About John Henson
John Henson & Nellie m. c 1800, probably in North Carolina.
Served in the War of 1812 in 3 units, as a private and a corporal )Major Smooth's Battalion of the Mississippi Militia; the 3rd Regiment of Winterley's Georgia Militia; and Battalion 7 Regiment of Perkin's Mississippi Militia (fighting in the War of 1812 and also against the Creek Nation, per Bob Adams, McKinney, TX).
The 1810 census in Baldwin Co., MS Henson, John 3,2,1,1,& 4 slaves. Later showed on tax rolls of adjoining Clark Co. in 1813.
John died in Morengo County in 1844.
Eleanore "Nelly" died between 1850-60.
The nine surviving children of John and Nellie were:
1. Joseph T. maintained he was born in 1801 (& supported by No. Carolina census); m. 1828 Morengo Co. Alabama Mary Polly Thomas c. 1807 in Warren Co., Georgia. Polly was illiterate as were the many of people. He died 1887 Jacksboro, TX. Polly dies there ten years later.
2. Elizabert b c. 1802-3 m. Hyrum Foster in Morengo, Co, Alabama 13 Fed 1825.
3. Mary (Polly) b. c1804-5 in Georgia; m. 1825 Sherwood Hammond
4. Wm b. 1805 in Georgia; m. 1829 Hannah Gilmore in Georgia.
5. John Jr., b 1815 in Alabama; m. Melinda Williamson 1834.
6. Clement b. 1818 Alabama; m. Olis (Olivia; Oliph) Thomas 10 June 1840 Alabama.
7. Matthew b. 1822 Alabama; m. Mary Mcfarland 1842.
8. Lucinda b. 1822 Alabama; m. Wm. Williamson in 1834.
9. James b. 1824 Alabama; m. Ellinoore Robinson 1828, b. Choctaw Co. Alabama near Butler.
Joseph Henson may have been a surviving child of his father's brother, but raised in John's household? (theory of Bob Adams, McKinney, TX).
Reference the documents, in the Virginia file, entitled 18th century laws, and Virginia-NC.
A History of the family of Joseph T. Henson, from the Danish Vikings to the frontiers of Texas and of Oklahoma.
This family came to the colonies from England in the 1700s, of the stock of the Viking Danes who invaded eastern England in 850 A.D . . There are noblemen, privateers, indentured servants among the colonial Henson figures. Efforts by several researchers to link these colonial figures to this family search are as yet inconclusive. One link possibility would be the listing of the 1682-3 marriage of William Henson of Finchley, Middlesex, bachelor,about 32, to Mary Weston, spinster, about 26, of her own disposition; alleged by Richard Howard of Finchley, registry of the Vicar General of the Archbishop of Canterbury. We begin our story with the family of Joseph Henson, noted in the 1790 Federal census for Randolph County, Virginia, the probable father of John Henson (born about 1780) and his wife Ellenor (Nelly) ..?.. born about 1782, both born in Virginia during the span of the genesis and events of the American Revolution. The search continues for the actual parental families of these early Americans in the young Republic as various of the colonies, including North Carolina, were considering becoming member states. Reference the documents, in the Virginia file, entitled 18th century laws, and Virginia-NC.
The parents of John and Ellenor felt the tensions of those days as General Leslie landed with 2,200 British soldiers at Portsmouth and Newport News in October 1780 to provide a diversion in favor of Lord Cornwallis’ command, the British Army of the South, which was moving from its bastion at the port of Charleston, S.C. through the Carolinas to smite the rebel militia and Continentals. The British military, under General Clinton, had recently invested the port city of Charleston and had fortified it. The goal of the Cornwallis campaign was to encourage and incite the support of the loyalist Tories. Cornwallis grew to believe the solution lay in Virginia and swung there in 1781 from the Carolinas and moved through Virginia, hampered by his long supply train and a small harassing force of Continentals directed by the Marquis de Lafayette. Those who weathered this campaign saw Cornwallis stop along the Virginia coast and set up camp at Yorktown on the coast of the Chesapeake to await further orders from General Clinton. Unaware that a powerful French force had embarked from the West Indies, the British navy was content elsewhere and a surprised Cornwallis saw his outnumbered army attacked and defeated, the first major victory of the Continentals and their French allies.
Most Hensons of record during that period were from Northamptonshire and so, we presume, were this young couple. The name Henson (Hinson, Hansen) is of Danish Viking derivation. There were some Hensons who left grinding poverty in Scotland for the Americas in increasing numbers after the Seven Years War in Europe and its extension in the Colonies (the French and Indian War) gave promise to the westward and southerly expansion of the British Colonies. This expansion was felt in the Southwest corner of Virginia and the Northwest corner of North Carolina along the valleys of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Rivers where several hundred Scots arrived each year during the 1770’s. To catch the spirit of these times, we note that, to quieten the claims of the veterans of George Washington’s 1754 Virginia regiment, one of the large chartered land companies sponsoring development of these expansions (The Vandalia) assigned these men a total of 200,000 acres from their much larger patent, of which Washington ended up with 40,000 acres. Washington was not happy since his shares in the Ohio Company and the Mississippi Company were larger than this assignment.
In 1790, North Carolina ratified the constitution and joined the new republic of the United States of America and John and Nellie were married around 1800, probably in North Carolina where their son, Joseph, was born 16 July 1801. One researcher suggests Montgomery County, N.C. as Joseph’s probable birth place. There were about a dozen Henson families listed in North Carolina in the first census of the United States in 1790. It is probable that this John Henson was one of the two males under age 16, along with two males over 16, and five females listed for family of Joseph Henson in Randolph County, N.C. in that census. Or he may have been the John Henson Jr. listed in the 1800 Census for Anson County, N.C. Or he may have been the John Henson, youngest son of Robert Hinson, born 1777 in Fauquier County, reference the Virginia file on Robert of Fauquier. He is not the John Henson listed in Rutherford County in the N. C. census of 1800, that person emigrated to Illinois. At any rate this young couple were on the move by 1804 for their next child to be born in South Carolina.
John and Nellie faced a virtually untracked frontier to the west where the French, Spaniards, and a multitude of Indian tribes held domain and claimed territory, traded, explored, and hunted. Shortly after the birth of Joseph, they emigrated to South Carolina and then on to Georgia by 1804. Beginning in 1776, land was offered via Headright and Bounty Grants along the coast and the Savannah River in the Eastern portion of Georgia. Between 1805 & 1832, as more land was needed to the West, the Creek Nation ceded lands to the United States and lots of 202.5 acres were drawn. John Henson drew one such lot in Oglethorpe County in the Land Lottery of 1807, indicating that he had been in Georgia for four years by that time. .
The U.S. Army Rolls for the War of 1812 show a John Hinson enrolled variously with these three units, as a private in the first two and as a corporal in the third: Major Smooth’s Battalion of the Mississippi Militia, the 3rd Regiment of Winterley’s Georgia Militia, and Battalion 7 Regiment of Perkin’s Mississippi Militia. At the close of the War of 1812, the British left weapons with the Creek Nation and the American armies fought a decisive series of battles with the Creeks which resulted in the removal of the tribes to the Indian Territory (now Eastern Oklahoma). By the early 1830s all of the Indians had been displaced. Additional counties were created with the Six Cherokee Land Lotteries. Each new county was divided into Militia Districts and census records are enumerated in this format.
The 1810 Census for Baldwin County, Mississppi shows Hinson, John - 3,2,1,1 & 4 slaves, and he later shows on the tax rolls for adjoining Clarke County in 1813. John died in Marengo County in 1844 and Ellenor died sometime between 1850-1860. Baldwin County was created by the Mississippi Territorial legislature on Dec. 21, 1809, from territory taken from Washington County. Its size was altered several times before 1868, when it received its present dimensions. Available data on names and dates of birth of their children reaching adulthood indicate that one child was born in North Carolina in 1801, one child was born in South Carolina in 1803 or 4, one child was born in Georgia in 1805, and five more were born in Alabama between 1810 and 1824. With these data it is probable that other children were born between the listed Georgia and Alabama births and died in infancy.
The path through Georgia and Alabama was the Federal Road, with its route marked by axe slashes on the way through the heavy woods of the region. Forts were set up along this road to protect the travelers and settlers from the Creek Nation. Perhaps the most famous of these was Fort Mims. There are instances when a member of one race openly shielded or offered protection to their counterpart in the other race. In the midst of the murderous raid on Fort Mims, Alabama, by Creek warriors-which resulted in the deaths of some 500 white men, women and children-one tribesman, for reasons best known to himself, led a white mother and her child to safety. The move west from Georgia followed the displacement of the Creek (Muskogee) and other tribal nations from Alabama Territory to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) after the War of 1812.
The lure of the frontier and the promise of free land pulled both the Henson and Thomas families to Georgia and thence to the West. Beginning in the southern British Colonies at the close of the Revolution, forty-five years later these families were on the frontier in the Republic of Texas. They were a hardy lot and traveled and settled with extended family and friends whose names would show on voter records, censae, and other documents such as witness to weddings.
The following data on the Georgia land lottery in 1807 were probably read with interest by these families with the hope that the acreage represented would be expanded. But such was not to be the case. There was also the disappointment of speculation and unfulfilled promises that were leading to the Great Yazoo Land Fraud. . The news from the West would encourage and draw those who wanted better opportunities for their families.
1807 Land Lottery
The 1807 lottery was for dispensing additional 202 and a half acre lots in original Baldwin and Wilkinson counties of Georgia . Individuals or families who won lots in the previous land lottery were not allowed to participate in the lottery of 1807.
Each participant in the 1807 land lottery had to be: a. Citizen of the US and
b. Inhabitant of Georgia for at least THREE years prior to Act of 26 June 1806.
Each participant in the 1807 land lottery could qualify in only ONE of the following categories:
1) Every free white male, 21 years old or older, was entitled to ONE draw.
2) Every free white male, 21 years old or older, with a wife and/or children under
21 years was entitled to TWO draws.
3) Every widow was entitled to ONE draw.
4) Every white female, unmarried and 21 years old or older was entitled to one draw.
5) Every family of orphans under 21 years of age whose father was dead , was entitled
to ONE draw.
6) Every family of two or more orphans, whose mother and father were both dead, got TWO draws. They would be registered in the county and district where the eldest orphan lived.
7) Every family with only ONE orphan under 21 years of age, whose mother and father were both dead was entitled to ONE draw.
John Henson’s will filed for probate September 16, 1844 cited these heirs: Nelly Henson, William, John, Matthew, James, Mary (Sherwood Hammond), and Elizabeth (Hiram Foster). Joseph had been in Texas since late 1833 and did not figure in the will. Clement seems to have left Alabama westward on his move to Texas and also did not figure in the will.
The nine children, reaching adulthood, of John and Nellie Henson were:
1. Joseph T. maintained that he was born 1801 North Carolina and census data support that date. He married 1828 in Marengo County, Alabama to Mary (Polly) Thomas born 1807 in Warren County, Georgia. Polly was illiterate as were a considerable number of those around her. He died in Jacksboro, Texas 1887. Polly died there also, ten years later.
2. Elizabeth Born circa 1802 or 1803 married Hiram Foster in Marengo Co. on Feb. 13, 1825.
3. Mary (Polly) born 1804 or 1805 in Georgia married Sherwood Hammond in 1825;
4. William born 1805 in Georgia married Hannah Gilmore in 1829 in Alabama. William
Henson was bondsman for a Nathaniel Foster in March 1829. A son, John Gilmore Henson , was born to them in 1832. This son served in an Alabama cavalry Regiment during the War of Northern Aggression. He was captured on the day that Lee surrendered and was released two months later. He moved to Texas in 1871 and his wife petitioned for a Confederate pension there in 1909. In this petition his property was valued at $ 300. He was living in the town of Howth in Waller County, Texas at the time of his application.
5. John, Jr. born 1815 in Alabama, married Malinda Williamson in 1834.
6. Clement born 1818 in Alabama, married Oliss (Oliph) (Olive) Thomas (probable relative to Joseph’s wife) on 10 Jun 1840 in Alabama. On Dec. 6, 1848, Clement & his wife sold land to his brother William. The wording was he sells claim to the estate as one of the heirs of John Henson.. A son, William H.Henson enlisted in Co. H, 36 Texas Cavalry (Confederate) Camp Rocky, June 1863 at the age of 18. Clement moved to Bigfoot, Hayes County, Texas. This William Henson may be the Bill Henson listed in write-ups of several trail drives. In 2000. Mary Grace Williamson identified herself as a great grand-daughter of Clement.
7. Matthew born 1822, in Alabama, married Mary McFarland in 1842.
8. Lucinda born 1822, in Alabama, married William Williamson in 1834.
9. James born 1824 in Alabama married Ellinoor Robertson born 1828 Choctaw County near Butler, Alabama, 25 July 1845. Marriage records in courthouse in Chatom, Alabama Bk.B, page 120. They were wed by Jesse A.Wright. They had 4 children. (first wife), After her death he married Harriette Studivant who bore him two children (second wife). They farmed in Choctaw County, Alabama. James went into the Confederate army in 1862 and, was sick with measles and pneumonia the first year and froze to death on a battlefield. He is buried near Yazoo, Mississippi.
Between 1848 and 1852 Clement, Matthew, Elizabeth, and Mary had sold their shares of their inherited land to their brother William.
Note: There was a practice, on occasion, of naming the first son after his grandfather and the second son after his father. One theory holds John being accompanied by several brothers. There is a possibility that Joseph Henson may have been a surviving child of a brother to John Henson, and raised in John’s household. This scenario would yield William being named for his grandfather and John being named after his father.
The Thomas branch to the Hensons
The earliest we have for the family of Joseph’s wife, Mary (Polly) Thomas, begins with John Thomas, Sr., born probably in South Carolina around 1740. His son, John Thomas Jr., Polly’s father, was born in Georgia around 1776. Other Thomas families are referenced by researchers as coming into Georgia from South Carolina during those years and this very likely includes the parents of our man John Thomas, and of his wife, Phoebe Springer, who was also born in Georgia about the same time, according to later census data. They took a marriage license in Warren County, Georgia June 26, 1801. John was probably the brother or nephew of James Thomas who received a grant of 322.5 acres on Ogeechee in Hancock County, Georgia October 5, 1785 and also bought a tract of land on both sides of Long Creek for 150 pounds sterling April 23, 1795. Richard Whatley sold land to John Thomas in 1796 (Warren County). John Thomas Sr., estate probated July 18, 1799, was probably John’s father.
Phoebe Springer’s line probably derives through Job Springer, born circa 1745, died 1832, locations unknown. He had a son John Springer who married in 1809 to Miner Whatley. John and Miner had a son Elisha born 9 December 1819 in Marengo County, Alabama. (In Warren County, Georgia in 1796, John Thomas bought land from a Richard Whatley. This land was sold by John and Phoebe Thomas in 1799.
Quoting from the book “Early Settlers of Montgomery Co., Texas”:
“Job Springer Sr. was married 3 times. A son by his first wife was Job Jr. who married Lydia May. Their son John May Springer married (in Marengo county, Alabama) Elizabeth Landrum. John and Elizabeth came to Austin’s colony the same time as John and Phoebe Thomas. One family history says John and Elizabeth Springer had a daughter Lydia who married William Thomas, the son of John and Phoebe. (other records indicate Lydia’s last name was Neuman or Nyman. Maybe she was widow Neuman when she married William.). (John Thomas and his son David had land dealings with a William Landrum in Texas. William’s wife was Nancy Gilmore. John and Phoebe’s son Simeon married a Gilmore. Gilmores were security on marriages of John and Phoebe’s daughters Lucinda and Mary who married in Marengo county, Alabama.) From these close relationships, we suspect that Job Springer Sr. was the father of Phoebe Springer.
In 1794 John Thomas Jr. sold 3 negroes to William Thomas of Hancock County (witnessed by Josiah, Sarah, and R. Thomas, all probable siblings of John). John bought 125 acres on Middle Creek in 1796 for 50 pounds sterling of which he and Phoebe sold 120 acres for 150 silver dollars (possibly Spanish coinage) February 2, 1799. Both he and Phoebe made their mark in lieu of signature on this transaction. John is listed as executor on several probate documents during the next few years in that county. He and Phoebe are probably the same couple listed on a deed in Jackson County, Georgia in 1809. This was a frantic time, (1795-1814), when many land titles in Georgia were disputed in the great ‘Yazoo Fraud’ which was finally resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court with financial settlement by the U.S. Congress in the amount of $4,200,000 in 1814.
The 13 children of John and Phoebe Thomas were:
1. Sentha (daughter) born 24 March 1802
2. Nancy, born 22 October 1803, died 28 August 1821.
3. Betsy, born 10 November 1805
4. Mary (Polly), born 10 December 1807, died 30 June 1897, Married Joseph Henson 1828.
5. Lucinda, born 1 August 1810, died in Alabama circa 1831-32, married William Morris in 1830. They had a daughter and William came to Texas with the child when his in-laws did.
6. James Avery, born 1812-14, died 1865, married Amanda Wheeler in 1842 in Texas.
7. John Nelson, born 18 January 1815, died after 1846-47.
8. David, born 27 December 1816, died after 10 January 1837.
9. Sylvania, born 19 March 1819, married D.P. Lang in 1849
10. Annie, born 13 September 1821
11. Samuel Andrew Jackson, born 8 June 1823, died circa 1871. Served in Orrick’s band of Frontier Rangers in Jack County, Texas along with several of the Henson men, to protect the settlers from Indian attack during the Civil War years.
12. William M., born 15 January 1825, died after 1870, married Lydia in 1849.
13. Simeon, born 27 December 1827, died 1 February 1897, married Sarah Gilmore in 1853
The latter eight children came to Texas with their parents and are noted with them in the registry of the Austin Colony. Peter Cartwright traveled to TX with John Thomas according to rolls of Austin Colony
John and Phoebe began their westward trek from Georgia as the Creek Nation lost their lands in a bitter war against U. S. military forces under General Andrew Jackson in 1814 and the Alabama Territory was organized from the Mississippi Territory in 1817. Alabama Territory became a state in December of 1819. Marengo County was formed from lands of the Choctaw Nation in 1818.
The following rather lengthy petition to the U. S. Congress in 1817 - 1818 gives a view of the politics effecting the emergence of the Alabama Territory:
“To the Honorable the Congress of the United States, the humble
petition of the undersigned inhabitants of the Alabama Territory
residing near the waters of the Mobile,--respectfully showeth,That your
petitioners have heard with the most serious alarm that applications
are about to be made to your honorable body by the new state of the
Mississippi for an extension of the boundaries of the said state so as
to include at least the whole of the settlements on the western side
of the Mobile & Tombigby
Your petitioners view this proposed transfer of freeman, like the
vassals of European potentates, from one sovereignty to another, as so
repugnant to justice & so completely hostile to the principles of
republican America; that they persuade themselves it will receive from
the representatives of the people of the United States, a prompt &
indignant rejection. That venerable instrument,--the declaration of
Independence,--both established the sacred maxim that "all men are
equal"--and that "governments derive their just powers from the
consent of the governed:
But what equality of rights would exist; if the people of the Alabama
territory were to be bound down by a form of government instituted
without their co-operation by the people of the State of Mississippi?
What equality could they boast of when they found themselves subjected
to the control of governors, & bound by the ties of allegiance to a
government, without having previously had the smallest agency in the
choice of the one or the organization of the other? If the just
powers of a government can be derived only from the consent of the
governed; your petitioners have certainly a right to expect that their
inclinations will be consulted, & that some means will be provided by
which their consent may be manifested, before they are entangled in
the ties of allegiance to a new sovereignty. They have indeed a right
to expect more than this. They are as much entitled as their brethren
of the Mississippi to have a voice in determining the previous
question submitted to the convention, whether it be expedient to form
a partial state out of the Mississippi Territory? The voice of your
petitioners has been decidedly against that measure. But it has been
adopted, and they submit. But they cannot submit in silence to the
doctrine, that after its adoption, they are liable to be bound like a
band of captive slaves to the chariot wheels of triumphant majority.
They are not the inhabitants of a province acquired by conquest, or by
purchase from a foreign power. They claim the rights of original
citizens of the United States. The Alabama territory is, for the most
part, a portion of the state of Georgia, one of the old thirteen
confederated sovereignties: it is entitled by a solemn compact with the
state of Georgia to admission into the Union when its population shall
be sufficient, on "an equal (?) with the original states, in all
respects whatever, with liberty to form a permanent constitution &
But what will become of these privileges if the people of the
territory can be transferred in parcels to the adjacent states? & how
dishonorably will the national faith be violated, if your petitioners
are stripped of that right of forming their own constitution, which
they are as much entitled to, as any of the original parties to the
federal compact! Your petitioners humbly conceive that the reasons
which they have suggested must be conclusive with your honorable body,
against any extension of the territorial limits of the State of
--but there are various considerations which induce your petitioners
to be immovably hostile to the measure.
1.) It will retard the admission of the Alabama territory into the
union as an independent state:--& will considerably augment the
burdens of government, when it is admitted.
2.) considering the actual situation of the country, & the state of
its population;--the dividing line proposed to be established between
the State of Mississippi & the Alabama Territory, is the most
unnatural one that could possible be devised. It is true that in a
county where the population is regularly scattered over the whole
surface of it, a river may be regarded as a natural boundary. But in a
country where the population is confined to the vicinity of the water
courses, & the whole face of the territory besides is a wide waste; a
river, especially if it be only of a second rate in point of magnitude
becomes the most inconvenient 7unnatural boundary imaginable. Such a
boundary separates neighbors. It places under different governments
those who are in habits of daily intercourse. it facilitates the
evasion of both civil & criminal process, & multiplies the means of
rendering the laws a laughing stock to the lawless. Under the
circumstances in which your petitioners are placed, it will frequently
separate one part of a family from the other,& leave the plantation of
a citizen in one state & his mansion house in another. And what would
be gained, to compensate for these inconveniences? nothing: but the
saving of the expense of running one additional line through a country
where hundreds of thousands are already run under the authority of the
3.)--If your petitioners have been accurately informed, one of the most
impressive considerations which induced the late congress to divide
the Mississippi Territory was the danger of a collision of interests
between the two great communities living adjacent to the Mississippi,
& to the water of the Mobile. A future want of harmony in the
counsels of the new government,& perpetual feuds among the people,
were anticipated as the natural result of such a collision. But the
proposed alteration in the boundary line will renew & augment those
very dangers which the division was meant to guard against. The only
difference to be perceived is that with the limits now contemplated by
the Mississippi people, the result of every struggle between the two
communities will be that the people of the Mobile, will be made to
pass under the yoke.
4.) The rivers Tombigby & Mobile are formed by nature to be one great
channel of intercourse between the western states & the gulf of
Mexico. This channel ought to be subject to the regulation of a single
sovereignty. It should be under the superintendence of a legislature,
which will, not only be sensible of its importance, but feel an
interest in promoting its utility & affording to nature all the
needful succours of art. But will such an interest be felt by a
legislature, of which a majority of members will be elected by the
inhabitants of a country adjacent to a rival channel of commercial
intercourse? It cannot be expected. The Alabama territory as it now
stands, possesses an identity of interest, as complete, as any state
of equal extent in the American Confederacy. Whether the people are
stationed on the Tombigby or Alabama,--on the Mobile or the Tennessee;
they are all deeply interested in bringing to perfection the same
channel of trade & commerce. But if you divide them, if you connect
one portion of them to the Mississippi, & leave the other portion of
them to themselves; you paralize their energies, & drop a cloud over
their fair prospects of future prosperity. The general interests of
the Union, call for the highest possible improvement, of every part of
it:--and the Congress of the United States will watch with the most
sedulous jealousy against every measure calculated to obstruct or
retard it. Your petitioners therefore, humbly and respectfully hope
that no proposition for making any encroachments on the Alabama
Territory, will receive any countenance from your honorable body”
Job Springer, John Gilmore, and several Landrums are included in the some 520 listed signers of this petition. No Thomas nor Henson is noted.
As the State of Coahuila of Mexico was opened to immigrant settlement, early colonists received grants of 4,428 acres. Page 26 of "Stephen F. Austin's Register of Families," notes John and Mary Thomas and eight of their children were in the Austin Colony circa 1832, nine years after the colony was established.
"John Thomas, 50 years of age. Moved from Alabama. Phoebe his wife, 50 years of age. 6 Male, 2 Female children" .
The below records note their subsequent location in the Republic and the State of Texas.
1837 - Washington Co, Republic of Texas (tax list) [included present Montgomery and Grimes counties]
1837 - Washington Co., Republic of Texas [filed in present Montgomery Co.]
1839 to 1848 - Montgomery Co., Republic and State of Texas deeds
1850 - Montgomery Co., State of Texas (census, household 175]
John ‘s wife, Phoebe, died in Montgomery County before 1850 and John died sometime after that date, before the next census.
A David Thomas born in South Carolina about 1778 also came to Texas around 1860 and his grand-daughter married one of the sons of John and Phoebe Thomas, in Texas. They may have been distantly related. John and Phoebe also had a son named David Thomas. There was another David Thomas who was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and died in the Texas Revolution.
Researchers have earned their merit badges in tracing the whereabouts of these family members over the period of 1832-36 as they were on the move to avoid the armies of the President of Mexico, Santa Anna, who was determined to rid Texas of all who were against him, fostering a Mexico formed of federated states rather than a form of empire with all government by a centrist ruler (read ‘Santa Anna’) seated in the capital city of Mexico. This determination focused especially on the Texican colonists. The following excerpt captures the scene of those times:
Excerpt from ‘the Eagle and the Raven’, James Michener, State House Press, Austin 1990:
”As a reward for the rape of Zacatecas, President Santa Anna had been promoted to the rank of general-in-chief and given the exalted title of Benemerito en Grado Heroico, and there was a rumor that if he succeeded in subduing the Tejanos he was to be named Benemerito Universal y Perpetuo .
Accordingly, he spent the late fall of 1835 preparing his army for a major assault against those infuriating dissidents who had begun calling themselves Texicans. Almost none of the Anglos had been born in Tejas and many had been there less than a year. He agreed with an aide who assured him; ‘They are little better than the rabble that you helped defeat at Medina in 1813. Cut-throats sprung from American jails, adventurers who drift down the Mississippi River, corrupt traders from Louisiana, and, I will admit, a few honest farmers from Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.”
Of interest to the Thomas side of Joseph’s marriage are the following excerpts from the book ‘Indian Depredations’ , Wilbarger - (State House Press):
-Page 387 - in 1839 - moving from Bois d’Arc to Bonham, Texas (North of Dallas)- a Mr. Thomas and his son-in-law Daugherty were attacked by Indians.
-Pages 288 and 610 - in 1838 - near Bonham, Texas and Fort English - Andrew Thomas was attacked by Indians and had a narrow heroic escape.
-Page 624 - in 1862 - 5 miles west of the town of Burnet - 5 teenagers,including Marshal Thomas, were attacked by Indians. There were four McGill boys and their cousin Marshal.
Back to John and Nellie Henson
The 1810 census of the Mississippi Territory shows John Henson in a household of three adult males, (possibly his two brothers), one male child, one female child, one female adult and four slaves, in Baldwin County in what is now Southwest Alabama. He had come far from his family home in Virginia, just in time to witness the southerly elements of the War of 1812 and the ensuing war with the Creek Nation. John is noted as one of forty-nine voters listed for Baldwin County in 1813. The census of 1816 finds him head of a household with two adult males, two male children, no female child, one adult female, and seven slaves. The 1820 census shows him as head of a household of one adult male, two male children, one female child, and one female adult. The family settled in Marengo Co. where John died in 1844. John's children born in 1823, 1825, and 1827 were born in Alabama. Marengo County was created by the Alabama Territorial legislature on Feb. 6, 1818 from land acquired from the Choctaw Indians by the treaty of Oct. 24, 1816. The name of the county was suggested by Judge Abner Lipscombe, and was given as a compliment to the first white settlers, expatriated French citizens, and commemorative of Napoleon's great victory at Marengo over the Austrian armies on June 14, 1800. The county seat was originally known as "Town of Marengo." In 1823 the name was changed to Linden, a shortened version of "Hohenlinden," scene of a French victory in Bavaria in 1800. Other towns and communities include Demopolis, where French expatriates settled and formed the Vine and Olive Colony, Myrtlewood, and Sweet Water. Various courthouse records were destroyed by fires in 1848 and 1965.
Most settlements in early Alabama were typical of the American frontier. The French colony at Demopolis however, is a colorful exception. A group of Bonapartists, fearing for their lives after the fall of Napoleon, sought refuge in the United States. Congress granted them 92,160 acres of public land on the Tombigbee River. The settlers were to pay $2.00 per acre within 14 years time. In 1818 the first refugees arrived from Philadelphia via Mobile aboard the McDonough. A total of 347 were granted a quantity of land. The principal portion of the French grant lay in Marengo County but some of it was in Greene, including some very good lands around Greensboro. The French had great difficulty about their location, and’ finding their settlements on land other than their own, three times had to move from their clearings.
The colony was a failure from the start. The French were unable to grow either vines or olives any profitable way. Furthermore, they were continually annoyed by American settlers who settled on their lands with no legal right. Gradually the French settlers returned to France, moved to Mobile, or joined relatives in New Orleans until by 1830 there were few of the original families left in the Demopolis area. While it lasted, the colony had been a bright spot in the wilderness. They were the happy French "in the midst of their trials and vicissitudes” being in the habit of much social intercourse, their evenings were spent in conversation, music, and dancing. The larger portion were well educated, while all had seen the world, and such materials were ample to afford elevated society. Sometimes their distant friends sent them wines and other luxuries, and upon such occasions parties were given.... The female circle was highly interesting. They had brought with them their books, guitars, silks, parasols and ribbons, and the village . . . resembled at night a miniature French Town…………
Many of the grantees, unfortunately for themselves, came prematurely to their lands, they came to the trackless desert or country, almost impervious to the approach of man, without a road or passway; consequently, the means of transportation to their particular allotments of land was so impracticable and expensive that many persons upon their arrival were compelled to settle, temporarily, on their small allotments around the town of Aigleville, where their funds were exhausted and they became unable to make a second settlement upon their large allotment .The surveyors report of these lands will exhibit the difficulty of passing through the country, their notes showing that for many days they could not proceed more than 2 or 3 miles per day. Many of us were obliged to pay as much as four or five dollars per bushel for corn, and a proportionate price for many other articles of provisions, which prices were very frequently doubled by the difficulties of transportation to their residences. 40 or 50 dollars have often been paid for a cow and calf, which can now be purchased for 8 or 10 dollars. Thus commenced our strangers to the language, the manners, and habits of the people of this country, we have been greatly retarded from making the rapid progress which perhaps the citizens of the United States would have made……………………………………..
It will be recollected that the members of our association were chiefly composed of officers and merchants, possessing an extremely limited knowledge of either the science or practice of agriculture; that the region of country which they were to remove was a perfect wilderness; and, under circumstances like these, it is to be expected that very many unforeseen and unexpected difficulties would present themselves; and as the common necessaries and means of support must he obtained before an entrance could be made upon the principal object of the association (the culture of the vine), we have, in many instances, been obliged to neglect the performance of our contract, and yield to the more immediate and pressing demands upon our industry for a bare competency and support in addition to those natural difficulties under which we labored, we had other and more serious ones to encounter. The necessity of first acquiring the means of subsistence; the difficulty and length of time required in preparing and clearing land for that, that the 7 years had nearly elapsed before this was accomplished
Again many of the allotments, from their natural locality, being within the prairie country, admit of no settlement, on account of the impracticability of procuring water, many having dug a great depth unsuccessfully; these still remain unsettled and unimproved. I further will remark that for several years the colony was remarkably unhealthy, scarcely a family escaped sickness, and many of the grantees died. ."(A. J. Pickett , History of Alabama (Sheffield, Alabama, 1896), 663.)
From the way early settlers were buying and selling land, one could say these Hensons were land speculators (as were many others), in every new section of land ceded by the Indians. If one followed cessions for the entire length of the Tombigbee/Black Warrior River system, one would find land transactions by these settlers until the "Panic of 1837," which burst the speculative bubble. An 1850 July 4th toast was "Andrew Jackson, who won his laurels in battle, and lost them in the chair!"
Pioneering settlers needed water, food, shelter, a place to grow a cash crop and easy transportation to a market. The Tombigbee/Black Warrior River drainage area was heavily wooded, had some prairie clearings, fish and game were plentiful, and the river flowed to Mobile (upstream, it also almost reached the Tennessee River, up the Locust or Mulberry forks!). The lure of this land was irresistible to land-hungry pioneers. They came in small groups at first, but soon American settlers were expanding the "bridle-paths" through the Creek Nation to major highways of immigration.
From 1800 to 1808, Washington County ran all the way across Mississippi Territory to Georgia. Indians occupied most of the land. Madison Co. was created in 1809 (the eastern half of the portion above the Tennessee River) from the Cherokee and Chickasaw cession of 1806-7. It was not uncommon for people to travel along the Tombigbee River system, then make the short overland portage to Madison Co. In 1809, Washington Co. was divided into Wayne Co. (in what would become Mississippi), and Washington and Baldwin Co.'s. (in what would become Alabama), over to the river (no longer to Georgia). Clarke Co. was established 10 December 1812. "The enabling act did not name a county seat, and for several years courts were held in private homes, mainly around old Fort Landrum, near the present community known as Winn [SE ¼ of NW ¼, S18, T8N, R2E]." According to Bell's "History of Clarke County," courts "were held in the home of John Landrum during the years 1813-14 and 1816. John Landrum had died during the 1816 meeting."
" The settlement of Winn came about as a result of farmers from the Carolinas and Georgia in search of better farming lands. Others left these same areas of the Carolinas, fleeing British Tories ---." "Early settlers coming into the Winn area in 1812 or before including Landrums, Valentines, Bumpers, Reeves, Calhouns, Dotys, Robinsons, and Winns. " "--- the early settlers of Clarke were typical pioneers. They were looking for a site for their cabins, usually near a good spring or a small creek where they could clear a few acres of land for corn, pumpkins and peas, and where game and fish were abundant. These pioneers owned no slaves, and this class of men formed the army that ran the Indians out of the county. Many of them had no titles to their cabin sites, and as soon as the wealthy citizens from the East came into the county with slaves, many of the original settlers continued on westward and settled in Mississippi and Texas."
The sudden influx of greater numbers of settlers, coupled with intrigues by the British and Spanish, led to the Creek Indian War of 1813-14. A party of "Red Sticks" (war party) developed among the Creeks. When it was learned that they were securing arms in Spanish Florida, a body of Mississippi Territory Militia "attacked the returning party at a bend of Burnt Corn Creek. After an initial success, the Militia became occupied with spoils, and were routed by a Red Stick counterattack. Terrified by Red Stick success at Burnt Corn Creek, the Alabama pioneers left their cabins for refuge in the nearest frontier fort." Unfortunately, that was Fort Mims (a hastily erected one-acre stockade around the home of Samuel Mims. On 30 Aug 1813, most of the five hundred fifty-three settlers were killed by a war party of over one thousand Red Sticks.
The loss of Fort Mims promoted expeditions against the Red Sticks from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia and the building of forts as places of refuge. "Chief among the forts was Ft. Madison at Manila, where troops were trained. Other forts in Clarke Co. were Ft. Sinquefield at Whatley, Ft. White at Grove Hill, Ft. Turner at West Bend, Ft. McGrew near Salitpa, Ft. Landrum and Ft. Mott near Winn, Ft. Carney below Jackson, Ft. Easley at Woods Bluff, Ft. Powell at Oven Bluff, and Ft. Glass south of Suggsville." General Andrew Jackson's Tennessee Volunteers, aided by Chickasaws, Cherokees, and some Creeks, had victories at Talladega, Tallasehatche, Enitachopco, and a stalemate at Emuckfau. Gen. Claiborne's men, assisted by Choctaws, defeated a Red Stick force under William Weatherford (Red Eagle) at Holy Ground. In Feb. 1814 Jackson led his men against an entrenched Red Stick force at the Horseshoe Bend of Tallapoosa River. Almost one thousand Red Stick warriors were killed, breaking the back of the Rebellion. Creeks surrendered almost one-half of the present state of Alabama in August 1814. In 1813, the U. S. had captured Mobile from Spain, extending full control over West Florida.
In 1815, the huge Monroe Co. was formed from the ceded lands (the northern portion was made into Montgomery Co. in 1816). In 1818, new areas were added, now connecting Alabama Territory from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee border. The Territory expanded from seven counties to twenty-one counties. Of special interest was the formation of Marengo Co. and Tuscaloosa Co. on the eastern banks of the Tombigbee River, across the river from the
remaining Choctaw lands, "The Old Demopolis Land Office Records & Military Warrants 1818-1860 and Records of the Vine and Olive Colony" by Marilyn Davis Barefield listed many purchases by Wilson's, Hinson's, Hill's, May's, Arrington's, Gilmore's, Ford's, etc.
The next major cession by the Indians, in 1823, resulted in the formation of Walker Co., thus filling in the Black Warrior River valley with land for immigrants. In 1829, Montgomery, St. Clair, and Shelby Counties were expanded to the Georgia border by Indian cessions. By 1832 most of the Indians had moved west; although a few chose to stay, under the treaty's option. "The signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek did not immediately result in an influx of settlers. The Choctaws had to be removed; the Indians and other claims on land under the treaty had to receive their titles, and land needed to be surveyed. --- In 1833 the federal government announced that the land would be sold ---The St. Stephens land office was the office for the sale of most of the land that would make up Sumpter Co. The residue was attached to the Tuscaloosa land district and sold there." The Sumpter Co. commissioners met at Fisher's Store, selected an adjacent area as the county seat, naming it Livingston. "Many settlers had already staked claims before the land sales began. The fifty Choctaws had their lands, and whites or half-breed squatters had grabbed land at various spots, usually near the Tombigbee River. --- During the next thirteen months, pioneers purchased over half of what would become the county. Early settlers described the land as an almost unbroken forest, with patches of prairie land. --- Although stages were running regularly in the county by 1838, the settlers continued to prefer water routes." They used canoes, skiffs, bateaux, flats and barges to carry cotton, lumber, and produce down streams to the Tombigbee. --- In 1836, 20,000 bales of cotton went through Livingston to Moscow, a landing on the Tombigbee. About that time, the towns were becoming more civilized. Livingston outlawed houses of ill fame, the firing of guns, or brawling in the city limits, required liquor dealers to keep their doors closed, and forbade anyone from breeding horses in public, or allowing hogs to run loose.
When President Jackson introduced his "Specie circular," it was as if someone had removed the props from the economy of the country, resulting in the "Panic of 1837," and it deeply affected this region. Many settlers sold their land and property to more successful planters, and moved west, often to Texas.
Back to the Hensons:
Polly Thomas Henson scrawled a note in the margin of her son Asa’s cattle tally book much later in Texas, that she was ‘borned’ on a farm near Warren, Georgia in 1807 and later lived near Milry, Alabama then on to Montgomery County , Texas when Texas was still part of the Republic of Mexico. She and Joseph Henson were married in Marengo County, Alabama in 1828. Their first child was born there in 1829.
The lure of large grants of land in Tejas was strong. The publicity for the various colonies had reached Alabama. Joseph and Mary Henson followed the trail of her parents and siblings and other Alabamans to the colonies in Tejas, by the ferry across the Sabine River in December 1833, with two small children. Joseph apparently returned for a while to Alabama where he proved his homestead in 1835.
Returning to Tejas, Joseph served with Sam Houston’s Volunteer Army, from March 12 to June 12, 1836 on duty with Co.D which was formed on March 12th under command of lst Lt. J. S. Collard and Captain William Ware, in the 2nd Regiment under Colonel William Sherman for which Joseph was paid $24 by the Republic of Texas on April 29, 1837. He received a bounty grant of 320 acres in 1840 as a result of this service. This company, known as the San Jacinto Volunteers, was in action at the crucial Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836 that captured the President of Mexico, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and won independence for the Republic of Texas. Joseph Henson is listed among the 35 men of this unit, and noted as being on furlough 18 April, to return 1 May. We have no information on the reasons for his absence, but he missed the musket balls, bayonets, knives, sabers, and cannonade of the most critical event in Texas history, when the people of Mexico, North and East of the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) and South of Wyoming, became the Republic of Texas with signature of a treaty by the President of Mexico, General Santa Anna. There were seven hundred eighty three members of the Army of Tejas hidden from the much larger army of Santa Anna that day, but rapidly assembled by Sam Houston. Other than Sherman’s uniformed Kentucky volunteers, the soldiers were dressed in tattered jeans and mud-caked buckskin. Seguin commanded a group of nineteen Tejanos, and there were two free Negros, scout Hendrick Arnold and Dick the Drummer. One hundred seventeen of these men owned land in Texas and ten of the fifty-nine signers of the Texan declaration of independence were there, led by Houston and Rusk.. This army had solid colonists along with many cursing, hard drinking adventurers with no education or property – some of whom could not even sign their names. Sherman, Millard, and Hoxley stood with their men, awaiting Houston’s order. Burleson and Lamar led the mounted charge. Largely outnumbered by the Mexican army, the Texicans attacked before the Mexicans really knew they were there, capturing President Santa Anna. On the Mexican side, casualties were approximately six hundred Mexican soldiers killed and a similar number wounded. On the Texan side, casualties were nine dead and thirty seriously wounded. Houston took a musket ball through his ankle.
Mary Henson was a witness to the will of Daniel E. Baylis in 1836 in Washington Co., Texas. Joseph Henson also gave oath regarding this will. We do not know the date and whether this related to the furlough mentioned in the preceding paragraph. .
On November 19, 1838, Joseph exercised 135 acres of his military bounty grant in Nacogdoches County. These acres were surveyed but not patented. He then exercised 185 acres in nearby Angelina County which also were not patented. The Census of the Republic of Texas in 1840 lists Joseph in Montgomery County with 320 acres of land and 55 head of cattle. There were problems between these new settlers and those who held Spanish land grants. One family settled in and found themselves in a dispute ten years later with a Spanish land grant claim. In 1842 there were more Indians in Montgomery County than white men. Mexican soldiers had just arrived in the Mission San Antonio and Houston was anxious to move the capitol from Austin to Washington on the Brazos. Montgomery County was divided in 1846 into three counties (Montgomery, Grimes, and Walker).
Horton’s History of Jack County gives this excerpt for one family on the move: “We moved from Montgomery to Smith county, near Tyler in 1848. Seven years later agents came to us advising that we were on a Spanish Land Grant and would have to move. The case was in Federal Court. The father decided to move out before his goods were confiscated so we took 150 head of cattle, shelled 10 bushels of corn and put it in the wagon, put in 200# of bacon, tied a big basket of chickens on the back end of the wagon, loaded our little handful of household goods and drifted west to a point east of Finis, 80 miles to the post office in Birdsville, Tarrant county. In 1856 we signed a petition to give a county where Jack County is. The petition was granted July 4, 1857.”
The practice of settling differences by personal encounters, by fighting, shooting, stabbing, or dueling made the task of public prosecutors difficult. There are presently some 35 boxes of court records for Montgomery County available for the years when the Hensons were resident in that jurisdiction. These are stored in the old jail in Conroe. The following few cases were hurriedly copied from documents in 3 of these boxes. If the pattern holds throughout these records, Joseph Henson was a colorful figure in a populace where each one probably generated their own share of such cases.
There are deed records in the early Republic of Texas governance of Montgomery County relating to the deposition of a colonist headright reserving 640 acres for Joseph Henson.
“12 March 1836
Benjamin Rigsby and wife, Catharina Rigsby to William F. Young MUNICIPILITY OF WASHINGTON: $600 league bounded by lands of Zachariah Lundrum, Owen Shannon, Jesse Beck, William Landrum. Land known as Benjamin Rigby headright. Reserves 1/2 of undivided league for heirs of Thomas Taylor "which they gave him for furnishing money to clear out
of the Office." Further reservation made of 640 acres for Joseph Henson's benefit. 25 acres reserved for Charles Stewart.
/s/ Benjamine Rigsby & Catharine Rigsby
Wit: Charles Yarot, Thomas Gilmore, Wm. H. Baker, William Gilmore.
Probate Court Mar Term 1838-27 Mar 1838 Jesse Grimes, Probate Judge.
Recorded 14 Apr 1838 by Gwyn Morrison, Clerk & Recorder”
There are court documents for Montgomery County concerning a robbery charge against Joseph Henson in 1839 for which the constable Nathan Drake was cited for negligence in letting Joseph go back to his house rather than being in jail1 July 1839. It is not clear as to ensuing action however there is a document instructing the sheriff to sell such of Joseph Henson's goods as necessary to satisfy a judgment of $87.25 in court costs for some case. The sheriff responded with a note on the document that no sale was taken on this execution for want of bidders 5 October 1841.
There are court documents for Montgomery County referring to a libel charge by Joseph Henson and Lem G. Clepper against John Leigh in the spring term of the court in 1843 and 1847. The libelous statement was "There has been nothing amiss since you gave over killing my cattle and burying them". "You are a cattle thief. You are killing them now & you have been a thief ever since you was born." Joseph won the case.
There are court documents for Montgomery, fall term 1839 for the following assault charge with intent to kill brought against Joseph Henson by James Thomas, Joseph's brother in law.
Mr. Thomas’ petition of March 20, 1839: “I was riding the road by Joseph Henson’s and stopped with the children, talking to them. Joseph Henson was ploughing near the house. When I was about to start off, Joseph Henson came running to the house and called out to me to stop. But believing that he was mad with me previous and from threats that I had heard of his making on me of taking my life, I thought proper to go on and Henson ran into his house and came out in the yard again with his gun in his hand and presented his gun at me. And I do verily believe that his gun missed fire or he would have shot at me, and by that means made my escape”
Mr. Thomas’s petition of May 27, 1839: “I was riding on horseback in Montgomery County near Caney Creek, where I saw Joseph Henson in the vicinity. He was armed with gun, pistol, and bucher knive. When I came up to where Henson was, he commanded me to get down and said if I did not he would shoot me. I got down and, being forced by Henson to divest myself of a pocket knive the only weapon he had, Henson commenced the assault with blows. I was beaten to the ground and did not see Henson use a knive.”
James Thomas (his mark)
A year later the parties agreed to dismiss the suit, with Joseph to pay costs of the suit to Mr. Thomas.
There are court documents for Montgomery, November 1846 reflecting a
judgment against James H. Price to pay the amount of $139.40 to John
Landrum for the use of Joseph Henson in the amount of $68.70. This seems to have
something to do with the payment of Republic of Texas tax by Mr. Price.
Joseph and his young family were found in the 1850 Census in Leon County, Texas with nominal holdings of stock animals and a few slaves. But this was not to be the end of Joseph’s contribution to the history of Texas. Texas, with large area and scant population, had joined the United States in 1845. That action and the expansionist spirit prevailing in the United States precipitated war between the United States and Mexico through 1846. To the Texas Ranger companies were added military forts along the Texas frontier over the next twenty years as it expanded into what had been part of Mexico up to that time. Eventually this border reached the Rio Grande and El Paso. The Western plains of Texas were populated with thousands of hostile Comanche, Apache, and Kiowa, as well as outlaws and Mexican Comancheros who worked with these Indians. There were true frontiersmen beyond the military zone but settlers moved in only after there was military protection and where they could find water. Texas was growing along the river valleys. The future of the dry High Plains was not bright until those problems were solved. The coming of the windmill encouraged the movement of families.
Joseph and his family had arrived in Texas December 1833, by virtue of such date receiving a First Class Headright of 1 league and 1 labor (4,600 acres). There was evidently friction between him and his in-laws. There were also problems with owners of the 27,000,000 acres of Spanish Land Grants which limited areas for settlement in Southeastern Texas. These grants were expressly guaranteed by Texas lawmakers. In order to exercise his Headright, Joseph and his family moved on in the frontier to an area where public land was still available. His one league and one labor headright (4,600 acres) was ultimately surveyed on land situated along the waters of Carroll Creek, a tributary of the Trinity River, and recorded January 1, 1855 at Alton, Denton Land District. This record was moved to the newly established Land District for Jack County in 1858.
The Great Comanche Raid of 1840 was the boldest and most concerted Indian depredation in the history of Texas. The raid resulted in two of the bloodiest and most significant Indian battles Texas ever witnessed. Some 600 Comanche and Kiowas swept down from the Hill Country and made surprise attacks on Victoria and the seaport of Linnville. Many settlers were killed and much property was destroyed. The Indians were pursued by Texan forces, surprised and overwhelmed at the battle of Plum Creek. After growing up in the Indian wars of the Georgia-Alabama region and fighting for the independence of Texas from Mexico, Joseph was an Indian fighter to the rank of Captain for much of twenty years after the Republic of Texas was born.
He fought the Comanche and Kiowa tribes, Comancheros, and outlaws as the frontier in Texas expanded westerly from the original colonial settlements. He continued this career of Indian fighter around 1852 at Fort Graham, Texas, (on the east side of the Brazos River, 14 miles west of Hillsboro), where the immigrant road led West to California. Early in this period Dallas was a trading post with one log cabin and a ferry boat across the Trinity River. From there he moved on to Fort West at Decatur (now Wise County) Texas. And finally he was at Fort Richardson (on Lost Creek, half a mile south of Jacksboro, Texas). He was badly wounded in a battle with Indians near Newcastle in Young County, Texas. By 1853 the military post of Fort Worth was no longer on the frontier and was abandoned. . By 1857, the frontier was 100 miles west of the villages of Dallas and Waxahachie, but the sounds of swinging axes and rattling wagons were few, due to the murderous presence of the Comanches. During the War of Northern Aggression 1861-65, as many of the men went to war, the frontier moved back a hundred miles due to the tribal attacks of the plains Indians. By 1875, as the Indian Wars closed with the slaughter of ponies in the Palo Duro Canyon, the Comanche were on reservation in Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
His wife bore him nine children of whom two daughters were born in Alabama and the rest on the move along the frontier in Texas.
These nine children were:
Daughter Elizabeth A. (Lizzie) born 6 July 1829 Marengo County, Alabama, Died 22 March 1875 in Jack County, Texas. Married James J. Dorsey, later married James S. Lauderdale.. Lauderdale was killed by Indians near Jacksboro 1867. Elizabeth had 6 children by Lauderdale: Mary, William Thomas, Margaret, Amira, Jeremiah John, and Effie Blanche Lauderdale. (Matthew Ellison b. 1869 Anderson county S.C. married Effie Lauderdale)Effie died 1895. Matthew Ellison worked at a livery stable, then had the job of driving the mail hack from Jacksboro to Weatherford, TX for 4 or 5 years. He then married Effie Blanche Lauderdale, and to this union four children were born: Bertha May, Willie Martin, Ruby Blanche, and Nettie Lee. In May of 1893, Matthew Ellison and his family left in a covered wagon, with 9-10 horses and 10-15 head of cattle, for Greer County, Texas. They traded some of their livestock and $300 in cash for land owned by Tom Lauderdale and Scheler Richardson, in the vicinity of what we know now as Spring Creek.
An Ellison family history by a family member:. “This is an attempt too make some kind of record or family history of Matthew Greenlee Ellison who was born near Belton South Carolina Feb. 25 – 1861 he was one of 5 children born in that family.
Before I proceed with Matthew Greenlee Ellison I will give some of the background of this family I will take that from the family history written by Carl Grayson Ellison in the years 1954 – 1962.
Now we will begin with Matthew Greenlee Ellison’s family his father was William M. Ellison, his grandfather Captain Miles Ellison, and his great grand father James Ellison, Jr., his great great grandfather James Ellison, Senior.
What I have given up to now is just names, heads of familys, and number of children and some dates.** Carl G. Ellison the writer of the book “Mile Ellison and his decendants” has given several accounts and happenings all down the line. I will give a few of these, first will be Captain Miles Ellison in regard too what should be paid into the Missionary Baptist Church for Home and Foreign Missions they split up, some one way, some another but the next year they all come back under one head the Missionary Baptist Church which Miles had led in organizing this church was part of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and the Foreign Missionary Society. The Big Creek Baptist Church stands today as a testimony of this man’s conviction about missions.
Another incident was the Land Grants for Services rendered the Government.
Another is the listing of a farm sale by James Ellison, Jr.’s wife after his death. The inventory of the estate reads:
1 mare and colt $110.00
30 head of hogs $60.00
1 horse and sorrel $70.00
1 horse a Bay Stud $80.00
1 Young black mare $50.00
150 barrels of corn $300.00
foder (fodder) stalk and shacks $26.00
14 head of cattle $72.00
17 head of gees (geese) $8.50
3 set geir $6.50
1 logg (log) chain $3.00
2 pots and 2 ovens $9.00
1 reel and wheel $3.00
2 hide racks $2.50
4 bee stands $7.00
Pewter and tin $12.00
1 loom and tarkling $2.00
Wooding and vesels $9.00
Cubert and furniture $10.00
1 table anc 6 chairs $3.00
1 bed and furniture $10.00
1 bed and furniture $18.00
1 chest $1.00
3 sadles (saddles) $20.00
3 cotton wheels $3.00
1 Negro girl $300.00
1 Negro girl $270.00
1 Negro boy $300.00
1 Negro boy $200.00
14 head of sheep $21.00
This sale was in 1875.
Now I will began with our Dad Matthew Greenlee direct family none of which know but very little. We know Uncle Bill had 2 boys. One we all knew as Cousin Bud Ellison the other Hayden Ellison.
We have no record of Lawrence’s family or Molly’s but his brother John had 4 boys and of course Matthew Greenlee had 15 children. Each of these will give their individual account of their life and family.
All that I know about Dad’s early life is what he told me, his life at home from birth to age 13 didn’t cover much, he told of his play mates Kelly and we find Harve Kelly was a cousin to Dad. Another incident a young Negro slapped Dad then ran, then Dad’s brother John ran in the house for the gun and shot the Negro, Dad thought in the leg.
At the age of 13 Dad left Belton, South Carolina. With a family headed west his job was to care for the teams, get wood and water when they camped. They got as far as Alabama or Georgia and tied up for the winter but before the winter was over he found other means of travel and finally got to the Mississippi River. Then the hardest part was on west to Jacksboro, Texas. This trip covered abut 3 years, as Carl G. Ellison states that the last account they had of Dad was at the age of 16 at Jonesburrow and he must have meant Jacksboro, Texas. That is when he wrote home and felt he would be there long enough to hear from home. His first job at Jacksboro was working at a new one stand gin, he and another fellow carried the cotton in big hampers or baskets to feed the gin. After working the first day they were hungry and broke or almost, the man gave Dad $0.15 said go to the grocery store get 3 dozen eggs, they were $0.05 per doz. Dad always laughed about eating hard boiled eggs for 2 days.
His next job was at a livery stable then the job of driving the mail back from Jacksboro to Weatherford, Texas. This job lasted 4 or 5 years, then he got married to Effie Blanche Lauderdale, and to this union 4 children were born. Bertha May, Willie Martin, Ruby Blanch ad Nettie Lee. But before we go further I should give some account of the Lauderdale family. They were early settlers in Jack County, Texas on Carrols Creek near Jacksboro. Some few years before this time a band of Cheyenne Indians raided the place just before sunrise, Granddad and Grandmother Lauderdale were killed. Uncle Tom Lauderdale gathered the 4 children in the cellar the house, barn and everything was burned and most of the horses and cattle were stolen.
After that Uncle Ace Henson taken charge of everything. The 4 children were Uncle Tom Lauderdale and Aunt Mary Lauderdale (Young), Uncle Jerry, and Effie Blanche Lauderdale who Dad married.
At this time I will give some account of the trip or the move from Jacksboro, Texas to the present old home site where all the Ellison children were reared, Dad and Mother with 3 small children left Jack County, Texas in a covered wagon with a good team of horses, 1 saddle horse, and 8 or 10 head of brood mares and about 10 – 15 head of castle they left sometime in May and arrived at the old home site in August 1893.
I can still remember the names of some of the horses, John and Bill were the team, Dollie the sorrel mare was the saddle horse and old Mollie, Old Paint and Baldy.
Now it is necessary to give some account of how he came by or got possession of the Old Home Place this he traded some horses some cattle and $300.00 in cash to Uncle Tom Lauderdale and the joining east quarter of land he got from Shiler Richardson. Settled on Timber Creek close to where Doxie is or did stand.
The Spring Creek School was built in 1892. Mrs. Shadden was the first teacher and her husband was Postmaster at Mangum, so you can see someone had to attend school I will give a list of part of them Callie, Cassie, Dude and Willie Henson and the Armbruster children, George Huff and his 2 sisters, the Beesons and Bell children.
Now I will give the names of some of the early settlers, the Armbrusters, Hensons, Ebb Howard, Bill Jackson, Paten Huff, Cross Huff, Charley Churchhill, Bells, Beasons, John Plunkett, Perry Parish and George Groff and Ben Groff lived South and East of Carter.
There had been some disputes as too boundary lines when we came to the settlement it was Greer County Texas and North Fork of Red River was considered the boundary line, Oklahoma and Texas were in a lawsuit regarding the boundary lines then we were in Oklahoma when the case was decided in favor of Oklahoma just too show how one moves around I will give an account of the Ellison place.
We lived in 2 states, Texas and Oklahoma, Oklahoma territory, Greer County and Beckham County and Spring Creek School district, Delhi School District and now Sayre School District. So you see that is 2 states, 1 territory, 2 counties, and 4 school districts and never moved out of the same house. This history is given too show what Matthew Greenlee Ellison went through on an Oklahoma farm. Our Mother (Effie Blanch Ellison) died Jan 22, 1895 leaving one infant and 3 other small children.” End of Ellison family history.
Mrs. Tuck Cornelius, nee Sarah Newman, was Amira's step-aunt. After Elizabeth Henson Lauderdale died, Evert Johnson, a fairly prominent man in Jacksboro, adopted Amira. Evert's wife was the sister of Sarah Newman. When Sarah & her husband, Tuck Cornelius, moved to Amarillo, their daughter, Maeve, was the first white child born in Potter Co. Their house is a landmark in Amarillo
Daughter Phoebe born about 1832 died about 1861, also married a Lauderdale(1) then Rev. David Joseph Smith(2). She had three children by Lauderdale : Mary E., Sarah J., Simpson Joseph(died young) Lauderdale and two children by Smith: Alfred Granderson Smith and a daughter who married Mose Rhoades. Phoebe appears to have been named after her grandmother.
Daughter Mary Margaret born about 1833, married Joshua G. Lawrence. Her husband was killed by Indians 1871. Mary had five children : William(Joe) Watson(the outlaw); Cynthia Elizabeth, Isabella, Mary Margaret, and Ida Lawrence
Son William S. born 1835
Son John H. born 1839, married Nancy J. of Kentucky, (same age). They lived in Limestone County, Texas and had three children: John H. (born 1858), Mary E. (born c.1862), and Robert M. (born c.1865)
Daughter Julia Etta born about 1840. Married Samuel Pate Thomas, born about 1838 in AL or SC, son of John C. Thomas. Samuel Pate died in Civil War in Nov. 1861 in hospital in Richmond, VA. Julia apparently died before 1870 as her 2 children were living with her brother, John A. Henson, in Limestone County at that time. These 2 children were Emily J., born about 1856, and Asa Pate Thomas, born 1860, died 1944 in Tarrant County, Texas.. Emily married Nathan T. Holt, son of James K. Holt & Elizabeth Fortner(?). Daughters of Emily & Nathan were 1.Etta & 2. Leola.
Asa Pate married Mary A. "Mollie" Tacker, 19 Jan. 1878 in Limestone Co. Second wife was Jennie R. (?). Asa's children with Mary were 1. Etta L. b. Nov.1878, died 1900-1910, married
(?) Brown. 2. Gracy E. b. Feb. 1882, died 1900-1910. 3.John M. b. Apr. 1885, d.
1900-1910.4. Walter Lee b. 3 Nov. 1887, d. 1911-1920, married Alma J. Thompson. Children were Avis, b. about. 1908, Arnold b.abt 1912. 5. Allen S. b. Jul 1890, d. 1900-1910.
Children with Jennie were 1.Asa E. b. Sept.1894, m. Laura. 2.Ethel B. b.June 1898, d.
1900-1910. 3.Effie b. abt.1901. 4. child, born & died 1900-1910. 5. William E. b. abt. 1906.
6. Earl b. 22 Feb. 1908 d. 18 June or July 1975. 7. Edgar .
In 1880, Asa Pate Thomas & wife, Mary A., were living in Jack Co. In 1881 he was in
Limestone Co., TX.
Son Asa Lewis born 21 March 1845 Montgomery County, Republic of Texas. Died 1920 in Panhandle, Carson County, Texas. Married 1865 Jacksboro, Texas to Julia Ann Dean Jay who was born in 1836, Red River County, about the time of the Texas Revolution. Julia died in 1906
Son Joseph T. born 6 December 1846 in Montgomery County, Texas
Son Andrew J. born circa 1848 in Texas and married Elizabeth Hensley in Jack County Texas. They had three sons and three daughters. Jack Henson was on the school board for Urbana School when it was first started. "It was a subscription school, in which people donated money to pay the teacher. School was in session for two or three months in the summer and winter." Urbana was about 5 1/2 miles north of Willow, at first in Old Greer County, but now would be in Beckham. Mr. Jack Henson hired a private tutor to teach his children until the school was built." In an article about the community of Moravia "There was also a pump station down the railroad tracks about two miles north that was called the Moravia water station. It was located at the west side of the Jack Henson farm." Moravia was about 4 miles north of Willow (Greer County) and was just over the county line in Beckham County.
The obituary follows for their son: Herbert Edgar "Hub” born1895 in Greer County, Texas. Married Eva L. Smith 1925 in Marked Tree, Arkansas. Died 1988. Buried Carter, Beckham Co.,Oklahoma where they had lived most of their married life. Hub graduated from the Kansas City Conservatory of Music and The School of Mines, worked as a mechanic when he was young and later farmed the land that he was born on. He fought in France and was wounded during World War 1, served Carter as Mayor and councilman, and was an avid hunter. He left a daughter, Alma Jo Jenkins, two granddaughters and five great-grandchildren, one sister, Jane Blass, of Oklahoma City, and a host of nieces and nephews.
Joseph and Mary were in Lavaca County , Texas for the 1850 census.
Joseph and Mary Henson and their young children were now a part of the hard times in Texas where the story is told of these heartfelt remarks of a grandmother in a letter to her family in Tennessee “Texas is all right for men and dogs, but hell on women and horses”. The more hearty among the males with their healthy and humorous outlook on life found an emotional escape in enormous numbers of practical jokes. Men chewed tobacco and smoked cigars. Older women were often pipe smokers and many of the young females dipped snuff. East Texas communities grew and prospered despite the devastating national panic of 1837. Beginning in the 1840’s, the cow business was swelling to an industry of importance. Texas had land and livestock but little money. The trails to market with cattle and horses saw the money packed in the bottom of ox-carts moving back into Texas. The War of Northern Aggression drove most of the settlers out of Jack county and Indian raiders moved almost 35,000 head of cattle from the high plains to Union Army buyers in Kansas.
From 1787 on, the Jacksboro area lay on the Spanish route from San Antonio to Santa Fe. In 1832 there were five to six hundred trappers on the headwaters of the five rivers in this region. In 1841 the Jack County area formed a part of a twenty-six county land grant known as the Peter’s Colony which was enabled by “An Act Granting Land to Emigrants” signed by acting president of Texas, David Burnett on February 5, 1841. Texas needed immigrants and it needed money. This settlement was exceedingly difficult due to Indian attacks and not until some thirteen years later was the grant surveyed for record. It covered the western one third of what became Jack County. The eastern two thirds of Jack County were opened to settlement under the General Homestead Act of 1853. The new settlers were not too careful in respecting the surveyed lands that belonged to the Peter’s group now known as the Texas Emigration and Land Company who had bought it for twelve dollars a square mile (640 acres). The shaky little Republic of Texas offered little help to the enterprise. Jack County was formed from Cooke County, by the Texas Legislature August 14, 1856. These relative values are of interest: The blue collar wage in New York in 1850 was $1.50 to $2 per day. College tuition at the Eastern Schools was $200 per year. A doctor’s visit cost $5 when one could be found. A Transatlantic fare (one way) cost $60."
The first Indian raid on Jacksboro occurred in the Spring of 1858 with the devastation and slaughter of two families by a band of Kiowa and Comanches from the Fort Sill reservation. Twenty men pursued the Indians and recovered two small children. No one, white or Indian, understood the rapid settlement of the plains. Pressures continued to build from 1825 to 1860 in North Texas as thousands of displaced Indians arrived from the eastern United States and settled on Comanche and Kiowa hunting ground, forced out by the white people east of the Mississippi.
Jacksboro township was settled in 1857 and Joseph and Mary raised their family and dwelt there for forty years until Mary died in 1897. We draw from the rich stories of the ‘History of Jack County’ to relate the life there for this family. Jack County has a special place in Texas history. The frontier should have swept through the county in ten years as it had all across the American Continent. But the march stopped here and Jack County steeped in the frontier period for twenty-five years.
After Texas joined the United States in 1845, Texans expected the federal government to protect them. But it was a futile hope. In the treaty with Mexico in 1848, the United States gained about 20,000 Indians on the Great Plains and in New Mexico but had an army unprepared to deal with them. These plains and desert Indians were different from the settled, agricultural eastern Indians who were handled in their villages. The nomad Comanche, Apache, Cheyenne, and Kiowa could “fold their tents and silently steal away.”
The federal government built a line of forts stretching from the Red River to the Rio Grande. Fort Belknap in what is now Young County was one of these scattered forts. Though soldiers rode daily patrols between the forts, raids grew steadily worse reaching as far south as the Austin area. When settlement reached Jack County in 1854, Indian attacks had become violent. The deadly raids lasted through 1874. A nationally important part in the final American Indian wars took place in Jack County.
Huddled in their cabins on bloody full moonlit nights, settlers could not see the whole picture of the Indian wars, and the later telling of their stories reflects their fear and confusion.
From the History of Jack County-
“ The first Indian trouble for the Henson homestead (1856)—Sister and Alfred were in the cow pen, milking, early in the morning. Sister, then a good big girl, fifteen or sixteen years old, Alfred eight—Sister milking. Alfred holding the calf off—they heard horses. Alfred thought they were soldiers. Sister looked up and said, “They are Indians! Run!” She ran to the house and reported; Alfred stayed where he was. Grandpa (Joseph) came to Alfred. A little later A.J. Henson and a Negro man whom Grandpa had raised also came to them. Grandpa told them to go back and load the guns. This they did and returned at once and began shooting at the Indians. One Indian came closer than the others, Grandpa snapped his gun at the Indian—had failed to load --- worked the lever of his gun, fired, the Indian fell from his horse, dead. His horse stopped in a jump or two, the Indians rushed up around the dead Indian, sheltering themselves by lying on the opposite side of their horses from us, picked up the dead Indian, placed him on his horse and rode away. The fight was over.
The next Indian trouble was when twenty-five or thirty Indians came within 200 yards of our house, between daylight and sun-up. Uncle Jack (A.J. Henson) and Negro Wash began shooting at them. Grandpa came out of the house, fired one shot and an Indian fell dead. That ended the fight, the Indians, as before lying on the opposite sides of their horses from us, circled the dead Indian, loading him on his horse, and vanished. Uncle Jack was wounded twice, once with an arrow and once with a bullet in Indian fights, neither serious.”
The War of Northern Aggression delayed development along the frontier, and Indians on Oklahoma reservations marveled to see the white men fight each other, but quickly realized that the isolated settlements were easy prey. Many of the frontiersmen who joined the Confederate army moved their families back to safety. As troops moved back to eastern battlefields, settlers fled from Young, Archer, and Clay counties. But a band of determined settlers clung to Jack county. These settlers—merchants, cattlemen, cowboys, a few farmers, and families of Confederate soldiers—saw their supply lines and contact with eastern and southern Texas broken. Though the market for cattle during this Civil War was good, Indians harassed cowmen who tried to run cattle on lush grass of the country. The roster for June 25, 1864 of Captain Orrick’s Company B of Texas State Troops notes J. T. Henson as 1st Sergeant, William S. Henson as 1st Corporal, A. L. Henson as a Private, S.A. J. Thomas as 2nd Corporal, and J. S. Lauderdale as a Private. Their muster cards are on file in the Texas State Archives in Austin. These troops were organized in addition to Texas Ranger units for several years during and after the War of Southern Independence. This was a somewhat loosely organized home guard militia group organized in 1861 and later as provided by the Texas legislation of December 1863 to protect the Jack County settlers from the Indians.
After the War, reconstruction brought new people to Jack County. These were Union Army soldiers, some of whom were former slaves. Fort Richardson, for a time , was the largest army post in the United States in numbers of men. This fort brought half a million dollars a year into Jacksboro over a five year period. Armed bands of outlaws, protected by the confusion of Reconstruction, banished law and order. These outlaws openly boasted they could buy enough men to swear to anything. Legal authorities indicted and arrested large numbers of men for murder, theft of horses and cattle, and assault with intent to kill. Yet not one single conviction for murder was obtained until the court tried Satanta and Big Tree in 1871 for the Warren Wagon Massacre. 27 saloons flourished on the north side of the fort. Law and order was for another time. On pay days it was difficult to walk through the area without stepping on a drunken soldier. Justice rode at your side in a leather holster.
Geography too held back the frontier. Jack County is on the western edge of the Cross Timbers, the edge of what Easterners called the ‘Great American Desert’. The United States Department of the Interior declared the 98th meridian that runs through Newport, Cundiff, and Joplin to be the dividing line between the timbered eastern farm lands and the plains grass region. Here at the edge of the plains, the frontier halted to await the invention of barbed wire and windmills that made it possible for settlers to live on the dry plains.
Jack County got its flavor from the many people and races working in harmony and often in conflict. The white race provided numbers of hard-working settlers willing to gamble against terrific odds and also the unprincipled outlaw driven west from more developed areas of Texas. The war refugee and the draft dodgers came. Northern opportunists came to exploit or just to begin a new life in a new country. Cattlemen were willing to hold their claims with guns. Blacks came as slaves, servants, and employees of the whites. Fort Richardson had soldiers of both races, their wives, families, and camp followers. Some came to grab the federal money flowing to Fort Richardson, an American tradition.
And the native Indians made their presence felt in the most forceful way. Jack County lay on the border of the Kiowa and the Comanche favored hunting ground which these two tribes fiercely defended. Fort Richardson’s power was thrown against them, and they hated the fort and its soldiers. They fought back with the desperation of men who knew they could lose everything.
The Dean Family Branch to the Hensons
We will digress here to study this Dean family whose roots trace from Virginia in the mid 1700s on through Georgia and Tennessee, through Arkansas in the 1820’s, then into Texas in the early 1830’s at the old river town of Clarksville on the Red River. Arkansas was separated from Louisiana as part of the Missouri Territory in 1812, then became the Arkansas Territory in 1819, and was admitted as a state in 1836.
The earliest records we have are of Jesse Dean born circa 1780 in Virginia. He married Nancy --?—born circa 1780 in Maryland. She died in 1820. He married again to Betsy Hull March 22, 1821 in Caddo township, Arkansas. Nancy bore him these eight children:
1.. Son Asa born about 1798 probably Tennessee, married Susannah--?-- circa 1820. Died in Texas circa 1844. Two sons born circa 1820 and 1823. Two daughters born 1825 and circa 1835. The latter child was probably Julia Ann Dean b. June 25, 1836 who later married Asa Henson.
2.. Son Edward born 1800
3.. Daughter Sidney born 1805 (in Illinois ?)
4.. Son Levi born 1807 in Tennessee
5. Daughter Matilda born 1809
6.. Daughter Lucinda born 1811
7. Son Willis Dean born 1814.
8. Daughter Eliza born 1816 (in Georgia ?)
The older Jesse Dean arrived in 1811 in the land south of the Caddo River, bounded on the west by the Indian Territory, in the Arkadelphia area. This became Clark County, known early as Arkansas County of Missouri Territory. He reportedly received land grants for service in the Indian Wars. This was very sparsely settled land. In the late 1820’s a large contingent of citizens gathered in what was loosely called Miller County in Arkansas, near the Red River. When the group became large enough and when political conditions were satisfactory, this contingent planned to move southward into Texas as one of Stephen F. Austin’s colonies. 1830 saw this move.
His sons Asa, Jesse, and Edward Dean came to Texas between 1830 and March 4, 1836. Asa’s land grant file in the Texas General Land Office Archives reads that he arrived in Texas October 28, 1835. Another son, Levi Dean, came a bit later, probably between 1835 and 1837. However, they all hit it right and received large land grants. The first census of the Republic of Texas, taken in 1840, shows them prospering in Red River County:
-Asa Dean was taxed on 2,000 acres and 4 work horses.
-Jesse Dean was taxed on 6 slaves, 25 head of cattle, 3 horses, and $4,605 worth of property.
-Levi Dean was taxed on 1,280 acres, 3 slaves, and a wood clock.
-Edward M. Dean taxed on 3,728 acres, 7 slaves, and 10 head of cattle.
-Willis Dean taxed on $100 at interest and 4,605 acres
The family had been in Jacksboro (Jack City) for about eight years when Joseph Henson’s son Asa (Ace) met and married, in 1865, Julian Ann Dean Jay, who came from Paris, Red River County, Texas with several of her relatives, and her one year old son George Seman Jay in late1860 or 1861.. There are Confederate muster cards for “the Red River Dixie Boys” of Red River County for Joseph M., Jessee C., and George W. Jay. Jessee was twenty-eight years old in 1861. Jessee and Julia Ann Dean married in Lamar County just west of Red River County in 1855. Jessee served with the Lamar Mounted Volunteers under the command of Captain Milton Webb, in Ford’s regiment of the Army of the Confederacy under the command of Captain Milton Webb. Family tradition reads that Jessee had not returned and was presumed dead by the time Julia and her son George came west to Jack County about 1861. Julia waited the prescribed period of time for Jessee to be legally declared dead before marrying Asa.
Julia’s father, Asa Dean died about 1844 and her mother, Susannah, married Jesse Jay’s father, George Simeon Jay b. 1806 Indiana d. 1856 Lamar Co. Texas, indicating a close family relationship. Susannah had these children by her Dean marriage- James A., Artimessa, Levi, and Julia Ann. Simeon Jay had these children by his first wife- Jessee C., George, and Mary F. They had these two children by their second marriage, William about 1848 and Susan about 1849. Both William and Susan came to Jacksboro about 1860, probably along with Julia Dean. William married Charity Hensley there b. Oct 13, 1852 Arkansas, d. Mar 6 1872, in Jack County. Susan married Ira Cooper December 29, 1869, settling on a ranch in Jack County. She was Julia’s half-sister. They had three children, Irene, Eula, and Annie. Irene married John Ozier of Temple. Annie married Cal Merchant and lived on a ranch on the Canadian River near the A. L. Henson family. Cal managed the Turkey Track ranch for awhile.
At their marriage, Ace Henson was a nineteen year old frontiersman and Julia was about thirty years old and a mother , born in 1836 on the Red River near Clarksville, the oldest American settlement in Texas. They lost two infant sons, Ira and Robert, and raised three children in this marriage.
The Clarksville, Texas newspaper ‘The Northern Standard ‘ of February 1843 has the following excerpts of interest to these times:
“The money market in New Orleans quotes coined dollars and half dollars at par; smaller coinage slightly discounted; and gold coinage (sovereigns, Spanish doubloons, and Patriot doubloons) at roughly $ 16.60; and various discounted values for banknotes issued by 31 U.S. Banks.”
“An elderly lady in her eighties dies of shock from the delusion of ‘Millerism’ as she views the flames of the conflagration at Cambridge, Massachusetts and the reflections in the clouds. She shrieks ‘it is the end of the world!’”
“10,000 acres of farm land for sale. Cash or negroes.”
An Austin newspaper of August 1842 has these excerpts of interest to these times:
“ Houston is moving the seat of government! This leaves us open to Indian depredations. Nearly half the population of Bastrop and Travis are preparing to depart for the U.S. and other parts of Texas. There is no money in circulation.” (This attempted move from Austin to Washington on the Brazos was caused by the abruptly renewed presence of Mexican soldiers in the Mission city of San Antonio. The proposed relocation was thwarted by the 650 residents of Austin.)
“Houston authorized the formation of a corps of 200 volunteers for defense of the Western frontier. If the Mexican force cannot be found on this side of the Rio Grande, these troops will pass that stream as readily as they would the little rivulets of the Cibolo.”
"List of Votes polled at Montgomery (Montgomery Precinct) on the 4th of June, 1845 for four delegates to a convention to form a State Constitution for the admission of Texas into the United States Union and for one County surveyor for Montgomery County."
[from a list of 158 voters]
20. W.T. Morris [Lucinda Thomas' husband]
68. A.W. Springer
69. John Landrum
70. Wm. Landrum
79. A.E. Springer
116. G.W. Brooks
124. Wm. Gilmore
141. Joseph Hinson
144. Jno. M. Springer
Sam Houston...received 107 votes
John M. Lewis...received 63 votes
James Scott...received 63 votes
A. McNeill...received 106 votes
M.C. Rogers...received 50 votes
D.C. Dickson...received 29 votes
G.W. Banton...received 19 votes
Jas. L. Bennett...received 15 votes
C.B. Stewart...received 120 votes
for County Surveyor:
D.M. Bullock...received 95 votes
John McKary...received 39 votes
Of historical interest, a letter from Sam Houston to Doctor C.B. Stewart (who received more votes than Sam in the above election):
To: Doct. C.B. Stewart, Montgomery TX, 10 Nov 1841
My dear Sir,
At Houston I had the pleasure to receive your kind favor--for the contents, I am grateful, and am happy to say so. You will see that I am to be at Houston on the 25th instant. On the 30th my appointment is to be at your town of Montgomery. Mrs. H. Intends to bring with me. We will be happy to accept the courteous hospitality that you have so kindly tendered to us.
I will be compelled to visit Galveston in a few days. My stay will be short at Houston. I must pass some days on business previous to the 25th. I hope to meet many of the citizens of Montgomery on the 30th. I may be thru on the 28th or 9th.
Ladies may attend if they have any wish to do so. I like to speak to ladies and their presence makes men behave better to each other and themselves also. Be pleased to commend our regards to Mrs. Stewart. Salute all friends. About any arrangements to be made I leave all things to yourself and our friends.
I am very truly yours,
Sam Houston “
The lure of the frontier continued and the area around the SW corner of Arkansas was a hotbed of emotion relative to secession from the Union. Arkansas was to have the dubious privilege of two governments (both Union and Confederate) at the same time. There was a group where the Deans lived who called themselves the ‘Red River Dixie Boys’. Julia married Jessee Jay in Lamar County in 1855 where they had one child , George S. Jay, born in 1859. Family tradition reads that Jessee Jay was missing and presumed dead in 1860. Other sources believe there was a divorce. Whatever the reason, in late1860 Julia Ann kept the name Jay and put herself and son George Jay in a wagon with her brother James and his new wife, and aunt Eliza to come to Jack County, Texas, far from the pressures of civilization as they knew it.
Against the strong wishes of its president Sam Houston and many of the people on the frontier, Texas was still of an independent spirit and opted to secede from the Union. Julia Dean Henson told the story of soldiers rummaging through her household, taking everything they could including the last needles and thread. The Texas Brigade distinguished itself in Virginia during the War Between the States. These efforts depleted the already limited manpower available to defend and develop the Texas frontier. Even those with no strong feelings for the Confederacy moved to organize with the ‘Texas Frontier Rangers’. G. A. Dean, George Dean, J. A. Dean, and Levi Dean were listed on Frontier Ranger muster rolls for this region. Asa L., J.F., Joseph, W. M., and William S. Henson were also on these muster rolls to defend their families.
The frontier homesteads were in severe jeopardy from the tribes of plains Indians and in some areas the frontier moved back as much as a hundred miles during 1861-1866. The ‘History of Jack County’ could be a background for many a ‘Western Tale’.
As the 6th U, S. Cavalry returned to Fort Richardson at the close of the Civil War, they did not understand the Indians nor the terrain. In 1868-69, Asa Henson, Joe Ward, and James R. Robertson were among a small group of local civilians to be employed as scouts in the Kiowa, Comanche, Cheyenne Campaign under General James Oakes, Captain A. Irwin, and Lieutenant Overton. The Congress enacted legislation in 1917 that provided for monthly pensions of $13 for those who had served in Indian campaigns of that period. A feeble Asa Henson and the above noted two friends were apparently the only surviving members of this group of scouts and presented their claim on the proper form, accompanied by the following narrative:
“The State of Texas
County of Potter
Before me ,the undersigned, James N. Browning, a Notary Public in and for said State and County, this day personally appeared Asa L. Henson, James R. Robinson, and Joe Ward, all personally known to me to be credible witnesses, and each being duly sworn, deposes and says as follows:
The said Asa L. Henson declares on his oath that he is seventy three years old and resides at Panhandle, in Carson County, Texas and that he is the applicant for pension under the Act of March 4, 1917, as a former scout of the U.S.Army. and his application is numbered 14974; that said James R. Robinson on his oath declares that he is seventy one years old and resides at Lubbock in Lubbock County, Texas, and is a lawyer by profession; and said Joe Ward declares, on his oath, that he is sixty eight years of age, resides at Hereford in Deaf Smith County, Texas, and by occupation is at this time the duly qualified and acting County Treasurer of said Deaf Smith county.
That said three witnesses all declare on oath that they personally know and are acquainted with the others and they further declare that they all resided at Jacksboro, in Jack County, Texas, during the years of 1868 and 1869; that the U, S. Government Post of Fort Richardson was at that time located near said town of Jacksboro and Gen. James Oakes was the Commanding officer thereof.
That during the said years the said Government Post and said town were situated on the frontier of Texas, and the adjacent country for many miles distant in every direction from said town and Government Post were almost continuously raided and depredated upon by va
John Henson's Timeline
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