Albert Wadsworth arrived on the Texas coast about 1838 and settled in Matagorda. As a young sailor, he left his home at New Bern, Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, on the crew of a coastal trading ship from the Atlantic seaboard down the coast to Florida and thence to Mobile and New Orleans. There Wadsworth entered into the Texas emigrant trade hauling a cargo assigned to Matagorda. He stayed to become a merchant and to marry Catherine Mackey and, after her death, her sister Mary. Both were the daughters of William and Ruth Washam Mackey of Tennessee, who had joined the Austin colony with eight children in 1831.
Albert Wadsworth later became a district judge. During the Civil War, with two sons in the service, he was active in securing supplies for the soldiers from blockade runners entering the port of Matagorda from Mexico. It was through the blockade-running that yellow fever was brought to Matagorda in 1862. It is said that there were so many deaths there were not enough living to bury the dead. Albert, his wife Mary, and her mother Ruth were all victims of the fever and were buried in Matagorda Cemetery. Albert’s children were: sons William Bryant Wadsworth, Thomas Mackey Wadsworth and Edward Wadsworth and daughters, Catherine Elinor Wadsworth (by his first wife), Mary Wynne Wadsworth, Sarah Holland Wadsworth, Ruth Denison Wadsworth and Alberta Wadsworth. Thomas was one of the twenty-two soldiers frozen to death on Matagorda Bay the night of December 31, 1863, while trying to repel a Federal gunboat attack.
Ruth Denison died at the age of 16; Catherine Elinor became the wife of Dr. James Raphael Thompson, one of Matagorda’s early practioners, and died in 1865; Mary Wynne, Sarah Holland and Alberta moved to Central Texas after the war and remained there the rest of their lives.
Only William Bryant and Edward remained in Matagorda County. Edward never married and died in 1916. William married Julia Hodges, daughter of Galen Hodges, a pioneer merchant of Matagorda. It is through William, who gave along life of devotion to the county, that the name of Wadsworth has been preserved. William was known as “Matagorda’s Grand Old Man” and his son, Albert Hodges Wadsworth, achieved a like reputation in Bay City. Albert Hodges, Jr. was the only child of Albert and Lurline Andrews Wadsworth. The small town of Wadsworth, Texas, is named in honor of its largest land owner and community leader, William Wadsworth.
Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pp 99-100
The death angel came to our town Friday morning at four o'clock and bore from us, to the mysterious beyond, the soul of a prominent pioneer and beloved citizen, Mr. William B. Wadsworth.
Mr. Wadsworth has been ill for fifteen years of Locomotor Ataxia and during that time has visited many climes and taken treatment from many celebrated physicians, which no doubt, prolonged his life for several years, yet he fully realized that his earthly pilgrimage must end sooner or later and he always stood full ready to answer the call in God's army.
He is one of the descendants of a very prominent family of early days was born in Matagorda in 1843 and spent the best years of his life in the town of his birth.
During the war he won distinction as a valiant soldier in the Sixth Texas Infantry, Company D. In the early 80's he married to Miss Julia Hodges, also a native Matagordian, of which union there were two children, a little daughter who died soon after her birth and a son, A. H. Wadsworth of this place.
He has always been a generous favorite with children and a devoted Christian of the Episcopal faith. During all the years of his illness he has ever been cheerful and borne his afflictions with great fortitude.
He was most magnanimous to those in need--always ready to relieve suffering and therefore will be greatly missed by all who knew him for many years to come.
The spirit hath returned to Him who gave it and the weary body will be laid to rest this afternoon in the Matagorda cemetery beside his devoted wife who preceded him to the grave several years ago.
To look back on the life of this noble, suffering Christian character it is not hard to understand that " 'Tis not the whole of life to live, nor all of death to die."
Beside his son, three sisters and one brother survive him, viz.: Mesdames Sallie Wilkerson and Bert Brashear of Hearne, Miss Mollie Wadsworth who has resided with him ever since his wife's death and Captain Ned Wadsworth of Pledger, all of whom will arrive on the noon train for the obsequies except the two latter who were with him when he died.
Matagorda County Tribune, April 28, 1911
Ruth Washam (born c1795 - died October 30, 1862) was thought to be from Virginia and the daughter of William Washam. She married William Mackey (died August 11, 1831) on August 25, 1816 in Blountville, Tennessee. William was born in Ireland and he and his parents, John and Mary McIlwaine Mackey, emigrated to the United States, settling in Blountville, Tennessee.
Children of William and Ruth Washam Mackey were:
1. Mary Mackey born June 12, 1817 – died October
14, 1862 married Albert Wadsworth
William and Ruth Washam Mackey and their eight (seven?) children left Tennessee for Texas. Previous to their move the following children had died: Sarah in 1824; James in June 1837 and Robert in July 1827. The depleted soil on their farm could no longer support the family. It is believed that they first stopped in Alabama. The family landed at the mouth of the Brazos river c February 1, 1831. Both William and Ruth received land grants-- William’s being one league and labor of land on Old Caney Creek near Brazoria.
In Ruth’s application for a Spanish land grant, Ruth stated “her husband, William and 8[7?] children came to Texas in 1831, and he and one son died the last of the year, and left her with 7 children.” Dying in 1831 were: Martha on June 4th, Elizabeth on June 7th, husband William on August 11, 1831 and Nancy on November 6th.
Ruth received a land grant in Bastrop County after the death of her husband. Her league was on Pin Oak Creek and was known as the Ruth Mackey League. It was described as being “situated on the arroyo which is called ‘Pin Oak Creek’ to the East of Colorado River and above the LaBahia road.” It was granted at San Felipe de Austin on December 8, 1832.
Survival for Ruth and her family was a day-to-day struggle. She and the children worked to support themselves. Ruth took in plain sewing. Her two girls, Catherine and Mary kept house and did whatever they could to help. John, who was about eleven, ran errands, did chores, and when he turned twelve, he walked 2.5 miles to work at a saw and grist mill. Each Saturday he returned home with a bushel of meal on his shoulder—his week’s pay. Andrew worked at the mill when he was eleven.
On March 23, 1833, Ruth wrote a letter to her brother-in-law Andrew Mackey who was still living in Blountville, Tennessee, asking for assistance.
“…I fell lonesome & sometimes I feal very desolate.
My two boys are at this time living three miles from me. Mary, James & Catherine stay with me & they are all the company I have.
As the relationship between Texas and Mexico began to deteriorate, the Texans began making plans to protect their freedom.
John Mackey, age 15, answered the call to arms and joined Washington Secrest’s Company. John’s son related in his memoirs what his father had told him about the incident. “My father with his company started to his (Travis’) relief, and when in two days ride of the Alamo, a courier rode up stating the Alamo had fallen and handed Captain Secrest an order to turn back and retreat to the Brazos River. I think this Courier was sent from Goliad. My father always maintained that had his company reached Travis, it would have met the same fate of those men who died in the Alamo; that it would have taken one thousand men to have held the Alamo.”
Following the fall of the Alamo, the colonists fled eastern towards Louisiana ahead of the Mexican Army. The action was to become known as the Runaway Scrape. Family memoirs revealed that John was sent as a protector of the women and children and Ruth and her children fled to Mobile, Alabama.
By November 30, 1837, Ruth and the children had moved to Matagorda as she received a letter there written from her mother-in-law, Mary Mackey, in Blountville, Tennessee.
In Matagorda, Ruth ran a boarding house and had numerous head of cattle.
Ruth Mackey recorded cattle brand #17 in Matagorda County on June 15, 1838, Book C, page 47. The mark associated with the brand was “Two slits in the right ear a swallow fork & under bit in the left ear.
Ruth’s daughter, Catherine Mackey, married Albert Wadsworth (born 1813 - died November 4, 1862) on November 8, 1838 in Matagorda. They had one daughter, Catherine Eleanor Wadsworth born October 26, 1839. Catherine, the mother, died November 4, 1839 at the age of fourteen. Her brother, Andrew C. Mackey died October 18, 1841, at the age of 19 years, leaving only two of Ruth’s children still living—Mary and John.
On December 22, 1840, Albert Wadsworth married Mary Mackey (June 12, 1817 - October 14, 1862), Catherine’s older sister.
The children of Albert and Mary Mackey Wadsworth
During the War Between the States, two of Albert and Mary’s sons were in service. Albert was active in securing supplies for the soldiers from blockade runners entering the port of Matagorda from Mexico. In the fall of 1862, yellow fever arrived in Matagorda on one of the blockade ships. There were about 150 residents left in the town as their able-bodied men were off fighting in Company D. Eighty-three residents were attacked by the illness. Forty-five died and forty-three recovered. There were approximately fifty slaves in the city at the time. Many took the fever and some were very sick, but none died.
Mary Mackey Wadsworth succumbed to the disease on October 13th at age 45. On October 30th, Ruth Mackey died at the reported age 67, according to the family Bible, followed by Albert Wadsworth, age 50, on November 4th.
John Mackey was the only child of Mary’s ten children to survive her as well as grandchildren Catherine Thompson, daughter of Catherine Wadsworth; Mary M. Wadsworth, William B. Wadsworth, Thomas M. Wadsworth, Edward Wadsworth and Alberta Wadsworth, children of Mary Wadsworth.
After all of the years of hardship in Ruth’s early
days of Texas, Ruth’s holdings at her death included:
Ruth Washam Mackey was a true pioneer woman of Texas.
She made a life for her children alone after the death of her husband.
She was forced to take her children to Alabama during the Runaway Scrape
and returned to make a new home in Matagorda County. She outlived all of
her children except her son, John, and, intimately, she succumbed to
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Mar. 11, 2013
Mar. 11, 2013