Polk Folk in Texas

What follows is excerpts from A Tale of Two Schools and Springtown, Parker County Texas by John Nix, printed in 1945. The book was done by the Springtown Reunion Association and is a history of the Male and Female Institute and the College Hill Institute, both co-educational schools that flourished in the thriving town of Springtown during the latter part of the 19th century, and biographical sketches of prominent citizens. As far as we know, the book is long out of print and original copies are rare. Some Texas libraries told us they keep their copy under lock and key. Our copy came from Winnie Brower, College Station, Texas, to whom we express our deepest appreciation.

While researching your Polk County ancestors, many of you have discovered that they pulled up stakes here, loaded their families and meager belongings in wagons and moved to Texas, sometimes taking several other related families or neighbors with them. Often, those families settled in or near Springtown in Parker County, Texas and we found quite a few of them mentioned in the biographical section of this 340-page book

The authors of the book state that the first pioneers began to arrive about 1854 and by 1855 covered wagon caravans were coming by the hundreds. They found that the land had rolling hills covered with a wide variety of trees, level uplands and broad valleys, drained by the Clear Fork and Brazos rivers. The county was formed in 1855 and organized in 1856, and populated principally with people from Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas who were attracted by the promise of a better life, cheap land and the mild climate.

One of the most revered pioneers was the Honorable Richard Bartow Hood who was "50 years in the legal forum, proclaiming justice to all mankind" as the picture inscription states. The article continues, "R. B. was born after the close of the War Between the States in Polk County, TN . . . his father was John Calvin Hood and his mother was Nancy M. O'Neal. His father was a cousin of General John B. Hood, famed officer of the Confederate Army. When R. B. was three years of age his father died, and two years later his mother sold what she had and with a large family of children made the long trip by wagon to Texas, the journey requiring seven weeks." ( See the issue of the PCHGS Quarterly for an account of the trip.)

Mrs. Hood purchased 160 acres of land from D. E. Pearce where improvements consisted of a small three-room log house. A better home was built where they lived until her death on April 23, 1887. The children of John Calvin and Nancy Hood were: Miranda Jane (Mrs. Sam Selvidge); Sibbie (Mrs. Irby Pearce); Eliza (Mrs. J. Mart Clifton); William H.; George L; John C.; Robert; R. Bartow; and Abbie Hood.

William Henderson Hood was born in Polk County May 23, 1853 and came to Texas with his widowed mother and eight siblings, one of whom was R. B., prominent lawyer and politician (see above.) Mrs. Emma Hood died in 1936 and William died Feb. 10, 1940 at the age of 87. Both are buried in Springtown Cemetery.

James Martin Clifton, born December 1843 in Tennessee, was the son of Loving and Hannah Clifton. He married Eliza Angeline Hood, daughter of Calvin and Nancy O'Neal Hood from Polk County. Their children were May; Hattie who married Charles Easthom; Emma who married Hugh Hightower; Anna who married George Herndon; Calvin; Mattie married Nels Johnson; Adelia married Alf Johnston; John; and Pearl who married Clifton Littig. James M. died in November 1904 in Fort Worth and Eliza died May 5, 1932 in Dallas.

Joseph Abner Wren was born November 19, 1830 in Bowling Gren, KY, and married on April 3, 1856 to Rebecca Jane Ross, born August 6, 1837 in Benton, Polk County, TN. They left East Tennessee in 1873, arriving in Texas in the fall of that same year. The family of 11 included Abner, Rebecca, the grandmother, and eight children, all lived in a house consisting of just one 16-foot room and a lean-to. (Three more children were born in Texas, bringing the total to 11.) James Abner died March 29, 1896 and Rebecca died February 28, 1918 and are buried in the New Hope Cemetery on land which was given to the cemetery by Joseph Wren.. The author of the article gives dates as to when other family members passed away, which might be helpful to Wren researchers. Joe died in 1896, James A. in 1924; John C. in 1923; Margaret O. in 1924; George Lee, 1929; Hershel A., 1927; Joseph W, 1927; Euclid E., 1934. Surviving in 1945 were W. Marion, Ella Hudson Wren, I. J., and Ima Wren McHatton.

Euclid E. Wren, son of Joseph Abner and Rebecca is also in the biographical sketches . He married Mary Alice O'Stean of Paragould, Arkansas but they had no children. He was said to have had a wonderful personality, was always cordial and friendly, and was very active in the plan to erect a monument to the teachers of the two old schools and pioneers of that period in local history. He was a member of the drug firm of Hudson-Wren and was a druggist for any years. He died June 21, 1934 and is buried in New Hope a short distance from the old Wren home, his birthplace and boyhood home.

Another son of Joseph Abner Wren that is included in the sketches is John Calvin Wren, born August 17, 1860 in Polk County who married Mary Virginia Hall on December 23, 1885. Virginia, born September 6, 1866, was the daughter of Peter and Susannah Heaton Hall. Their children were: Artie who married Nannie Thomas; Joe maried Avron Yancy, the daughter of John and Mary Coleman Yancy; Odie died at the age of two years; Wilford who marrid Susie Bradley; Grace married Austin Stone, Lois married Earl Gammon first and then George Talley; Vancel married Minnie Holden, Denis who married Roberta Hutchison.

John Pocahontas Randolph was born in Jefferson County, TN on June 21st, 1837, married his old-time sweetheart, Miss Louisa Jane Selvidge of Polk County, TN and moved to Alabama where he taught school for a number of years. They came to Springtown in 1875 where he again taught school and served as the postmaster for 16 years. John and Jane had four children, three girls and a boy. Only one girl is mentioned by name, Eunice, who married H. W. Watson. The son, Samuel Randolph died in Fort Worth, apparently at a young age. John P. died at Springtown on the 2nd day of August 1902 and Louisa Jane died March 12, 1927 at the home of her daughter, Mrs L. B. Ward. They are both buried at Springtown in the cemetery on Carey Hill.

David Edgar Selvidge was born in Springtown on March 26, 1874, but his father, Samuel H. Selvidge came to Texas from Tennessee in the early 70s and died in 1918 at the age of 78. His mother, Miranda Jane Hood, undoubtedly related to the Polk County Hoods, came to Texas with her widowed mother, Nancy Hood. She died in 1899 at the age of 57 and is buried with her husband at Silver Creek. David Edgar married Marshall Lillian Scott, born July 15, 1878, the daughter of Marshall James and Rachel Scott. Her father was drowned in the Tennessee River December 19, 1877 and her mother died at the age of 25 while on the road to Texas. A. J. Cunningham, her mother's brother, became her guardian, and they operated a successful drug business with him for years.

The Gilliland article states their origins were in McMinn County, but it was before Polk was formed. However, Margie and Eva Lee Gilliland know they have Gilliland folk in Texas, so these might be related. Ben Gilliland was born in McMinn County, TN June 10, 1825 and his wife, Nancy Keeling Gilliland was born in Blount County, TN the same year. They arrived in Texas in 1858 via Arkansas where they had lived for some years. After enduring the extreme hardships of the Civil War and frequent Indian raids they moved back to Arkansas, but returned to Parker County after things settled down in 1876. They raised a family of 13 children: Perry, Tom, Mac, Press, Bail, Boyd, Doc, Joe, Cretia (Mrs. Jake Shadle), Sam, Mart (Mrs. Joe Bowen), Abe and Ella (Mrs. Will Hill.) The mother, Nancy, died in 1899, but it doesn’t state a death date for Ben.

A related family was in the sketches, one of Press Gilliland's daughters, Fannie M. Gilliand who married Sanford Boone Tudor, son of S. B Tudor. There's a nice picture of this family with children Johnny, Jase, Lee, Kidd, Maude and Grace. Mr. Tudor died May 14, 1896 and Fannie moved her family to Oklahoma

With a combination like McClary and Hutcheson, they're bound to be from Polk County or area. "Fernando C. McClary came to Springtown in the '80s from Tennessee living for a time in the home of Mrs. Nancy Hood. He was married to Harriett Hutcheson, who had moved with her family from Tennessee, also. To them were born Laura Maude (Mrs. V. E. Sneed) and Donald B. McClary. They remained in Springtown until the death of the mother on June 10, 1891 at the age of 25. " Fernando married Annie Newsom and moved to Fort Worth where he engaged in the contracting and building trade until his death Oct. 2, 1938 at the age of 81. He and Annie had one daughter, Jewel (Mrs. Nat M. Wilson.)

Other Hutchesons mentioned in the same article as Fernando are William Lafayette Hutcheson, born 1831 who was married to Ruth Doughty in 1855 in Birchwood, TN. The parents of 11 children, their daughter Angeline Hutcheson Dixon, born 1857 in TN, was widowed at an early age and was the first of the family to move to Texas. Angeline had married R. H. Dixon and they came to Texas in 1878. Angeline and R. H. had six children: J. Arthur who married Sippie Woody; Hattie Elizabeth maried John W. Hudson; Minnie A. married Dr. John V. Prunty; Laura Berl married J. Ben Hill; Osa Ruth married J.A. Brady; and Charles William. Angeline lived to be 103 year old and died in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Another daughter of William and Ruth, Sarah Elizabeth Hutcheson was an invalid most of her life and died in January 1944. Other children were: Alfred Thompson, William Newton, Charles Lafayette, Harriett Ellen, James Doughty, John Franklin, Laura, Samuel Emmett and George Oscar. William Lafayette died in 1925 at the age of 94, and Ruth died in 1908 at the age of 71.

Newt Hutcheson remained in Tennessee as did half-brother, Napoleon Holman, who lived on the old homeplace in Meigs County, TN.

Charles Lafayette Hutcheson, son of William Lafayette and Ruth Hutcheson, was born July 28, 1863 in Meigs County and attended Birchwood School. He came to Texas with his parents in 1881 and married Nannie D. Craig on March 3, 1886. She was born June 3, 1869 in Wayne Co., TN.

William Newton Hutcheson, born February 14, 1861, son of Wm. Lafayette and Ruth returned to Birchwood, Tennessee, married Tillie Coker and brought her back to Springtown.

"William K. Blair and Martha A. Gilliland were born in 1846 near Benton in Polk County, TN. They were married in 1867 and moved to Parker County in 1873. They made the trip in an oxen wagon in company with four or five other families and located six miles east of Springtown on a timbered plot which they cleared and improved little by little, building and living in a log cabin for 12 years. In 1886 they built the 'little white house' they had planned for so long and it is still standing (in 1945.) Eight of their eleven children were reared on this farm: Lee, Henry, Tom, Melvin, Alma, Ben, Guy and Myrtle. After 27 years on the farm, they moved to Springtown where William served as Justice of the Peace for several years. He died September 5, 1915 and Martha died May 3, 1930. Ed. note: Martha's parents were James and Jane Gillliand who were enumerated in the 1850 Polk County Census household no. 325. This census does not give relationships, but others in the household were Margaret, 25; Quinten, age 20; Isaac, 12; Elizabeth L., 6 and Martha Killing, 16. William's parents may have been James A. and Celina Blair who are in household no. 610 in the 1850 Polk County Census with children Mary J., 9; William, 6; Martha, 5; Catherine, 3 and Margaret, 2.

David A. and Minerva MatlockYoung came to Springtown in 1859 from Polk County. She was the daughter of Jason Matlock who was a long-time pastor of Old Ocoee Baptist Church. They were parents of John A., Jason, Bud, Jim, George and Leona Young (Isbell). John A. married the daughter of Timothy M. Lee who also came with his family to Springtown in 1874. He died at the age of 91 and was buried in Springtown in 1918. A separate article tells that three Young brothers came to Parker County from Polk County Tennessee. David A. came in 1859 and was followed by J. C. and George some five or six years later. Two brothers married two Morrow sisters, J. C. married Elizabeth Marrow and George married Mary Marrow. J. C. and Elizabeth had six children: G. L., Will C., Sallie who married John F. Duck; Jennie who married Willis S. Ross; Maggie who married a Mr. Gist.

George and Mary Young had three children: Joe L; Laura, who never married; and Mattie who married Tom Newsom.

George Washington Young and Mary Ann Morrow were born in Benton, Polk County, TN in 1840-1841. They were married in 1866 and came to Texas and settled on a farm near Springtown where they lived their life. Their children were Laura Alice, born 1872 and never married, she died 1944; Joseph Lafayette, born 1874 married Ola Essie McClurkin, daughter of J. H. McClurkin; and Mattie Elizabeth, born 1879 married Thomas Newsom in 1904 and had children: T. Clarence, Mary Ruth, Mattie Jewel, Joseph E., Annie Laura, Ruby Lee, and Ima Rhea. Tom Newsom was a Freewill Baptist preacher, a writer of religious poems and songs. He died in 1944. George Young died in 1882 and Mary Ann in 1929; both are buried at Springtown.

Charles W. Gregory was born in Alabama April 17, 1824 and died in Springtown January 24, 1898. Mrs. Gregory was born December 24, 1827 and died April 10, 1888. Both are buried at Springtown. Their children were John H., Charles, Kit, Landon, and Fannie (Mrs. Wilk Burkhalter.) The articles focuses on the children and who they married. We don't see a Polk County connection, but since we have a Gregory family here thought Charles might be related.

William and Manda Smith came from Polk County, TN just after the Civil War. They left their old home on December 11, 1865 and on Christmas Day arrived at the home of David Young. On March 10, 1866 they moved to the farm they had bought four miles east of Springtown where they lived out their lives. Their children that lived to maturity were: Henry who married Nannie Knox and after her death, Mrs. Tom Blair; William who married Mollie Norrell; Virginia, who married Avery Bradley; Richard married Eva Davidson; and A. J.,"Jack" who was still living in the old home when the article was written in 1945.

Calvin B. and Eva Roberts Witt, born in Tennessee February 25, 1862, the son of Silas and Martha Jane Witt,. They lived with the Alfred Hutcheson and Dave Young families who were from here, so very well may be Polk Folk. The father, Silas Witt died June 3, 1889. Calvin married on October 29, 1890 to Eva Roberts, born August 7, 1871, daughter of Jesse and Epsa Roberts. Their childen were: Oscar Orion who married Helen Walker; J. S. married Oma Hood; Osa Alto married John P. Murphy and Veda Estell married A. J. Mead. Eva died Dec. 23, 1943.

Others who were from Tennessee, but we didn't know for sure came from Polk County were:

John Raymond Bedford, born September 20, 1871 in TN to Stephen and Susan Patterson Bedford. Stephen Bedford ws born August 30, 1830 in Tennessee.
Joseph C. Woody, born in East Tennessee near Kingston came to Texas in 1844. His father was George Woody, his grandfather was Bill Woody and his great-grandfather was John Woody, all of whom are buried on Woody settlement lands at Veal station, Parker County, Texas.
James C. Hutcheson born June 9, 1839 in Meigs Co., TN, the son of Charles and Sarah Worthington Hutcheson married Harriett Runyon on October 23, 1860. She was born November 25, 1841 the daughter of William and Matilda Murray Runyon.
John W. Bowen was born in 1825 in Tennessee and went to Arkansas about 1845. He married Tennesse Boatwright and brought his family to Texas in 1881.
D. R. and Mary Everett, natives of Tennessee, only son was Tom. D. R. died May 14, 1925 and Mary on March 11, 1938. Uriah Perkins, born in Tennessee about 1815 married and raised a family in Tennessee before coming to Texas. Children by that marriage were: Milt; Zeke; Marion; Press who was killed by Indians on Salt Creek in 1866. The first Mrs. Perkins died in 1859 and in 1850 Uriah married Mary Gilliland and had children: Vina who married Bill Booth; Electra married Tom Benton; Mag; John, born July 25, 1867 married Ina Gilliland daughter of Press and Ella Gilliland.; and Bill.
Willam T. and Laura Boatright McGee
Willam and Margaret Lovell
James W. and Angelina Gilliland Keeling. She was the daughter of Press Gilliland who came to Texas from East Tennessee.
John B. Thomas
Henry L. Smith, born March 13, 1874 in Dalton GA, the son of W. R. and Malinda Roberts. Sallie was the daughter of Henry and Nancy Smith who moved to Parker County from Tennessee in 1892. Children were Mrs. Frank Hardcastle; Carl S. Roberts, Mrs. J. Grover Kilgore and Mrs. P.C. Mayfield. They moved to Oklahoma where Henry owned the Roberts Cotton Gin. He died there on September 7, 1930.
J. W. Donathan was born in TN in 1828;
J. E. Ross, born October 11, 1840 in Tennessee, son of John Edward Ross, married Mattie Webb also from Tennessee. He died May 3, 1918 and is buried at New Hope Church cemetery.