James A. Barnett & Vina E.
Photo courtesy of
Capt J. A. Barnett
J. A. Barnett of Markham, Texas, 75 years old, a Confederate veteran
and for many years a resident of Bryan, Texas, died last night at 11
o’clock at the home of his daughter, Mrs. A. Gargano, 1605 Franklin
Street. The body will be sent Sunday morning at 8 o’clock by
Westheimer to Bay City for burial.
Barnett is survived by his wife, and one son, Bennie Barnett of
Markham; five daughters, Misses Vina Lee, Jewel, and Jimmie Barnett
of Markham, Mrs. J. R. Gibson of Uvalde, and Mrs. Gargano; five
grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Barnett was also a prominent Mason.—Chronicle
Matagorda County Tribune, November 28, 1919
Capt. J. A. Barnett
remains of Capt. J. A. Barnett, a former citizen of Markham, who
died at the home of his daughter in Houston, arrived in Bay City
yesterday and buried in Cedarvale Cemetery. A brief account of
the death, which was published in yesterday’s Chronicle
appears elsewhere in today’s Tribune.
Daily Tribune, November 28, 1919
Doyle O’Hanlon Coston, Sr.
Doyle O’Hanlon Coston, Sr. was born on June 4,
1843, in New Hanover, North Carolina. In 1861, at the age of 18, he
joined the Confederate Army and marched off with the first company
from Leon County, the “Leon Hunters.” During the four years of the
War Between the States, Doyle was captured by the Northern army. He
was held prisoner for two years, condemned as a spy, and waited to
be shot. He foiled his captors and escaped his execution by swimming
the Delaware Bay.
Doyle Coston married Hannah Angeline Wyatt of
Commerce, Texas, on April 6, 1875, and in the latter part of the
1800s they moved to Matagorda, Texas, and then to Bay City, Texas,
where they established their home. After the death of the Costons,
their property was sold. In the process of tearing down the house
and taking off the outside siding, it was discovered that the house
was a log cabin and one of the first homes to be built in Bay City.
Doyle and Hannah were the parents of five
children: Pearl, Lee, Paul, Grover, and Doyle O’Hanlon, Jr.
Doyle O’Hanlon Coston, Sr., along with his
children, Doyle, Jr., Grover, and Pearl made an important
contribution in the field of entertainment in the early days of Bay
City. Doyle, Sr., played the violin while Pearl played at the harp.
Grover was a member of one of the musical bands and toured overseas
with the band as a clarinet player. Old timers of Bay City
remembered the barn dances and entertainment by Doyle, Jr., and his
son. Doyle, Sr., handmade all of his musical instruments including
the harp. The harp was later owned by one of his granddaughters and
remained in excellent condition. The Coston group performed at the
Opera House and numerous other places in Matagorda County. Between
1880 and the 1930s they provided much needed entertainment for the
residents of the area, and contributed much to the rich cultural
heritage of Bay City.
Doyle O’Hanlon Coston, Sr. died December 9, 1922
and was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City.
Oralee Coston Sewell, Historic Matagorda County,
Volume II, pp 108-109
ANOTHER OLD SOLDIER GONE
DOYLE O’HANLON COSTON
Another old soldier, who tramped the bloody battlefields in defense
of the “Lost Cause” for four long weary and dreary years, on
yesterday afternoon, at 2:40 o’clock, obeyed the summon of the Great
Commander, stacked his arms on earth and answered to the eternal
roll call with former comrades in the greatest of all muster rolls,
and was bivouaced with the departed spirits of the illustrious sons
of the South in the eternal presence of the Immaculate God before
whom all must eventually appear. He entered these, his last ranks,
peacefully and with the same faith and heroism with which he
answered the call to arms in ’61.
Doyle O’Hanlon Coston was born at Wilmington, N.C., on June 4, 1843,
the son of H. T. and Tabitha K. Coston, and moved to Texas in 1856.
When the call to arms was sounded throughout the Southland, he
volunteered for service at Centreville, Leon County, Texas, in July
1861, as a private in company “C,” Fifth Texas Regiment, Hoods
famous brigade. This was the first company of soldiers mustered into
service for the Confederacy from Texas.
Students of the history of the Civil War are familiar with the part
Hood’s Brigade played in the progress of the war. It was first in
battle, the first called into pitched battles and hard places and
was relied upon for good service in trying campaigns. General
Jackson at the Second Battle of Manassas cried out: “Give me an army
of soldiers like General Hood has and I will have Washington and the
war won before a week has passed. All through their lives
Confederate veterans who belonged to Hood’s Brigade have been
especially honored for the part they played, their bravery, and
heroism, as they fought in front line trenches from the First Battle
of the Manassas to the surrender at Appomattox.
In Mr. Coston’s company when the final surrender took place at
Appomattox, April 9, 1865, there were left only eight
men. Mr. Coston and a brother, James T. Coston were out foraging on
the command of their captain and never surrendered.
On April 6, 1875, decedent was united in marriage to Miss Hannah A.
Wyatt, at Sipe Springs, Comanche County. To this union were born
eight children, three of whom survive. These are Mrs. W. B. Barbour,
Grover C. and Doyle O. Jr. of Yoakum.
1891 Mr. Coston and family moved to this county settling at
Matagorda and in the early days of Bay City moved here where their
home has been since.
There was never a better man than Doyle O’Hanlon Coston and he
numbered his friends by legions. Quiet, in nature, unassuming and
modest in deportment, kind-hearted and considerate in his daily walk
in life, a devoted husband, an indulgent father and a neighbor who
doted on and loved his neighbors even better than he loved himself,
he gathered about him the esteem and confidence of everyone. He
sought no earthly honors, except an honorable life, no ostentation
and lived as he believed, in simplicity and submissiveness to the
funeral took place this afternoon at 3 o’clock from the Episcopal
Church, the Rev. J. Mervin Pettit officiating.
Tribune extends to the bereft widow and children its
sincerest sympathy in this, their greatest trial.
Photo courtesy of Kenneth L. Thames
Angelina Coston Passes Away This Morning After Long Illness
Resident of County Since 1891 Dies At Age of 81
Mrs. Hannah Angeline Coston, 81 years, one month and 24 days, died
at her home this morning at 8 o'clock, following an illness of
Mrs. Coston, a resident of the county since 1891, was the relict of
D. A. Coston, a Confederate veteran. For many years an invalid, Mrs.
Coston kept in touch with church activities and community affairs as
well as those more fortunate in health. She was active in the
Episcopal Church for many years. Coming to the county here in 1891
Mr. and Mrs. Coston reared a family in Bay City. Preceded in death
by many years by her husband, Mrs. Coston continued to make her home
at the "Coston Place" until her death this morning.
is survived by two sons, Grover and Doyle of this city; two sisters,
Mrs. Mattie Jacobs of Rising Star, and Mrs. Mollie Stoyner of
Bellwood, North Carolina, one brother, Mr. I. G. Wyatt of Comanche
Funeral services, under the direction of Taylor Bros., will be held
from the Episcopal Church, Tuesday, 10 a. m. Reverend Paul Engle
will officiate. Burial will be in Cedarvale Cemetery.
Daily Tribune, March 25, 1940
Oscar Winfield Ford
O. W. Ford
Died---At his home in Van Vleck, Wednesday
morning, Mr. O. W. Ford. Deceased was found dead
in his bed. Mr. Ford was a Confederate veteran
and an old merchant along Caney in years agone.
He was 72 years of age and leaves no relatives
here. The remains were interred in Cedarvale
Cemetery by the Rugeley Chapter.
Matagorda County News & Midcoast
November 17, 1916
[died 10 November 1916;
birthdate unknown; age approximately 70 years]
FORD - A FORGOTTEN VETERAN
Compiled by Kenneth L.
It was the best of times, it was the worst
of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was
the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of
belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it
was the spring of hope, it was the winter of
despair; we had everything before us, we had
nothing before us; we were all going
directly to Heaven, we were all going the
A Tale of Two Cities, 1859
the War Between the States, indigent
Confederate veterans were given pensions for
their service by the states in which they
lived. Later, as the number of veterans
declined, all Confederate veterans, and
their widows, were able to receive a
pension. Some of those veterans died
without family and due to their financial
situations, many were buried in graves that
were never marked with a tombstone. Such is
the case of one Matagorda County veteran who
has been lying in Cedarvale Cemetery since
1916, unmarked and forgotten.
Ford was born near Midway, Barbour County,
AL in 1846. His parents were William G. And
Mary Steed Ford; he was the fourth of five
children. His father was a wealthy farmer
who lost everything during the Civil War.
This is the story
of Oscar’s involvement in that war, while he
was a member of Company C, Corps of Cadets,
University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, as
taken from an
Alabama Historical Association historical
marker located in Tuscaloosa:
“Early on the
morning of 4 April 1865, Union
General John T. Croxton’s Calvary
Brigade of 1500 veteran troopers entered the
town after fighting the home guard and
capturing the covered bridge connecting
Northport and Tuscaloosa across the Warrior
River. While a detachment of Federals
proceeded to capture two pieces of artillery
stored at the Broad Street livery stable,
Pat Kehoe of the Alabama Insane Hospital
hurried to the University of Alabama to warn
of the soldier’s approach. University
president Landon C. Garland ordered the
guardhouse drummers to “beat the long roll”
to awaken the 300 sleeping cadets. Quickly
forming into ranks, the three companies
began their march from campus into town. A
platoon from Company C, under Captain John
H. Murfee, formed as skirmishers and forged
ahead to the corner of Greensboro Ave. and
Broad Street (University Blvd.) where they
encountered the enemy from the 6th
Kentucky Cavalry Regiment. In the ensuing
firefight, Captain Murfee was wounded along
with three cadets, W.R. May, Aron T.
Kendrick and William M. King. The Union
pickets then retreated down the hill back
toward the bridge.
cadet platoon rejoined the main body of the
Corps which had advanced at the sound of
fighting. Together they proceeded one block
north to the brow of River Hill and took up
positions, firing several volleys down on
the Union enemy by the river. Learning from
a Confederate officer who had been captured
and temporarily released by Croxton that the
Yankee force included 1500 arms and the two
captured cannons, President Garland and
Commandant of Cadets Colonel James T. Murfee
decided that an attack with teen-aged boys
would be a useless sacrifice. The Corps
marched the 1 ½ miles back to the campus,
fortified themselves with what provisions
were available, and continued east on
Huntsville Road. Crossing Hurricane Creek
some eight miles from town, they unplanked
the bridge and entrenched themselves on the
east bank. Croxton did not pursue, instead
exploding the university’s ammunition
supplies and setting the campus ablaze.
After witnessing the destruction from afar,
the cadets marched east, then south to
Marion. There, the Corps disbanded with
orders to re-form in one month’s time; the
war ended in the interval.”
One of the rare
items that exists today that was allowed to
be removed from the library by the
university’s librarian, Mr. Andre Deloffre,
before the library was burned, was a
priceless original copy of the Koran
entitled “The Koran: Commonly Called the
Alcoran of Mohammed” printed in 1853, which
now resides in the university’s William S.
Hoole Special Collections Library.
During the Civil
War only two schools were involved in combat
with a student body, the University of
Alabama’s 300 Corps of Cadets, who were
between 15 and 20 years of age, and the
Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Corps of
Cadets, consisting of 257 students, who
fought at the Battle of New Market, Virginia
on May 15, 1864. Ten VMI cadets were killed
or died later from their wounds; 45 were
wounded. This was one instance out of
fifteen where the VMI cadets were called to
the battlefield; the cadets ranged in age
from 14 to 22. Both schools provided many
outstanding officers to serve the
Confederate cause throughout the war; both
could be considered the West Point of the
Confederacy. The University of Alabama Corps
of Cadets supplied the Confederate armies
with 7 generals, 25 colonels, 14 lieutenant
colonels, 21 majors, 125 captains, 273 staff
and other commissioned officers and 294
After the war,
Oscar returned home to live with his parents
and they moved to Bughall, Bullock County,
Alabama. His father, now in his 60s, became
a wheelwright and young Oscar became a dry
goods merchant, a profession he would
maintain throughout the remainder of his
shortly after 1870 he moved to Matagorda County
and continued working in the dry goods business
on Caney Creek near Hardeman’s
Post Office, which according to an article in
the September 13, 1894 Bay City Breeze
under the title “Hardeman
we find: Hardeman is the business
center....Caney Creek. We have two first class
stores, two gin houses, two blacksmith shops,
one saw mill and a large....suspension bridge of
beautiful architecture, that adds much to the
appearance of the place. Also, two resident
physicians, three carpenters and one machinist.
In 1900 Hardeman was renamed Van Vleck;
he never married. An interesting little tidbit
from the Matagorda County Tribune dated
March 25, 1899 reads:
Hardeman Happenings, by Clod Hopper
Col O.W. Ford, who is an old land mark on Caney,
is now clerking for Wadsworth & Berkley.”
The title of Colonel was used as a term of
respect for the former Confederate soldiers, and
did not necessarily reflect their actual rank.
In June 1908 he purchased property in Van Vleck
and built his home.
The 1909 Gulf
storm destroyed all but three buildings in Van
Vleck according to an article in the May 15,
died at his home on the morning of November 10th,
1916 and was buried by Walker Furniture &
Undertaking Co. at
Cedarvale Cemetery under the auspices of the
E. S. Rugeley Chapter 542, United Daughters of
the Confederacy of Bay City which had been
organized a few years earlier in 1901.
Oscar Ford’s story first came to light as Mrs.
Shirley Brown was researching for the Matagorda
County Genealogical Society; his obituary read:
Died—At his home in Van Vleck, Wednesday
morning, Mr. O.W. Ford. Deceased was found dead
in his bed. Mr. Ford was a Confederate veteran
and an old merchant along Caney in years agone.
He was 72 years of age and leaves no relatives.
The remains were interred in Cedarvale Cemetery
by the Rugeley Chapter. Matagorda County
News & Midcoast Farmer Friday, November 17,
until this time no one was aware Mr. Ford was a
Confederate veteran - much less one with such a
unique military story. None of the locally kept
Civil War records included his name.
Ken Thames, another Society member and
researcher, with the assistance of Mrs. Susie
Adkins, Sexton of Cedarvale Cemetery, combed
through the old cemetery records and found a
reference to a Ford being interred in Section 2,
which was a part of the original cemetery, and
whose grave was unmarked. Walking through this
particular part of the cemetery he found there
were a number of graves that dated from around
1914 through 1920. Having no record of another
person named Ford being buried at the cemetery,
Mrs. Adkins and Ken concluded this was the grave
of Oscar Ford.
Confederate monument was ordered from the
Veterans Administration by Philip H. Parker VFW
Post 2438 and installed at his grave. The
monument will be dedicated by the
E. S. Rugeley Chapter 542,
United Daughters of the Confederacy in the
spring of 2011.
Mr. Ford received a pension
and the following information was included in
Pension # 26860 - Texas
Filed March 18, 1914
Approved December 1, 1913
Pension allowed from March 1, 1914
"I was honorably discharged
or surrendered at Marion Ala on account of the
Fall of the Confederate government."
What is your age? 68 years
Where were you born? near Midway Alabama
How long have you resided in Texas? 44 years
In what county do you reside? Matagorda
How long have you resided in said county, and
what is your postoffice address? 44 years Van
What is your occupation, if able to engage in
one? Not able to engage in one
What is your physical condition? Poor
How long did you serve? February 1863 to
What was the letter of your company, number of
battalion, regiment or battery? Company C
Alabama Corps of Cadets
What branch of the service did you enlist in?
What is the assessed value of your home, if you
own home? Have no home
Signed: January 27, 1914
Affidavit of Jas. G. Cowan, February 2, 1914,
Montgomery County, Alabama, included the
O. W. Ford and affiant
were members of Co C Alabama Corps of Cadets,
that the Alabama Corps of Cadets belonged to the
State Troops subject to the orders of the war
Governor of Ala, that the corps was ordered from
the University of Ala were times during 1864 and
1865. That the corps was engaged in the fight at
Tuscaloosa on April 3rd 1965, when the University
of Ala was destroyed by Gen. Croxton of the U S
Army that the corps marched to Marion Ala there
joining the forces under command of Gen. N. R.
Fant and were disbanded on the 13 of April 1865
and that affiant and O. W. Ford came home