55. MIRANDA JANE BROWN81 was born on 12 June 1842 in Searcy County, Arkansas.10,34,36,82,83,84,85 She died on 5 February 1912 at the age of 69 in Crawford County, Arkansas.10,86,87,88
1870 Census gives Miranda's birthplace as Arkansas, but this is curious unless the family did live in Searcy Co, AR for a year or two. Murphy is on a Searcy Co tax list in 1841. Her parents married in St. Francois County MO and her father died at Rocky Comfort in McDonald County MO - don't know exactly when they moved back to Missouri, but all the rest of their children were born in Missouri. Both 1850 & 1860 Censuses also show Miranda as born in Arkansas. A possible brother to Miranda's father - Ezekiel Brown, enumerated two households away in 1850, also shows two sons one a year older than Miranda and one a year younger - both born in Arkansas. I suspect the families moved south into Arkansas for a brief time and returned to Missouri.
1900: Miranda born in AR. father in KY, mother in MO.
Marandia J. and Thomas Comstock, her husband, of Crawford Co AR are found on a deed in McDonald Co MO Deed book G, p.605 - giving title to her niece, Laura Isbell Brown of Barry Co MO, for $1, a parcel of land in McDonald Co that is no doubt Miranda's, inherited from her father.
Buried in the Comstock Cemetery along with her husband and children Den, Cornelia, Piney and Tack. Her inscription reads:
A good wife,
A loving mother
A devoted Christian
A friend to the
MIRANDA JANE BROWN and ELIJAH THOMAS "Tom" COMSTOCK were married on 17 May 1859 in Missouri.10,34 ELIJAH THOMAS "Tom" COMSTOCK34,36,84,85,89,90,91,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99,100,101, son of EPHRAIM FLOR HUBER COMSTOCK and NANCY GOODMAN, was born on 22 December 1838 in Perry County, Tennessee.102,103,104,105,106 He appeared in the census in 1850 in Perry County, Tennessee. He appeared in the census in 1860 in McDonald County, Missouri. Tom served in the military in 1862 at Co D, 6th Missouri Cavalry, CSA in Civil War.34 He appeared in the census in 1870 at Jasper Township in Crawford County, Arkansas. He died on 29 April 1917 at the age of 78 in Crawford County, Arkansas.34,107 Tom was buried in Comstock Cemetery on Lee Creek, Barcelona, Arkansas..
1900 Census Tom states born in Tennessee.
Gratis Comstock says that Tom was born in Perry County TN which seems the most likely.
Moved to McDonald County MO in 1853. In 1860 Census - Mountain Twp, McDonald Co. with James Monroe as infant, age 4 months. P.O. was Shells Mills. Thomas was 21, "Marindia" was 18.
McDonald Co Deed Book B; p.65 18 Oct 1865. Tom sold 40 acres to his mother-in-law Rebecca P. Brown for $100.
Tom's Civil War service record had not been found at writing of Comstock book. Gratis Comstock (a cousin) said in a newspaper article that Tom was a private in Shelby's Brigade of Missouri until the last year of the year and then served in an Indian special services regiment in Indian Territory. He was disbanded in the Chickasaw Nation, near Oichita.
Found in Hewett's "Roster of Confederate Soldiers" Thomas Comstock, Private, Company D, 6th Missouri Cavalry Regiment (Southwest Regiment), redesignated 11th MO Cavalry Regiment in 1863. This regiment was always assigned to the Iron Brigade of Gen. Jo Shelby [so he did "ride" with Shelby...]. However, records from the National Archives show this Thomas Comstock enlisted Sept 12, 1862 in Newton Co MO for 3 years or the War, but deserted Nov. 28 near Cane Hill, AR. It is noted he was never paid. "Deserted" meant many things in the chaotic Civil War - the men were often lost from their units or indeed sometimes left and went home for a time only to rejoin another group, even perhaps fight for the other side. Records were poorly kept by the Confederacy.
A request to the Harold B. Simpson Hill College Research Center revealed no additional information except they sent a copy of the page from the Hewett "Roster" which revealed Harvey Comstock also enlisted in the MO 6th Cav, Company D. [This is likely Tom's brother whose name is usually listed as Henry but I read as Harvey.] James E. [James Irving?], Warren A. [H.?] & William D. were all enlisted in Co I of the 3rd Cavalry.
After the War, the family went to Pine Creek, Texas (near Paris, Lamar Co). Found in McDonald Co MO Deed Book B, dated 18 Oct 1865: Thomas Comstock to Rebecca P. Brown for $100 a certain tract of land - this tract being half of the same 1/4 section as the land of Tom's sister Caroline and her husband William Randall. About 1869 Tom sold their land in Texas and went back to Missouri, and then on to Crawford County, Arkansas.
Tax rolls for Lamar Co TX for 1866 and 1867 list Thomas Comstock. He had 260 acres. The original grantee was John Wilson, abstract either 548 or 588. In 1866, he had a single horse. In 1867 he reported 2 horses and 5 head of cattle. I did not find him in 1868, but the tax film quality was extremely poor and he may very well have been listed.
In the 1870 Census, Tom and Miranda are living in Jasper Township, Crawford County with sons, J. M. age 10 and Randolf age 4, both boys said born in MO.
Obits Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1874; Fran Alverson Warren, 2001
p.41 Judges of Election. Jasper Twp. John S. Marlock, J. W. Branson, Thomas Comstock, 29 Sep 1874
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1875 Fran Alverson Warren
p.18 Natural Dam Lodge meeting, 30 Mar 1875.
Committee: J. P. Babb, T. Comstock, J. S. Rainwater
p.19, 6 Apr 1875 Criminal Docket:
State vs. Thomas Comstock, gaming; pled guilty and fined $10
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1876 Fran Alverson Warren
p.43 list of judges at election to be held on 4 September
Jasper Twp: John S. Matlock, James H. Pesterfield, Thomas Comstock
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1877 Fran Alverson Warren
p.48 Jurors for fall term of the Circuit Court which meets Sep 24
William Carney, John Carney, Thomas Comstock, Joseph Woods - among others
McDonald Co MO Deed Book 31, p.162-163
1879. Rebecca P. Brown, John R. Brown & Maggie his wife, L. G. Brown & Isabell his wife, Laura Brown, and Bevy Barnett and Isabell his wife, all of the County of McDonald, State of Missouri for the sum of $1. Convey and Quit claim unto Thomas Comstock all that tract of land: SW 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of S8, T23, R29, containing forty acres. Signed: Rebekah P. Brown, John R. Brown, Margaret E. Brown, Lemuel G. Brown, Isabell Brown, Bevely C. Barnett, Eliza I. Barnett, Laura I. Brown. Wit: John H. Ware, H. P. Lamberson
All signees appeared before John H. Ware, JP to certify the deed. Maggie Brown and Isabell Brown, and Isabell Barnett, were privately examined.
Filed for record 27 Aug 1900, by Jno R. Patterson, Recorder.
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1880 Fran Alverson Warren
p.27 Thos. Comstock on a committee for arrangements of the “Grand Basket Picnic” at the Fair grounds at Van Buren on July 5th.
1880 Census, Jasper Twp. with all six of the living children.
Thos Comstock, 40, Farmer, b. TN, parents b. TN
Mirandia, age 37, wife, b. AR, parents b. TN
James M., 20, son, b. MO. Randolph, 14, son, b. TX. Minnie, 8; Clinden, 6; Cornilia, 4; Tack, age 2 - all born in Arkansas.
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1881 Fran Alverson Warren
May 7, 1881
Meeting of the citizens of Jasper twp at Sulphur Springs to take steps toward a public reception of Maj. Joseph Hansen & other projectors of the Northern Narrow Gauge RR who are expected to arrive in a week or two:
A cordial reception be tendered - Thomas Comstock on the committee
In 1882 Tom was elected to the Arkansas State Senate.
On November 28, 1882, the Uniontown Lodge was chartered and Thomas Comstock was one of the original members as well as an officer. Uniontown Masonic Lodge No. 395. The Lodge hosted a Centennial celebration on Sep 25, 1982. The newspaper article about the Centennial states that "The charter principal officers to assume their duties 100 years ago were: Thomas Comstock, Master; James A. Burress, Senior Warden; and T. H. Oliver, Junior Warden. Other Charter members were: Tothechild Harrison, Adman Howell, Henry Howell, William H. Rimy [probably Remy], William A. Williams. The article included a picture of Tom Comstock.
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1883 Fran Alverson Warren
Mar 31 p.15 Hon. Thomas M. Comstock of Crawford, representative in the legislature, returned to Van Buren Wednesday night and went to his home in Uniontown, next day.
On 4 Jul 1884, Thomas Comstock was indicted by the Grand Jury in Fort Smith for
"Unlawfully engaging in and carrying on the business of a retail liquor Dealer without first having paid the special tax as required....by law" Four witnesses were subpeoned in UnionTown on 6 Aug: C. M. Rutherford, Ed Miller, One Tackitt, Wash Mackatee. They were ordered to attend a trial on 3 Nov 1884. An Arrest order for Thomas Comstock was served on 16 Aug 1884 and Thos. Boles, US Marshall, states he was taken into custody. On the same day William Williams cosigned a bond ($300) for Comstock's appearance in court. He failed to appear and on 13 Sep Judge Isaac C. Parker signed a judgement that they pay the $300.
Serial Set Volume 2387, Session Vol. #20, 49th Congress-1st Session
House Document: Report of Attorney General
p.340 Dept of Justice, Washington, 11 Nov 1884
List of persons convicted in District courts who were pardoned during the year ending 30 Jun 1885
p.343 Thomas Comstock, Ark. Western Dist. Dec Term 1884
Violating internal revenue law - sentence suspended
Pardoned 11 Feb upon recommendation of US District Attorney and paying $100 fine plus costs
The firm of Comstock and Brothers was established in Uniontown in 1885. The store was located on the corner of the Uniontown Road and the Wagon Road in the center of town.
In October 1888, he was appointed the first postmaster of Barcelona, AR
The 1890 Census reconstructed from tax records shows Thomas Comstock at Section 24, Township 11, Range 33 in the Pleasant Grove School District. This land discription agrees with a Land Patent registered Jan 20 1885. He paid $1.25 per acre for this 40 acres. This may not be the only land he owned, as they were there for the 1870 Census. In 1892, he's on record as paying his Poll Tax in Crawford County, AR.
Tom's homestead was for a time in a settlement called Barcelona - it never quite made it as a town, but it did have a Post Office for a time and Tom Comstock was the Postmaster. 1 Jul 1889, he is listed in the U.S. Register of Civil Service employees as having made $17.50 as Postmaster of Barcelona. 1 Jul 1891 - his pay was $32.19. I Jul 1895 - he had received $28.68.
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1891 Fran Alverson Warren
p.2, Jan 3 1891
Hon. Tom Comstock of Barcelona, was in the city Wednesday
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1895 Fran Alverson Warren, p.60
30 Nov 1895. From T. F. Wood, of Uniontown, we learn of a daring robbery committed at Barcelona Tuesday night last week. On the night in question three men entered the house of Hon. Tom Comstock and at the point of revolvers demanded his money. Being somewhat slow aabout giving up the coin, they took him by the beard and drew a knife across his throat, which proved to be inducement enough, and caused Mr. Comstock to turn over to them something like $300. They then made him go to the kitchen and give them all the cooked meats, etc. They also appropriated to their own use two Wincesters, several pistols, and an overcoat before leaving. They stopped within a short distance of the house after the robberty and had supper. The family a short time after the robbery made their way to the neighbors, but on returning with assistance the robbers were found to have left. The trail, which showed the robbers to have been four in number and on foot, was following the next morning for some distance west into Indian Territory, where it was lost. This makes the second time within a few years that "Uncle Tom" has been the victim of the festive highwaymen.
14 Dec 1895 Hon. Tom Comstock was in town this week getting up a reward for the apprehension of the parties who robbed him some three or four weeks since. We understand that he has a slight clew [sic] as to the whereabouts of the robbers.
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press Argus 1896 Fran Alverson Warren, p.19
8 Jan 1896 A reward of $400 has been subscribed for the arrest and conviction of the parties who robbed Tom Comstock, near Uniontown, last fall. It is to be hope the outlaws may be captured and punished.
The following was extracted from the Van Buren Press and the dates included are from January 11, 1896 to May 30, 1896.
February 8, 1896
ANOTHER ROBBERY AND DOUBLE MURDER NEAR UNIONTOWN- IN THE INDIAN TERRITORY
From Hon. Randolph Comstock we learn of another robbery and double murder near that place- the killing having taken place about ten miles west of Uniontown in the Indian Territory, and the robbers are supposed to have been the same parties who robbed Hon. Tom Comstock some time since. The facts in the case as learned from Mr. Comstock are as follows: The robbers, it seems, had learned that one Mack Glass had considerable money- about $200- which he carried in a belt under his clothing. The robbers, two in number, met him in the road last Friday and covering him with their pistols told him to give up his money. He said he did not have it with him, but that is was at the house of Lacy Lasley. They, thereupon, made Glass go with them to the latter’s house and again demanded the money. Lasley seeing the scheme told them he did not have the money and that it was in Uniontown. The robbers, however, would not believe this, so one stayed with Glass on the porch, while the other entered the house with Lasley and proceeded to rummage through the trunks, etc. Unknown to the robbers there were two other men in another room. Lasley knowing this thought if he could hold the robber in the house and Glass the one on the porch, they could with the assistance of the others capture both. So he caught hold of the one in the room, but Glass instead of doing the same with his man rushed in to the assistance of Lasley when the robber on the porch drew his pistol and shot him in the back, killing him instantly; he then walking in to where Lasley was still struggling with the other robber, placed the pistol to his head and killed him. Then one of the men in the other room a brother of Lasley, Jim Lasley, opened the door and fired on the robbers without injuring either one, closed the door, repeating this three times, when one of the robbers shot him, the ball striking him in the chin and ranging around to the back of the neck. Then the robbers left, without getting the money. The doctors state that Jim Lasley has a chance for recovery. Mr. Comstock states that the people are much aroused over the late robberies and outlawry committed in that neighborhood and every home is prepared for an attack. The country for twenty miles around affords excellent hiding places for outlaws. Lasley was a preacher.
February 22, 1896
City Marshal Houck returned Sunday from the northwestern part of the county and the Territory along its border, where he had been on the search of the parties who committed the triple murder in the Indian Territory, west of Uniontown. While up there Marshal Houck fell in with the Sheriff of Sequoyah District, who had fifty men with him and for two days they made a thorough search of the country without success. The parties arrested two weeks ago helped to plan the hold-up but they are not the principals in the case. The names of the latter are, however, known and they are said to be the same parties that robbed Tom Comstock some time ago. The country where they are hiding is very mountainous and the people living there who are not friendly with the outlaws are afraid to give the officers any information for fear of being waylaid by the friends of the outlaws. This makes it very hard for the officers to get on their trail.
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1896 Fran Alverson Warren Vol. 4, 2001,
p.19 8 Jan 1896 A reward of $400 has been subscribed for the arrest and conviction of the parties who robbed Tom Comstock, near Uniontown, last fall. It is to be hoped the outlaws may be captured and punished.
p.24 5 Feb 1896 MURDER and ROBBERY
Two murders were committed in the Territory 10 miles from Uniontown last week, growing out of an attempt at robbery. Two men help up Mack Glass, known to have been the possessor of some $200. Upon the plea that he did not have the money about his person, but that it was at the house of Lacy Lasley, the robbers compelled him to accompany them to Lasley's home. Here the robbers met with resistance, as a result of which Mack Glass & Lacy Lasley are now dead, while Jim Lasley is very low with a bullet in his throat. The robbers escaped, but only secured 75 cents, Glass' money hid about his person not being discovered. From the given [account] of the robbers, it is believed they are the same parties who robbed Tom Comstock some time ago at Barcelona.
p.47 24 Jun 1896 Lloyd Johns, who was arrested in the Territory last week by Deputy Sheriff R. B. Winfrey and City Marshal F. D. Houck, charged with the robbing of Tom Comstock at Barcelona, was on Sunday last, turned over to the U.S. Marshal of the Paris, Texas, District, for trial in that court for two murders committed in the Indian Territory. The evidence against Johns in these cases is said to be very strong. The officer left Sunday with his prisoner for Paris, Texas.
We learn the George Johns, Lloyd's brother, who had been convicted and sentenced by the Paris Court to five years in the penitentiary for robbery, has been indicted as an accomplice in one of these murders, and will also be tried at the same time.
1900 Census. Clinden is living at home with his parent and 3 men listed as "servants". Trentham Jakes, Eli McFarland, and Charles Kitchen.
Union Twp, Crawford, AR, ED 57, Hh 121
Tom Comstock, b. Dec 1838, age 61, married 41 years, b. TN, parents b. KY, farmer
Maranda J., wife, b. Jun 1844, age 55, 7 children - 5 are living, b. AR, father b. KY, mother b. MO
Clinden, son, b. Feb 1873, age 27, b. AR, Farm labor
VAN BUREN ARGUS; May 11, 1904
CAUGHT A BAD INJUN From Thursday’s Daily Yesterday afternoon Constable Will Smith captured Sandford McKinney, a Cherokee Indian, on the Comstock Farm near Uniontown and turned him over to Deputy United States Marshal T B Johnson, who took him to Vinita, Indian Territory, to answer to the charge of murder.
Besides being wanted for murder, McKinney is wanted at South McAlester, Muskogee, Poteau, Fort Smith and Van Buren for forgery- obtaining goods under false pretense. He is also wanted at Muskogee for bigamy, as he is known to have three wives, one of whom is said to be living in Van Buren. Mckinney, what at least a half blood Cherokee, is one of the cleverest that ever operated in the Indian Territory or this part of Arkansas. He had a number of check books from different banks but never drew a check on a bank in the town in which he operated. His plan was to buy something and give a check for more than the amount of his purchase, this getting the goods and a few additional dollars. The fact that the Indian is looked upon as being proverbially honest and too unsophisticated in ways that are dark made his work easy.
Constable Smith found the half-breed at work in a cornfield for Mr. Comstock. With his pistol concealed and carrying a fishing pole in his hand, Mr. Smith approached McKinney, who looked upon him unsuspiciously. The officer engaged one of the Comstock boys in conversation until McKinney resumed his work when Will dropped his pole, drew his gun and made the Indian throw up his hands, and then called officer Johnson from his hiding place who quickly handcuffed McKinney without further trouble.
OBITUARIES, DEATH NOTICES AND NEWS ITEMS EXTRACTED FROM THE VAN BUREN ARGUS, Vol. 8, Fran Alverson Warren, 2001, p.28
1 Jun 1904 From Tuesday's Daily: Uncle Tom Comstock, of Uniontown, was in the city yesterday evening and made the Argus office a very pleasant call. Mr. Comstock had walked the entire distance from Uniontown, 17 miles, driving 17 head of hogs to Van Buren markets, having started on his long tiresome trip a daybreak, reaching here before 6 PM.
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1905 Fran Alverson Warren, p.1-2.
6 May 1905 Asks For Pardon" ....ask for a pardon for Lloyd Johns ...sent up from the Federal Courts in Paris, Texas, in 1895 for life, for the killing of a man. ...Johns was mixed up with the robbing of Uncle Tom Comstock at his home west of Uniontown and is reported to have been wounded in an attempted robbery at the home of Judge Lasley west of Uniontown, when the gang killed three men.
1910 Census. Thomas Comstock, age 71, married 50 years. Born in TN. Maranda, age 67, 9 children, 5 living. [There were actually 6 living children in 1910.]
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press 1911 Compiled by Fran Alverson Warren, p.23
5 Aug 1911. Hon. Tom Comstock, of Uniontown, passed through Van Buren on his way to Fort Smith Wednesday. Mrs. Comstock is in the hospital there and he goes to look after her situation.
Letter from granddaughter Lula Bertha (Jones) Pauley to Marlene Jones, [about 1971] stated the following.
"Your great-great grandfather was Richard Jones and his wifes name was Poindexter. ... They lived in Newburg, Missouri. He had a general store and a mill in Newburg and a farm. ... He was a Baptist minister and had three sons and town daughters that I heard my father speak of..... Grandfather and Grandmother both passed on when my father was a little boy and his oldest sister, took him and his youngest sister to raise. She married Uncle Murphy Brown.... Her husband had been dead a long time when I seen her ....She was a widow and lived at Rocky Comfort, McDonald Co MO. I never remember her speaking of but one girl of hers. She married Tom Comstock, part Indian, and a wealthy man."
The story has long existed that Tom Comstock had Indian blood. When I began researching, I soon discovered this seemed unlikely. DNA tests for racial characteristics indicate that I am 100% European and there is no basis for this family tradition. I suspect Tom himself was responsible for the "Indian tradition"
Obituaries, Death Notices & News Items Extracted from the Van Buren Press Argus 1917 Fran Alverson Warren, p.39-40
11 May 1917
Hon. Thomas Comstock died at his home near Uniontown on Sunday afternoon [April 29th] and on Monday was buried in the old home cemetery. The deceased was 79 years of age and had resided in Crawford County for nearly 50 years.
He served in the Confederate Army under Gen. Joe Shelby and before the close of the war was assigned to Indian Special Services and mustered out of service at a point in then Indian Territory. In 1882 he was elected a member of the Arkansas Legislature and it is said done more for Crawford County than any member every elected.
Tom is buried in the Comstock Cemetery is on the original homestead near Barcelona in Crawford County AR. Marker reads "His many Virtues form the noblest monument to his memory"
The papers accompanying his file in the manuscript collection of John A. Comstock, have a note: March, 1934, S.W.C. The facts on the family had obviously come from Samuel Willett Comstock who spent many years gathering Comstock data.
MIRANDA JANE BROWN and ELIJAH THOMAS "Tom" COMSTOCK had the following children: