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"Tribute to Civil War Veterans"

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society

Civil War Veterans Obituaries

We would like to share with researchers our Tribute to Civil War Veterans who lived out their lives in Van Zandt County. Many came here from other states. The following is an obituary found in the collection of old newspapers on microfilm in the Library of Genealogy and Local History, Canton, TX. If you have an obituary of a Civil War Veteran ancestor and would like to share, please contact Sibyl. We would be happy to add your material to this site.


Wills Point Chronicle
January 28, 1909

Death of Captain Thomas J. Towles

One of Van Zandt County's Most Honored Citizen Passes away-----A Brave confederate Soldier
Last Thursday morning, January 21, 1909, just after midnight's holy hour, the spirit of Captain T. J. Towles of Canton left its feeble tenement of clay and winged its way to eternity. As is known by the pepole of this county, Capt. Towles has been in feeble health for many months and though his death was not wholly unexpected it was none the less a shock to his many friends throughout the county and state. The remains were laid to rest in the family lot in the Canton cemetery Thursday afternoon at 3 o'clock with masonic honors, a large number of Masons and old friends from different sections of the county attending to pay the last tribute and respect.

Thomas Jefferson Towles was born in Jones county, Georgia, December 29, 1843, and was left an orphan at the age of twelve years. He came to Texas in the Spring of 1857. With an older brother, A. T. Towles, he came to Van Zandt and has resided here ever since. Speaking of Van Zandt as his home Capt. Towles said once: "I will no doubt be buried in the county. No other place will seem like home to me. Like Ruth, I prefer to live and die with those I like best."

Politically he has always been a Democrat of the old school and as a Confederate soldier he was noted for his bravery. He enlisted in Lane's Third Texas regiment, Ross' brigade, and during the war he was one of General Ross' most confidential advisors, being known as "the eye and ear of Ross' brigade." He had command of a company of scouts and did the bravest of work for the confederacy. Returning to his home after the war he took the most active part in the affairs of the county and has been many times honored by the people of his adopted home. In the early days of the county's early history, before the advent of railroads, he was sheriff and tax collector and had to ride to Austin horseback to make settlement with the state treasurer. He served two terms in the legislature with honor and credit to himself and his county.

Capt. Towles was a man of pronounced convictions and he expressed them fearlessly. He came to the county and became active in its affairs at a time when it tried men's souls, but where duty called he never flinched. His official service in the county was marked with rare devotion and patriotic fidelity to every trust confided to his keeping. He has always demanded from public officials a high standard of official conduct and anything short of that brought his open condemnation. To him a public office was indeed a public trust, and as a private citizen he did not cease to take an active part in the political affairs of the county. Capt. Towles has been equally active in the industrial affairs of the county. Coming here when the county was in its infancy, he has been identified with every effort to build up the county and lived to see it grow from a mere wilderness to one of the foremost counties of the state. In the passing of Capt. Towles a man who has been worth something to this world and whose strong character is worthy the______ (paper torn and a word or two missing)_____of every young man______his reward.
___________two daughters, Mrs. Will Todd of Vinita, Ok., and Miss Alice Towles, survive him and to whom a very large circle of friends extend sincere sympathy.
"Well done thou good and faithful servant"

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This page last updated 19 May 2007

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society Website maintained by
Sibyl Creasey