Matagorda County Historical Marker

Matagorda Cemetery

Benjamin & Esther Randall Wightman

Matagorda Cemetery Road    SH 60 & S Gulf                      28°42'4.70"N      95°57'20.79"W
 



 


FIRST BURIALS IN MATAGORDA CEMETERY

BENJAMIN WIGHTMAN
(AUG. 31, 1755 – AUG. 1, 1830)
ESTHER RANDALL WIGHTMAN
(DEC. 4, 1758 – JUNE 20, 1830)
 

PARENTS OF ELIAS R. WIGHTMAN, GRANTEE OF THE MATAGORDA TOWN LEAGUE, FROM REPUBLIC OF MEXICO.

BENJAMIN AND ESTHER WIGHTMAN, NATIVES OF CONNECTICUT, LIVED IN WIGHTMAN TOWN, HERKIMER COUNTY, N. Y., BEFORE JOINING (1828) COLONY BROUGHT HERE BY THEIR SON ON “LITTLE ZOE”, THE FIRST SAILING VESSEL EVER TO ENTER PORT OF MATAGORDA. …
 

RECORDED – 1972

THE MARKER SPONSORED BY
MR. AND MRS. DOUGLAS KAIN
AND J. R. YEAMANS, SR.
 

Marker inscription typed by Faye Cunningham.
 



 


Benjamin Wightman

Benjamin Wightman, the son of Abraham and Susanna (Stark) Wightman, was born on August 31, 1755, in Norwich, Connecticut. He was the fourth generation of the Wightman family in America. He married Esther Randall, the daughter of Rufus and Margaret (Wightman) Randall. She was born in Cochester, Connecticut, on December 4, 1758.

The Wightmans emigrated from Montville, Connecticut, to Herkimer County, New York, where the settlement became known as Whitmantown. Benjamin was a Baptist minister, and both he and his wife were lineally descended from colonial clergymen; among those were Valentine Wightman, Obadiah Holmes, and Roger Williams, first governor of Rhode Island.

During the American Revolution, Benjamin Wightman served as a private in Colonel Willet’s Tryon County Rangers of New York. Benjamin Wightman is the only known Revolutionary War veteran buried in Matagorda County.

Benjamin and Esther had nine daughters and two sons. The daughters were Jerusha, Lydia, Eunice, Lucy, Susan, Esther, Margaret, Amy and Clarissa. The two sons were Elias and Dimmis.

In 1828 Elias Wightman, a surveyor for Stephen F. Austin, brought a group of colonists from New York to Matagorda—including his parents, Benjamin and Esther, and his sisters, Jerusha and Margaret. They traveled down the Mississippi River by flatboat to New Orleans. From New Orleans they sailed on the schooner Little Zoe to Matagorda. The journey was long and difficult as told in Mary (Sherwood) Wightman Helm’s memoirs, Scraps of Early Texas History.

Esther (Randall) Wightman died June 20, 1839, and was the first person to be buried in the Matagorda Cemetery. Six weeks later, her husband Benjamin died and was buried beside her. Their coffins were made of lumber from New Orleans and taken to the cemetery by ox-drawn carts.

One league of land from the mouth of Caney Creek and including part of Matagorda Peninsula, was granted to the heirs of Benjamin Wightman, October 28, 1930.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pages 100-101
 

 

Copyright 2011 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Created
Sep. 10, 2011
Updated
Sep. 10, 2011
   

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