JOHN PRESTON TILLERY
John Preston Tillery, b June 8, 1857 at Brantley, Alabama (in the area which became Crenshaw County in 1866), d August 10, 1929 at Reagan, Falls County, Texas and buried in Waite Cemetery there - a son of Alfred and Harriett (Vines) Tillery, who both died in 1866 in Alabama - leaving four orphaned children: Caroline, age 12, John Preston, age 10, Benjamin, age 7, and Robert Warren, b January 1,1866. They lived with their widowed maternal grandfather, Dozier Caswell Vines, until his death in 1872.
Caroline and John Preston took care of their younger brothers, harvested the crop to raise about $50, and signed an agreement with a Methodist preacher, John W. Broxson, to come to Texas to the west side of Palestine and work for one year to repay him for their transportation.
On July 1873, Caroline Tillery married Anthony Wayne Beard, and kept her young brother, Robert Warren Tillery, until he was aged 12 years, at which time he came to Falls County and lived with a Mrs. Wells, and part of the time with Charles Howard. Robert attended school at Blue Ridge and Reagan, and did farm work. In the Fall of 1889, he entered Sam Houston Normal, graduating in 1891. He returned to Reagan and lived for a short time with his older brother, John Preston Tillery, who married on December 31, 1891 to Mary Rebecca Hetherington, b February 28, 1873 at Monroeville, Alabama, d September 11, 1951 at Reagan and buried by her husband in Waite Cemetery - a daughter of John Monroe and Margaret Ann (Broughton) Hetherington. Robert Warren Tillery obtained a teaching position at Red Oak, in Nacogdoches County, where he remained until 1893.
After teaching a year at Hickory Flag, Robert married a former pupil on May 6, 1894, Leola Thrash. His teaching career extended to 1901 when he moved to Rusk County, Texas for two years, and then became Superintendent of the Nacogdoches County Schools until. 1910. After their marriage, John Preston and Mary Rebecca (Hetherington) Tillery acquired a total of 226 acres of land through a series of small purchases and Mary Rebecca's fifty acre inheritance from her father. They believed in education, the church, and in a honorable way of life. John Preston and Mary Rebecca (Hetherington) Tillery had eight children - six of whom lived to be adults:
Jesse Grady Tillery, b May 8, 1894, was the first child. He married on September 9,1930 to Valentine Harmon and had one daughter, Mary Helen Tillery, b December 19, 1932, who married on February 28, 1952 to Sam McCombs. Jesse Grady was a veteran of the U.S. Navy during World War I, became an Auditor at the State Auditor's Office in Denton, Texas.
Charles Benjamin Tillery, b January 16, 1896, was the second child of John Preston and Mary Rebecca Tillery. On May 27, 1922, he married Edna Saxon, a daughter of John and Lida (Woodland) Saxon. They had two children: John Paul Tillery, b December 31, 1927, and Dorothy Louise Tillery, b March 18, 1933, who married Edward Nowland on August 12, 1953 and had a son, Charles Edward Nowland, b October 18, 1954. Charles Tillery died about 1981 and was buried in the Blue Ridge Cemetery in Falls County. Edna resides with her children in the Fort Worth metroplex area.
Margaret Lee Tillery, b March 19, 1899, was the third child of John Preston and Mary Rebecca Tillery. She married on February 9, 1924 to David Ervin Gathings, b January 26, 1879, d September 7, 1940. Margaret became a telephone operator, and on July 31, 1949, she married second to James Aaron Wallace - a widower who had two children. Margaret Lee (Tillery) Gathings Brown died January 13, 1955.
Robert Preston Tillery, b April 22, 1901, was the fourth child of John Preston and Mary Rebecca (Hetherington) Tillery. On November 24, 1928, he married Sallie May Fountain, and had one son, Preston James Tillery, b February 20, 1932. Robert Preston and Sallie moved to Port Arthur, Texas, where he is employed by the Gulf Company.
Ola May Tillery, b March 10, 1904, was the fifth child of John Preston and Mary Rebecca Tillery. She married on August 4, 1928 to Robert Francis Brown, b July 14, 1898 at Crossmaglen, County Armagh, Ireland. They reside in Chicago, and had two daughters: Frances Brown, b June 14, 1929, married Bill Franz and had Stephen William Franz and Phyllis Lynn Franz; and Christine Brown, b December 19, 1931, married Kenneth M. Ziems on November 29, 1952.
Alice Ellen Tillery, b May 4, 1909, was the sixth child of John Preston and Mary Rebecca Tillery. She married at Austin, Texas on February 28, 1931 to Jerome L. Kerby, and had two children: Jerome Howard Kerby, b October 31,1941, and Catherine Jane Kerby, b October 8, 1944. They reside at Weatherford, Texas.
The seventh child was an infant, b July 5, 1893, d July 6, 1893, and buried in Covington Cemetery at Reagan.
The eighth and last child of John Preston and Mary Rebecca Tillery was John Broughton Tillery, b February 23, 1907, d March 10, 1907, and also buried in Covington Cemetery at Reagan.
Permission granted to Theresa Carhart for printing the biographies of these
Falls County Families to this Web page.
"Families of Falls County", Compiled and Edited by the Falls County Historical Commission, page 452 column 2 and page 453 column 1 and 2.
Member of Falls County Historical Commission.