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Bowen, Clara Fagan - biography contributed by Shirley Marks Whitmore
Bowen, Peter H. - biography contributed by Shirley Marks Whitmore
Brown, Charity
Bush, William Washington
Callaway, Amasa Cicero and Mary Ann Miller
Colson, Sen. Esther Neveille Higgs
Conway, Sallie White Cooper
Corner, John
Darby, Arthur McCracken
Daviss, James Penn
Finke, Frederick William
Harman, Jobe Iva Franklin
Hibbard, Levi
Jarrell, Walter A.
Jernigan, John Wiley
McArthur, William Decatur and Fannie R. Kirk, Jesse Plaster, & Amos L. Plaster
McGinty, John Moore
Ringgold Family
Sanders, Claiborne B.
Smith, Madison M.
Snow, John Robert and Mary Susannah West
Caleb Wallace; James Wallace; Dudley J. White; Borland, Henry, James, and John J. Whiteside(s)
White, Caleb Wallace
Whiteside, Henry and Boland - biography contributed by Douglas Chojecki
Whiteside, James - biography contributed by Douglas Chojecki
Whiteside, William - biography contributed by Douglas Chojecki

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Description: https://sites.rootsweb.com/~txgrimes/CLARENCEWHITMOREFAMILY.jpgClara Fagan Bowen was born in Grimes County, Texas in 1876. She was the daughter of the ex-enslaved couple, Reuben and Elsa Fagan. She married Peter H. Bowen, also born in Grimes County; his parents, also ex-slaves, were Killis and Hannah Venters Bowen. Clara traveled with a party of ex-slaves who joined a wagon train headed for Labette County, Kansas. Some of the older travelers had migrated together before when their "owners" brought them from Georgia and Alabama to settle in Grimes County.

Pictured with Clara Fagan Bowen (center sofa) is her daughter Florene Bowen Whitmore Hadley (right of Clara), and her granddaughter, Wilethel Whitmore Books. Standing behind and right of Clara is her grandson, Clarence M. Whitmore, with his children Sandra and Clarence.

Submitted by Shirley Marks Whitmore








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Peter H. Bowen was born to ex-slaves Killis Jr. and Hannah Venters Bowen of Grimes County, Texas on February 15, 1878. His parents Killis and Hannah were Georgia natives thought to have been held in bondage by the Stoneham family, with whom they are said to have traveled to Texas with. Peter migrated to Parsons, Labette, Kansas with his parents in the early 1880's, and was the only African American to graduate from high school in Parsons in 1899. His graduation speech follows.

Parsons' Weekly Blade Newspaper, May 27, 1899,
P. H. Bowen, Only Colored Graduate in the Class of 1899, City High School, Parsons, Labette, Kansas

My People

Among the honored and loyal citizens of this great Republic there are about 10,000,000, whom, with pride and honor, I may truly call my own. They have been confronted by many and great Difficulties, they were held in obscurity for tedious and long years; in spite of these difficulties and in spite of their obscurity, they have gradually worked themselves up to a position of which any nation might be proud.

In the last 35 years, we have increased in number four-fold; we have advanced in education ten- fold; and our ability to earn a livelihood has been increased twenty-fold. Nor are we without inventors, men of letters, statesmen and orators. Foremost among our inventors is J. Milton Turney, of St. Louis, Missouri. He was born a slave, but had within him the soul of a genius and the brain of a philosopher. By careful and diligent study he invented "planter" a very useful and beneficial farming implement of today. Now, Mr. Turner stands among the leading implement manufactures of the west.

Our chief man of letters is Paul Laurence Dunbar. Mr. Dunbar is well known to us, not only as a poet, but as an excellent prose writer. He is no exception to the old rule, "a poet is born, not made," and upon reading his poems, one at once recognizes this fact. Now, with a vivid imagination and remarkably keen wit, he is gradually taking his place among the authors of the day.

Our leading statesman was Hon. Frederick Douglass. Mr. Douglass was not only the greatest statesman of his race, but also one of our country's greatest public men. Though born a slave, strong within him was the determination to become a man of note, and with undaunted courage he succeeded in working his way into the congress of the United States of America.

Then last, but perhaps the most directly helpful to our race, is our noted educator and orator, Booker T. Washington. He, like the rest, was born a slave, and being fatherless, he of course, had to provide for himself. With but fifty cents in his pocket, he set out from his lowly home for Hampton. Here, in spite of many difficulties, he acquired a common school education. His attention he then turned to his race of people, and since that time he has devoted his entire life to their up-building at Tuskegee, Alabama, where he has under his charge, one of the largest manual training schools in the world. The students tend yearly, several thousand acres of rich and productive soil. Mr. Washington's theory is, "Educate yourselves to become skillful and industrious laborers, thus, you make yourselves as well as your labor in demand."

Then, since these have risen to prominence, since they have made themselves famous by their skill and genius, let us follow in their footsteps. Let us be true and loyal citizens. Let us respect our neighbor as well as ourselves. Let us seek our nation's good and honor in all we do, in all we attempt and in all we think. And then and not until then with a true feeling of patriotism and honor may our mothers track their lisping infants and the words of the hero of old " Liberty and Union, now and forever one and inseparable".

Submitted by Shirley Marks Whitmore
Wife of Clarence Whitmore, 2nd Great Grandson of Peter H. Bowen

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This obit from the Parsons (KS) Sun is the only documentation I have that places my great-grandmother, Charity Brown, in Grimes County, TX:

Parsons Sun February 25, 1947 (page 2)

Charity Brown, possibly the best known colored citizen in Parsons, died at 7 o'clock last night at her home, 1003 S. 13th street. She was 91 years old.

Charity had been in feeble health for some time and had been in a critical condition for the past two months.

Funeral services will be held at the Hamilton Chapel on South 12th Street at 2:30 o'clock Thursday afternoon, conducted by the Rev. G.H. Rowe of Independence. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery.

Charity Brown is survived by two daughters, Pearl Coker, of the home and Mrs. Florence McMillan, Kansas City, and one son, Dennis Brown, Oswego. Also surviving are 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Charity was born in Grimes County, Texas where she grew to womanhood and was married to Clarence Brown at Navasota, Tex. She came north in a covered wagon with an exodus of colored people in 1880 and located at Oswego, where she resided until the family moved to Parsons in 1906.

She took an unusual interest in community affairs and was an enthusiastic worker among the colored people for the Red Cross and for years had been the first subscribed in raising the annual financial budget.

Arrangements are in charge of the Martin Funeral Home.

Submitted by,
Joyce Coker (great-granddaughter)

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Submitted by Gladys Chatham May

William Washington Bush was born November 18, 1847, in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia. He was the son of Eliza Ann Pate and Thomas Jefferson Bush. By 1860, the family was in Eufaula, Barbour County, Alabama.

William Washington supposedly migrated to Texas with his mother and siblings in 1871. He met Mary Matilda Callaway in Grimes County and they were married September 10, 1871. Mary Matilda was born January 16, 1851, in Grimes County, Texas. Her parents were Mary Ann Miller and Amasa Cicero Callaway. The Callaway family moved to Texas between the birth in Alabama of son David in about 1848 and Mary Matilda’s birth in Texas in January, 1851.

William and Mary Matilda were the parents of 6 children. They were living in Grimes County for the 1880 census. By 1900, they were in Waller County Texas. Mary Matilda died there on September 1, 1900. William Washington had moved to Robertson County, Texas, and was living there for the 1910 and 1920 censuses. His son Thomas also lived there. By the time the 1930 census was taken, William Washington was living with Thomas in Houston, Harris County, Texas.

William Washington Bush died in Houston on May 22, 1930. He is buried beside Mary Matilda in Waller City Cemetery, Waller, Texas, .

William was very good with his hands. Left to his descendants are three things he made-a split oak basket, a chest of drawers, and a rocking chair in which five generations of the family have been rocked. Some of his handwritten notes on his carpenter work still exist.

The children of Mary Matilda and William Washington, all born in Texas, were:

William Amasa “Massey”, born May 14, 1872

Jessie Anna Lee, born October 13, 1875, in Courtney, Grimes County, Texas, married James Albert Weatherford December 23, 1894 in Prairie View, Waller County, Texas, died June 24, 1961, Navasota, Grimes County, Texas

Eunice Caroline “Carrie”, born March 14, 1875, married Joseph Fielding Hawkins February 19, 1896, in Waller, Waller, County Texas, died August , 1965, in Oklahoma

Thomas Leonerdous “Tom”, born January 15, 1877, married Zena Countryman, died in Houston, Harris County, Texas

Marsh Frank, born March 8, 1879, married first Mary_______about 1905 in Cuba and second Maude_____, died in Corpus Christi, Texas

Mary Lillian “Mamie”, born December 26, 1882, married first Stanford, second Alexander, and third Clint Randolph, died March 5, 1971, in Huntsville, Walker County, Texas

Gladys Chatham May (great granddaughter)
[email protected]

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Submitted by Gladys Chatham May

Amasa Cicero Callaway was born about 1820 in Georgia, probably Upson County. He appears with his family in Upson County in the 1830 census. In 1840 he was counted in Wilcox County, Alabama.

Amasa married Mary Ann Miller on September 25, 1841, in Alabama. Mary Ann was born in Georgia about 1823. They migrated to Courtney, Grimes County, Texas, between the birth of David in1848 and the birth of Mary Matilda in Courtney on January 16, 1851.

Amasa bought and sold lots of land during his years in Grimes County. The first recorded land deal occurred on January 15, 1851, the day before Mary Matilda was born.

Amasa’s family lived in a house in Courtney that was supposedly built in 1839. In 1964, the house was awarded a state medallion recognizing it as an historical building. The following description of the house was read at the medallion dedication:

“This old Dutch colonial home is the only story-and-a-half house built in this area in 1839. Sam Houston’s home in Huntsville, Texas, is the same type architecture but is a smaller house. The Callaway home was built by slave labor, using square nails made on the farm. The sills of the house are 20 inches square; the beams upstairs are all mortise and tenon joints; wooden pegs were also used. There are two fireplaces made of hand-hewn rock. One has been replaced with brick, and the other is equipped with hand-forged fireplace set. The front veranda, 54 by 10 feet, has 6 square pillars and hand-dressed walls. The back porch is enclosed, and a sun room has been built on the south side of the house. The living room and dining room, both 20 feet square, a bedroom, a large hall, and a kitchen made modern are all on the first floor. Upstairs, there are two rooms, both 20 feet square, separated by a large hall. The east and west walls under the sloping roof are enclosed with spindles for ventilation. A sun deck was added off the south bedroom. One attic room was used for storing wool as it was sheared from the sheep until ready to sell. Several slave quarters were located south of the house. They were grouped around a large smokehouse where the year’s supply of meat was stored. Much gracious living has been experienced, with weddings and gay parties, in this home built by Amasa Cicero Callaway in the year of 1839.”

This writer’s documentation places Amasa in Wilcox County, Alabama, in the 1840 census. He married in Alabama in 1841. The first three children were born in Alabama in about 1844, ’46, and ’48. The fourth child was born in Grimes County, Texas, January 16, 1851. (Conjecture: Could the date for the building of the house in Courtney possibly be 1849 instead of 1839?)

In 1974, Ellen English, a real estate agent, bought the Callaway house. She was moving it to her property and planned to restore it. While it was being moved, it came into contact with overhead electric wires and burned.

Mary Ann died in 1891. Amasa died in 1893. They are buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Courtney, Grimes County, Texas.

Amasa and Mary Ann had nine children. Here is a listing of the children:

William, born in 1844
Susan, born about 1846
David, born about 1848
Mary Matilda, born January 16, 1851, married William Washington Bush, September 10, 1871, died September 1, 1900
Amasa Cicero Jr., born about 1853, married Izolie Cline December 2, 1874
Judith, born about 1854
James J., born December 6, 1858
J. T., born June 8, 1862
L. Theodore, born about 1864, married Pearl Saunders, died in 1941 in Houston, Harris County, Texas (This writer knew Theodore and Pearl and visited in their home on Yale St. in Houston many times.)

Gladys Chatham May (great great granddaughter)
[email protected]

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Born April 18, 1858
Died Nov. 11, 1941, age 88 years, 6 months, 18 days
Parents: Louis Cooper and Mary White Cooper
Spent 70 years in the Little Flock Baptist Church - Anderson, Texas
Baptized by Elder G. B. Orbis in 1874
Son: James P. Daviss, Anderson, Texas
Burial: Little Flock Cemetery

Submitted by [[email protected]]

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John Corner and his wife Prusia were in Stephen F. Austin's Register Second Contract #230. 1829.. John Corner served under Captain Cook's Company in 1836. John and his brother James Corner were living in Grimes County in the 1850 census. By 1860 Census Prusia Corner had died and John Corner remarried and is named guardian of Prusia's two sons, Evan and Leonidas. Found in Grimes County Probate January 1866 John Corner has died. G.B. Johnson is named Guardian of his son. Martha Corner married G.B. Johnson; Elizabeth Corner married AJ Walker.
In the 1880 census ELIZABETH CORNER WALKER is living with her brother Evan Corner and next door to brother Leonidas Corner.

I am a desc. of ELIZABETH CORNER WALKER, Their daughter EMMA PRUSIA WALKER married Joseph David Wilson. Their daughter ANNIE S. WILSON married ALBERT LEE BONEY. Their son is my father.

Submitted by Margaret Boney Brueggeman

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Submitted by Charles E. Darby.

Arthur McCracken Darby arrived in Grimes County (The official name of the county was Washington County at the time.) in 1837. It has been established that he descended from Joseph Darby who came into Maryland in the last half of the 1600s. The early Darbys moved from Maryland to South Carolina, then to Wayne County, Tennessee and Lauderdale County, Alabama. Arthur McCracken came to Texas from Lauderdale County, Alabama.

Arthur McCracken Darby arrived in TX in 1837 and applied for a land grant. He applied for 640 acres which establishes the fact that he was single upon arrival. His land grant application was approved in 1838 for 640 acres in Washington County (see FIRST SETTLERS OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS, Vol. 2).

Arthur McCracken was married twice. He first married Harriet P. Byrne Abt. 1845 and had four children by her. They were Thomas Jefferson Darby, David Anthony Darby, Rutha Ann Darby, and Harriet Poe Darby. It is believed that Harriet died during or shortly after Harriet Poe was born.

Arthur M. married Frances Jane Ringgold after Harriet's death. Together they had two children: Arthur M. Darby who died young and William Ringgold Darby.

Arthur McCracken joined the Navasota Masonic Lodge. This verifies the fact that he lived in the Navasota area in the early years of his residence in Grimes County. He moved his lodge membership to Iola and Zion Lodge #313 in 1875. He served as Treasurer for the Zion Lodge until his death in 1885.

Thomas Jefferson and Arthur McCracken were two of the five individuals who established the Lake Grove Methodist Church, the Lake Grove School, and the Lake Grove Cemetery. The Lake Grove Cemetery is all that remains. We know that Thomas Jefferson Darby and family were also living close to the Lake Grove School because their older children are on the school's census roll.

Arthur McCracken was a Justice of the Peace and married a number of people in Grimes County. His son, Thomas Jefferson, became a Methodist preacher and remained so for life. He married some of his own children and many others in the Iola and Mesa areas.

There has been a continuous presence of Darbys in the northern part of Grimes County since Arthur McCracken and Thomas Jefferson Darby established residence there.

After Thomas Jefferson Darby grew up and married Cornelia Harriet Womble in 1866, they settled near Mesa. Arthur McCracken and Frances Jane moved to Mesa, also.

For additional information on this family, please contact Charles E. Darby at [email protected].

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James Penn Daviss - 1876 - 1970

James Penn was born to the parentage of James (Jake) and Sallie Conway Daviss in Piedmont, Grimes County,Texas in 1876. James Penn moved to Navasota Texas where he joined with and became a deacon at the Little Flock Baptist Church, as well as a Educator in the various communities where he resided.

Reverend Daviss is listed in The Sure Foundation,(p362,363) a book that highlights accomplishments of Texas African Americans.

Church Affiliation: Pastored Bethlehem Baptist Church in Roans Prairie and Pleasant Grove in Piney Woods outside of Navasota.

Started the first homecoming at Bethlehem Baptist Church almost a 100 years ago

Conroe College Organizing Committee

James Penn first married Betty Owens and had the following children: Owen, James Edgar, Bernice, Nancy, Elena, Wright Cuney, Betty, and Gertrude. After the death of his first wife, he then married Gertrude Sims Pierce, who bought with her to the marriage, Jimmie and Elough Pierce. James and Gertrude then had the following children: Harry E , Spencer, Isaiah T, Theodore R, John P, Jessie P, James P.

All of the boys were college graduates and later became educators and or ministers of the Gospel. Bernice became the Dean of Women at Paul Quinn College. The rest of the girls became homemakers.

Submitted by: Bernadine Daviss Fluellen, Annette Boggess Stoneham and Vicky Daviss Mitchell grandchildren

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Frederick William "Fred" Finke was born 12 Jun 1924 in White Hall, Texas. He was a dairy farmer in White Hall all of his life. He died in Nov of 1979 and is buried in Salem Luthern Church Cemetary in White Hall, Texas. Fred served in the US Army. He was wounded (shot through the ankle) in Nuremberg, Germany.

Submitted by Lee Finke.

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Sgt. Jobe Iva Franklin Harman was born on December 23, 1841, in Lexington County. Jobe's father Nathaniel was Sheriff in Lexington. Jobe, along with his brothers and several cousins joined the 13th South Carolina early in 1862. Eventually, Jobe was promoted to 1st Sergeant in Company K. He was wounded only once either at Spotsylvania or the Wilderness by a spent ball. Jobe was paroled on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox. When Jobe returned home he found his home looted and destroyed by Sherman's men. After the war he moved to Texas. He re-married after his first wife died. He was a good fiddle player and often played at family gatherings. Jobe died on June 27, 1921 and is buried at Red Top Cemetery in Grimes County, Texas.

Submitted by Don Hays [[email protected]]

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Submitted by Wiley Alston Jarrell

The Confederate Veterans of Elm Grove Cemetery
Submitted by Helen Richman Wisdom

Walter A. Jarrell

Walter A. Jarrell, Wheeler's Cavalry, was born in Butts County, Georgia, on August 1, 1842. He enlisted in the Confederate Army on his twentieth birthday and was placed in Wheeler's Cavalry where he served throughout the war. At the close of hostilities he moved to Louisiana where he and Susan Ella Randall were married in 1870. They had three children (1) Mattie Nona who married James Monroe Hyde; (2) Ella Will who married L. Z. (Luke) Jeter and (3) Finis H. who married Ludy Spikes.

Walter and his family moved to Texas in 1893 from northwestern Louisiana. Susan Ella and the girls traveled to Wills Point by train where they were met by Walter and Finis who had moved their possessions to Texas by Wagon. The following year the family settled on Twelve Mile Prairie in the area now know as the Whitehall Community and Walter farmed until retirement when he and Susan Ella moved to Mabank.

The Mabank Banner, February 9, 1911, mentions the J. P. Douglass Camp No. 1421, U.C.V. (United Confederate Veterans), Mabank and gives W. A. Jarrell as Second Lieutenant.

W. A. Jarrell died April 18, 1922. Again, The Mabank Banner, April 18, 1922, had the following: " Mr. Jarrell was a man of the highest order of integrity and a man of strong personal convictions who never shirked his duty as he saw it."

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Submitted by Rosemary Cox [[email protected]]

John Wiley Jernigan was the son of Jesse (Jessie) Jernigan and Anna Walker. John Wiley was born 6-8-1832 in TN. He died 2-12-1908 in Grimes Co. TX

John Wiley married Mary Melviney Todd on 4-3-1859 in Rutherford County, TN. Mary Melviney was born ca 1838-43 in TN. She died 1910 in Brady, TX.

John Wiley Jernigan served the Confederacy and is listed as CPL 8th Tenn. Calvary CSA Co. G (Smith's). He enlisted on Sept. 27, 1862 at Bardstown for 3 yrs. He was captured at Buck Spring, Tenn. on April 7, 1863. He was with a group of prisoners of war sent from Louisville, KY to a POW camp at City Point, VA on May 6, 1863 and was paroled at Ft. McHenry, MD on May 10, 1863. A CSA monument was placed on his grave in the 1970's replacing a sandstone marker. John Wiley & Mary Melvina are listed on the 1860 and 1870 Census Rutherford County, Tenn. By the 1880 Census they had moved to Lauderdale Co. AL. Since the youngest child Robert, is listed as age 1 and born in Alabama, the family went to Alabama between 1877-79. They moved to Texas ca 1884 according to the Family Histories of Henderson County and are listed on church rolls by 1893. John Wiley amd Mel are listed on the 1900 Soundex Texas Henderson County census, now ages 64 and 57 and their son Jess and family are listed nearby. John Wiley sold his farm in Henderson Co., TX near his son Jesse, in 1907. He and "Mel" as Mary Melviney was called, moved to Grimes Co., near Bedias, where he died on Feb. 12, 1908. He is buried at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery near Bedias, TX. At the time of his death, he and his wife were living with their son Floyd and his wife Bell. After the death of her husband, Mary Melviney "Mel" visited with her children who were scattered over much of Texas. She was visiting her daughter, Mattie Matilda in Brady, TX who had married John R. Holcomb, when she died on March 10, 1910. She is buried at the Live Oak Cemetery in Brady, TX.

John Wiley Jernigan and Mary Melviney Todd had the following children:

1. Martha Lillie Jernigan was born 12-25-1860 in TN. She died 6-5-1945 in Athens, Henderson Co., TX.

2. Bedford L. Jernigan was born ca 1861.

3. Jane Jernigan was born ca 1859. She died in infancy.

4. Jesse S. Jernigan was born 4-21-1866. He died 12-12-1939.

5. Bill (Bunt-Sam Houston) Jernigan was born ca 1868. He died ca 1913.

6. James Granville Jernigan was born 4-4-1870. He died 3-21-1949.

7. Matilda Jernigan was born 4-25-1875.

8. James Floyd Jernigan was born ca 1877. He died 12-19-1959.

9. Rosa Jernigan was born 8-15-1881.

10. Willis J. Jernigan was born 8-12-1878. He died 11-14-1956.

11. unknown baby-male was born ca May 1860. He died in infancy.

12. Hamilton Jernigan was born ca May 1860.

13. Newton Jernigan was born ca 1872. Listed on the 1880 Lauderdale Co. AL census, child age 8 yrs.

14. Robert Jernigan was born ca 1879. Listed on the Lauderdale Co., AL 1880 census as child age 1 yr.

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Fannie R. Kirk McArthur migrated to Grimes County after 1900 with her second husband William Decatur McArthur and her 2 sons from her first marriage, Jesse Plaster and Amos L. Plaster. Fannie and her sons were born in Georgia, Fannie in Cherokee County and her sons possibly in Fulton County. Her first marriage took place in Fulton County, Georgia. Fannie and both of her sons are buried at Bedias Methodist Church Cemetery.

Submitted by Rita Jackson.

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Richard Ringgold, 76, and his wife Frances Isabel (Fanny) Livingston Ringgold, 70, arrived in Grimes County, Texas, from Butler County, Alabama, in 1856 with two daughters and a son. They came to join three children, one daughter and two sons who arrived in The Republic of Texas from Alabama 19 years earlier in 1837.

Thomas Ringgold arrived in this country from England about 1650 with his two sons, John and James, settling in Kent County, Maryland, in the Chesapeake Bay area. The Ringgolds owned large tracts of land, were active in church and civic affairs and held positions in the judiciary and other professional capacities before, throughout, and beyond the period of four major conflicts.

Richard Ringgold was born in 1780 in Maryland, the son of Dr. Jacob Ringgold and Anna Wright Ringgold. Dr. Jacob Ringgold served as a physician and captain of a Maryland militia company to suppress Tory influence during the Revolutionary War. He also financed the recruitment of soldiers to oppose the British. Young Richard would later serve in the War of 1812 in South Carolina.

As a young man Richard Ringgold left Maryland for Abbeville District, South Carolina. Around 1800 he married Fanny Livingston, daughter of Thomas Livingston and his first wife Mary Chiles. In addition to being a successful planter, Ringgold was a well-known cabinetmaker in Butler County, Alabama, and surrounding areas. Advertisements promoting his cabinetmaking business appeared in area newspapers of the day. His clients included wealthy planters, local government offices, lawyers, physicians, and other professionals.

Richard Ringgold and his wife Fanny had five children in South Carolina. They were: (1) Mary Ringgold (ca. 1805-1881) married Abraham Womack Coleman (1801-1868), son of Benjamin Stephen Coleman (1778-1815) and Elizabeth Womack (1785-1853); (2) James Wright Ringgold, born 1811, married Susan Ann R. Gardiner in Montgomery County, Alabama, in 1835 and moved to the Republic of Texas by 1837. He died in Texas in 1861; (3) William H. Ringgold, born 1813, married Harriett Bowen ca. 1846. William Ringgold died in Butler County, Alabama, while taking the U.S. census in 1850; (4) Thomas Livingston Ringgold, born 1816, died unmarried in January 1868 on his farm near Navasota, Grimes County, Texas; and (5) Nancy Eugenia Ringgold, born 1818, married John Mott in the Republic of Texas in 1838. Nancy died after 1880.

The three children who accompanied their parents to Texas in 1856 were: (1) Frances Jane Ringgold (1822-1885), married Arthur McCracken Darby, 1857, Grimes County, Texas; (2) Richard M. Ringgold (1824-1857), unmarried; and (3) Martha Ellen Ringgold (1827-1872), who married Robert Reason Burns in Grimes County, Texas.

William H. Ringgold (1813-1850) and Mary Ringgold Coleman (ca. 1805-1881) who married Abraham Womack Coleman (1801-1868), were the only children of Richard and Fanny Ringgold who remained in Alabama. In 1856 Abraham Womack Coleman and his wife Mary Ringgold Coleman sold their land in Butler County, Alabama, and moved to Mount Willing, Lowndes County, Alabama.

Children of Mary Ringgold and Abraham Womack Coleman, all born in Manningham, Butler County, Alabama, were: (1) Benjamin R. Coleman, born 1832, died 1877, Butler County; (2) Martha Frances Coleman, born 1833, married Thomas Camp, January 28, 1858, Grimes County, Texas; (3) Lucy Ann Coleman, born 1835, married Redden P. Arant, March 30, 1862; (4) Daniel W.Coleman, born 1836, died unmarried in Confederate Army; (5) Theodore Coleman, born 1838, married Sarah Elizabeth Kilpatrick, August 2, 1869 ,Grimes County, Texas; (6) Jesse Womack Coleman, born 1840, married Helen Simpson, April 23, 1867, Butler County; (7) Nancy Elizabeth Coleman, born 1844, married (a) Charles Adams; (b) John Madison Parmer, November 26, 1889, Butler County; (8) Emily Jane Coleman, born 1845, married John Henry Adams, April 12, 1871; (9) Thomas Livingston Coleman, born November 21, 1847, married (a) Mary Jane Ray, April 12, 1871; (b) Amanda Jane Canterbury, January 31, 1877, Lowndes County, Alabama.

Children of James Wright Ringgold and Susan Ann R. Gardiner: (1) Frances Isabel Ringgold, born 1839, Republic of Texas, married Lloyd Quimby, January 15, 1861; (2) Richard M. Ringgold, born 1843, Republic of Texas, died in Confederate Army at the Battle of Gaines Mill; (3) Z. Gardiner Ringgold, born August 1, 1844, Republic of Texas, married Mariah Jane Kilpatrick, June 27, 1867; (4) Eliza W. (Lettie) Ringgold, born 1848, Grimes County, Texas, died young; (5) Mary Ringgold, born October 1854, Grimes County, Texas, married Thomas Netherville Devine February 28, 1878 in San Antonio, Texas,and; (6) Kate (Kitty) Ringgold, born 1846, married George R. Dashiell, March 19, 1867, San Antonio, Texas.

Children of William H. Ringgold and Harriett C. Bowen: (1) Mary Cordelia Ringgold, born July 11, 1846, Butler County, Alabama, married (a)James W. Rooney; (b) Ross H. Bowen; (2) Lou Emma Ringgold, born January 25, 1849, Butler County, Alabama, married Horace Davenport, January 9, 1879; (3) Henrietta A. Ringgold, born August 9, 1851, married John T. Pollard Jr., Mobile, Alabama, February 16, 1872.

Children of Nancy Eugenia Ringgold and John Mott: (1) Frances Eugenia Mott, born 1839, Washington, Republic of Texas, married Richardson Wadkins (Doc) Brown, August 11, 1855, Butler County, Alabama; (2) Lucy C. Mott, born September 1844, Grimes County, Texas, married James Stuart Vedder, August 13, 1869, Grimes County, Texas; (3) Laura Livingston Mott, born November 1846, Grimes County, Texas, married James Wilson DeSpain , March 14, 1866, Grimes County, Texas.

Children of Frances Jane Ringgold and Arthur McCracken Darby (1) Arthur M. Darby, born 1858, Grimes County, Texas, and (2) William Ringgold Darby, born January 20, 1860, Grimes County, Texas. Today, known descendants of Richard and Fanny Ringgold live in Alabama, Florida, New York and Texas.

Submitted by Mary Coleman Wynn [[email protected]]

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Claiborne B. Sanders married Nancy Holder in Wilkinson Co GA on Nov. 4, 1832. Claiborne was born about 1813-14 and believed to be the son of Samuel Sanders of Wilkinson County, and Nancy was born about 1809, probably in Wilkinson Co GA. They appear in the Grimes County 1870 census and 1880 census.

Claiborne Sanders is listed in the Wilkinson County GA Court of Ordinary, Minute Book A, July Term 1835, page 14: Martha Sanders, Orph. – Claborn Sanders is appointed Gdn. for Elbert A, Cyon {Sion} D. B. and Nancy Sanders, $300 Bond. Sam’l. Sanders Security.

Samuel Sanders makes two subsequent appearances for Claiborne regarding the Martha Sanders Estate during the November Term 1844: Martha Sanders, Est. –Sam’l. Sanders as agent for Claibourn B. Sander, Admr. makes his return; and during the May Term 1845: Martha Sanders, Est. – Samuel Sanders, Agent for Claibourn B. Sanders, Admr. has settled the estate and has L of D. The indication is that possibly Claiborne had left the county.

Claiborne, age 36, is in the 1850 Stewart Co GA Census listed as C.B. Sanders with wife Nancy, age 42, sons Thurman Sanders 16, John Sanders 13, J. M. Sanders 7 and Benj. F Sanders, and daughters Rebecca Sanders 1, Sarah Sanders 5, M. L. Sanders 4 and E. M. Sanders 9/12. A Rachel Elizabeth Sanders whom I believe to be Claiborne's daughter is in the 1850 Clarke Co GA enumerated with a Smith and an Epps family; next door is a Silas Sanders and his family. A Confederate Pension Number 22461 was filed in Grimes County by a Susan Wilson listing a Silas Sanders as her husband. Proof of a relationship to my Sanders is pending.

Rachel Elizabeth Sanders, my great great grandmother, was born about 1835 and married Isaac Cryle Decker, son of Isaac Decker, an early settler of Montgomery County, on Dec. 26 1855 in Montgomery County, TX (See biography of Isaac Decker posted by Ken Williams on the Grimes County web site). This would indicate that the Sanders arrived in Texas from Georgia between the 1850 GA census and 1855.

I have numerous descendants of two of Rachel Elizabeth Sanders Decker's daughters, Ophelia Decker Andrews/Andrus and Almira Elizabeth Decker Gilley, thru whom I am descended.

C.B. Sanders is in the 1860 Montgomery Co Census, with N. Sanders 52, J. Sanders 23 M [John], R. Sanders 21 F [Rebecca], J. Sanders 18 F, S. Sanders 16 F [Sarah], B. J. Sanders 12 M [Benjamin J], E. H or E.M. Sanders 10 F [E. Myra ?].

In 1870, still listed as C.B., he is next door in Grimes Co TX (Coatney P.O.) with wife Nancy and daughters Rebecca 30 and Myra 20; there is also a James Sanders listed with a Coatney P.O address. By the 1880 census, Claiborne, 67, and Nancy, 71, are by themselves, except for a boarder staying with them, Daniel Gill.

This biography of Claiborne B. Sanders is a work in progress. I would love to correspond with anyone who can shed any more light on C.B. and Nancy and any of their children.

Linda Croft [[email protected]]

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Madison M. Smith was born in Louisiana in 1825.  In 1861 Madison M. Smith enlisted in the War for Southern Independence with the 12th Regiment Infantry Co K as a Private, Under Col Overton C. Young.  This unit was organized from Grimes County and other surrounding counties in Texas.  When Pvt. Smith left to defend his home he had to leave his wife and three children; William, Robert Hampton, and Mary Smith, to cope with the many difficulties facing them on the homefront. Pvt. Smith fought in the Battle of Mansfield on April 08, 1864 and in the Battle of Pleasant Hill on the following day, April 09, 1864. After service in the Battle of Jenkins Ferry his unit returned to Hempstead and disbanded In the spring of 1865. Madison Smith returned home to continue farming in Plantersville, Grimes Co. Texas. In December 1866 Madison welcomed a fourth child, Kirby L Smith, to his Family. Madison married a second time to Jane Smith on 15 April 1870. By 1877 he had four more children, Emma, Dorcus, G. W., and J. W. Smith. On the 1880 census his third wife is listed only as M. V. Of his eight children two of them are known to have returned to live in Louisiana. Robert Hampton Smith married Sallie Thigpen, daughter of Burkett Thigpen in Mansfield, Desoto Parish, La. Robert and Sallie later moved to the Lake Charles La area.

Kirby L. Smith married Devro Ann Ferguson, daughter of Deveraux Jarrett and Lucy Powell Ferguson on 08 December, 1889 in Desoto parish La. Kirby and Devro Smith’s children were Lucy Virginia,
Minnie, Bena Mae, Susan, and two more children who died as infants. Members of Lucy Smith Scott’s family are still residents of Desoto Parish.  Bena Smith McAdams descendants have retained ownership of the property which Devereaux and Lucy Ferguson homesteaded in the 1850’s and where Kirby and Devro Smith lived in Ward 5, Dollette Hills, Mansfield, Desoto Parish, La.

Submitted by
Constance McAdams Dennis

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They migrated to Grimes County around Bedias, Pankey and Iola area in 1871. They had moved from Rutledge, Crenshaw County, Alabama with their Children. John and Susannah are buried in Pankey Cemetery west of Bedias.

John served in Hilliards Legion Co. A and D, 4th Battalion Light Artillery, later reorganized in Nov. 1863 to the 59th Alabama Infantry Regiment Volunteers Co. H. , Corporal. Paroled June 1865 at Montgomery ,Alabama. Served for a time after the Civil war in Crenshaw County, Alabama as Sheriff. Moved to Grimes County, Texas, Served as Constable in Grimes County about 1898.

John died April 1909. His wife Mary died 1929.

Submitted by Paul F. Smith [[email protected]]

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Captain James Bell Stephenson was born in 1820 in Florida and died in 1905 on his farm in Grimes County, Texas. He and his wife Melissa Maxwell are buried in a small private cemetery southeast of Courtney on the property James settled many years before. His plantation was very close to that of Jared Groce's retreat and family history tells about the many times his family attended balls and parties there. The homeplace and private cemetery is about a mile west of Camp Allen located on the property of Ila Louise Harris Marshall, a descendant of the Captain.

The Stephenson family is listed in Austin's 1830 Register of Families. JB's father, James Stephenson was born ca 1787 NC. James and wife Amelia Bell immigrated to Texas in 1826 with three sons and two daughters. Thomas Bell Stephenson, James Bell Stephenson, Henry, Florence Elizabeth and Civility Ann were the children that entered Texas with them in 1826. This was a time when Grimes, Waller and Austin counties were all part of the new Mexican territory being settled by Stephen F. Austin.

James Stephenson, JB's father, had been an Indian fighter in the wilds of Florida where JB's brother Thomas Bell Stephenson was born in 1819. The story is told that he came home one day to find Indians attacking his place and after killing a couple of them, James packed up his family and headed to Texas following after other family members who had already migrated there. It has been assumed that these family members were possibly James and Thomas Bell who came from Florida to Texas in 1822 and settled in Austin County. Indeed, James Bell's vast estate of a league and three quarters was just to the west of James Bell Stephenson's home place in the Benjamin Babbitt grant. It is believed that James Bell was a close relative, perhaps a brother or first cousin of Amelia Bell Stephenson.

James Stephenson, the head of the family, received an original land grant league in Austin's Colony 7/8 in Austin County and 1/8 in Washington County. This straddled the border of the two counties on both sides of Caney Creek. He began to sell this land in 1837 and by the 1850's the Stephensons were living in Grimes County. In 1835, James Stephenson bought an 1107 acre tract of property in Grimes County in the Babbitt league. Records at the Retreat Masonic Lodge at Courtney show that both James and his son James Bell Stephenson were members of the Masons there.

James Stephenson was instrumental in the early Protestant movement in Texas and gave land for a Methodist campground on his land near Caney Creek. His wife Amelia was among the first in Texas to be baptized in the fledgling Methodist Church. Col. William Barrett Travis often attended camp meetings at this location. It is apparent that Stephenson had a close relationship with Travis and it was James Stephenson who petitioned the court for the probate of Travis' will. Records reveal that Travis owed him $2500 which apparently was never repaid. Both Travis and Stephenson had property in Washington County on New Year's Creek.

James and his son Thomas Bell Stephenson fought in the Texas Revolution. As the Battle of San Jacinto drew near and Sam Houston was training his troops on the west side of the Brazos very near Stephenson's plantation, sixteen year old James Bell decided that he would not be left behind again as he had been when they fought at the battle of Bexar. He made his way to Harrisburg but by the time he got to San Jacinto, the battle was all over.

Nevertheless, James Bell Stephenson stayed in the army of Texas and records reveal that he fought in the Mexican campaigns in 1838-39 and the Vasques and Woll Campaigns of 1842. He also fought the Comanches and was in the famous Bird Creek Indian Battle where Captain John S Bird died.

Recently found records reveal that James Bell Stephenson became a Texas Ranger. He continued to serve Texas in the Civil War as Captain of the Grimes County Greys.

Later, Captain Stephenson applied for a land grant for having served during the Texas Revolution but the records of many of the service members were burned in 1855, and they never could find proof of his land bounty although a tract had been assigned to a J Stephenson. Nevertheless, JB continued to persue his right to the bounty land up until his death in 1905.

Captain Stephenson married Melissa Maxwell, daughter of Thomas Maxwell and Clarkia Williamson on 23 March 1843 at San Felipe, Austin County, Texas. Melissa bore him eleven children: Mary Elizabeth 1844-45, 2 Clarkson 1845-46, 3. Amelia in 1847 who married Enoch Stifflemire, 4. Thomas Jefferson 1849-79 married Sarah Rosine Pitts 5. Amanda who married JH Ward, 6. Emma 1854-1939 who married William Hoffman, 7. James Bell Stephenson, Jr. 1857-1944 who married Amelia Anne Smith, daughter of William H. Smith and Florence Elizabeth Stephenson Smith, daughter of James and Amelia Stephenson. 8. Ophelia 1859 married James L. Smith, son of William H and Florence Elizabeth Smith 9. Louisa E 1861-1943 who married Washington Green Harris 10. Oliver and Olive, twins who died shortly after their birth in 1866. Melissa also died giving birth to the twins.

James Bell Stephenson along with his brother-in-law William Maxwell were among those appointed by the state of Texas legislature to found Waller County in 1873 from Austin and Grimes Counties. James Bell Stephenson served as the first commissioner of Waller County and was in part responsible for the first bridge to be built across the Brazos River.

In 1883, Capt JB Stephenson served as an elder in the Prairie Grove Christian Church and continued to be a devout Christian all of his life.

Among the descendants of Captain James Bell Stephenson is Kemmie Lou Adair, wife of the famed firefighter Paul "Red" Adair whose life was depicted in the movie, Hellfighters. John Wayne played the part of Red Adair in the movie. Two years before his death, Mr. Adair attended a Harris family reunion on the old homeplace of Captain James Bell Stephenson.

Submitted by Betty Meischen [[email protected]]

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Caleb Wallace, Borland Whiteside, Henry Whiteside and James Whiteside were all (Old 300). Borland and Henry Whiteside were nephews to James Whiteside.

In April 1828 Caleb married Elizabeth Wingfield whose mother was Sarah Whiteside Wingfield. Sarah Whiteside was believed to be a cousin to James Whiteside and also to John J. Whiteside. It is believed that Sarah Whiteside Wingfield and John J. Whiteside both came to Texas with another relative William B. Whiteside who received a sitio of land in what is now Waller County in July 1824. William B. Whiteside was also an "Old 300". It is believed that he was a brother to Sarah Whiteside Wingfield. It is believed that Sarah Whiteside and William B. Whiteside's parents were William Whiteside and Nancy Booth Whiteside who lived in Whiteside Station, St. Clair County, Illinois in the early 1800's.

Also, on the same day that Caleb Wallace was issued the license to marry Elizabeth Wingfield in Austin County, John J. Whiteside was issued a license to marry Caleb Wallace's sister, Elizabeth Wallace. John J. and Elizabeth had two children before she died. One was Sarah Ann Whiteside and the other was Rachel Whiteside. John J. later remarried and three more children were born. It is believed that John J.'s father was Johnson J. Whiteside of St. Clair County, Illinois.

James Wallace, another old pioneer of Grimes County was the father to Caleb Wallace and the father-in-law to John J. Whiteside. James and his wife entered Texas in 1826 from Georgia. He was also the father-in-law to Dudley J. White who married Bethia Wallace in 1825 prior to coming to Texas in 1826. Dudley J. White was born in Georgia in 1801 and shortly after the 1850 census of Texas, he journeyed with others to California to search for gold. He died while in California. They had a son, Caleb Wallace White, who joined the 4th Texas Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company G, Grimes County Greys and was killed at Gaines Mill, Virginia in June 27, 1862.

Submitted by Robert L. Smith [[email protected]]

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Caleb Wallace White was the son of Dudley and Bethia Wallace White who were early colonists in Grimes County. The Whites settled in what is now Grimes County in 1826 following a brother Caleb Wallace. Caleb Wallace White was born in what is now Grimes County in 1842.

When the war between the states broke out, Caleb Wallace White joined the 4th Texas Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company G, Grimes County Greys, Hood's Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. He joined as the Company was being organized and enrolled at Harrisburg on July 19, 1861. The regiment was mustered into the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia "for the war" at Richmond, Virginia on September 30, 1861.

Pvt. Caleb Wallace White was killed in the battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia which was the third battle of the first Cold Harbor on June 27, 1862. The Confederates won the battle but at a cost of some 8000 casualties. It is thought that Caleb Wallace White is buried among 17,000 other Confederate soldiers in the Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

Submitted by Robert L. Smith [[email protected]]

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