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Cummins Family


James H. Cummins

Helen Alexandria Morrison Cummins

According to a 1914 publication, "James H. Cummins, a native of Missouri, of Scotch-Irish descent, came to the Lone Star State in 1861, and almost immediately thereafter volunteered for service in the Confederate army. He became a member of General Price's army, operating in Missouri, and toward the close of the Civil War was made quartermaster of his regiment. Upon his return to peaceful pursuits he adopted the vocation of agriculturist, and continued to be engaged in tilling the soil in Grayson County during the remainder of his life. He died July 23, 1890, with the respect and esteem of all who knew him."

James's wife was Helen A. (Morrison) Cummins, daughter of Dr. Alexander Morrison, thought to have built the first residence in the city limits of Denison. Helen survived James and in 1914 still made her home in Denison. "She is a remarkable woman in many ways, and is very alert and active in mind for one of seventy-three years. There were four sons and six daughters in the family of James H. and Helen Cummins, and the greater number of these still reside in Texas."

(Source: Frank W. Johnson and Ernest William Winkler, A History of Texas and Texans (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1914), 3:1421).

J. H. Cummins has been handed down a record of his family dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. His grandfather, Richard Waller Cummins, was born in the State of Tennessee about 1786, and after arriving at the age of maturity took a very active part in politics, having moved to Jackson county, Missouri, at an early day, and was looked upon as one of the great leaders of the Democratic party. He served as Indian agent for twenty years, and was a particular friend of Thomas H. Benton. His marriage to a brilliant young lady, Miss Mary Kavanaugh, of Missouri, is recorded as occurring about 1812, and in 1818 the birth of their son John took place. He, like his father, after beginning life on his own hook, became also interested in politics, and was elected county judge of Cass county, Missouri, by a large majority, on the Democratic ticket, and was on the bench when the contract was made, before the war, by which the Tebo & Neosho Railroad Company was to have $100,000 for building a railroad through the center of the county, and Harrisonville being one of the points, which was never built, but led to the great massacre which occurred at Gunn City, Missouri. In 1840 he married Miss Henrietta W. Hunter, a native of Kentucky; the family continued to reside in  Morgan Co., Missouri until after the death of Henrietta's father in May 1882. The result of this union was several children, of which only five are living. Their names are James Hunter, Duke W., Richard, Mary and Julia. His home afterward was in Paris, Texas, where he was elected mayor, and served two terms, on the Democratic ticket.

The Sunday Gazetteer
Sunday, January 6, 1895
pg. 4

James Hunter, the subject of this sketch, was born March 23d, 1842, in Jackson county, Missouri. His early education was obtained in private schools near his birthplace. Being only nineteen years of age when the war broke out, he lift the Eclectic Institute, and joined the Confederate, or State Guards, as they were then called, enlisting in Hurst's regiment, afterward transferring to Rosseau's, Price's army, of Missouri. On account of ill health he was forced to retire from active service, and was appointed enrolling officer of Lamar county by General E. Kirby Smith, which position he held until the war ended. In 1865 he married Miss Helen A. Morrison, of Grayson county, Texas, daughter of Dr. Alexander Morrison, who was one of the early settlers of the State, and is now living in Denison, an honored member of his profession and a man of fine intellectual ability. 

Helen A. Morrison Cummins

James H. has held several positions of trust in his native State, also in the State of Texas. He has served as alderman of his city, also constable of Denison when it was first started, and when it took a man of nerve to cope with the mixed population. He has also been justice of the peace of Grayson county, Texas. At the present writing there are seven children as the result of his marriage—Maude, Alexander, Walter Scott, Humboldt, Ethel, Pearl and Newell. Mr. Cummins has resided in Pottsboro, Grayson county, Texas, five or six years, turning his attention to farming and raising stock. He also practices law, having obtained a license recently. His official course has been marked with many thrilling scenes and incidents, which have proven him to be a man of sterling qualities, full of integrity, and faithful in the performance of the duties assigned him. Mr. Cummins is also a charter member of the Knights of Pythias of Denison, Myrtle Lodge, and politically a Thomas Jefferson Democrat of the deepest dye.

[Source: Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas. Containing Biographical Sketches of the Representative Public, and Many Early Settled Families (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Company, 1889), pp 223-224. On line at]

According to The Sunday Gazetteer (Denison, Texas) of July 27, 1890 Judge James Cummins, prominent farmer and attorney of Pottsboro, lost his life.  While sitting in front of Carey & Parrish's drug store, Judge Cummins and Constable Porter became involved in a dispute over some fees due Cummins' son for serving as a witness in a suit.  They went to the office of Justice D.W. Odell about 11 o'clock a.m. to examine the docket; while there a quarrel broke out between the two men and both men exchanged fist blows.  The fight continued outside Justice Odell's office  Although Justice Odell attempted to separate the men, Judge Cummins succeeded in  wounded Porter in the breast and right leg with Porter's own knife.  Constable Porter stabbed Judge Cummins twice in the chest near the heart, causing almost instanteous death.  Constable Porter surrendered immediately and was place in jail at Sherman.
Judge Porter was about 45 years of age at the time of his death.  His remains were taken to Denison and buried on Thursday afternoon.
Constable Porter, 61 years of age, was considered a quiet man and one who would avoid any difficulty.  On Thursday a preliminary hearing was held and Porter was released on a $500 bond.  The opinion of the citizens was one of self defense.  In September 1890 the Grand Jury refused to find a billl against Porter for the death of Judge Cummins.


Rites Thursday at Denison for Grayson Pioneer

[Source: Sherman TX Democrat, December 9, 1936]

DENISON — A resident of Denison since 1872, Mrs. Helen Alexandria Morrison Cummins, 95, succumbed to a lingering illness at 8:50 p.m. Tuesday at her home, 1004 West Sears. She had been ill since 1929.
Mrs. Cummins, wife of a pioneer Grayson attorney, is survived by five children: H. H. Cummins, Denison attorney; W. S. Cummins of Wichita Falls; Mrs. W. S. Buster of Sherman; Mrs. H. V. Robertson of Amarillo; Miss Ethel Cummins and Miss Newell Cummins of Denison.
Funeral services will be conducted at 3:30 p.m. Thursday from the home by the Rev. Harry Lee Virden, rector of St. Luke's Episcopal church. Interment will be in Fairview cemetery under the direction of Short-Murray.
Mrs. Cummins celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday May 6 at her home, surrounded by her children and friends. She was born in 1841 at Napoli, N.Y., the daughter of Dr. Alexander Morrison, native of Scotland, and Harriett Newell de Veaux Morrison. She came to Texas with her parents as a child, after a short stay in Canada. The family settled first in Collin county, then at Preston Bend, where Dr. Morrison practiced medicine.
She was married in 1866 to James Hunter Cummins, a Confederate soldier from Missouri. Mr. Cummins, a lawyer and grocer, died in 1890.
Mrs. Cummins was the grandmother of J. D. Buster, Sherman city recorder.

Mrs. Helen Alexandria Cummins

[Source: Sherman TX Democrat, December 10, 1936]

DENISON — Funeral services for Mrs. Helen Alexandria Cummins were held from the home at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with the Rev. Harry Lee Virden, rector of St. Luke's Episcopal church, officiating. 

"Residence of Mrs. Helen A. Dummins, 1031 West Bond Street."
Source : Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.] : Means-Moore Co., [ca. 1909]. Page 56.

Pallbearers were Dick Boyd, Clifford Esler, Kirk Fairbanks, Charlie Harris, A. P. Wood, and A. P. Lynn. Interment was at Fairview cemetery.

* * * * *

The children:

Mary Maude Cummins (Mrs. Willis S. Buster) (August 15, 1867—December 13, 1936). Buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Sherman, TX

James Alexander Cummins (November 27, 1868—January 27, 1906). Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Denison, TX

Walter Scott Cummins (1870—1957). Buried in Fort Worth, TX

Humboldt Hunter Cummins (May 6, 1841—October 3, 1961). Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Denison, TX

Ethel DeVeaux Cummins (January 19, 1875—March 17, 1962). Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Denison, TX

Pearl Gladys Cummins (Mrs. H. V. Robertson) (1876—1967). Buried in Amarillo, TX

Harriett Newell Cummins (February 2, 1883—April 4, 1990). Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Denison, TX

James D. Buster (s/o W.S. Buster & Maude Cummins)




Elaine Nall Bay
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