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Jul 15, 2015 - Wilkinson Stories    No Comments

A Court Case from Long Ago

This particular case involved my great grand uncle Archibald Alonzo Wilkinson and his father-in-law Stephen Ward. They were both vindicated and restoration was provided.

In Equity, from Troup Superior Court. Tried before Judge Hammond, November Term, 1856.

No. 37. — Benjamin Cameron, Benjamin D. Johnson and William A. Spear, plaintiffs in error vs. Stephen Ward. defendant in error.

[1.] The bill of exceptions must show that the decisions complained of as erroneous, were actually made by the Court, and the only proof of the fact is the Judge’s certificate.

[2.] The presumption is thai the judgments of the Superior Courts are right, and the onus is upon the plaintiff in error, to make it appear otherwise.

[3.] When the fact appears only in a rule nisi for a new trial, that the Court refused to charge as requested, and the rule is disallowed by the Court, without stating the grounds, it is no evidence of the fact thus assumed, especially when the judge, in the bill of exceptions, certifies that he gave the charge recited in the motion, but is silent as to his refusal to charge.

[4.] When C. & J. advance money to C. to pay for land bought of him by W. and take the title to themselves, to secure the re-payment of the sum thus advanced, and a time is stipulated for the re-payment, with the stipulation that, on default of W., the land may he sold to reimburse the lenders, it is sufficient if W. tender the money at any time before the land is sold and paid for, especially if the purchaser know of the pre-existing equities between the parties.

[5.] Whether an agent be drunk or sober, in the opinion of witnesses, still, if he execute with fidelity and skill the business entrusted to him, and his principal does not complain, it is not competent for the other party, with whom he deals, to do so.

This was a bill filed by Stephen Ward, the defendant in error, against Benjamin Cameron and Benj. D. Johnson and William A. Spear, plaintiffs in error. The bill alleges that complainant, in the year 1835, bought lot of land No. 2, in the 11th district of Troup county, at the price of g750 from one Thomas Walker; that Walker had purchased it from the drawer in the year 1832 ; that complainant, immediately after his purchase, went into possession, made valuable improvements, and continued in possession until the latter part of the year 1847. Sometime in this year (1847,) complainant learned that said lot of land had been recently granted to one John J. Whitaker, by reason of the same not having been previously granted, and that said Whitaker had sold the same to Compton, the Surveyor General : That complainant went on to Milledgeville in November, 1847, to ascertain fully the condition of the title, and if possible to se-cure his land, without the expence of a lawsuit; that it was during the session of the Legislature, and he conversed and advised fully with Cameron and Johnson — the former a representative from the county of Troup, and the latter the Senator from Troup and Heard, — about the situation of the title ; that Compton agreed that if complainant would pay him §200, he would make him a deed to the land, and thus at once and forever end the controversy. Complainant not having the money with him, communicated the facts to his friends Cameron and Johnson, who agreed to let him have the money, or to pay it for him, and take the title from Compton to themselves, and that upon their return home from Milledgeville and the re-payment of the money to them by complainant, they would convey said land to him. This arrangement was effected and, without reducing said agreement to writing, Cameron and Johnson paid the said sum of §200

and received a deed for said lot to themselves, and in their own names. Complainant finding that he had some money to spare, paid them the sum of twenty dollars, and agreed to refund the balance, being g180, with interest thereon, in a short time after their return from Milledgeville, which it was thought would be about Christmas ; that desiring to comply promptly with his contract, and not wishing to disappoint his friends, he borrowed the money before Christmas and sent it by a friend to Cameron, but he not having returned from Milledgeville, the same was not paid to him ; that shortly afterwards complainant was taken sick and wrote to Cameron informing him of his illness, and that he would bring or send the money in a very short time ; that continuing unwell, about the 1st of February, 1848, and not more than a month after their return from Milledgeville, he sent the money to them by one Archibald Wilkerson, who went to Cameron and advised him that he had brought from complainant the money to pay him the amount advanced for the land; when said Cameron informed him that Johnson had sold the land to William A. Spear, and that consequently he could not receive the money nor execute a deed to complain ant for the land ; that said Wilkerson also called on Johnson and tendered him the amount advanced with interest, which Johnson likewise refused to receive, and acknowledged that it was out of his power to convey the land to Ward, he having sold and conveyed the same to William A. Spear; that complainant, when informed of the conduct of said defendants, was reluctant to believe that men enjoying so much of the public confidence and professing so much friendship for him, would forfeit their plighted faith, and went himself to see them upon the subject ; that said defendants refused to come to any terms or make any arrangement by which complainant could save his land, worth a thousand dollars, or to pay him for the same. The bill prays for such relief as the nature and circumstances of the case required, and especially, that Cameron and Johnson be decreed to pay him the sum of one thousand dollars, the value of said land, with interest thereon from 1st January, 1848.

Defendants Cameron and Johnson demurred to the bill for want of equity, which was overruled by the Court. They then filed their separate answers and admit that the facts relating to complainant’s visit to Milledgeville, and his negotiation and trade with Compton, and their advancing the sum of g200 for him, as stated in the bill, are true ; but they deny having received the twenty dollars alleged to have been paid to them, and they set up and insist that the said sum of two hundred dollars, advanced by them, was to be repaid to them on their return home about Christmas, and in the event that this was not promptly done, they were to sell the land and thus at once realize the sum paid out by them ; that having waited sometime on complainant after their return from Milledgeville, and not hearing from him, and needing very much the money which they had advanced, that they did sell the land to said Spear for three hundred dollars, which was the best price, under the circumstances, that they could get, and that they had offered to complainant the surplus of said sale, being one hundred. dollars, in a note on said Spear, who was perfectly good, and which he refused ; that they acted in the matter entirely at complainant’s instance and persuasion, and the time for the payment of the money having expired, they felt themselves under no obligation to extend indulgence, and retain the land for his benefit. They deny that any tender of the money was ever made— they admit that Wilkerson did call to see them, after the land was sold to Spear, and said something about his having the money to pay them for the land ; but Johnson in his answer states that Wilkerson called upon him, and that he was so drunk that he was unfit to attend to business, and that he told him to go off and get sober and he would see him again, and try and make some arrangement about it.

They insist also upon the statute of frauds.

Spear was made a party by an amendment to the bill, who answered, that about the first week in January 1848, he heard that Johnson was offering the land for sale, and being desirous of purchasing the lot, he saw Johnson and agreed to buy it, if he could get a good title ; that about the 26th day of January, 1848, he bought said lot of land from Johnson for the sum of three hundred dollars; he most positively denies that, at the time of his purchase or before, either Johnson or Cameron had informed him of the facts charged in complainant’s bill ; after the trade was made, Johnson told him that he had sold the land to reimburse himself for the money paid for Ward in Milledgeville. Under the charge of the Court and the testimony adduced on both sides, the jury found for complainant six hundred and fifty-three dollars and thirty-six cents, ($653.36.) Defendants made a motion for a new trial on the following grounds, to-wit:

1st. Because the Court erred in refusing to charge the jury as requested by defendants’ solicitor, that in order to prevent the operation of the statute of frauds, it was necessary that they should believe from the evidence, that the defendants were guilty of a fraud or acted fraudulently in the transaction set forth in complainant’s bill, and that the contract is not such a contract for the sale of land as the statute contemplates.

2d. Because the Court erred in charging the jury that it was competent for a person to select any person he thought proper to act as his agent, so he was not insane or a lunatic.

3d. Because the Court erred in charging the jury that al though they should believe, in this case, that time was of the essence of the contract, yet, if Ward tendered the money to defendants before the land was sold, or within a reasonahle time, they were bound to reconvey to complainant, or refund in damages, although the time agreed on by the parties for the payment of the money had elapsed.

4th. Because the Court erred in charging the jury that if time was of the essence of the contract, it was incumbent on the party insisting on it to prove the time.

5th. Because the Court erred in rejecting the following words of the witness, Spencer J. James in his answer to the third interrogatory, to-wit: “That he was not capable of transacting any kind of business.”‘ Also, in rejecting the following words in the answer of James Askew to the second interrogatory : “Made no tender of it, or any portion of it, to the said B. D. Johnson.” Also in rejecting the following words in the same answer, to-wit : “too much so to transact any kind of business.” 6th. Because the decree made by the jury is contrary to law, the charge of the Court and the testimony.

The Court refused the motion for a new trial, and defendants excepted. Owenbv & Blakely ; and Dougherty, for plaintiffs in error. B. H. Hill, for defendant in error. By the Court. — Lumpkin, J. delivering the opinion. A motion was made to dismiss this case, for want of a bill of exceptions

as requested by defendants’ solicitor — which request is set forth in full.

By the 9th and last section of the Act of 1856, it is provided that the case shall be heard upon the errors as set forth in the bill of exceptions, which shall be plainly and distinctly stated. Pamphlet Acts, p. 201. To give to the late statute the utmost latitude of construction, we take it, that the bill of exceptions must show that the decisions complained of as erroneous, were made by the Court, and that the only proof of this fact is the Judge’s certificate to this effect. In other words, it is incumbent on the plaintiff in error to make it appear affirmatively that the judgment of which he complains, was erroneous — and that, failing in this, the judgment will be affirmed. The presumption is, that the judgment is right.

In this case there was a motion for a new trial ; but the rule nisi was overruled. The motion was predicated upon six grounds.

1st. Because the Court erred in refusing to charge the jury as requested by defendants’ solicitor — which request is set forth in full.

2d. 3d. 4th. In charging the jury as therein set forth.

5th. In rejecting certain portions of the testimony of the witnesses Spencer J. James and James Askew.

6th. Because the decree of the jury was contrary to law and evidence and the charge of the Court. A brief of the testimony, as agreed upon by counsel, accompanied the application for a new trial. Now, the presiding Judge, in his certificate, adopts this brief of the testimony, annexed to the rule nisi, for a new trial, as a part of the bill of exceptions. And by a fair interpretation, we hold, that he intended thereby to say, that it contains all the evidence material to a clear understanding of the errors complained of. He also certifies that he gave the charges as set forth and stated in the motion for a new trial. But he no where states or admits that he refused to give the charge requested by the defendants’ solicitor, or rejected any part of the proof offered on the trial. Can this Court then hear and determine the errors complained of in these two particulars ? We think not, most manifestly. And this is no technical objection. It is fundamental and vital. Suppose we were to reverse the judgment below, because the Circuit Judge had refused to charge as re quested, or had ruled out a portion of the testimony of James and Askew? — might he not — might not the complainant in the Court below justly complain that we had overruled the Judge upon a matter which never transpired in the case? It may be replied, that these grounds were taken in the rule nisi for a new trial. True, but the Court refused to entertain this motion ; and it may be, (for he does not give the reasons for his judgment,) because these very grounds were wrongfully inserted, and not true in point of fact. One thing is certain, that while the Judge adopts the brief of evidence as a part of the bill of exceptions, and certifies, expressly, that he gave the charges as set forth in the motion for a new trial, he is silent as to the complaint, that he refused to charge.

And the maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, would seem to apply. With the strong desire ever manifested by this Court, to hear cases upon their merits, and with an honest purpose to execute the laws of the Legislature, in the spirit in which they were enacted, we are compelled to restrict this bill of exceptions to the legality of the instructions given to the ju ry, and to the finding of the jury upon the proof,as contained in the record. What are the facts of this case ? Stephen Ward, the complainant in the bill, had purchased the lot of land in dispute, in 1835, of one Thomas Walker, for $750; that he went in to immediate possession, and so continued until the latter part of 1847; that in 1835, upon inquiring of the Surveyor General, he was informed that the grant had been issued before the purchase by Walker, his grantor, of Christian Thomas, the previous owner ; that not doubting but that the grant had issued from the State, he made valuable improvements upon the land ; that in 1847, to his surprise, he learned that the lot was not granted when he purchased of Walker, but had been granted to one Thomas Whitaker, under the then late law, and sold by him to Pleasant Compton ; that in November, 1847, he went to Milledgeville, when Compton, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, agreed to let him have the lot for g200. That Cameron and Johnson being there as members of the Legislature, and his immediate Representatives, in whom he had entire confidence, advised him to pay the g200, and save his homestead ; lacking the money, they agreed to advance it ; and for their security, to take the titles in their own names, which they agreed to re-convey to him, upon being refunded their money with interest, when they returned home from Milledgeville ; that having that much more money than he needed to defray his expenses, he handed them $20.

About the last of December, 1847, expecting that Cameron and Johnson had returned from the Legislature, Ward borrowed the money and sent it by a friend to Cameron; but he had not got back. That shortly after, he was taken sick; but about the first of February, 1848, he procured the money to be again carried to Cameron, who informed the messenger, A. Wilkinson, that Johnson had sold the land to one William A. Spear. It seems that this sale was unknown to Cam eron, at the time it was made ; that he expressed himself dissatisfied with it, and insisted that Ward should have the land ; Spear’s note was given in payment ; and Cameron never signed the deed until the month of November following — long after suit had been instituted to enforce the specific performance of the contract. Cameron not only refused to unite at that time in the conveyance to Spear, but said it must be rescinded, and appealed to Johnson to that effect Spear admitted to Stamps, before he purchased the land, that he knew of the agreement between Ward, Cameron and Johnson, and that he was to have the land, provided it was not redeemed by Ward. It is not pretended but that the only lien the defendants had on the land, was to sell and reimburse themselves for the money advanced to Compton for and on account of Ward. The testimony of Garhey and others, puts this point beyond dispute. What then is the law of this case ? It is wholly immaterial whet her time was of the essence of the contract between the parties or not, if Ward, before the land was sold and paid for, tendered to Cameron and Johnson the g180, paid out for him, with the interest thereon ; they were bound to receive it, and re-convey the title to him. And the proof is clear and conclusive that this was done. When Wilkinson called on Cameron with the money, and demanded a deed, Cameron was ignorant of the inchoate and incomplete contract be tween Johnson and Spear; Spear had full notice of Ward’s equity before he paid out his money — indeed, he knew of it before he and Johnson rushed with such suspicious haste into the trade. Why did he not retract ? Had the sale been

consummated, and a joint deed executed, his conscience, we apprehend, would be affected by the pre-existing equity be tween Ward and his vendors. Such, however, is not his position. His bargain was unfinished when the re-payment was tendered, and consequently the trust deed, under which he was taking his title was fund us officio and spent. It is quite unnecessary, therefore, to enter into a critical examination of the charges complained of. This broad view overrides them all, and settles the rights of the parties upon the stable foundations of justice and good faith. We see nothing in the verdict contrary to law or evidence, or the charge of the Court. It is in accordance both with the facts and the law, and should not be disturbed. As to the instruction of the Court respecting the capacity of the agent, we see nothing to object to. He seems, drunk or sober, to have understood and executed with skill and fidelity, the business intrusted to his care. And as his principal does not repudiate his acts, there is no reason why the other parties should. Judgment affirmed.

Jul 15, 2015 - Neal K Wilkinson    1 Comment

Potts Store, Long Cane, Troup County, GA

Old Potts store in Long Cane, Troup County, GA

Old Potts store in Long Cane, Troup County, GA

I discovered this little store a few years ago and the Potts family that own it kindly allowed me to review the ledgers listing their former customers.

There was Annie Wilkinson Haralson’s name in the ledger. She was my great grandfather’s sister. I wonder if there will be any trace of me left behind?

Vernon, Georgia

Geer Home - Vernon Road

Geer Home – Vernon Road

My great great grandparents lived in Vernon when it was still a town, but like the town their home place is long gone, now at the bottom of West Point Lake.

This text was copied from Georgia Genealogy – Vernon

Vernon is another town that has since vanished from the map. There are not even any images of it. A number of our Wilkinsons lived in Vernon while it was still alive. It’s location, like the original homestead of our fathers, is now under West Point Lake.

The town of Vernon, which the promoters hoped would be the county seat of Troup County, was laid off in land lot 256 of the 5th district, and was on the river front of the east side of the Chattahoochee. The promoters were Wiley J. Sterling, John E. Gage, an Inferior Court judge, and Henry Faver.
The number of citizens purchasing lots are not known, but the following secured deeds to lots in Vernon: John E. Gage, Wiley J. Sterling, James M. Rawson, Henry Faver, John Bostock, Josiah M. Bonner, Nancy Banks, John Lassiter, William A. Lyle, Robert Alexander, Robert Benton, James M. Ransom, Willis Benton, William D. Sherod, Willis Currey, Ira Allen, Abner C. Dozier, and perhaps others not recorded.

A church lot was deeded for the organization of a congregation; an academy was chartered as Vernon Academy; a ferry was put into operation, the approach to which can still be seen on the edge of the Meadors Camp.

Imagination alone can picture the transformation that the disagreement of five Inferior Court judges circumvented: the river transportation, the deviation of later railroads, and a host of other changes in the present Troup County, had Vernon been chosen as county seat.

Just north of the crossing of the A. B. & C. Railroad over the Chattahoochee River once was the site of the forgotten town of Vernon, and the only present reminder is the names of two militia districts, East Vernon and West Vernon, but the promoters and owners and the town are among the things gone and forgotten.

The Last Sip

BaldHill

July 22, 1864 saw one of the fiercest battles of the Civil War. Atlanta, beleaguered as it was by Sherman’s advancing army, was still the hub for railroad transportation for the Confederacy. It was vital for the Confederacy to keep control and equally as vital for the Northern armies to capture the city. Southern generals put everything they had into protecting the small city – only 7000 residents at this time. T

Two second cousins of ours in the Mississippi branch of the Wilkinson family via North Carolina and Scotland took part in the portion of this battle that took place on the eastern side of Atlanta.

The area of battle was where Moreland Avenue and 285 intersect today. There is still a slight rise which at that time was called Bald Hill as it had recently been timbered. Surrounding this hill were farms and woods.

John C. Wilkinson was a colonel and his younger brother Daniel was his adjutant. Colonel Wilkinson’s troops were exhausted, no sleep for days and very little food. Anyone who has visited Atlanta in July knows it is terribly hot and humid. Mosquitoes, gnats and chiggers thrive in these conditions, and must have tormented the troops hidden in the woods.

Imagine the despair of Colonel Wilkinson as he prepared once more to lead his men into what would be for many certain death.

Brave to the last, he led the charge, only to be shot down. His brother Daniel rushed to his side to offer him a drink, and he too was shot. He fell across his brother’s body, and the two dead young men, one 38 and the other 26, were carried off the field on the same litter.

They rest today in the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta, GA.

Will of Bethena Ward Wilkinson (wife of Alonzo Archibald Wilkinson)

The State of Alabama,

Macon County,

I, Bethena L. Wilkerson, being of sound mind and disposing memory do publish and declare

This my last will and testament.

Item 1st – It is my will and desire that my children inherit all the estate of whatsoever kind I may be possessed of.

Item 2– It is my will and desire that my father Stephen Ward take the control and management of my children and that he take the possession of my two Negro slaves to wit Dinah a woman of sixty five years old and Ann a girl about thirteen years old and he manage and control said negroes.

Item 3– I hereby with trust make and appoint my said father Stephen Ward my executor of my estate, and it is my express will and desire that he take charege of same without giving security as may be required by the statutes of this or any other state.

Signed, sealed and delivered as the last will and testament of Bethena L. Wilkerson in presence of us who have signed our names in the presence of said Bethena L. Wilkerson.

Frank W. Ruso
Thomas W Slaughter
John Washington Jones

Before me Lewis Alexander Judge of Probate Court in and for said county personally came Thomas W. Slaughter, Frank W. Ruso and John Washington Jones who attested the same in Presence of Bethena L. Wilkerson the testator, this 5 day of Jan, 1855.

Stephen Ward presented the will of Bethena L. Wilkerson deceased to the Judge of Probate of Macon County and state of Alabama and had said that the deceased has been dead more than fifteen days and was at the time of his death resident of Macon County, and that the distributees and legatees of the estate of the said deceased and Archibald Wilkerson husband of said deceased, who is of age twenty one and according to the last information of application is a resident of Coosa County, Ala, and Julia County of Macon and make applicaton for the probate of said will.

This 16th day of October 1954.

The History of Houston County, TX

Relationship: Husband of second great grand aunt

 by:  Armistead Albert Aldrich – “The History of Houston County Texas” – 1943

 

“AN EARLY SKETCH OF CROCKETT”

“Unlike most historians, who depend upon preceding writers for their materials, the Oldest Inhabitant himself contemporary with Crockett, is enabled to note its rise and progress, free from the melancholy task of recording its decline and fall.

“Crockett was located at the county site of Houston County, in the winter of 1837, owing to its position to its being the only point within a reasonable distance of the San Antonio Road, and the center of the county, where running water could be found.

“It was emphatically a frontier village, but three hours ride from the buffalo range; for several years Indian outrages were committed in its vicinity. The Coshattas hunted on the South, the Cherokees joined the county on the East, while North and West the wild or Prairie Indians penetrated the sparse settlements almost unperceived, and too generally unpunished.

“A very narrow chain of settlements along the San Antonio road, formed the connection with the white population of Texas. This road, as is well known, passes through the poorest and worst watered portion of Houston County, giving no promise of a better country to the passing stranger.

“Distance from market (Trinity not being then navigated) danger from Indians and the usual inconvenience of a frontier country, long retarded the settlement of the county and the growth of the village.

“Although a log courthouse and jail were erected and the liberality of the legislature had granted a charter providing for the election of a mayor, eight aldermen, a town clerk, etc. yet for some months the solitary citizen, who kept a store in a 16-foot log cabin, was daily asked, ‘How far to Crockett?’

“‘You are right in the public square of Crockett now, Stranger,’ was the answer.

“In 1839 there were two resident families, and the danger from Indians was so urgent that the neighbors fortified the courthouse lot with pickets and took sheIter with their families until immediate danger had passed over.

“For two years the sittings of the district court were suspended, during which time cases of assault and battery were so multiplied that succeeding grand juries declined to notice them.

“Card playing (not then prohibited) and quarter racing, were the favorite amusements on public days. The eastern and western mails arrived on an average of twice a month. The northern mail for Fort Houston was sent whenever there was a chance, and then generally in the crown of a hat.  The Galveston mail was once suspended for five months, and at last arrived in coffee sacks on an ox wagon.

“Sassafras tea, rye coffe, milk and whiskey, were the only beverages that could be depended on, as coffee frequently could not be had at any price.  In the way of diet, steel mill bread and jerked beef were the great staples.

“The telegraph has entered our town, a substantial brick courthouse has just been completed, the Masonic Hall, Temple of Honor, and free church are well attended; six stores, two taverns, a boot and shoemaker and saddler’s shop accommodate the public; professional gentlemen offer their services to clients and patients, our bricklayers are busy and all the usual means and appliances of civilized life may be found in our village.”

******************************************************************************************
More than a century after the abandonment of the old Spanish Mission, that part of Nacogdoches County which afterwards became Houston County, began to be settled by colonists in Vehlin’s Colony.  Many of these obtained titles from the Mexican Government before the creation of Houston County, and quite a number of them fought in the Battle of San Jacinto and are entitled to be numbered with the heroes of that great decisive battle in the history of Texas.  Many of their names appear on the following document, which was a prelude to the creation of the county.  This is a historic document and deserves a place in the history of the county.  Many of the men whose names appear on this document were prominent citizens in the later development of the county.  It is as follows:

   Mustang Prairie, April 22nd, 1837

     “To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives when in Congress Assembled:

     “We, the undersigned, your petitioners, citizens of said republic do most respectfully pray that your honorable body make for us a county on the East side of Trinity River, beginning at Robbins Ferry on said Trinity; Thence running fifteen miles each side of the old San Antonio Road and East far enough to make a constitutional county, and we do further pray that your honorable body appoint three disinterested commissioners out of the bounds of said county to locate the seat of justice for said county in granting the aforesaid petition, we, your petitioners as duty bound will ever pray, etc.

Iredell Reding

John B. Reding

Geo. W. Reding

James L. Gossett

Wm. L. Gossett

Elisha Clapp

John Wortham

John Hallmark

William Dillard

John V. D. Gossett

Jacob Masters

John Box

Stephen Crist

Reason Crist

William Anglin

Robin Brown

Richard Eaton

Thomas Denson

Nelson Box

P.O. Lumpkin

John C. Moore

John Allbright

Jacob Allbright

Barton Clark

James L. Gossett

E. Gossett

John L. Hall

Stephen White

Alfred Buge

Leon Pritchard

Thomas G. Box

Samuel C. Collison

R.A. Walker

Henry Masters

John Erwin

Chas. Erwin

H. C. Johnson

Williard Standley

William Cheairs

W. C. Standley

John Cheairs

John F. Cheairs

Elijah Cheairs

Frances Cheairs

John Denson

Joseph M. Masters

William Leagon

John H. Holder

Enaske Lapus

Albert Allbright

Ira C. Shute

Jas. Barns

William Johnson

Ballin Snelles

R. O. Lusk

Joseph Masterson

G.E. Dwight

Samuel Clerlosky

Stephen Bennett

Elish Anglin

Miles Bennett

Joseph Jorden

Stephen Box

Collin Aldrich

Henry P. Crowson

Isaac Parker

Thos. Garner

Dickerson Parker

J. Haley

Benjamin Parker

H. Barrett

Peterson Tate

J. D. Parker

Geo. W. Robinson

A. E. Gossett

Geo. Hallmark

Daniel Parker, Jr.

H. P. Walker

Wm. H. Pate

Peter Gallahery

John C. Hayne

John B. (illegible)

James Neville

Stephen Dunston

Swanson Yarbrough

Frances Bettit

Shedrick Denson

Wm. Riley

John Allbright

Solomon Allbright

Joseph Lapus

W. M. White

Martin Murchison

                                     “APPROVED: June 12, 1837  – “SAM HOUSTON”

A careful examination of the Act of Congress of the Republic of Texas creating Houston County will show that it was, at the beginning, a very large county, and covered all of the territory now embraced within the bounds together with all of Trinity County and all of Anderson County and a large portion of Henderson County. The reader should refer to a map of the State of Texas as it existed in 1836, for a clearer understanding of the territory embraced within the original limits of the county.  It might be a matter of interest to the people of Houston County to think of the extent of the jurisdiction exercised by the first officers of Houston County. The chief justices of the county courts of Houston County from 1838 when they were first chosen, to the creation of Anderson County in 1846, exercised jurisdiction over all that territory now em­braced in Anderson County and the Southern part of Henderson County and in Trinity County. On March 24, 1846, Anderson County was created out of Houston County and it will be interesting to observe the boundaries as set out in the Acts of Con­gress creating that county which are as follows:

“Beginning at a place in the County of Houston, known as Houston Mound, about one mile North of Murchison’s Prairie; Thence Westwardly by a direct line running through the old Ionie village, on the North Elkhart Creek to the Trinity River; Thence, beginning again at Houston’s Mound, continuing said direct line Eastwardly to the Neches River; Thence, up said river with the meanders thereof to the Northeast corner of John Ferguson’s League of land; Thence, by direct line parallel to the first above-named line, to the Trinity River; Thence down said river with the meanders thereof, to the intersection of said first named line with the Trinity River.”

     It will be noticed that one of the landmarks which must have been well known in that early day, was known as Houston’s Mound, and is located about a mile North of Murchison’s Prairie. Both of these localities must have been well known in the very early stages of Texas History. Recently an oil well was drilled very near Houston’s Mound, just across the line in Anderson County, and in reaching it the roadway led across the historic elevation known as Houston’s Mound. Evidently Houston’s Mound was so-called and named in honor of Sam Houston.

On the 17th day of April, 1846, the County of Henderson was created out of portions of Counties of Houston, and Nacogdoches and in the Act creating it is defined as follows:

“Commencing at the Northeast corner of Anderson County, on the Neches River; THENCE North with the Western Bound­ary lines of the counties of Cherokee and Smith, to the Sabine River; Thence down said river to the Southwest corner of Upshur County; Thence North with the Western Boundary line of said Upshur County to the Southern boundary line of Titus County; Thence, West with the Southern boundary of said county, to the county of Hopkins; and Thence, continuing West with the Southern boundary line of said Hopkins and Hunt counties, to the Northeast corner of said Dallas County; Thence South with the Eastern boundary line of said Dallas County, to its Southeast corner; Thence West with the Southern boundary line of said county to the Trinity River; Thence down said Trinity River to the Northwest corner of said Anderson County, and Thence East with the Northern boundary line of Anderson County, to the place of beginning.”

After the creation of both Anderson and Henderson Counties in 1846, Houston County continued to exist, embracing all the territory known as Houston and Trinity Counties until February 11, 1850, when the County of Trinity was created including the following boundaries:

Beginning in the East bank of Trinity River, at the lower corner of Henry Golmon’s survey of 980 acres; Thence North 21Y2 degrees East to the Neches River; Thence down said river with its meanders to the present Southeast corner of Houston County; Thence Westwardly with the South boundary line of said county to the Trinity River; Thence up said river with its meanders to the place of beginning.

On January 26, 1850, by an Act of the Legislature of the State of Texas, the boundary line between Houston and Anderson Counties was more definitely defined as follows:

Beginning at a place in the County of Houston, known as. Houston’s Mound, about one mile North of Murchison’s Prairie; Thence Westwardly, by direct line running through the old Ionie Village on the North Elkhart Creek, to the East Boundary line of Samuel C. Boxe’s Headright League; Thence South with said line to the South boundary line of said league to the Trinity River.

A curious freak of legislation should prove of interest to the people of Houston County. On the 6th day of December, 1841 the Congress of the Republic of Texas passed an act which proved to be an abortive effort to create a county known as Burnet out of Houston County, which Act in part is as follows:

Sec. I. Be it enacted by the senate and house of representa­tives of the Republic of Texas in Congress assembled, That the boundary of Burnet be, and is hereby established within the following boundaries, to-wit:

Beginning at a place known by the name of Houston’s Mound, North of Murchison’s Prairie; Thence Westwardly, to the Iron-Eye village, on Elkhart Creek; Thence to the Trinity River; and from Houston’s Mound (the place of beginning) to the Neches River, so as to make a straight line from the Trinity River to the Neches River; Thence up the main West form of the Neches River to Clarence A. Lovejoy’s Survey, No. 177, on the West boundary line of the Cherokee lands; Thence due North to the Sabine River; Thence up the Sabine to the fork; Thence up the North fork, to E. W. Shultz Survey, continuing up the same to the Fannin County line; Thence West with said line to the Trinity River; Thence down said Trinity River to the above-named line running direct from the Neches to the Trinity.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That Fort Houston is hereby permanently established as the seat of justice for said county.

So far as. the record shows no effort was made to organize the county of Burnet under the foregoing Act, and later another county was created in Western Texas that is now known as the County of Burnet. The singular feature of the above Act of Congress is the fact that it designated Fort Houston as the county seat of the county, without giving the people residing in the county the opportunity to locate and designate the county seat. It is also a matter of interest to the people of Houston County that the Fort Houston mentioned in the foregoing Act is located at the home of Judge John H. Reagan, a few miles Southwest of Palestine, and was originally located in the County of Houston.

After the County of Houston was duly organized by the selection of county officers and the selection of Crockett as the county seat, the town was incorporated by an Act of the Republic of Texas, December 29, 1837.

Even before Houston County was created as a county and Crockett designated as its county seat, there was some postoffices and a mail service in the territory that is now known as Houston County. The first of these was known as Aldrich in 1836, before the organization of the county and the post-office records show that Collin Aldrich was postmaster. This postoffice later became known as Mustang Prairie, for we find from the records that in 1840 Mustang Prairie was named as a postoffice, but no name of the postmaster was given. However, in 1843, Mustang Prairie named as a post-office and George Hallmark as postmaster. This George Hallmark was the ancestor of all the Hallmarks in Houston County.

In 1843 Alabama is listed as a postoffice in Houston County and James M. Caldwell was postmaster.  In 1840 Crockett is named as a postoffice but no one is named postmaster. In 1843 Thomas P. Collins appears on the record to have been the postmaster. In 1838 Randolph, in Houston County, is named as a postoffice with Nathan as postmaster. If there were other postoffices in that early day the author is unable to find any record of them.

OFFICERS

The first county officers of Houston County, probably elected or chosen in September, 1837, were Collin Aldrich, Chief Justice; James Madden, sheriff; Stephen White, clerk of the district court; Jacob Allbright, county clerk; John Grigsby, John Gregg, Elijah Gossett and John Box were chosen as justices of the peace, but it is probable that they did not serve.

 

Later officers selected January 1, 1839, were S. E. Kennedy, William Dillard and R. W. Box, justices of the peace. Martin A. Walker was chosen as sheriff; John H. Kirchoffer was presi­dent of the Board of Land Commissioners of Houston County, and Elijah Gossett and John Wortham were associate land commissioners for the county. Samuel G. Wells was clerk of the Board of Land Commissioners and George Aldrich, County Surveyor. On January 23, 1839 P. O. Lumpkin was chosen chief justice for Houston County, and was commissioned on January 25, 1839, but promptly resigned. After his resignation, on March 12, 1839, John H. Kirchoffer was chosen and commis­sioned as chief justice of Houston County and resigned in June 1839. On February 4, 1839, G. W. Browning, C. T. McKenzie and R. R. Russell were chosen as justices of the peace. On June 28, 1839, John Collins was chosen and commissioned as chief justice of Houston County. On June 22, Mobley Rhone and Stephen White were chosen as justices of the peace on Beat No. 4, and were Commissioned on July 4, 1839. On June 22, 1839, A. T. Hallmark was constable for some unnamed precinct in Houston County.

 

On February 3, 1840, John Collins was chosen Chief Justice and resigned on January 24, 1841. On February 4, 1840, Andrew E. Gossett was commissioned as sheriff of Houston County, hav­ing been elected on September 14, 1839. On February 4, 1840, Waller Dickerson was commissioned as district clerk of Houston County, having been elected September 14, 1839. On February 4, 1839 Edley T. Powell and John Pettitt were chosen justices ot the peace for Beat No.9, and held the same until January 8, 1842. On February 12, 1842, Elijah Gossett was again elected chief justice of Houston County. On February 4, 1840 Stillwell Box was elected justice of the peace for the Crockett district. On February 3, 1840, Barton Clark and Leonard Williams were appointed commissioners to inspect the land office in Houston County. On April 18, 1840, John S. Martin was elected sheriff of Houston County, and Eli Meade at the same time was elected clerk of the district court. At the same election William S. Mc­Donald was elected justice of the peace for the first precinct. On February 19, 1841, Jowell Clapp and W. D. Longstreet were commissioned justices of the peace for beat No.3, having been elected on October 24, 1840. On February 13, 1841, T. D. Tompkins and G. G. Alford were commissioned justices of the peace for Beat No.5, having been elected November 7, 1840. On February 13, 1841 Y. G. Dollahite and W. M. Johnson were commissioned justices of the peace of Beat No.4 of Houston County, having been elected Nov. 7, 1840. On February 13, 1841, George Hallmark and W. Hallmark were commissioned justices of the peace for beat No.2 of Houston County having been elected on November 14, 1840. On February 13, 1841, Cyrus H. Randolph was commissioned as justice of the peace of Beat No.1, having been elected December 21, 1840. On April 26, 1841, George Aldrich was commissioned as county surveyor, having been elected on September 7, 1840.

On October 6, 1841, George H. Prewitt, was commissioned as justice of the peace, Beat No.3, having been elected September 6,1841. On October 27, 1841, Stephen H. Hatten and Nathaniel D. Acock were commissioned justices of the peace for Beat No. 10, having been elected September 18, 1841. On December 25, 1841 Lodovik E. Downs was elected district clerk of Houston County. On September 5, 1842, George Aldrich was elected County Surveyor of Houston County and was commissioned on April II, 1843. On September 24, 1842, Samuel G. Wells was elected justice of the peace of Precinct No.6, Houston County; He was commissioned April II, 1843 and resigned March 18, 1844. On December 24, 1842 George W. Grant was elected jus­tice of the peace of Precinct No.3 of Houston County and was commissioned April II, 1843. On December 24, 1842, David Barrett and G. G. Alford were elected justices of the peace, Pre­cinct No.5 of Houston County and were commissioned on April II, 1843. On February 6, 1843, Joseph P. Burnett was elected sheriff of Houston County and was commissioned April II, 1843. On February 6, 1843, Cyrus H. Randolph was elected coroner of Houston County and was commissioned April II, 1843. On February 4, 1843 Turner S. Parker was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No. 7 of Houston County and was commissioned on April II, 1843.

On February 18, 1843 George Luster was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No. I, Houston County, and was commis­sioned April II, 1843, and resigned February 7, 1844. On March 4, 1843 William M. Johnson was elected Justice of the Peace for Precinct No. 4 of Houston County; was commissioned on April 26, 1843 and resigned on January 13, 1844. On March 4, 1843 William Z. McLane was elected justice of the peace of Precinct No.4, and was commissioned April 26, 1843. On March 18, 1943 Christopher Ellis was elected justice of the peace of Precinct No. 10, and “was commissioned April 16, 1843. On April 8, 1843 S. E. Kennedy and James J. Thomas were elected justices of the peace, Precinct No.8, Houston County, and were commissioned April 26, 1843. On April 8, 1843 James R. Brack­en was elected justice of the peace for Precinct No.9, and was commissioned April 26, 1843. On May 20, 1843, Jacob Allbright was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No.3, and commis­sioned July 31, 1843. On November 13, 1843, Waller Dickerson was elected county surveyor of Houston County and commis­sioned on December 4, 1843.

On November 13, 1843, Cyrus H. Randolph was elected chief justice of Houston County and commissioned December 4, 1843. On December 23, 1843, William Lane was elected justice of the peace Precinct No. I, commissioned December 29, 1843. His term expired and he was re-elected. On December 23, 1843, F. D. Bodenhamer was elected justice of the peace, Precin’ct No. 8, and commissioned on December 29, 1843. On January 1, 1844, George W. Grant and George G. Alford were elected as associate justices for Houston County. On January 20, 1844, H. W. Neville and Alexander C. Thornberg were elected justices of the peace, Precinct No. 10 and commissioned February 1, 1844. On February 17, 1844, Horatio Nelson was elected justice of the peace Precinct No.1, and commissioned March 8, 1844. On March 18, 1844, Clinton A. Rice was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No. 4 and commissioned April 6, 1844. On March 30, 1844, Richard R. Powers was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No.6, and commissioned April 6, 1844. On May 16, 1844, John Blair was commissioned as assessor of taxes and on May 14, was appointed county treasurer. On September 21, 1844, Samuel G. Well was appointed justice of the peace and commissioned October 31, 1844. On December 24, 1844, Albert G. Barnett and Henry W. Ward were elected justice of the peace for Precinct No.5 and were commissioned February 17, 1845. On December 24, 1844, Robert W. Caldwell was elected justice of the peace for Precinct No.3, and commissioned Feb- ruary 17, 1845. On December 30, 1844, R. G. Green was elected justice of the peace Precinct No. 1 and commissioned February 17, 1845. On January 6, 1845, Thomas P. Collins was elected county treasurer and commissioned on January 21, 1845. On February 3, 1845 Joseph P. Burnett was elected Sheriff and com­missioned November 22, 1845. On February 3, 1845, James R. Bracken was elected coroner and commissioned on November 22, 1845. On February 3, 1845, George Hallmark, Sr. was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No.2, and commissioned February 27, 1845. On June 4, 1845, John Blair was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No. 10, and commissioned July 4, 1845. On June 4, 1845 George H. Prewitt was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No.3 and commissioned July 4, 1845. On October 4, 1845, James H. Gillespie was elected County Clerk of Houston County and commissioned December 17, 1845. On November 13, 1845, Waller Dickerson was elected county surveyor of Houston County. On January 7, 1846, William Lane was elected justice of the peace, Precinct No. 1 and commissioned February 4, 1846.

Reconstruction Oath

Relationship: My great grandfather A D Wilkinson and great great grandfather David Allen Philpott both signed this oath.

During the American Civil War, political prisoners and prisoners of war were often released upon taking an “oath of allegiance”. Lincoln’s Ten percent plan featured an oath to “faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the union of the States thereunder” as a condition for a Presidential pardon. During Reconstructionretroactive loyalty oaths were proposed by Radical Republicans, which would have barred former Confederates and Confederate sympathizers from federal, state, or local offices.  My great-grandfather signed such an oath.

 

Mound Prairie Institute

Relationship: The children of my great grand aunts, Maggie Wilkinson Lumpkin and Flora Wilkinson Browning attended this school.  Maggie’s husband, Dan, was instrumental in founding it.

By Bonner Frizzell

In the fall of 1852 a school opened up at Mound Prairie, eight miles northeast of Palestine, in Anderson County, which was destined to become one of the most famous institutions of learning of its time in Texas. It began in a small one-room house with one teacher; but it grew rapidly, and in two or there years the faculty numbered five teachers, and students attended from all parts of the state.

The school lasted only nine years, (1852-61), falling a victim to the war, like so many other institutions of the day. At first, only boys were admitted, but in 1857 the doors of the institution were opened to girls, and during the remaining four years of its existence,
the school was co-educational. (W. H. Gaston and C. H. Bussey; Personal Interviews)

The founder of the school was Rev. J. R. Malone, a Baptist minister, and a gentleman of high scholastic attainments. Mr. Malone was not only the founder of the school but he continued as President of the Institution throughout the entire nine years of its existence. The school was
chartered, the charter bearing the date of January 9, 1854. A board of nine trustees provided for in the charter, the following gentlemen being named as members: J. A. Lawrence, J. S. Hanks, R. K. Gaston, J. S. Morrow, L. W. Dalton, R. E. Cox, A. McCane, P. O. Lumpkin, and John Billups.

The charter provided that the school should be a “college Proper,” and that the board of
trustees should have power to confer degrees, grant diplomas, establish professorships, make and enforce rules and regulations, and establish a system of scholarships. The charter also contained the provision that nothing should be so construed as to militate against the rights and powers of James R. Malone, A.M., founder of the institute. (Gammel: Op. Cit., v.
3, P. 435)

That the school was to some extent under the care of the Baptist Church is evidenced by the following report of a committee on education to an Association of that Church:

“We have no male college, but we are proud to say that we have within our bound Mound Prairie Institute, which, in point of health, morals, and through instruction is behind none. The President, our beloved Brother J. R. Malone, has long since proved his ability and untiring application to all duties of his station; and having the assistance of those who are able,
pious, and loved by all, success is the result. The school is now in a prosperous condition and has a regular attendance of seventy-five students, and others are coming in.”

The institution seems to have reached its zenith about 1860. An announcement preceding the opening of the session of 1860-61 states that the school has a college charter with University powers; that the “usual degrees” are conferred; that number of male students for the preceding year was one hundred nine; that the course of study is full, the instruction thorough, and the discipline strict; that the health, morals, and religious privileges of Mound Prairie are unsurpassed; that only two boys will be allowed in the same room; that there will be no extra charge for Spanish in the future; and that tuition, fuel, furnished room, and washing cost
seventy-five dollars per session of twenty weeks.” (ibid, 1860)

No description of the building in which the Institute opened is available; but there is evidence that it was a very modest structure. A year or two after the school began, however, a commodious two-story frame building was erected at a cost of some five or six thousand dollars, the funds being raised by private subscription. In this building the school was carried on
until 1856, when a second building resembling the first was erected. The new building became the home of the Female Department, which was established in 1857, while the older building continued to serve the home of the Male Department. About the same time that this second building was erected, six dormitories were also built to accommodate the rapidly increasing boarding patronage. (W. H. Gaston and C. H. Bussey; Personal Interviews)

The following newspaper announcement, which appeared about the middle of the year 1860, throws a further light on the work of the Institute for that year:

MOUND PRAIRIE INSTITUTE
Faculty
Male Department
J. R. Malone, M.A., President and Professor of Latin, Greek, Spanish, Pure
Mathematics, and belles-lettres. Elder M. V. Smith, Professor of English
branches, natural sciences, and Mixed Mathematics. George W. Awalt, tutor.
Female Department
Miss M. A. E. Dickson, Principal and Instructor in the literary and
ornamental subjects and French.
Rates of Tuition
Music with use of instrument $15.00
Ornamental and Needle-work $15.00
Spanish $20.00
French $20.00
Drawing and Painting $10.00
Declamations and Compositions four Fridays in every month
The President is prepared to take forty boarders in dormitories on his own land at the low price of fifty dollars a term of five months.
The present session closes January 10, and the next opens on the second Monday in August.
(Signed) J. R. Malone
(Texas Enquirer, January 7, 1860)

Teachers other than the above-mentioned that are remembered by old students are Wilson H. Lamb, Pickens Teague, Miss V. E. Bussey, Mrs. J. R. Malone, and Professor Myre and wife. The last two taught music for some time and are remembered as very skillful musicians. Among the students who afterwards wrought efficiently in the communities in which they lived were
W. H. Gaston, now of Dallas; C. H. Bussey, now of Hutchins, Texas; Lieutenant R. H. Gaston, W. L. Griggs, Martin V. Smith, A. C. Camp, Dr. J. B. Bussey, and Dr. J. R. Oldham. (W. H. Gaston and C. H. Bussey: Personal Interviews)

The success of the institution was due more to the ability and zeal of the President, Rev. J. R. Malone, than to any other one factor. He was born in Coffeyville, Alabama, January 10, 1824. He received a liberal education as a young man and then studied law; but after a short time he gave up his studies in this field and turned his attention to the ministry and to teaching. He came to Texas in 1852, at the age of twenty-eight, and began the work of building up the school with which his name was to be ever after inseparably linked. Besides being a great teacher, he was also a great preacher and a man among men. Almost every Sunday found him with a congregation in some church of the surrounding country. As a teacher, he was especially fond of English, Latin, and Greek. He was a great friend to the needy young man, and no one was ever turned away from Mound Prairie Institute for want of funds. He was a poor financier, and through his bad management his family was sometimes in want. He considered his life a failure; but those who knew him, especially his students, thought otherwise.

On leaving Mound Prairie, he went to Mexia and later to Dallas. He died in the latter city December 3, 1891. (Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine, v. II, p. 118)

The story of how Mound Prairie Institute came to the end of its way is an old one. The bugle blasts of war called the young men from books to battlefields, and thus the institution was left deserted. The commencement held in June 1861, marks the end. If there were any efforts made to continue the work of the institution after that, they were so feeble that their results have been erased from the memory of those best in a position to know them. Dilapidation and decay soon began their work, and what remained of the buildings were sold to the farmers of the community. (W. H. Gaston and C. H. Bussey: Personal Interview)

NAMES OF PESONS WHO ATTENDED THE MOUND PRAIRIE INSTITUTE

Post office Plenitude, Anderson County, Texas
Incorporated and Founded in 1854 by Prof. J. R. Malone

William Lumpkin
Martin Lumpkin
John Lumpkin
George Lumpkin
P. O. Lumpkin
Miss Martha Browning
Miss Mary Browning
Miss Flora Browning
James McCains
John McCains
Columbus McCains
Matt McCains
Martha McCains
Miss Emily Hanks
James Hanks
Brown Hanks
John Billups
Thos. Billups
Ala Billups
Anna Kirksey
John Kirksey
Mitch Gray
Robert Oldham
Henry Irwin
Mac Stover
Sam Brown
Ad Brown
Thos. Brown
Charlie Lawrence
Calhoun Lawrence
Miss Clem
Miss Mary Pinson
Miss Minnie Derden
Dick Derden
Miss Melinda Cox
Miss Mary Cox
Jack Cox
Carter McKenzie
Larkin McKinzie
Jube Gibson
Milam Gay
Martin V. Smith
Louis Goodman
Frank Bell
Mr. Bell from Denton
C. A. Rush
Fayett Reed
Lem Reed
James Reed
Miss M. Reed
Geo. Awalt
Miss Dickson Teacher
Laura Furlow
Ione Furlow
Chas. Bussey
Dr. John Bussey
Miss Fannie Bussey
Miss Madie Bussey
William Griggs
Chas. Griggs
Geo. H. Gaston
W. H. Gaston
Robert H. Gaston
Priscilla Gaston
J. R. Jones
John Jones
Thad Jones
Geo. Holmes
Angie Holmes
Rollin Box
Nancy Herrin
Geo. Hudson
Sudie Vannoy
John Herrington
Miss Martha Herrington
John Hodge
Stanford Hodge
Arelia Hodge
Tom Hogg
Jeb Tucker
Geo. McDonald
Pace McDonald
Miss McDonald
Billie Givens
John Fain
Tom Butler
John N. Parks
Cout King
Caro Quarles
Sarah Rawlins
Homer Echols
Jeff Rose
Mollie Rose
Wm. McClannahan
Lizzie McClannahan
John McElroy
Nat Witherspoon
Fred Horton
John Stevenson
Mattie Stevenson
Rollin Webb
Rube C. Miller

(Individuals in red are my cousins).

***************************************************************************

Copyright. All rights reserved.
http://www.usgwarchives.net/copyright.htm

Transcribed by Nancy Crain
Submitted by Scott Fitzgerald – scottfitzgerald@tyler.net
East Texas Genealogical Society, Vice-President 26 May 2006

***************************************************************************

Originally published in The Tracings, Volume 3, No. 1, Winter 1984, Pages
37-40 by the Anderson County Genealogical Society, copyright assigned to
the East Texas Genealogical Society.

Plea for Help

 
The letter below is signed by the husbands of my two great aunts, Flora and Maggie Wilkinson.  Their names are highlighted in red.

PLEA FOR HELP

FROM THE CITIZENS OF FORT HOUSTON

(Houston CO. “Now Anderson CO.TX”)
Addressed to : His Excellency, Samuel HOUSTON, Nacogdoches, Texas

 

Fort Houston, Aug. 25, 1838

To His Excellency, The Pres.

Sir

We the undersigned citizens of the town of Houston (Houston CO) & its vicinity, beg leave respectfully to represent to your excellency that our property has been stolen, our houses & farms infested and surrounded, our families alarmed & ourselves compelled to desert our homes on account of depredations committed by our Indian neighbors.

We further beg leave to suggest as our settled conviction that from our isolated situation and sparseness of our population, this settlement will be compelled to desert our property & homes unless some active & energetic measures are adopted to secure our property & protect our women and children from the tomahawk & scalping, or more cruel horror of Indian captivity, This subject is most respectfully submitted to the consideration to the Executive & some protection earnestly but strongly solicited in our truly unpleasant & distressing situation. The Indians who are doing mischief in this neighborhood are supposed to be principally the Kickapoo.

An early answer is requested as we do not feel safe to remain with our families in our present situation unless prompt measures are taken for our relief.

We have the honor to be
With great respect etc.
Your Obt. Sevts.

P.O. LUMPKIN
Leroy McKINZIE
John CRIST
W.L. McDONALD
R.C. DIXON
William SMITH
A. McKINSIE
A. G. PERSON
John SMITH
C. F. McINZA
Spencer HOBS
William CRAIGHEAY
John S. DELAY
O.H. DUNCAN
Stephen CRIST
W.B. SHEARER
L. ROBINSON
Jacob C. MORROW
M. Theo CARTER
John T. BROWN
J.M. (?)CARPENTER
W.M. FROST
H. USSURY
B. PERSON
George W. BROWNING

From: Rusk Paper, Stephen F. Austin Library, Nacogdoches, Texas

Battle at Kickapoo Village

My great aunts were married to Dan Lumpkin and Wash Browning, two adventurous young Georgians who took their brides to the Mexican territory that became Anderson County, Texas.

Major General Rusk’s volunteer forces moved northeasterly from Fort Houston during the morning hours of October 15. The Texas forces moved across present Anderson County for the Neches River and the old Kickapoo village where Cordova’s rebels were rumored to be camping out.

Against an unknown number of enemy, Rusk had at his disposal about 260 men by best count. Some accounts claim that Rusk had up to seven hundred men with him on this campaign, which was later referred to as the Kickapoo War. In reality, his entire command amounted to only nine self-armed and provisioned companies under majors Leonard Mabbitt and Baley Walters of Nacogdoches. General Rusks’ small command staff included Major Issac Burton, the ranger captain who had captured the Mexican schooners in Copano Bay in 1836.

Also accompanying Rusk’s offensive expedition was Texas’ adjutant general, Colonel Hugh McLeod, who was eager to punish Cordova’s follwers.

Pleiades Orion (Dan) Lumpkin and his brother in law, George Washington (Wash) Browning were members of Captain Box’s mounted riflemen under Major Walters from October 14, 1838 to January 14, 1839.

May 23, 2013 - Wilkinson Stories    2 Comments

Patrick Henry’s remark resonates today

Relationship: Reuben Nance was my fourth great grandfather

Philpotts and Nances lived in the beautiful western part of Virginia in Henry County.  Reuben is said to have had a total of 27 children by his two wives.

He lived just northeast of what is today Martinsville, Virginia and was a neighbor of Patrick Henry, for whom the county was named.  Upon his return from the convention for the adoption of the Federal Constitution,  Patrick Henry said to Mr. Nance that it, the Constitution, would prove a road of sand.

His daughter, Sarah Nance, married my 3rd great grandfather, David Philpott.  The Philpott family  migrated to western Georgia to Troup County.

Nov 18, 2012 - Wilkinson Stories    No Comments

The Wandering Wilkinsons

The earliest ancestor we can confirm in this line is Archibald Wilkinson, who probably came to this country as an infant around 1770. Children were not shown on ship’s list by name and church records in the eastern North Carolina area where his family settled were burned during the Civil War.

We know that his family settled in Robeson County, NC  because of family verbal history, which is confirmed by his children’s census statements regarding his state of birth.

Unfortunately, after making the bold move into the newly acquired lottery lands of Troup County, GA in 1827, Archibald died, intestate. Fortunately for his descendants, the distribution of his assets over the next fifteen years informed us of whom his daughters married.

Only one of his children, his oldest son Neal K., chose to stay in Long Cane, Georgia where Archibald had purchased the original lottery parcel of 202.5 acres from Mr. Sledge, another very early Troup settler.

The ten children are divided into two age groups. The five older children were all married within approximately a year of their father’s death. Interestingly, their spouses were all from counties through which the family journied on the way from North Carolina to western Georgia.

Five Eldest

John is our unsolved mystery. We believe he was the oldest child and that he stayed in Fayetteville. We have found records of a John Wilkinson who married Ann McKenzie. The couple had two sons before John was kicked by a horse while visiting relatives in Chesterfield District, very close to the Fayetteville area. The two sons were named John McKenzie and James Archibald. Both died early. Interestingly enough, toward the end of the distribution of Archibald the elder’s estate, there is mention of the orphans of John, whose guardian is John McKenzie. Perhaps in solving this link we will finally confirm the parents and siblings of the elder Archibald.

Neal married Rebecca Johnston, whose father, David Johnston, brought their family from Newberry, South Carolina to Jasper County, Georgia about 1806-7. Other Johnstons settled in Monroe County where the settlement Johnstonville is named after them. Johnston daughters married into the Goggans family and the Goggans store still stands today.

Jane married James Cravey. The young couple moved to Alabama for a while, then settled in Chipley, Florida.

Flora and Margaret were married in a double wedding in LaGrange. Flora married George Washington Browning (Wash) of Morgan County, GA. Margaret married Pleiades Orion Lumpkin (Dan), whose father was Wilson Lumpkin, governor of Georgia. The two young couples moved briefly to Alabama, then ventured into the Mexican territory we call Texas today, where they were first settlers at Fort Houston, in Anderson County.

They spent fearful nights sheltered from Kickapoo Indian raids in a log fort with other settlers.

Fort Houston – where our Wilkinson aunts took shelter from Indian raids

Five Youngest

Alexander (Sandy)  married Jane Adaline Potts, whose family had also settled in Monroe County. The young couple also migrated to Alabama to Tallapoosa County, along with sister Mary Ann and her husband Newton Hammond. Unfortunately Sandy died on his birthday in 1855 at the age of 40. Jane’s life was marred by tragedy, just two months earlier she had lost twin daughters at birth. Of the couple’s six children, only one survived her father. Jane later moved back to Monroe County and lived with her father in her old age.

Archibald Alonzo (could have been nicknamed Archie or Lon – we don’t know) married Bethany Ward of Greene County. They had a difficult time of it, and often her parents took care of their children. Articles in the Milledgeville paper note that Archie had a problem with drinking.  Bethany died after the birth of her third child, and left a very clear message in her will that she did not want her husband to have the care of her three children nor her two slaves. Archie wound up living with his sister Mary Ann in Arkansas.

Mary Ann married Newton G. Hammond. They were living in Alabama in Tallapoosa County in 1855 because Newt witnessed Sandy Wilkinson’s will. They later migrated to El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas, and were eventually joined by Archie. Newt’s sister, Frances, also lost her spouse, Hopson Milner,  in Tallapoosa, Alabama and when she came to Arkansas she married Archie.

Rebecca married John Milton Andrews in Chambers County, Alabama, which is just across the Chattahoochee River from Long Cane. She married around 1850 and her husband died in 1857. I believe she never remarried and that she remained in Alabama with her three daughters. It was probably a difficult time for a widow and three teenaged daughters during the Civil War. In 1866 she is found on the Alabama census in Macon, Alabama.

Joseph, the youngest child of the family, died in 1833 at the age of six.

 

What’s in a Name?

Julia Ann was my first cousin three times removed. She was born in 1848 and was the only daughter of Archibald Alonzo Wilkinson and his wife, Bethany Ward.

Her full name was Julia Ann Virginia Texas Wilkinson.  No one knows why the four names! Could it have been a whim of her father to name her for the locations of other family members?  His two sisters were living in Texas and there are Wilkinsons who came from Virginia.

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