Big Bend Genealogical Society


BIOGRAPHIES OF SOME EARLY BIG BEND AREA SETTLERS

Buck and Ben Billingsly/William Benjamin Bloys

Buck and Ben Billingsly were reported as being pioneer settlers of Brewster County. They settled in the Marathon area. They were in the both the cattle and sheep business.

William Benjamin Bloys was a noted religious leader of the areas of Far West Texas. The Bloys Camp Meeting grounds in Jeff Davis County was named for him in honor of his dedication to serving God and man . He organized the First Presbyterian Church of Alpine and was for many years pastor of the congregation.

He was born in McLemoresville, Tennessee on January 26, 1847. He taught schools in Tennessee and then attended Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio He was sent at a Presbyterian missionary to the vast state of Texas in 1878. Before leaving Illinois, he married Miss Isabelle Catherine Yeck on May 26, 1878. He was located in Coleman while conducting his Missionary work. Due to his frequent exposures to the elements of nature, Rev. Bloys developed a serious illness and was advised by his doctor to move west. He arrived in the Davis Mountains area in early 1888 with the assignment which included all the territory west of the Pecos River. He became chaplain to the post at Fort Davis and also organized churches in Fort Davis, Marfa, Alpine, Pecos, Shafter, Valentine and other places as well.

He began the open air religious camp meetings which led to the establishment of Bloys Camp Meeting grounds. This encampment is located on the pioneer stage route at Skillman Grove. Boys died in 1917 and is buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Fort Davis.


DUDLEY S. BARKER
By Verna Bonner

Dudley S. Barker was born September 3, 1874 in Round Rock, Texas and died June 6, 1952 in Alpine, Texas. His father E. B. Barker could neither read nor write, but he and his wife Mary Elizabeth Harvey were determined that their children would be educated. Although the Barker residence was located at Rice's Crossing, Dud's mother would move the children into Round Rock during the school terms for them to attend classes.

Dud enlisted in the Texas Rangers in 1896, but prior to this, it is told in Barker family tradition, that he was a wagon driver for the group. Texas State Archives records indicate that Dudley S. Barker enlisted in the Texas Rangers on July 1, 1896 in the Frontier Battalion Company B under the command of the famous W. J. McDonald. In later years, 1928-1933, he served again in the Texas Rangers and family tradition says he would not accept payment for his services.

During his first enlistment in the Texas Rangers, Dud was sent to San Saba to help restore law and order and disburse the San Saba Mob; it was responsible for many problems. The Mob had begun in 1860 and had ruled with a strong force until the turn of the century. It seems that the Mob was ruled by a group of ruthless people whose code of silence protected them from discovery.

Murders and lawlessness ruled in San Saba until Judge W. W. Alleson requested the adjutant general establish a permanent Ranger camp in the area. Included in those Texas Rangers sent to the San Saba area were men from Captain McDonald's Company B. from Amarillo. Dud Barker was a member of this group.

There are various stories emerging from the historic events occurring in San Saba at this time. A number of the stories depict the courage and bravery of Dud Barker as he assisted in protection of the citizens of the area. Within months of their arrival in San Saba, the Rangers had gathered enough evidence to bring before the grand jury. The Mob made an all out attempt to prevent the Rangers from getting into court with evidence and told them(the Rangers) to "get out of town".

The Rangers made a stand, shooting one masked mobster and then disbursing the remaining crowd. A number of mobsters were convicted and sent to prison. This effectively broke the hold and strength of the Mob in the area and soon law and order was restored to San Saba.

It was while Dud Barker was in San Saba that he met and married Lilly Campbell, daughter of the town banker. They married at the end of his first enlistment in the Rangers (1899) and then moved to Sanderson where the couple ranched for a number of years.

The next era in Dud's life begins as he seeks to be elected Sheriff of Pecos County. Detailed accounts by Olan George in his book Roundup of Memories relate that Dud was drafted into running for Sheriff in 1904. Evidently his reputation for law enforcement was well known in the area. According to Pecos County Records, Dud Barker began his tenure as Sheriff on January 1, 1905 and was continuously re-elected until 1926 when he was defeated by W. P. Rooney.

After loosing the election in 1926, Dud left Fort Stockton where he had resided so long. The family had lived in the County Jail for many years and beautified both the inside and the outside. It is said that Dud loved beautiful flowers and yards. The Barkers moved to Alpine where Dud and Lilly lived until their deaths. During this period in Alpine, he was a game warden, was active in real estate, was a money lender, and sometimes even a bar tender!

After his retirement to Alpine, Dud managed the Downie Ranch in Terrell County. Notes written on old Barker family photos indicate that the ranch contained over 150,000 acres when still in tact. After the death of Mrs. Josephine Downie, who was owner, Barker no longer managed the operations.

Dud Barker died in 1952 and is buried in the Elm Grove Cemetery. Lilly died December 11, 1964 and is also buried at Elm Grove Cemetery. Both Dud and Lilly were Catholic by faith. They were parents of the following children:

1. Campbell Tom Barker-born April 6, 1900 in San Saba and died January 6, 1976 in Alpine-buried in Elm Grove Cemetery. He did not marry and was involved in auto sales and real estate. Campbell was a veteran of World War II. He owned land in what is today Big Bend National Park. The Barker Lodge at Boquillas was owned by him prior to the Park acquiring the land and Lodge.

2. Mary-born August 6, 1903 in Sanderson and died December 19, 1981 in an Odessa hospital. She is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery. Mary married Hiram C. Boyd in 1928 in Fort Stockton. He was a geophysicist for Humble Oil Company. Mary and Hirma lived away from Alpine for some years, but returned in 1970 to live in the area. This couple did not have children.

3. Helen-born March 6, 1908 at Fort Stockton and died in October 1934 in Abilene from complications of childbirth. She she is also buried in Elm Grove Cemetery, Alpine. Helen married Joe Thompson in 1932 and gave birth to one son Joe Dudley Thompson. Born in in Abilene in 1934, he was reared in the home of his grandparents Dud and Lilly Barker as the result of an auto accident which occurred near Presidio, Texas.


J.C. BIRD

At the age of 18, Julius Caesar Bird joined the Texas Rangers and was sent to Far West Texas to help protect the railroad crews during the construction of the transcontinental railroad. He remained in the area and married America Walker.

He is also recorded as being the only male founding member of the First Baptist Church of Alpine, organized in 1893. A leading businessman of the area, Bird was amoung the first to undertake mining the Big Bend area. Although he and his wife had no children of their own, they reared several children of family members. The Woodward Ranch south of Alpine is still owned by descendants of these "adopted" children.


GEORGE WASHINGTON BAINES II AND GEORGE WASHINGTON BAINES III

Reverend George Washington Baines II, Baptist Minister, served in many areas of Texas He was the son of famous Baptist Minister George W. Baines I who came to Texas in 1849 from Alabama. Rev Baines, sent as a missionary to the area, preached his first sermon in Murphyville (Alpine) in 1883 in the waiting room of the Southern Pacific Depot. In 1902, he became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Alpine He remained at that post until 1907. His leadership amoung Baptists was crucial during the early years of organizing religion in West Texas. Rev. Baines II was born at Mount Lebanon, Louisiana on Sept 8, 1848 and was about one year old when his family moved to Texas He died March 21, 1923 in San Marcos, Texas. His second wife was Miss Annie McIntosh(married 1882) and they were parents of six children.

George W.Baines III was the first of these children. He is well know in the history of Brewster County and was associated with the First National Bank of Alpine for almost fifty years. During those years, he ac hived the position of President of the Bank. George W. Baines III was born December 2, 1883 in El Paso, Texas and received his education in the schools of Cleburne and later at Baylor University. After working briefly for the Santa Fe Railroad in Temple, Texas, he came to Alpine in 1905. He became bookkeeper for the newly organized First National Bank. George III married in 1908 to Maude Hancock, daughter of W. B. and Nellie Powe Hancock. Two daughters were born to this couple: Helen and Elizabeth. Maude was well known for her civic and religious activities in the community.


Dr. Benjamin F. Berkeley

Dr. Benjamin F. Berkeley arrived early in Brewster County where he established his medical practice. This energetic, dedicated citizen contributed much to the development of Alpine and Brewster County on many levels.

Berkeley was born in Kentucky in 1875, receiving an excellent education in the schools of Kentucky. He arrived in Texas in 1897, but soon traveled to California where he studied for his medical degree. In 1902, he achieved this goal and returned to Texas, settling in Alpine and establishing a medical practice.

He helped to organize the State National Bank in Alpine in 1906 and the Alpine Commercial Club(forerunner of the Alpine Chamber of Commerce) and was one of the leading forces in the "Dry Land Farming" movement arriving in Brewster County. This movement and others promoted by Berkely greatly contributed to the economic improvement in the West Texas area. From 1924-1932 he served as Senator for the area in the Texas Senate. During his tenure at this post, he did much to promote the established of Big Bend National Park.

This dedicated civic leader was elected the first mayor of Alpine in 1917 and led the city in vast improvements in the areas of city lighting, water and sewer. He was a major leader in securing the locating of the Sul Ross Normal College.

Many other civic accomplishments can be attributed to this leader. He died in 1962 and is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in Alpine. Benjamin Berkeley married Miss Clara Dugat in 1903 and was the father of two children-Francis Louise and Ralph Gordon.


Samuel David Bissett

Samuel David Bissett is buried in the Elm Grove Cemetery in Alpine, Texas. In locating his obituary, it's clear that he is a pioneer West Texas settler.

The obit says "Uncle Dave Bissett Dies-Samuel David Bissett died Wednesday at the age of 74. He was born in North Carolina and came to West Texas in 1876. He joined the army of Virginia and served the Confederate army throughout the war. He was a miner and prospector. AT the time of his death he owned a section of land on which he had two mining claims. Uncle Dave as he was affectionately called was known to everyone in Alpine. His remains were laid to rest in the local cemetery."


Tom Burnam and Waddy Thompson Burnham

Tom Burnam was a descendant of Captain Jesse Burnam who came from Kentucky and joined Austin's Colony in Texas. Burnams fought for Texas Independence from Mexico. Tom Burnam of Brewster County was born in 1853. He was a successful rancher of the Marathon area. In 1890, he moved his family to Alpine in order for his children to be educated in the schools. He died in San Antonio in 1938.

Waddy Thompson Burnham arrived in Brewster County in 1908-from Menard. He had purchased land near the Chisos Mountains where he planned to ranch. His wife was Sarah Bauer. She accompanied Waddy on this new adventure. The Burnham ranch remained in operation by the family until it became part of the Big Bend National Park.

Children of Waddy and Sarah who came to live in Brewster County were Emma May, Nannie, Nena, and Waddy Jr. A son, Charlie, also came to live with the family in Brewster County. W. T. died in 1911 and his wife moved to Marathon.


Buttrill Family

The Buttrill family of Brewster County are pioneers in the true sense of the word. W. A. Buttrill and sons L. F. and Clyde came to the area to establish a ranching operation in the vast grazing areas. This family arrived in the Marathon area in 1884, bringing with them a herd of cattle. The Buttrill' ranched in the Rosillos Mountains, building up a fine heard of cattle.

The Buttrill family came originally from the state of Tennessee. The patriarchs of the family were William A. and Anna (Wilson) Buttrill.


Andrew Jackson Bennett

Andrew Jackson Bennett and wife Mary Rivis Bennett arrived in Brewster County in 1896. Andrews's father was killed during the War Between the States and thus his family moved from Georgia to Texas after 1872.

Settling near Grapevine Springs in what is now Big Bend National Park, the family remained there until it was necessary to move into Alpine fro the children's education. He was born in 1846 and died August 24, 1947 and is buried at the Marathon Cemetery. Children of this couple were: Minnie, Lee, John, Marion, Ed, Lou and Ada.


Mrs. Sarah E. (Stockman) Bandy

Mrs. Sarah E. (Stockman) Bandy arrived in Brewster County at an early date. She married a first time to Bewford Whittington Jones in 1869 in Williamson County, Texas. Jones was a soldier in the War Between the States serving with Shelby and Quantrell.

After the death of her first husband Bewford Jones, who died in 1876, she married a second time to William Ratio Bandy, later traveling to Brewster County.


L. C. Brite, 81, of Marfa Passes Away Following An Operation Last Week
Alpine Avalanche September 5, 1941

L. C. Brite, age 81, prominent Presidio county ranchman, churchman and philanthropist, passed away at an El Paso hospital at three o'clock yesterday morning after an appendicitis operation performed early last Saturday.

Mr. Brite was a veteran cattle raiser of the Big Bend area of Texas and prominent in the livestock industry and church circles of West Texas. He was the chief donor of the Brite Bible College, a part of Texas Christian University which bears his name. His philantrophies are widely known. Mr. Brite's work with the Highland Hereford Associatio, an organization of the Big Bend Cattle Raisers, has aided in the development of one of the strongest livestock groups in the nation.

Mr. Brite is survived by his widow, a daughters, Mrs. Donald Dunkle, and two grandchildren, Nancy and Jane Dunkle. Funeral services are to be held at the Christian Church in Marfa this afternoon at three o'clock.


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Last updated: Thursday, 16-Apr-2009 13:14:12 MDT