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Grimes County, Texas

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Archie McKeown to Niah Elenor McKee McKeown


Some background on this particular letter from Bob Powledge:

This 1888 Letter is from Archie McKeown of Bedias to his Mother, Niah Elenor (McKee) McKeown and to her husband John H. McKeown. The letter was written by Archie while in Seattle, Washington, where he had gone on his way to Alaska, where he intended to mine for gold. After this letter, he was never heard from again by the family, and what happended to him was/is unknown. (Clues, anyone?)

Mentioned in the lettter are Archie's dad, John H. McKeown, who is best known as the man who owned the land where the present town of Bedias is located the I.G & N. railroad bought the land from him), and as the man who built Bedias' first cotton gin in 1872.

Also in the letter, Archie mentions his sister R. Jane "Jennie" (McKeown) Stampley, and her husband Will Stampley Smith. Will is remembered as a Deputy County Clerk in Anderson (1886-1896), and the Bedias Tax Assessor (1901 - 1904). He also organized the Bedias Independent School District, and the Bedias Hardware store - for which a stock certificate was already submitted to the Grimes website.

"Adopted sister Jennie" is Miss Jennie Campbell, a single woman who was a student of Pat McKee and later a Grimes County school teacher for 50 years. She lived with many in the Bedias community, including the McKeown and Powledge families.

"Maggie" is Margaret Eleanor McKeown, Archie's sister and (at the time) soon-to-be bride of Charles Gideon Powledge.

"Mau" and "Maurie" are unknown to me, though this name appears in a number of documents I have.

Comments in square brackets are Bob Powledge's

[Page 1]

Seattle, W. T. [Washington Territory]
July 17, '88

My Dear Mother
I received your little letter yesterday and was very much surprised to get one at all but I was glad to get it as small as it was. Well this leaves me well and I heard from Maurie a few days ago and they say she is a getting better all the time. They have been to lay/pay [unintelligible]Madison for a lil visit but she did not remember anything about it. Well this is a very fine country up here, that is, some of it-and some of it is something like the Michigan Mau wrote back to

[Page 2]

Michigan about he said that some of it was very fine but some of it the law compelled the people that owned the land to put a fence around it to keep other peoples stock from getting on it and starving to death. The principal crop here is hops. It is a great hay growing country, Timothy and clover hay it is more of a lumbering country than we [unintelligible]. They run timber rafts down the rivers here for hundreds of miles. Well, I have written to Sister Maggie all of the news so I will have to close for this time. Give my love to Pa, also to Jennie and


Willie and kiss my little nephews for me Oh how much I would like to see the little strangers & send my love to my addopted sister Jennie

From your
almost forgotton Son

[Page 4]

[scratchings - mostly names and letters] A SAC SAIC McKeown? MM Mary McKeown WS Stampley WS Stampley Anderson JJJJ Jean Eleanor

Scan of Page 1

Scan of Page 2 & 3

Submitted by Bob Powledge


Letter Recommending Gideon B. Powledge to be Ordained as Elder of M. E. Church


Some background on this particular letter from Bob Powledge:

This is a letter from the Anderson Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, adressed to the (then) upcoming Texas Conference of the church to be held at LaGrange. The purpose of the letter was to recommend that Gideon B Powledge be ordained as an Elder in the church.

Gideon was born in Macon, Bibb Co., Georgia on March 07, 1831. He first joined the Methodist church in 1845 (at age 15), then married Louisa B Sewell at age twenty and began a family. In 1860 he was both liscensed to preach and entered into the Confederate Army, where he bagan preaching among the soldiers at the front. His work was considered very effective - enough so that he was made chaplain of his regiment in Cobb's Legion. He served in this capacity until wounded and captured at Gettysburg in 1863, and he finished the War as a prisoner.

After the war, Gideon moved his family to first to Texas. He settled in Anderson, Grimes Co., then in Madisonville. He was ordained as a deacon in 1865. As a result of his service in this capacity the Anderson conference wrote the attached lettter recommending his ordination as an Elder in the Church. The recommendation was accepted; he was elected to Elder's Orders in December 1869 at LaGrange Conference, and was ordained in 1872 by Bishop J. C. Kenner.

Over the next twenty-three years he served as a circuit-riding preacher for a number of churches in Grimes and surrounding counties. He served in the Madisonville Circuit (1871 - 1876), the Waverly Mission ( 1882 - 1883), the Huntsville Circuit (1883 - 1886), the Cold Springs Circuit (1887- 1888), the Zion Circuit (1891 - 1893) the Millican Circuit (1891 - 1893) and the Prarie Plains Circuit in 1895. He retired in 1895.

Even after retiring, Gideon continued to preach until his death of typhoid fever on Sept 10, 1912. He is buried in the Bedias Methodist Cemetery, where a medallion on his gravestone (placed during a ceremony in Oct 1994 ) marks his service to the Methodist Church.

The attached letter was itself lost until 2002, when a county official in Huntsville, Walker Co. came across the letter in some old files and passed it to Huntsville resident and family member Diane Powledge, wife of Gideon's grandson Thomas Gideon Powledge.


To the Bishop and members of the Texas Conference to be held at LaGrange on the 22nd of December, 1869:

Dear Brethren

We the members of the quarterly conference of Anderson circuit, being acquainted with the gifts, graces and usefulness of our Brother, Gideon Powledge do hereby reccomend him as a suitable person to be ordained Elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church South he having been for four years an ordained deacon and having been examined before us on the subject of doctrine and discipline.

Done at the Quarterly Conference at Pine Grove Nove 6th 1869 & signed in behalf of said Quarterly Conference

W J Towler, Sectry I J Johnson PE

Scan of Letter

Submitted by Bob Powledge



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