Hiram Lowe Thompson


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Christopher A. "Chris" Yocum was born about 1816 in Louisiana, and died by hanging January 15, 1842, in Beaumont, Jefferson Co., TX, at about age 26. He is the son of Thomas Denton Yocum of Kentucky and Pamelia Pease of Unknown.

Louisiana Jackson Dever was born September 25, 1819, in Metairie, Jefferson Parish, LA, and died January 27, 1865, in Texas at age 45. She is the daughter of Philip Peyton Dever of Kentucky, and Catherine Ann Coleman of Louisiana.

Christopher A. "Chris" Yocum and Louisiana Jackson Dever were married about 1838 in Texas.

Christopher A. "Chris" Yocum and Louisiana Jackson (Dever) Yocum had at least one  child:

  1. Annetta Jane "Annie" Yocum: Born about 1839 in Texas; Died Unknown.

After Christopher A. "Chris" Yocum died, Louisiana Jackson (Dever) Yocum married Hiram Lowe Thompson.

Hiram Lowe Thompson was born January 13, 1818, in Gasconade, Gasconade Co., MO, and died February 13, 1904, at the Franks Hotel, Del Rio, Val Verde Co., TX, at age 86. Buried in Westlawn Cemetery, Del Rio, Val Verde Co., TX. He is the son of Charles Thompson and Unknown.

Hiram Lowe Thompson and Louisiana Jackson (Dever) Yocum were married July 13, 1842, in Liberty Co., TX.

Hiram Lowe Thompson and Louisiana Jackson (Dever) (Yocum) Thompson had nine children:

  1. Rosanah Amanda "Rosa" Thompson: Born January 28, 1844, in Texas; Died September 11, 1895, in Texas (age 51). Buried in Saints Oakwood Cemetery, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX. Married March 31, 1864, in Atascosa Co., TX, to John A. Henshaw: Born February 29, 1824, in Tennessee; Died March 25, 1919, at home, 1005 Buena Vista, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX (age 94). Buried in Oak Island, Bexar Co., TX.
  2. Roana Sophronia Thompson: Born September 11, 1846, in Texas; Died May 11, 1883, in Elmwood, near Oenaville, Bell Co., TX (age 36). Married January 7, 1864, in Atascosa Co., TX, to Abraham Franklin McMains: Born 1845 in Benton, MO; Died 1900 in Unknown (about age 55).
  3. Julia Virginia Thompson: Born December 2, 1848, in Bexar Co., TX; Died April 15, 1932, from a ruptured appendix in Medical Arts Hospital, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX (age 83). Married to James K. Polk Neal: Born November 27, 1846, in Missouri; Died December 30, 1925, in San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX (age 79).
  4. Alice Catherine "Kate" Thompson: Born December 14, 1851, in Texas; Died November 7, 1945, November 7, 1945, at home, 56 Vandeventer Place, City of St. Louis, MO (age 93). Married to Richard A. Currey: Born July 27, 1848, in Texas; Died January 8, 1893, in Texas. Buried in Oak Island Cemetery, Oak Island, Bexar Co., TX.
  5. Louisa Almeda Thompson: Born August 12, 1854, in Texas; Died May 24, 1855, in Texas (age Infant).
  6. Alva Allison Thompson: Born March 6, 1856, in Oak Island, Medina Co., TX; Died December 10, 1933, in Del Rio, Val Verde Co., TX (age 77). Married (1) April 12, 1871, in Texas to Charles Henley "Charley" Brite:  Born August 30, 1852, in near Lockhart, Caldwell Co., TX; Died August 9, 1911, in Del Rio, Bexar Co., TX (age 58). Divorced. Married (2)  October 11, 1887, in Bexar Co., TX, to Daniel Gandy "Dan" Franks: Born December 1, 1848, in Plum Creek, Caldwell Co., TX; Died September 4, 1913, in Del Rio, Val Verde Co., TX (age 64).
  7. John Smith Thompson: Born July, 1858, in Texas; Died November 5, 1922, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX (age 74) Married May 29, 1884, in Kaufman, TX, to Molly Jane "Mattie" Thompson: Born September, 1860, in Texas; Died November 1, 1912, in San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX (age 52).
  8. John Henry Thompson: Born January 23, 1859, in Texas; Died May 19, 1940, in Unknown (age 81). Married September 4, 1884, in Texas to Mary Virginia "Molly" Stanfield: Born February 7, 1864, in Bexar Co., TX; Died July 26, 1912, in Bee Co., TX (age 48).
  9. Mary Florence Thompson: Born August 7, 1862, near San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX; Died July 2, 1952, at her home, Oenaville, Bell Co., TX (age 89). Married (1) July 17, 1881, in Bell Co., TX, to Richard A. H. Clark: Born Unknown; Died Unknown. Married (2) about October 1889 in Bell Co., TX, to Harvey Andrew J. Barnwell: Born October 1858 in Beat 2, Clarke Co., MS; Died 1910-1920 in Texas.

March 3, 1846: Hiram Lowe Thompson, of Liberty County, TX, stated that he was the guardian of Annette Yocum, granddaughter of Thomas D. Yocum, and that she was entitled to a distributive share of his estate.

Louisiana Jackson (Dever) (Yocum) Thompson died January 27, 1865, in Texas at age 45.

Hiram Lowe Thompson was the Postmaster at Oenaville, Bell Co., TX, from July 1, 1874 to May 5, 1875.

Hiram Lowe Thompson then married Christina Elizabeth (Bechtol) Winn.

Christina Elizabeth Bechtel was born December 24, 1829, in Marion Co., TN, and died February 26, 1894, in a nursing home fire, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX, at age 64. Buried in Saints Oakwood Cemetery, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX. She is the daughter of Unknown.

Christina Elizabeth Bechtel was first married to Baylor Winn.

Baylor Winn was born August 2, 1798, in King William Co., VA, and died February 9, 1864, in Atascosa Co., TX, at age 65. He is the son of Hugh Winn of Virginia and Unknown of Unknown.

Sarah Gregory was born March 6, 1805, in Unknown, and died Unknown. She is the daughter of Unknown.

Baylor Winn and Sarah Gregory were married July 27, 1822, in Unknown.

Baylor Winn and Sarah (Gregory) Winn had five children:

  1. William Winn: Born May 31, 1824, in Natchez, MS; Died Unknown.
  2. Jasper Winn: Born August 17, 1825, in Natchez, MS; Died May 7, 1864, in Atascosa Co., TX (age 38). Married September 19, 1850, in Adams Co., MS, to Mary B. Jennings: Born about 1837 in Ireland; Died Unknown.
  3. Emeline Winn: Born September 10, 1827, in Natchez, MS; Died October 5, 1851, in Unknown (age 24). Married to Unknown Burks: Born Unknown; Died Unknown.
  4. Calvin "Doc" Winn: Born February 8, 1830, in Natchez, MS; Died 1894 in Amphion, Atascosa Co., TX (about age 64). Married December 24, 1854, in San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX, to Catherine Elizabeth Tumlinson: Born May 26, 1840, in Shelby Co., TX; Died August 3, 1887, in Carrizo Springs, Dimmit Co., TX (age 47).
  5. Sarah Winn: Born March 6, 1833, in Natchez, MS; Died July 8, 1863, in Atascosa Co., TX (age 30). Married October 22, 1851, in Texas to Edmund "Edward" Fields: Born about 1833 in Tennessee; Died Unknown.

Baylor Winn then married Christina Elizabeth Bechtel.

Baylor Winn and Christina Elizabeth Bechtel were married December 25, 1846, in Natchez, Adams Co., MS. Baylor Winn was age 56, and Christina Elizabeth Bechtel was age 17.

Baylor Winn and Christina Elizabeth (Bechtel) Winn had no children.

Baylor Winn died February 9, 1864, in Atascosa Co., TX, at age 65.

Hiram Lowe Thompson and Christina Elizabeth (Bechtel) Winn were married about 1866 in Texas.

Hiram Lowe Thompson and Christina Elizabeth (Bechtel) (Winn) Thompson had two children:

  1. Charles E. "Charlie" Thompson: Born December 5, 1867, in Temple, Bell Co., TX; Died August 20, 1925, in San Angelo, Tom Green Co., TX, (age 57). Buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Temple, Bell Co., TX. Married about 1895 in Texas to Alvia Alice Cox: Born January 2, 1872, in Texas; Died January 5, 1966, at Golden Years Nursing Home, Christoval, Tom Green Co., TX (age 93).
  2. Hiram Desmuke "Hi" Thompson: Born September 9, 1870, in Bell Co., TX; Died August 10, 1933, in Temple, Bell Co., TX (age 62). Married June 9, 1899, in Bell Co., TX, to Fannie Lewallen: Born January 4, 1875, in Washington Co., AR; Died December 22, 1951, in Austin, Travis Co., TX (age 76).



TIMELINE

Mr. Franks' second marriage, in 1887, was to Mrs. Alva Brite, the widow of Charles Brite. By her first marriage she had four children: John W., a section foreman; Mattie, who married Mr. Friesen, by whom she had a son, Carl, and for her second husband married Mr. Crew, by whom she has one child, Gedney; Bennie and Dan H., both married.

Mrs. Franks was born in Bexar county, Texas, in 1856, a daughter of Rev. H. L. Thompson, a worthy minister of the Methodist church for over forty years. He was one of the pioneer preachers in Texas and was also a stock farmer. He spent the last seven years of his life in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Franks, where he was surrounded with loving care and attention. His children were Mrs. Rosa Henshaw; Mrs. Roana McMains; Mrs. Julia Neal; Mrs. Kate Kurrey; Alva A., now Mrs. Franks; John H., and Florence, who after the death of her first husband, Mr. Clark, married Dr. Barnwell, of Bell county, Texas. Rev. Thompson was twice married and had two children by the second union, Charles and Hiram, both residents of Bell county, Texas. To Mr. and Mrs. Franks have been born three interesting children: Alva, Bob Ingersoll and Penny.


Hiram Lowe Thompson

Christina Elizabeth (Bechtel) (Winn) Thompson, about 1885, from a tintype, probably made at Temple, TX. Photo courtesy of Robert Gerstenberg.

Elizabeth Bechtel, the daughter of John and Polly Bechtel, was born in Marion County Tennessee in 1830. John moved his family to Mississippi around 1840, and they lived outside Natchez on the Mississippi River. When she was 15, Elizabeth married Baylor Winn, a planter from Virginia who was a widower and had grown children. These were turbulent times and after a few years Winn and Elizabeth moved to Atascosa County, Texas. By 1865, Winn had died and left Elizabeth alone in a strange land. During 1865 she met and married a widower, the Reverend Hiram Thompson. They had two sons, Charles Thompson, born in 1867, and Hiram Desmukes Thompson, born in 1870. Elizabeth suffered a stroke in 1894 and died when a fire swept through the sanitarium in San Antonio where she was being treated.


Christina Elizabeth (Bechtel) (Winn) Thompson reconstructed gravestone. Buried in Saints Oakwood Cemetery, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX. Photo courtesy of Robert Gerstenberg.


Christopher A. "Chris" Yocum was born about 1816 in Louisiana.

Hiram Lowe Thompson was born January 13, 1818, in Gasconade, MO.

Louisiana Jackson Dever was born September 25, 1819, in Metairie, LA.

Hiram Lowe Thompson and Louisiana Jackson Dever were married July 13, 1842, in Unknown.


Daughters of Republic of Texas, Volume 1, Herbert C. Banks, June 15, 1995

HIRAM LOWE THOMPSON was born in Missouri in 1822, probably Gasconade Township. His parents removed to East Texas in 1822, and by 1826 both parents had died. In the 1829-1836 Texas Census, Hiram Thompson was listed as a single person, age 15, living in the Tenehaw district. Served in the Texian Army in 1835 for which he received a land grant, and served in the Texas Militia in 1843. He married Louisiana Dever Yocum in Liberty County, in 1842. By 1853 they had moved to Oak Island on the Medina River in Bexar County. He appeared on the tax rolls as having 1,476 acres of land, three Negroes, cattle, hogs and a wagon. The 1860 Census listed him as having a wife, Louisiana, and six children: Rosana, Roanna, Julia, Alice, Alva, and John. About 1864 Louisiana Thompson died and in 1865 he married Christina Elizabeth Bechtol Winn and moved to Bell County. Two children, Charles E. and Hiram Desmuke, were born to this marriage. In later years, he moved to Del Rio where he died in 1904. The following obituary appeared in the Del Rio newspaper:

Del Rio, Val Verde Co., Tex. Feb. 13, 1904.

Rev. Hiram L. Thompson, probably the oldest preacher in Texas, lies dead at the Franks Hotel. Rev. Thompson was born in Missouri, Jan. 13, 1818, and his parents came to Texas in 1822 and settled on the Trinity River. In 1823 the elder Thompson was killed by a premature discharge of his gun while hunting buffaloes, and in 1825 Mrs. Thompson died, thus leaving the young Hiram Thompson without a relative to battle for his life in the wilds of Texas at the age of eight years. The mode he adopted in early life to fight the battle of life and trying scenes through which he passed would make interesting reading. The clouds of war hanging over the land like a midnight pall, the ever lurking foe ready to take a human scalp at every opportunity, yet he raised not his hand to strike his brother man; but ever ready to lend a helping hand in time of need. For more than 50 years this man of God preached the gospel of Christ. Thirty years of his ministry was in the Methodist Episcopal Church and the rest of his life was with the Latter Day Saints. He would never receive one penny as a contribution from the church, but worked for the love of the cause. Thus falls one of the rare men of God, and his fall was as rare as his life. Just 140 days ago this man fell from his chair and was carried into his room and pronounced to be dying; but not a trace of suffering marred the approaching end. So he lay, not suffering, but dying, just dying until the period of gestation of life, so was death. Rev. Thompson leaves four daughters and three sons, 39 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.


Hiram moved to San Augustine, TX, about 1835.

Little is known of the fate of Yocum's sons other than Christopher, who in 1836 who had been mustered into Captain Franklin Hardin's company at Liberty, and who had served honorably and with distinction for one year in the Texas Army. Chris, whom many believed to be "the best of the Yocums," may not have been implicated in the murder ring at all, but he fled, leaving his young wife behind, perhaps because of the stigma that his surname carried and the public anger that was then rampant. Believing that the public clamor for revenge had died down after a span of four months, Chris Yocum returned to Beaumont, Texas, one night in January 1842. Sheriff West, although he had no specific crimes to charge him with, was aware that a thirst for retribution still lingered and he arrested young Yocum for his own protection. Jefferson County's "Criminal Docket Book, 1839-1851" reveals that Chris was lodged in the county's log house jail on the afternoon of Jan. 15, 1842. What the book does not reveal is the fact that young Yocum faced Judge Lynch and an unsummoned jury of Regulators on the same night. The following morning West found him swinging from a limb of an oak tree on the courthouse lawn, with a ten-penny nail driven into the base of his skull.


The 1860 U. S. Census taken on July 24, 1860, shows Hiram L. Thompson (age 42) born in Missouri with real estate worth $6,000 and personal estate worth $4,000 is a Farmer living near San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX. Living with him is Louisiana Thompson (age 41) born in Louisiana. Also living in the household are Thompson children all born in Texas, with John being the only Male: Rosana Thompson (age 16); Ro Anna Thompson (age 13); Julia Thompson (age 11); Allis Thompson (age 8); Alva Thompson (age 4); and John Thompson (age 1).

The 1870 U. S. Census taken on July 5, 1870, shows I. Thompson (age 55) born in Louisiana, with real estate of $600 and personal estate of $2,250 is a Farmer, and is living in Precinct No. 3, Wilson Co., TX. Living with him are: a female, Eliza Thompson (age 40) born in Tennessee; a female, Alvey Thompson (age 14); a male, John Thompson (age 11); a male, Floyd Thompson (age 8); and a male, Charles Thompson (age 2). Also living there is a male, Daniel Carl (age 69) born in Ireland.

The 1880 U. S. Census taken on June 25, 1880, shows H. L. Thompson (age 62) born in Missouri to Missouri-born parents is a Farmer living in Bell Co., TX. Living with him is his wife, Chrystiana E. Thompson (age 47) born in Tennessee to Virginia and Tennessee-born parents, who is Keeping House. Also living there are: son, Charles Thompson (age 12) born in Texas to Missouri and Tennessee-born parents; son, Hiram D. Thompson (age 9) born in Texas to Missouri and Tennessee-born parents; unmarried son Greo. H. Thompson (age 21) born in Texas to Missouri-born parents, who is a Farmer; and unmarried Mary F. Thompson (age 17) born in Texas to Missouri-born parents, who is At Home. Two boarders are also in the household. On the next farm lived Roana L. (Thompson) McMains and family.

The 1880 U. S. Census taken on June 25, 1880, shows Rich. Currie (age 32) born in Texas to Alabama-born parents, is a Farmer and is living in Bexar Co., TX. Living with him is his wife, Catherine Currie (age 29) born in Texas to Louisiana and Mississippi-born parents, who is Keeping House. Also living there are the following children, all born in Texas to Texas-born parents: his daughter, Lula Currie (age 10); his daughter, Florance Currie (age 5); his son, Victor Currie (age 3); and his son, Alexander Currie (age 11/12). The J. P. Neel family lives on the adjacent place.

The 1880 U. S. Census taken on June 25, 1880, shows A. F. McMains (age 37) born in Missouri to Kentucky and Missouri-born parents is a Farmer living in Bell Co., TX. Living with him is his wife, Roana L. McMains (age 34) born in Texas to Missouri and Louisiana-born parents, who is Keeping House. Also living there are five children, all born in Texas to Missouri and Texas-born parents: Hiram F. McMains (age 13); Effie A. McMains (age 12); Horace E. McMains (age 10); Grace L. McMains (age 8); and Lewis A. McMains (age 1). On the next farm lived H. L. Thompson and family.


The Daily Light, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX, Monday, February 26, 1894

ANOTHER HORRIBLE FIRE.

DR. PEEBLES' SANITARIUM BURNED TO THE GROUND.

An Aged Lady Perishes in the Flames, Being Paralyzed and Unable to Escape - A Woman Injured While Jumping to the Ground - A Loss That Can Never Be Replaced.

Shortly before 3 o'clock this morning, fire broke out in a pantry between the dining hall and kitchen of Dr. J. M. Peebles' sanitarium, West End, and before assistance was secured, the entire building was burned to the ground. The wind was high, and as a result, the flames spread to the stable and adjoining cottages, and they too were consumed. In the sanitarium proper, there were twenty patients. The flames were discovered by one of the number, who quickly aroused the inmates, and warned them of their danger. Half-dressed, terror-stricken and almost suffocated, they were seen jumping from all windows and some rushed down stairs into the flames, but succeeded in getting out safely. On the second floor roomed a lady named Mrs. H. L. Thompson, age 63 years, of Bell county. She was paralyzed and unable to escape. In consequence, the flames rapidly crept to her sleeping apartment and she was compelled to face death of the most horrible nature. Her body was burned to a crisp and when taken out of the debris at a late hour this morning, it was not recognizable. Mrs.. Duval, who was attending Mrs. Thompson, in an attempt to escape death, jumped from a second-story window and broke her wrist. She was carried to the Lakeside hotel and medical attention given her. Dr. Peebles was out of the city on professional business and knew nothing of his misfortune until his return this morning, and when he was notified of the terrible disaster, he was completely broken down, and it was found necessary to summons a physician. The fact that one of the patients, who had been left in his care, had perished was almost too much for him to bear, and he grieved considerably over the sad occurrence. It is not know how the fire originated, but a pile of kindling in the pantry or closet was lying near a can containing several boxes of matches, and it is thought that rats gnawed the matches and caused the first blaze. Some, however, are of the belief that the building was set fire too, but the real cause will perhaps ever remain a mystery. The sanitarium was a two-story frame structure with about sixteen room, and cost, about three years ago, $18,000. The out-buildings, among them being a very fine stable, cost about $10,000. The large library belonging to the doctor was valued at $6,000, and was considered one of the most complete in the south, containing volumes that cannot be replaced at any price. The total loss is about $34,000. There is $12,000 insurance on the building and $3,000 on the library, making a total of $15,000 and the net loss $19,000. Coroner E. Griff Jones viewed the body of Mrs. Thompson this morning and issued a burial permit. The husband of the deceased is in the city and will accompany the remains to Bell county for interment. She leave two sons, Charlie and Hiram to mourn her loss.


The 1900 U. S. Census taken on June 2, 1900, shows Dan G. Franks (age 51) born December 1848 in Texas to Alabama-born parents is a Hotel Keeper owning his own mortgaged home and living in Val Verde Co., TX. Living with him is his wife of 13 years, Alva A. Franks (age 44) born in Texas to Missouri and Louisiana-born parents, with all 7 of the children born to her still living. Also living there are his three unmarried children, all born in Texas to Texas-born parents: daughter Alva A. Franks (age 10) born July 1879; son Robert I. Franks (age 8) born August 1891; and daughter Penny L. Franks (age 2) born June 1897. Also living there are his step-relatives, all born in Texas to Texas-born parents: unmarried step-daughter Bennie B. Bright (age 18) born February 1892; unmarried step-son Dan Bright (age 16) April 1894; married step-daughter Mattie C. Friesen (age 20) born March 1880 who has been married for three years with the only child born to her still living; and Carl T. Friesen (age 1) born October 1898. Three boarders and two servants also live in the household. One of the boarders is the son of Roana L. (Thompson) McMains, Alva's sister: Horace E. McMains (age 30) born February 1870 in Texas to Texas-born parents, who is an unmarried Lawyer. Another boarder was Henry Hall, who would be instrumental in helping Mattie learn Morse code: Richard H. Hall (age 20) born December 1879 in Kentucky to Kentucky-born parents, an unmarried Telegraph Operator.

The 1900 U. S. Census taken on June 9, 1900, shows Harvey A. J. Barnwell (age 41) born October 1858 in Mississippi to Alabama-born parents is a Physician owning his own home and living in Bell Co., TX. Living with him is  his wife of 12 years, Mary F. Barnwell (age 37) born August 1862 in Texas to Missouri and Louisiana-born parents, with all four of the children born to her still living. Children in the household: son, Robert Barnwell (age 10) born June 1890 in Texas to Mississippi and Texas-born parents; Daughter Mary Barnwell (age 6?) born ____ in Texas to Mississippi and Texas-born parents; step-daughter, Jessie M. Barnwell (age 17) born September 1882 in Texas to New York and Texas-born parents; and step-daughter, Lee H. Barnwell (age 14) born July 1885 in Texas to New York and Texas-born parents. Also living there is Andrew's widowed father-in-law, Hiram L. Thompson (age 82) born January 1818 in Missouri to North Carolina and Missouri-born parents, who is a Preacher.

The 1900 U. S. Census taken on June 5, 1900, shows John M. Doak (age 41) born July 1858 in Texas to Unknown-born parents is a Stock Raiser owning his own home and living in Val Verde Co., TX. Living with him is his wife of 9 years, Arrie Doak (age 29) born February 1871 in Texas to Texas-born parents, with the only child born to her still living. Also living at home is daughter Edna M. Doak (age 2) born November 1897 in Texas to Texas-born parents.

The 1900 U. S. Census taken on June 1, 1900, shows Kate Curry (age 48) born December, 1851, in Texas to Missouri and Louisiana-born parents is a widow who Keeps Lodgers, who owns her home free of a mortgage, and is living at 218 Nolen, 5th Ward, City of San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX.

The 1900 U. S. Census taken on June 13, 1900, shows John Henshaw (age 76) born February, 1824, in Tennessee to Virginia-born parents, is a widower Head of Household who owns his home free of a mortgage, and is living at 3308 South Flores Street, 1st Ward, City of San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX. Living with him are: his married son, John J. Henshaw (age 30) born December, 1869, in Texas to Tennessee and Texas-born parents, and married for 6 years, a Farm Laborer; his unmarried son, Carrol F. Henshaw (age 22) born August, 1877, in Texas to Tennessee and Texas-born parents, a Farm Laborer; his unmarried daughter, Florence Henshaw (age 15) born February, 1855, in Texas to Tennessee and Texas-born parents, and married for 6 years, a Farm Laborer; his married daughter, Eula Miles (age 32) born November, 1867, in Texas to Tennessee and Texas-born parents, and married for 3 years, with the only child born to her still living; his married son-in-law, Thomas J. Miles (age 27) born March, 1873, in New York to Irish and Texas-born parents, and married for 3 years, a Brakeman for a Railroad; his married son, John J. Henshaw (age 30) born December, 1869, in Texas to Tennessee and Texas-born parents, and married for 6 years, a Farm Laborer; his granddaughter, Katie R. Miles (age 1) born October, 1898, in Pennsylvania to New York and Texas-born parents; and his unmarried granddaughter, Elsa Henshaw (age 17) born January, 1883, in Texas to Missouri and Texas-born parents.

The 1910 U. S. Census taken on April 22, 1910, shows A. C. Curey (age 55) born in Texas to Missouri and Louisiana-born parents, and with 4 of the 7 children born to her still alive, is a widow who rents her home, and is living at 1820 N. Olive, 6th Ward, City of San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX. Living with her are: her unmarried daughter, Virgie Curey (age 20) born in Texas to Texas-born parents; and her widowed daughter, Lulu Landrum (age 30) born in Texas to Texas-born parents.

The 1910 U. S. Census taken on June 13, 1900, shows J. A. Henshaw (age 86) born in Tennessee to North Carolina-born parents, and with is a widower Head of Household who owns his home free of a mortgage, and with 3 of his 13 children still alive, is living at 3308 South Flores Street, 1st Ward, City of San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX. Living with him are: his widowed daughter, E. L. Miles (age 40) born in Texas to Tennessee and Texas-born parents, and in her first marriage, with all 4 of the children born to her still living; his granddaughter, Katie Miles (age 10) born in Pennsylvania to Pennsylvania-born parents; his married grandson, W. S. Henshaw (age 40) born in Texas to Missouri and Texas-born parents, and in his first marriage, and married for one year, a Music Musician; his married granddaughter, Faith Henshaw (age 20) born in Kansas to Ohio and Kansas-born parents and married for one year, with the only child born to her still alive; aand his great-grandson, John M. Henshaw (age 4/12) born in Oklahoma to Texas and Kansas-born parents.

Hiram Lowe "H. L." Thompson died February 13, 1904, at the Franks Hotel, Del Rio, Val Verde Co., TX, at age 86.


Del Rio, Val Verde Co., Tex. Feb. 13, 1904.

Rev. Hiram L. Thompson, probably the oldest preacher in Texas, lies dead at the Franks Hotel. Rev. Thompson was born in Missouri, Jan. 13, 1818, and his parents came to Texas in 1822 and settled on the Trinity River. In 1823 the elder Thompson was killed by a premature discharge of his gun while hunting buffaloes, and in 1825 Mrs. Thompson died, thus leaving the young Hiram Thompson without a relative to battle for his life in the wilds of Texas at the age of eight years. The mode he adopted in early life to fight the battle of life and trying scenes through which he passed would make interesting reading. The clouds of war hanging over the land like a midnight pall, the ever lurking foe ready to take a human scalp at every opportunity, yet he raised not his hand to strike his brother man; but ever ready to lend a helping hand in time of need. For more than 50 years this man of God preached the gospel of Christ. Thirty years of his ministry was in the Methodist Episcopal Church and the rest of his life was with the Latter Day Saints. He would never receive one penny as a contribution from the church, but worked for the love of the cause. Thus falls one of the rare men of God, and his fall was as rare as his life. Just 140 days ago this man fell from his chair and was carried into his room and pronounced to be dying; but not a trace of suffering marred the approaching end. So he lay, not suffering, but dying, just dying until the period of gestation of life, so was death. Rev. Thompson leaves four daughters and three sons, 39 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.


The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX, Wednesday, February 17, 1904, Page 3.

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS.

Del Rio, Tex., Feb. 13. - Rev. Hiram L. Thompson, probably the oldest preacher in Texas, lies dead at the Franks Hotel. Rev. Thompson was born in Missouri, Jan. 13, 1818, and his parents came to Texas in 1822 and settledon the Trinity River. In 1823 the Elder Thompson was killed by a premature discharge of his gun while hunting buffaloes, and in 1825 Mrs. Thompson died thus leaving the young Hiram Thompson without a relative to battle for his life in the wilds of Texas at the age of 8 years.


San Antonio Evening News, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX, Wednesday, March 26, 1919

PIONEER 96 YEARS OLD PASSES AWAY

JOHN HENSHAW, BURIED THIS AFTERNOON, WAS VETERAN OF MEXICAN WAR

With the passing of John Henshaw, aged veteran of both the Mexican and Civil Wars, the city loses one of its oldest pioneers - making one less of the few survivors who played heroic parts at those critical periods in the country's history. Death occurred yesterday at his residence, 1005 Buena Vista Street, following illness from influenza. John Henshaw was 96 years of age, and while he was a native of Tennessee, the last 60 years of his eventful life were spent in San Antonio. Coming here in early manhood, he remembered well when San Antonio's oldest hotel was a very small building with floors made of stone and the city was but an Indian village. He came to San Antonio on a stage coach from New Orleans, as did many other pioneers, and encountered many hardships and experiences on the way, the overland trips in those days being beset with dangers and difficulties and Indian raids being not an uncommon occurrence. Besides his son, John Henshaw, of Nebraska, he is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Beulah Miles and Mrs. Florence Batrie, both of this city. The funeral was held at 3 o'clock this afternoon from the chapel of the Riebe Undertaking Company and interment was made in the Oak Island Cemetery.

Leigh Larson note: Beulah "Eula" Miles, the widow of Thomas A. "Tom" Miles, is living in San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX, in 1934. Their daughter, Kathleen (Miles) Stitts, was born October 15, 1898, in San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX, and died July 17, 1959, in San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX, at age 60.


The 1930 U. S. Census taken on April 9, 1930, shows Alice Bartlett (age 45) born in Texas to Louisiana and Texas-born parents, and first married at age 18, is a divorcee who owns her home worth $10,000 and is living at 56 Vandeventer Place, 19th Ward, City of St. Louis, MO. Living with her are: her widowed mother, Catherine Curry (age 75) born in Texas to Missouri and Louisiana-born parents and first married at age 21; and an unmarried male servant, Oscar Fitzgerald (age 20) born in Missouri to Missouri-born parents.


The San Antonio Express, San Antonio, TX, Thursday, July 23, 1936

BURKE FUNERAL RITES TO BE HELD FRIDAY

Funeral services will be held Friday morning for Mrs. Louisa Drake Burke, 82, who died at her home, 134 Topeka Boulevard, Wednesday morning. Rev. Frank Charlton of Alamo Heights Methodist Church, will officiate. Mrs. Burke was a native of Tennessee, and had lived in San Antonio 40 years. She is survived by two sons, Roberts S. Burke of New Braunfels and Orville G. Burke of Tucumcari, N. M.; a daughter, Mrs. Oscar B. Franks of San Antonio, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


The 1940 U. S. Census taken on April 20, 1940, shows V. R. Smith (age 48) born in Texas, and 5 years ago was living in the Same House, and with 4 years of College, is a widowed President of a Medical Manufacturer who owns her home worth $5,000 and is living at 56 Vandeventer Place, 19th Ward, City of St. Louis, MO. Living with her are: her unmarried daughter, Evelyne J. Smith (age 23) born in Texas, and 5 years ago was living in the Same House, and with 4 years of College; her widowed mother, A. C. Currey (age 88) born in Texas, and 5 years ago was living in the Same House, and with 4 years of High School; and her widowed sister, A. L. Bartlett (age 58) born in Texas, and 5 years ago was living in the Same House, and with 2 years of College.

Alice Catherine "Kate" (Thompson) Currey died November 7, 1945, at home, 56 Vandeventer Place, City of St. Louis, MO, at age 93.


   

Alice Catherine "Kate" (Thompson) Currey is buried in Valhalla Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.


Frontier Times, Bandera, TX, June, 1931

Some Reminiscences of Pioneer Days, by Mrs. Julia Thompson Neal, 510 East Dewey Place, San Antonio, Texas.

MY FATHER and mother moved to Southwest Texas in 1852. I was then in my fourth year and I vividly remember such things as Indian battles, run-a-way slaves, and like incidents of early pioneer days. One of the most vivid incidents standing out in my memory follows. One night not long after we arrived here, we heard a commotion down in the negro cabins. My father went down to see what the trouble was and found that two of the negroes, Bob and his sister, Hannah, had run away. Hannah left her two children, Chloe, who was only three months old, and Mary Ann, who was about my age. My uncle, Dr. Desmuke, who with his family was living with us, temporarily, found that two of his negroes were gone also. All we ever got back was a gun that Hannah and Bob had taken with them. They also took a fine American mare which we never recovered. When Dr. Desmuke heard of his negroes in Mexico, he went for them and brought them back. They had our old gun which they had borrowed from Bob, that is how we got the gun back. This gun has been in our family ever since and is now handed down to one of my sons. My father took two trips to Mexico to try to find our negroes but never heard of them until after the Civil War, when Hannah wrote from Virginia in­quiring about her two children. I answered the letter but we never heard from her again. My mother had taken the baby, Chloe, and reared her with my little sister, Kate. Mary Ann was my girl. We always kept the two children right with us and they were about as free as we were. After the war Chloe married a good colored man by the name of Tom Hays. My father had them get a license and he, being a minister, performed the ceremony there in our home. My father, though owning slaves, really did not believe in slavery and was always very good to them.

The next thing that comes to mind now is the building of our new home. I remember the two men who had charge of the building. They were Russ and Green Storey. One had charge of the masonry and the other the painting. It was a large rock two- story house, located twelve miles south of San Antonio on the Medina River. As soon as the house was finished we moved in and of course were very proud of our new home and surroundings. Not long after this the Comanche Indians made a raid on us and I remember well my father standing in the door with the old gun, above mentioned, in his hands listening to the horses stampeding in the field. It was in the fall of the year and the horses had been turned in to eat the grass after crops were gathered.

By this time a few more settlers had moved into our community and the Indians began coming quite often. They would come en moonlight nights and drive out all the horses they could find. My father decided he would rent our house and move to the village, San Antonio, and send we children to school. I was then seven years old and I shall never forget my first day in school. There was a little four‑room cottage located where Goggan's Music Store stood for so many years, on the southeast corner of Navarro and Houston streets. There were four teachers - two men and two women. My teacher's name was Mrs. Thompson. My sister and I were at school quite early the first morning when someone said, "there comes the teacher now." I thought my troubles had commenced and started to cry. My older sister and cousin came up to see what the trouble was and just as I told them I was afraid the teacher was going to whip me, Mrs. Thompson came along and heard me. She patted me and said, "if you are a good girl I will not whip you." After that I was not afraid any more.

While we were living in San Antonio we had the misfortune of losing our old square piano. We had left it out at home with Mr. Stevens, the man who rented it. One day Mr. Stevens said, a man brought him a note purporting to be from my father and asking him to send us the piano in San Antonio. The piano had been gone a week before we heard about it and we had no way of apprehending the thief. In those days we did not have the advantages of easy communication and transportation.

But time moves on apace. How true the old adage: "Time and tide waits for no man." I do not remember just how long we lived in San Antonio before we moved back to our home. There were no schools, churches, nor public houses of any kind in our sparsely settled community, so my father employed a tutor, a Mr. Hewitt, to teach in our home. He also taught some of our neighbor's children. I remember my mother turned over a large room upstairs for a schoolroom. Mr. Hewitt taught us for some time and then a Mrs. Jackson came as our governess.

By this time more settlers had moved into our community and there was some talk of building a school house which would at the same time serve as a church. My father donated an acre of land and in time the house was built. Father was reared an orphan and appreciated the advantages of an education and the difficulties of securing one. I think that is why he was always so generous in helping to provide an education for others. When I was about twelve years old the Civil War broke out, and with it all the attending difficulties. The rest of my sketch might be called: "Going to School Under Difficulties During the Civil War."

We, my older sister and a boy cousin, Fount Gayle, and I were sent out about fifty miles west of San Antonio to a boarding school that was then thought to be the best in the Southwest. There were boys and girls from different places in Texas, even from San Antonio, as we did not have the advantages of the wonderful school system that we now have in San Antonio. Not only were we handicapped in that way but it was during Indian times and the settlers were living up and down a creek which was called the Hondo. Some of the families who lived in the community boarded pupils who came from a distance. We boarded with Mr. Downs, which was the nearest place to the school. Most of the pupils lived below us, down the Hondo Creek.

The Indians got so bad that the boys carried guns to and from school. It was not unusual for an Indian to jump up from a bush or from behind a tree and shoot an arrow into someone.

One beautiful moonlight night four of us girls were standing in the yard talking when suddenly we saw two men ride up to the gate and shake it. When they found it was locked they rode on down the hill. That morning in a settlement called the Lower Hondo, Mr. Rube Smith was killed by the Indians, and the men who had gone to the cemetery to bury him were now coming home. They were just opposite our house in the wagon road that ran through the bed of the creek which was nearly always dry. Directly we heard shooting and Henry Downs, the doctor's son, Fount Gayle, and the old colored man came running up the hill and said two Indians had met the white men and were having a fight. The next morning quite a number of men came by our house from the lower Hondo (where Hondo City is now located) gathering men as they came. They finally overtook the Indians, had a battle, and killed every one of them. None of the white men were killed at that time but one man was wounded. Not long after this the Indians got so bad, the school was closed and we went back home.

In January of the following year, 1864, my dear mother passed away and left me when I was but sixteen years of age. I felt that there was nothing left to live for but time, the healer of all wounds, was passing on, and the inevitable had to be met.

The Civil War was now nearing the close. How all of us wished for peace! I will not go into the horrors of that war as it has all gone down in history. I would to God that it could all be blotted out of memory.

Two years after my mother died I married. My husband passed away just four years ago. Had he lived another ten days we would have been married sixty years. But that brings up many other stories and I shall have to leave them for abler writers if they are ever told. I am now in the sunset of life - I pause while the curtain falls.

My grand daughter, Lela, asked me to jot down some of the things I have told her and the other children, of my life in pioneer times, and this is the outcome of it. Now that I have started, other things come crowding.


istopher Y

Christopher Yocum (son of Thomas D. and Pamelia (Peace) Yocum)

17 Oct 1835-5 Nov 1835: marched from the Teneha District with Captain John M. Bradley and the “Libery Volunteers.”  Henry Peace served with him. According to Bradley, by 21 Nov 1835, all but three of his men had deserted since they had been in the army.

The San Augustine Redlander Edition, 30 Sept 1841:

“...The least objectionable of all Yocum's tribe, one of his sons, Christopher, perhaps the only one against whom some heinous crime could not have been established, had married but a short time before the general breaking up of the gang. His wife refused to accompany him or follow him, but promised to live with him if he would return; and, after waiting a year, he determined to do so. Whether this was a mere ruse to obtain a foothold again, and to provide a house of refuge for others to carry out their threated revenge, I know not, but it proved a fatal affair for him. As soon as the sheriff heard of his presence, he immediately put him in jail at Beaumont, in order to save his life, and if possible assist him to escape. But all precautions were useless. The people rose immediately upon hearing of Yocum's arrival, and taking him out of jail, hung him upon the first tree. Thus was entirely destroyed the branch of the Murrel gang in Liberty County...

The Morning Star, Houston, Texas, 7 Oct 1841, p2:

“The son was captured and put in jail. It was reported that he hung himself, but Capt. Carey thinks others fixed the rope.””


Westlawn Cemetery, Del Rio, Texas
A thru M by surname
Compiled by John M. Longoria, johnl@webnology.com

1st column:        LAST NAME
2nd column         FIRST NAME
3rd column         MIDDLE NAME
4th column         DATE OF BIRTH
5th column         DATE OF DEATH
6th column         INSCRIPTION

Abbey             Alva            Franks         1889              1919
Brite             Dan             Henry          Apr. 18, 1884     Apr. 16, 1976
Brite             J.              W.             1873              1955
Brite             Mattie          Bell           1874              1966
Brite             Philo B.        Owen           Jan. 23, 1906     Aug. 22, 1974
Brite             S.              Myrtle         1896              1980
Brite             Thomas          R.             1895              1966
Brite, Jr.        Thomas          R.             1916              1999
Franks            Alva            A.             1856              1933
Franks            Chas.           E.             June 10, 1873     May 7, 1929
Franks            Dan.            G.             1848              1913
Franks            Edmond                         1847             1921               Father
Franks            Penny                          1897              1923
Franks            Robt.           I.             1891              1930
Franks            Roy             W.             1900             1941               Faithful to his trust
Franks            Talitha                        1851               1927               Mother
Franks            Viola                          1873              1952
Hays              Bennie          B.             1882              1972


Reprinted from FRONTIER TIMES, January, 1978, p. 10ff; also note all sources in footnotes of Block, HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, TEXAS, etc. p. 78. The best source is Seth Carey's memoirs, "Tale of a Texas Veteran," Galveston DAILY NEWS, Sept. 21, 1879, as reprinted in Block, EMERALD OF THE NECHES, pp. 158-163, at Lamar University and Tyrrell Libraries. Many other writings of recent vintage are pure fiction.

YOCUM'S INN: THE DEVIL'S OWN LODGING HOUSE, By W. T. Block

Stories about the old Goodnight and Chisholm Trails have so dominated the writings of Western Americana that even Texans have forgotten that their first great cattle drives ended up at New Orleans rather than Abilene or Dodge City, Kansas.

When the Spanish viceroy lifted a trade ban between Texas and Spanish Louisiana in 1778, a New Orleans-bound cattle drive of 2.000 steers, driven by Francisco Garcia, left San Antonio in 1779, the first drive of record along the unsung Opelousas Trail. By the mid-1850s, more than 40,000 Texas Longhorns were being driven annually across Louisiana, and no one welcomed the cattle drovers more enthusiastically than did Thomas Denman Yocum, Esq., of Pine Island settlement in Southeast Texas.

The first Anglo rancher along the Opelousas Trail was James Taylor White, who by 1840 owned a herd of 10,000. In 1818 he settled at Turtle Bayou, near Anahuac in Spanish Texas, and he was a contemporary of Jean Lafitte, whose pirate stronghold was on neighboring Galveston Island. By 1840, White had driven many large herds over the lonely trail, and a decade later, had more than $150,000 in gold banked in New Orleans, the proceeds of his cattle sales.

By 1824 there were others from Stephen F. Austin's colony, between the Brazos and Colorado Rivers, who joined White in the long trail drives, and a favorite stopover was Yocum's Inn, where the welcome mat was always out and the grub was always tasty and hot.

Thomas Yocum settled on a Mexican land grant on Pine Island Bayou, the south boundary of the Big Thicket of Southeast Texas, around 1830. It was then a virgin, sparsely-settled region of prairies, pine barrens, and thickets, and any settler living within ten miles was considered a neighbor. The deep, navigable stream, 100 feet wide and 75 miles long, was a tributary of the Neches River and had already attracted ten or more pioneers who also held land grants from the Mexican government. Often they heard the pound of hoofs and bellowing of thirsty herds, bound for the cattle crossing over the Neches at Beaumont. There were more than thirty streams which intersected the trail and which had to be forded or swum in the course of travel. And always Yocum rode out at the first sound of the herds and invited the drovers to quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger at the Inn.

Some people who stopped at the Inn were headed west. Sometimes they were new immigrants driving small herds into Texas. Some, like Arsene LeBleu, one of Jean Lafitte's former ship captains, were Louisiana cattle buyers carrying money belts filled with gold coins, and were en route to White's Ranch or elsewhere to buy cattle. The popularity of Yocum's Inn spread far and wide. Its genial host soon became the postmaster of Pine Island settlement under the old Texas Republic, supervised the local elections, served on juries, and was widely respected by his neighbors and travelers alike.

Yocum acquired much land and many slaves, and by 1839 his herd of 1500 heads of cattle was the fourth largest in Jefferson County. While other settlers rode the wiry Creole, or mustang-size, ponies of a type common to Southwest Louisiana, Yocum's stable of thirty horses were stock of the finest American breeds, and his family drove about in an elegant carriage.

A gentleman's life , however, held no attraction for Squire Yocum, a man who literally was nursed almost from the cradle on murder and rapine, and for many years Yocum's Inn was actually a den of robbers and killers. What is the most startling is the fact that Yocum was able to camouflage his activities for more than a decade, maintaining an aura of respectability while simultaneously committing the worst of villainies, with a murderous band of cutthroats unequaled in the history of East Texas.

How Yocum could accomplish this since he used no alias, is unexplainable, for he, his brothers, his father, and his sons were known from Texas to Mississippi as killers, slave-stealers, and robbers. If any neighbor suspected that something at Yocum's Inn was amiss, he either feared for his life or was a member of the gang.

One account, written by Philip Paxton in 1853, observed that Yocum, "knowing the advantages of a good character at home, soon by his liberality, apparent good humor, and obliging disposition, succeeded in ingratiating himself with the few settlers."

Squire Yocum was born in Kentucky around 1796. As a fourteen-year-old, he cut his criminal eyeteeth with his father and brothers in the infamous John A. Murrell gang who robbed travelers along the Natchez Trace in western Mississippi. At first Murrell was reputed to be an Abolitionist who liberated slaves and channeled them along an "underground railroad" to freedom in the North. Actually, his gang kidnapped slaves, later selling them to the sugar cane planters of Louisiana.

Murrell soon graduated to pillage and murder, but slave-stealing remained a favorite activity of the Yocum brothers, and on one occasion two of them, while returning to Louisiana with stolen horses and slaves, were caught and hanged in East Texas.

When law enforcement in western Mississippi threatened to encircle them, the Yocums fled first to Bayou Plaquemine Brule, near Churchpoint, Louisiana, then in 1815 to the Neutral Strip of Louisiana, located between the Sabine and Calcasieu Rivers. Until 1821 the Strip knew no law enforcement and military occupation, and hence became a notorious robbers' roost for the outcasts of both Spanish Texas and the State of Louisiana.

In the Land Office Register of 1824, T. D. Yocum, his father, and two brothers were listed as claiming land grants in the Neutral Strip; and during the 1820s, according to the Colorado "Gazette and Advertiser" of Oct. 31, 1841, Yocum's father was tried several times for murder at Natchitoches, La., and bought acquittal on every occasion with hired witnesses and perjured testimony.

By 1824, Squire Yocum, once again feeling the pinch of civilization, had moved on to the Mexican District of Atascosita in Texas. He lived for awhile in the vicinity of Liberty on the Trinity River. Writing about him in 1830, Matthew White, the Liberty alcalde, notified Stephen F. Austin that Yocum was one of two men who allegedly had killed a male slave and kidnapped his family, and as a result "were driven across the Sabine and their houses burned." But Yocum was not about to remain so close to the hangman's noose and the fingertips of sheriffs and U. S. marshals. And he soon took his family and slaves to the Pine Island Bayou region where he built his infamous Inn. Having acquired some wealth and affluence by 1835, the old killer and slave stealer could become more selective with his victims.

Among the many travelers along the dusty Opelousas Trail, the eastbound cattleman often stayed at Yocum's Inn and left praising the owner's hospitality. And of course the genial proprietor always invited him to stop over on his return journey. It was the westbound Louisiana cattle buyer and the Texas rancher who had already delivered his herd in New Orleans whose lives were in danger. Usually drovers paid off and dismissed their hands in New Orleans. Texas cattlemen often traveled alone on the return trip, and if any of them lodged at Yocum's Inn, a bulging waist line, which usually denoted a fat money belt of gold coins, virtually signaled his demise. The drover's bones were left to bleach in the Big Thicket, at the bottom of the innkeeper's well, or in the alligator slough.

In East Texas, Squire Yocum's crimes spawned more legends, many of them about his buried loot, than any other man except Jean Lafitte. And every legend tells the story differently. One relates that a Texas rancher was backtracking a missing brother, who was overdue from a New Orleans cattle drive, and stopped at Yocum's Inn to make inquiries. A Yocum cohort informed the rancher that no one had seen the missing brother on his return trip; then suddenly the missing brother's dog rounded a corner of the Inn. Glancing elsewhere about the premises, the rancher recognized his brother's expensive saddle resting on a nearby fence. When the conversation became heated, Yocum's partner grabbed for a shotgun, but the rancher fired first and killed him. As told in the legend, Yocum overheard the conversation and accusations from a distance, and quickly fled into the Big Thicket.

Another legend tells of a foreigner who was carrying a grind organ and a monkey with him when he rode his big gray stallion to Yocum's Inn in search of a night's lodging. Earlier the stranger had played the hand organ for some children who lived nearby and who had given him directions to reach the Inn. The story adds that Yocum traded horses with the foreigner during his stay. When the children later found a battered hand organ abandoned beside the trail, there was little doubt about the foreigner's fate.

There are many early records, written at the time of Yocum's demise, which chronicle the innkeeper's death, but they sometimes conflict. The longest of them was written by Philip Paxton in 1853, and his account of how Yocum's misdeeds were exposed appears to be the most plausible. {{Indeed, his account is deadly accurate. See sources at end}} Paxton claimed that a man named (Seth) Carey, who owned a farm on Cedar Bayou near Houston, had killed a neighbor during a quarrel over a dog and fled to Yocum for asylum. It was agreed that Yocum would receive power of attorney to sell Carey's land grant and that Yocum would forward the proceeds of the sale to Carey in Louisiana. A gang member, however, told Carey that he had no chance of escaping to Lousiana. Yocum planned to pocket the proceeds of the sale and, besides, Carey had wandered upon some skeletons in a Pine Island thicket and thus had learned "too many and too dangerous secrets" about the murder ring at Yocum's Inn.

The earliest published account, which appeared in the San Augustine "Redlander" of Sept. 30, 1841, stated that Yocum was killed by the "Regulators of Jefferson County who were determined to expel from their county all persons of suspicious or bad character." The newspaper chided the vigilantes for killing Yocum and not allowing him the due process of law and a speedy trial. But the editor conceded that Yocum had a notorious record in Louisiana "as a Negro and horse stealer, repeatedly arrested for those crimes."

Three other accounts, however, two in the Houston papers of that era and another in the "Colorado Gazette and Advertiser," published at Matagorda, Texas, alleged that "Thomas Yocum, a notorious villain and murderer, who resided at the Pine Islands near the Neches River, has been killed by the citizens of Jasper and Liberty Counties . . . ."

"Yocum has lived in Texas twenty years and has committed as many murders to rob his victims. The people could bear him no longer so 150 citizens gathered and burned his premises and shot him. They have cleared his gang out of the neighborhood," thus putting an end to the Pine Island postmaster, his gang, and his Inn. Of course, only Yocum could reveal the true number of murder notches on his gun, which may have reached as many as fifty.

According to Paxton, the Regulators found the bones of victims in Yocum's well, in the neighboring thickets, in the "alligator slough," and even out on the prairie. They then burned Yocum's Inn, the stables and furniture, but allowed his wife, children, and slaves a few days to leave the county. The posse trailed the killers into the Big Thicket and eventually caught up with Yocum on Spring Creek in Montgomery County. No longer willing to trust a Yocum's fate to the whims of any jury, the vigilantes gave the old murderer thirty minutes to square his misdeeds with his Maker, and then they "shot him through the heart" five times.

Paxton also reported that "not one of Yocum's family had met with a natural death." Little is known of the fate of Yocum's sons other than Christopher, who in 1836 who had been mustered into Captain Franklin Hardin's company at Liberty, and who had served honorably and with distinction for one year in the Texas Army. Chris, whom many believed to be "the best of the Yocums," may not have been implicated in the murder ring at all, but he fled, leaving his young wife behind, perhaps because of the stigma that his surname carried and the public anger that was then rampant.

Believing that the public clamor for revenge had died down after a span of four months, Chris Yocum returned to Beaumont, Texas, one night in January 1842. Sheriff West, although he had no specific crimes to charge him with, was aware that a thirst for retribution still lingered and he arrested young Yocum for his own protection. Jefferson County's "Criminal Docket Book, 1839-1851" reveals that Chris was lodged in the county's log house jail on the afternoon of Jan. 15, 1842. What the book does not reveal is the fact that young Yocum faced Judge Lynch and an unsummoned jury of Regulators on the same night. The following morning West found him swinging from a limb of an oak tree on the courthouse lawn, with a ten-penny nail driven into the base of his skull.

During the second administration of Sam Houston as president of the Texas Republic, there were many excesses and assassinations, principally in Shelby County in East Texas, attributed to vigilante bands, who called themselves "Regulators." On Jan. 31, 1842, he issued a proclamation, ordering all district attorneys to prosecute the Regulators stringently for any offense committed by them. The proclamation began as follows: "Whereas . . . . certain individuals . . . have murdered one Thomas D. Yocum, burned his late residence and appurtenances, and driven his widow and children from their homes . . . ."

Whether or not President Houston's paper might have been worded somewhat differently if the chief executive had been forced to witness the bleached bones in Yocum's well or to bury some of the skeletons out on the prairie is, of course, another question.

Almost from the date of T. D. Yocum's death, legends began to circulate concerning the murderer's hoard of stolen treasure, because the vigilantes knew that neither the old robber nor any member of his family had had time to excavate it before they were driven from the county. Some of them thought that only Yocum and one of his slaves actually knew where the loot was hidden. Others claimed that Chris Yocum knew where the treasure site was, and that one of the reasons for his returning to Beaumont was to dig up the gold so that he and his young wife could start life anew somewhere under an assumed name. For years treasure hunters dug holes along the banks of Cotton and Byrd Creeks, and decades later sinks and mounds in the Pine Island vicinity were said to be the remains of those excavations.

Time passed, the Civil War was fought, and the Yocum episode became only a dim memory in the minds of the early settlers. Finally it was an elderly black woman in Beaumont who triggered the second search for Yocum's gold. She told her grandchildren that about 1840 she was a young slave girl who belonged to the owner of a plantation in the vicinity of Yocum's Inn. One day whe was picking blackberries when she heard voices nearby. She moved ahead along the banks of a creek until she finally spotted Yocum and one of his young slaves at a low spot or crevice in the creek bank. Both of them were busy backfilling a hole in the ground.

As a result of the old lady's story, another network of pot holes were dug up and down the banks of Byrd and Cotton Creeks. And once or twice a stranger appeared who claimed to have a map drawn by an old Nagro who said he was formerly Yocum's slave. But if anyone ever found the treasure, that fact was never made public, and one writer claims it is still there awaiting the shovel that strikes it first. Maybe so, but gold hunters usually don't print their findings in newspapers. And they, like buccaneers, ain't especially noted for their wagging tongues either.


Philip P. Dever served in the war of 1812. He married 1st Mary "Polly" Yocum.

The patriarch of the Texas Yocum family -- Jesse Ray Yoakum (1760 VA-ca 1840 LA) -- was a member of the infamous John A. Murrell gang who robbed travelers along the Natchez Trace in western Mississippi and was tried several times for murder at Natchitoches, LA. He and his sons were known from Texas to Mississippi as killers, slave-stealers, and robbers. A son, Thomas Denman Yocum, settled at Pine Island settlement under the old Texas Republic and opened "Yocum's Inn", known as a den of thieves and murderers. Tom's son Christopher Yocum was lynched Jan 15, 1842 in Beaumont, Texas. Another of Jesse's sons, John, married Adelia Coleman (who later married the namesake of Hardin, Texas) and is said to have been killed by his brother, Tom.

Mary "Polly" (Yocum) Dever, married 2nd James Colliers.

Philip P. Dever married 2nd Catherine Coleman, whose parents were John Coleman and Rebecca Holsten/Holstein. There are many evidences that Catherine's aunt was Delilah Holstein who married William Gallihue Dalton. That would make her first cousin to Melina Dalton Whittington. Melina was William "Bill" Hobard Whittington's mother and the holder of the Mexican and then Texas grants for the area where Devers, Texas is located -- in 1832 known as Dever's Woods. Bill named the town for his friend, Tom Dever, son of Philip Dever. Melina's daughter, Clarinda, married 1st Joseph White, son of wealthy rancher James Taylor White and Sarah Cade. In 1854, Joseph killed a neighbor in a dispute over a hog. Sentenced to hang in 1856, he escaped and later disappeared, never to be heard from again. Clara 2nd married (1858) John Crozier, son of Robert Crozier and Susan Hardy. John Crozier was a successful merchant, a school teacher and, in 1860, was Chief Justice of Hardin county. C!
lara (Whittington) Crozier inherited a large estate from the death of her first husband, Joseph White.

Catherine (Coleman) Dever's sister, Mary, married James Martin, b. ca 1786 MS. Another sister, Sally Coleman, 1st married Thomas Nixon and 2nd David Minche. Her youngest sister, Adelia, married first John Yocum (brother to Mary Yocum, who married Philip Dever, and to Tom Yocum, the infamous criminal of the Texas Big Thicket and previous member of the John A. Murrell gang who robbed travelers along the Natchez Trace in western Mississippi -- see http://www.wtblock.com/wtblockjr/Yocum.htm). Adelia married 2nd Benjamin Watson Hardin (1796 GA - 1850 TX) for whom both the town and the county of Hardin in Texas were named. Adelia and John Yocum's 14-year old son Jesse was shot and killed accidentally by 15-year old John Christopher Hill while they were members of the Mier expedition. http://www2.smu.edu/swcenter/tjgreen/tjg_031.htm

Catherine (Coleman) Dever moved in her later years to the San Antonio, Texas area to live with one her daughter's family. As an elderly lady she applied for a pension for her husband's (Philip P. Dever) service in the War of 1812. In that document she gave her residence as the Medina River about 14 miles south of San Antonio. She died March 10, 1873 and is buried in the Oak Island Cemetery in South Bexar County.

Thomas Dever (b. May 2, 1809) was a friend of William Hobard Whittington, who named the town of Devers, Texas after him. His mother's brothers and his grandfather Yocum were in the infamous John A. Murrell gang who robbed travelers along the Natchez Trace in western Mississippi. His uncle Tom Yocum later became the leader of the infamous "Yocum gang" which terrorized East Texas in the early 1800's.
Descendants of Philip P. Dever


The Barber of Natchez by Edwin Adams Davis and William Ransom Hogan

Since becoming serious student of Southern history, I have always been fascinated by the story of free blacks in the antebellum South. Part of that fascination comes from their inherit unique situation of living in an environment where others of their race were held in slavery, but yet they were nominally free to pursue their own livelihoods in that restrictive setting.

The story of free black barber William Johnson emerged in 1938 when his personal and business journals were discovered in the attic of the businessman's house that had fortunately remained in the family. In 1951 the story was released to the pubic in the form of William Johnson's Natchez: The Antebellum Diary of a Free Negro, edited by Davis and Hogan. Although I have not read that version, it appears that it was merely the edited journals. The Barber of Natchez is written in free-flowing form. It obviously takes the meat of its story from the journals, but it is in a more reader-friendly style of writing. In addition, a rich context has been added to make Johnson's interesting life more understandable.

Johnson's story is nothing if not remarkable. He was born circa 1809. His mother Amy was freed by her owner William Johnson in 1814, when young slave William was about five years old. His sister Delia was taken to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and freed in 1818 by the white Johnson, and in 1820 Johnson petitioned the Mississippi General Assembly to free William. It is not known for sure if white William Johnson was black William Johnson's father, but the authors lean toward that conclusion.

After gaining his freedom William Johnson learned the barber business from his brother-in-law, Philadelphian and free-black James Miller who had married William's sister in Philadelphia and then moved to Natchez to open a thriving haircutting and shaving business. When William went out on his own at age nineteen, he decided to move to Port Gibson, Mississippi to start his own shop. In 1830, James Miller, whose success in Natchez is witnessed by his owning of four slaves, sold his Natchez barber business to William Johnson and relocated to New Orleans.

Johnson's journals give a private look into his world; his interests, his business sense, his standing in the community, and his relations with black, white, free, and slave. He comments on such a diverse array of topics that is it almost dizzying. Luckily the authors divided the topics focusing around themes rather than looking at them within a chronological framework.

The book is simply divided into three parts. Part one is about "The Man." Part two looks at, "A Free Negro's Diary of a Town." And, part three is called, "The Diarist Appraised." Some of the items explored in the extremely interesting part two are "Barbershop Gossip," in which Johnson relates much of the word of mouth news that to this day gets discussed in barbershops. "Pistols, Fists, and Bowie Knives" relates the many fights that were almost a daily occurrence in the Natchez streets. "Thespians and Clowns" discusses Johnson's interest in attending the theatre, especially when courting, and his fondness of visiting the traveling circuses that came to Natchez. In "Sports of the Turf" Johnson's love of horses and horse racing, which was such a large part of antebellum Southern sporting life, is examined.

As you might imagine, Johnson's racial characteristics kept him from participating in certain aspects of society. For example, he never participated in an election, but that did not keep him from discussing politics in his barbershop or expressing support for politicians that he believed would be of benefit to him and his businesses. As a black man he was not allowed to be in the militia, but that did not keep him from owning firearms or using them for hunting, which was one of his favorite pastimes. Johnson found unique ways to be an active member of the Natchez community. He watched his step closely. He tried to be accommodating, but was not unknown to sue a white man that defaulted on a loan or tried to take his property unlawfully.

Johnson's good business sense and likable nature allowed him to accumulate a large clientele. His wealth rose in proportion and he bought land and slaves as much as his financial means allowed him. He owned over twenty slaves at one time. He used his slaves for working his farming operation and he used some as well as in his three Natchez barbershops.

Johnson's life came to a sudden end in 1851 when he was murdered. The killer, Baylor Winn, claimed to be of white and Indian blood, but some in the community suspected that he was a free mulatto man like Johnson. The dispute arose over a property boundary line where Winn was allegedly cutting timber on Johnson's side. The case went to court and was decided in Johnson's favor, but to keep a sense of peace Johnson settled the matter in a less punitive manner than the court had allowed. But, apparently Winn was still not satisfied and shot Johnson in an ambush in which one of Johnson's sons was also wounded. After three trials over a two year period, Baylor Winn was released.

Johnson's standing in the Natchez community can be gleaned from a story about the murder that was run in the Natchez Courier; it read in part: "His funeral services were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Watkins, who paid a just tribute to his memory, holding up his example as one well worthy of imitation by all of his class. We observed very many of our most respected citizens at his funeral. Johnson left a wife, nine children, and quite a handsome property; probably twenty to thirty thousand dollars."

Without a doubt Johnson's story is a rare one for a free black man in the antebellum South, but without knowing his story we would have a less complete picture of what was possible for African Americans to attain in what we normally consider an impossible environment for their advancement. Johnson's story and other free black stories of success such as William Ellison's in South Carolina (see Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South by Michael P. Johnson and James L. Roark) give us another perspective by which to view life in the pre-Civil War South; one that should not be ignored


The book, published by the Louisiana State University Press. I purchased it on a trip to Natchez. It was interesting in that William Johnson mentioned three Winn families in the Natchez:

John Thomas Winn, white, and owned a hotel in Natchez and was murdered, but murderer was never caught.

George Winn, free Negro, plantation and slave owner, married to a white woman. One daughter married Washington Ford and listed in the 1850 census as "white".

Baylor Winn, whom William Johnson considered a black man, was married to a white woman. Baylor owned a neighboring plantation to William Johnson's plantation. Baylor was sometimes a friend and often a source of problems.

Baylor Winn's trial was one of the most famous in Mississippi history. At the trial, Baylor Winn claimed that he was not a Negro, but a mix of white and Pamunkey Indian. That would place his origins in the vicinity of the Jamestown Colony, and possibly descended from either Peter Winne or Hugh Wynne (1608 settlers). Baylor was freed on the basis that at the time of the murder in 1851, a black (whether free or slave) could not give evidence in a trial against a white person, and the only witnesses (3) to the murder were all black.

William Johnson was born a slave, but was freed. He became a prominent barber in Natchez. His house in Natchez has been restored and is a landmark in the town.

There are many footnotes to the diary that mention the Winn families and provide some history after the death of Johnson.


The Victoria Advocate, Thursday, August 10, 1933

EX-CONVICT IS SHOT DOWN BY PARTY IN CAR

Gun Blasts from Auto Kill Hiram Thompson on Temple Public Square

BELTON FARMER HELD

Thompson Had Served Five of 20 Years for Slaying Farmer's Son.

TEMPLE, Tex., Aug. 10. - Three shotgun blasts from an automobile killed Hiram Thompson of Temple, a paroled convict, on the Public Square this morning. Two men and a woman were reported in the car from which Thompson was shot down. Two hours later officers had under arrest Will Fewell, a farmer, near Belton. Fewell is the father of Charles Fewell, 19, for whose murder in a Belton park five years ago Thompson was sentenced to 20 years in the penitentiary.


Dollie Mary Thompson was born March 8, 1906, in Bell Co., TX; Died November 7, 1986, in Travis Co., TX (age 80). Married to Dean Eli Skinner: Born June 24, 1904, in Belton, Bell Co., TX; Died May 28, 1961, north of Austin, Travis Co., TX (age 56). Was already married and lived in Lubbock, TX, in 1926. Son was Herbert Edwin Skinner.

James Carlton Fewell was born about November 24, 1907, in Bell Co., TX, and died May 16, 1928, in Belton, TX, at age 20. He was the son of Simon William "Will" Fewell of Texas and Lillie Frances Stewart of Texas. All are buried in Old Salado Grave Yard, Salado Cemetery, Salado, TX.


"Grandee" Herbert Skinner passed away on May 1, 2007 at the age of 81 in Austin, TX. He was born in Belton, Texas to Dean and Dollie Skinner. He married the love of his life, Joyce Davis, in August of 1944. Herbert is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Joyce Davis Skinner; his daughter, Herbie Kay Lundquist and her husband Daniel Lundquist; his son, Steve Skinner and his wife LeAnne Skinner; his grandchildren, Amanda Lundquist Denton, Keith Lundquist and wife Angelica, Dean Lundquist and wife Lauri, Willis Skinner and wife Jennifer and EmilyAnne Skinner; his great-grandchildren, Sydney Jayne Denton, Trey Lundquist, Heidi Lundquist, Luke Lundquist and Dutch Skinner all of Austin; his aunt, Lola Endsley of Port Arthur, Texas; two nieces, one nephew and several first cousins. Herbert was preceded in death by his parents, Dean and Dollie Skinner. Herbert entered the service in 1944 when he served his country for 2 1/2 years in the Philippines during World War II. When he returned home he continued his work along side his father in their road construction business; Dean Skinner Contracting. In 1954 he founded Austin Truck and Machinery, which evolved into the Freightliner Truck dealership in the Austin TX area. During this time Herbert received numerous awards from the Freightliner Corporation for his outstanding leadership and served on the National Dealer Council and was awarded the Southwest Truck Dealer of the year in 1986. Herbert sold Austin Truck and Machinery in 1989 and began working with his son, Steve at Skinner Transportation Inc. Herbert loved his work and continued to be involved daily until January 2007 when he became ill. Herbert professed his faith at the age of 17. He was on the founding committee for the Highland Park Baptist Church, and as an ordained deacon has continually served his church community in numerous ways. He was a member of the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge, Ben Hur Shrine Center and the Jesters of Texas. He has served on the Trustee Committee for Ben Hur Shrine Center for the last 20 years. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, May 4, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. at Highland Park Baptist Church, 5206 Balcones Drive, Austin, Texas. Pallbearers for Grandee will be his five grandchildren, Amanda, Keith, Dean, Willis and EmilyAnne. Honorary pallbearers will John B. Robertson, A. L. "Buck" Nash, Dr. F. C. Smith, Dave Curry, and Jim Schwertner. Memorial contributions may be made to Highland Park Baptist Church, 5206 Balcones Drive, Austin, Texas 78731; "Herbert Skinner Scholarship Fund" c/o Texas Motor Transportation Association, 700 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701; Hospice Austin, 4107 Spicewood Springs Road, Ste 100 Austin, Texas 78759. We would like to express our gratitude to Eloise Ellis, Shelley Baker, Dr. F. C. Smith, and Dr. Dennis Tweedy for the loving care they provided for our family.


    

Alice Catherine "Kate" Thompson: Born December 14, 1851, in Texas; Died November 7, 1945, November 7, 1945, at home, 56 Vandeventer Place, City of St. Louis, MO (age 93). Married to Richard A. Currey: Born July 27, 1848, in Texas; Died January 8, 1893, in Texas. Buried in Oak Island Cemetery, Oak Island, Bexar Co., TX.


Rosanah Amanda "Rosa" Thompson: Born January 28, 1844, in Texas; Died September 11, 1895, in Texas (age 51). Buried in Saints Oakwood Cemetery, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX. Married March 31, 1864, in Atascosa Co., TX, to John A. Henshaw: Born February 29, 1824, in Tennessee; Died March 25, 1919, at home, 1005 Buena Vista, San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX (age 94). Buried in Oak Island, Bexar Co., TX.