Brewster County Genealogical Society

Big Bend Genealogical Society


BIOGRAPHIES OF SOME EARLY BIG BEND AREA SETTLERS

James William "Uncle Billie" Phelps
By: Frank W. Daugherty

Born in 1859 at Goliad, Texas, married Frances Elizabeth Harris in 1880 at Brady, Texas. The couple came to Murphyville in the early 1880's. He and his wife Frances Elizabeth, reputedly were the parents of the first Anglo-American child born in Alpine. In 1898 Mr. Phelps was elected to the office of County Tax Assessor-Collector and held this office until his death in 1927. Mrs. Phelps died in 1909.


Nils Ogarth Pierson
By: Frank W. Daugherty

Born in Sweden in 1861, emigrated to the United Staes in 1887. He worked on ranches for several years and came with a herd of sheep to Pecos County in 1886. In that same year he married Miss Mary AGnes Earles, and they moved to Murphyville where he opened a store. The store was sold the following year, and the couple moved to Haymond, a railroad station on the Southern Pacific east of Marathon, where he opened a general store which operated until the early 1900's. Mr. Pierson died in 1924 and Mrs. Pierson in 1944.


Henry Harrison Powe
(Story from Alpine Avalanche-December 16, 1993)

One of the treasures of the Museum of the Big Bend, a Confederate coat worn by early Alpine resident Henry Harrison Powe, is now on dispaly. This coat was last seen by the public over 30 years ago. It s on display as part of the museum's current Civil War exhibit, The Civil War in the West: The Confederate Compaign in New Mexico. This exhibit will remain on display until January .

The coat is made of homespun cotton and lined with blue denim. The left sleeve has a visible bllet hole. When this bullet stuck Powe at the Battle of Berryville, part of the battle of Winchester, on September 3, 1864, it shattered his arm. It was amputated two inches below the shoulder. Powe was 25 years old.

Powe joined Company C., the Wayne Rifles, 13th Regiment of the Mississippi Volunteers on June 1, 1861 for a period of one year. he served until March 25, 1865.

During the Civil War, Powe saw action at the Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861, Leesburg, October 21, 1861, and participated in the first and second battles of Fredericksburg in 1862 and 1863. Fighting in the Peach ORchard on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Powe was wounded in the thigh and when Lee lost and retreated from Pennsylvania, Powe became a prisoner of war. He was exchanged on August 31, 1863. In 1864, Powe again saw action in the Wilderness at Spottysvania, the Horseshoe and Cold Harbor. He also fought at Petersburg before being wounded at Winchester.

After the War, Powe came toCrystal City, Texas, in 1887. Later he settled in the Davis Mountains where he ranched. He was a founding member of the Methodist Church in Alpine and helped build the church itself.

While taking part in a round-up being held by the small ranchers of Brewster County, Powe got into an agrument over an unbranded steer. A gunfight erupted and Powe was shot and killed by Fine Gilliant. The cowboys on the round-up branded the steer, "Murder" across one side and the date "Jan 28 90" across the other. They then set it loose on the range.

When the Texas Rangers shot and killed Gilliand, the steer was seen in the distance. It became an omen of death and a myth about the "Steer called Murder" grew up in the Big Bend.


Funeral for AGed Man Is Held Here Friday
Alpine Avalanche May 23, 1930

Funeral services for Joe C. Priest, age 85, who died at the hom of Mrs. O. V. Nettleton lat Thursday were here Friday at the Livingston funerl chapel by Rev. L. W. Bridges, pasto of the Christian Church. Mr. Priest came to Alpine about three weeks ago and had been bedfast ever since. As far as could be ascertained the is survived by two brothers, one of whom lives in Decatur, Alabama, and the other in Nashville Tennessee. Interment was made in Alpine Cemetery.


Death of a Promonent Texas
Alpine Avalanche Thursday December 23, 1915

The San Antonio Express of December 17th, had the following account of the death of Cap, D. M. Poor, father of Mrs. Bev. Greenwood of alpine, and a prominent Texas. It says:

"David Morrill Poor, aged 78 yars, died yesterday morning at 1 o'clock at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Ida Neal. He was a native of Texas, born February 25, 1838, during the days of the Texas Republic, in Red River County.

He came to San Antonio in 1848. He was the son of Ira S. Poor, merchant and farmer who located his ranch about three miles south of San Antonio. When the Civil War broke out Decendent, joined Company B. of the Second Texas Confederate Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Charle sPyron,this regiment being a portion of McCullough's Brigade. Having organized the company decendent became it's captain. He was present with it in San Antonio when the city was surrendered to the three Confederate Commissioners, Samuel A. Mavrick, Thomas J. Devine and P. M. Lucky. During the war his command was always in active service.

He was a prominent member of the United Confederate Veterans, commander several times of Albert Sidney Johnston Camp, U.C.V. of this city, and a former commander of the Texas Division of the organization. For six years he served as Assessor of Bexar County and later two terms as County Commissioner and at the end of this service retiring to his farm about midway between San Jose and Conceptions Missions.

Captain Poor is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Ella Greenwood of Alpine and Mrs. Mary Neal of San Antonio; three sons, Hart, Fred and Joseph Poor; eleven living grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Decendent had seen San Antonio under the flags of the Texas Republic, the United States and the Confederacy and again under the Stars and Stripes. He was a gentleman of the old school and of the South her chivalry. He was one of the brave and yet one of the mildest and gentlest of men. His bearing was courtly and his appearance commanding.

He was known for his many acts of benevolence and charity. He helped many young men who came to this city and section to secure positions and a footing. He enjoyed the esteem and confidence of all who knew him.

The flag on the Court House was placed at half mast yesterday and the Commissioners' Court adjouned until Saturday in his honor."


P. H. Pruett Passes
Alpine Avalanche Newspaper
February 28, 1924

Another Pioneer Passes

Mr. P. H. Pruett, a pioneer citizen and stockman of this county, died at his home in El Paso Feb. 25. The remains were brought here Wednesday morning on the 7:00 o'clock train, the funeral occurring at the First Christian church at 9:00, conducted by the pastor, Rev. Lawrence Weil, assisted by Revs. Berry , Bowles and McMillan of the Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian churches, respectively.

Following the religious exercises, the Masons took charge and friends and relatives followed the body to its last restling place--the family burial grounds on the Pruett old ranch, now the H. L. Kokernot ranch, where interment was made.

Mr. Pruett was born in Marshall County, Ky., July 25, 1839; he was therefore past 83. In in65, he was married to Miss Martha A. Brown at Agusta, Ark. To this union fourteen children were born, eight of whom survive. Following the death of his first wife, Mr. Pruett married Miss Laura Brown, a sister of his first wife. She survives him. Some years ago he sold out his ranch interests here, which were considerable and removed to El Paso where he has since resided.

Coming here when Brewster County was but a name, Mr. Pruett acquired large ranch interest and became one of the best known of the early-day ranchman but his old friends and acquaintances speak of him as a fine type of citizen, commanding the confidence of all who knew him. Here, also, he reared his family--an honorable family and among the best Texas can boast. "He was a true father," said M. W. B. Hancock, who knew him as far back as 1884, "and a fine citizen." Such is the verdicit one hears of this pioneer as he passed away.

The following children survive Mr. Pruett: Sons-Ben and Charlies, Marfa, Texas; Jesse, Deming, N.M. and Will, Santiago, California; Daughters-Mrs. A. G. Prude and Mrs. Joe Espey, Fort Davis; Mrs. STeve Ward, Pecos, and Mrs. Ben Smith, Amarillo.

One sister and two brothers also survive him: Mrs. W. W. Hinson, 82 of Alpine; T. B. Pruett, Pecos and Jim B. Pruett, Seymour, Texas. All the children and one brother, T. B. Pruett attended the funeral; the aged sister, Mrs. Hinson was unable to attend.


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