Z. Tullis, a native of Jackson, Mississippi. By 1840 the couple owned 177 acres in Montgomery County. In 1842, in response to the Adrián Woll raid, Winter joined Capt. Albert Gallatin's company of Brig. Gen. Alexander Somervell's Army of the South West and took part in the Somervell expedition. He returned from the Rio Grande with Somervell, declining to take part in the infamous Mier expedition. About 1848 Winters moved his family to the site of present Wimberley to help his brother William build a saw and grist mill. He then went into the mercantile business in Prairie Lea, Caldwell County, but that venture was unsuccessful. Winters next opened a store at the site of present Moulton in Lavaca County. In 1852 he moved to a ranch on the Nueces River east of the Live Oak County community of Oakville. In August 1861, following the outbreak of the Civil War, Winters organized the Oakville Precinct Reserve Company, which later became part of the Twenty-ninth Brigade, Texas State Militia. During the war Winters served as enrolling officer and provost marshall for Live Oak and McMullen counties. After the collapse of the Confederacy he moved his family to Tuxpan, Mexico, where he built a sugar mill and farmed for eight years. In Mexico Winters lost two of his eight children and his wife, who died on February 7, 1874. Winters returned to Texas and settled in Beeville for two years, then bought a farm near Bigfoot, eighteen miles north of Pearsall in Frio County.

In 1901 the Daughters of the Republic of Texas asked Winters to help them identify important points on the San Jacinto battlefield for the purpose of erecting historical markers. At that time several DRT members interviewed Winters about his early life and his experiences during the Texas Revolution. Winter's responses were recorded by Adina de Zavala and Adele L. B. Looscan and published in the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association (later Southwestern Historical Quarterlyqv) in October 1902. After the death of his first wife Winters married Elizabeth Weir (Wier), who died in 1894 or 1895. Winters died near Bigfoot on November 13 or 14, 1903, and was buried in Brummett Cemetery, three miles northeast of Bigfoot. One of the last survivors of the battle of San Jacinto, Winters served as second vice president of the Texas Veterans Association from 1902 until his death. Three of Winter's sons served in the Confederate army.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Galveston Daily News, November 17, 1903. Louis Wiltz Kemp Papers, Texas State Archives, Austin. Live Oak County Historical Commission, The History of the People of Live Oak County (George West, Texas, 1982). San Antonio Daily Express, November 17, 1903. Andrew Jackson Sowell, Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas (Austin: Ben C. Jones, 1900; rpt., Austin: State House Press, 1986). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. James Washington Winters, "An Account of the Battle of San Jacinto," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 6 (October 1902). Tula Townsend Wyatt, Historical Markers in Hays County (San Marcos, Texas: Hays County Historical Commission, 1977).

Thomas W. Cutrer

WORSHAM, ISRAEL (1820-1882). Israel Worsham, early settler and legislator, was born in 1820, the son of Jeremiah and Catherine (Landrum) Worsham, who moved from Alabama to Texas, crossing the Sabine River on December 31, 1829, to settle in Stephen F. Austin's colony, where they received headright grant number five (a league and a labor of land). Worsham received land certificate number thirty-five, 320 acres in Montgomery County, on March 27, 1839, from the Republic of Texas. In the fall of 1842 he volunteered for service in the Somervell expedition and served as a captain in that punitive campaign. He represented Montgomery County in the House of Representatives of the Sixth Texas Legislature (1855-56); he was again elected to that body, representing Montgomery, Grimes, and Brazos counties in the Eleventh Texas Legislature (1866). During the Civil War Worsham was a member of the home guard and was appointed a major, commanding the Montgomery County companies. He supplied the Confederate Army with slaves to drive wagons of provisions from his plantation, for which he was never reimbursed "for want of funds." In 1867 Worsham wrote the description of Montgomery County for the Texas Almanac. He was a member of a Masonic lodge (number twenty-five), the Council of Labourers (a secret organization similar to that of the Grange), and the Texas Veterans Association. He donated land for railroad right-of-way, was active in affairs of the Methodist church, and served as an election judge. He was married to Emily Womack; they had four daughters and one son. Worsham died in 1882 and was buried in the family cemetery on his plantation in Montgomery County on the old Post Road to Houston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frederick Charles Chabot, Texas Letters (Yanaguana Society Publications 5, San Antonio, 1940). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Ella K. Daggett Stumpf

ZUBER, ABRAHAM (1780-1848). Abraham Zuber, carpenter, merchant, and pioneer farmer, the son of Abraham and Mary (Bartling) Zuber, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on November 14, 1780. In 1786 the elder Zuber, son of a German immigrant, moved his family to Oglethorpe County, Georgia, where young Abraham began to practice carpentry. In 1814 the younger Zuber established a country store in Putnam County, Georgia, and the following year transferred his business to Marion, Georgia, where, on February 16, 1816, he married Mary Ann Mann, a native of South Carolina. They had two children. In 1822 Zuber moved to Montgomery County, Alabama; in 1824 to East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana; and in 1827 to St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. In 1830 he settled on the Ayish Bayou in the area that became San Augustine County, Texas. In 1831 he moved his family to Harrisburg while he searched for a headright tract in the Austin colony. In January 1832 he temporarily rented a farm in the Brazos bottoms that later became part of Brazoria County; he worked the farm with the aid of four slaves borrowed from Jared E. Groce. In January 1833 Zuber moved his family to a league of land on Lake Creek, then in Montgomery County, later eastern Grimes County, only to learn that much of another settler's headright had been inadvertently included in his survey. He thereupon laid claim to a league elsewhere in the Lake Creek bottoms-at the site of an abandoned Kickapoo Indian village near the site of present Shiro. His family occupied one of the two remaining sod cabins on the grounds, and the slaves occupied the other. Six years later he constructed a double-room log house on his property some two miles west of his original homestead. In March and April 1836 Zuber and his family participated in the Runaway Scrape. Upon returning to his farm, according to the report of his son, William Physick Zuber, he encountered a refugee from the Alamo, an old acquaintance named Louis Moses Rose, and received from him a dramatic eyewitness account of the fortress's fall. Zuber served as the first district clerk of Montgomery County after it was organized in 1837. He died on November 24, 1848, at his home in Grimes County.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Grimes County Historical Commission, History of Grimes County, Land of Heritage and Progress (Dallas: Taylor, 1982). Robin Navarro Montgomery, The History of Montgomery County (Austin: Jenkins, 1975). William P. Zuber, My Eighty Years in Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971).

Robert Bruce Blake



               Vote Montgomery County TXGenWeb County of the Month 

Montgomery County Texas Banner graphics were designed by and remain the property of Jean Huot Smoorenburg. If you are being charged to view/use any of this information or have questions or comments, please contact Jane Keppler.


Copyright © 1997 - 2023 by Jane Keppler. This information may be used by individuals for their own personal use, libraries and genealogical societies. Commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from Jane Keppler. If material is copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information and please email me and let me know. Neither the Site Coordinators nor the volunteers assume any responsibility for the information or material given by the contributors or for errors of fact or judgment in material that is published at this website.

Page Modified: 01 January 2023