Ellis County's Frontier Days
are Colorful Time of Stirring Struggles
Published in Waxahachie Enterprise - 1933
Contributed by Jean Caddel
Ellis County, other than the fact that it was organized in 1850, furnished
three or four companies who fought under the Stars and Bars during the struggle
for the independence of Dixie Land; has, since August, 1850, increased from
a population of one family and one negro slave to a little more than 53,000.
It has placed most of its arable area under cultivation, has enjoyed
the reputation of being the champion county of the world as a producer of
cotton; yet it has very little of what would be considered as history of
world interest. However, it is these people who helped to shape
the direction in which this country would move.
Therefore, we of the present day must be content to gather around
the family fireside and tell our children and grandchildren where our fathers
settled and of their struggles to conquer the frontier and to bring organization
out of the chaotic conditions which confronted them when, with stout hearts
and determination, they undertook to solve their many problems.
One of these determined and industrious characters was James R. Henderson
who was reared in North Carolina. In early manhood, he moved to the state
of Tennessee and in 1851, he brought most of his family to Texas. They settled
in Ellis County near the place now known as the Hughes Graveyard. His daughter,
Mary, became the wife of Jerry Hughes and was the mother of Frank N. Hughes,
a Confederate veteran, a citizen of Italy, who has for more than a third
of a century been constable of Justice Precinct No. 8 and voluntarily retired
from office a year or two ago.
Daniel Boone Henderson married Miss Lucy Kellum and settled on the Howe
Survey. One of his daughters, Dan Ella, partly reared in the old home, later
moved to Navarro County and married W. J. McDuffie, whom she met while he
was teaching a writing school near the present site of Forreston. To this
union were born several sons and daughters. Sallie, a sister of Mrs. McDuffie,
married John Maggard. James Henderson Jr. married Mary Jane Taylor, but did
not long survive. A son, James Henderson, died in early childhood. Mrs. Henderson
married Mr. Parker and was the mother of Jesse Parker of Italy, a teacher
of long experience and, later the mayor of Italy. Rev. Alex Henderson,
son of James R. Henderson Sr., did not come to Texas with the other members
of the family, but later settled in the Rankin Community. He was the father
of Mark Henderson who lives in Waxahachie.
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