THE HAMBLENS OF GRAYSON COUNTY, TEXAS
By Larry A. Hamblen
PLEASANT W. HAMBLEN: Pleasant W. Hamblen, son of Thomas P. and Mary (Dunn) Hamblen, was born January 30, 1830, in Jackson County, Missouri. He moved with his parents and sister, Catherine, to Franklin County, Arkansas, in approximately 1837. We have no information on schooling for Pleasant, but we do know that he could read and write, even though his mother could not.
Lucinda Ransome HamblenOn November 25, 1849, Pleasant married Lucinda Ransome, daughter of George A. and Margaret (Robins) Ransome. Lucinda was born in Rhea County, Tennessee, on July 7, 1829. After they were married, Pleasant and Lucinda lived beside Thomas and Mary Hamblen, in a house probably owned by Thomas. Then, Pleasant adopted a kind of pilgrim character, living here and then there for periods of three to five years. In 1850 he purchased his first piece of property in Johnson County, Arkansas, not far from his father's farm. During these early days, Pleasant was a farmer.
By 1855 Pleasant and family moved north to Barry County Missouri. But by 1859 he had moved back to Franklin County, Arkansas and purchased land (Sec. 11, Twp. 10, R. 27W). This was probably his homeplace until 1864.
The Civil War brought division to the nation and to the Hamblens. Pleasant's brother, father-in-law, and brother-in-law (John V. Hamblen, George A. Ransome, and Andrew J. Ransome) all enlisted in the Confederate Army in February of 1862. Before July, 1862, George Ransome had been discharged because of ill-health; John V. Hamblen had been killed in the Battle of Corinth, MS., by October 4, 1862; Captain Andrew J. Ransome had been taken prisoner by May of 1863.
Pleasant, going against the family tradition and against the fact that he owned one slave when the war began, enlisted in the Union Army on November 14, 1863 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He mustered in on December 18, 1863, in Springfield, Missouri, with Company K, 2nd Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry.
Pleasant's Civil War records tell his story. He was five feet, nine inches tall, with gray eyes, a dark complexion and dark hair. He enlisted with friends from his area, one being John C. Barnes. Soon after mustering in, Pleasant and John went with a commissary train to Fayetteville, Arkansas, on special duty under orders from General Sanborne. It was on this trip (on or about December 20, 1863) that Pleasant took a cold which settled in his left eye. He suffered neuralgia and later lost the use of his left eye (1867). Evidently he suffered a great deal of pain from his eye throughout the course of his enlistment. John Barnes said he complained about it constantly.
On April 27, 1864 Private Pleasant W. Hamblen was granted a 30-day furlough to Franklin county, Arkansas. Evidently his parents and wife and children were still living there. On May 28, he was listed as absent without leave. It is our conjecture that there was some sort of trouble on the home-front. In his application for a pension in 1891, Pleasant told that his marriage certificate was burned in the war. It is possible that southern loyalists or bushwhackers burned Pleasant's home because of his enlistment in the Union Army. It is our belief that during this time of being absent without leave that he moved his family to Green County, Missouri, for the remainder of the war. His father, Thomas, died there on September 27, 1864, and Pleasant's daughter, Tennessee, was born there in 1865.
Pleasant returned to his company on August 22, 1864 without forfeiture of pay or allowances. Evidently he offered his commanding officer, Capt. S.P. Dickerson, a real good excuse. Pleasant's records, from that point on through February of 1865, are a little confusing. In September 1864 he was listed on detached service. Then the next listing, November 1864, has him feeding the company horses belonging to men on detached service since September 19, 1864. He is listed on duty in Oden, Illinois, in January of 1865. The next notation has him returning from Memphis, Tennessee, in February 1865. The puzzling note is that he was listed on the desertion list again on December 14, 1864. He returned to duty in February, 1865, with the forfeiture of both pay and allowances. Evidently there is just not enough information in the records to get a clear picture of his exploits in the war.
After being on the desertion list twice, it becomes really startling to discover that Pleasant was promoted from private to quartermaster sergeant in July of 1865! Without doubt, he had good excuses for his absences or else he was a smooth talker! He was discharged honorably from the Union Army on August 20, 1865, along with his fellow Franklin County comrades, in Memphis, Tennessee. These men had to walk the entire distance home from Memphis, almost across the entire State of Arkansas.
By 1866 Pleasant and his family had relocated to Franklin County, Arkansas. No doubt his family remained in Missouri until after the war. He purchased property (Sec. 14, Twp. 10, R. 26W) on the Wire Road in the White Oak Township in Franklin County. On this property was a large farm house that served as a stage-stop and a watering place for passers-by. This property was owned by Lawson W. Nichols, Sr., during the Civil War. Upon his death, the land was purchased from his widow and other heirs by two of his sons, Lawson W. Nichols, Jr., and Alvin A. Nichols. Soon afterwards, however, the brothers conveyed said ownership to Pleasant.
Several interesting events took place while the Hamblens lived there. First, Jesse and Frank James, along with the Younger Boys stopped there one morning for breakfast (June 7, 1874). Soon after they left, a posse came riding up to the Hamblen home in pursuit of the outlaws. Two of Pleasant's sons, Thomas M. and William Franklin, joined the posse and chased after the James and Younger Boys. The posse caught up with the outlaws just east of the Johnson County line, at a place called the Horse Head Narrows. The outlaws were waiting for them in ambush. Thomas M. Hamblen was shot in the hand. His brother, William Franklin, had his horse shot out from under him, and he was wounded in the shoulder.
Then the story is also told about the killing of an Indian man at the Hamblen place. It seems that William Franklin "Frank" Hamblen was hoeing cotton with the Indian when a fight broke out between them. Frank hit the Indian in the head with a hoe. The Indian died and was buried about 100 feet west of the watering well. Nothing happened to Frank.
Because of his service in the army during the Civil War, Pleasant was entitled to homestead 160 acres. On December 7, 1869 he made Homestead Entry No. 3202 at the United States Land Office at Clarksville, Arkansas, for the SW NE of Section 3, Township 8N, Range 26W, containing 40 acres. Pleasant never did file for the remaining 120 acres to which he was entitled, and he also relinquished the 40 acres back to the government. His heirs, in 1913, sold that entitlement to E. R. Harvey of Washington D.C. for $200.00.
Pilgrim in spirit, Pleasant moved his family to Lamar County, Texas in 1878. His Aunt Frances (Hamblen) Jones had moved there from Missouri in 1864. She died there on December 12, 1869, but it is believed that Pleasant moved there because of the family connection. Pleasant purchased at least 200 acres there. He retained that property for the remainder of his life, even though he moved to Sherman, Texas a few years later. Several families from Franklin County, Arkansas, moved to that area with Pleasant or after he did. Among those families were the John C. Barnes family and the J.W. Dean family.
Also, the 1880 census for Lamar County shows that a William Hamblen was residing
there at the same time. It is our conjecture that this was Pleasant's second cousin, the son of William, the son of Job. Job was the brother of Pleasant's grandfather, Pierce Dant Hamblen. For some time we were sure that the family ties between Pierce Dant's descendants and Job's descendants were kept, but we did not know to what extent. The conjecture above is based on the following premises: (1) Pleasant and William were both in Lamar County, Texas, at the same time and living in the same precinct; (2) The given names in Pleasant's and William's families reflect a close tie, and not mere coincidence: Pleasant named his second son William Franklin Hamblen. William's first son was named Franklin. William's second son was named Pleasant; (3) There is also a unique relationship between Pleasant's father, Thomas, and that of Uriah Hamblen, uncle to William. Uriah was William's father's brother, and therefore, first cousin to Thomas. Uriah named his first son, Pleasant. So did Thomas. Uriah named his second son, John. So did Thomas!; (4) Pleasant's and William's fathers were first cousins. Both were born in Virginia, both migrated to Missouri, and both lived in Arkansas, and both died in Missouri; (5) William (Lamar County) also had a brother named Uriah. Uriah settled in Washington County, Arkansas, just north of where Pleasant W. Hamblen lived while in Arkansas; and (6) Both Pleasant and William were in Missouri after the Civil War, but both moved back to Arkansas, Pleasant by 1866 and William by 1872. William's son, Pleasant J. Hamblen, was born in Arkansas in 1872. Therefore, it is my conclusion that these two men?Pleasant, the grandson of Pierce Dant Hamblen, and William, the grandson of Job, both listed in the 1880 census of Lamar County, Texas, and in the very same precinct?kept close family ties and moved together to several sections of the country.
Pleasant moved for the last time in 1883 to Sherman. After the war, in Arkansas and in Texas, he made his living as a stock trader. In Sherman he became prominently identified with the business interests of the city. He was in the lightning rod business a few years before his death. There in Sherman he joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), McPherson Post, No. 1., Department of Texas. Also, he was a Mason.
In 1891 Pleasant filed a pension for his services in the Civil War. In his application he claimed that he was unable to do physical labor because of rheumatic pains in the knees and legs, and neuralgia in the left eye. His pension certificate number was 778691. When he applied for the pension he weighed 210 pounds.
In April of 1891 Pleasant and his son, Frank, were away from home on a selling trip in the Southwest. Pleasant's daughter, Tennessee, became ill and died on April 20. The family was unable to contact Pleasant and Frank even though telegrams were sent in all directions.
Pleasant & Lucinda 1896On May 16, 1896 a destructive tornado hit the Sherman area causing several hundred thousand dollars of damage. Pleasant contributed $5.00 to the relief fund, as did his son, George Ransome Hamblen. Pleasant's son, William Franklin, contributed $2.00.
Pleasant became one of the best known citizens of Sherman, according to an obituary in the Sherman Democrat. In the 1900 census of Grayson County, Texas he is listed as a "capitalist" under the heading of occupation. He died on May 28, 1902 of dysentery and organic heart disease. He is buried in the West Hill Cemetery in Sherman. There was never an official death certificate made out for him. His obituary, his tombstone, and his wife's application for his pension all corroborate his death date. He died intestate.
View Pleasant & Lucinda's Funeral Notices
Lucinda, his wife, received his Civil War pension of $12.00 per month until her death on March 22, 1910. Her will is on file in the Grayson County Court, Sherman, Texas. It reads: "I, Lucinda Hamblen, of the County of Grayson, in the State of Texas, being of sound mind and disposing memory, and being desirous of setting my worldly affairs while I have sufficient strength so to do, do make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking any and all former wills by me at any time heretofore made. First. I direct that all my just debts be paid as soon as practicable after my death. Second. I give and bequeath to my four beloved grand children, Robert N. Hamblen, William M. Hamblen, Bonnie Hamblen and Georgia Pearl Hamblen the sum of $5.00, Five Dollars each, the same to be in full of all the interest I desire them to have in my estate. Third. I give and bequeath to my beloved son, W. F. Hamblen the sum of Fifty ($50.00) Dollars, the same to be in full of all the interest I desire him to have in my estate. Fourth. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughter, Emma Kelly all my interest in and to Lots numbers Four (4) and Six (6) in Block number Twenty-seven (27) in the O.T.P. of the city of Sherman, Texas and being the same property deeded to my by deed recorded in vol. 70 page 239 of the Records of Deeds of Grayson County, Texas, less that part of said property deeded to George R. Hamblen by deed recorded in Vol. III page 595 of the Records of Deeds of Grayson County, Texas. Fifth. I give and bequeath all the remainder of my estate, of whatsoever kind or character, whether real, personal or mixed property, after deducting the amounts and real estate called for in the First, Second and Third and Fourth sections of this will, to my beloved children, Mary C. Gose, George R. Hamblen and Emma Kelly, and my beloved granddaughter Frankie Abrams, (one fourth to each) share and share alike. Sixth. I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint L. M. Tuck and Harry W. Wright, executors of this, my last will and testament, and direct that no bond be required of them, and further direct that the Probate Court or other Courts of the County having jurisdiction, have nothing to do with my estate except to probate this, my last will and testament and to require an inventory and appraisement and list of claims of my estate to be returned." Lucinda set her mark and Oscar J. Jones and R. R. Shofe witnessed the will.
Pleasant and Lucinda's children:
1. Thomas M. Hamblen b. Sep 06, 1850
2. William Franklin Hamblen b. Sep 13, 1853
3. Mary C. Hamblen b. Nov 13, 1855
4. George Ransome Hamblen b. Feb 14, 1858
5. Tennessee Hamblen b. Sep 23, 1865
6. Emma Hamblen b. Oct. 9, 1868