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Volume 3: The Newton County, Texas Stark Families
Part 3: From New York to the Republic of Texas

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Chapter 6
Family Migrations
Chapter 7
Before Republic of Texas
Chapter 8
Daniel & Nancy Hawley

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Page 34

 

Chapter 6

Family Migrations

 

The William Herrin, John Taylor Lewis, Asa Lafitte Stark, and William Hawley Stark families of Newton County, Texas were the first generation descendants of Daniel R. Stark and Nancy Hawley. Their children named William Hawley, Sarah Mariah who married John Taylor Lewis, Prudence Jane who married William Herrin, and Esahl “Asa” Lafitte were living in Newton County by the time Texas was excepted into the Union in December of 1845.

Nancy Hawley, her father, Samuel Hawley, and the four children were living in Floyd County in 1826 and also living in this area of Indiana was the Samuel S. Lewis family who moved to Ouachita Parish, Louisiana around 1825. Nancy and her family soon followed and settled at the head of Bayou Macon near the Arkansas border in Northeast Louisiana. Ouachita Parish was located in northeast Louisiana with it’s eastern border being the Mississippi River. Samuel Hawley transferred his Revolutionary War Pension payments to the Vicksburg, Mississippi District in 1828 and December 28, 1828 Nancy’s daughter, Sarah Mariah, married John Taylor Lewis, the son of Samuel S. Lewis, in Ouachita Parish. Both of these events suggest Nancy Hawley and her children were in Ouachita Parish by 1827 or 1828.

Samuel S. Lewis was born in Virginia on July 4th, 1784 and married Sarah Lemaster on August 1st, 1804 in Henry County, Kentucky. In the year 1806, he moved his family across the Ohio River from Henry County into the Indiana Territory where he and Sarah had seven children. Samuel was the founder of Orleans, Indiana, located in Orange County, and served in the Indiana Militia during the War of 1812. He moved his family to Ouachita Parish, Louisiana around 1825 where he served as Parish Justice of Peace.

In 1829, John Bevil moved into present day Texas and settled between the Naches and Sabine Rivers. With the permission of Lorenzo de Zavala, he was given a grant to allow 500 families to settle in the region. One of those attracted to move to Texas was Samuel S. Lewis who sent his slaves in 1830 to settle within this Mexican Land that became known as Bevil District and then moved his family to the region in 1832 with his sons Martin Baty Lewis and John Taylor Lewis and their families following their father to Texas.

On April 6th, 1830, the Mexican Government passed a law which was intended to halt immigration from the United States into Mexico. Tensions between the settlers and the Mexican garrison Commander at Nacogdoches, Jose de las Piedras escalated and he ordered the settlers to surrender their arms, which was refused and aroused the anger of the settlers in the region. On August 2nd, 1832, a group of settlers attacked the garrison forcing the Commander and his men abandon the Fort and leave the town. Piedras and his troops were pursued by a small number of men who harassed the Mexicans until the soldiers surrendered and gave up Piedras to the settlers. The Mexican troops were returned to Nacogdoches where Piedras was paroled and allowed to return to Mexico City. The three hundred soldiers captured were marched to San Antonio by James Bowie and discharged. This action removed the Mexican Military presence from East Texas which then encouraged the Texans to later revolt in 1836. Samuel S. Lewis served as lieutenant colonel in the battle of Nacogdoches in 1832 and later participated in the siege of Bexar in 1835. His son, Martin Lewis was a sergeant major in the battalion commanded by James Whitis Bullock, and he also participated in the battle of Nacogdoches. In November and December of 1835 he was Captain of a company of East Texas volunteers that took part in the siege of Bexar. John T. Lewis served as a Second Lieutenant in his brother Martin’s cavalry company during the siege at Bexar. All three men served in the Texas Revolutionary War. 

Around 1830, William Hawley Stark married Elizabeth Zachary, daughter of Benjamin Zachary and Elizabeth Odom of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. At about this time, it is believed William Hawley purchased acreage in Ouachita Parish [Could have been Carroll Parish, formed in 1832 from the eastern part of Ouachita Parish] most likely using the money he received as a gift from his Uncle William Stark. One would presume he received his share when he reached twenty-one years old in 1830. His mother, grandfather, and other siblings, Prudence Jane and Asa Lafitte Stark, may have lived with him and his new bride for the Vicksburg Register newspaper (Vicksburg, Mississippi), dated July 22nd, 1835 reported "Another Revolutionary Soldier is no more--Died at the upper settlement on Bayou Macon in the Parish of Carroll, State of Louisiana, on the 4th day of June 1835. Samuel Hawley, aged about 80 years, a native of the State of Massachusetts, and once a soldier of the Revolutionary army. Mr. Hawley was a pensioner and lived for several years back thus secluded and remote with his child and respected by all who knew him.” Since Samuel only had one child, Nancy Hawley, it would probably be correct to speculate from the newspaper report he lived with his daughter. The above property sold by William in 1848 was located at the head of Bayou Macon or probably in the area of the “upper settlement on Bayou Macon.” This property either belonged to William or was inherited from his grandfather after he died. No documents have been found, as yet, on how this property came into William Hawley Stark’s possession.

 

 

 

Page 35

 

William Hawley Stark and Elizabeth had children born in Louisiana named Daniel L. Stark [Born in 1833] and Samuel Hawley Stark [Born in 1836] while the first child born in Texas was James Terry Stark in 1839 which reveals the family moved to Texas during or after the year 1836. It is believed William may have purchased a league of land before the Texas Revolution but had not moved to the property from Louisiana until after the War. One of these grants was for a league of land [4,428 acres].

After the Texas Revolution, the Republic of Texas Congress declared heads of families living in Texas on March 2, 1836 could apply for a square league [4,428 acres] of land with no requirement to live on the land. To encourage settlement, Congress also offered immigrants arriving between March 2, 1836, and October 1, 1837, a grant of 1,280 acres for heads of families and 640 acres for single men. Therefore, it is possible William was a resident of Texas before March 2nd, 1836 and applied for a league of land, which was granted. In any event, he was a resident of Texas before 1839 for he was elected Justice of the Peace, Sabine Beat 4, of Jasper County on February 4th, 1839.

William Herrin, Sr. was born in 1807 in the Mississippi Territory. [Note 1] He was the son of Abel Herring. Before 1825, William married a women whose name and family is unknown. It is believed William was one of the children reported in the Ouachita Parish, Louisiana 1820 census living in the home of Abel Herring and William’s first marriage may have occurred in either Ouachita Parrish or Chicot County, Arkansas. The Herring land was located very close to the Arkansas line and often people from that area would go to Eudora or Lake Village to conduct business. William Herrin was living in Ouachita Parish in 1830 for recorded in the census that year was "William A. Herring, age 20-30 years old, with a spouse, age 15 -20 years old, one male child under five and a daughter under five years old." The son under five years old was probably James Herrin, born in 1826 or 1827, according to his tombstone and census records, who will be discussed later. The daughter's name is unknown. [Note 2] Sometime after 1830 and before 1834, William’s first wife is believed to have died.

William then married his second wife, Prudence Jane Stark around 1834, probably in either Ouachita Parish, Carroll Parish [Was created from part of Ouachita Parish in 1831], or Chicot County, Arkansas. The marriage year is based on the birth of their oldest known child named William Herrin, Jr., born in Louisiana in 1835. [Note 1] William and Prudence had six other children named, George (1839), Andrew Jackson (1841), Mary (1841), Steve(1844), Asa (1846), Edward E. (1849-1932), and Matilda (1852 - ?).

William Herrin was living in Newton County September 30, 1846 when he recorded his cattle brand along with his two brother-in-laws, William Hawley Stark and Asa Stark. January 11, 1847, the Newton County Court met and "then proceeded and passed the following orders in relation to roads & Overseers of roads within Newton County, Viz: Road Precinct 5: Road from W. H. Starks to Ford on Creek near Wm. Herrings. Asa L. Stark, Overseer. List of Hands, E. S. Hunt & hired Negroes, William Herring, James Herring, Joshua Hickman, Wm F. Dobbs & Negro." W. H. Stark was William Hawley Stark and the brother of Prudence Jane Stark. Asa L. Stark was also her brother. William Herrin is recorded as a resident of Newton County, Texas in Carroll Parish, Louisiana where he sold property to Alex Sappington November 30, 1848 which was apparently next door to the property sold by William Hawley Stark in Carroll Parish to the same Alex Sappington on the same day. This would imply William Hawley Stark and William Herrin were neighbors when they lived in Ouachita Parish.

Daniel Donaho and Nancy Larimore, both of South Carolina, married about 1807 and moved to Mississippi with several of Daniel's brothers. In the early 1820's Daniel and Nancy moved to Ouachita Parish, Louisiana where their son, Lewis Donaho, married Ann Lewis, the sister of John T. Lewis. Daniel Donaho appears in the 1830 census for Ouachita Parish but soon after was drawn to the Bevil settlement where he is recorded in the 1835 Mexican Census taken that year. Living in his home in 1835 was his daughter Matilda, age 13, and Willis Donaho, age 23. However, the beginning of the Texas Revolution caused Daniel to move across the Sabine River where he can be found in the 1840 census for Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Asa married Matilda Donaho before July 5, 1838, the day he was granted his 1,280 acre headright. His headright document records he was a married man and as shown above, single men would have received 640 acres. Therefore, from the above, we can say all four of the Stark siblings were living in the Republic of Texas before the Republic joined the Union December 28th, 1845 and Jasper County was divided to form Newton County, Texas.

 

 

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Page 36

 

Chapter 7

The Years Before the Republic of Texas

 

In the 1830 census, John and Sarah (Stark) Lewis were living next door to William Herrin and his first spouse who had given birth to James Herrin in 1826. As will be revealed later, James Herrin married Nancy Jane Lewis who was the first daughter and child of John and Sarah Mariah. On page 191 of the 1830 Ouachita Parish Census, head of the house on line 10 was Martin B. Lewis, on line 12 was John Lewis, and on line 13 was William Herrin indicating they were neighbors.[1] After William Herrin’s first wife died, he married Prudence Jane Stark, the sister of Sarah Mariah Stark.

Samuel S. Lewis was also recorded in the 1830 Ouachita Parish Census which was enumerated on November 25, 1830.[2] It is believed Samuel may have already obtained land in Mexican Texas earlier. Mrs. Charles Martin published the following in the Kirbyville Banner in 1971 “In his (Col. Samuel S. Lewis) certificate of character, he states that he came to Texas in March 1832, but that his servants had been in the province since January 1830. This was probably to prepare fields and buildings for the arrival of the family. The Lewis Plantation was on Indian Creek between the communities of Bevilport and Peachtree, but his post office address was Zavalla in Angelina County. The other part of his grant was east of Cow Creek and south of the Biloxi community.”[3]

From the above and other sources, the Lewis family most likely arrived in Texas between the 1st and 5th of March in the year 1832. The Mexican certificate of character made by Samuel Lewis stated his servants and other property had been in Texas since January of 1830 and he and his wife had two children still living at home. The certificate of character was dated in January of 1833 and signed by the local Alcalde, William McFarland.[4] Also moving to Texas at this time were Samuel’s sons, Martin Lewis and John Taylor Lewis.

However, as the family was preparing to move to Texas, the Mexican Government declared an end to the flow of immigrants from the United States into Texas. General Manuel de Mier y Terán had left Mexico City with an expedition in November of 1827 charged with surveying and marking the northeastern border of Mexico which had been established in the 1819 treaty between the United States and Spain. However, his covert mission was to assess the situation in Texas relative to the size, strength, and attitudes of the settler colonies; evaluate the condition and prospects of the Indians; study the extent and value of the natural resources; and recommend measures to keep Texas as a Mexican providence.[5]

After traveling across Texas to Nacogdoches, Terán reported what he had observed and speculated what it meant to Mexico. He wrote, “As one travels from Béxar to this town, Mexican influence diminishes, so much so that it becomes clear that in this town that influence is almost nonexistent. But where could such influence come from? Not from the population, because the ratio of the Mexican population is precisely the contrary the Mexicans of this town consist of what people everywhere call the abject class, the poorest and most ignorant. The poor Mexicans neither have the resources to create schools, nor is there anyone to think about improving their institutions and their abject condition.”[6]

This was but one of many observations made by Terán and illustrate his concern the Americans, as you moved closer to the Louisiana border, were much better at colonization of regions of Texas than the Mexicans and he feared Texas would ultimately become part of the United States. Therefore, how could Texas be defended against the invasion of the Americans? Terán first recommended the Mexican army’s presence in Texas must be increased. “On the frontier there are intrigues,” Terán wrote; and the way to prevent intrigues from becoming rebellions was to have troops at the ready. Second, he recommended immigration of North Americans be suspended but recommended those American colonies already present, like Stephen F. Austin’s at San Felipe, be left alone an allowed to prosper.[7]

The most important measure recommended by Terán was reserved for east Texas from west of the Sabine River to the Gulf of Mexico and east of the Trinity River. Terán believed Texas should be truly Mexican and without this measure, the other recommendations would only be temporary solutions delaying the inevitable settlement of Texas by Americans. Therefore, Terán declared; “The land of Texas, or at least its eastern part where its principle rivers begin to be navigable, should be reserved for Mexican settlers.” He further recommended the government transplant five thousand Mexicans along the Trinity River to form a barrier to further encroachment of Americans into Texas.[8] As will be seen, this recommendation would have adverse affects on the Lewis Clan who would settle in this region.

________

1)

Census Year 1830 State Louisiana Parish Ouachita Page No 16 Reel no M19-44 Division Western District Sheet No 191 Enumerated by Haywood T. Alford on November 25th, 1830 Reference Source Used Blue Roses Publishing images Transcribed by Karen Mabry Rice and Proofread by Shawn Martin for USGenWeb, http//www.rootsweb.com/~census.

2)

Ibid; Western District Sheet No 184.

3)

Martin, Mrs. Charles; “Early Settlers of Jasper County; The First To Arrive.“ Kirbyville Banner, Kirbyville, Texas 75956, Wednesday 17, 1971.

4)

Benthall, Lillian Light, “Colonel Samuel S. Lewis, Early Texan Founder of Orleans, Indiana“, June 13, 1966.

5)

Brands, H. W., “Lone Star Nation; How a Ragged Army of Volunteers Won the Battle For Texas Independence - And Changed America.” Published by Doubleday, March 2004, First Edition; Pages 142 &143.

6)

Ibid, page 148; H. W. Brands. Source: Pages 97 & 98; “Texas by Terán The Diary Kept by General Manuel de Mier y Terán on His 1828 Inspection of Texas.” Edited by Jack Jackson. Austin University of Texas Press, 2000.

7)

Ibid, pages 151 & 152; H. W. Brands Source Pages 38 & 39 of the Teran Diary.

8)

Ibid; Source: “Texas by Terán The Diary Kept by General Manuel de Mier y Terán on His 1828 Inspection of Texas.” Edited by Jack Jackson. Austin University of Texas Press, 2000, pages 38 & 39.

 

 

 

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In the Spring of 1830, Mexican foreign Minister Lucas Alamán introduced a bill to the Mexican Congress which became known as the “April 6 Law.” This bill authorized the construction and manning of military posts in Texas, encouraged colonization by Mexican nationals, prohibited further immigration to Texas from the United States, suspended empresario contracts not already completed, and banned the introduction of additional slaves, slavery having already been banned by the Mexican Constitution of 1824. William Bennett Travis came in early 1831 to Anahuac, Texas from Claiborne, Alabama, establishing a law practice in that community. Travis was to be appointed the American Council in Anahuac on the recommendation of Stephen F. Austin but before Congress could act on this recommendation, Anahuac became the focal point of immigrant discontent because of the April 6, 1830 Law. Stephen F. Austin’s colony on the Brazos had been granted exemption from custom duties for seven years and under the new law, Mexican authorities insisted on payment after the exemption ran out, which applied to all of the colonies. The colonist and merchants responded by smuggling their goods into Anahuac and the Mexican authorities resorted to seizures of ships and their cargos.[9]

The smuggling was a direct challenge to Mexican Authority and the government appointed Colonel Juan (John) Bradburn, a Virginian by birth, as Commander of the garrison at Anahuac. The American colonist were annoyed by Bradburn’s allegiance to Mexico and, because he was a intemperate, belligerent man, completely lacking in the powers of persuasion, animosity between the Commander and Colonist grew in intensity.[9] The original Mexican Constitution of 1824 specifically made slavery illegal in Mexico but the authorities allowed immigrants from the United States to bring their slaves if each slave signed long term documents of indenture. The slaves readily signed the documents having no idea the laws were different in Mexico. Bradburn took the ban on slavery seriously and attempted to enforce the Mexican Constitution and when Travis made application to Bradburn to recover two runaway slaves, Bradburn rejected the application, stating the runways were not contraband, but free men under Mexican Law and that the two men had joined the Mexican Army and requested Mexican citizenship.[9]

Taking advantage of Bradburn’s unpopularity with the colonist, Travis spread a rumor that Louisiana vigilantes were coming to Anahuac to recover the slaves causing Bradburn to prepare the garrison for an assault, only to discover there was no threat at all. Because Travis had laughed so hard telling the story to others, making Bradburn the laughing stock of Anahuac, Bradburn had Travis arrested and thrown in the guardhouse. Travis became an instant celebrity among the American population, who despised Bradburn anyway, and when Patrick Jack was arrested for attempting to raise a militia against Bradburn, the colony became restless. Fearing the Anahuac residents would attempt to free his prisoners, Bradburn moved them from a ordinary guardhouse to a empty brick kiln.[9]

Other arrest were made which infuriated the colonists even more and word of the plight of those arrested in Anahuac spread northward to San Felipe and Nacogdoches. Thirty armed men were raised from Brazoria and as they rode toward Anahuac, their number grew to more than 100 men. As they were riding towards Anahuac, this band of settlers came upon soldiers sent out by Bradburn who were taken hostage. On arriving in Anahuac, a prisoner exchange was discussed and the Mexican soldiers were released. However, Bradburn reneged on releasing Travis and Jack and instead sent soldiers into Anahuac who shot up the town in the American sector. A group of settlers traveling from Brazoria with a cannon, engaged some Mexican soldiers, the skirmish resulting in several fatalities among the Mexican troops.[9]

The fatalities alarmed the Commander of the garrison at Nacogdoches who hurried south to Anahuac to prevent the rebellion from becoming a full fledged revolution. Because the Mexican army’s presence at that time was not of sufficient strength to put down an uprising in East Texas, the Nacogdoches Commander convinced Bradburn to release Travis and Jack to the Mexican Civil Courts and persuaded Bradburn to relinquish his command to a replacement.[10] Travis was released two months later and declared in a publication, “Americans know their rights and will assert and protect them. The Americans have gained everything which they claimed. There is every prospect that this happy state of things will have a long and prosperous duration.”[10]

Stephen F. Austin and James Bowie attempted to calm the American colonist after the Anahuac Rebellion but during the summer of 1832, José de las Piedras, Commander of the garrison at Nacogdoches, ordered all of the settlers in the area to surrender their arms. This was just a few months after the Lewis family had located in Texas from Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. As one would expect, this order clearly threatened the security of the settlers. The order was rejected and the settlers in the region organized a militia to prevent Piedras from enforcing it. Word was sent out in all directions from Nacogdoches to the other American colonies that this order must be resisted by force of arms.[11]

________

9)

H. W. Brands; Pages 163 thru 167.

10)

Ibid; Source: Davis, William C., “Three Roads to the Alamo The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis.” New York, Harper-Collins, 1998.

11)

Ibid; Pages 179 & 180.

 

 

 

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Samuel Lewis and his sons, Martin Baty Lewis, and John Taylor Lewis, answered the call to arms and joined with the insurgents against Piedras. John W. Bullock was elected Commander of the force which assembled near Nacogdoches on the 31st of July. The men were divided into companies and made preparations to attack the garrison. However, Piedras  was considered to be a gallant man and a gentleman who was generally liked by the residents. A committee was formed consisting of Isaac W. Burton, Philip A. Sublett and Henry W. Augustin who visited Piedras and make known to him the views and intentions of their constituents, and ask his co-operation in sustaining Santa Anna and a free Republican government, with an intimation, unmistakable in tone, that, if he did not, be must evacuate his position and retire to the interior of Mexico. To the requests of the committee, Piedras delivered a gentlemanly but emphatic "No." The answer left but one of two courses to the armed citizens.[12]

In 1898, John Henry Brown wrote this account of the battle of Nacogdoches[12]

 

“On the night of August 1st, these earnest men, about three hundred in number, camped a little east of Nacogdoches. During the night, in anticipation of bloody work on the morrow, the families evacuated the town. On the next the forces entered the suburbs, challenging attack; but, none being made, moved into the center of the town, whereupon they were charged by about a hundred Mexican cavalry, who were repulsed with some loss. Don Encarnacion Chirino, Alcalde, fell by the fire of his own countrymen. The Texians took position in houses and behind fences, and a random fire was kept up till night, in which time they lost three killed and five wounded, while the Mexican loss was stated at forty-one killed and about as many wounded. During the night Piedras retreated on the road to San Antonio. Colonel James Bowie, who seems to have arrived during the night, headed a party to out travel and got in front of Piedras, while the main body pursued in the rear. By taking the lower road Bowie succeeded and appeared in Piedras' front a little west of the Angelina, in crossing which the Mexican sergeant, Marcos, was killed by Bowie's men. Seeing his inevitable defeat, and resolved not to abandon the cause of his chief, Piedras surrendered the command to the next in rank, Don Francisco Medina, who at once declared for Santa Anna and the Republican constitution, and submitted himself to the colonists ¾ nominally yielding himself and command as prisoners. By agreement, Bowie escorted the Mexicans to San Antonio. Asa M. Edwards conducted Piedras to Velasco, whence he returned to Mexico. Among the volunteers at Nacogdoches, besides Bullock and Bowie, were Asa M. Edwards, Haden H. Edwards, Alexander Horton, Almanzon Huston, Isaac W. Burton, Philip A. Sublett, Henry W. Augustin, M. B. Lewis, Theophilus Thomas, Isaac D. Thomas, Thomas S. McFarland, Asa Jarman, and William Y. Lacy."

 

It is ironic, as later events will reveal, that the officer surrendering Piedras’ troops to James Bowie declared for Santa Anna and the Republican Constitution. In the summer of 1832, Santa Anna was a hero of the Mexican Revolution and the hopeful salvation of the Texans and the interest of Stephen F. Austin. The government was controlled by centralist who were manipulating the elections to give them the results they desired. Santa Anna, as a hedge against this fraud, enlisted the aid of some of his old comrades in arms and seized the Port of Veracruz, the single largest source of Mexico’s public revenue. On hearing the port had been captured, other southern states in Mexico, along with the Texans, called for Santa Anna to lead the country back to federalism. Stephen F. Austin wrote; “I would not be a lover of the fundamental principles of the constitutional liberty of my adopted country if I failed to respect the Chief whose arms have always been used to protect and sustain them.”[13]

After a series of small battles, Santa Anna’s forces had gained control of the country by October of 1832. In January of 1833, a parade was held in Santa Anna’s honor in Mexico City and Santa Anna called for pass grievances to be forgotten with these words to a grateful nation; “…indulgence with mistakes of opinion, an end to hatreds, and the erasure from memory of the word vengeance. Thus, you will attain the object of your desires and sacrifices, long and happy days for the republic, durable happiness for all.” With the nation at peace, Santa Anna retired to his hacienda but assured his supporters he would not be far away with these words, “My whole ambition is restricted to beating my sword into a plowshare. If any hand should again disturb the public peace and constitutional order, do not forget me. I shall return at your call, and we shall again show the world that the Mexican Republic will not tolerate tyrants and oppressors of the people.”[14]

The Lewis family settled on Indian Creek in the region which later became Jasper County. Samuel Lewis and John Taylor Lewis probably encouraged others in Ouachita Parish to move to Texas where there was an abundance of land for the taking and it is believed William Hawley Stark followed his sister, Sarah Mariah Stark and her husband, to Texas, purchasing a league of land in 1835 at about the same time his brother-in-law and neighbor, William Herrin, by then married to Prudence Jane Stark, purchased land in November of 1835. By 1835, John Taylor Lewis and Sarah Mariah Stark had a son, William McFarland Lewis, born in Texas in 1833, and a daughter, Nancy Jane Lewis, born in Louisiana in 1831.[15]

________

12)

Brown, John Henry, “History of Texas, The Confrontation at Nacogdoches, August 1832”; Published 1898.

13)

Brands, H. W., Page 182. Source: “The Austin Papers,” Edited by Eugene C. Baker. 3 Volumes. Volumes 1 &2; Washington Government Printing Office, 1924-1928 (Volumes 1-2); Austin University of Texas Pres, 1927 (Volume 3). Vol. 2, page 811.

14)

Ibid; page 183. Source Callcott, Randolph B. “Santa Anna The Story of an Enigma Who Once Was Mexico.” Norman University of Oklahoma Press, 1936, page 96.

15)

The 1835 Mexican Census of Texas; Bevil District or Municipalty.

 

 

 

Page 39

 

Mary Holly was a cousin of Stephen F. Austin who was a writer by inclination. Her husband had died and Mary knew her brother, Henry, and cousin Stephen, were in Texas. Being an enterprising woman, she decided to make a journey to Texas, keeping an diary of her travels, which she intended to publish as a book. Because Stephen Austin was becoming well known in the United States as a successful empresario in Mexico, she reasoned her readers would find her stories interesting and her travel guide helpful to those planning a move to Texas. She found a publisher, and in the fall of 1831, left New Orleans with a boatload of passengers bound for Texas. From her account, life in Texas, as seen from a woman’s point of view, can be appreciated and understood. Although she visited communities like Brazoria and San Felipe on the Brazos River, we can get some understanding of what life was like for the women who arrived and lived in these early Texas communities. One would suppose the circumstances and experiences in other communities would be similar.[16]

Mary wrote this first impression of the community of Brazoria, “One street stretches along the bank of the Brazos, and one parallel with it further back, while other streets, with the trees still standing, are laid out to intersect these at right angles, to be cleared at some future day as the wants of the citizens may require. Its arrangement, as well as its wealth and greatness, are all prospective.”[17]

Of the fifty or so families who lived in the town, she wrote, “Some families, recently arrived, are obliged to camp out, from the impracticability of getting other accommodation. The place, therefore, has a busy and prosperous air, which it is always agreeable to notice, but has not yet advanced beyond the wants of first necessity. There is neither cabinetmaker, tailor, hatter, shoe-maker, nor any other mechanic, except carpenters." Of the one boardinghouse, she said, “The proprietors of it are from New York and know how things should be, and have intelligence and good sense enough to make the best of circumstances they cannot control.”[17]

Mary counseled those expecting to move to arrive in the fall. “The best month to arrive is in October. The first impression at that time is delightful, as well as just, and there is less inconvenience and trouble at that time than at any other season. It is also the most favorable season on account of health. Those persons who come from the northern states or from Europe, in the spring and summer, experience too sudden a change and are always more or less affected by it.” She then gave the following advice for women who would be making the transition to Texas with there families:

 

“House-keepers should bring with them all indispensable articles for household use, together with as much common clothing (other clothing is not wanted) for themselves and their children, as they conveniently can. Ladies in particular should remember that in a new country they cannot get things made at any moment, as in an old one, and that they will be sufficiently busy the first two years, in arranging such things as they have, without occupying themselves in obtaining more. It should also be done as a matter of economy…

Those who must have a feather-bed had better bring it, for it would take too long to make one; and though the air swarms with live geese, a feather-bed could not be got for love or money. Everybody should bring pillows and bed linen. Mattresses, such as are used universally in Louisiana ¾ and they are very comfortable ¾ are made of the moss which hangs on almost every tree. They cost nothing but the case and the trouble of preparing the moss. The case should be brought. Domestic checks are best, being cheap and light, and sufficiently strong. The moss is prepared by burying it in the earth until it is partially rotted. It is then washed very clean, dried and picked, when it is fit for use. These mattresses should be made very thick, and those who like a warmer bed in winter can put some layers of wool, well car ded, upon the moss, taking care to keep this side up.

Every emigrant should bring mosquito bars…. They are indispensable in the summer season, and are made of a thin species of muslin, manufactured for the purpose. Furniture, such as chairs and bureaus, can be brought in separate pieces and put together, cheaper and better, after arrival, than they can be purchased here, if purchased at all. But it must be recollected that very few articles of this sort are required, where houses are small and building expensive…. Tables are made by the house carpenter, which answer the purpose very well, where nobody has better and the chief concern is to get something to put upon them. The maxim here is, nothing for show but all for use. “[17]

And for those who Texas might not be the place for them, Mary gave this sobering advice, “Those persons… Who are established in comfort and competency, with an ordinary portion of domestic happiness; who have never been far from home, and are excessively attached to personal ease; who shrink from hardship and danger, and those who, being accustomed to a regular routine of prescribed employment in a city, know not how to act on emergencies or adapt themselves to all sorts of circumstances, had better stay where they are.”[17]

________

16)

Brands, H. W., Page 213.

17)

Ibid, page 215; Source: Holly, Mary Austin. “Texas Observations Historical, Geographic, and Descriptive.” 1833, New York Arno Press, 1973. Also the 1836 edition, subtitled “Original Narratives of Texas History and Adventure,” reprinted Austin Steck Company, 1935.

 

 

 

Page 40

 

From October 1, to October 6 of 1832, the American Settlements in Texas held a convention to ask the Mexican Government to address the issues which had been the cause of the insurgencies in Nacogdoches and Anahuac. Attending were fifty-six delegates from sixteen districts. Austin was elected President of the Convention and among those attending were William McFarland, representing Ayish Bayou District and Samuel Lewis, named to the Subcommittee of Safety, Vigilance, and Correspondence for the Snow River District (later became Bevil District).[18],[19],[20]

The convention adopted a series of resolutions such as; requesting an extension of the tariff exemption in Texas for three years; modification of the Law of April 6, 1830 which would permit more general immigration from the United States; the appointment of a commissioner to issue land titles in East Texas; donation of government lands for the maintenance of primary schools to be conducted in Spanish and English; and a request from the ayuntamiento (Town Council) of Nacogdoches to prevent white encroachment on lands guaranteed to Indians in East Texas. The convention also established a plan for organizing a militia and committees of vigilance, safety, and correspondence, which could disseminate news quickly in case of an emergency. In its most controversial decision, the convention adopted a motion to request separate statehood from Coahuila which, after some debate, was adopted.[20]

For several reasons, the resolutions were never presented, the primary reason being the refusal of San Antonio to cooperate with the convention which made it appear that only the colonists who had come from the United States were dissatisfied. Therefore, the political chief of the province, Ramón Músquiz, ruled that the meeting was unauthorized and therefore illegal and Stephen Austin, believing the petition for statehood was premature, decided Santa Anna would soon take over the centralist government from Anastasio Bustamante and be more favorable to the petition. As already presented, Santa Anna did take over soon after the convention adjourned.[20]

Sam Houston had met James Prentiss, a speculator who controlled tens of thousands of acres in the Leftwich grant, or at least he controlled them on paper. He offered to bring Houston in as a partner in exchange for payment of cash and Houston’s commitment to travel to Texas to make good on his claim. The April 6, 1830 law made it imperative that Houston make the trip as soon as possible. Houston arrived in Nacogdoches in January of 1833 and from there traveled to San Felipe and then to San Antonio. His traveling companion from San Felipe to San Antonio was James Bowie and it is probable the two men exchanged information on the unrest and insurgency which had occurred in Texas in the previous year. Houston met with several Comanche Chiefs in San Antonio to provide legitimacy to his presence in Texas on behalf of President Jackson and then returned to Nacogdoches, which, by 1833, had become the center of intrigue and agitation in the dispute between the American Colonist and the Mexican Government, and where many opportunist had established their base of operations.

Another convention was held in San Felipe on April 1, 1833, the same day Antonio López de Santa Anna became President of Mexico by popular demand. The convention included about fifty participants including Austin, representing San Felipe, Sam Houston, representing Nacogdoches, and most likely William McFarland, representing Ayish Bayou District, and although the list of names of the attendees has been lost, men like Samuel Lewis probably attended representing their regions. The resolutions adopted by this convention were much the same as the Convention of 1832.

The convention petitioned again for repeal of the anti-immigration section of the Law of April 6, 1830 and in addition asked for more adequate Indian defense, judicial reform, and improvement in mail service. They sought tariff exemption as before, and passed resolutions prohibiting African slave traffic into Texas which agreed with the Mexican Constitution of 1824. The delegates proposed the Mexican Government split the Mexican State of Coahuila allowing a new Mexican State of Texas to be created. Assuming that the petition for statehood would be granted, a committee, of which Houston was chairman, prepared a constitution for submission to the Mexican Congress. Stephen Austin was chosen to present the petition to the Mexican government in Mexico City and the Convention adjourned on April 13.[21]

________

18)

"The Handbook of Texas Online", MCFARLAND, WILLIAM (1774-1840), by McXie Whitton Martin; BIBLIOGRAPHY George L. Crocket, Two Centuries in East Texas (Dallas Southwest, 1932; facsimile reprod., 1962). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin Book Exchange, 1941).

19)

Martin, Mrs. Charles, “Early Settlers of Jasper County, The First to Arrive,” Kirbyville Banner, Kirbyville, Texas 75956, 1971.

20)

"The Handbook of Texas Online", Convention of 1832, by Ralph W. Steen; BIBLIOGRAPHY Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville Cokesbury Press, 1925; rpt., Austin Texas State Historical Association, 1949; New York AMS Press, 1970). Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 (10 vols., Austin Gammel, 1898).

21)

Ibid; Convention of 1833, by Ralph W. Steen. BIBLIOGRAPHY Stephen F. Austin, "Explanation to the Public Concerning the Affairs of Texas, by Citizen Stephen F. Austin," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 8 (January 1905). Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville Cokesbury Press, 1925; rpt., Austin Texas State Historical Association, 1949; New York AMS Press, 1970). Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington GPO, 1924-28). Holland Edwards Bell, The Texas Convention of 1832 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1907). John Henry Brown, History of Texas from 1685 to 1892 (2 vols., St. Louis Daniell, 1893). E. W. Winkler, "Membership of the 1833 Convention of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 45 (January 1942). Henderson K. Yoakum, History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in 1846 (2 vols., New York Redfield, 1855).

 

 

 

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There was considerable debate on the issue of Mexican Statehood which at times took a decidedly secessionist direction with Sam Houston the leader of this group. At the convention, Houston declared in a speech, “Can Mexico ever make laws for Texas? No!!…Mexico is acting in bad faith and trifling with the rights of people. Plans formed without the assent of Texas are not binding upon Texas.” By preparing a Constitution and requesting Statehood, the message was clear that Texas was determined to govern itself. While many in the delegation, led by Stephen Austin, would have been content with self-government within the Mexican federation, there were others, led by Sam Houston, who saw the separation from Coahuila as a first step towards eventual separation from Mexico.[22]

Austin left for Mexico City soon after the convention and on arriving at the seat of Mexican government, he found Vice President Valéntin Gómez Farias was sitting in for Santa Anna, who was ill and had not arrived at the Capital to take control of the government. Austin, in letters back to San Felipe, reported the progress of his meetings with Vice President Farias and the Mexican Cabinet members; “I explained at large and with some detail the situation of Texas and the necessity of erecting it into a state…..and had the right and duty of every people to save themselves from anarchy and ruin…On this last point I enlarged very much. I distinctly stated as my opinion that self-preservation would compel the people of Texas to organize a local government, with or without the approbation of the General Government ¾ that this measure would not proceed from any hostile views to the permanent union of Texas with Mexico, but from absolute necessity, to save themselves from anarchy and total ruin. How such a measure would affect the union of Texas with Mexico, or where it would end, were matters worthy of serious reflection.”

If Austin spoke to the Vice President in this way and tone, he had issued an ultimatum ---- Give us statehood or we will give it to ourselves. This enraged Gómez Farias causing him to become suspicious of Austin‘s motives and loyalty to the Mexican government. Austin’s loyalty to the Mexico was further questioned by Gómez Farias, still handling government affaires for Santa Anna, when he obtained letters Austin sent in October of 1833 to the ayuntamiento (town council) of San Antonio de Béxar. When Austin wrote these letters, he had seen little progress towards statehood and he reported and recommended; “And in my opinion nothing is going to be done…And so I hope that you will not lose a single moment in directing a communication to all the Ayuntamientos of Texas, urging them to unite in a measure to organize a local government independent of Coahuila, even though the general government should withhold its consent.” To the Mexican officials, these were the words of a rebel organizing his followers.[22]

Believing he could do no more, Austin left Mexico City in December of 1833 and hurried to catch up with General Pedro Lemus, newly appointed commandant of the Northern District. He caught up with the General at Saltillo and was immediately placed under arrest on the order of the war ministry and was to be returned to the capital to answer charges raised by the state government of Coahuila y Texas. He arrived back in Mexico City February 13, 1834 and was placed in prison with no charges being formally filed. After three months in prison, Austin had been allowed no visitors and hopes for a hearing and freedom were placed in Santa Anna’s return to the capital.

For one year, Santa Anna had skirted his duties as President, feigning illness as his reason for not attending his own inauguration and then for the same reason, letting his vice-president, Gómez Farias, run the country in his absence. Some historians believe Santa Anna’s “illness” was a political ploy to avoid being responsible for liberal reforms the vice president and a like wise liberal congress put into place. The most influential persons in the country, the wealthy, were the biggest losers if the reforms were enacted, which caused Santa Anna to delay his return to the capital and wait for their reaction and the reaction of the general population. If they proved to be popular, Santa Anna could claim credit, but if they failed, then he could place the blame on Gómez Farias and the Congress.

Santa Anna, during his stay at his hacienda, was approached by a conservative alliance of Bishops and Generals asking Santa Anna to assume emergency powers which he declined to do at that time with these words, “I swear to you that I oppose all efforts aimed at the destruction of the constitution and that I would die before accepting any other power than that designated by it…..My firmest determination is to defend without the slightest hesitation the constitution as our representatives gave it to us in 1824.”[23] However, after several more months had passed, the bishops, generals, and landed gantry, again visited Santa Anna’s hacienda and again requested he move against the liberal movement, arguing the masses weren’t ready for republicanism and Mexico needed stronger leadership. Santa Anna allowed himself to be persuaded by these arguments and in a complete about face, determined he alone would rule the country. Towards the end of April 1834, he returned to the capital, sent the congress home, forced Vice President Gómez Farias into exile in New Orleans, and unilaterally repealed most of the reforms of his liberal government.

With his now conservative base satisfied, Santa Anna justified his actions to the Mexican citizens with these words, “I encountered stormy sessions of the Congress. One faction was endeavoring to confiscate the property of the church and to deny to the clergy its rights and ancient privileges. The public was dismayed by these actions and opposed violently any usurpation of the clergy’s rights. Obeying the dictates of my conscience and hoping to quell a revolution, I declined to approve the necessary decree to put these edicts into law.”[24] With these sweeping political actions, Santa Anna assumed dictatorial powers over the government of Mexico in May of 1834.

________

22)

Brands, H. W., Pages 205, 220 - 223, 226. Source: Washington Daniel Miller Papers, Austin Papers.

23)

Ibid; Page 227. Source: Callcott, Randolph B. “Santa Anna The Story of an Enigma Who Once Was Mexico.” Norman University of Oklahoma Press, 1936, page 102.

24)

Santa Anna, Antonio López de. “The Eagle: The Autobiography of Santa Anna.” Edited by Ann Fears Crawford. Austin Pemberton Press, 1967.

 

 

 

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Meanwhile, Stephen F. Austin continued to languish in his Mexico City prison cell, but was much encouraged by the return of Santa Anna to the capital. Santa Anna eased the conditions of Austin’s imprisonment after Gómez Farias departed, having him transferred to better prison quarters in the suburbs. Visitors were allowed and one businessman who admired Austin, offered to help him escape. However, Austin declined the offer, placing his faith in Santa Anna to set things right. This faith in Santa Anna led Austin to write in August of 1834, “I have no doubt that the political intentions of the President General Santa Anna are sound and patriotic…President Santa Anna is friendly to Texas and to me, of this I have no doubt.”[25]

Santa Anna continued to expand his control over the Mexican government by dismantling the federalist institutions, dissolving state legislatures and militias, and even demoting the Mexican States to departments of the national government. After disposing of his vice-president, Gómez Farias, he held rigged elections that provided him with a rubber stamp congress. This was not done without some resistance. The State of Zacatecas, northeast of Mexico City, refused to disband it’s militia. Santa Anna personally led an Army which soundly defeated the Zacatecas Militia and then, as an example, brutally slaughtered the insurgents and hundreds of women and children. His message was clear, those who opposed his rule could expect no mercy if their opposition failed, an ominous warning to Texans if they planned to oppose Santa Anna’s ambitions.

To restore order to the northern frontier and Texas, Santa Anna sent his brother-in-law north to Texas with several hundred men, there mission, to prevail in Texas as Santa Anna had prevailed in the State of Zacatecas. His orders were to disarm the citizens of Texas and if this could not be accomplished peacefully, then, the population could expect the same harsh treatment experienced by the State of Zacatecas. Cos, on his arrival, announced; “The plans of the revolutionist of Texas are well known to this commandancy, and it is quite useless and vain to cover them with a hypocritical adherence to the federal constitution. The constitution by which all Mexicans may be governed is the constitution which the colonists of Texas must obey, no matter on what principles it may be formed.”[26] With all of the players in place, the revolution is about to begin.

In the spring of 1835, Santa Anna ordered new troops to Anahuac to collect the customs duties, which angered the local merchants and rebellion began anew in Anahuac, led once again by William Travis. The merchant’s retaliated using sabotage and evasion. One of Travis’ clients had a schooner which arrived having passengers aboard without passports. The schooner was seized, it’s cargo impounded and the passengers arrested and taken to Veracruz. Word was quickly passed among the colonist that similar actions by the British had triggered the American Revolution. Travis raised a band of volunteers who elected him Captain and advanced on Anahuac where he demanded the garrison commander surrender or have every member of his garrison killed. Not knowing the strength of Travis’ band, the garrison commander, after assurances his men would not be harmed, abandoned the garrison and rode towards the Rio Grande. General Cos ordered the arrest of Travis but the local authorities refused to carry out the arrest order. A $1,000 dollar bounty reward was offered for the capture of Travis, which further enhanced his reputation among the Texas settlements.

James Bowie was arrested by General Cos who was after some other officials and happened to catch Bowie in his net. After several weeks, Bowie escaped to the American settlements, sounding the alarm that General Cos and his troops were coming. He eventually reached Nacogdoches where militia units were being raised and was elected to be a Colonel.

Austin was finally released in August of 1835 and traveled by boat from Veracruz to New Orleans. He found there were thousands of immigrants pouring into Texas each month, most entering without the permission of the Mexican government or the local empresarios. Texas was becoming Americanized with the population now about thirty thousand from the United States compared to about three thousand Mexican nationals. During his time in New Orleans, Austin learned of the latest Anahuac uprising and of General Cos’ approach. Although Austin still had a glimmer of hope Santa Anna had the best interest of Texas at heart, his trust in this man as a savior of the settlers was faltering as he wrote, “General Santa Anna told me he should visit Texas next month as a friend. His visit is uncertain, his friendship much more so. We must rely on ourselves, and prepare for the worst.”[27]

Upon his return, there was a tremendous celebration and at the conclusion, Austin was ask to speak.[27]

 

"My efforts to serve Texas involved me in the labyrinth of Mexican politics. I was arrested, and have suffered a long persecution and imprisonment. I fully hoped to have found Texas at peace and in tranquility, but regret to find if in commotion, all disorganized, all in anarchy, and threatened with immediate hostilities. This state of things is deeply to be lamented; it is a great misfortune, but it is one which has not been produced by any acts of the people of this country. On the contrary it is the natural and inevitable consequence of the revolution that has spread all over Mexico, and of the imprudent and impolitic measures of both the general and state governments with respect to Texas. They are farmers, cultivators of the soil, and are pacific from interest, from occupation, and from inclination. They have uniformly endeavored to sustain the constitution and the public peace by pacific means, and have never deviated from their duty as Mexican citizens. The federal constitution of 1824 is about to be destroyed, the system of government changed, and a central or consolidated one established. Let all personalities, or divisions, or excitements, or passion, or violence, be banished from among us. Let a general consultation of people of Texas be convened as speedily as possible, to be composed of the best, and most calm, and intelligent, and firm men in the country, and let them decide what representations ought to be made to the general government and what ought to be done in the future."

________

25)

Austin Papers, Volume 2, page 1077.

26)

Brands, H. W., Page 237. Source: Wooten, Dudley G., “A comprehensive History of Texas, 1685 to 1897.” Volumes 1, page 173. Dallas William G. Scarff, 1898. Reprinted edition Austin Texas State Historical Association, 1986.

27)

Ibid. Pages 247, 248, 250. Source: Austin Papers, Volume 3, pages 102, 103, 116-119.

 

 

 

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General Cos loaded five hundred troops on ships and two weeks after Austin’s homecoming, landed troops on the Texas coast. Austin had hoped for more time to get organized, but this new development and the populations fear of meeting the same fate as the State of Zacatecas, moved the settlers to act more quickly than they would have liked. Committees of Safety were organized with Austin heading San Felipe’s. Austin circulated a letter to the other communities giving the latest information on the movements of General Cos and plans for countering those movements. He wrote; [28]

 

Things have come on us much sooner than I expected. The substance of this information is that General Cos was expected at Béxar on the 16th of this month with more troops, that there was a plan to try and foment divisions and discord among the people, so as to use one part against the other, and prevent preparation ¾ and that the real object is to destroy and break up the foreign settlements in Texas. All kind of conciliatory measures with General Cos and the military at Béxar are hopeless….Nothing but ruin to Texas can be expected from any such measures. They have already and very properly been resorted to, without effect. War is upon us. There is no remedy. The people must unconditionally summit to whatever the government chooses to do for them; he (General Cos) lays down the principle that General Government have the right to force us to summit to any reform or amendments or alterations that congress may make in the constitution, &c, for we shall be, under Cos‘ doctrine, without any rights or guarantees of any kind. War is inevitable. There must now be no halfway measures --- war in full. The sword is drawn and the scabbard must be put on one side until the military are all driven out of Texas.”

 

In early October of 1835, there was an altercation at Gonzales on the Guadalupe River. The empresario, Green Dewitt had been given a cannon by the Mexican authorities several years earlier to protect the settlement from Indians. When General Cos ordered the Texans to disarm, Colonel Ugartechea sent a small detachment of troops from San Antonio to Gonzales to retrieve the cannon. The colony refused to turn over the cannon after many Texan volunteers arrived in Gonzales. While the Texan Commander, John Moore, chosen in an election of the men who had assembled, parleyed with the Mexican commander, a banner was unfurled by the cannon with the words, “Come And Take It.” Moore returned to the Texan side of the Guadalupe River and the cannon was fired, discharging metal scraps toward the Mexicans. Musket fire was exchanged and the Mexican officer retreated to San Antonio. Casualties were light on both sides, but hostilities were escalating beyond insurgency and now becoming open rebellion which would rapidly lead to revolution.

Issued 1936 commemorating 100th anniversary of the Republic of Texas

The Texans had still not had a general consultation as suggested by Austin in early September of 1835. The skirmish in Gonzales left no doubt the Texans needed to meet and get organized soon, which would not happen until November. Because of the events in Gonzales, the communities of Gonzales, San Felipe, and Nacogdoches raised companies of volunteers naming as their commanders, John Moore, Stephen Austin, and Sam Houston, respectively. Once the commanders were named, they chose Austin as the Commander of the Texan Army.

Now that the Texan Army was organized, Austin ordered a march towards San Antonio de Béxar to attempt to engage General Cos. James Bowie was in Nacogdoches when news of the Gonzales battle arrived and with some friends from Louisiana, caught up with Austin’s army near Cibolo Creek, about 25 miles east and north of San Antonio. Austin assigned Bowie to his staff and gave him, along with James Fannin, the responsibility of reconnoitering San Antonio to learn more about the Mexican defenses. Intelligence reports from the town prompted Bowie and Fannin to report “A large number of the citizens of Béxar and of this place are now laying out, to prevent being forced to perform the most servile duties….Great consternation was manifested there when our approach to this point (Espada Mission, 9 miles from San Antonio) was made known….They have 8 pieces (4 lb) (Cannon) mounted, and one of larger size preparing for us. They have none on the Church, but have removed all their ammunition to it, and enclosed it by a wall, made of wood, six feet apart and six feet high, filled in with dirt, extending from the corners to the ditch, say sixty yards in length.”[29] They further reported provisions in the town were running low and General Cos and his men could be starved out in five days.

On this intelligence, Austin cautiously advanced towards San Antonio on October 27, 1836 sending Bowie and Fannin ahead with ninety men with orders to reconnoiter and return. However, in defiance of that order, Bowie and Fannin established a position in a bend of the San Antonio River, which protected them from flanking or rear attacks but having the disadvantage of providing no avenue of retreat. General Cos became aware of the presence of Bowie and Fannin and the position they had taken and sent a contingent of troops to exploit the rebels tenuous position. With the battle about to be engaged before Austin was prepared, he hastened forward to reinforce Bowie and Fannin, who were about to become embroiled in a fight with General Cos' troops.

________

28)

Austin Papers, Volume 3, page 128.

29)

Ibid. Volume 3, page 202.

 

 

 

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During the night of October 27, a heavy fog settled on the river and continued to hang in the air on the next morning. Although shots were exchanged by both sides, it was ineffective. As the fog lifted, the ninety rebels found themselves surrounded. Noah Smithwick wrote of the encounter; [30]

 

When the fog lifted, we found ourselves pretty well surrounded, though the bluff and heavy timber on the west side of the river secured us against attack in the rear. In front was a field piece flanked by several companies of infantry; and across the river, to cut off retreat, were two companies of cavalry. But we lay low and their grape and canister crashed through the pecan trees overhead, raining a shower of ripe nuts down on us, and I saw men picking them up and eating them with as little apparent concern as if they were being shaken down by a norther. Bowie was a born leader, never needlessly spending a bullet or imperiling a life. He repeatedly admonished us, ’Keep under cover, boys, and reserve your fire; we haven’t a man to spare.’ Our long rifles ¾ and I thought I never heard rifles crack so keen, after the dull roar of the cannons ¾ mowed down the Mexicans at a rate that might well have made braver hearts than those encased in their shriveled little bodies recoil.

Three times they charged, but there was a platoon ready to receive them. Three times we picked off their gunners; the last one with a lighted match in his hand; then a panic seized them and they broke. They jumped on the mules attached to the caisson, two or three on a mule, without even taking time to cut them loose, and struck out for the fort, leaving the loaded gun on the field. With a ringing cheer we mounted the bank and gave chase. We turned their cannon on them, giving wings to their flight. They dropped their muskets, and, splashing through the shallow water of the river, fled helter skelter as if pursued by all the furies.”

 

In a stunning victory which became known as the Battle of Concepción, Bowie and Fannin had routed four times their number, inflicting sixty casualties on the Mexican troops while having one of their owned killed. Austin arrived shortly after the battle concluded and wrote, “The overwhelming superiority of force, and the brilliancy of the victory gained over them, speaks for themselves in terms too expressive to require from me any further eulogy.”[31]

In early November of 1835, Martin Baty Lewis raised a company of East Texas Volunteers who joined the Texas Army after the Battle of Concepcion. Among the volunteers was his brother, John Taylor Lewis.[32] The Consultation convened at about the same time in San Felipe with 55 delegates attending. Among the many decisions made, Sam Houston was appointed commander of the army, replacing the ailing Stephen F. Austin, and a provisional Government of Texas was created as a state of Mexico with Henry Smith elected as Governor. Houston was now commander of a army that didn’t really exist for the fighting thus far involved irregulars who came to fight when the mood struck them. The army lacked discipline, command and control, equipment and supplies, and the necessary training needed to act as a cohesive unit. The irregulars at San Antonio had defied Stephen F. Austin attempts to organize an assault before he relinquished his command and most decisions were actually being made by committee, many times at the lowest level units and this democratic army had decided to starve General Cos and his men into submission by laying siege to San Antonio.

Houston was against this strategy, believing it would be better to pull back to the east until the army could be trained. Houston wrote to James Fannin suggesting, not ordering, the army fall back to La Bahia and Gonzales along the Guadalupe River, leaving a force of sufficient strength to protect the frontier. The other fighting men would be allowed to go home until the Army could be supplied with ammunition and artillery to make a proper attack on San Antonio.

However, retreat was not acceptable to this democratic army and the siege of San Antonio continued in defiance of Houston‘s suggestion. After weeks on siege duty, the men became bored and on hearing a Mexican column, rumored to have a large quantity of silver, was approaching from the Rio Grande, decided it was time to attack to break the boredom and collect the booty. Bowie was placed in command of forty men to intercept the soldiers who had approached to within one mile of Béxar. Out numbered three or four to one, the Texans boldly galloped into the middle of the Mexican train, forcing them into a arroyo where they took refuge. Hearing the sound of gunfire, Cos sent troops out to reinforce the train and these additional Mexican troops then forced the Texans to seek cover in another close by arroyo. The battle raged back and forth, until Texan reinforcements made up of volunteers who wanted to share in the booty, arrived, driving the Mexicans into the town and forcing them to leave their baggage behind. The Texans fell upon their prize only to find out the train was nothing more than a contingent of troops sent out to gather grass to feed their horses and mules. This battle became known as the “Grass Fight” for obvious reasons.

________

30)

Brands, H. W., Pages 275-277. Source: Compiled by Nanna Smithwick Donaldson. Austin Gammel Book Company, 1900, page 114-115.

31)

Ibid; page 277. Source Austin Papers, Vol. 3, page 217.

32)

Audited Military Claims, Republic of Texas (Miscellaneous Archives, Texas State Library)

 

 

 

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All of this was happening with Edward Burleson commanding, who had been elected by the volunteers participating in the siege when Austin stepped aside. He was by now having difficulty keeping the bored men from going home and promised an assault was to begin on San Antonio on the morning of December 2. However, the lack of a chain of command stopped the planned attack for the company captains polled their men and reported to Burleson they wouldn’t attack. Discouraged by this turn of events, many of the men elected to return to their homes if the Army wasn’t going to fight. Burleson tried to rally the men, but the exodus continued, weakening the siege. He then decided to make preparations to retreat to the east side of the Guadalupe as “suggested” by Houston.

A group of volunteers raised in New Orleans called the “Greys” because of their uniforms arrived at about this time, spoiling for a fight, only to find out the army was going to retreat from San Antonio rather than attack. They were among a group who strongly objected to the retreat and the most notable objector to the retreat was Ben Milam. When he found out Burleson was going to withdraw, he declared he would attack San Antonio on his own. Heated discussion could be heard after Milam and another volunteer, Frank Johnson, entered Burleson’s tent to argue their case. After several minutes, Milam stepped out of the tent and drew a line on the ground with the stock of his rifle and cried out in a loud voice; “Boys! Who will go with Ben Milam into Béxar?” Many of those close by answered “I Will” and Milam said, “Well, if you are going with me, get on this side.” About three hundred answered the call causing Burleson to reverse his decision and plan an attack to start on the morning of December 5. He persuaded those opposed to attacking to stay as a reserve force with these words; “Remain like men, and, win or lose, you will share the glory with your comrades. Abandon us, and you will merit the contempt of posterity.”[33]

Herman Ehrenberg, a member of the New Orleans Grays, wrote this account of the ensuing battle from his vantage point.[34]

 

The hollow roar of our cannon was followed by the brisk rattling of drums and the shrill blasts of bugles. Summons, cries, the sudden trampling of feet, the metallic click of weapons mingled in the distance with the noisy blare of the alarm and the heavy rumblings of the artillery. Our friends had done the trick. [Note: James C. Neill, the artillery commander, sent several salvos in the direction of the Alamo to divert attention away from other forces moving into the town of San Antonio.] Their cannonading had put the Mexicans on the alert, and many of them would probably rush to the defense of the fortress. The success of this first part of our scheme encouraged us, for we thought that in the midst of the din and confusion we should have a better chance of slipping into the city unnoticed.

[Note: Jesus Cuellar, a native of Bexar, led the New Orleans Greys into the city.] Not a word passed his (Jesus Cuellar} lips, and his eyes were constantly turned toward the Alamo, as if the dense shadows about the fortress held the secret fate of our adventure. {Note at some point after the cannon fired on the Alamo, rockets flared up from the fort, calling for the men in town to come to the defense of the fort.} It meant, he said (Cuellar comment on seeing the flares), that the road was free and that we were safe. The further into the city we ran, the more stone houses we should be able to occupy. Sometimes our way led across small Mexican gardens, which afforded us a good deal of shelter; sometimes over bare, exposed patches of ground close to the edge of the stream.

It was quite early yet. Most of the objects around us were still wrapped in the receding shadows of departing night, but in spite of this semidarkness, we easily detected the enemy’s position. The lurid glow of the explosions lit up the central quadrangle of the city, from which the Mexican artillery poured forth continuous volleys of shot. A dozen or more six-pounders seemed to have chosen our small fortress [Note: Place of shelter taken by Ehrenburg and several other men which was a stone building that had served as a guardhouse.] as a special objective, and one of them, which stood within eight feet of us, gave us a good deal of anxiety….Cannon balls and bullets whizzed and crashed above our heads, leaving us frightened and bewildered.

On our right and somewhat farther back than we were, little clouds of smoke were raising at intervals from several stone buildings. Judging from the intermittent shooting that these were held by a small number of our adversaries, we promptly made up our minds to seize the houses and use them as part of our quarters. Just as our plans were completed, several discharges from these same houses informed us that they were in the hands of our friends, who likewise had mistaken us for enemies. While they were firing upon us, one of their bullets had hit a tall Mississippian named Moore, but fortunately it had glanced off a two-dollar piece which he had in his coat pocket. The second bullet struck another very tall fellow, also from Mississippi, tore off his forehead, and dashed its fragments on the flagstone and on those of us who stood around him. [Note: A third man, a German, was badly wounded in this exchange of friendly fire.] Scores of lead and copper bullets greeted the appearance of volunteers bold enough to run the gauntlet of this well- sustained fusillade. (On silencing the cannon which harassed them) Several of our best sharpshooters stationed themselves close to the loop-holes in our walls and mercilessly struck down every bluecoat who came near the artillery piece, which was very soon reduced to silence because the Mexican soldiers were unable to reach it.

[Note: The fighting was causing the men to become thirsty and the rebels attempted to run to the river for water but were discouraged by sniping by the Mexicans. By this time, Ehrenberg and his group had taken refuge in a house with a Mexican woman in attendance. She made them breakfast and then realized the men needed water. She volunteered to make the trip to the River, at which the men protested.] But she (The Mexican women) laughed at our objections, saying that we did not begin to realize the fondness of the Mexicans for the fair sex. She added that since there was no danger it would be foolish to stop her, and was off before we had time to hold her back. She {after reaching the river without incidence} had filled the buckets and was preparing to go back when the enemy opened fire on her. Four bullets went through her body and she fell lifeless on the green grass. Our men, horror-stricken, gazed over the walls, and after a few moments several of them rushed outside and dragged in the well meaning but unfortunate woman." [Note: While both sides paused in the battle after this horrifying event, several of the Greys were able to make it to the river and bring back the badly needed water.]

________

33)

Brands, H. W.; page 297. Source: Taylor, Creed, “Tall Men with Long Rifles,”; pages 62-63. As told to James T. DeShields. San Antonio Naylor Company, 1935, 1971. Note Creed Taylor was a volunteer present at the Siege of Bexar.

34)

Ibid; page 297-301. Source: Ehrenberg, Herman. “With Milam and Fannin Adventures of a German Boy in Texas‘ Revolution”; Originally published in German in 1843. Translated by Charlotte Churchill. Dallas Tardy Publishing Co., 1935, pages 71-81

 

 

 

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At the conclusion of the first day of battle, the Texans had one killed and several wounded while the Mexican side had several killed and several more wounded. However, the Mexicans still held the plaza and the Alamo. Creed Taylor recalled the action at the plaza on the close of the first day of fighting; “These walls were manned by Mexicans troops who kept up a brisk fire upon us during the day, and if they had been trained marksmen, armed with any other gun than the ’escopeta.’ few of us would have escaped death. I saw volley after volley fired from an ’ararea’ in our front and not a man’s head to be seen. Crouching behind the roof-walls, these Mexican soldiers would load, thrust their guns over the crest of the low wall, and send a constant shower of balls in our direction, with harmless effect. It was a matter of self preservation, since no sooner did a head appear above the walls than it served as a target for a dozen hunting rifles, and there was always another dead Mexican.”[35]

Frank Johnson’s after-action report to Burleson on the second day of fighting gave this brief account; “At daylight on the 6th the enemy were observed to have occupied the tops of houses in our front, where, under the cover of breastworks, they opened through loop-holes a very brisk fire of small arms on our whole line, followed by a steady cannonading from the town, in front, and the Alamo on the left flank, with few interruptions during the day.”

On the third day, Creed Taylor’s company found themselves pinned down in an adobe house which came under fire from Mexican cannon. Each time the cannon roared, another part of the house was destroyed and it would only be a matter of time before there protection was gone and they were exposed to the cannon. Across the street was another stone house occupied by Mexican soldiers, but which offered better protection. Taylor wrote this account of the heroics of Henry Karnes. “Boys (Karnes speaking), load your guns and be ready. I am going to break open that door….I want you to pour a steady hot fire into those fellows on the roof and hold their attention till I reach the door, and when I break it in I want you boys to make a clean dash for that house.” Taylor and the other men appraised Karnes of all of the guns in the windows of the building and the danger of what he was suggesting to which he answered: “Damn the Mexicans and their escopetas, (Mexican Gun) It’s that house or retreat. You men do as I tell you.” Taylor continued his account; “And with rifle in one hand and crowbar in the other, he flew across the street, and after a few well-directed blows, the door gave way, by which time our whole company was at his heels.” The company forced the Mexicans from the house and took up their new safer position.[35] Around noon, the rebels captured the Veramendi house[36], and this was where Ben Milam established a headquarters. While scanning the battlefield with a telescope from the house courtyard, he was killed by a Mexican sniper.

During the night of December 7th, a cold rain fell, wetting the gun powder preventing and slowing the firing of weapons. The rebels took advantage of the lull to improve their defensive positions while General Cos attempted to change the outcome of the battle by attacking the headquarters’ of Burleson. According to one witness of the attack, “It appeared we were to be swept off by a general charge by the cavalry, Infantry, and lancers, playing more music than I ever heard.”[37] With the assistance of his artillery, Burleson and his men held their ground, inflicting heavy casualties on the Mexican troops which forced them to break-off the charge and withdraw

A rumor started making the rounds in the Mexican camp that a relief column was approaching and Cos sent two hundred men out to meet them. These men, on finding no troops approaching the city, promptly deserted. Mexican General Vicente Filisola wrote these words related to Mexican moral when the deserters didn’t return. “There was a feeling that General Cos was dead. The fact that many of the women and children of the town had sought refuge in the Alamo depressed the troops which yet remained. They became obsessed with the idea that their cause was already lost, and increasing rumors of more desertions persisted.”[38]

On the afternoon of the fourth day of battle, five hundred men under the command of Colonel Ugartecha arrived from the Rio Grande and entered the town where the defenders still held the rebels at bay. Juan Sanchez - Navarro, a Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers gave this account of their arrival in San Antonio. “We entered the town by the trail to Cadet Flores’ house and from there to the plaza, where we were greeted with rifle fire, acclamations and ringing of bells by 300 valiant souls who for 55 days had been preparing breastworks day and night without regard for distinction of rank.” However, the relief troops had been marching for forty-eight hours and were fatigued to the extent, they could offer little support. Sanchez wrote, “I slept so soundly that nearby cannon and rifle fire did not wake me.” Sanchez was awakened by one of his captains declaring, “We are lost!

General Cos ordered Sanchez to approach the rebels to obtain the best terms of surrender possible. His instructions from Cos were “….approach the enemy and obtain the best terms possible. Save the dignity of our Government, the honor of its arms, and honor, life, and property of chiefs, officials, and troops that still remain with me, even though I myself perish.” Sanchez wrote of his encounter with the rebels “We were surrounded with crude bumpkins, proud and overbearing. Whoever knows the character of North America may appreciate the position in which we found ourselves.”[39] His negotiations with the rebels resulted in better terms of surrender than expected. The cease-fire document stated the Mexicans could “retire with their arms and private property into the interior of the republic under parole of honor….not in any way oppose the reestablishment of the federal constitution of 1824.” In addition to the above, the rebels agreed to supply the Mexicans with provisions for their journey from the battlefield. So ended the Siege of Béxar.[40]

Apparently, after the Siege of Béxar, the Lewis men returned to their families. After Santa Anna recaptured San Antonio and the Alamo and the fate of the men defending spread through the communities, large numbers of settlers left their homes behind and began to move towards the Sabine River and the United States. The Retreating Texas Army burned crops, buildings, and anything that would aid the enemy soldiers as they advanced towards the United States border, hoping to deprive them of the ability of living off the land. The exodus from Texas by the refugees became known as the “Runaway Scrape” and most likely, the Lewis Family, along with the Stark and Herrin families, removed to their previous homes in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana until the war ended. No further records have been found indicating the participation of members of these families in the Texas Revolution after the siege at Béxar further supporting the probability the families and their men became refugees after Santa Anna captured the Alamo.

At the conclusion of hostilities after Houston was victorious at the Battle of San Jacinto, Samuel S. Lewis became a prominent member of the Jasper County community and served in the Texas Republic as a representative from Jasper County until his death February 10, 1838, at his plantation in the Bevil district.

________

35)

Brands, H. W., page 301-303. Source: Taylor, Creed, “Tall Men with Long Rifles,”; page 67, 69-71

36)

Home of Juan Martin Veramedi, the father-in-law of James Bowie.

37)

Brands, H. W.; page 304. Source “Papers of Lamar“, Vol. 5, page 97

38)

Ibid; page 305. Source Huson, Hobart. “Captain Phillip Dimmit’ s Commander of Goliad, 1835-1836 An Episode of the Mexican Federalists War in Texas, Usually Referred to as the Texian Revolution.” Austin Von Beckman - Jones Co., 1974, page 190-194.

39)

Benthall, Lillian Light, “Colonel Samuel S. Lewis, Early Texan Founder of Orleans, Indiana“, June 13, 1966.

40)

Papers of the Texas Revolution“; Volume 3.

 

 

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Page 47

 

Chapter 8

Daniel R. Stark & Nancy Hawley, Parents of the Newton County, Texas Stark Families

Note from the Author: I have organized and compiled the following text from the research, documents, and data of Pauline Stark Moore, Sharon Reck, and Neal Lowe.  With out their efforts, this text would not have been possible. I would like to thank them for allowing me to use the information they have collected over many years on Daniel R. Stark and Nancy Hawley.

Introduction

Daniel R. Stark and his spouse, Nancy Hawley, had four children named William Hawley Stark, Sarah Mariah Stark, Prudence Jane Stark, and Esahl “Asa” Lafitte Stark. This branch of Aaron Stark’s [1608 - 1685] descendants would eventually settle in Newton County; a migration beginning in New York State in 1808 and ending with all four of their children living in Newton County by 1846, the year Texas joined the Union.

Daniel R. Stark was born around 1788 in Pittstown, Albany County, New York to Asahel Stark and Sarah Dark.1 Pittstown was about 20 miles from Albany and not far from where the Mohawk River, running from west to east across New York State, empties into the Hudson River. Daniel had older brothers named Jasper, William, John R., and Samuel and his younger brothers were Asa, Christopher and Archibald. His sisters were Mary “Polly”, Sarah Marie, and Desire.2 Daniel R. Stark was the grandson of Christopher Stark, Jr., who was the son of Christopher Stark, Sr., who was the son of William Stark, Sr., who was the son of the Stark family patriarch, Aaron Stark, who came from England around 1630, settling in New London County, Connecticut.

 

The Early Years

As a boy, growing up in this region of New York, young Daniel probably was told the stories of how his grandfather, father, and uncles had fought the Indians and Tories during the Revolutionary War, of the hardships endured to win their freedom from England, and of the massacres at the hands of the Indians that had such a profound effect on the lives of his grandfather’s brothers and sisters.

On January 1, 1791, the State of New York laid out tracts of land for those who participated in the Revolutionary War. The tracts of land were located in Onondaga County, New York, which was created in 1794. Manlius township was located southeast of Syracuse and when the tracts were set aside, they were located in the township of Lysander, and were referred to in the deed documents as “Military Tracts.“ Cicero township was created from a division of Lysander township in 1807, located northeast of Syracuse and had Oneida Lake as it's northern boundary. Documentation has shown Asa Stark, Daniel’s younger brother, was born in Manlius, Onondaga County in 1796 and Daniel’s father was documented as living in Manlius, Onondaga County, by the 1800 census taker.3

The streams and lakes of the Mohawk River and Oneida Lake waterway served as a natural inland corridor during the eighteenth century for European exploration and military expansion, becoming a vital transportation link between the Hudson River and the Great Lakes by 1790. The migration route the Asahel Stark family took from Pittstown to Onondaga County was probably on the Mohawk River to Utica, New York and then overland about 40 miles to Onondaga County and the township of Manlius. Because of the “military tracts“ there were many who participated in land speculation, buying up land from those who received the tracts from the State of New York and then selling the land [at a profit, no doubt] to others who were beginning to move west from eastern New York and New England to establish farms. Asahel and his oldest son, Jasper, may have been land speculators, for they participated in many land transactions in the area that would become Cicero Township from 1802 to 1807 involving Lot #73, consisting of 500 acres. Before they moved from the region, Asahel still owned 310 acres of this property, which was mentioned in his will in 1821.4

Also living in the region was Samuel Hawley, a Revolutionary soldier who served in the Massachusetts Militia during the war. He was living in Western Massachusetts in West Stockbridge, located on the border with New York, when the war started, and enlisted as a private in the company commanded by Captain Goodall of the line regiment commanded by Colonel R. Putman. He enlisted for three years and Samuel probably participated in battles along the Northern Hudson River, which forms the border between New York and Vermont, for he spent most of his enlistment at West Point on the Hudson River building boats for the war effort which would transport men and supplies to the battlefields near the Mohawk and the Susquehanna Rivers. His occupation at enlistment was recorded as "bloomer", this occupation being that of a iron-worker, which is similar to the occupation we know of as blacksmith. He was discharged in January of 1784 in New York. He had an only daughter named Nancy, who was born in New York before 1789.5 Samuel is listed in the Hoosick Township, Albany County, New York census in 1790 with two females in his household. By 1800, he was back in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts with just him and two females, and can then be found living in Onondaga County in the 1810 census.

Hoosick was only a few miles from Pittstown, so there was probably plenty of opportunity for Asahel Stark and Samuel Hawley to have known each other. The name of Samuel’s wife is not know, but Samuel is probably the son of John Hawley and Abigail Sanford of Fairfield County, Connecticut. He is probably the Samuel mentioned in John Hawley’s will, the following transcription taken from "Collections of The New York Historical Society For The Year 1904."6

 

"In the name of God Amen. I, John Hawley, of Salam, Westchester County, being in good health do this 31st day of December, in the year of our Lord, 1770, make this my last Will and Testament. I leave to my loving wife Abigail one third of my house and barn and one third of my lands and of my movables after my "debts is paid" as long as she shall live. The rest of my estate to my children, viz.: John, Henry, Samuel, and Abigail to be divided as follows: to John, being the oldest son, 10 pounds more than the rest of my sons, and then for my sons to be equal, and for my daughter Abigail to have one third as much as one of my sons, I mean that where one of my sons will have nine pounds my daughter shall have three; and my wife's thirds above mentioned to be equally divided with my sons as aforesaid, and my daughter to have one third as much as any son. If I shall have any more children by my wife, if sons, they to be equal with my other sons, if girls, to be equal with my other said daughter. I constitute my wife sole executor. Signed: John Hawley and also Abigail. Witnesses, Gershom Selleck, Nathan Olmsted Jr., Ezekiel Hawley, Jr. Proved, Westchester County, November 6, 1784. Administration granted to Abigail Hawley, New York, December 24, 1784."

 

________

1)

"Western New York Land Transactions, 1804 - 1824"; Extracted from the Archives of the Holland Land Company, by Karen E. Livsey, page 45. Her reference/page #488/0028 relates the archives Inventory Number to the year and to the reel number of the microfilm on which the item appears. The Daniel R. Stark transaction appears on Reel # 110 as inventory # 488 on page 28. Daniel purchased the referenced property March 9, 1809. If Daniel was required to be 21 years old to purchase property, then his latest year of birth would have been 1788. If he could purchase property at 18 years of age, then his latest year of birth may have been 1791.

2)

Source 1:Last Will & Testament of Asahel Stark, dated March 20, 1821, Washington County, Indiana. Named in this will are William, John, Samuel, Asa, Christopher, Mary “Polly”, Sarah Marie, & Desire. Source 2: Onondaga County Deed Records, Pages 508-509. Shows Jasper Stark & spouse Betsy Stark, sold land to Asahel & Sarah Stark, from whom Jasper first bought the land.

3)

Source 1: Central New York Genealogical Society Publication -Tree Talks, Volume 23, #3, page 143, dated Sept. 1983. Record which states, "Oregon Donation land - people who applied; #4060; Asa Stark, born 1796, Onondaga Co., NY. Source 2: Manlius, Onondaga County, New York 1800 Census. Listed as “Asel Starks.”

4)

Source 1: Cicero, Onondaga County, New York Property Sales. [Book B, pages 266 & 268], [Book E, page 117], [Book F, page 508], [Book F, page 509], [Book E, page 510], [Book F, page 508]. Source 2: Last Will & Testament of Asahel Stark, dated March 20, 1821, Washington County, Indiana. Quote: “bequeath unto my beloved wife, Sarah Starks, three hundred and ten acres…being in the State of New York, Onondaga County…”

5)

Revolutionary War Pension Application S34916 obtained from the National Archives Trust Fund NWCTB. Record of this pension granted in Indiana July 27,1826. Samuel Hawley of Floyd County in the State of Indiana who was a private in the company commanded by Captain Goodall of the regiment commanded by Colonel R. Putman in the line of Massachusetts for the term of 3 years from March 1781 - March1783--Inscribed on the Roll of Indiana at the rate of 8 dollars per month, to commence on the 12th day of July 1826. -- Certificate of Pension issued the 27th of July 1826 and sent to Harvey Scribuer Esq. New Albany, Indiana.

6)

"Collections of The New York Historical Society For The Year 1904", page 67, section titled “Abstracts of Wills on file in the surrogates office, City of New York.” It's Volume XIII with dates from September 3, 1784 to June 12, 1786 [Page 328 in the Volume of originals. Page 67 is the publication page.]

 

 

 

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Daniel and Nancy’s Early Years of Marriage

Between 1808 and 1810, Daniel’s father moved further west from Onondaga County to Caledonia, Genesee County, New York, as revealed in the 1810 census for this region. On March 28, 1809, Daniel R. Stark purchased Lots #13 & #14 in section zero of township #11, range #1 from the Holland Land Company.1 This property was located west of the township of Caledonia in Genesee County in an area that would later become parts of Niagara County, Erie County, and Cattaraugus County. According to the Holland Land Company Records, Daniel was a first purchaser of this land, who paid for the property in full at the time of purchase. Those who paid cash for the land received deeds recorded as, “Table of Original Articles.“ Most purchasers received deeds of debt recorded as, “Article of Agreements”, with a time limit for payment. From this, we can presume Daniel R. Stark paid in full for the property he purchased.2 On August 22, 1809, William Hawley Stark was born in Genesee County.3

The Louisiana purchase in 1803 included the vast territory between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Border. In 1804 the Territory of Orleans was organized and April 30, 1812 the Territory of Orleans, which had been renamed Louisiana, was admitted to the United States as the 18th State. The land along the Mississippi River in the newly formed State of Louisiana had mostly been settled by the Spanish and French prior to the Louisiana Purchase. However, immediately after the formation of the Territory of Orleans in 1804, large numbers of Americans living north and south of the Ohio River began to move into the new Territory.

Daniel’s older brother, William Stark, probably moved to West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana as early as 1808, where he married Victoria Betencourt March 06, 1808 in the Baton Rouge Catholic Church.4 William purchased land in West Baton Rouge Parish in 1809 and his brother Christopher purchased land in the same Parish in 1812 and then later sold land to his brother, John Stark, in 1815.5 Therefore, as late as 1815, three of Daniel’s brothers are known to be living in Louisiana. Furthermore, military records show John enlisted in the military and fought in the War of 1812 in the “Battle of New Orleans.”6

In 1813, Daniel’s father purchased property in Penfield, Ontario County, New York which was located only a few miles from Caledonia township where he was recorded by the 1810 census taker. On September 20, 1817, Asahel sold this property to Jesse Adams for $1000, which is the last record we have of Asahel in New York State.7 By 1820, we find Asahel, along with all of his children, except for Daniel and William, living in Washington County, Indiana.8 Daniel and his wife, Nancy, probably lived on their Holland Land Company purchase until the end of 1816. Deed Records from West Baton Rouge Parish show Daniel R. Stark purchased land in 1817 and his brother, Samuel, purchased land from him in 1818. Samuel then sold this land in the same year and is later recorded as having married Sophia Scott in Switzerland County, Indiana November 11, 1819 just after his brother, Christopher, married Nancy Scott, Sophia’s sister, October 2, 1819.9 We can place Daniel and Nancy in West Baton Rouge Parish on January 20, 1817 for he personally appeared before Justice of the Peace, Belony Hébert, in the proceedings which declared his brother, John Stark, insane.10 He signed his name as Daniel R. Stark in this document which was prepared in French and his testimony recounted and incident which occurred in October previous to this date which could place him in Louisiana as early as October of 1816. Daniel and Nancy Stark’s son, Asa Lafitte Stark was most likely born in this Parish June 19, 1817.11

Asahel and all of his family were probably in the process of moving from New York to Louisiana, as revealed in all of these land purchases. However, the War of 1812 most likely delayed the final move, perhaps even changed their plans. By 1820, Samuel, Christopher, and John are living in Washington County, Indiana where Asahel would die between March of 1821 and January of 1822. John, who had participated in the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans, would be declared “insane” by his brothers, William, Samuel, and Daniel in West Baton Rouge Parish soon after the War and then moved to Indiana where he could be cared for by the family.10 John may have made the trip with Samuel and Christopher in 1819 before they married their brides in the fall of that year. By 1820, only William and Daniel were living in Louisiana. By 1815, Daniel and Nancy had added two daughters to their family named Sarah Mariah, born in 1812 and Prudence Jane, born in 1815.12 These births probably occurred on the Holland Land Company property in Genesee County, New York.

The move to West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, was a trip of some 750 miles as the crow flies from Genesee County. Imagine the logistics of transporting a family and household goods over such a vast distance around 1815. From Genesee County, one would move over land to the Allegheny River, located just south of the county on the New York and Pennsylvania border. The Allegheny then flows from north to south through western Pennsylvania and comes together with the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River, which then flows into the Mississippi. Along this route, the Ohio River passes only 30 miles from the heart of Washington County as the boundaries were defined when Indiana became a State in 1816. At that time, Switzerland County was bordered to the south by the Ohio River. It would not be hard to imagine Daniel and Nancy migrating to Indiana with Daniel’s father and then continuing the trip to Louisiana. It is not known why the brothers, Christopher and Samuel, decided to live in Indiana. Perhaps their brides didn’t want to make the move south, or perhaps the threat of disease in that region changed their minds. For whatever reason, by 1820, we find Daniel and William living in the south while the rest of the family is living in Indiana.

________

1)

See early map of Genesee County Asahel Stark Biography (Chapter 9).

2)

"Western New York Land Transactions, 1804 - 1824"; Extracted from the Archives of the Holland Land Company, by Karen E. Livsey, page 45.

3)

Cemetery Record, William H. Stark Cemetery, Newton County, Texas. Cemetery Surveyed by Clovis LaFleur, April 22, 2002. Tombstone States date of birth. His place of birth comes from where his parents were living in 1809. They had purchased property from the Holland Land Company in Genesee County, NY in March of 1809.

4)

Diocese Of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records; Volume 3 (1804-1819); Diocese of Baton Rouge, Department of Archives; 1800 South Acadian Hwy.; P.O. Box 1018, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70821. Record: “Stark, Guilenmo, of New York (Estle and Sera admitted) Married 6 March, 1808, Victoria Du Bitancoure. Witness: Juan Grady; Hens Morrison (sjo-89, 1)”

5)

West Baton Rouge Parish, LA Deed Records, Book A, page 82; Book D, pages 41 & 164

6)

National Archives Military Records, pages 284-285. Contents; Name: John Stark; Rank and Regiment: Rect. 44th U.S. Infantry; Description: 5'9" Tall, blue eyes, brown hair, dark complexion; Age: 32; Occupation: Carpenter; Born: New York, New York; Enlistment: July 5, 1814 at Natchez by Lt. Peters for duration of the war, at Baton Rouge July 6, 1814; Remarks: R.R. July 31, 1814- D.R. Capt. J.J. Miles Company February 16, and I. R.. New Orleans February 28, 1815 present Private I, R. P. M. Bcks. April 30, 1815. Discharged April 8,1815 at New Orleans, La. (77497-AGO).

7)

Deed Records, Ontario County, New York, Liber 29, page 80.

8)

Washington County, Indiana 1820 Census.

9)

Indiana State Library, Indiana Marriages Before 1850.

10)

West Baton Rouge Parish Probate Packet #50, 1817, titled John Stark, Interdicted. This document was prepared in French.

11)

Pauline Stark Moore Research.

12)

On March 31, 1826, Samuel Hawley, living in Floyd County, Indiana, petitioned for his Revolutionary War Pension and declared, "he is 68 years old ....That my occupation is that of a farmer, that I am weak, feeble and unable to labor, that I have one daughter only, her name is Nancy McGowan, aged 37 years, that she has five children, William, fifteen years of age, Maria, 13 years of age, Prudence, 10 years of age, Asahel, 8 years of age, and Matilda, 5 years of age - my daughter, her two oldest children, are able to support themselves by their labor the three others, Prudence, Asahel, and Matilda are not - all of which compose my family and looks to me for a support." If Marie was 13 in 1826, then she was born in 1812 or 1813 depending on her Month of birth. In the 1880 census for Newton County, Texas, Sarah Mariah was recorded to be 68 years old placing her birth in the year 1812. In 1850, the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Census records Prudence as being 35 years old. Therefore, she was probably born after March 31, 1815 if she was 10 years old in the 1826 pension application of Samuel Hawley.

 

 

 

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The Daniel Stark Louisiana Probate Court Records

Daniel R. Stark died suddenly at the age of about 31 years. This tragedy was devastating to Nancy, having just given birth to her fifth child, Amanda. [Could also have been named Matilda.] She had to not only look after the affaires of the family but endure the Louisiana Probate Courts. Documents from the probate proceedings, as we will discover, give us the surname of Daniel’s wife, the names of Daniel’s children, the name of Nancy’s father, and reveal an association with his brother, William Stark.

West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, Probate Packet #85, declares one Daniel R. Stark died June 20, 1820. Nancy “Holly” appeared before Probate Judge Phillip Favrot, requesting:

 

“this humble court be pleased to grant her prayer [request] of tutorship in order that she may administer the property formerly in community between her and her late husband, that an [?under?] tutor be appointed to her said children, and that an inventory and appraisement of ...[Not Legible]... here unto have [?assignment?] this 15th day of July in the year 1820. Signed Nancy Stark. Signed before me Ph. Favrot, Judge.”  

 

In Louisiana the legal words "tutor" or "tutorship" were defined as, "assigned the function of guardianship of minor aged children." In most Louisiana guardianship cases involving underage children, a family member or friend of the children who was not the court appointed guardian of the children, would be named and appointed by the presiding judge as “under-tutor” to look after the interest of the named children. The guardian of these underage children would then have to obtain the approval of the court-appointed under-tutor in legal transactions affecting the interest of the children.

The next document in the packet names Daniel's children, for it states: 

 

“Know all men by these presents that where as Nancy Holly Stark has presented a petition to this court praying for tutorship in order to administer on the property in community between [?her?] and her children and whereas this Nancy Stark has come before this court and has fulfilled all the formalities in such case required by law, it.... [Not legible] ....children named William, Mariah, Prudence, Esahl, and Amanda, and fully authorized to act as such pertaining to [?the?] laws. Given by hand and seal this [??] of July 1820. Signed: Ph. Favrot."  

 

In this document, we see that Nancy Holly Stark has been approved to be the guardian of her children.

In 1820, many legal documents used French words and spelling. The judge in these proceedings, Phillip Favrot, was definitely of French descend. The Author believes he used a French spelling for the name Asahel. The "E" in Esahl may have been a French accented "É" which would be pronounced "ay". In French, the "h" is silent. Therefore, the French pronunciation of Esahl may have been "Ay-sal", very similar in sound to the English pronunciation of Asahel. The Author believes his intended name was probably Asahel, the name of his grandfather, as will soon be proven.

We then find Nancy Hawley requested William Stark be named under-tutor to the children. From Judge Phillip Favrot we find a document which says:

 

"It is hereby ordered that ...[Not Legible]... William Stark come before this court and say weather he accepts the appointment of under tutor to the minor children of the late Daniel R. Stark. Given under my hand this ?? of July 1820. Signed Ph Favrot." 

 

This document illustrates William Stark is probably related to the children, for Nancy has requested he be named under-tutor to her children. In the next document from the packet, we find William accepted the appointment. In this document, Judge Favrot called for a family meeting of the children's relatives and friends to be held September 7, 1820. He states in this document: 

 

"It is hereby ordered that a family meeting composed of five of nearest relatives, friends of the children of the late Daniel R. Stark, say Francis White, Zephriam ????, Samuel Hawley, John Ruff???, and William Stark, under tutor of said children, be commenced on Tuesday , 7th .... [Not legible] ....to look into consideration the prayer [request] of widow of Daniel Stark. Given order my hand and seal the first day of September 1820. Signed Ph Favrot."  

We find in this document that William Stark has been named under-tutor for the children and Samuel Hawley, their grandfather, is named to attend the ordered meeting on behalf of the children. This document provides our first documented link to the children’s grandfather and Nancy Hawley‘s father.

Apparently, as a result of this meeting the Judge writes:

 

"..... and William Stark, under tutor of the children of Daniel R. Stark, especially convened for the purpose of taking in consideration the prayer [request] of Nancy Hawley, widow of the late Daniel R. Stark, requesting that the property now in community between her and her children, the [?said?] meeting of family after being ...[Not Legible]... and maturely deliberating was unanimously of opinion that for the benefit and best interest of the children, the prayer of the widow of Daniel R. Stark, [?does?] urge it to be granted, and the property now in community between her and her children be [?given?] over to him [William Stark??] at the price of the appraisement which has been made hereof. ..... [Not legible] .... the members of this family meeting have hereto set their hand ?? of September 1820. Signed Zep??? Daigle, John ?Ruffaye?, Francis White, Samuel Hawley. Judge Ph. Favrot presiding."

 

From the above West Baton Rouge Parish documents related to Daniel R. Stark's Probate Records, we can say, with some high degree of certainty, that Nancy Hawley was the spouse of Daniel R. Stark and had children named William, Mariah, Prudence, Esahl, and Amanda, the first four names being similar to the given names of the Newton County, Texas families. These documents provide solid proof Nancy Hawley’s father was Samuel Hawley, which will be further verified by documents related to the Revolutionary War Pension Application of Samuel Hawley.

 

 

 

Page 50

 

Proof Daniel R. Stark was the Son of Asahel Stark of Indiana

On March 20, 1821, Asahel Stark of Washington County, Indiana, prepared and signed his last will and testament. He willed to his wife, Sarah Starks, 310 acres of "land lying and being in the State of New York, Onondaga County and town of Cicero..." He bequeaths sums of money to sons named Samuel, Asia, Archibald, Christopher, John, and William. He also bequeaths sums of money to his daughters named Polly Brezee, Sally Graves, and Desire Stark and names his wife, Sarah Stark, to be the sole executrix.1 After the death of her husband, Nancy continued to live in Louisiana with her children. In January of 1822, Daniel’s father died in Indiana and as revealed above, he named all of his living children. Because Daniel had preceded him in death, Daniel was not named, nor was Jasper. Therefore, how can we be certain Daniel was a son of Asahel? For proof, we must establish a relationship to Daniel’s brother, William, and then establish the William Stark living in Louisiana was the same William named in Asahel’s will.

We begin this proof by establishing John R. Stark is the brother of William. In West Baton Rouge Parish is found an 1817 petition which states 

 

"The petition of William Stark of this Parish respectfully represents; that he a brother of John Stark of the Parish aforesaid, age about [?35?] years; that the said John is in a state of mental derangement of insanity, and is truly considered wholly incapable of taking care of his person or property...." 

 

This document clearly reveals William and John are brothers. The Illinois probate records for Sarah Stark, wife of Asahel Stark, show there was an "insane brother" of whom Asa Stark was the guardian.

This document is dated November 17, 1842, which is three years after the death of Sarah. John Stark, declared legally insane in the above 1817 Louisiana probate document was probably placed in the care of his mother, Sarah Stark, when he arrived in Indiana.2 The West Baton Rouge Parish petition, along with the Illinois Probate Document provide a link to the insane John Stark of Louisiana and the "insane" brother mentioned in Sarah Stark's Probate Records. If this is true, then one has to conclude the above William Stark is a son of Asahel Stark and his spouse Sarah.

We find a document dated September 5, 1820 in West Baton Rouge Parish, which states William Stark and his wife, Victoria Betencourt, will provide a donation of $2,200 to the children of Nancy Hawley, widow of Daniel R. Stark, with the benefactors of this donation being named William, Muriah, Prudence, Esahl, and Amanda. The text of this document of donation makes this declaration: 

 

"Know all men by these presents that I, Nancy Hawley, widow of the late Daniel R. Stark, acting as mother and...[Not Legible]... [probably tutor meaning guardian] of the children of the said Daniel R. Stark, named William, Prudence, Muriah, Esahl, and Amanda, do hereby accept in the name of these children, the donation which has been made to them by William Stark and Victoria Betencourt, his wife, which donation is the sum of two thousand and two hundred dollars to be paid by the said Wm Stark and Victoria Betencourt in the month of March, eighteen hundred and twenty-two to me and any other person legally authorized to act in the name of ...[Not Legible]... children, their executors administrators. Signed: Nancy Stark."  

 

Clearly, this document would seem to imply William Stark has more than a passing interest in the well being of Nancy Hawley’s children, for this is a substantial amount of cash in 1820.

William Stark died May 4, 1822 in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Probate Packet #97 records his estate was inventoried on May 9, 1822. In the inventory papers of William's Estate we find:

 

"Having examined the amount account, in the presence of the heir, Mrs. Sarah Stark, mother of the late William Stark, deceased, I having found the account of vouchers in support of said account true and correct, ...[Not Legible]... Victoria Starks [Victoria Betencourt, wife of Wm. Stark] having delivered up all the papers she has in her possession, to the heir Sarah Starks, said heir declares hereby to have received said notes, vouchers and accounts, it is therefore ordered that said above petition, of their knowledge, fulfills the duties incumbent on him as appraising of the objects contained in same ...[Not Legible]... left by the late Wm Stark. Signed: [Signature was not legible.]"

 

The William Stark inventory mentioned a bill of sell of property known to have belonged to Daniel R. Stark, deceased, and left his possessions to his mother, Sarah Stark. Although Daniel R. Stark is not mentioned to be a brother in the inventory, the Author believes they were siblings. Combining the information supplied in all of the above documentation related to Sarah Stark, William Stark, John R. Stark, and Daniel Stark, we can conclude with a high degree of certainty, Daniel R. Stark was the son of Asahel Stark.

 

Nancy Hawley Holds the Family Together, From Louisiana to Indiana

It is believed, as will be exhibited in a moment, Nancy Hawley married C. H. McGowan, probably after the probate proceedings were completed. Although no marriage record has been found. We find in a 1826 application for a Revolutionary War Pension, Nancy’s father refers to her as “Nancy McGowan.” From the Daniel R. Stark Probate records, we find there was a “C. H. McGowen” who performed the appraisal of Daniel’s property and paid some of the remaining debts from the estate. On May 31, 1826, Samuel Hawley, living in Floyd County, Indiana, petitioned for his Revolutionary War Pension and declared, 

 

"...he is 68 years old ....That my occupation is that of a farmer, that I am weak, feeble and unable to labor, that I have one daughter only, her name is Nancy McGowan, aged 37 years, that she has five children, William, fifteen years of age, Maria, 13 years of age, Prudence, 10 years of age, Asahel, 8 years of age, and Matilda, 5 years of age - my daughter, her two oldest children, are able to support themselves by their labor the three others, Prudence, Asahel, and Matilda are not - all of which compose my family and looks to me for a support."3

 

From this, if this Nancy McGowan is the same Nancy Hawley Stark in Louisiana, we find she was married to someone named McGowan before this petition was made. The Author speculates Nancy Hawley probably moved to Indiana to live with her father, presumably after Mr. McGowan died or she obtained a divorce.

Notice the Samuel Hawley Pension Application has names and expected ages for the children of this Nancy McGowan similar to the five named in the Louisiana probate packet of Daniel R. Stark. From Samuel‘s Pension Application, William, age 15, would have been born in 1810 if he turned sixteen after May 31, 1826. As we will find later, William Hawley Stark’s tombstone records he was born in August of 1809.  According to his tombstone record, he would have been sixteen in May of 1826 and turned seventeen in August of 1826. The Maria, age 13, would have been born in 1813. We will find out later that Sarah Mariah Stark, married to John T. Lewis, is 68 years old in the Newton County, Texas 1880 census, placing her birth year as 1812. The Prudence, age 10 would have been born in 1816. We will find the Prudence Stark married to William "Bill" Herrin was reported to be 35 in the 1850 Calcasieu Parish Census placing her birth year as 1815. The Asahel, age 8 years, would have been born in 1818 but if he was born June 19, 1817, he would have turned nine after the application was made. The Asa Stark in the 1860 Newton County Census was 43, placing his year of birth as 1817. Finally, Nancy McGowan, age 37, would have been born in 1789 while the Nancy Hardin [this married name for Nancy Hawley to be proved later] reported to be living with her son, Asa, in the 1850 Jefferson County, Texas census was 62 years of age placing her year of birth as 1788. All of the years match very closely and the given names are approximately the same as those found in the Louisiana, Texas, and Indiana documents.

Note the name Asahel in the pension application instead of Esahl as recorded in the Louisiana documents. This would seem to confirm the intended name for this child was that of his grandfather. We have the name Matilda for the youngest child, who had to have been born before July 20, 1820, the month and year she is mentioned in the Louisiana Probate packet for Daniel Stark. This Matilda is referred to as Amanda in the Louisiana documents. We can only surmise her name may have been Amanda Matilda, the latter name being used by the time of this pension application. After this document, there appears to be no more documentation mentioning the names Amanda or Matilda indicating this child may have died young.

If it is true this was Nancy Hawley, widow of Daniel R. Stark, then sometime after 1822 and before the date of this application Nancy and her children moved to Indiana from Louisiana to live with her father, or perhaps she and her father moved to Indiana to be near the core family of Daniel after William died. Present day Floyd County, Indiana is located in an area that was originally part of Washington County, Harrison County, and Clark County, Indiana. We can presume Nancy and her children were living in fairly close proximity to Daniel’s family, who were known to be living in Washington County.

 

________

1)

Last Will & Testament of Asahel Stark, Washington County, Indiana

2)

Probate Record of Sarah Stark; No. 199; Probate Court, Edgar County, Illinois; In the Matter of the Estate of Sarah Starks, Deceased; Leander Muncill, Administrator; Dated: November 17, 1842; Document #9: “So far as the administrator has any knowledge there are but five heirs to divide the estate among Viz-- A. C. Stark --- Asa Stark --- and an insane brother of which he is the guardian --- Wm Brazee --- and Wm Howe --- No other claim having been presented or known of to the administrator, The Probate Justice will please declare a ?divident? to the heirs of the entire estate remaining to take off so soon as the money come into the hands of Administrator…”

3)

Samuel Hawley Service: Revolutionary War pension of a Samuel Hawley, S34916, National Archives Trust Fund. Record of this pension granted in Indiana July 27,1826. States: “Samuel Hawley of Floyd Co. in the State of Indiana….”

 

 

 

Page 51

 

Nancy Hawley & Her Father, Samuel Hawley, Move Back to Louisiana

On April 22, 1828, the Mississippi Pension Agency in Natchez, Mississippi wrote a letter to James Barbon, Secretary of War, requesting "Samuel Hawley, a pensioner on the rolls of the Indiana Agency makes application as per affidavit enclosed for a transfer to my department in having removed to the state of Mississippi. The pensioner resides in a remote corner of our State and  will call for his pay (which by his statement is ...[Not legible]... since 4 March 1827) in about two months [?hence?], at which time I expect to see notification of his transfer. Signed Most Respectfully, Your ...[Not legible]..."1 From this statement, we know a pensioner named Samuel Hawley had been living in Indiana until April of 1827. This document reveals he has moved into the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Pension Agency. If this is the same Samuel Hawley, then could his daughter and grandchildren have moved with him and where might they have been living?

Possible proof of where they were living can be found in the Ouachita Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records. Sarah Mariah Stark, most likely the daughter of Nancy Hawley, married John T. Lewis on December 28, 1828. Text from "The Handbook of Texas Online" having a short biography of Samuel Lewis, father of John T. Lewis, states "Samuel S. Lewis, early Texas settler and congressman, was born to John and Sarah Lewis on July 4, 1784, in Virginia. He married Sarah Lemaster in Henry County, Kentucky, on August 7, 1804. They moved to Indiana, where their seven children were born, five in the Indiana Territory and two after it became a State. Lewis founded Orleans, Indiana2 and served with the Indiana militia in the War of 1812. In the mid-1820s the family moved to Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, where Lewis became justice of the peace."

John Taylor Lewis reportedly was born in Clark County, Indiana, one of the counties from which Floyd County was created.3 From the birth locations of the children of Samuel Lewis, we know the Lewis family had been living in Indiana until at least 1824. The next record available to the author shows the marriage of John T. Lewis in Ouachita Parish in 1828. One could correctly speculate the Lewis family, along with others, decided to migrate to northeast Louisiana and Samuel Hawley, his daughter, and her children joined this migration south from Indiana. This would have provided the opportunity for Sarah Mariah to meet and later marry John Taylor Lewis.

But we need further proof the family is living in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. Carroll Parish was created from parts of Ouachita Parish and Concordia Parish around 1832. In 1877, Carroll Parish was divided into East Carroll Parish and West Carroll Parish. Since parts of the original Carroll Parish were originally in Ouachita Parish, we find a  possible connection to Ouachita Parish in the obituary of Samuel Hawley, believed to be the father of Nancy Hawley, published in the Vicksburg Register (Vicksburg, Mississippi), dated July 2, 1835: "Another Revolutionary Soldier is no more--Died at the upper settlement on Bayou Macon in the Parish of Carroll, State of Louisiana, on the 4th day of June 1835, Samuel Hawley, aged about 80 years4, a native of the State of Massachusetts, and once a soldier of the Revolutionary army. Mr. Hawley was a pensioner and lived for several years back thus secluded and remote with his child and respected by all who knew him."

Carroll Parish, formed in 1832 was located in the northeastern part of Louisiana, bordered to the North by Arkansas, [known as the Missouri Territory until Arkansas became a State in 1836], east by the Mississippi River and west by Ouachita Parish. The present day boundary between East Carroll Parish and West Carroll Parish is the tributary called Bayou Macon which is only about 30 miles from Vicksburg, Mississippi. One would probably be correct if they speculated Nancy Hawley was the "child" mentioned in the obituary, for Samuel had only one daughter and no other children.

 

The Family Migrates From Northeast Louisiana, to Jasper County, Texas

John Taylor Lewis and Sarah Mariah Stark were reported as living in Bevil District, Mexico in the 1835 census for that region. John was recorded as being 27 years of age while Sarah was 23 years old. They had a daughter named Nancy Jane, age 4, and a son, William M., age 2. Later census records reveal Nancy Jane was born in Louisiana while William M. was born in Texas. If these places of birth are correct, then sometime between 1831 and 1833, John and Sarah moved to the above District of Mexico, which would later become Jasper County, Texas during the Republic of Texas years.

Family tradition relates that not long after the move to Louisiana, Nancy Hawley married Enos Hardin and had a son named Napoleon Bonaparte Hardin. However, Enos Hardin’s Texas Head Right Certificate states “This is to certify that Enos Hardin has appeared before us the Board of Land Commissioners for the County of Jasper and proved according to Law, that he arrived in this County in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty Two and is a single man and entitled to One third of a league of land, upon the condition of paying at the rate of Three Dollars Fifty Cents for every labor of ?Irregable? land, Two Dollars Fifty Cents for every Labor of ?timberable? Or [Not legible] land, One Dollar Twenty Cents for every Labor of Pasture land, for which may be contained in the survey secured to said Hardin by this certificate. Given under our hand this Ninth day of February 1838.”5

________

1)

Copy in Revolutionary War Records stated before.

2)

Located in Orange County, Indiana which was the west boundary of Washington County.

3)

John T. Taylor, according to those researching the Lewis family, report he was born in Clark County, Indiana when Indiana was a Territory. Some say he was born in Orange County, Indiana. All agree he was born February 14, 1808. Their source of this information is not known to the Author.

4)

His age was probably 77 based on his pension application.

5)

See copy of original, Fig. 2.

 

 

 

Page 52

 

Clearly, on the above given date, Enos Hardin is pronounced to be a single man. Therefore, it can be said with some certainty that Nancy and Enos married after February 9, 1838. From the 1860 census for Newton County, Texas, N. B. Hardin, living next door to Asa Stark, was 32 years old, placing his year of birth as 1828. If Nancy married Enos after the above date, then Napoleon would not be her son. We can also say that the marriage probably didn’t occur until after the death of Nancy’s father in 1835, for the Vicksburg obituary clearly reports Samuel “lived for several years back thus secluded and remote with his child and respected by all who knew him.” Therefore, if Enos was living in Texas from 1832 to 1838 and Nancy in Louisiana from 1832 to 1835, they probably would not have had the opportunity to marry before 1835.

Around 1832, Nancy’s son, William Hawley Stark, married Elizabeth T. Zachary of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. No actual record has been found of this marriage and the speculated year of this marriage is based on the birth of their oldest known child, Daniel L. Stark, born November 22, 1832 in Louisiana. We know Elizabeth was the daughter of Benjamin Zachary and Elizabeth Odom of the above-mentioned Parish, because Elizabeth’s brother, Bennett Hiram Zachary, lived next door in Texas and is known to be their son.1 It is believed William Hawley owned land in Ouachita Parish at the time of Samuel Hawley’s death, for researchers in the Vicksburg area have indicated Samuel Hawley was buried on the land of his grandson, William Hawley Stark and there is a deed of record showing he sold land in West Carroll Parish in November of 1848.2 Although this is only speculation, it is believed William Hawley Stark, his mother and grandfather, were probably living on this property, most likely purchased with money William received from his Uncle William Stark in 1822.

On February 4, 1839, William Hawley Stark was appointed Justice of the Peace for Beat 4 in Jasper County, Texas and his brother, A. L. Stark, was made Constable of the same Beat 4 on the same day.3 Therefore, probably sometime in the year 1838, William Hawley Stark and his family, along with his mother, Nancy Hawley, moved from Louisiana to Jasper County, Texas. From census records, we know James Terry Stark was born in Texas before July of 1838 who is known to have been the first child of William Hawley Stark recorded born in Texas. If we can believe these dates of first residency for William Hawley Stark in Jasper County and that his mother, Nancy Hawley, was living with his family, then she probably married Enos Hardin between 1838 and 1841. However, since we have no marriage record, how can we prove Nancy Hardin and Nancy Hawley are the same person?

In the Newton County 1847 Tax Records will be found “William H. Stark, agent for Nancy Hardin, taxes on the 640 acres in the David Pool Survey.” In the same tax year will also be found “Nancy Hardin, agent for Napoleon Hardin, 1,481 acres of the Enos Hardin Survey. “ From these records we find there is a Nancy Hardin living in Newton County. Is she related to William H. Stark, who was her agent for the 1847 tax year? On December 29, 1847, Nancy Hardin, a resident of Newton County, Texas, declared in a document of indenture [given over to work for], that the slave named Ann was assigned  by this binding contract to work for Nancy's grandchildren  named: 

 

“Daniel Lafayette Stark, Samuel Hawley Stark, James Terry Stark, Lewis Miles Stark, Martha Ann Stark, Mary Stark, Elizabeth McFarland Stark, children of William H. Stark and Elizabeth Stark, all of the County and State aforesaid. Witnesseth, that the said Nancy Hardin for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred dollars in hand paid by their next friends and the love and affection which she bears for her grandchildren afore named, doth by these presents…..”4

 

Clearly, the Nancy Hardin in this document is Nancy Hawley, who is the grandmother of the named children described as the children of William H. Stark and Elizabeth Stark. Therefore, we can presume she is the mother of William Hawley Stark since we have already proved his mother’s name was Nancy Hawley from previous documentation. Also from these documents, we can probably say Enos Hardin died sometime before 1847 and Nancy and Napoleon Hardin inherited his land and possessions, which probably included the above mentioned slave, Ann.

We next find Nancy Hardin living with her son, Asa Stark, in Jefferson County, Texas, located south of Newton County. She is reported in the 1850 census for that year as Nancy Hardin, age 63. Also living in the home of Asa Stark is Lamar Herrin, age 11, most likely a child of Nancy’s daughter, Prudence Jane, who married William “Bill” Herrin. In the 1860 census for Newton County, Texas, we find Asa Stark and N. B. Hardin living next door to each other but no record of a Nancy Hardin. Most likely Nancy died between 1850 and 1860. No burial site for Nancy has been found to date. It is possible she was buried in the Lewis Myles Stark Cemetery, for recently it has been proven L. M. Stark’s mother, Elizabeth Zachary, who died in 1859, was buried in this first cemetery for the Stark Family. At the time, this property was owned by William Hawley Stark, and it would seem probable he buried his mother at this cemetery site. In this cemetery are several unmarked depressions, which are likely grave-sites of which one may be the grave of Nancy.

Prudence Jane Stark married William “Bill” Herrin around 1834, probably in either Ouachita Parish or in Carroll Parish. We can only speculate on this year of marriage. It is known from the 1850 census for Calcasieu Parish that their oldest known child, William, was born in 1835 in Louisiana, hence the speculated year of marriage being at least before this birth. Esahl “Asa” Lafitte Stark married Matilda Donaho sometime before July 5, 1838. This marriage probably occurred in Louisiana, but could have been in Jasper County. From the Texas Head Right Certificate issued to Asa , we find “he arrived in this Republic subsequent to the Declaration of Independence say August A. D. One Thousand and Eight Hundred and Thirty-Seven and that he is a married man and is entitled to Twelve Hundred & Eighty acres of land to be surveyed after the 1st day of August A. D. 1838. Given under our hands at Jasper this 5th day of July 1838.”

Therefore, all of Nancy’s children were living in close proximity to her in Newton County although William Herrin and Prudence are recorded in the 1850 census for Calcasieu Parish, located just across the Sabine River from Jefferson County, Texas and we also know from Newton County records that on September 30, 1846, Elizabeth Zachary’s brother, Bennett Hiram Zachary, recorded the county’s first cattle brand, the numeral “7” with the cattle bearing for earmarks a crop and slit on the left ear and a crop on the right ear. Later on that same day, cattle brands were recorded for Asa L. Stark, William Herrin, and William H. Stark. Therefore, at least before this date, William Herrin and his spouse, Prudence Jane Stark, were living in Newton County.5

Daniel R. Stark and Nancy Hawley started a family in New York in 1808 and over a span of only thirty-eight years, all of this family, accept for Daniel, would be living in an area that would be known as Newton County, Texas by 1846. In their lifetime they witnessed the beginning of a new nation dedicated to liberty for all, saw it’s expansion from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, witnessed the birth of the Republic of Texas, and were there to see their Republic become the 28th State of the United States of America in 1846. What a trip in a lifetime! May we always remember their hardships, heartaches, and triumphs, for theirs was truly a lifetime of pioneering spirit and adventure.

 

________

1)

“The Zachary Family, From Virginia to Texas”, by Clovis La Fleur, 1999, self published. Documents in this text reveal Bennett Hiram Zachary married his first wife, Clarinda Bennett in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Deed Records from the same Parish show Bennett Hiram Zachary interacted with Benjamin Zachary and Elizabeth Odom of the same Parish.

2)

In a land record of October 28, 1848 deeded to Alex Sappinton of Carroll Parish, La.( W.H. Stark and his wife signed this in Newton County, Texas, this being witness by Harriott Merirtt(spelling) & Nancy Hardin; 160 acres, noted in West Carroll Parish, Conveyance Book Old A, page 136. The sale here was recorded Nov 29, 1848. Contributed by Pauline Mobley, caldonia@bayou.com, September 9, 2002.

3)

“Government Officials In The Republic Of Texas“, 1836-1845, page 295.

4)

Newton County Deed Book A, pages 255 - 256. See copy of the original page 8, Fig. 1.

5)

Commissioners Court Minutes of Newton County, Texas, 8/22/1846 - 2/18/1851.

 

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Copyright

Other than that work created by other acknowledged contributors or sources, the articles and genealogical data presented in this publication were derived from the research of Clovis LaFleur; Copyright © 2007. All rights are reserved. The use of any material on these pages by others will be discouraged if the named contributors, sources, or Clovis LaFleur have not been acknowledged.

Disclaimer

This publication and the data presented is the work of Clovis LaFleur. However, some of the content presented has been derived from the research and publicly available information of others and may not have been verified. You are responsible for the validation of all data and sources reported and should not presume the material presented is correct or complete.

 

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