County from the Early Days
publication of this book was
first contemplated, I had thought to make it merely a souvenir for this
year's "Old Settlers" meeting, but I find that one small pamphlet will
not more than make a good beginning for a biographic history of the
settlers of Grayson County, so I have determined to issue it in
giving sketches of biography and history, as frequently as the data can
be collected, together with portraits, views, etc., until the story is
number has been published,
but should the demand for it be greater than the supply, another
will be issued.
help in this work, I am
indebted to many friends, but for this number, especially to Dr. W. H.
Trolinger of Whitesboro, and Tom Randolph of Sherman.
To write the
history of the early settlement
of any portion of Texas is a task that would cause even a bolder
than him, who in these pages will attempt to tell the story of the
days of Grayson, to shrink from the undertaking. But some one must do
duty, that the memories of the hardy pioneers who have given us this
heritage,? may be perpetuated, and that future generations may know the
true history of those days of storm and sunshine, light and shadow:
with dangers, yet brightened by that sublimest of human attributes?hope.
pioneer settler crossed the
Red River and looked toward the south, the west, and the east, he saw
out before him a country teeming with myriads of richest hued flowers
wafted on the air such sweet perfumes that even the craftiest handiwork
of the oriental world has never equaled, beautiful undulating prairies,
mighty forests and hundreds of limpid streams. Prairies and forest
with game, deer, bear, antelope, buffalo, wild turkeys; and the rich
soil only needed the work of his hands to make it bring forth great
for his sustenance. But with all this charming and pleasant prospect
the dangers from the dreaded savages who roamed at will in this lovely
flower and emerald carpeted garden of the western world.
shone on no fairer landscape
than that now within the bounds of Grayson County, and the brave men
women who periled their lives to possess it for their posterity are
of the most grateful remembrance from the generations who now enjoy the
fruits of their heroism. They were simple and unassuming people, honest
and hospitable, and were, in a large measure, unsuspicious of others.
doors were always open to the stranger, and many people living today
attest of the thousands of good deeds done by those early settlers in
those who came among them seeking for homes. They were, with all their
hardships, a vigilant and watchful people, and divided their time
the field and the chase, oftentimes leaving the plow in the half-run
to repel the assaults of some raiding band of Indians, or to pursue
ravenous animal that would make havoc among their flocks and herds.
days settlements were often
many miles apart, and social life was far more highly enjoyed than in
settled communities, because of the rarity of gatherings for pleasure
social intercourse. Families would oftentimes, by an early start, go
or fifteen miles to visit friends, such then being considered near
and return by moonlight to their homes. On these visits the trusty
together with the shot-bag and powder-horn were considered necessary
The fatigue of such journeys was considered a very small matter. But
were men and women of iron frames and nerves like tempered steel, who
the purest of heaven?s ozone and drank in the sweet perfumes of a
of flowers. How unlike the brain- and nerve-weary, overworked men and
That was the
time when the fleet-footed
antelope and deer sped along their narrow paths, where now course the
railway trains. Then the ox-wagon with its long team of cattle wended
way by dindy [sic] beaten trails across the country, bringing from the
nearest market, sometimes hundreds of miles away, the necessary
for the people of this section, and whose arrival at the little village
was greeted by a full turnout of the people to see and help about
the goods and opening the boxes and barrels. Frequently very amusing
and incidents would occur on such occasions. One such mentioned here
not be inappropriate.
There was a
noted character, George
Stamps, who lived at the old town of Preston, on Red River, who kept a
little all-sorts stock of general merchandise, ?dry goods, groceries,
drugs, tar, turpentine and testaments,? as his bulletin-board read, and
in addition had a barrel of whiskey always on tap. One Christmas season
Stamps concluded he wanted something extra, and ordered from the
Brothers, of Bonham, "a lot of everything good for Christmas." The
came and likewise the crowd to see them opened. Everything went well
a small brown box marked ?cod-fish? was reached. The odor of the box
forth strong expletives of disgust from Stamps, who swore the thing was
"spite," and after passing it through the crowd for proof of his
it was returned so marked and credit demanded for it.
were many inconveniences
to be encountered in regard to freights and passenger travel, it is a
fact that in the early days of Grayson County, such things as a robbery
or interference of any kind with goods in transit, or persons traveling
through the country alone, was entirely unknown. A case in point, the
of which will be vouched for by many people living today, will serve a
good purpose. George W. Newcome, who lived at Kentucky Town, was a man
who dealt largely in lands, and it was often necessary that he should
large sums of money with him, which being bulky and heavy, he would
in his capacious saddlebags. On his arrival at Sherman he would hitch
horse to the famous old pecan tree that formerly stood on the public
throw the saddlebags across a limb, go off and transact a day?s
and feel that his money was as free from molestation as though locked
the steel vaults of a bank, and would, to use his own language, often
think of it unless it was needed for use. Many other incidents of like
character, which will be related in future chapters, in which the names
of such men as Frank Richards, Phillip T. Wells, William C. Coffey, and
many other early merchants and traders will figure, will serve to tell
the story of the sterling honesty of those people of brawny arms and
exterior. Merchants would ride over the country for several days at a
collecting their accounts, and when overtaken at night would stop at
first house they came to, and were never molested, although they would
many times have thousands of dollars with them, and that fact well
to many persons. When through with collecting and ready to start to
their money, chiefly gold and silver, would be placed in a pair of
and strapped across a mule, and they would start on their journey. It
no uncommon thing when these starts were made for half the men in the
to be present and bid them good-bye. So it will be seen that, while the
pioneers were a rough and uncultivated people, they were honest.
These are a
few of the characteristics
of the men and women whose biographies will be told in the pages of
little book and its followers, and no more pleasing task has ever
to the hands of the writer than this effort to perpetuate their
in a form that generations yet unborn may know their lives and, as far
as possible, their features as well.
Dugan was born in Jefferson
County, Missouri, October 7, 1812, eight years before that territory
submitted as a state of the union. His father was Daniel Dugan, a
of Virginia, and his mother was Catherine Vaden, a native of Kentucky.
Thus, too, he was born a pioneer. The family in 1816 moved to Illinois,
where George went to school, and acquired such knowledge of books as
be obtained in the log cabin, puncheon floor[ed] schoolhouse of the
border. In later years the family removed to Arkansas, from which state
Mr. Dugan removed to Texas in 1835, first into what is now Fannin
and in 1837 [he] moved to the well-known Dugan place on Choctaw Creek
were [ones] of watchfulness
for the pioneers, and all work was done with a sentinel on the watch
the Indians. In 1844, Daniel Dugan, an uncle of George C., with another
young man, were surprised and killed by Indians. Not long afterward
attacked his father's house and killed a young man who was lying in bed
with his brother. His father returned the fire and killed an Indian.
Indians, while attempting to steal the horses from the stable, were
by George and his brother William, who killed three of them. These are
but a few of the many tilts of the Dugan family with the redskins, but
they held their ground and never flinched, no matter how hot the
On the 7th
of January, 1849, George
C. Dugan was married to Miss Harriet Walls, a native of Kentucky. She
a practical woman, and was a great help to her husband's success in
property. Mr. Dugan was a thorough and sagacious farmer, and by good
accumulated quite a fortune previous to the Civil War. When the war
Mr. Dugan removed to Sherman and commenced merchandising. After five
in the business, he retired, and turned his attention to land and
died, January 5th, 1881,
at his home in Sherman. Two sons and four daughters still survive, most
of whom are residents of Grayson County.
Fitch, the first County
Clerk of Grayson County, was born in Alabama, May 20th, 1821. From that
state his father removed to Texas, in 1844, locating first at old Fort
Warren on Red River, where he remained one year, removing from there
what is now Grayson County, locating near White Mound. About this time
the Mexican War came on, and William and his brother John enlisted and
went to the front as member of Capt. Dan Montague's company. At the
of the war they returned home and when Grayson County was organized in
1847, William D. Fitch was elected County Clerk, in which capacity he
until 1851, in which year he returned to Alabama and married Elizabeth
Cargo. On his return to Texas he engaged in clerical work, and the
of the court show that he was one of the most careful, painstaking
that has ever handled the books of the county. After the death of his
wife, he married Miss Maggie Gee of Greenville, July 25th, 1867, who
survives him. Mr. Fitch died in Sherman, August 10th, 1873. One son, by
his first wife, is still a citizen of Sherman.
Dumas was born September 20th,
1820, in Greenville District, South Carolina. He moved to Texas in
settling in Milam County, where he lived till 1843, when he moved to
falls of the Brazos and resided there till June 1844, when he moved to
the present site of Dallas, building the third house at that place and
laying off the original town. Leaving Dallas July 20th, 1845, when he
to Sister Grove, Grayson County, where he lived till his death, which
place on February 1st, 1875. James P. Dumas was married in Fayette
Alabama, on April 13th, 1844, to Mary A. E. Thompson, who still
him. He enlisted as a volunteer in Montagne's company and served in the
Mexican War. Mr. Dumas was prominent in the early settlement of Grayson
County, and the records attest of much work on his part in the
of the boundaries of many of the original surveys in the county. He was
a man of thrifty habits, and by careful watchfulness, amassed quite a
principally in lands.
wife, he leaves several sons
and daughters who are among the best known and most highly respected
of Grayson County.
Ambrose B. White was born in
Ohio, October 24th, 1811; his early days were spent in Illinois near
When the Black Hawk War broke out in 1832, he shouldered his gun to
the pioneers against the blood-thirsty savages, and fought bravely with
his comrades until the war closed. But in the midst of the carnage was
a young lady who was destined to be his wife. Through a long day?s hard
fighting she molded bullets for him while he shot Indians. This lady's
name was A. E. Murdah, and after the close of the war, on the 20th of
1833, they were married.
White founded the town
of Whitesboro and at the time of his death held the office of Mayor, an
office which he had filled many times since the incorporation of the
When he settled where the town of Whitesboro stands, he found himself
the midst of a vast wilderness. One or two stores and a blacksmith shop
constituted Sherman. He chose a location for a town and staked the
of Whitesboro. He built the first house. He died December 17, 1885, and
had always been regarded by his friends as a true father whose
was kind and whose life was exemplary.
ancestors of Col. Reeves migrated
from Ireland to the United States about the year 1794, and located in
Carolina, where his father, William S. Reeves, was born in 1796. After
the death of his parents, William S. Reeves, at the age of three years,
was taken to Nashville, Tennessee, then a frontier village, and brought
up by an uncle, a pioneer settler. He served in the War of 1812 and in
the Creek War, and after living a few years in Arkansas, where he
his county (Crawford), in the legislature, in 1846 he removed to Texas,
settling at Preston on Red River, then the chief business point in
Reeves was born in Tennessee,
January 3d, 1826. When about eighteen years of age, [on] October 31st,
1844, he was married to Miss Jane Moore, the granddaughter of Robert
a noted pioneer settler of Arkansas, and afterwards of Texas. In 1846
[Reeves] removed to Texas, and located in Grayson County, where he at
became a prominent figure in the public affairs of the county. In 1848
he was elected tax collector, and served two years. In 1850 he was
sheriff and served until 1854, when he was elected to the legislature,
where, by his unassuming but clear-headed manner, he won the friendship
of such men as W. R. Ochiltree, John Sayles, James W. Throckmorton,
H. Darden, M. D. Ector, Ashbel Smith, Cyrus H. Randolph, and other
men who have since figured conspicuously on the pages of Texas history.
He was again elected representative in 1857.
trumpet blast called the sons
of the South to the fields of carnage, George Reeves was among the
to respond, and raised a company for Col. William C. Young's regiment,
afterwards the famous 11th Texas Cavalry, whose hardships and struggles
he followed and shared through many of the fiercest battles of the
War, among which were Murfreesboro, Corinth, Chattanooga, Chickamauga,
Knoxville, and Tunnel Hill.
death of Col. Young, George
Reeves was promoted to the colonelcy of his regiment, and remained as
commander until the last gun had been fired in the strife, when he came
home and found himself ruined by the war; but he was not one to give
so with the vim which was his chief characteristic, he went to work to
retrieve his fortunes, and succeeded.
In 1866, in
1873, in 1878, and in 1880
he was elected to the legislature from Grayson County, and at the
of 1881 was elected speaker of the house, a position which he filled
Col. Reeves was bitten by
a rabid dog and died in great agony from the effects of the poison.
and three daughters of Col.
Reeves still reside in Grayson County.
earliest settlers of the
western portion of Grayson County, was E. D. Webster, who located on
Creek, twenty miles west of where Sherman now stands. Mr. Webster was
in Massachusetts in 1799, from which state he removed to Ohio, which
then a frontier country, in 1815. After he arrived at man's estate he
to Louisiana in 1821, and from there removed to Missouri in 1825, in
year he married Margaret Furman. In 1845 he removed to Texas, opening a
farm on Jordon Creek, in what is now Grayson County, where he lived
the 30th of August 1861, at which time he died. His widow died in March
Dr. J. L.
Leslie was perhaps one of
the best known and most highly esteemed physicians who located in
Texas in the days of its early settlement. He was a native of Alabama,
being born in Monroe County in that state on the 20th day of January,
From that state he removed to Mississippi and located at Carthage,
he commenced the practice of medicine in 1847. In 1848 he married Miss
Ellen Louisa Jack, and removed to Lamar County, Texas, in 1850.
again in 1852, he located in Mantua, Collin County, and upon the
of the town Van Alstyne in 1873, he located in that place, and was one
of the most energetic and liberal workers for the advancement of his
and that section of Grayson County. Dr. Leslie was never a drone in any
undertaking, being always in the front rank of every good enterprise.
was a devout Christian, a member of the Methodist Church South, an
Odd Fellow and a zealous Mason, and to his untiring work all those
owe much for their strength in that particular section.
wife died in June 1885, leaving
three sons and one daughter, A. T., J. P., and W. T Leslie, all of whom
reside in Sherman, and Mrs. Lacy J. McKinney of Anna, Collin County. In
November 1885, Dr. Leslie married Mrs. Mary Stogsdill of McKinney, who
still survives him.
was not only a pioneer settler
of Texas, but was a pioneer Odd Fellow, having joined that order in
when it was in its infancy. In the '50s, his medical practice extended
over a territory of fifty miles around.
died at his home in Van
Alstyne September 8th, 1894.
Roberts was born in McMinn
County, Tennessee, August 3d, 1823. Was married to Nancy P. Miller in
Grayson County, Texas, in
June 1852. Has been living in the vicinity of Whitesboro for
years. He has been a member of the Christian Church for half a century.
He has always been a Democrat. He has always been a farmer by
but for many years after settling near Whitesboro, [he] ran an
tread-wheel ox mill ~ the only mill in western Grayson, which was an
on the old steel mill he first used.
died July 28th, 1892. Has
three living children, seventeen grandchildren, and five
Webster, who has for many years
been conspicuous in the upbuilding of the town of Whitesboro, was born
in Ralls County, Missouri, July 1st, 1826. He came with his father to
in 1845, locating on Jordon Creek in what is now Grayson County. In
he was ordered by the governor to raise a company of militia, of which
he was elected captain, but the war with Mexico coming on, he was never
commissioned, and a call being made for volunteers by the United States
government, on February 2nd, 1847, he joined Capt. William Fitzhugh's
P. H. Bell's regiment, of volunteers for twelve months, reenlisting at
the end of that time for another year. His company was kept on the
of Texas to protect settlers against the Indians, even after the war
in 1848, until February 2nd, 1849, having served just two years, for
service he now receives a pension of eight dollars per month.
when Cooke County was organized,
he was elected sheriff, although still in the United States service. He
resigned his office as sheriff in 1849, and following the great host
moving toward the Pacific in search [of] gold, he went to California.
1860, just as grim war was beginning to send its mutterings over the
he returned to Texas and entered the Confederate army, serving most of
the four years on the borders of Texas, against the Indians. Mr.
was married in 1863, and in 1868 located in Whitesboro, of which town
has several terms filled the office of mayor, and enjoys in a high
the confidence and esteem of his neighbors.
County was organized,
it appears that in the selection of officers the people looked for
and capable men, and the men thus chosen show in their characters that
but little thought was had that there would be any need for that heroic
courage now deemed so necessary, especially in executive officers.
does this seem apparent in the selection of their first sheriff ~ a man
modest and reserved in his manners as a girl. This man was Joshua West.
Mr. West was
born in Jersey County,
Illinois, February 2, 1818, where he remained until 1845, when he came
to Texas, and located in Grayson County, where he worked at farm work
taught a country school until the organization of the county in 1847,
he was elected sheriff, the duties of which office he faithfully
for two years. He was married in 1847 to Miss Harriet Bradley.
often told of his arrival
at Red River after nightfall, at the end of a tiresome day's travel in
the Indian country, and finding that the ferryman lived some distance
the river on the Texas side and could not be raised, how he laid down
the warm sand, with his bundle of clothes for a pillow and the hoot of
the owl and howl of the wolf for a lullaby, he slept as sweet a night's
rest as he ever enjoyed.
At the close
of his official career,
he retired to his farm near where Denison now stands, where he remained
until 1858, in which year he removed to Sherman where he followed
and harness making, until his death in 1872. He was a faithful Odd
and was buried by that honorable order.
Of a family
of eight, children four
still survive him. His good wife also is still living.
biographer attempts to write
of the lives of those he knew best and moved most, the task is one of
hardest, as his natural impulses are all to look upon the sunny side
become blind to the sorrows, the sadness, the shadows and the grief
may have at times darkened the pathway of that one who has played his
upon life's stage and gone to his reward.
In the early
days of Grayson, one of
the most popular and genial young men who cast his fortunes with the
village of Sherman, was Thomas W. Randolph, who was born in Wilson
Tennessee, March 2nd, 1834. His father was Grief Randolph, who was born
near Wytheville, Virginia. In the year 185?, he was married to Miss
Young, daughter of Col. William C. Young, who died a few years
His second wife was Miss Bettie Thompson, daughter of Judge J. G.
and who still survives him.
In 1861 he
was appointed by the governor
of Texas as a commissioner to hold a council with the seven tribes of
on the reservation. He was the third man who volunteered from Grayson
in the late civil war, and joined the famous 11th Texas Cavalry, of
regiment he was quartermaster, and was in the Indian battle of
in the movements around Cross Hollows and Elk Horn. In 1862 his
was transferred to the Mississippi, where it was commanded by Gen. John
A. Wharton, and was engaged in the battles of Farmington, Chickamauga,
and down the valley of Mossy Creek.
At the close
of the war he returned
home broken in fortune but not in energy. He served as District Clerk,
Notary Public, and Democratic executive committeeman. He was an
Mason, and had taken many of the highest degrees of the order. He was
many years engaged with his brother, J. L. Randolph, in the dry goods
in Sherman, and was so engaged at the time of his death, July 9th, 1883.
In his death
Grayson County lost one
of her most upright and honorable citizens.
When a man
dies and those who knew
him all say he was a good man, and his life has been worthy to be an
for every young man, then those who knew him not will appreciate
that will perpetuate the memory of such a noble character. Such a man
Benjamin F. Christian, who first saw the light in Tennessee about the
1814. He came to Texas in 1844 and settled in Upshur County. He removed
from there to Bonham shortly afterward, and married a daughter of Capt.
Mabel Gilbert. In 1858, he located in Sherman and engaged in the hotel
business. His wife died in 1863, and in 1864 he was married to Miss Lou
Davis, daughter of Micajah Davis, one of the earliest settlers of
County. After the loss of the late war he removed to Whitesboro and
in the mercantile business with Capt. Sam B. Savage. He died October
1886. His last wife survives him.
as he was familiarly called,
was a devoted Odd Fellow. It may be justly said of him that he was the
father of Odd Fellowship in North Texas. For years he traveled from the
Sabine to the extreme western frontier, even when the Indians
the western counties, organizing Lodges and lecturing. Under
of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Grand Lodge, he instituted the
Lodge in the Indian Territory, at Caddo. He was a charter member and
the Lodge at Whitesboro, which was named for him, in the year 1868. In
1872 he was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
He was a
consistent member of the Cumberland
Presbyterian church, and one of the most active workers in the Old
Association, having delivered a most touching valedictory at the
in Sherman in August 1886, about two months before his death.
Diamond was born in DeKalb
County, Georgia, May 14th, 1820, and died in the city of Whitesboro,
County, Texas, October 5th, 1880. John R. Diamond became a pioneer late
in the '40s after the Mexican War, and with his young family removed to
Pontotoc County, Mississippi. From thence he removed to Rusk County,
and continuing westward he next settled in Collin County. But in 1852,
preempted and settled on what is now known as the J. R. Diamond
Peters' Colony Headright, one mile west of Whitesboro. Here he announced
family that he had found the country for which he had been looking, and
that they would be called on to move no more.
and toils as a pioneer at
that time, were patiently [and] cheerfully borne, and he soon
himself with a good farm, stock and many of the comforts of life. Thus
he was situated, when the war came on, and entering the army, he was
commissary of Young's 11th Texas Cavalry, which position, on account of
failing health he resigned at Shiloh. Returning home he was soon chosen
Lieut.-Col. of Bourland's Frontier Regiment, which position he held
Diamond was called by those
who knew him, an honest man. He was a good and useful citizen, ever
to bear his part, to the extent of his means. He never betrayed a
Whether as a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, or Mayor of the city
in which he lived, he discharged his duty to those who elected him, the
best he knew how, and in good faith. He loved his neighbors as he did
his practical religion being truly expressed on the marble shaft,
by his brother Masons over whose lodge he had so often presided: "To
the widow and the fatherless in their afflictions. "Whether soldier or
citizen, in the public or private walks of life" as husband
neighbor and friend, he was ever ready to obey every command, and
every duty devolved upon him. His beloved partner in all his early
and mother of his thirteen children, has long since joined him, over
sketches of the old pioneers
who settled on the "divide," where Whitesboro has since been built,
be incomplete without recording the name of Henry C. Ritchey. In
over the Whitesboro News,
of the second day of September, 1882, we find "that Henry C. Ritchey
was born in the state of Kentucky in the year
He came to Texas in the year 1834, with the families of the Ritcheys,
Latimers, the Dixons, and the Foremans, who have all done so much for
Republic, and state of Texas, since those early days of pioneer toil
hardships; all of whom first made their homes in Red River county. He
married in the month of October, 1845, to Miss M. S. Gilliam, who with
their two sons Charles E. and Joseph C. still survive him."
to Grayson County in 1859,
and settled near Whitesboro, and later on erected a comfortable and
residence within the town where he died the last of August, 1892. He
indeed a true many to himself, true to his family, true to his
his faith and his God. He was a true and consistent member of the
Presbyterian Church, and practiced the religion he professed.
with his companions, who
now tread their joint pathway alone, were ever foremost and
every enterprise for the building up of the new country, making
and happy the newcomer, and fixing him in his new home.
He loved the
old settler, and took
great delight in attending the Old Settlers meetings; and although he
join them no more in their annual greetings, the name of Uncle Henry
will ever remain on the records.
prominent characters who
figured in the early settlement of Grayson County was Overton (Sobe)
now a resident of the Indian Territory, where he stands in the front
of progressive and substantial citizens. Judge Love has always felt and
manifested the greatest interest in the prosperity and advancement of
Territory and of Texas, and the many trusts he has had confided to him
show that the people of both countries have confidence in his sound
and business integrity. He has for many years held the position of
of the Supreme Court of the Chickasaw Nation. The recent large amount
money paid out in the Territory by the general government, was due in a
great measure to his untiring efforts.
ahead and seeing the prosperity
that is in store on this side of the Red River, Judge Love has recently
invested a large amount of capital in one of Sherman's most substantial
wife is a sister of Governor
Byrd, of the Chickasaw Nation, and is a woman of high intellectual
and is well known and highly respected in many of the social centers of
Leeper was born at Lincolnton,
North Carolina, in 1804, and was the son of a soldier of the
War. From his native state he removed to Tennessee, and from thence to
Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1829, at which place he held the responsible
position of [federal] receiver of public monies through every
from Andrew Jackson to Zachary Taylor. He was married at Fayetteville,
Arkansas, to Miss Lucy Washington, a descendant of the family from
sprang the immortal George Washington.
administration of James Buchanan,
in 1857, Col. Leeper was appointed Indian agent, in which position he
under the Confederate government.
He has been
identified with Sherman
from its earliest days and has held many positions of trust within the
gift of his people.
His life was
full of thrilling events.
Speaking of him[,] one closely associated with him for years said to a
reporter recently: "The death of Col. Matthew Leeper calls to mind an
in his career remembered now by only a few. He was Indian agent under
Confederate government and stationed at old Fort Cobb, where the
and a few other peaceable tribes were located. There was a feud between
the Caddos and the Tonkoways, and sometime during the winter of 1862-63
the Caddos made a night attack on their enemies and literally cleaned
the reservation. Several hundred Tonkoways were killed and the remnant
of the tribe scattered. The first news the people of Sherman (where
Leeper's family lived) heard of the fight was brought in by fugitive
who reported that every white man in the fort had been killed. For
days other bands of Indians continued to arrive here and all of them
the first report. The family went into mourning, and the Sherman
published a lengthy obituary of Col. Leeper. Two weeks later a worn and
haggard traveler, clothed in an old army blanket, and wearing an old
hat, appeared in our midst and was soon recognized as the reported dead
man. He had a narrow escape. He was in bed at the time of the attack,
escaped in his night clothes through a window after the hostiles had
of the fort. After several days of wanderings in the woods he met a
Indian who gave him a blanket and a hat and piloted him to Red River[,]
from where it was easy to reach Sherman."
died at his home in Sherman
July 22nd, 1894, at the advanced age of 91 years. His aged wife, three
daughters, and one son survive him.
Savage was born in Cooper
County, Mississippi, April 5th, 1827. Moved from Dade County, Missouri,
to Grayson County, Texas, in the autumn of 1846, where he has resided
since. He was married to Miss Martha D. Pitman, July 26th, 1849. They
nine living children, thirty-four grandchildren and two
He has followed farming and stock raising for a living. He is now
of the Peace, and living in Whitesboro. For the past thirty-five years
he has been a member of the Masonic Fraternity. Has been a life-long
He is now vice-president of the Old Settlers Association.
Wheelock, one of the first
settlers of what is now Grayson County, moved to Texas in 1844 and
on Jordon Creek about twenty miles west of the present site of Sherman.
At that time all this country was a portion of Fannin County, and
was the county site [seat]. He died on the same place in 1848. His
removed to Cooke County and died shortly thereafter.
Note : A
sketch of the life of Judge
J. G. Thompson will appear in part II.
Benjamin F. (ca. 1814-1886)
John R. (1820-1880)
George C. (1812-1881)
William D. (1821?1873)
James Lafayette (1825-1894)
Overton (dates unknown)
Thomas W. (1834-1883)
George R. (1826-1885)
Henry C. (1821-1892)
Thomas C. (b. 1823)
Benjamin F. (b. 1827)
L. (b. 1826)
Charles (d. 1848)
Ambrose B. (1811-1885)
1. George C.
3. James P.
5. George R.
6. John R.
7. M. L.
8. Dr. Jas.
9. Thomas C.
16. Judge J.