Little Era Hargrove A Research Journey
By Norman L. Newton, of the Cross Timbers Genealogical Society, August 2010


About A. H. Hargrove;


          Allen Houston Hargrove was born March 22, 1837, in Lawrence County, Alabama.  When he was 13 years of age he moved with his family to Monroe County, Mississippi.  This fact is recorded by the 1850 Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, recorded on September 9, 1850.  This record shows his parents James and Rebecca Hargrove who were both born in South Carolina along with 8 children.  The occupation of the father Hargrove is listed as a Blacksmith.  Allen is 13 years old in this record.

This is transcribed as:

James Hargroves, age 50, Blacksmith, 1600, South Carolina

Rebecca Hargroves, age 50,  South Carolina

William C. Hargroves, age 25, Mill Wright, South Carolina

Christopher Hargroves, age 33, Mill Wright, South Carolina

Frances M. Hargroves, age 19, Farmer, Alabama

Ben F. Hargroves, age 17, Farmer, Alabama

Hugh L. Hargroves, age 15, Farmer, Alabama

Allen H. Hargroves, age 13, Alabama

Andrew A. Hargroves, age 11, Alabama

Cyrena E. Hargroves, age 9, Alabama

See Full Size 1850 Census:  1850 Census Record  Monroe County, Mississippi


          When the War Between the States began Allen enlisted on June 3, 1861, in South Kansas Texas Cavalry Regiment which was one of many units formed early to fight the Union.  Then on (about) August 16, 1861, he transferred to Company H. 3rd Regiment, Texas Cavalry (Ross Brigade) as a private.  He later was promoted to Lieutenant, served in Georgia, surrendered at Jackson, Mississippi and was paroled (about) April 17, 1865. 


          The Hargrove family most likely was in Texas prior to the war and had settled in Titus or Franklin Counties at the close of the war.


About Mary M. Sparks;

          Mary Malvina Sparks was born August 4, 1844, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  Her father was James B. Sparks, a merchant and her mother Mary A. Sparks.  The family moved to Texas in 1849.  (Note: Another account gives the year as 1853 when the family came to Texas.)  Mary M. Sparks is 17 years old in this record.


See Full Size1860 Census:  1860 Census Record    Titus County, Texas




          On October 31, 1865 Allen H. Hargrove and Mary M. Sparks were married in Titus County, Texas. 



          On the 1870 Census, Mount Pleasant, Titus County, Texas shows this young family.


          Allen H. Hargrove, Age 32,

          Mary M. Hargrove, Age 24

          Ida Hargrove, Age 3



See Full Size 1870 Census:  1870 Census Record    Mount Pleasant, Titus County, Texas

See where Titus County is:  Titus County, Texas


          About 1872 Allen, Mary and Ida would arrive in Cooke County, Texas.  Other children born to them were, Era Lee Hargrove, born on August 4, 1874 and John Hargrove, born on April 3, 1876.  (Note: Birth dates for the two youngest children was obtain from Cooke County baby records.)


          The Hargrove family helped settle the area and form the town of Era, Texas in 1878.


          The oldest daughter of the Hargroves, Ida, dies prior to 1880 being she is not listed in that year census.  The 1880 census of Cooke County shows;


          Allen H. Hargrove, age 44, farmer

          Mary Hagrove, age 36, keeping house

          Era Hargrove, age 5, daughter

          John Hargrove, age 4, son


See 1880 Census:  1880 Census

See where Cooke County, Texas is:  Cooke County, Texas


          Note: An interesting thing occurs as a result of the transcription of this census record.  The transcriber records the name as Eva instead of Era.  On all records that I have reviewed online which this family was distance relatives the name is Eva and none seem to be aware there is any connection between this name and a town in southern Cooke County that is Era, Texas. 


          The Hargrove family suffering from the loss of their daughter, Ida, leaves Cooke County in January, 1881.  

        Why the mistake was made by the town of Era for it to be passed down in their history the Hargrove child that died was Era and not Ida is unclear.  But as the years passed into new generations it is obvious the Hargrove family was forgotten in regard to the number of children they had and the mention of their youngest child John was never recorded.  The name of Era was convenient and obvious being it was the name taken by the town.


          I was able to locate the Hargrove family at Crafton, Wise County using the 1900 Census recorded on June 8, 1900.



The census record shows;.


          Allen Hargove, age 63, Alabama

          Mary M. Hargrove, age 55, Alabama


See Full Size 1900 Census:   1900 Census           Crafton, Wise County, Texas

See where Wise County, Texas is:  Wise County, Texas


          Note:  I am giving the reader this information in date order.  In doing research much of the information obtained does not come in any type of order at all.  This is the case concerning Era Hargrove.  In the beginning I believed she had died as the Era Centennial Book says.  While reviewing this 1900 census record I had my first clue something was amiss.  This particular census asked the mother two questions;

1.                 How many children have you had?

2.                 How many children are living?


I expected this response to be 3 children with 1 child living.  (Ida and Era are deceased and John is living.) That is not the response Mary gave.  Her response was, 3 children and 2 are living.  This answer certainly got my attention.


Further review of the 1900 Census Record in Wise County I located a woman by the name of Era Wright.  This ladies age was listed as 25 and shows she was born in Texas.  The thing that made it even more interesting was a boarder was listed living with the Wright family whose name was John Hargrove, age 24.  With this information I knew that I had indeed located Era Hargrove. 



This 1900 census records shows;    


James M. Wright, age 31, merchant, (James Madison Wright)

Era Wright, age 25, (Era Hargrove Wright)

Hugh A. Wright, age 3, son

Garland Wright, age 1, daughter

John Hargrove, age 24, boarder, salesman general store


See Full Sizd 1900 Census:  1900 Census    Crafton, Wise County, Texas


          This census record also shows that James M. Wright had married the very pretty daughter of Allen and Mary Hargrove, Era, and had been married 6 years.  Their actual marriage date is January 20, 1894 in Crafton, Texas.  The record as shown above in 1900 they had 2 children, Hugh and Garland.


The record also reveals a common problem that researchers will encounter.  The record asks the question of the individual what state they were born and the same question in regard to their father and mother.  Both Era and John stated they were born in Texas which is correct.  The error is their statement about their parents which they listed as both being born in Tennessee.  It is especially an odd answer being their parents were still living in the same town and they had answered this question on the census themselves and said they were born in Alabama which is correct to the research that I have done. 


           James Madison & Era Hargrove Wright, wedding picture.                                Era Lee Hargrove Wright, wedding picture, 1/20/1894.

John H. Hargrove

           L/R Unknown, John Hargrove, James M. Wright, Era Lee Wright, Mary Hargrove, Allen H. Hargrove
                                                 Picture taken at the Hargrove home abt. 1895.


The same census page shown above for James Madison Wright and Era Hargrove Wright will show 5 houses away the parents of James Madison Wright which are.


          David N. Wright, (David Nelson Wright)

          Drucilla Wright, (Drucilla Fine Beard Wright)

          Dona M. Wright, daughter (sister of James Madison Wright)

Allen Houston Hargrove dies suddenly on
November 10, 1900.  Family records suggest he might have been drinking and fell from a wagon and was run over.  He is buried in the Crafton Cemetery that is located just a short distance north of the town.  Inscribed on his tombstone is, :Allen H. Hargrove, husband of Mary M. Hargrove, born March 22, 1837, died November 10, 1900.  There was installed a iron fence around his grave shortly after his death and in 2010 when I viewed it the front side and gate is now down and embedded in the grass. 


         There was blue chalk to bring out the wording.                         The grave of Allen Houston Hargrove as it appears now.  Photo: Norman L. Newton, August, 2010



During the course of the next 10 years would find both the Hargrove and Wright families would move from Crafton.  I am especially curious about the reason for James and Era Wright to move by 1903.  I will speculate part of the reason could be their family was still in the growing phase and being James was a merchant he could see that Crafton was a dying town.  There was no railroad or major highway to sustain it.   In 1890 there was around 200 residents but was in decline thereafter and by 1917 the post office closed and in 1920 there was only about 100 residents remaining.  The decline has continued with only 50 residents recorded in 1950 and the 2000 census showed only about 20 residents.

Handbook online about Crafton, Texas:


Around 1907 James and Era would move to Amarillo, Potter County, Texas.  They would be followed by John and eventually Mary Hargrove would join them.  Family records suggest that Mary might have joined them to help with a young son, David Nelson, born in 1907. 

       Era with Nelson who was born in 1907


After arriving in Amarillo Mary would apply for Confederate Widow’s pension benefits due to her husbands service in the Confederate army.  This pension was granted and can be found in the Potter County Archives. 



The 1910 census showing the Wright family living in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas




The Full Size 1910 census will show.     See 1910 census     Amarillo, Potter County, Texas


I have transcribed this record as;


James M. Wright, age 41,

Era L. Wright, age 35 

Hugh Wright, son, age 15

Garland Wright, daughter, age 11

Opal Wright, daughter, age 9

David N. Wright, son, age 3

Gertrude Lillian Wright, daughter, age < 1

Mary M. Hargrove, mother-in-law, age 66


There is several interesting things about the answers given to the census taker.  As noted the family of James and Era has grown to 5 children.  Also Era’s mother is living with them at this time.  Mary M. Hargrove lists Georgia as being her birth state which is incorrect it should be Alabama.  There would be an additional child born to James & Era in 1911 which is a daughter, Mildred, which would complete this family with 6 children.


This record also shows John Hargrove living next door and he has now married to a lady named Bertha.  John and Bertha would have no children.


The family would once again relocate.  This next move about 1911 would be a 440 mile distance southeast to Sandia which is in Jim Wells County where they would have a farm and later they would move on to the next county east to Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas.  I cannot be certain the year this last move was made but several years before 1919 when tragedy would strike this family.

See where Jim Wells County, Texas is:  Jim Wells County, Texas


Making these moves to Sandia and then to Corpus Christi was James and Era Wright and children.  Ending up in Corpus Christi with James and Era were the parents of James Wright which is David N. and Drucilla Wright,  John Hargrove and his wife Bertha,  Mary M. Hargrove the mother of Era and John,  Dona Wright who is a sister of James M. Wright who by this time was married to W. T. Harris a grocer and they would have no children.

See where Nueces County, Texas is:  Nueces County, Texas

        While in Corpus Christi the family would suffer the loss of their home by fire in 1918. 


During the course of conducting this research I had came across some information that gave a death date of John Hargrove and his mother Mary M. Hargrove as September 14, 1919.  This really was a puzzle to me until I found the answer in a most unusual place.  A newspaper article appeared in the Franklin County, Optic-Herald, September 26, 1919, which reveled not only the answer but additional information to continue my research.  This article read as follows;


Aunt Angie Cranford has received a letter this week from her Niece, Mrs. Era Wright of Corpus Christi, telling of the awful storm and the loss of her mother, Mrs. Mary Hargrove, who was a sister to Aunt Angie, Mrs. Sallie Wylie and Mrs. I.L. Weeks.  John Hargrove, a son with whom Aunt Mary was living and his wife are missing as their home was washed away, and also Mrs. Wright’s husband and his father and mother.  Mrs. Hargrove was well known to many of our older readers, as she was a member of the pioneer Sparks family and one of the most beloved women.  She visited her sisters here last year and they enjoyed the reunion of all their kin and dear friends, living again the happy days of auld lang syne.  Words cannot express our sympathy for the bereft family.  (These sisters of Mary is, Angilyn (Angie) Balsora Sparks Cranford, Sarah (Sallie) Ann Sparks Wylie and Idris Louisa Sparks Weeks) NLN


The above newspaper article is in error in regard to saying Era Wright’s husband was missing.  James M. Wright would continue to live many years after this tragic event.  I believe the article should have said Mrs. Wright’s husbands sister and parents were washed away. 

    James and Era along with several of their children sought refuge in the Nueces County Courthouse.  The family had a late lunch ready when they waded to the Court House, so they didn't eat.  Tide readings indicated that it rose 5 feet in an hour (1 inch per minute), so if they had been 15 minutes later they would have had to swim across Belden Street, much more hazardous.  Era's insistence to leave may have saved the whole family.

Picture of Nueces County Courthouse after the 1919 Hurricane.

The family members that lost their life that day were;


John and Bertha Hargrove

Mary M. Sparks Hargrove

David Nelson Wright

Drucilla Beard Wright

Dona Wright Harris

& 4 other Harris family members to make a total of 10 family members lost.


These family members are all buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, Corpus Christi, TX.


The 1919 hurricane devasted the area and the official death count was 284 but officials believe the count would be closer to 600 – 800 lives lost.  Most were washed ashore at White Point about 8 miles away, covered with black tar.  This black covering came from ships that were carrying oil which were toppled.  Many of the people were left unidentified but all the 10 family members of the Hargrove and Wright families were identified.  David Nelson Wright was easily identified because he had on his suit with the coat buttoned up and in the inside of his coat pocket had his discharge papers from the War Between the States and also a letter from his brother in Tennessee.  Dona Wright Harris had sand and coral beads that were unusual and Bertha Wright had a bone missing on her right finger.  Drucilla Wright had a gold bar pin on the collar, wore a corset and had money stuck down in her bosom. 

Some online pictures of the storm:

The 1919 Storm Revisited:

Note:  In regard to the above online link "The 1919 Storm Revisited" which is posted directly above I received some clarification from Karl Bartels.  Karl is married to Mary Lou Wright Bartels who is the granddaughter of James & Era Wright.

Contributed by Karl Bartels:  The article on "1919 Storm Revisted" made a bad mistake when they described the bodies left on "North Beach".  These bodies washed onto the north shore of Nueces Bay.  Many more washed all the way to the western Nueces Bay from Calallen to Odem.  There is an interesting book "When the Century and I Were Young" written by Ted Fuller.  Ted was 12 when he and his older sister were washed all the way to Odem and he described the experience in detail.  Ted was the same age as Mary Lou's father, and they became great fishing buddies after the storm.  Some younger people washed to the north shore and survived the experience.  North Beach was swept clean except for 3 larger buildings. 

The family of James and Era Wright continued living at
Corpus Christi after this tragedy. 


In 1938 a reunion of old timers was held at Crafton.  Ed Routh (grandson of James & Era who is called "Iz") prevailed on James and Era Lee to attend along with Opal and Ed Jr. "Iz".  For the occasion, Amon Carter dedicated a pavilion he had given to the town of Crafton.  Amon took the occasion to thank James and Era Lee, "If it hadn't been for the Wright's I wouldn't be here."  What a nice tribute.  "Iz" told that story this way.  "The Carter family settled near the Wrights and were building a log cabin when a severe cold spell blew in.  Mrs. Carter had just given birth.  J.M. and his father went to the Carters and brought the mother and infant back to their place using a chair litter and kept them until she recovered and the weather warmed.  The baby turned out to be Amon G. Carter who with his newspaper practically built Ft. Worth."

Handbook online about Amon G. Carter:


The tall man in the middle in the suit and hat is Amon Carter.  Era Wright is standing next to him to the right as you view this picture.  James Wright is at the far right wearing glasses and hat.

        The pavilion is no longer is use and weeds and vines are grown up all around it.  The roof is in bad shape. 

Pavillion at Crafton, Texas,  Photo: Norman L. Newton, August, 2010

Era Lee and James Madison Wright                                                                                            Era Lee and James Madison Wright


James Wright in the early 1940’s would suffer several stokes which left him under total care of Era and a housekeeper.  Era developed cancer and died on April 5, 1943 at the age of 68.  Then 12 days later on April 17, James Wright would pass away at the age of 74.


They are both buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, Corpus Christi, TX.



Note:  Era has two gravestones.  One is in the Era Cemetery and this one at Rose Hill Cemetery.


Death Certificate of Era Lee Hargrove Wright


Death Certificate of James Madison Wright 

    After most of this research was concluded I was very fortunate to make contact with a direct line descendant of the Hargrove -Wright family.  This would be a granddaughter of James and Era, who is Mary Lou Wright Bartels of Portland, Texas.  (Mary Lou is the daughter of David Nelson Wright.)  She has been most gracious to provide additional family information that otherwise would not be available.  While most family pictures were lost in the hurricane the ones the family  had were willingly shared and many are used in this story.  This information helps provide a more intimate look at the persons that James M. and Era L. Wright were and the trials they faced during their lifetimes.


        In 1983 at a reunion of descendants of James and Era Wright there were three of the six children still living and they discussed their memories of the 1919 hurricane. Their memories were recorded and I have transcribed here.


     The three children are;


       David Nelson Wright, born 7/17/1907, Amarillo, TX.

       Gertrude Lillian (Gertie) Wright, born 5/18/1909, Amarillo, TX.

       Mary Mildred Wright, born 5/1/1911, Sandia, TX.


Nelson:  We left about 1:30 to the grocery store on Resaca Street and called (phoned) the Weather Bureau and Aunt Dona.  They said if you were in a good strong house, stay there until the storm was over – but we were in the eye at the time.  We called (phoned) Aunt Dona and told them what the Weather Bureau had told us and that probably was the reason they stayed there and drowned.  When we started back to the house the water was coming up from the bay already.  I walked into the bedroom and the doggone window blew in right by me and cut the end of my finger off – enough so it bled good.  Mother said, “Jim Wright, I’m going to pack some clothes and I’m going to take the kids to the Courthouse.”  That’s what we did.  Mother was the Boss.  Dad had his say, but when she talked like that, well that was it.  So we all got ready.


Mildred: When we started out, Opal and Garland went first with the Abernathys.  Hugh and Ethyl were in the Nueces Hotel.


Gertrude: Mr. Harmon carried me.  Dad had Mildred and Mom had the suitcase.  The water was about here (chest high) to us.  Mom didn’t know how to swim so I thought sure she would drown before  we got to the Courthouse.  We had to wait for wreckage – like a door or a piece of roof – to go by.  How we got there I’ll never know.


Nelson:  We waded about 5 blocks.  When we got to Belden Street we started to cross over to the Courthouse lawn – about 4 feet higher.  Water was running down the street like a river and all kinds of lumber and logs went by.  Three or four men were at the corner of the lawn and when we started across the street they held each others hands and helped us get across the street.  We were going with the water.  I was swimming to cross the street and all the rest were wading with just their heads out.


Gertrude: The reason for all the wreckage was there were a lot of little houses on the shore and the houses were being torn up and were going down the streets.


Mildred: There were four stories in the Courthouse and the 4th story was a jail.  Five babies were born that night.


Nelson: I got locked up in the jail that night.  All of us kids had nothing to do and of course we had to see everything.  The jailer said, “Come here boys I want to talk to you for a minute – That will keep you out of trouble.”  He locked us up for about half an hour.


Gertrude:  They brought in a little baby that night and the mother and the baby was in real bad shape.  Mother took our clothes and wrapped the baby so Mildred and I went around in a rag or what not.


Mildred:  We were all wandering around.  I saw my first dead person.  I walked into a room and a man and woman were on a cot.  She had long hair that was all choked up with oil.


Gertrude:    I was as shocked as I will ever be in my life.  What we were doing there I don’t know.


Nelson:  Well we were hungry – most of us.  We left right at the time to eat lunch.  There were several hundred people.  All the aisles, hallways and courtrooms were full.  Nobody could sleep much on the old hard floors.


Mildred: They made the basement of the Courthouse into a morgue.  They brought in all those people that were swollen and black, and you couldn’t recognize them – We weren’t corralled because Mom and Dad were distraught.  We lost both the Grandparents Wright, Grandma Hargrove, Aunt Bertha, Uncle John and Aunt Dona ----- that’s it.

Nelson: There were 10 relatives drowned altogether with the Harrises.  Dad and mother were never the same after that, because Dad had to go in and identify each one of the corpses after they had been exposed to the weather and everything for up to 15 days.  They were eaten by fish and crabs and everything in the water.  It was horrible!  You could smell them 5 blocks from the courthouse.  I could still smell it in the Courthouse for 15 years afterwards.


Gertie: We were told that W.T. Harris saw Dona go under three times when the waves took her.  Afterwards it was difficult to identify them.


Mildred:  You couldn’t tell by looks.  Grandmother Wright had a gold bar pin on the collar, wore a corset and had money stuck down in her bosom. 


Gertrude: Of course the most easily identified was Grandfather Wright.  He had on his suit with the coat buttoned up, and in the inside of his coat pocket had his discharge papers from the Civil War and a letter from his brother in Tennessee.


Mildred:  Aunt Dona had sand and coral beads that were unusual.  Aunt Bertha had a bone missing on her right finger.


How did everyone survive? 


Mildred: Food was at the bread line.


Gertie:  Many people got clothes from the Red Cross.  We were living on the bluff by then and they said people living on the bluff did not need clothes.  Mom got real mad at them and would never forgive them.


Mildred:  A number of people got money from the Sains in Alice.  James had to stay around so he could identify bodies.


Nelson: Well, Dad was a pretty good trader.  He would go buy and he would sell.  After the storm he gathered pecans on the halves.  He never liked to work for anybody – he worked for himself. 


Garland and Opal went to Ft. Worth to get jobs to help the family.  Soon the whole family except James were in Ft. Worth where the younger ones went to school for that year.  Opal was married to Ed Rough on July 13, 1920 in Ft. Worth.


Era Lee did not want to go back to Corpus Christi but in the summer of 1920 they did move back to a large house at 222 South Upper Broadway.


Nelson:  It was built on the edge of the bluff.  It was a 2 story house and below was like a basement.


On November 12, 1921, Ed Routh Jr. (nicknamed “Iz”) was born in that house.  Mildred said, “Somehow a window got broken in the bedroom where he was born.  When someone asked how come the window was broken, Ed Routh said, Well, the stork broke it!”


Gertie:  One time Opal had made some taffy candy, poured it in a platter and set it in the window to cool.


Mildred:  I was holding “Iz” and he was facing that way.  “Iz” put his hand in the taffy and couldn’t get it off and he screemed bloody murder and had painful blisters.


Gertie:  I thought we had killed him.


Mildred: “Iz” was about 2 or 2 ½ when they decided to go back to Ft. Worth.  “Iz” had a tricycle and he was just beginning to talk.  They dismantled the tricycle and took the wheels off.  He was so interested – he watched in amazement and said.  “My yard cycle!” He thought it was ruined.


Gertie:  I remember Dad at the farm at Sandia raised watermelons.  Grandpa Wright always hunted over the whole patch for a big melon.  He scraped off the green part on one side and wrote in indelible pencil “Master Edward C. Routh Jr.” on it and sent it to Ft. Worth.  It weighed about 50 pounds.


In about 1927, the family moved to their final home at 3414 Shell Road (later Upriver Road).  “Iz” recently wrote, “We always went to Corpus for Christmas and the Shell Road house is all I remember.  Late in the 1930’s when everything played out –J.M. himself the small grocery store he ran with Mr. Harmon and J.M.’s egg business – Era Lee and J.M. apparently rented the house and moved to the farm.  I remember going there alone.”  Mr. D.W. Harmon died in Sandia in 1940.


In 1940 or 1941 they returned to 3414 Shell Road to stay.  James had several strokes and by 1943 he was helpless and needed to be totally cared for by Era and a housekeeper.  But Era had a cancer and died on April 5, 1943, while James died 12 days later of a stroke.


 More information;


Nelson:  I think my grandmother (Mary M. Sparks Hargrove) was an Indian.  When I was twelve years old Grandmother could walk under my arms.  She was real dark skinned and was about the same size as Mildred.  Mildred even walks like her -- like she has mocassins on.  She cut tin out of a tin can bent it over and wrapped it around the end of the arrow.  She showed me how to shoot mullet and crab in Nueces Bay.


Gertrude:  Garland and Opal went to dances and coming home at night would talk to Grandma afterwards and tell all about the boys and all the fun they had.  They would never go to Mom.  She must have had a way with young folks.


Nelson:  Two aunts never had any children.  Every time I went to visit Grandmother, she would assign one of them to follow me afraid I would break something.  Aunt Dona or Aunt Bertha would raise hell about it.  I never did break something -- never got a chance.


Gertrude:  Grandmother dipped snuff.  She would break off a twig off an orange tree and use the soft end to dip with.  I always heard that we were related to Pocahontas but have no idea how.


Mary was living with John and Bertha Hargrove on North Beach when the 1919 Hurricane came on September 14 and they all drowed.  Mary's body was identified by a special pin she wore at her collar.  She is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery on the Hargrove side of the tall Wright-Hargrove Monument.

More Information: 


Nelson:  (Speaking about the move to Sandia.)  When we moved I was nearly 4 in 1911.  I remember being in Dad's store in Amarillo.  I think Dad and Hugh came in a cattle car with the cattle and horses.  The rest of us came on a train with all the kids.


The farm at Sandia had vey sandy soil and grew vegetables, peanuts and watermelons well.  Mildred was born there on May 1, 1911, the last of the six children.  However, James M. preferred storekeeping so in 1913 or 1914 they moved to a house on the bluff at Buford Street.  His store was angling across the stree from the W.T. Harris store at 307 Mesquite Street.  The farm was rented out but they returned to the farm often for 30 years.


Nelson continued: He had this to say about the Buford house.  When we lived in the 2-story house at the foot of the stairs was a big old grandfather clock.  They put me at the foot of the clock and it would knock me out of bed 12 times a night.  Bong!  I could reach up and touch it.  And it would go click-click, click-click all night long.  I could tell when it was ready to go BONG again too.


About a year before the 1919 Hurricane the house on Buford burned down. 


Gertrude:  Opal was fixing breakfast.  She reached over the stove for something when the oven exploded and it burned her arms.  Mr. Harmon was taking a shower in the bath next to the kitchen.  He later said, "When I heard someone say "Fire!" I liked to never have gotten my pants on."  The house burned down completely.  Garland said she remembered seeing the old square piano fall through the floor as it burned.  "Mom, Mildred and I were in Crafton when the house burned down.  I remember that Mother cried when we heard that the house was gone."


The family then moved to Water Street at Fitzgerald until the Storm came.  Water Street was then right on the shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay.  The hurricane which struck on Sunday, Sept. 14th, "was not severe as peak winds were only 110 miles per hour but it passed to the south of town so the winds swung around to come in straight off the Gulf of Mexico which created storm tides of 11-& 1/2 feet and that did the damage. 


To give an accurate list of the six children of James Madison & Era Lee Hargrove Wright I will list in order along with birth, death, marriage and burial location.


1) Alan Hugh Wright, B: 2/1897, Crafton, TX.

D: 1930, Houston, TX.

Spouse: Ethyl Camehl

Bur: Rose Hill Cemetery, Corpus Christi, TX.


2) Garland Wright, B: 10/28/1898, Crafton, TX

D: 1/17/1973, Houston, TX.

Spouse: Garret Samuel Voorhees, married: 4/20/1924, Tulsa, OK, D: 4/15/1967

Bur: Forest Park Cemetery, Houston, TX.


3) Opal Vivian Wright, B: 9/9/1900, Crafton, TX.

D: 2/8/1983, Ft. Worth, TX>

Spouse: Edward Charles Routh, B: 11/19/1895, married: 7/3/1920, Ft. Worth, TX.

Bur: Greenwood Cemetery, Ft. Worth, TX.


4) David Nelson Wright, B: 7/17/1907, Amarillo, TX.

D: 1/29/1992, Kerrville, TX.

Spouse: Evalena Mae Sheldon, married: 2/16/1929, Corpus Christi, TX., D: 4/17/2004, Portland, TX.

Bur: Rose Hill Cemetery, Corpus Christi, TX.


5)     Gertrude Lillian Wright, B: 5/18/1909, Amarillo, TX.

D: 7/19/2002, Portland, TX.

Spouse: Lewis Edward Leonard, married: 9/2/1942, San Antonio, TX., D: 2/1973, Corpus Christi, TX.

Bur: Rose Hill Cemetery, Corpus Christi, TX.


6)     Mary Mildred Wright, B: 5/1/1911, Sandia, TX.

D: 8/30/1993

Spouse: Edwin Chester Rehfeld, B: 2/20/1906, Comal County, TX., married: 9/5/1931, D: 4/15/1984, Corpus Christi, TX.

Bur: Memory Gardens, Corpus Christi, TX.

        While doing this research I was able to make connections that reveled a great deal of Sparks Family History.  I found Aunt Angie Cranford to be of particular interesting.  She was a younger sister of Mary Sparks Hargrove.  She had remained the remainder of her life in Franklin County, Texas.  Doing further review I found the parents of Allen & Mary Sparks Hargrove are buried in the Cypress Cemetery, Franklin County, Texas in addition to many other Sparks family members.  A brother to Mary and Aunt Angie who is A. W. Sparks in particular proved to be interesting.  Mr. Sparks wrote a historical summary of the War Between the States experiences of the units that made up Ross' Brigade: 9th Texas Cavalry, 6th Texas Cavalry and the Texas Legion.  This book is "Recollections of the Great War" which was printed in 1901. 


Attached is:  Recollections of the Great War by A. W. Sparks


Attached is:  Obit of Aunt Angie Cranford

    Some of the family that is buried at Cypress Cemetery that has been mentioned in this story are;

Hargrove, James, b. Nov 9, 1800, d. Oct 26, 1874
          Hargrove, Rebecca, b. Apr 1801, d. Sep 27, 1877 (Rebeca Wells Higginbotham)

Sparks, James Brooks, b. Jan 31, 1809, d. Jan 31, 1899, "Our Father"

Sparks, Mary Ann Cook, b. Sep 3(?) 1812(?), d. May 31, 1887, "Our Mother"

          Sparks, A. W., b. Apr 2, 1841, d. Nov 7, 1912

          Cranford, Angie Shearer, b. Jul 11,1846, d. Apr 13 1930

    Link to Cypress Cemetery, Franklin County, Texas:   Cypress Cemetery  


    Link to Sparks Family History:  Descendants of James Brooks Sparks   (There are errors within the contents that I have not corrected.) NLN


    It should be noted that I have found that  in 1923 the subject of Era Hargrove living was briefly mentioned.  This mention was in a article published in the Gainesville Daily Register on March 23, 1923 which was written by Harvey Hulen.  Mr. Hulen did a series of 53 articles of Cooke County Early Day History which were printed in the GDR.  I will extract part of one of the articles he wrote about the Hargrove family.


Mr. Editor: -- It has been said, and I think truly said.  “That in a multitude of council there is wisdom.”

            I am truly glad to have Mr. Odom’s version on the naming of the town of Era, and I am certain that he is probably correct – am sure he thinks he is – and living there as he did, he had the opportunity to know.

            And now comes Mr. Thurman, as “editor,” and he says Mr. Odom is correct.  Well, now what can I do?  You know the Bible says: “By the mouth of two shall things be established,” now I have to let it go at that.

            In the year of 1876 I was at the Wire farm surveying.  I became acquainted with Mr. Hargrove and his family.  I became very much attached to Mr. Hargrove and his wife and the little folks, and every time I was in that part of the county I would call on them and frequently would stay all night at their hospitable home and was always welcome especially by the little children.  Mr. Hargrove was a good friend of mine.  I had made a survey in that neighborhood that showed that the location of the big Wire farm was badly out of shape and the good folks living on and owning the land, part of the Wire farm, tried to discredit the accuracy of my work.

            I was asked to make a new survey to see if my first one was correct.  I was perfectly willing to do this and without pay too, as I was sure no mistake was made in the first survey.  This was not a little matter, as it was a four or five mile line to run.  We had to make a beginning on Clear Creek at an old survey with a well established marked corner, and no possible mistake in this corner, as the bearings of that old survey were still in evidence.

            Mr. Allen, one of the dissatisfied owners, and Mr. Hargrove were the chain carriers.  We made the survey and when we stopped at almost the identical spot of the first survey, I remarked that when the location of the original survey was made we could not be more than ten varas from this location, owing to difference of chain carriers and surveyor’s compass.  We looked for the original corner, a large pile of stones.  So far in a certain direction from a bend in a small run, but when we examined the run and its banks, it was so badly worn by stock we could not get any thing accurately from this point.

            We failed to find this pile of stones, though I searched for fully an hour.  I had noticed that Mr. Hargrove and Mr. Allen did not help me in that search and I wondered why, but both said it was the time to go home, so we left.  After Mr. Allen had left us and I was going along with Mr. Hargrove, he told me  that they knew where the pile of stones were—that he had accidently found the corner and that was the reason they were so unconcerned and would not help me hunt for it.  “And now we all know you were right and the people will be satisfied with your survey,” said Mr. Hargrove.

            I tell you this so that you will know the intimacy I had with Mr. Hargrove.  I learned of the death of the little girl—my little friends, and her name was Era, and I wept at her grave.

            I never knew before that Era was not the little girl that died, and was buried on the Hargrove farm.  Now comes Mr. Odom and says that the little girl, Era is still alive.  It seems too good to be true, but the evidence is certainly true and convincing.  I accept it as such, and rejoice that my little girl friend is still among the living.


Note:  These 53 articles were published from December 8, 1921 through September 19, 1923.  These interesting articles have been put into a book of 101 pages and sold by the Cross Timbers Genealogical Society.  A complete index and more information about this book can be found at:  Early History of Cooke County by Harvey Hulen


    The family of Allen H. & Mary M. Hargrove has grown to many descendants as shown in the picture below that was taken at a 1993 family reunion. 




    My effort recorded herein has been to tell the story of a early day family which for a few short years lived in Cooke County.  Though their time in our county was brief they left their mark and I am grateful they passed our way.


    In closing I will say this story has been quite a research journey that I have thoroughly enjoyed putting together and recording this small part of their remarkable story.








    Thank you to Bill Maughan who scanned many of the pictures that I used in this story.



Census Records from Ancestry and the Library of Texas Texshare Database.

Texas Handbook Online;

Amon G. Carter

Crafton, Texas

Internet sources of the 1919 Hurricane;

Family Search for Death Certificates;

Era Lee Hargrove Wright

James Madison Wright

Cooke County Archives

Baby Records of Cooke County (Cross Timbers Post Newsletter, Cross Timbers Genealogical Society, Gainesville, Texas)


Pauline Hammond of Michigan who shared e-mail records of correspondence with Jesse F. Barnes from 2002-2005.  They are both Sparks family descendants.  Jesse is the great-grandson of Aunt Angie Cranford. 

Mary Lou Wright Bartels and her husband Karl.  She is the great-granddaugher of Allen H. & Mary M. Sparks Hargrove.

Chris Skelly, Franklin County Coordinator of the TXGenWeb Project.

    Transcription: Optic-Herald Newspaper, Franklin County, Texas

    Transcription:  Obituary of Aunt Angie Cranford

Marti Brown, Nueces County Coordinator of the TXGenWeb Project.

Cooke County Library

Era Centennial History 1978

Potter County Archives:

Widows pension records

"Recollections of the Great War" by A. W. Sparks


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