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Family of
William Henry "Capt. Billie" Sterling
Eliza Jane Dunbar Sterling



Elizabeth Jane Dunbar and husband William Henry "Captain Billie" Sterling

Photos courtesy of Darrell Rogers

William Henry Sterling, affectionately known as "Capt. Billie,"  was born  December 10, 1837. He was the son of Isaac and  Nancy Wright Sterling and married Eliza Jane Dunbar on December 20, 1860 in Matagorda County. He died on February 4, 1921 and was buried at Matagorda Cemetery.

Eliza Jane, daughter of William and Olive Manning Dunbar, was born in Lincolnville Maine c 1844. She died at the Texas Gulf Sulphur Hospital in Gulf on December 31, 1930 at the age of 85 and was buried at Matagorda Cemetery.

Capt. Billie and Charles Baker staked the first oyster claim in Matagorda County.

He operated a freight boat during the Civil War which was confiscated by the Union for their own use.

William Sterling, Eliza Jane and William's half brother "Bud" Sterry as well as Eliza Jane's sister, Lucretia Dunbar, were taken to a prison in New Orleans and held until the war ended.

Capt. Billie and Eliza Jane had 9? children some of whom were: Nettie J. b c 1868; John b c 1872; Addie J. b c 1875; Lida b c 1878; and Birdie, b August 6, 1881.

Three children survived to adulthood.
Addie Jane Sterling (October 21, 1975 - September 1, 1961) married Robert J. Baxter (December 7, 1871/1872 - November 6, 1954) on August 9, 1893.
Alberta Beatrice "Birdie" Sterling (August 6, 1881 - April 5, 1956) married 1st Arthur W. Rhodes and 2nd Pete LeCompte.
John Henry Sterling (June 19, 1872 - July 10, 1956) married Jessie Mae Raymond (October 30, 1884 - November 1, 1950) on August 12 1907

1850 Federal Census of Texas
Matagorda County, Matagorda

Isaac Sterling, age 46, Shoe Maker, b CT
Nancy Sterling, age 35, b NY
Rodolphus Sterling, age 15, b NY
W. H. Sterling, age 12, b TX
F. E. Sterling, age 8, b TX
A. R. Sterling, age 6, b TX
S. O. Sterling, age 4, b TX
M. Sterling, age 2, b TX
Harriet Sterling, age 2/12, b TX

1860 Federal Census of Texas
Matagorda County  - Matagorda

James Sterry, age 31, Carpenter, b ME
Nancy, age 40, b NY
Christopher, age 6, b TX
Hannah, age 6, b TX
James, age 4, b TX
Julia, 1, b TX
William Sterling, age 21, Sailor, b TX
Rebecca Sterling, age 17, b TX
Sarah Sterling, age 13, b TX
Harriett Sterling, age 11, b TX
August Duffy, age 22, Sailor, b Nassau


1. William Sterling, Co. D, 6 Texas Infantry; Private-Private

2. Pvt; Capt. E. A. Peareson’s Company, 6 Regiment Texas Infantry; Age 24 years; Company Muster-in Roll Oct 4, 1861 at Camp Hy E McCulloch; Joined for duty and enrolled Oct 4, 1861 at Matagorda by Capt. E. A. Peareson; Period: war; 85 miles to rendezvous

3. Company Muster Roll for Oct 4 to 31, 1861; Enrolled July 11, 186_ at Matagorda  by Capt. Peareson; Mustered into service Oct. 4, 186_ at Victoria by Lt. J. H. Dinkins

4. Company Muster Roll for Nov & Dec, 1861; Enrolled July 11, 1861 at Matagorda by Capt. E. A. Peareson; Remarks: Absent without (over)

5. (back of index page # 4) leave furlough expired on the 17 Dec 1861

6. Company Muster roll for Jan & Feb, 1862 – Absent; Pay due from enlistment; Remarks: Sick in Hospital since Jan. 6, 1862

7. Company Muster Roll for Mar & Apr, 1862 – Absent; Pay due from enlistment; Remarks: Absent on certificate of Disability for Discharge

8. Company Muster Roll for May & June, 1862; Remarks: Discharged June (over)

9. (back of index page #8) 28, 1862 cause disability as per Special order Dp Hed quarters

10. Certificate of Disability For Discharge in the case of William Sterling a Private Co. D Sixth Reg’t of Texas Infantry; Respectfully ___ for the Action of the General Commanding the Department of Texas; T. S. Anderson, Lt. Col. Comg Post; Received (A. & I. G. Office) Sept. 26, 1862; Headquarters Dept of Texas, Houston, May 20, 1862; Special Order No. 762; The Genl Comdg directs that Private William Sterling of Co. “D” 6th Regt. Texas Vol. Infantry be discharged from the service on account of disability. By order of Brig. Genl R. O. Hebert; __Wilson, ___

11. Army of the Confederate States. Certificate of Disability For Discharge. William Sterling, a Private, of Captain E. A. Peareson’s Company, (D,) of the Sixth Regiment of Confederate States Army, was enlisted by 2nd Lieutenant J. H. Dinkins attached to the Sixth Regiment of Texas Infantry at Victoria Texas on the fourth day of October 1861, to serve for the war; he was born in Matagorda in the State of Texas, is Twenty four years of age, five feet, five inches high, Dark complexion, Dark eyes, brown hair, and by occupation when enlisted a Sailor?. During the last two months said soldier has been unfit for duty 60 days. Resulting from a chronic disease of the Heart.; Station: Camp Henry McCulloch; Date: Third May of May 1862; E. A. Peareson Commanding Company; I certify, that I have carefully examined the said Pvt. William Sterling of Captain E. A. Peareson’s Company, and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of endocarditas; J. H. Lyons Surgeon; Discharged this 10th day of June, 1862, at Camp __ __ Navasota Texas; R. R. Garland Col. C. S. A Commanding the Post

1870 Federal Census of Matagorda County - Palacios Point

William Sterling, age 32, Boatman, born Texas
Eliza J. Sterling, age 24, Housekeeper, born Maine
Nettie J. Sterling, age 2, born Texas


1880 Federal Census of Calhoun County - Indianola

William Sterling, age 41, Captain of Schooner, b TX
Eliza Sterling, age 32, wife, b ME
Nettie Sterling, age 12, daughter, b TX
John Sterling, age 8, son, b TX
Addie Sterling, age 5, daughter, b TX
Lida Sterling, age 2, daughter, b TX
Ball, Phillip, age 12, adopted, b TX
Ball, Ellen, age 8, adopted, b TX

Matagorda Methodist Church Register of Members

William Sterling - May 25, 1892
Eliza Sterling - October 16, 1893

Matagorda Melange

Capt. Sterling rounded up at the wharf with a load of fine Bayou oysters for our oysterman, Jno. H. Berg, yesterday.

Matagorda County Tribune, December 17, 1898

Matagorda Melange

Capt. Wm. Sterling returned from Rockport last Saturday, where he had been looking after his interest in hog island. He says the club house being erected by Messrs. Green et al., will, when completed, be a magnificent building, if not the finest of the kind on the coast.

Matagorda County Tribune, February 11, 1899

Eliza Jane Dunbar Sterling


1900 Federal Census of Texas
Matagorda County - Matagorda

William H. Sterling, head, age 62, Dec 1837, b TX
Eliza J. Sterling, wife, age 55, Oct, 1844, 8 children, 3 living, b ME
Bertha Sterling, daughter, age 18, May 1882, b TX

Alberta Bernice "Birdie" Sterling Rhodes LeCompte

1910 Federal Census of Texas
Matagorda County - Matagorda

William Sterling, head, age 72, first marriage, married 49 years, b TX, Retired sailor
Mrs. Eliza Sterling, wife, age 63, first marriage, married 49 years, 9 children, 3 living, b ME, Housekeeper
Birdie Sterling, daughter, age 29, b TX

1920 Federal Census of Texas
Matagorda County - Matagorda

W. H. Sterling, head, age 83, b TX
E. J. Sterling, wife, age 73, b ME
Birdie Rhodes, daughter, age 38, b TX
Doris Rhodes, age 3/12, b TX

1930 Federal Census of Texas
Matagorda County - Matagorda

Sterling, E. J., head, age 84, b ME
Rhodes, Bertha [Alberta], daughter, age 44, b TX
Rhodes, Doris, granddaughter, age 10, b TX

Matagorda Items.

By Naomi.

Capt. Wm Sterling went  to Bay City on business Sunday and returned Monday.

Matagorda County Tribune, December 4, 1903

"Capt. Billie" was a member of Member of E. S. Rugeley Camp United Confederate Veterans No. 1428.


He received the Southern Cross of Honor of the United Daughters of the Confederacy from the E. S. Rugley Chapter 542 UDC.

21 Feb 1905 Wm. H. Sterling Co D 6th Regt TX Inf
Transferrred to C. S. Navy
04 Oct 1861 PVT
Matagorda, TX 15 Feb 1863 Medical board at
Victoria, TX - bad health
1428 Matagorda


Capt. "Billie" Sterling Dead

Capt. "Billie" Sterling, one of the oldest citizens of Matagorda died at his home in Matagorda yesterday and was buried there at 10 o'clock this morning. He was 83 years of age.

A more detailed account of the life of Capt. Sterling will appear in a later issue of The Tribune,

Matagorda County Tribune, February 11, 1921

[No following account was found.]


To the Officers and Members of Matagorda Review No. 48, of the Woman's Benefit Association of the Maccabees

We, your committee appointed to draft resolutions of sympathy to our sisters, Mrs. Addie Baxter and Mrs. Thelma Nini, we beg to submit the following.

"Whereas it has pleased our Heavenly Father to call Mr. Sterling, beloved father of Mrs. Addie Baxter, and Grandfather of Mrs. Thelma Nini, from his earthly home, to a home beyond the skies.

"We, as members of the Woman's Benefit Association of the Maccabees, extend to our Sister Baxter and Sister Nini our deepest, sincere, and heartfelt sympathy in their sad bereavement.

"May God bless and comfort them, and may they bow submissively to the will of Him that doesn't all things well.

Resolved that a copy of these resolutions be sent to our bereaved sisters and a copy be spread upon the minutes and a copy be sent to The Tribune for publication.

Dearest father, thou hast left us,
And our loss we deeply feel,
But 'tis God that has befeft us,
He can all our sorrows heal.

"Committee--Myrtle Ducros, R. K., Viola Gilmore, Past Com., Sarah Autzehopper, Chap."

Matagorda County Tribune, February 18, 1921

Mrs. LeCompte Dies April 5 At Newgulf

Mrs. Alberta Beatrice LeCompte of Matagorda died at the Newgulf Hospital April 5. Mrs. LeCompte was 76.

Services were held at the Matagorda Methodist Church, with Rev. J. P. McGown officiating. Interment was in Matagorda Cemetery.

Survivors include her husband, J. M. LeCompte of Matagorda, a daughter, Mrs. D. V. Brousard, Newgulf, and a sister, Mrs. R. G. Baxter of Matagorda.

Pallbearers were Doug Havard, Tom Ward, Coleman Stansell, Wayne Orr, Jimbo Williams and Wallace Stringhan.

April 18, 1957

Arthur W. Rhodes at left                Joseph LeCompte and wife, Alberta "Birdie" Beatrice Sterling Rhodes LeCompte in photo at right

Alberta Beatrice "Birdie" Le Compte
Joseph M. LeCompte

Marker photos courtesy of G. W. Franzen


Arthur W. Rhodes

Arthur Rhodes
Matagorda Man Expires at 70


A retired ranch foreman, Arthur Rhodes, 70, of Matagorda, expired Saturday at Matagorda General Hospital and services were held at 2 p. m. Sunday from Taylor Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. George Townley, pastor of St. Paul's Methodist Church, officiated and burial was in Matagorda Cemetery.


Surviving are one daughter, Mrs. Doris Broussard of Aurora, N. C. and a granddaughter, Mrs. Charles C. Martin of Newgulf.


The Daily Tribune, October 21, 1963


Douglas Brousard

Boy Drowns in River At Matagorda Sun.

Douglas Broussard, age 17, was drowned at the mouth of the Colorado River at Matagorda Sunday.

Broussard, who was fishing with Joe and B. J. Patterson, decided to swim the river, carrying his fishing tackle. He became tangled in the fishing cord and drowned before rescuers could reach him. His body was found an hour and ten minutes after he went under.

Palacios Beacon, July 15, 1937


Funeral Services Held Sunday For Robert John Baxter

Services for Robert John  Baxter were held Sunday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock at the Methodist Church in Matagorda, with the Rev. George Olson officiating.

Mr. Baxter passed away November 6 at the age of 82 years. Burial was in the Matagorda Cemetery with Taylor Brothers Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Survivors include his wife; one daughter, Mrs. Thelma Nini of Matagorda; two sons, J. C. Baxter of Matagorda and W. S. Baxter of Wadsworth; five sisters, Mrs. Lida Moberly, Mrs. Lou Ellis, Mrs. W. E McNabb, Mrs. Bessie Baker, all of Matagorda, and Mrs. Anna Lee of Bay City; one brother, Collins Baxter of Matagorda.

November 11, 1954



Copyright 2014 - Present by the Sterling Family
All rights reserved

Mar. 20, 2014
Mar. 20, 2014