Christopher Harris Williams, known as "Kit" Williams to family and friends, was the eldest child of Robert Harris Williams and Mary Lawson White. He was born February 29, 1838 on the Robert Harris Williams plantation along Caney Creek in Matagorda. As a teenager and young man, he attended school in Nashville, Tennessee where he received his early military training. He matriculated two years at Louisiana Medical School (now part of Tulane University) in New Orleans. He returned to Matagorda in 1859 to resume work on his father's plantation and to practice medicine.
When the Civil War erupted in 1861, Williams enlisted in the confederate army in Texas. He saw service in Texas and in Louisiana. He served as a drill master, enlisted in Jones Light Artillery, and was made 1st Lieutenant and later Captain. He witnessed the battle of Galveston and aided in the capture of the "Harriet Lane." His granddaughter, Pauline Rugeley, later recollected seeing the two souvenir cannon balls Williams retrieved from the beach after the war ended.
Williams married Theresa Pauline Marie Herbert, daughter of Peter Walter and Mary Bellefield Webb Herbert sometime before January 1, 1862. They had two children, Rowena and Laura Roberta, later Rugeley, the mother of Pauline Rugeley. Theresa Herbert died in 1873 and Williams was married again in 1881 to Alice B. Heidt, a young widow, in Bay St. Louis, Louisiana. They had five children, of whom only Carlisle Harris Williams lived through adulthood. Alice died July 30th, 1899, of cancer at age 52. In his late years, Williams married his third wife, Mrs. Nannie Gunn of Virginia, in 1914, who survived him.
Christopher Harris Williams died March 27, 1916 at the home of Dr. and Mrs. H. L. Rugeley, old family friends.
Robert Abner Partain was the youngest of
four children of early Texas settlers, John C. Partain and
Nancy Smalley. He was born August 1, 1836, in New Orleans,
Louisiana. This happened because his mother and siblings
participated in the "Runaway Scrape". Many settlers made
their way to Louisiana to escape Santa Anna and his army.
Santa Anna's army was plundering the Texas countryside and
killing settlers in the pursuit of Texas Revolutionary
Robert was a cowboy, rancher, soldier, family man, and a preacher. He was a circuit rider and preached where he was asked. He entered service as a private at Camp McCulloch on April 14, 1862 and served in Co D Yager's, 3rd Battalion, Texas Cavalry during the War Between the States.
He married Jeannette Parham O'Neal and
they raised a family of eight children. After Jeannette
died, he married Ella Burns, daughter of Columbus Burns who
was a early settler in the Cuero area. Robert and Ella had
Robert was asked to pastor the First Baptist Church in Bay City until the church
could find a regular pastor.
There are still 4th, 5th, and 6th generations from Robert Abner and Jeannette Partain still living in Matagorda County, Texas.
Henry Fortenberry was born in Rhea County, Tennessee, March 1841, and died in Matagorda County, Texas, in 1905. He was the son of Henry L. and Lucinda Fortenberry.
In 1860, he was residing in Spring River, Lawrence County, Arkansas, with his parents. While there, Henry joined the Confederacy, serving as a private in Co. C, Ford's Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry. It was organized on August 27, 1864. The company was probably disbanded, December 1864, after Major General Sterling Price's Missouri Campaign of September-October of that year.
By 1870, Henry was married to Melissa A. McMinn. She was born June 1842 in Mississippi to Abraham and Mary Ann Williamson McMinn and died 1 July 1910 in Matagorda County, Texas.
The Fortenberry family moved to this state before 1880 following the lead of many Confederate veterans. They settled in Jackson County where Henry supported his family by farming. Later, they relocated to Matagorda County in the Midfield-Blessing area.
Five children were born to this union: Henry Lofton and James Jay, born in Arkansas, Daniel Forest, Mory Idle and Annie Jane, born in Texas.
Henry and Melissa are buried in Hawley Cemetery, Blessing, Texas.
Abel Head “Shanghai” Pierce was born at
Little Compton, Rhode Island on June 29, 1834. He left
Rhode Island when he was sixteen and spent seven years
working in Virginia and eventually arrived at Indianola,
Texas in December 1853. He worked for W. B. Grimes as a
A. H. “Shanghai” Pierce served in the
Confederate Army, along with his brother Jonathan Edwards
Pierce, joining Company D 3rd (Yager’s) Batt’n.
Texas Cavalry as a Private on April 10, 1862. His
ended in 1865. After the war, Shanghai trailed cattle from
the Gulf Coast to New Orleans and then to the Kansas
railheads: Wichita, Dodge City and other towns north. With
the earnings, he purchased land and began his extensive
holdings in several counties. He laid the groundwork to
import the first Brahman Cattle from India to America in
Shanghai Pierce married Frances “Fannie” Lacy on September 27, 1865. They had a daughter, Mary known as “Mamie” and a son, Abel who died as an infant. Fannie Pierce, who was born February 5, 1839, died on December 18, 1870. Shanghai married second Hattie James of Galveston, but they had no children.
Jonathan Edwards Pierce was born at Little Compton, Rhode Island on December 6, 1839. He left Rhode Island and joined his brother, Abel, in 1858 to work on the ranch of W. B. Grimes near the present town of Blessing, Texas.
Jonathan Edwards Pierce served in the Confederate Army, along with his brother, A. H. “Shanghai”, joining Company D 3rd (Yager’s) Battalion Texas Cavalry as a Private on April 10, 1862. His service ended in 1865. Jonathan and Nannie Deborah Lacy, born August 11, 1845, were married on May 2, 1866, after he and his brother returned from the Civil War.
He became a rancher and cattleman with large holdings and he and Nannie built “Rancho Grande” on the Tres Palacios River. Four children were born to them: John Phillips, Pearl, Abel Brown and Grace Harriet. Nannie Lacy Pierce was accidentally thrown from her carriage and died nineteen days later on February 15, 1896.
Jonathan E. Pierce married second Grace Lawrence and their children were: James Lawrence and Grace. After Grace Pierce died Jonathan married Laura Duffield and they had a son, Jonathan E. Pierce, Jr.
Jonathan Edwards Pierce was a founder of Blessing, Texas and much of the Tres Palacios area of Matagorda County. Jonathan Pierce, Sr. died on March 29, 1915 in Galveston and was buried at Hawley Cemetery, near Deming’s Bridge in Matagorda County, Texas.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
On behalf of E. S. Rugeley UDC Chapter 542, I would like to welcome you to this marker dedication. It is appropriate that we honor these men today as tomorrow, April 26th is Confederate Veterans Memorial Day. From sea to shining sea we link hearts, minds and spirits to honor faithful veterans, some whose resting places have been previously unknown, unmarked or neglected. May our hearts be lifted up to the Lord as we have the invocation.
PLEDGE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES
PLEDGE TO THE TEXAS FLAG
SALUTE TO THE CONFEDERATE PLEDGE
CALL TO REMEMBRANCE
ROBERT ABNER PARTAIN
ABEL HEAD PIERCE
May this marker be blessed. May it remind all who pause not only of the noble deeds of this Confederate Hero, but of the continuing need for unselfish service. From this moment of dedication, we trust there may come inspiration for broader vision and finer service.
Not for place or rank;
Not lured by ambition;
Or goaded by necessity;
But in simple
Obedience to duty
As they understood it,
These men suffered all,
Dared all--and died.
We also remember the homes from which they came. They had fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sweethearts and wives, and little ones who never knew their daddies. Each night at suppertime the vacant chair daily reminded them how great was their loss.
If those who lie mute in their graves could speak, they might say: Thank you, friends, for finding my mortal remains. Thank you for caring enough to honor my comrades and me. I see you now with hearts joined across America with prayers on your lips and each of us in your hearts. How can we thank you?
C. H. Williams - Carolee Moore
R. A. Partain - Lester Wallace
Henry Fortenberry - Lila Fortenberry
A. H. Pierce - Steven Armour
J. E. Pierce - Lee Hall Pierce
PLACING THE WREATH
This wreath is a perfect circle and we place it as an act of remembrance. As this circle cannot be divided, it reminds us of our hope of eternal life. May we one day be joined with those whom we have loved.
May we go from this place, O Lord, with a strong determination to shoulder our share of the responsibilities in memorializing those who have gone before. Through Christ, our Savior, we pray. Amen
- Present by
April 28, 2008
Apr. 28, 2009