"Tribute to Civil War Veterans"

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society


Civil War Veterans Miscellaneous Page

We would like to share with researchers our "Tribute to Civil War Veterans" who lived out their lives in Van Zandt County or were connected to the county in any way. This part of the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society website will be devoted to miscellaneous articles and items of interest regarding Civil War Veterans. If you would like to share an old news article, documents, family histories or manuscripts, contact Sibyl Creasey. We will be happy to add it to the collection.


DR. H. HENSON

LIFE STORY OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIER

Wills Point Chronicle January 28, 1909

A PIONEER VAN ZANDTER TELLS OF EVENTFUL LIFE

Dr. H. Henson Remembers When the Stars Fell and Other Events of Early days

Dr. H. Henson, being an old settler of this section, has seen wonderful changes during his lifetime and has furnished this paper a story of his life, which will be of more than ordinary interest to our readers. He says:

"I was born in Rabun county, Ga., May 21, 1823, which would make me between 85 and 86 years old. My father moved to Gilmore county Ga., where we lived until the Spring of 1834. On the night of Nov. 13, 1833, I saw the comets fall from the heavens by the thousands and hundreds of thousands. The whole canopy of heaven was in a general motion from midnight till daylight. I was not excited at the strange movements of the stars as I supposed they did that every morning. Some movers, camped near our house, awoke and called out to my father that the world was coming to an end. I then got a little excited over it and stated to my father that if that was anything to get excited over I would have notified them two or three hours before. That was about 4:30 o'clock. I was 10 years old at the time of the falling of the stars.

"In the Spring of 1834 my father emigrated to Arkansas territory and afterwards to Cherokee nation, where we remained one year or more. Later we lived in Benton county, Ark., where we ground all of our meal our family, seven in number, used, on a steal mill. I have ground many a bushel of meal on a steal mill and slept on a one legged bedstead stuck in the ground, with four foot boards used for a cord or spring mattress and a straw bed made of prairie hay, and plenty of blankets.

"After a severe winter I have seen 500 deer at one site feeding on the young tender shoots of grass early in the Spring and as gentle as sheep and too poor to be killed. But the sycamore of fritters and the pond of honey were sure there. When a boy I had found five or six bee-trees a day just by riding through the woods. But with all my exploits and adventures in Arkansas and Texas I have never killed a deer in all my long life. Few men can say as much who have lived in Texas 50 or 60 years.

"I have lived under the administration of twenty-two presidents of the United States and two presidents of the Republic of Texas, viz, Sam Houston and Anson Jones. The first vote I ever cast was for Anson Jones. The second one was for the annexation of the republic of Texas to the United States in 1845 and I have never regretted casting that vote yet.

"My father and family emigrated from Arkansas to Texas in 1841, stopping one year in Fannin county, and then moving to Rusk county, Texas, where we lived seven years. In 1848 I married a Miss Mary Ann Hudman and we had twelve children born to us, all of whom lived to be grown except a girl that died in her twelfth year. The other eleven, lived to be grown and married and there is at this writing seven of them living. I have 75 grandchildren and 43 great grandchildren living.

"I moved from Rusk county to Sugar Hill, Panola county, and in 1854 read medicine under P. O. Beall and W. H. Pyle, late of Kaufman. I attended medical lectures in 1855 and 1856 and did some practice. In 1857 I moved to Van Zandt county, locating on McBee creek, three miles Northwest of Wills Point, and lived there 24 years, I engaged in stock raising and the practice of medicine and made some money. In 1880 I lost my bosom companion after living with her for 34 years. She was the best friend I ever had in my life and after she died I married the Widow McKay, a sister of my first wife.

"In 1882 I moved to Lytle, Atascosa county, where I lost about $1500. by the burning of a hotel I had bought. Later I engaged in the land business and practiced medicine in Milam and Williamson counties. We were gone from Van Zandt county nearly 25 years and the old settlers had passed over the river of death, some of them long since, and the younger ones I have forgotten and do not recognize.

"I was in the Confederate Army three years but was never in a battle or a skirmish line.

"After the war the good old Van Zandters got in a dispute over the county site question. Judge Rains was county Judge at the time and Canton and Wills Point were put in nomination. Judge Rains threw out a number of important boxes and Wills Point got it by over two-thirds majority. The Wills Point fellows went down one night and moved a good many of the records from Canton to Wills Point. About 150 men came from Canton to take the records from Wills Point. Capt. Wells was sheriff at the time and summoned every man near Wills Point to guard the records. We made breastworks of all the available wagons, cotton bales and goods boxes. We were under the command of Capt. Wells and the Cantonites were under the command of Capt. Tom Towles and when the Cantonites came upon the hill near where H. F. Goodnight and Tom Woodhouse now live, they came in platoons and battalions in regular battle array and ordered the women and children to move out as they were going to set fire to the town if they failed to get the records that had been moved from Canton two or three weeks, but there was not a gun fired or a house burned. The leading men of Wills Point met with the Cantonites and all was settled fairly and amicably. Finally they got the records back to Canton without the loss of a single man nor a drop of bloodshed. But times looked pretty equally there for an hour or two."


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