STORIES BEHIND THE
Spring Hill Cemetery
Carl W Matthews
The stone marker at
the Spring Hill Cemetery
near Dawson, Texas bears a simple inscription….
M A Sidwell
additional Sidwell markers are located nearby…
The “W E” Sidwell….husband
of “M A” ….was Warren E Sidwell who was listed in the 1850 Navarro Co
Texas census. He was born in 1822 in Ohio…..probably, Morgan Co which
is located in the far eastern area across the river from West Virginia.
An early Navarro Co.
map reveals that he owned a plot of land immediately south of a plot
owned by David O McCandless….in the Liberty Hill area. A history of
the Methodist denomination in Western Navarro Co Texas presents him as
one of the early leaders of the church.
The 1850 Navarro Co
Sidwell 28 Ohio Farmer
Margaret Ann 25 Ohio
Emily Jane 7 MO
Daniel J Ramsey 2 IL
Daniel J Ramsey lives
with them. He was two years of age and had been born in Illinois.
Emily Jane Sidwell was born in Missouri. Warren and Sidwell families
were living and dying and intermarrying into the 1900s in Windsor Twp,
Henry Co. Missouri….many are buried at Laurel Cemetery there.
Warren E Sidwell had
descended from a family of Quakers who had fled England…migrated to
North Carolina…then became part of a Quaker community in Georgia. The
family relocated to an area of north-central Tennessee, originally a
part of Kentucky. Quakers were opposed to slavery and as The South
grew more “pro slavery,” many Quakers began to move to Ohio, Indiana,
and Illinois. Nathan Sidwell first migrated to Ohio. Later, the
family was found in Indiana and Illinois. Afterwards, some members of
the family were found in Washington Co Arkansas.
Thomas Sidwell, a
Quaker, organized the Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC in the
1800s. It remains there today and has become one of the most
prestigious school in the area.
Daniel J Ramsey, born
1848 in Illinois, was, apparently, the child of M A Sidwell by a former
husband whose name was Ramsey and lived in Illinois.
The Ramsey family may
have been one of the Shenandoah Valley Quaker families. Robert
Ramsey, born 1750, was in Henry Co. Tennessee by 1834. Two of his sons
were in Navarro Co Texas prior to 1850.
& his sons James and Ezekiel…were listed in the Navarro
Mortality schedule 1850…all three died of Cholera.
John Ramsey Sr….born
1798 in NC
in the 1850 Navarro Co Census as a farmer & wheelright
was married to Jane, born 1895 in GA.
family had lived in AL in 1827 when son William was
and in KY by 1832. They had remained there until 1843 when they were
found in IL.
son…William Ramsey married Bristinia Lemley, a relative of Aaron
Roberts. Jacob Lemley b. NC had married Catherine Roberts…came to
Navarro Co TX from Union Co IL.
Mary Ramsey…a widow,
lives next door. She was born 1813 in GA. She had lived in KY…then
moved to IL in 1843.
Thomas Ramsey II…born 1837 (buried at the
Married Elizah J Hardman who received a CSA Widow’s pension In Navarro Co Texas
1798…had married 1st 1818…..Rachael Snead.. daughter of a
prominent Tennessee family. Rachael had borne a son…John Ramsey Jr…born
An uncle of Rachael
Snead Ramsey, Joseph Perkins Snead..born 1804…came to Western Navarro Co
Texas in 1847…and purchased eight thousand acres of land near Liberty
Hill. Joseph’s daughter, Bethena Perkins Snead, married John Randolph
Their daughters married …..
Gersham Alexander (Gary) Bills
Robert Dysart Bills
James Benjamin Slater
John & Rachael Snead
Ramsey were living in Illinois in 1842, but, probably, went to Texas
with Rachael’s uncle in 1847. John Ramsey Jr, meanwhile… may have
married “M A”…and they had a child whose name was Daniel J Ramsey, born
1848 in Illinois. John Ramsey II must have died near the time of the
birth of Daniel J Ramsey in 1848. He and his family may have come to
Texas after the birth of Daniel and he may have died soon thereafter.
His…was one of two
deaths near 1847-1848 that created this “Story Behind the Stone.”
M A Ramsey
became a widow with a baby son born 1848.
Sidwell became a widower with a daughter born 1844.
Sidwell’s daughter…. Emily Jane Sidwell, born 1844, married
Jetton July 26, 1865 Their son, H L Jetton..born 1867 at Spring
Hill, Texas married Sallie Follis whose sister, Jennie Follis, married
Dr Harvey Lee Matthews. Emily Jane Sidwell Jetton died 1873 and was
buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery. She was twenty nine.
Warren Sidwell and M
A Ramsey needed each other and they were married by the time of the 1850
Navarro Co Texas census. Their marriage was not found recorded in
the Navarro Co. marriage records.
Tragedy would visit
E Sidwell was born in 1857, but died in 1859.
Indiana Sidwell was still born the same year.
years later, Henry H Sidwell was born, but died young in 1865.
Warren E Sidwell
enlisted in the Army of the Confederacy August 1, 1864 as a member of
the Dresden Cavalry.. He was listed as a farmer, 5’11” tall, fair
complextion, blue eyes, black hair. He died November 18, 1864. No
cemetery marker bearing his name has been discovered in the area.
M A Sidwell died in
1879 and was buried with her children at Spring Hill Cemetery.
This could be….”the
end of the story”….and it would have been except for the for the fact
that an 1862 wedding license was discovered for W W Turner and Rachael
Sidwell. W W Turner was born 1847….near the time that the first wife
of Warren E Sidwell died….possibly in childbirth. Warren E Sidwell had
a sister whose name was Rachael and, if a daughter survived after the
death of his wife in childbirth….he may have named her…Rachael.
When prospects for a
civil war in the United States began to approach reality, many of the
southern families who had migrated to the Midwest began moving south…not
to the “Old South” where their ancestors had lived, but to less settled
areas of Arkansas and Texas.
The Jesse Sidwell
Family had moved from Illinois to Washington Co Arkansas. His son,
Warren Sidwell, had moved on to Navarro Co Texas.
W W Turner was born
April 4, 1847 at Union Co Illinois. He was only fourteen in 1861 when
the War Between the States began, but family legend states that he left
Illinois, came to Texas, donned a Confederate uniform, and is believed
to have participated in the final battle of the war…..a skirmish in
south Texas…and…may have fired the final shot of the war…according to
The war ended in
1865. Eighteen years would elapse before W W Turner would Mary Olivia
Wheelock in 1878.
A marriage license…
in Washington Co Arkansas… was issued for W W Turner and Rachael Sidwell
in 1862. William Warren Turner would have been fifteen years of age at
that time. However, we must remember that many young people in those
days married at a young age….especially girls.
William Warren Turner
could have been large for his age, and was, apparently, very mature to
have made his way from Illinois to Texas, to have enlisted, and to have
participated in a military engagement.
migrated from KY to Fayette Co IL
He was a son of
Rebecca Jane Sidwell…m.
1833 Fayette Co IL
Mahala Sidwell…dau of
William & Mary Key Sidwell…
…….m. 1830 Adam
Allen Guthry Fayette Co IL
1847…was married, has a daughter born in 1844. His wife dies near 1847
bearing a baby girl who survives. Could Warren Sidwell have named this
daughter..Rachael…after his sister? Could he have returned to
Arkansas with both babies to permit relatives to care for them until he
could make other arrangements. The girls were not shown in the 1850
census, but could have returned to live with their father and his new
wife at a later date.
Turner, on his journey from Illinois to Texas…could have stopped to
visit the Sidwells in Arkansas and Rachael was still living there in
1862. William Warren Turner was, perhaps, a fine looking young man
for fifteen…and….Rachael Sidwell had, perhaps, bloomed into a very
beautiful fifteen year old. The two would naturally be attracted to
each other, but the fact that a young man was about to “ march off to
war” fanned the hot flames of teenage passion even more.
No record has been
found in Navarro or Robertson Counties to support the above. However,
the two may have returned to Arkansas after the war. It must be
assumed that they visited the widow of Warren Sidwell from time to time
at Spring Hill for she continued to live there until the 1880s.
Rachael Sidwell Turner would have died at some point prior to
1878….perhaps in Arkansas.
Turner, alone…perhaps, despondent….wanders back down to
Texas. He visits relatives in Robertson Co Texas. There…he meets
Mary Olivia Wheelock, daughter of a prominent family….he is
thirty-one…she is sixteen.
The couple married at
Wheelock, but lived in the Dawson area for almost thirty years.
William Warren Turner was buried at the Wheelock Cemetery in Robertson
County in 1919.