Standing: Floyd Grier
From Right to left: Harve Grier, Andrew Jackson Grier, Floy Grier,
Sarah Elisabeth “Sally” Powell Grier, Berta Grier
Circa 1900

William R. Powell and Susan Carter Harrison Powell

Written by their Great Great Granddaughter
Betty Terrell Owens
January 2004


Resting in the middle of Rock Hill Cemetery in Henderson County, TX is a small flat gravestone marked “SUSAN POWELL 1829-1908”. Buried in the same cemetery are at least three generations of descendants of her HARRISON and POWELL children. The surnames weave through the list of burials in Rock Hill Cemetery and adjacent Terrell Cemetery. Some surnames are GRIER, COTTEN, WOFFORD, TERRELL, NOWLIN, ADAIR, HARRISON, MURPHREE, and HOPSON. Undoubtedly there are many more unknown to the author.
Near Susan’s grave are the markers for three infants. One, Juanita Grier who was born and died in 1920, was the daughter of Harve and Audie Grier. Ernest T. Grier, who was born and died in 1896, was the infant son of Andrew and Sarah Elisabeth Grier. Naomi Ruth Adair, who was born and died in 1916, was the only daughter of Berta Grier Adair and Price Adair. It must have been comforting to the family for the babies to be near her. It is said in the family that Susan Powell’s husband, William R. Powell is buried in the Old Rock Hill Cemetery. Their youngest child, B.F. is probably also buried in the Old Rock Hill Cemetery. According to a written record left by Susan her birth date was 20 June 1834.

William R. POWELL and Susan CARTER HARRISON POWELL had moved to the Rock Hill Community, Henderson County, Texas during the 1870’s, probably to be near family late in their lives. Andrew Jackson Powell said in an article in The Athens (Texas) Weekly Review 6 March 1903, page 15 & 16 that he had moved to Henderson County, Texas with his father. William R. Powell died between 1875 (birth of son) and 1880. Susan is found on the 1880 and 1900 US Census of Henderson County, TX. Susan died in 1908. They had both lived long and interesting lives.

According to Floy Grier Wofford, Susan had moved to Texas at the age of fifteen years with her parents in a “bull wagon” from Tennessee. Records there prove they had lived in Henderson County, TN, and McNairy County, TN before moving to Texas. (source: Deed records in McNairy County, TN; 1840 US Census and a deed naming Jesse and Jane “Jinsey” HURT CARTER as heirs of Joel HURT note: the author’s address is no longer valid on this site)

The CARTERS moved near Gilmer in Upshur County, Texas. Her parents, Jesse and Jane “Jinsey” Carter, (source: Estate settlement of Jane Carter ,District Court Probate Records, page 353, Upshur Co. Courthouse) purchased land there in 1857. (source: Deed recorded in Book G page 91, Upshur Co. TX courthouse) Many Carters are buried in the Enon Cemetery in Gilmer.

Susan married Wesley B. HARRISON around 1855, and on 22 Jan. 1863, Susan purchased land from her father. (source: VOL. J Pg.657, Upshur County Courthouse) Wesley B. Harrison is on the Roster of the First Company organized during the Civil War in Upshur County. (source: A Brief History of Upshur County by G.H. Baird, page 165) He served as a Private in the Upshur Guards, 6th Brigade, 6th District. Family stories say he died of the measles while serving in the Civil War, widowing Susan. The only place Susan’s name appears as Susannah is on the Confederate Indigent Families List (1863-1865) (source: Texas State Library and Archives). Susan Carter Harrison and Wesley B. Harrison were the parents of: (source of children: pages believed to be pages from Susan Powell’s Bible)

James Henry HARRISON (1855-1939) who married Mary N. CARVER
Epsey Jane HARRISON (1858-after 1898) who married Columbus DALTON
John William HARRISON (1860-1930) who married Virginia BLEDSOE
Tennessee F. Burton HARRISON (1862-1862)

Susan Carter Harrison is next found on the 1870 Census of Rusk County, Texas as the wife of William R. Powell. Her Harrison children are living in the next dwelling on the list.


William R. Powell came to Texas with his parents, James W. Powell and Elizabeth Powell from Tennessee. He is listed as 5 years of age in 1834 in when his father received a league of land from the Spanish Government in what would be Falls County, TX. (source: Papers Concerning Robertson’s Colony in Texas compiled and edited by Malcolm D. McLean, Volume IX, 1982, page 180,181).
After arriving in Texas so early, his father moved many times, owning many parcels of land, including receiving a land grant in Henderson County, Texas. James W. Powell moved to Smith County in 1846, and he and his family are enumerated on the 1850 census there. James was dead before 1860, and some of his property in Henderson County was sold by his wife and children in June 1862. (source: Deed record Book 68 page 219, Henderson Co. TX Courthouse) Elizabeth Powell was living in Edom, Van Zandt County, TX on the 1860 US Census.

William R. Powell married Mourning GABRIEL on 4 December 1851 in Rusk County Texas. He received a land grant in 1852 in the northern part of Rusk County that became part of Gregg County. William served with his brothers as a Private in Co. H, 15 Reg’t Texas Infantry in the Civil War. He was captured at Yellow Bayou, Louisiana, on May 18, 1864, and exchanged as a prisoner of war at Red River Landing, July 22, 1864.

William and Mourning Powell are counted on the 1860 US Census of Rusk Co. TX.
Their children were: (one source: deed recorded Vol. U page 109, 110 and Vol. T page 38 Gregg Co.TX Courthouse. Children from first marriage sold Powell’s land)

1. John M. POWELL b. c 1854- d.1918. He married first Sallie JACQUIRES, and second, Hassie. He lived in Ellis Co. TX.
2. George W. POWELL b. c1856
3. Andrew “Jack” POWELL, b.c1858- d.1924, married Teana ECHOLS and lived in Leagueville, Henderson Co. TX.
4. L. (Lucinda?) Fannie POWELL, b.c1860, d. after 1903, married William R. MCCOY and lived in Smith Co. TX.
5. Rayburn H. POWELL b. c 1865 d. after 1910, married Alice, and lived in Dallas Co. TX.
6. Joseph R. POWELL b .c 1863- d.1906, married Lela McKAY and lived in Smith Co. TX.

It is not known to this author what happened to Mourning Powell.

William R. Powell next married Susan Carter Harrison, and they are the author’s great great grandparents. They are listed on the 1870 US Census of Rusk County, TX.

Their first child, Pinkney M. Powell was born in 1868 and lived only a few months.

Their second child, Sarah Elisabeth Powell was born October 1, 1870. She married Andrew Jackson GRIER on October 8, 1891, in Henderson Co. TX, and died February 16, 1948. They are buried in Rock Hill Cemetery.

Sarah “Sally” Elisabeth Powell Grier was described as a small woman, who had bright red hair that reached all the way down to her waist. This was one of her legacies to her family, as she had three red headed daughters, and several other descendants with red hair.
Her granddaughter, Doris COTTEN TERRELL said that Sarah had loved to dance until she was converted to the Church of Christ at Martin Springs. Her husband, Andrew Jackson GRIER, was an Elder of the Church, and the couple donated a portion of their land for a Church to be built. The author inherited the Grier’s organ that the couple had purchased in 1907. One can imagine many happy moments as the family sang and played the musical instrument with their six children. The couple grew everything from tobacco to cotton on their farm, located their home on top of the highest hill for miles around, and took an active role in their community. In the newspaper’s account of Andrew Jackson Grier’s death, it states that throughout his lifetime, he was one of the community’s best known citizens. Sarah Elisabeth Powell Grier died of burns she received from a space heater while visiting her family in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The third child was Elzie Burton Powell b. 1872 -d.1938 and married Exie SHELTON. They are buried in Leagueville Cemetery.

The fourth child, B.F. Powell, was born about 1875, and died young.

After the death of William R. Powell, Susan and her three Harrison children sold the land she had purchased from her father. (source: Vol T Page 85, deed recorded in Upshur Co. TX and Henderson Co. TX. in 1880). She was living with her son, Elzie on the 1900 Census of Henderson Co. TX.

A poem written by the author in 1989 seems to sum up the life of Susan. Documents
exchanged with a person in Tennessee led to the facts known about Susan’s mother,

Here is that poem:

The far distant past calls to me
Faint wisps of smoke from rock chimneys
Wind thru foggy hollows of Tennessee
Carrying sighs of
I bet you can’t find me.

Who was it that was so proud
To have another Epsey Jane in the family
And a little Pinkney
Poor little Tennessee Fusilier Burton
Your Daddy did not come marching home from the War.

Susan, with three children clinging to her skirts
Next chose a Texas Man, born in Tennessee
Whose folks had braved the wild frontier
And carved their land from the Texas Plains.

But he already had six children and a dead wife
His father-in-law claimed his land
Nobody knows what he gave Susan, except four more
Before he died.

At fifteen, Susan came in a bull wagon from Tennessee
I bet she made a merry wife
She moved from Henderson County, Tennessee to Henderson County, Texas
And at Rock Hill she rested in 1908.

And so, almost a century later
A telephone bell rings from Tennessee to Texas
A stranger’s voice on the line
Says, I think you are kin to me.

Betty Terrell Owens has proved her lineage through William R. Powell to James W. Powell for The Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

Betty Terrell Owens has an application pending approval for Joel Hurt, Soldier from North Carolina, for the Daughters of the American Revolution through Susan Carter Harrison Powell’s lineage.

Henderson County, Texas - Pioneer Families

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