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  • ID: I728

  • Name: Joseph Thomas Cook II 1 2 3

  • Sex: M

  • Change Date: 15 OCT 2017

  • Birth: 12 JUN 1817 in Franklin Co., AL

  • Note: based upon the age of 101 yrs., 1 mo., 16 days at the time of his death 1 4 2 5

  • Event: Pension 20 JAN 1875 Nueces Co., TX

  • Note: at age 58. He served in Capt. Michael Costley's ranger company and also under Capt. Isham Medford and Capt. B. A. Vansickle. He was under Capt. Baley C. Waters in the Cherokee battle [Battle of the Neches in 1839], where Chief Boles was killed. He received bounty warrant #784 for 320 acres. J. S. Able, Bell Co., knew applicant since 1835 and first met him in Nacogdoches Co. J. T. Gibson, Cherokee Co., affirmed service from 1834 to 1838. Cook was born in Franklin Co., AL, in 1817 and immigraged to Texas in 1832. 4

  • Death: 28 JUL 1918 in Navasota, Grimes Co., TX

  • Note: at the age of 101 yrs., 1 mo., 16 days 6

  • Burial: Oakland Cemetery, Block J, Navasota, Grimes Co., TX 7

    Father: Joseph Thomas Cook b: 1776 in Spartan District, SC 
    Mother: Mary Moore b: 28 DEC 1783 in SC

    Marriage 1 Talutha Ann Moseley b: 06 JAN 1826 in Randolph Co., GA

    • Married: 19 AUG 1846 in Cherokee Co., TX

    • Note: as recorded in Book A, p. 1. Their's was the first wedding ceremony performed in Cherokee County 8 9 10


    1.  Ann Eliza Cook b: ABT 1847 in Cherokee Co., TX

    2.  Joseph Thomas Cook III b: ABT 1848 in Cherokee Co., TX

    3.  Mary Emma Cook b: ABT 1849 in Cherokee Co., TX

    4.  Laura Susan Cook b: 03 OCT 1854 in Cherokee Co., TX

    5.  Samuel Moseley Cook b: 13 FEB 1855 in Cherokee Co., TX

    6.  Lula Brazoria Cook b: MAY 1858 in ?Cherokee Co., TX

    7.  Lilla Martha Cook b: ABT 1859 in Hill Co., TX

    8.  Edwin Lee Cook b: ABT 1863 in ?Hill Co., TX

    9.  Pet Cook b: ABT 1864 in TX


    1. Title: Frank Atwood Gibson, Interviewer: Holcomb, Dr. Donald, Informant Address: Austin, TX
      Abbrev: Gibson, Frank A.
      Author: Gibson, Frank Atwood
      Publication: c. 1985

      • Title: Dr.
        Name: Living /Holcomb/

      Page: 2 great grand nephew

    2. Title: Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls. Subscription database. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2004, Url:
      Abbrev: 1900 U.S. Federal Census

    3. Title: The Elusive Eden - Frank McMullan's Confederate Colony in Brazil
      Abbrev: Elusive Eden
      Author: Griggs, William Clark
      Publication: University of Texas Press, Box 7819, Austin, TX 78713-7819, 1987

      • Title: Dr.
        Name: Living /Holcomb/

      Page: Appendix A. Census of the McMullan-Bowen Colony, As Taken by William Bowen, November 9, 1867. Listed as Thomas Cook

    4. Title: Republic of Texas Pension Application Abstracts
      Abbrev: Republic of TX Pension App. Abst.
      Author: Compiler: Barron et al., John C.
      Publication: Austin Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1507, Austin, TX 78767-1507, 1987

      • Name: Dallas Public Library

      Page: p. 82

    5. Title: Grimes County [Texas] Cemeteries, Volumes: Book Four
      Abbrev: Cem. of Grimes Co., TX
      Author: Compiler: Maxwell, John Ray
      Publication: Grimes County Historical Commission, Rt. 2, Box 3494, Navasota, TX 77868, 2000

      • Name: Dallas Public Library

      Page: p. 193

    6. Title: Grimes County [Texas] Cemeteries, Volumes: Book Four
      Abbrev: Cem. of Grimes Co., TX
      Author: Compiler: Maxwell, John Ray
      Publication: Grimes County Historical Commission, Rt. 2, Box 3494, Navasota, TX 77868, 2000

      • Name: Dallas Public Library

      Page: pp. 100 & 193

    7. Title: Grimes County [Texas] Cemeteries, Volumes: Book Four
      Abbrev: Cem. of Grimes Co., TX
      Author: Compiler: Maxwell, John Ray
      Publication: Grimes County Historical Commission, Rt. 2, Box 3494, Navasota, TX 77868, 2000

      • Name: Dallas Public Library

      Page: p. 100

    8. Title: Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Subcription database. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch, Url:
      Abbrev: 1850 U.S. Federal Census

    9. Title: Cherokee County [Texas] History, Edition: 1st Edition
      Abbrev: Cherokee Co., TX History
      Author: Cherokee County Historical Commission
      Publication: Cherokee County Historical Commission, P.O Box 1128, Jacksonville, TX 75766, 1986

      • Name: Dallas Public Library

      Page: p. 422. Listed as Tabitha Ann Moseley

    10. Title: Marriage Records of Cherokee County, Texas (1846-1880), Volume: Vol. I
      Abbrev: Marr. Rec. of Cherokee Co., TX (1846-1880)
      Author: Compiler: Huttash, Ogreta Wilson
      Publication: Huttash, Ogreta Wilson, Jacksonville, TX 75766, 1976

      • Name: Dallas Public Library

      Page: p. 15. Groom's name transcribed as J. T. Cook and Bride's name transcribed as Ann Moseley

Mary "Polly" Moore (1783-1867), married Joseph Thomas Cook (1776-1844) who ran a store and was a blacksmith near Cook's Fort near Rusk, Texas in 1820, d. in Cherokee co., Texas. Mary was born in South Carolina, and married in North Carolina in 1799


Thurnham Hall

Near Lancaster , England

August 26, 1954


Dr. John A. Cook

Dallas , Texas


Dear Dr. Cook:


     Please pardon my intrusion , but I am writing to ask if you are a relative of Joseph Thomas Cook, formerly of Crockett , later of Navasota, Texas. He was my grandfather. As a boy hi  home was at Cook's Fort , in Cherokee County.


     My sister has a sketch of his life that he wrote when he was 90 years of age and which i  most interesting . His reminiscences begin in Tennessee wit h his patents. They traveled by river to Nachitoches through Texas to Rusk via Nacogdoches and Douglas. Later on, his part in the wars against the Indians and Mexicans and in the Civil War. After this to Brazil by way of Cuba (and a shipwreck), where he and his family were graciously met by Dom Pedro II , then Emperor of Brazil, at Rio. At the end of about seven years they all returned to their beloved Texas, where my grand-father ended his days in Navasota, aged 101 and is buried there. His mother lived to be 101 and is interred at Rusk. 


     Jefferson Davis was a close relation, a cousin, I think, of my grandfather. I mention these details in case they mean anything to you.


     I was well acquainted with my grandparents, but I would like to know more of our families if you can help me. Hoping to hear from you,


I am Yours sincerely ,

Miss Lola Dalton


Thurnham Hall

Near Lancaster , England

September 4, I960



Dr. John A. Cook

Dallas, Texas


Dear Dr. Cook:


At last I am sending you the promised story written by my grandfather , Joseph Thomas Cook, Jr . when he was ninety years old . I do not think you will find much in  it that you do not: already know, but being hi  personal experiences in those early days, they may be of interest to you as they are to us.


I regret having kept you waiting such a long time. On June 9th we lost our dear older sister , Lola . Her death upset us all greatly and it has been rather difficult to settle down again to a normal routine .


I trust that Grandpa's story will be a little help to you and as I come across other notes on the Cook family I will let you have them.


Naturally one cannot be too sure of the dates as Grandpa was very old when he wrote these notes and may not have remembered exactly .


With all best wishes for the success of your undertaking and trusting you and your family keep well , I am


Yours very sincerely ,

Eda F. Dalton


Eda Dalton was a daughter of Mary Emma Cook and William Henry Dalton and a.granddaughter of Joseph Thomas Cook Jr . Her mother met and married Lord Dalton in Brazil . She accompanied her husband and her parents back to Texas and lived for a while i n Navasota before going to England. Eda Dalton and her sisters Lol  and Alzira lived in Thurnham Hall , the ancestral home of the Daltons.



R.B. Blake :     Sketches of Nacogdoches and Citizens Thereof


     Joseph Thomas Cook emigrated from Shelby County, Tennessee in the earl y 1830s. He with his wife  and eleven children , reached Nacogdoches March 7, 1834. On the 20th of January, 1835, Cook made application for his headright league, which was located south of where Rusk, in Cherokee County, was afterwards located . This was in the midst of the Cherokee Indian settlements , being only a few miles north of Chief Boles's ranch.


      When Costley organized his company of rangers in September, 1836, the father and son, Joseph T. Cook. Sr., and J . Thomas Cook, Jr., enlisted for a service of three months.


     In 1838 during the intensive Indian troubles Mr. Cook had a military company under the com-mand of Captain Black to build what was known as Cook's Fort , near the residence of Joseph T. Cook, three miles southeast of Rusk.  Joseph T. Cook, Jr , and Ann Moseley, daughter of one of the locating committee of the town of Rusk, were the first Cherokee County bride and groom. William Daugherty, probate Judge, performed the ceremony August 19, 1846. 


Biographica l Souvenir of Texas, Chicage.

F.A. Batter y & Co., 1889


     Joseph T. Cook was born in Alabama in the year 1817, and is the son of Joseph T. Cook Sr. , long since deceased, who was of Scotch extraction . H is early education was obtained at the district school near his home in Alabama. At a very early age he came to Texas with his parents and located near Rusk, where he lived for many years. He then moved to Hill County. About 1838 he fought against the Cherokee Indians , then served in a Texas regiment in the Mexican War. He also served as captain of a company in the Confederate Army during the late Civil War. At the close of the rebellion in 1865 he journeyed to South America where he remained until 1872, when he again came to Texas and for a time made his home in Navasota. Next he moved to Corpus Christi , but returned after a short :time to Navasota, in which city he now resides . His wife , whose maiden name was T. Ann Moseley, was born in Georgia in 1826, and is still living at Navasota. Nine children were born to these happy parents







     It was in 1733, or thereabouts, that  Joseph Thomas Cook, the founder of our line of the Cook family  in  Texas landed in America - A fair little lad of seven years - he had sailed all the way from Scotland with his parents and others of his family and the journey had taken many weeks. Where they landed is so far uncertain : members of the family settled in Cook County in North East Texas bounded on the north by the Red River and it is known that Cook County was named after them.


.     Years passed and after the successful conclusion of the American Revolutionary war, we find my father , Joseph Thomas Cook settled in North Carolina and like his friend , Daniel Boone, wandered through what is now known as West Virginia to where the city of Charleston is now established and later into Kentucky. After lingering m Kentucky a while he went on to Tennessee and settled in Shelby County. He married Mary Moore, daughter of Irish settlers.


     In Tennessee he built up a plantation . My father prospered. Cotton provided the state with riches and he saw that the fleecy treasure lined his own pockets as well . He soon became a man of sub-stance Even among other men of property he was counted a lucky man He was a happy man, but the urge to pioneer, to go out into the wilderness  and conquer it, had never been extinguished. Ten-nessee had become too settled , too civilized for him. When in about 1830 a new wave of pioneering sprang up, his enthusiasm leaped once more into glowing life. He was consumed with a growing restlessness and yearned to give up the ease and comfort of his present existence for the uncertain future of the frontier.


     To penetrate the primeval forests , to build a home out of such materials as nature provided, to withstand the evils and dangers of wild beasts and savage men, of nature rampant, these needed many excellent qualities keenly developed.


     On the other hand, although accepting the outlook of my father , my mother was quite content with her lot. A small serious woman of boundless energy, imbued with a Celtic love of home, she was perfectly satisfied with Tennessee, where she was already living in ease and comfort. Tennessee was a mighty good place to live in . There was always hunting and fishing - fruit , flowers and vegetables galore all we-:could use and more, but we kepi hearing such wonderful accounts of Texas - her natural resources and climate , and her extensive land grants , etc., without deadening timber and grubbing stumps - Father became so enthusiastic that he decided Texas was the land for him.  In its vast territory , we hardly knew where we wanted to locate but in those early days people were not disposed to go too far away from parts already being settled , for Indians were numerous and very Warlike.


     In 1833 Father finally  decided to venture. He went to Memphis and bought a boat for our journey down the Mississippi . He sold the cattle and other live stock, except the oxen that were needed to draw our wagons to Memphis. The plantation s were disposed of.  Also all household effects except the rosewood parlour suite , some rare old silver , mother's Seth Thomas clock , some hand-bound leather backed books, printed as earl  as 1752, and a number of colourful  handmade quilts , etc .


     Mother started  to pack and prepare for the trek . Under her capable direction Sylvie , who had been my coloured nurse and was now our cook, roasted as many plump fowls , and boiled enough tender hams to have fed a regiment. Then there were side  of smoked bacon, sacks of coffee , sugar, flour , barrels of molasses and other provisions .


     Our party consisted of Father and Mother, their family  of six girls - Elizabeth , married to Jesse Gibson,and Amelia, wife of Absolom Gibson, sons of a neighboring planter . Elizabeyh and Amelia were twins. My other four sisters were Mary, Mahala, Cecilia and Rhoda. Also six boys - William, James, David - I came next, named Joseph Thomas (after my father), Elihu and Samuel. The other members of our family included another son-in-law, several grandchildren, Father's great friend Mr. Elias Nelson and the slaves from the plantations.


     We were leaving a life that was very pleasant . All Southern families blessed with our advantages invariably lived  on a. lavish scale , at a gracious pace, paying great attention to dignity and a com-plete elegance of person. We frequently visited our cheerful friends i n our turn .


     The glorious summer would fade into autumn with its dazzling array of colour . The flowers nodding in  gay abandon as if rejoicing in the prolonged term of their beautiful lives . But at last a crisp sudden chill would sweep over the plains , and winter would make its claim . Then our family would gather gleeful  around the newly made fire , the first  blaze of the season. The huge fireplace , ample in space for a generous back log of Hickory , with half a dozen smaller logs would last all day.. There is no charm in a great black expressionless stove. There is nothing about i t that can match the visible glow and warmth of an open grate with blazing logs. Yet all this we would be forsaking for the unknown wilds of Texas.


     Mother felt that life  could not be sweeter or richer than it was in dear Tennessee, but she belon-ged to the old school of women who believed that home was where their husbands were, or wher-ever they wished to go. So when Father pulled up stakes , she was ready to follow whither he led.


     I am sure its all on account of that talkative Sam Houston, with his fine stories  of Texas", she said, "The whole parcel of you have been bewitched by him, I do declare . Still, I don't altogether blame you for I believe - he could talk a bird of f a bush"


     Texas at that time was under the domination of Mexico, arid Father had obtained from that gov-ernment a grant of a league of land in the district of East Texas, now known as Cherokee,County. Owning many slaves, he planned to clear this land and once more build up a large and profit-able  plantation.


     Leaving Shelby County was not easy when the time arrived . Even Father, who had been so eager, seemed a little depressed, and it was easy to see that  Mother grieved at parting from her beloved home.


     After a long and tedious trek, our wagon train eventually reached Memphis, a port on the Miss-issippi, but when we beheld the mighty river we were disheartened at the thought of ever crossing it. 


     Young folks , now-a-days don't know what real travel is,  Resting easily in a Pullman sleeper takes much less nerve and enterprise than stopping wherever night overtakes you and sleeping on the ground with a blanket for cover and your saddle for a pillow . It used to be a great undertaking to go one hundred miles, and a trip int o another state was an event of moment. Longer trips took real endurance and sure enough grit. 


     The Mississippi , The Father of Waters, as the Indians called it , over which no one had then dreamed of building a bridge, was the great barrier between the old states and the new promised land of plenty. Arkansas and Texas seemed as far removed as South America does now.


     The boat Father bought, the Arabella,  was a quaint looking craft . The windows and doors were very low. After selling our oxen in Memphis, Father gave orders for the wagons and all our belong-ings to be put on board.


     The Arabella, when loaded with all the baggage, provisions, farming implements, ploughs, wagons, etc., as well as our numerous party, seemed to offer a scant and perilous protection from the deep and muddy water of the vast river . The Arabella was an old fashioned boat with swishing, wheezy paddles on either side,  a belching black funnel which, all too often covered the whole with smoke  and a loud shrieking siren. Naturally, she settled deep on the water, but when so heavily laden, the swelling tide seemed only inches from the oozing tarry deck.


     Mother, her hand on Father's arm, walked up the gangway. Her Negro woman followed with a handbox. Mother looked a little pale , but her lips were set.


     "Are you afraid , honey", said Father gently as he led her along. "There i s no use in being afraid" , she answered firmly, "and I am not going to balk at anything. " We had fine women in those days. Life was more simple, but more strenuous. I t developed a different outlook, and like my heroic mother many of those pioneer women who gave up comfortable homes, old friends and early assoc-iations and went through perils by sea and on land - those quiet home women, they seemed different from those of the present day. I always feel when I speak of those tiny women as I do when I speak of my religion, or my Bible .


     Finally we were ready to leave Memphis. The Arabella swung slowly out into the current as the stokers got up steam. The engine puffed , shaking the boat from stem to stern . Every board rattled and quivered as if an explosion were imminent. When one of the negroes let loose the brazen voiced siren , those on board gave themselves up for lost . Just as we got well into the murky river , there came a large boat crowded-with fashionable passengers. The Captain , in an Imposing nautical  uniform, stood on the deck. Ladies i n the latest bonnets- nodded and smiled while the young men cheered and waved their panamas at us. The Arabella rocked and tossed in the swell of the larger vessel , and the merry passengers made mirthful calls as to our future . "Goodbye", they hollowed. "Give our regards to Davy Jones. Goodbye, Goodbye".


     Meanwhile the water was running into our low windows and doors. Women and children were shrieking wit h terror . Our pilot left his post and with other members of the crew prayed to be once more on dry land ; but as the voices of the merry passengers died away in the distance'all on the Arabella strove to get her to an even.keel. Father,determined to abandon the boat at the earliest possible opportunity . Instead of continuing down the Mississippi we crossed it . I do not remember how long it took to cross the river , but the whole party eventually landed safely at Helena on the Arkansas shore after which Father paid off the Captain and the crew.


     Father ordered all our possessions to be unloaded and said "Tie the Arabella up hard and fast , never more to be used by any of us", for he had determined to proceed on some larger and more reliable vessel . Fortunately , there was a steamer, the Washington, plying between Helena and Nachitoches on the Red River with cargoes of turpentine . It was leaving Nachitoches that very day. Father negotiated with the captain to take his party and belongings on board and, despite the complicated nature of the undertaking i n such a limited time, our goods were expeditiously transferred and by the time the boat was due to sail we were all ready.


     As we moved off I shouted in mock commiseration "Goodbye, Arabella " and the young people crowded to the rails and joined me in a hilarious and prolonged farewell . Slowly the shore faded from view, the Arabella with it , and all those associations with the abandoned boat were now only memories which could never be realities again. On either side the Mississippi rippled smooth and shore-less . It was easy to see how the first explorers mistook the Father of Waters for the arm of some great sea. The same quiet broods over it , the same torrential storms sweep across it , and the lap-ping  waters rise and fall as with an ocean tide .


     Our journey was long and tedious , going as we did , down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Red River and then up to Nachitoches. We had quite a fright just before reaching Nachitoches which made us feel that even on a large steamer one may be just as easily subject to accidents.


     There were several casks of turpentine on deck. The children who had been confined and who were, as the old nursery hymn says "Satan finds mischief still for idle hands to do", the cause of quite a commotion. Unknown to their elders the children lighted little pieces of wood and held them to places on the casks where the turpentine had oozed out i n little drops or streams. To their great delight the bright blazes would flash up. These they would blow out and repeat the performance, but by some mischance the flames on one cask got the advantage of them and soon it became a wild sheet of fire . Then their screams brought mothers and fathers . Women panicked, men shouted, bells rang, everyone was frantic with the fear of explosions and a scene of dire confusion followed . I t was with great difficulty that some of the women were prevented from jumping overboard. With prompt action the fire was extinguished without any very serious damage. After this fright we were truly glad when we were again on shore.


     On landing there were rumours of marauding Indians.' Father asked Mother if she felt nervous, "Afraid of the Indians"!   Mother answered. "Wild Indians will be mild compared with a demon child with a tinder and a cask of :turpentine:""


     We secured a house in which to stay while plans were made for our further progress . Father bought a horse and twelve yoke of oxen. We loaded our wagons and continued our trek toward the new land of Texas, (boundaries between Arkansas and Texas were not then defined ) to hunt a good locality for farming, for with winter coming on, it might be many months, even years , before we  reached the tract of land assigned to us by the Mexican government.

     Heavily laden wagons drawn by oxen, is a slower mode of travel than the now-a-day Katy Flier. However, no one had any better way of progress then and we were well content with the miles covered daily . Dissatisfaction  in life is largely a matter of comparison, and then we had no thought of the electric car or automobile, let alone the flying machine.

     Even the hint of such inventions would have been denounced as idle speculation  of a crazy brain .


     I walked much of the way, running at times ahead and stretching out flat upon some grassy slope - I would be there in the glow of the sunshine till the teams came up. Every hour I was filling my lungs with the pure air of the Texas prairie , and the sweet fresh breath of green woods and pine forests we were approaching. I built up health  and strength even for these my later years, I was preparing a storehouse on which I can now draw. The slaves we had brought with us had never in their live s been off our plantations in Tennessee where they were raised and their numerous remarks and comments on what they saw made lots of fun.


     Whenever we came to a hill any size Father would stop and double the teams by taking  the oxen of one wagon and joining them to :the loaded wagon ahead, thus pulling them one at a time over the steep parts . While this was being done Mother and all of us children would walk on ahead and fill our hands with wild flowers, for as far as we could see a ll the prairies were ablaze with lavish co-lour . Wild verbena, primroses , black eyed Susans, India  pink  and buffalo clover , or blue bonnets as they were called , grew with many other flowers in rich profusion . .Untended, unguarded by hedge or fence, they grew to such rare beauty as only nature can attain.


     The glory of the flowers reduced the round-eyed coloured children to open-mouthed awe. At first they picked them furtively , a cardinal flower here, a gentian there; then as no one said them nay, they gathered courage and rejoiced in an orgy of plucking . For several delicious  nights every little piccaninny went to bed with a posy of bedraggled flowers clutched under a small, flat nose. In time their enthusiasm for gathering flower  wore off , their wonder, not quite.


.     "Sho now, Miz Cooke Ma'am" ejaculated one wondering little black girl . "Did de Injuns plant al l dese yere flowers? " "God planted them," Mother answered in the orthodox manner. "He sho has a big gyrden," the child remarked, shaking her head. Mother sang good old hymns as we slowl  moved along. Father had a fine bass voice , and one moment he was calling out "Haw, gee, buck" to the oxen, the next singing lustily : "Oh happy day that fixed  my choice. "




      At last in 1834 Father stopped at Gaines Ferry on the Sabine River, a place about four miles inland. Here amongst other habitations was a cluster of log houses four or five in number, all built  under one roof , easy of access to each other like a medieval fort or a walled town. This method was used to insure greater safety from the Indians in that lonely, isolated country. The outhouses, cattle sheds and chicken houses were built on the same plan and not too far from the main building. The entrances to the sheds were covered from the house and any intruder would come into the direct line of the householder's fire . A Mr. Glascock occupied part of this peculiar cluster of log residences and Father leased the remainder for his family . The slaves erected under the patriarch' s direction another cluster of huts for their own use and protection.


     Food was the next problem. The men went hunting in the forest for fresh meat. Noah, one of our house slaves , helped Father bring in two buffalo which had strayed from their herd. These as well as fish brought in from the river by some of the bravest negroes were salted down in the smoke-house used by the little community. Most of the slaves went in terror of the Indians , and not with-out reason. On every hand tales of their ferocity and treachery were rife.


      Now you would call this way of living apartments or flats . Well, we didn' t call it anything , but we made ourselves quite comfortable and I want to say this, that all the men, women and children lived in  this close proximity for over two years without a quarrel or hard word. Father and I always be-lieved that much of the harmony and good feeling was due to the fact that Mother was one of the purest , kindest and best of women. One good woman can make a heaven on earth anywhere.


      Father was a man who did not let the grass grow under his feet . He knew what was needed in our community. In slave days every planter had his own blacksmith  shop and owned one or two negoes who could do all the work necessary for the plantation . Father had brought a set of blacksmith's tools with him from Tennessee. These were set up in an old out-house and the negroes were soon ready to do any kind of necessary work from shoeing a horse to mending a wagon. Also we had a crop under way. Father bought a tract of land , twelve miles from Nachitoches, and i n order to have some solid protection for his family , started to build a regular bloc k house. But this prosperity  was not to last long . In 1835 the Mexican war broke out and Father and my eldest brothers, also the

Gibson brothers shouldered their guns and joined Houston's army.

     Some shadows fell on our little community, sometimes from sickness , often from hardship and privations . Young as I was, I knew that Mother was troubled and that her thoughts were far back in the forests and mountains of old Tennessee. I would see the sad lines that strain and anxiety were tracing on her face. Once as I watched her sitting on the cool gallery with a far-away look in her eyes, I said "Mother, are you homesick for old Tennessee?" She rose suddenly, as if. startled by the enquiry , then laying her hand on my boyish head, she said slowly and  tremulously "Son, I love every foot of ground in that dear land. I knew when with the exception of Daniel Boone and his party , few white people had ever lived in savage Tennessee, but I don't mind giving it all up and living here if it is the best for Father and you boys". Oh! those frontier mothers! How much Texas owes to their fidelity to home and duty!

      We were still settled in this  quaint , round house when Houston advised all  settler s to stick to their homes. However, many of them fled . Mother refused to budge despite the many warnings from panic - stricken refugees

      My mother's constant anxiety and suffering were intense . When she heard of the Grass Fight , she felt certain that Father and her sons were in it'and she suffered as only mothers can until she heard from them. My sisters were as tense as she. Then came the Battle of the Alamo and again many of the settlers were panic-stricken.

      A dispatch rider, galloping through Gaines Ferry on his way to the Red River brought news of the awful fate of the Alamo on March 6th, 1836. What could have become of her dear ones! Times were growing worse. More and more refugees pressed through Gaines Ferry. They urged Mother to flee with them. But she was made of sterner stuff . She armed her grown up daughters and the most reliable of the slaves .

      "Now l t those Mexicans come," shè said, as she filled a powder horn. "Here we stay . They're no better than thieving  Indians. "


       A horseman riding through Gaines Ferry , scattering the little bands of fleeing refugees , dashed furiously ahead and disappeared in a cloud of dust , the echo of his shout floating back. "The Mexicans are coming!"


       In the rush to leave the danger zone, one man left his oxen standing in the road. They couldn't move swiftly enough for him, and he ran off as fast as hs legs would carry him.


       Another man lost his shoe in a mud hole and would not stop to retrieve it . Gradually the excite-ment subsided. Unexpectedly Father appeared home, but only to satisfy himself that his family wss safe and to return again without delay. There were many questions about the boys. Were they safe , etc..?  He had heard no bad news of them. A short rest and just as he was about to start off again, the Gibson boys appeared, closely followed by the rest of the boys. Leave had been granted for the time being.

       It seemed that no sooner were we settled down, returning to our normal duties , when a second call came from General Houston for further action . We shouldered our guns, bade our family Goodbye, and away we went in high spirits , determined this time to subdue the Mexicans if human-ly possible. 


       This was about the middle of March, so all agricultural pursuits had to be terminated in so far as we men were concerned. Training was the. order of the day. Then on April 21st , 1836, the miracle battle of San Jacinto took place . The Mexicans were routed and General Santa Ana was' taken prisoner . The fight lasted twenty minutes and is recorded as one of the ten outstanding battles in history .


Texas had won her freedom!


       Father returned once more and one after another we all straggled in , a weary and ragged band. We thanked God that all had returned safe and sound, and could scarcely believe the tales each one had to relate of the unexpected and speedy conquest of the Mexicans.


       No music of the spheres could have been sweeter in the ears of the Texans than the news tha t General Houston had beaten the Mexican army and taken General Santa Anna prisoner. Texas had won her freedom! Texas had avenged the Alamo! Who did not remember the Alamo, where, at the instigation of the ruthless Santa Anna, with  the exception of one woman, her baby girl and her coloured maid, every living soul was-slaughtered„?  Afterwards the bodies of the slain were subjec-ted to horrible abuse, and when their murderers had appeased their savage instincts , they were heaped together in the court yard of the captured fort and burned to ashes, without benefit of a single prayer. The fort then shared the fate of its dead defenders.


In the interim the Republic of Texas had been formed with Sam Houston as its president .



       At thi s time - 1836- conditions in Mexico were very disturbed with one revolution after another. She needed all her soldiers at home and so far as the Mexicans were concerned Texas was left in peace.


       The Texas army could not be disbanded so long as it was unpaid.   Houston devised the clever plan of granting furloughs to most of his soldiers.

.       Father once more turned his mind to the block house he had started . He sawed large pine logs , notched them down close and built a stockade eight or ten feet high. This done, he made a second story to extend over and beyond the first story of the blockhouse and arranged an opening upstairs so that anyone inside could see and shoot at an approaching enemy without being seen. You may think that you could never rest a moment if your life was hourly in danger, and always had to be surrounded by a thick wall and sleep with your hand on a gun ready for an emergency, but it is astonishing how quickly one grows accustomed to danger. Many grow to love the excitement which comes with it and to crave it like an intoxicant . I don't think women ever feel this way but they are nevertheless creatures brim full of courage. A monument should be erected to the pioneer women of Texas for inside every man's home in those early days stood the strongest support a man could have, the unselfish , and unstinted love and help of the wife and mother.


      Finally the block house was finished.  We moved in and remained there for some time. Other pioneers started to arrive in that part of the country and settled around us. Conditions improved socially . There were still only two roads in that part of the country. One of them was the San Antonio Road. Settlers soon established themselves as far  as the Trinity River and some new coun-ties were laid off .


       Wc were progressing nicely in our new home when an order came from the government for all settlers to move back within certain protected lines, as the Indians all along the boundary were threatening trouble. This shows how hard and unsettled the life of a pioneer was, for we had to give up our home and move again.


      When the disturbances were over we found hope once more and began retracing our steps and this time i  was not so difficult for all our belongings had been left  as they stood in our house. On our return we and most other people found everything untouched.


      After being at the block house for about two years Father again felt the urge to make a move towards our destination . Accordingly we moved to a farm near Rusk close to where our grant was situated . Father, whose knowledge of Indian warfare, and military tactics had been acquired, not only from his own father' s example, who in his youth had been a friend and colleague of Daniel  Boone, but. also from hard personal experience, was asked to take charge of a. military section  To this Father willingly agreed and a little later we all took part in what turned out to be the last great war against the Cherokees.


      Father hastened to arrange the building of the fort he intended having on his land . He employed a military company under the command of Captain Black to erect the fort on his  league, three mile ssoutheast of Rusk. It was called  Fort Cook and is still known by that name.


      Here Father settled down wit  all his family, including his three sons-in-law and their families, and his friend Elia S. Nelson. Previously, in 1834, Absolom Gibson had been granted a league of land in Burnet's Colony, where he lived until 1838. He left there and moved to Fort Cook just before the Killough massacre, having been warned of the danger by a friendly Indian .


      In the Fall of 1838 the Indians perpetrated an outrage so blatant that the Whites realized that only decisive action on their part could prevent the continuance of such bloody deeds and give the Indians a wholesome fear which might prevent them from committing other massacres.


       A father, two sons with their wives and families named Killough , numbering twenty or twenty-two persons in all, lived about one mile and a half west of where the town of Larissa in East Texas now stands. Alarmed by the frequent Indian forays, they had decided to leave their homes and go elsewhere as soon as their crops were gathered. The brothers worked together, bringing in the harvest without fear of attack as it was the custom of tlie Indians to attac k at dusk or early dawn. By night the brothers took turns standing guard.


      Contrary to their usual custom, an Indian war party descended upon them one day at high noon. Many members of the family were preparing to lay down their tools and join  the women-folk at dinner. The children were playing about the door, In five minutes the peaceful harvest scene was changed to a shambles. Eighteen members of the ill-fated pioneer family perished under the tomahawks of the savages. Nathaniel Killough happened to be at a spring some distance  away while the massacre was taking placc. The horses he was watering through their restlessness warned him of danger. With extreme caution he approached his house and heard the fearful shrieks of the helpless victims mingled with the enemy's war cries . His fleeing wife  met him before he reached home with her infant child in her arms. The horror on her face told him that any desperate attempt to rescue the remaining members of his family would be worse than useless. They were beyond saving. He took the child from his wife's arms and the three made good their escape through the woods despite their pursuers . Hearing the horses that Nathaniel had abandoned whinnying by the spring, the Indians turned aside to capture them and the last living members of the Killough family fled to the Fort at Douglas.


      As a result of this massacre the white men decided to take action and they gathered in every center to join in fighting bands, ready to protect their families . They were determined to stamp out the Indian menace in East Texas forever, for any white settlement might be wiped out before help could be obtained.


      It was known that two local Indians, Chief One Eye, and Chief Little Pean were parleying with their famous leader General Holes and his second in-command Chief Big Mush, all of whom thought peace better than war. Two years before General Boles had led his people out of the North, pursued by the shadow of famine. With other tribes of the Cherokees he had settled in that part of Texas that now bears their name and labored to make his people prosperous. They hunted and fished, had buffalo meat all winter and slept at night in the comfort of roomy tepees or lodges. The Braves smoked in the sun and made big talk . Chief Boles counted these things better than scalps .


      He resented the intrusion of the palefaces . What Indian did not? They had driven his adopted people from pillar to post, cheated them, broken their word with them. No, Chief Boles did not love the white men. But he know they were strong , cleverer than his own race and far more numerous. He was too wise to be other than friends with them, although his people, like children , dissatisfied with what they already had, were always demanding more.


      By right of prior settlement in about 1324 the Cherokees claimed that section of East Texas in which the Whites had settled, but as they had sided with the Mexicans in the Revolution, these grants were declared illegal by the new Texas government and the white men continued to populate the area. The Indians did their best to drive the palefaces away, but theirs was a losing battle from the start . As Chief Boles knew, the Indians were aborigines, undeveloped in many ways and fighting against progress rather than mankind. The Texas government sent three hundred regulars, led by General Rusk, a distinguished statesman and gallant soldier against them. The famous Indian fighter, Colonel  Edward Burleson was second in command.


      Such experienced generals as these took a calmer view of the situation . General Rusk, a brave and able man, tried judiciously to quieten the Indians by making treaties and buying the land they claimed. He knew they were massing for war and issued an ultimatum, saying that if he did not get an answer within a certain time, he would consider their silence as a declaration of war. Chief Boles, the clever and fearless half-breed Indian leader agreed to General Rusk's proposals . He sent an affirmative reply that was later withdrawn on the insistence of most of the braves who over-ruled him in the. matter.


"Let the white man come" they said . "We will kil l him and all his men, gaining honour among the nations and many scalps."


      Chief Boles was powerless. They were in the majority and he had to accept their decision or forfeit his leadership and perhaps his life. The time limit, therefore, was allowed to expire in ominous silence. General Rusk waited on in hopes that they might see reason, giving them every opportunity to decide on peace. But it was not to be. The Indians gathered in a canebrake, hoping to surprise Rusk's army, when the hot afternoon sun had set.


       It was the sixteent h of July , 1839, a sweltering hot day and as every hour passed the resentment of the white men against the Indians became more intense. Instead of dispersing to the shade of their tents, the Indians by their uncertain behaviour forced them to remain on guard all day in the blistering sun.


      At dusk a preliminary battle took place in which the Indians were driven off. General Rusk lost three men. Tlie Indians escaped without a single casualty due to the sagacity of their war chief who was a worthy enemy.


     While General Rusk arranged his plans for the next offence we took one of the dead men, wrapped him in a blanket  and laid him in a deep hollow between two large logs, which we rolled together over his grave. The other two bodies were wrapped in army blankets and carried into the cellar of a herder's hut on the roadside. The men then chopped down as much earth from the sides of the cellar as time allowed, covering the bodies as well as they might. A few brief Christian rites were then performed for their dead comrades and the hut was deserted. On leaving  they set fire to the shanty so that the Indians would not be able to come back and mutilate the bodies.


      When the Indians were dislodged from their position in the canebrake, General Rusk sent spies ahead to report. As soon as he received assurance of the disposition of the Indian sentries, the main body of the white army followed the scouts. When the Indian camp was in sight, the General or-dered an immediate charge.


      The whites descended on the Indian camp like wild men and, though the Indians rose at once in their own defense, counter attacking at the weakest point in tho white line, the element of surprise gave us the advantage. A terrific battle followed in which Chief Boles was wounded and thrown from his horse as it fell dead with a bullet through its head.  The chief was tossed hither and thither by the surging lines of battle and as the Indian were forced to retreat their swift horses soon carried them far away from their wounded chief, leaving him unarmed and alone on the field.  He attempted to escape and though a rally was made in his defence, he was cornered in the melee and was shot again.  This time the injury was mortal.  He fell dead on the battlefield.  When the Cherokees had been completely routed some of the white men in the frenzy of victory and feeling that death alone was not enough, fell upon the still warm, limp body of the fallen chief and on it carved their hatred of the whole Indian race.  First they scalped him, hacking the skin and hair away from the battered skull with their skinning knives.  Then they tore the bleeding horror into small pieces for division amongst themselves.  Some were disappointed.  

      Needless to say, many of us found our sensibilities much shocked by the actions of those deranged men.  They behaved with a savagery inexcusable to Indians and most degrading to white men, as with grim brutality they cut long strips of flesh and skin from the dead chief's broad back.

      A family named Boxer was settled on a creek near our home.  One afternoon, as Mrs. Boxer was milking, some prowling Indians shot her cow.  This made us all so mad that we determined if possible to find the culprits; so a party of us went to Mr. Boxer to find out all we could about it.  We could not start that night as it was late and too dark, so we stacked our guns against a tree and, sitting near them, ate our suppers of fried bacon, corn dodgers and black coffee.  Then we lay down on the bare ground with our saddles for pillows.

     Near where we were camped were two houses.  One was occupied by the Boxers and the other was empty- except for fleas which had taken possesion.  And though you may not believe it , we preferred sleeping in the open air.  Oh!  What it is on a warm night tom lie down on mother earth and, looking up into the starry skies, be fanned to sleep by the cool, fragrant prairie winds.  We had lots of good things in those days.  We had hardly dropped asleep when er were awakened by shots and screams fro women and children.  Some of our men, roused thus suddenly out of a sound sleep, were bewildered by the cries of "murder" and there was no controlling them.  They grabbed their guns, ran into the empty house and barricaded the doors, never thinking of seeing after the women nd children.  Later they said that they were so frightened that their trembling shook a table in the middle of the room and that an empty can on the table rattled and made uch a queer noise they thought there were spirits around.


      There was no evidence in all this.  At another time these same men might be the coolest and bravest of soldiers under enemy fire.  It was just one of those nervous surrenders to sudden fright., from which many a good soldier has suffered.


     While this was going on, some of us went into the other house.  We found nothing there but some frightened women and children who, having had their nerves badly upset earlier in the day when their cow was shot- o hearing some noise started to scream "murder!"   For several years there were many instances, such as this, until the neighboring Indians were completely subdued. 




     After the Cherokee war when the Sabine River district was relatively safe for settling there was a fresh influx of pioneers , but as Texas is very large and the influx only consisted of a few thousand people scattered about, the county did not seem overcrowded. Among the newcomers was James Lewis Hogg from Alabama, a very fine gentleman indeed, Like the Cooks he was of Scotch Iris  descent and his forefathers had settled originally in Virginia. Mr. Hogg was married and already a proud father when he settled in Nacogdoches. Later they moved to Rusk, not far from Cook's Fort and the two families continued their friendship .


     Schools and churches were the ideal of early Texans. Al l the splendid universities and the great churches of the present state are founded on the hope and faith of the pioneers. It is interesting to look back on the little school of those early days which made the community around Cook's Fort in Cherokee County so proud. Like most of the western schools of the time it was a one room log cabin , chinked with a mixture of mud and grass. There were no panes of glass in the windows and the fresh air blew freely in . The room was sparsely furnished with a tab e for the teacher and rough wooden benches for the pupils . There was also a big iron stove to keep the room reasonably warm  n winter .


     A school teacher, by the name of Mr. Stanner had been engaged.  He was a very good dominie and the little school flourished . We did not have grades nor written examinations, nor many of the helps and advantages enjoyed now; but the young folk managed to get an excellent plain English education . Every Friday afternoon we had a spelling bee and very few pupils left that school without being good scholars .


     The first Methodist minister in this part of the country was the Rev. Mr. X- , a man of supreme piety , a fervent and gracious Christian . He lived with the Cook family until he could settle in a home of his own. Father , though not himself a churchgoing man, had a great respect and admiration for Mr. X. The path of righteousness was still hard and stony, while the path of pleasure still led only to Hell , but Mr. X. was somewhat lenient i n h s views. Since there was no church building Mr. X asked for permission to conduct regular Sunday services in the log school - house. This was readily gran-ted to him and soon the accommodation was crowded.  He kept no slaves and consequently was shorthanded. His parishioners assisted him by lending coloured help. The darkies idolized him and one poor, unfortunate man that he had bought out of unspeakable misery and freed attached himself to the minister with fervour and devotion.

     As far as anyone could see, Hiram, as he was called, never did anything.  But, after all, one must be just.  Hiram may have done more than met the naked eye.  Weekdays the minister himself fol-lowed the plough and expended endless energy on his tasks.

     For some reason, despite all his labour, the minister’s farm did not amount to a hill of beans.  Just when the  hay needed cutting or the wheat should be harvested, some poor parishioner would be taken ill, and off the minister would go to succor the body and soothe the soul, leaving Hiram to harvest the wheat and bring in the hay.  Of course it would rain, or snow, or the hay would catch fire from the sun or internal combustion – never from Hiram’s smouldering corncob pipe as he snoozed among the scattered heaps of hay.  Still, as long as he managed to get something to eat and a little tobacco for Hiram, the minister did not complain.  He was upholding his community, which was intensely religious and that was more to him than all the farms in Christendom.  His congregation had grown so large that the log schoolhouse would no linger hold it.

     However, like the loaves and the fishes, as the attendance grew, the accommodation was made ade-quate.  The men of the neighborhood added to the schoolhouse front a decorative brush arbor.  Posts were driven in the ground and the structure was  roofed with saplings and leafy branches.  In time the arbor would not hold the still growing attendance and a larger building became an imme-diate necessity.

     After talking the matter over, my brothers and I donated three acres of land, including a spring of water and with the help of neighbors a large room, built of pine logs was soon erected with a cav-ernous fireplace at one end.  Even this was soon crowded to the utmost.  The pioneers of Cook’s Fort and of Rusk seemed to love to go to church.

     The minister was a man of original ideas and he had his own opinion about salaries and other matters.  He earned his own living, asked no pay for his ministrations and was independent of stewards of elders.  Having no material fears, he acted up to his own convictions with little cere-mony.

     On one occasion a lady at his Sunday service became what the Methodists call “happy” and began to shout.  Usually this exhibition of religious fervor was encouraged, but the preacher surprised everyone by remarking icily “If this lady has any friends or relatives present, will they please take her out into the fresh air until she becomes quiet?”

     In the sudden shocked silence, for the lady was startled into silence, he added, “God is a God of order, not of disorder.”  If he had been anyone else this refutal of a custom, in addition to his outspoken disavowal of slavery, would have caused no little resentment.  Being himself, and well beloved, his congregation accepted his dictum as meekly as lambs.

     For a number of years the minister labored disinterestedly for the real benefit of the community.  No one realized the cares and responsibilities he had shouldered until it was rumoured that he was about to leave.  The neighborhood had looked forward to the pastor’s devotion and loving care for years to come and they were shocked when the rumour was found to be ta fact. , that he had received a call to go further out on the frontier.  His flock wonderd whether his departure had anything to do with his lack of pay.  They looked at each other a little ruefully, remembering the kindnesses he had done for each of them and the way they had taken them for granted.  During all the years of his service I never saw a contribution plate or hat passed around, yet money always came when needed.  He himself had never received payment for his work.  The settlers decided to rectify matters.  Within a few days over a thousand dollars were raised for him.  A delegation was chosen to represent the people of the community and this sum was presented to him with a petition asking him to remain.  The next Sunday following this presentation, this eccentric but true Christian told his congregation that the money must be returned to the people who had given it.

     “I have already returned the money to the delegation.” He announced, “where the donors may apply.  All I have ever wanted from you is your kindliness towards me, and your good will.”  He paused and looked about him, his gentle glance a benediction.  “Truly, I am well paid.”

     Several of the more susceptible ladies openly dabbed at their eyes, not even dipping their bonnets to hide their emotion.  Afterwards the declared they could see a nimbus about the minister’s hand-some silver head.

     “Though I am sinfully pleaded and proud,” he went on. “that you should wish me to stay with you all the rest of my life, and though it would give me pleasure indeed to lay down my burdens and grow old happily among you, yet I know that my services are needed elsewhere.  My conscience would never let me rest, especially when I know that there are others who could fill my place here better.  The Lord has asked me to raise and depart from you.  I shall obey him.  But, before I go, let me commend my servant to your care.  He is a freeman.  To him I bequeath my homestead with the fervent wish that you will watch over his interests.”

     “Brethren, you are always in my prayers, as the love of God is always with you.  I shall not say “Farewell”, for I hope to meet you all again, if not on earth, in Heaven.”  “Let us pray.”

     So he left Cherokee for a wider field of action.  A minister took the reins and found the furrow easier because the horses had been well broken to the plough.  Hiram, however, was inconsolable, and would have nothing to do with the new minister whom he regarded as an interloper.  The old man became morose and dull, failing daily.  Neither freedom nor a forty acre farm made up for the friend he had lost.  He could not realize freedom and would not accept it.  He worked harder after the minister left than he had ever worked in his life before.  The farm improved through his industry and care, but Hiram took no pleasure in it. 

     “Ma heart is broke,” he would say darkly, “Isa jes a-waiting fo de trumpet call.  Marse ain’ got no bizness to leeb dis poo l niggah fo de debbil to git, kase he ain’ got no one to help his rassle wid sin.”

     In time the idea that Satan was running off with his soul became a constant hallucination.  He prayed until he was assured that he had “gotten grace.”  His kinky hair went white in the process and his loose-jawed face acquired a certain spirituality that lent him something of beauty.

     The other negroes regarded him with awe and reverence.  They were sure the “Lawd” was with him.  In time he made his peace with the new minister to the point of toleration.  He took to having visions and rambling a little.  People were very kind to him.

     One day he went up to the new minister, to whom he then and there donated his tiny plantation.  “Ise gwine to help ma master save souls,”  he said, with the light of determination in his eyes and a new viguor in his step,  “Isa done got de call"”

     The minister thought it was another of the old man’s visions and humoured him, promising to do duly what he asked.  He called around to see him the next day, but sre enough, the old man had gone.  After a while news came through that he really had joined the man he claimed as his master, whereupon he had immediately lapsed into his old helpless dependence.  As a saint, Hiram was in a fair awy to go to heaven in a hurry.  As a happy-go-lucky sinner, he would likely to live a much longer while.



     With Texas now more or less at peace and everybody prospering I began to thin k about a home of my own. In the neighborhood adjacent to Cook's Fort a family named Mosely had settled. They had recently come from Georgia where several of their children had been born. They sprang from staunch old English stock, originating in  Staffordshire and such was the pride of earlier members of the family in their ancestry that they named their old home in Virginia "Rolleston Hall " after the ancient residence- that had housed their family for generations in England. The American members of the family were quiet, self reliant people, a little stubborn, perhaps, but well bred and unostentatiously wealthy. The daughters were charming. I had gone with one of the daughters: of Elisha Mosely a good deal, whenever the Indians and Mexicans left  me any time at all to think of romance. In all the danger and fighting I had never lost sight of her face in my memory and my heart always beat faster when I allowed myself to wonder if I would ever be so lucky as to win her for my wife . So now I began to see her often and I was dead in earnest .







































After feeling that the country was safe to live in, and that I could be sure of providing for her, I determined to ask Talutha Marion Ann Mosely to be my wife . I did most of my courting on horseback. That is the best way in the world and the most gallant. A pretty girl who rides well and is on a fine horse is a.most captivating;.sight,  No other situation gives a girl so much freedom to do as she pleases . She meets you on even ground and if you keep her riding by your side it is because she wants to listen to you. Otherwise, with one little movement of her bridle, or one touch of her whip away springs her horse as if of its own accord, without any appearance of deserting, but rather like a challenge she makes you follow and catch up with her, if you would speak to her again.


     The exhilaration of the ride  clearness of sky, tle freshness of the pure winds of the prairies lend their charm. In those days, if a girl really loved a fellow, she did not expect a palatial home, land and diamond rings, and big weddings with choir singing and hot-house flowers.  She did not expect to live in a fine home and sit idly dreaming all day, or gadding about,visiting friends . In those pioneer time when our sweethearts agreed to marry us, many of them knew they would have to keep house, cook and make clothes, and perhaps even wash and iron. Yet no bride of today, freed from all such drudgery, is happier than they were as, in simplest manner they took the marriage vow. There were no mental reservations about compatibility of temper, or affinities, no thought of future escape by means of easy divorce . The marriage vow was a sacred obligation and meant as it said "til l death do us part."


     " Early in 1843 Texas had made an application to the United States to be admitted to the Union, but was refused . Great Britain and France offered her protection from the Mexicans so long as she remained a free state . the U.S.A. therefore feared that if Texas was not admitted to the Union, she might easily become part of some foreign empire. So in 1846 admission was granted and Texas became one of the United States of America.


   On February 19th, 1846 the laws and postal service of the U.S.A. embraced Texas and President Anson Jones resigned his position in favour of J. Pinkney Henderson, who became the first Governor of the State . Thus of her own choice the Lone Star was absorbed within the banner of the Stars and Stripes.


     During this period of peace and plenty in Texas her soldiers had come back to their homes to plant cotton and grow rich, to build up the community and local government, to improve their country and their state . Cherokee County had been established and Absolom Mosely (Ann's father), Nathaniel Killough, William Box, William Roark and John H. Irby were the commisioners elected to choose the site for the town of Rusk. At that time there was only one white man- John Kilgore living on the chosen site . His home was an old Indian lodge.


     The locating commission had considered part of James Cook's land as the area for the new County seat, but he opposed the ide a as i t would have interfered with his vast plantation interests .


    Jesse Gibson, Elizabeth's husband, was appointed assessor and collector  of taxes . Mr. L. H. Gideon was Chief Justice and John S. Thompson was County Clerk . Our family, the Cooks, and our kinsfolk the Moseleys, Moores, Gibsons, Jones, Elliots and Goodwins, together with our good friend Mr. Elias Nelson, who came with us from Tennessee, were the fir settlers . Soon after followed the Givens , Hoggs, Carters, Longs. Cannons and others. The first physicians were Dr. W. B. Davis and Dr. T. J . Moore.


    The Rev. Mr. Harris was a very early Presbyterian minister in our community. The most memorable of all occasions for me was when a marriage licence was issued - Entry No. 1 on the County records - fo Joseph T. Cook to marry Ann Moseley. Our wedding took place i n the Moseley homestead. The Probate Judge, William Dougherty, solemnized the rites on the 19th day of August,.1848.


      Ann and I settled at the Cook's Fort during the early part of our married life. We were building our own home nearby and it was not yet completed - nor would it be ready for some time owing to the depredations of scattered bands of marauding, thieving Indians Yet the menace of the redskins was soon to become almost a thing of the past. The whole state was progressing rapidly since it had shifted the burden of responsibility of its central government to shoulders more adequately fitted to bear it. The dreaded Mexican raiders remained on their side of the border, afraid to defy the majesty of the United State s of America.


      We began life in all the simplicity of the frontier. Ann was a clever housekeeper and I worked with new strength. We prospered and were happy. In 1847 a son was born to us. Joseph Thomas Junior was welcomed with joy and delight. Yet, despite all the love and care lavished on him, before his infant eyes had grown accustomed to the scenes about him, they close d forever. Three months after his  birth the date of his death was inscribed in the family bible . In 1848 Ann and I were blessed with a second child, a daughter whom we named Mary after my mother.


      When our new home was ready for us we moved in. It was the first plank house in the district. At this house three more of our children were born - Susan, Samuel, and Ann-Eliza. We were now considering a move to a larger place and soon we found ourselves in  a new plantation on the Angelina River.


      There my brother and I put in one of the first grist mills and cotton and cotton gins in the country. Everyone predicted a failure and said we could not build a dam that would stand. We put mud sills  n their places, drove down piling and did not put a single nail in them. The custom had been to nail them to the sills. Had we done this, the dam would have given way with the first freshet.


      After a time my brother-in-law concluded that the dam caused chills and fever; so he bought the whole concern and turned the mill pond loose. I reckon the mud sills are there yct.  The chills and fever continued. I planted the first cherry trees near Rusk. Some little while ago James Gibson, while superintendent of the penitentiary there, had walking sticks made out of one of my old trees for my son Samuel and myself.  The sticks, made by the prisoners were inlaid with different kinds of wood and beautifully finished with silver mountings.


      In the fall of 1846 the first District Court of the County was convened. I can never forget the .pleasure I felt at seeing my friend the Hon. W. B. Ochiltree,  who was the judge, take command on that historic occasion. Thomas W. Blake was the acting District Attorney. The Court was held in a log cabin where later a more elaborate Court House was built on the same site .


      Laws were being made and taking shape, but the frontier was still untamed. Men were accus-tomed to taking the law into their own hands, and it was sometimes hard for them to submit to the decisions arrived at in a court. One judge after experiencing trouble of this kind used to bring his gun with him and, if the repeated rappings with the gavel were not observed, lie would raise his weapon and roar "Be silent, or I'll silence  you."  The room would immediately become quiet, for they knew he would carry out his threat. However, he was a man of sound principle and all who came within the jurisdiction of his court were assured of complete fairness .


       Most men in Texas felt the obligation to abide hy the laws and out of the chaos of systems a sounder government was, growing steadily. Knowing the horror s of lawlessness, every reasonable person graciously submitted to authority, not as slaves but as men responsible for the well-being of the community at large. Texans were fiercely independent and that characteristic never failed them regardless of whether they answered the call of the plough, the pen or the sword. l t was said that the laws that men organized were put into rigid practice on the insistence of the women.


       At that time being a frontiersman often meant being a restless sort of person. Everyone was talking about the natural wonders of the territory further  west, bordering on the Brazos River. There was so much good land and so many openings that men were constantly looking far off for other opportunities. Someone was always coming from back in the old states with money to buy and the pioneer was always ready to sell. This perpetual fever of unrest possessed me, so I sold out and moved to Hill county. This change involved another long trek across unknown prairies, but being seasoned pioneers, we undertook it without undue anxiety. We settled in a very sparsely inhabited region and for miles around there were only three families, ourselves and our two .neighbors.

        Men in those days were generally kind and true, knit together by a bond of mutual dependence and common danger, but once in a while it happened that bad feeling would get the mastery and then they did not ask judge or jury to settle the.trouble, but used shot-guns. My two neighbors, a Mr. ii . and a Mr. C. fell out with each other and went around armed, determined to mete out punishment on sight. I was along one day when these two met and I feared there would be desperate work, so I got between them and appealed to their better selves, spoke of their dependent families out on the frontier and then asked them both to lay down their guns and let me hold them while they quietly talked over their trouble. Both men gave me their weapons and the result was that after an explanation they found there was nothing to be mad about. They shook hands and parted friends. In less than six months these men joined the same church and I felt very happy to have helped in bringing this about.


       While we were living on our plantation on the Brazos River another daughter was born to us. We named her Lula Brazoria. The children were now arriving at an age for us to think seriously about their education, so we moved again to the town of iiillsborough where the older ones were able to attend a good school. For their sake I felt we should definitely settle there and when the Civil War broke out, we were still living in Hillsborough.


       It was a tough time for Texas as the economy virtually collapsed.   Many items were rationed. All commodities became very scarce and many went off the market altogether. Every sacrifice was willingly made and many families gave up their private property. Texas was never invaded by the enemy, but many of our men fought in the armies of other Southern States, covering themselves with glory. Despite the heroic struggle and bitter hardships of the South we were still to endure greater sorrow. Our hearts were broken when our cause was lost and we heard that General Robert E. Lee, our great and beloved leader had surrendered his sword in the Spring of 1865. Then all was confusion; carpet baggers and negroes, most of the latter utterly undisciplined, in thei  new-found freedom were running wild. Frauds, murders and mock trials were the order of the day and it was not safe to go out in your own yard after nightfall.


       The Southern people believed that the South was doomed forever. Many vowed they would never take the "Iron clad Oath". They foresaw the miseries to be encountered in the reconstruction. Our way of life and our fortunes were gone. A number of citizens in my neighborhood thought it would be wise to emigrate and we decided that Brazil would be a fine country to colonize. We held a meeting and elected a leader, a Mr. McMullen, He was a good men and could speak several languages. We threw in money to send him to Brazil to make investigations about the country and the prospect of taking over a party of settlers. In about six months he returned and reported favourably as to the land and the government.


       We set a day for all who wished to go to meet Mr. McMullen in Galveston. At the last moment my brother David who was ready to start with us, gave up tho idea of going and hogged mo not to leave Texas, but my mind was made up. So my wife and family were soon in Galveston ready for our journey, I can't help stopping to say how true my wife was, how she gave up home and family ties , and wherever the fates drove my restless soul, there she was by my side.


      At Galveston I found that our party of adventurers consisted of Mr. James Dyer, his two sons and his sister, Mrs, McMullen and her son, Mr. Nettles and his family, Mr. Jesse Wright, Mr. Garner and family, Mr. Smith and family, Mr. McKnight and family also a brother, a minister named Quillen and a Mrs. Fatheree. Besides these there was an Englishman names Tilly, a Mr. Cobb, a Mr. Cruxley and others amounting in all to about one hundred persons. When after much delay we were ready to start, the vessel on which we were to sail was attached for one hundred dollars. This was paid and then it was attached for a smaller sum.


     At last all was settled and the whole party went on board, fearful that even after were out in the bay some other hindrance would present itself to delay us. The ship's crew did not seem to be expert, for Mr. Tilly, the Englishman knew the bay bettor than the pilot did and helped the latter to take tho craft out to sea. Ii was very depressing to see the last line s of Texas, The Lone Star State, the country we had built fade from our view and to feel that it was no longer our home or country. All hearts wore heavy and many eyes were dimmed with tears. The future in a new untried land, about which we could only speculate on what was in store for us, made even the stoutest heart of a pioneer tremble. Previously being on the border lands of Texas, even with hundreds of miles between us and our birth places was a small thing compared to going to another continent with a vast ocean between us and all our past lives.


      From language that passed between our leader, Mr. McMullen and the captain, I greatly feared some trouble and it seemed that many others felt the same. Someone said there was a preacher on board and that was bad luck. We had no fine system of ocean travel then; the captains wore generally a reckless set, and during the voyage we were entirely dependent and without any recourse or means of protecting our rights . As we neared Cuba some of the men whistled. The crow objected to that, saying i t brought bad luck and must be stopped. I told my wife that I predicted a wreck, but I said nothing about it to anyone else. The Captain and Mr. McMullen did not agree very well and some ugly words passed between them. The former, who was always under the influence of whisky, was all out of sorts.


     Late in the evening of the second day out the crew reported that the vessel was leaking considerably. The Captain was worried about it and said that the passengers would have to help at the pumps. All worked manfully till about midnight, when the first mate told the Captain that we were nearing the breakers. The Captain only cursed and told him to attend to his own business or he'd shoot the top of his head off.  Then the second mate wont to him and said that the vessel was in tho swell of the breakers. He was treated in the same insolent manner.


      Suddenly the vessel struck a rock. The noise of the breakers, the roar of the water pouring over the vessel, the screaming of the women, tho crying and praying was terrible and bewildering. Gradually the vessel settled down on the rocky bed and some of the sailors clambered down a chain hanging over the vessel's side down to the water and after examination said tho vessel would sink no farther and that we were not far from the shore. There was nothing to do but wait till daylight would permit us to make a survey of the scene. We quieted the women and with anxious hearts waited for the coming dawn.


         By the first light we saw that we had drifted still nearer the shore and that the water was not very deep. The sharp, cruel rocks lifted their dangerous edges across to the shore, making a rough and sometimes perilous but possible approach to the land. The Captain seemed completely changed in manner. The truth was that the disaster had sobered him. First he ordered a rope ladder to be fastened to the ship, then he made a sailor go ashore and secure the other end. But the vessel rocked and reeled; the ladder rose and fell and no woman would venture over it. Then^ I suggested that a rope should be tied first around one and then another and all should be lowered over the side to the sailor s stationed on the rocks below, who would lift, help and guide them to the mainland.


       Thus was the rescue of the passengers finally accomplished. The sharp, spear-like projections of rocks were very difficult to walk over, and the clothing of most of the women was badly torn. Our children having been lowered to the rocks, we both felt that I should go next to look after them. Ann was the last to leave the ship-wrecked vessel. She would not go until our baby was safe on shore. The Captain himself took the little child and holding it with one hand, and with its clothes firmly gripped in his teeth, he was lowered over the vessel's side. Then Ann allowed the rope to be tied around her own waist, and reaching the rocky landing was conducted safely to my arms. Wc found we had been wrecked off the island of Cuba. Fortunately, most of our household goods were salvaged.


The Rolleston Hall site has been home to a significant residence since at least the early reign of King Henry III in the early thirteenth century. It is most associated with the Mosely Family who owned it from 1622.  Staffordshire - Now recently demolished  (After 2015)




       Well, we couldn't rush around the world then as we do now. We couldn't board a vessel for an ocean trip , or jump on a train at any hour of the day or night. We had to stay in Cuba until Mr. Mc-Mullen could go back to New Orleans and negotiate with the captain of some vessel going to Brazil to call by and take us on board. Now everything seems ready made to order for the travelers conven-ience. In those days it seemed as though delays, obstacles and perplexities met a man at every step when he wanted to travel.


       The Governor of Cuba heard of us and was very gracious. He sent government teams and carts to take our baggage and possessions to a place where there was a short, unused railway, formerly running into Havana, and he put the empty station at our disposal. Also he generously told us not to spend our money or use our provisions, and sent us the best of everything that the island afforded - such as coffee, sugar, bacon, flour , molasses, brandy, whisky and wine. Everybody treated us as if we were people of great importance, instead of unfortunate ship-whecked Confederates, for the time being without home or country. Finally a boat the "Mariposa" came from New Orleans. We were all ready to embark, for although we had been treated so kindly, we were not sorry to be once more on our very long journey.


      However, things were not to be so smooth after all . When started from Galveston on our journey, i it was on a specially  chartered boat for our party. The "Mariposa" however, was on her way to New York, and we found it was necessary for us to go there in order to take passage to Brazil . This was a terribly long trip in the opposite direction, but we had no choice i n the matter. When we reached New York we had to wait a month before any ship was ready to start for South American ports.


      Many people were very kind to us when they learned of our ship- wreck. They tried to help and comfort us in every possible way. One man I remember, who said he was a gambler, laughingly said to me "Today I have thousands, tomorrow it is gone and I am a beggar. You people might as well have what I happen to own now." So he insisted on us all going to the stores and buying whatever we need-ed and seemed troubled only because none of us bought very much.


       At last after weary delays we learned that the ship to Rio was ready to sail and we all embarked. The New York people, without our knowing it, had paid the for all our party . llow was-that for an enemy! For the Northeners whom we had been fighting against with all our might! We said  goodbye to these kind people as to old friends .


        A young bright negro also embarked, who proved to be a good carpenter and an excellent fiddler. Life on an ocean is for the time a miniature world. In so long a journey by a sailing vessel to South America we had ample time to observe all the various characters on board. There were the good, the bad, the wise, the foolish, the selfish , the generous, the sober, the intemperate; all represented in a crowd gathered in the close quarters of he boat. Things.went smoothly for a few days, then there was a general revolt against the miserable food we were served. Remonstrance with the Captain and the Stewart had no effect, so several men got some whisky, went down and drank wit h the cook and hi s assistants till they were dead drunk, then the men went into the store-room, which was well stocked with good food, took everything they wanted, cooked a good square meal, and after the Captain had returned to his stateroom, served it up in style to the rest of us. Tho empty cons and scraps were piled up on deck where the Captain could see them.  He read in this his lesson and like a wise man took warning. After that we fared very well.


       However, there was continually some trouble developing on board during the monotony of our voyage. It is a true adage; that "Satan find s some mischief still for idle hands to do." There is one thing in which women always have the advantage over men. That is their love for needlework. I don't think Ann spent one idle day. She sewed and did quantities of tatting and crocheting . Her nimble fingers were always busy. I loafed from one side of the vessel to the other and time hung heavily . I kept out of disputes and tried to be very careful in  my conduct. One day Mrs. McMullen wished to go below to look after some of her things. Mr. McMullen and the porter went with her. Some dispute arose between the men and the porter struck McMullen in the face. Quick as lightning the latter drew his pistol, but the porter was up the stairs in a flash and locked himself in the wheel house. There he remained a day and night until at last he prevailed upon the Captain to beg McMullen to drop the matter, which was agreed upon and the porter emerged from his prison.


       The passengers on a vessel in those days were, very much at the mercy of the crew. Not long after this all were ordered up on deck while the stewards cleaned out the cabins. Soon a shower of rain blew up and one man named Mr. Watson, who had been quite sick,  said he must go below till the shower was over. As he neared the lowest step, the Steward in a most insolent manner told him to go back. Watson struck him a blow that knocked him down.  Southern men were not accustomed to insolence. Soon it stopped raining and Watson returned to the deck.


       Almost immediately the Captain and the Steward came along asking for tlie fellow who had struck the steward. Watson walked straight up to the Captain and said - " I am the man Sir, and I would have knocked you down if you had spoken to me as insolently. " Then our leader Mr. McMul-len stepped forward and said Watson had done exactly right. "We are gentlemen, Sir , and we pro-pose to be treated as such. " The Captain stormed and swore at Mr. McMullen, who then challenged him to fight, saying that there would not be so much as a greasy spot left of him, and that the passen-gers could sail the vessel to Brazil  as well as a set of landlubbers like him and his crew. All  the time he was talking, the men of lour party kept saying "Give it to him McMullen, say what you please and we'll stand by you. "The Captain was boiling with rage and it looked as though there would be blood-shed. At last the latter saw he was in the minority. He knew Texas men would fight and he was conscious that even his crew harboured grudges against him and were not even silently upholding him. He went down the gangway cursing and fuming and after that episode we had the satisfaction of being treated with the respect that was due us.


        We stopped at St. Thomas to coal. The hands who brought the coal on board were negro women.  Mr. Quillen and his little son went on shore. Something the boy said made a small girl at the coal pit angry and she struck the boy. The indignant father took his walking-stick to the little girl . The threat-ening gesture enraged the negro women, whereupon they all began to beat Mr. Quillen and his son, both of whom had to run for their lives back to the vessel which they reached in safety. However, other passengers landed and had no trouble whatever. We see things like that the world over. Some  men like porcupines always have their sharp quills out expecting insult and trouble. They usually find all they are looking for. Other people always have an attitude of urbanity and a kind manner towards everybody, especially inferiors and from the depth of their  kind hearts have a "soft answer that turneth away wrath"- such people are benedictions daily.


       Our vessel passed by the West Indies and sailed on till we reached Para, at the mouth of the Amazon. The water of that magnificent river makes distinct lines for some distance out at sea as it does not seem to mix at all  with the salt water. The men went ashore at the city of Para and bought oranges wholesale. The river at its mouth is about one hundred miles-wide. From Para we sailed around the coast line stopping for several hours at La Bahia, then on to Rio de Janeiro. There we landed and finding accommodations, remained for some time. It was at Rio de Janeiro that we became acquainted with Dom Pedro II, Emperor of Brazi l - a plain unassuming man, who gave us a cordial welcome and expressed pleasure at our having chosen his country in which to build again our homes. Dom Pedro was very democratic in manner.  On one ocassion I saw him get off his horse, leave his escort, go into a blacksmith's shop and strike the anvil for the smith.


        Here as in Cuba we were treated with the utmost kindness. Our journey was now to continue on another boat which took us down the coast until we reached the town of Iguape. Here we disem-barked, unloading our household goods and other belongings and stored there in a large rock building, which we had fortunately been given permission to use.


        About three o'clock i n the afternoon, while our belongings were still being unloaded, a band of musicians came and, stopping in front of us, played "Bonnie Blu« Flag" as beautifully as we had ever heard it. Away off there, i n a foreign land , it brought up memories of the country we had fought for, the home we had said good-bye to - most likely forever - the old friend  we would never see again, and every eye filled with tears. We felt the music to be a sweet compliment to us, and a delicate expression of sympathy, and you may well believe we halloed and threw our hats in the air when the music ended.




        After resting several weeks and receiving every kindness and courtesy, we prepared to go further up the river to where land had been allotted for our colony. We had to prepare boats and rafts. These we loaded and hired natives to take them up stream. At night we always landed, tied the rafts and boats and slept on shore.


        The Brazilian Government was glad to have Americans to settle their country, believing that our new ideas and advanced methods of agriculture would act as a stimulus to their less progressive people. The large tract of land placed at our.disposal was to be divided and assigned as we deemed best, I do not remember the exact number of acres, but we had all the land we cared to own and cultivate . Before we lef t the United States I had provided cloth for tents . Our party settled on tracts up and down the river valley, which, though we were some distance apart, was the best arrangement as everyone- wanted a water front and not too much of the dense immense forest. 


        The river was our only means of communication with the nearest markets. We were fortunate in having brought farming implements and other tools. Some of the wealthy native farmers, after seeing my ploughs, imported some exactly like them and paid us a big price to teach their workmen how to use them. Before that they had used only forked sticks.


        In my new hone on the river my family consisted of my wife and our boys and girls. There were no stoves to be used for cooking. The Brazilians used furnaces like baker's ovens, with a flat piece of iron for a cover and holes cut in it, to take cooking utensils . The stove was often placed out of doors. Our wives soon acquired the ability to use them like the natives.


        My boys and I prepared some land and bedded out some potatoes - for the Brazilia n yam is noted. Our sugar, coffee and other provisions began to run low. I went to the nearest town on the river but found that everything was scarce and expensive. Hearing that the other mcmbers of our colony were running short also, I determined to make a trip to Santos, about one hundred miles distant, to see what could be bought wholesale, for although our party was very scattered, we tried to keep in touch with each other and help every one his neighbor. Despite the extreme kindness of the people, we had much to learn, and much to endure in this strange land.


        There were many troublesome creatures. To begin with, the insects. There was one, I remember, something like our buffalo gnat that was a terrible pest during the day for it draws blood every time it bites. A little girl, one of the settler' s children,was attacked by a swarm of them and bitten till her limbs were covered with blood. The natives, when working out of doors, take oyster cans into which they put smouldering rags, then hang them on their backs to drive the gnats away.


        Then there is a fly that, almost unnoticed and unknown to the victim, deposits an egg under the skin. This egg develops into a worm about the size of our grub-worm, and if left alone will bore into the vitals and cause death, or so I was told. One got into my arm and, not knowing what it really  was, I thought it was an abscess. Some natives enlightened me and said that I must take hold of the scab, which was really the head of the worm and pull very slowly and steadily till it came out. I did as advised and drew out a worm an inch long. I laid the thing on a post and, looking at it in disgust, I said mentally "I wish I were i n Dixie!" Soon after this another got into my arm, but I had learned what to do. In the very early stages the bite must be rubbed with nicotine and the affected part squeezed, whereupon the egg will easily pop out. In the immense forests where we lived there were many wild animals and monstruous lizards and snakes. Our Brazilian neighbors told us all they could about guarding against such terrors and as far as I knew no harm befell any of our party.


        Among the natives there is a disease called "Elephanta". They said it was caused by a worm getting into the foot, causing it to swell to such a size that they wrapped the affected limb with coffee sacks. We also saw many people with goitres, sometimes the excrescence on the neck being a foot long or even more. I saw one woman take hold of her goitre, push it over her shoulder and cover it with a shawl. There were monkeys by the hundreds. I have watched them bridge the trees by looping their tails together. There were also wild dogs and armadillos, birds like ostriches, the peccaries, gigantic tortoises and boa constrictors that could squeeze an ox to death.


        The natives were mostly Indians, but there were also many Europeans and their descendants together with mixed races. Brazil is finely watered, having 30,000 miles of inland navigation. Coffee is the chief production and the forests arc full of valuable timber, while on the plains there are mil-lions of cattle. Evnn at that time there were factories and mills in the cities , but these took capital to operate, and we were poor Confederate soldiers starting at the bottom.


        Again I saw the necessities of life running low. It was lonely and dreary where we were, although in other parts of Brazil there were railroads and thoroughfares. We were cut off from all  supplies and I wondered if we had acted too hastily in going so far into the country, so I decided to make a trip down the river a short distance and then over a trail I learned about, cross  tho mountains and see what Santos on the sea coast offered.  I1 had, by talking and questioning, become pretty familiar with the route.  A Mr. Boles had settled near us and we determined to make the trip together. Of course we had to take our families. We could not leave them alone there, also if an opportunity to make money presented itself we intended to remain in Santos.


        We. had our baggage taken down the river as far as where a Mr. Talliaferro had settled. Then we hired Indians to carry our goods on mules over the Mountains. As we traveled along the valley we came to the home of a Mr.Wright.  His family wore at their noon day meal. The table  uas made of four sticks driven into tho ground for-legs with a wire stretched taut over them. Their meal consisted of coffee and parched corn . While there we could hear the roaring of some wild animal in the near distance.


        When we first started up the mountain we got lost and were a very long time finding the way.  After that we traveled all day and at night we cut palmetto leaves and made high beds. The. Indians shot a monkey which they prepared and cooked and that served for our supper. We stopped several times along the way and gathered delicious oranges. We went up and up and in the distance we saw the ocean before us.


        As we journeyed over the mountain crest and began the descent there were many dangerous spots. At some narrow passes there was much to be feared.  In some places the natives had tied poles from tree to tree, forming a rail as a protection. Eventually we reached the valley below, and there we were surprised to find a Mr. Crawford, an American gentleman, living on a small farm. He prevailed upon us to remain with him to rest, an invitation which was greatly appreciated by us all, especially the women, and children.


        Here, alas, a sad and sorrowful blow befell us. Our baby died. It was impossible for us to get a coffin. We found an empty bee-tree. We cut it down and out of a section of it, while Mr. Crawford dug a grave, I fashioned a small coffin in which Ann and I placed our sweet child. The burial ground was at the foot of those mountains, and there alone, far away from his native land, we left him.


        I had now to leave my family and return to our home on the River to pack and collect our belon-gings and take them by boat to Iguape in order to board a vessel for Santos, where I eventually settled with Ann and our children. Again we were in a strange town among unknown people. By this time Ann's jewelry was all gone and I had come to about the end of my resources. I turned my hand to anything I could in order to make an honest living. Also I realized that the necessary requirement was a house for my family, so I started to build one. Mr. Demera, a Brazilian friend,and Mr Boles were very helpful. I got the sills for the house after the manner of the natives. I went to the moun-tains and cut down some trees, then opened a path to the river's edge and, placing the trunks on a kind of slide, pushed them down to the bank. There I had canoes and men to help roll the logs into the water, tie  them to the canoes and float them down the river to Santos. We. then dragged them up on rollers to where I wanted them.


        So, first using American methods, then Brazilian ones, as best suited conditions, I worked eagerly and earnestly. Things did not always go smoothly. I had bought a yoke of oxen, they being most adapted to the work in hand, but the vampire bats were so numerous and bloodthirsty that they nearly killed them. I don't know that I ever saw anything more disagreeable or vicious than this Brazilian pest, which if undisturbed will almost cover an ox or horse.





        Women are always certain to be homesick when taken from old associations and all old ties . The roots of their love are always grounded in the old home of their early life and excitement and novelty do not fill the void in their hearts. Ann, though she was patient, cheerful and uncomplaining  - I knew longed to return to the United States. I saw it in the sad look that would come into her eyes when she looked out on the deep ocean. I knew it by the eagerness with which she watched for the letters, and the silent way she went around after she had heard from Texas.


        I felt grieved that her life should be always on the outskirts of civilization and so full of priva-tions, more grievous to women than to men. True, while i n Santos we had some improved cond-itions; for instance, we. bought an improved Brazilian stove, but everything in the country was so far behind that future prospects for real advancement looked gloomy. Many things that I enjoyed were such as Ann could not care for. I  enjoyed riding over the country.which was a mixture of valley, prairie  and mountains. The home and habits of the wonderful white ants was a study of never-failing interest . They build large pillars as high as a man, which were honey-combed through and through. Even the wild animals had a fascination for me but none for Ann. I liked hunting through the im-mense forests where we had to clear our way with great knives. The trees of that tropical country grow to a gigantic size. Of birds of beauty, there was no end. There was also a berry like  a small ball , about the size of a nutmeg, which, if lighted, served the purpose of a candle for several nights. The natives would fasten one on a stick i n the ground.


        We captured a boa-constrictor twenty seven feet long. All this novelty, however, did not make the country seem like home. Even I felt my heart yearn for Texas, and I knew Ann's life would always be saddened as a wanderer in Brazil. One day I asked Ann, "How would you lik e to return to Texas?  The flash of joy that spread over her face decided me. I mentioned my plans to others of our com-pany, and they immediately decided to return to Texas with us.


        I visited our American Consul for information regarding boats. He was very kind,and gave me a letter to the captain of a large vessel soon to leave for the United States, but we had to await the captain's pleasure as to the time of starting  With the Captain's consent I bought one thousand sacks of coffee, and they served as ballast. The Captain of the"Sea King" was a jolly good fellow always laughing and playing pranks on his green passengers. How glad our hearts were when we reached New Orleans, and when our feet again touched the beloved soil of Texas, even the men of our little homecoming party nearly wept for joy. I sold my coffee in Galveston and that fortunate speculation gave me a good foundation on which to build financially . And when at last we settled in Navasota, I found that my life amongst the kind people of Brazil had given me a fund of experience and useful knowledge. We, like others in the South, settled down and took life as we found it under the Star Spangled Banner.

Mary Emma Cook Dalton

The Story Of Mary Emma Cook And Her Husband William Henry Dalton


Submitted by Rodney G. Dalton


Birthdate: 1852
Birthplace: Indain Territory, Oklahoma, United States
Death: Died January 6, 1945 in Thurnham Hall, Lancashire, United Kingdom


The following is a reprint of a notice entitled 'The late Mrs. Mary Emma Dalton', which was privately printed on the occasion of the death of the said Mrs. Dalton. The reader is refer-red to page 37 of Volume 2 of the DGS Journal where her name is shown on the pedigree chart of the Daltons of Thurnham. This article can also be found here.


It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Mrs. Mary Emma Dalton on June 6th, 1945, at Thurnham Hall, Lancaster.  With her passes a personality of old world charm and interest. Mrs. Dalton was the widow of William Henry Dalton, Esq., Lord of the Manors of Thurnham, Bulk and Cockersand Abbey, in Lancashire. Despite her age - she was nearly 94 - she had been active and interested in affairs generally until her illness three months before her end.


Mrs. Dalton was the eldest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Cook, of Navasota, and was born at Cook's Fort, Rusk, Cherokee Country USA. Cook's Fort, three miles southeast of Rusk in Cherokee County, was built in late 1839 or early 1840 by a military company under the command of Capt. G. K. Black for protection of the settlers against hostile Indians. The fort, named in honor of Joseph Thomas Cook, who owned the land and had the primitive fort and stockade built, became a gathering place for new settlers in the area and gave them a sense of security while they scouted for a location of their own. There were no Indian attacks, and no soldiers were stationed nearby. The Cherokee Indians had been removed in 1839 to Indian Territory.


Emma had a very eventful and colorful life, her grandparent - and her parents as children - having been among the first settlers of Texas, and she w as proud of her pioneer back-ground. Her father was, until the outbreak of the Civil war a wealthy Plantation Owner and had many slaves.


Mrs. Dalton was a near kinswoman of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, and of General Wade Hampton. Her family was also related to the Swansons and Lees, of Virginia, General Robert E. Lee being a distinguished member. Mrs. Dalton's Mother was formerly Miss Talutha Anne Mosley, a descendant of the Mosleys who were among the first settlers of Virginia in about 1630. 


The Mosley home was called Rolleston, in remembrance of their ancestral seat, Rolleston Hall, in Staffordshire, England. The two families, the Mosleys and the Cooks have left their mark in American History of pioneers in the Southern States. 


After the Civil war, which Mrs. Dalton remembered quite well, her family left Texas for Brazil. She met Mr. Dalton in Santos - São Paulo, Brazil, where they were married. Later they went to live in the Argentine.


Mr. Dalton was traveling the world, the son of William Hoghton Dalton. He was born in 1835 at Thurnham Hall, Lancashire, England. Mr. Dalton as a younger son did not at this time stand to inherited the Thurnham estates. They were in Argentine for about 20 years, and Mrs. Dalton had vivid recollections of her experiences of life on estancias (a large rural estate with similarities to the English term ranch), and also in Buenos Aires.


Mr. and Mrs. Dalton returned to England on Mr. Dalton's succession to his ancestral Estates after they had been willed out of the direct line for several generations, owing to religious scruples, the Daltons always having been staunch Roman Catholics. Mr. Dalton succeeded his cousin, Sir Gerald Richard Dalton-Fitzgerald, 10th Baronet, of Thurnham Hall, and Cast le Ishen, County Cork, Ireland.


It was a beautiful day as the cortege left the Ancient Manor House.

Children from the Village School, in charge of their teachers, lined up, and with bowed heads and their little hands clasped, paid their last respects to the Lady of the Manor. Passing down the drive, through the gateway - shorn of its iron gates, which were taken to make guns against Hitler - the procession moved through a silent village, where every window-blind in every house and cottage was drawn.


There was a service in Christ Church, Glasson, where Mrs. Dalton worshiped in her earlier days. The hymns "Abaide with me" and "Nearer my God to Thee" were sung. The Rev. A. Warburton, Vicar of Glasson, officiated.


After the service, the procession turned towards Lancaster.  It had been a custom of the family for bearers to descend from their coaches and walk through Dalton Square, but on this occasion, owing to war-time traffic regulations still in force, the practice was not observed.


The grave was beautifully lined with marguerites and delphiniums as well as woodland flowers and ferns from Thurnham. Mrs. Dalton was laid to rest beside her eldest and youngest daughters.


The chief mourners were Mr. William A. Dalton (son), Miss Dalton, Miss E.F. Dalton and Miss A.E. Dalton (daughters). Mr. Sidney Charlton (nephew). There were many friends and neighbors, and tenants from the three estates. America was represented by Sergt. Joe Traughber, Corporal Robert Breem, and Corporal Ralph Wood, from the U.S.A. Camp, at Warrington, who had endeared themselves to Mrs. Dalton. The soldiers wearing, for the first time, the latest "Eisenhower" jackets, followed immediately behind the family.


The bearers were chosen from the estate workman. There were many beautiful floral tributes from the family friends. A cross of arum lilies, white roses and fern and which rested on the coffin was from Mrs. Dalton's four surviving children.


Mrs. Dalton was always of a cheerful and active disposition and she had a vast capacity for amusing herself. So it was not surprising that at the age of 80 she began to write her memoirs, which embraced her experiences from covered wagon days, with its many vicissitudes, to here quiet and peaceful life at here home, Thurnham Hall, near the purple mountains of Cumberland. She recalled that in about 1855, when still a child, her parents left Cook's Fort on a covered wagon trail as far as the Brazos, and later settled in Hillsboro, where she went to school. Mrs. Dalton said that Hillsboro at that time was a small country town near a beautiful spring, and that there was not a single pavement in the streets. The Court House was a wooden building, a part of which served as the school.


After a while she attended Dr. and Mrs. Church's Seminary for Young Ladies, in fashionable Waco.  It was a finishing school "of High and Moral Culture." She lived with Mrs. Gourley, who boarded some of the pupils. Col. Gourley was serving in the Confederate Army.


At the end of the devastating Civil War, Mrs. Dalton's people with many of her southerners left for Brazil, under the leadership of Mr. MacMullen. They embarked at Galveston, in a ship commanded by Capt. Costa.


Mrs. Dalton mentioned many of the families on board, including the Dyers, O'Dells, smiths, Nettles, Garners, Jesse Wrights. Others were William Tilley, Zeno Fielder, James Penn, the brothers Cortez, Mr. Quillan, Mr. Cobb, Mr. Barnsley and his gallant brother Capt. Barnsley, Mrs. Fatheree, a doctor's widow, and the two MacKnight families.The loss of their ship caused the brave band of adventurers to remain in Havana many weeks, but eventually they bade their kind protectors and friends a long fare-well, and they were taken to New York on the "Mariposa".


Again the party set sail for South America, and in her notes Mrs. Dalton gives a vivid description of their arrival at Rio de Janiero and how very soon after their landing Dom Pedro II., the wise and cultured Emperor of Brazil, came down personally to receive and to give a welcome to the new comers, who were to become his subjects.


A few of the Americans stayed in Rio permanently, but the majority decided to journey on as far as Iguape, where they settled on the banks of a river near there.


Eventually the Cook family alone journeyed over the mountains on foot to Santos, where they made their home. But after many years of trials and tribulations returned to their beloved Texas and lived in Corpus Christi. Mrs. Dalton, however, always recalled with pleasure and affection the friends she made in Brazil and of the many kindnesses shown to her family by t he tender-hearted Brazilians.


In after years Mrs. Dalton, traveling through Portugal, visited the tomb of Dom Pedro II., at Lisbon, and was much touched by remembrances, and she was enchanted by the magn-ificent wreaths on his grave made of tropical birds' feathers, as brilliant and colorful as precious stones. She thought of how she had spent her leisure moments herself making feathers into bouquets in far away Brazil.

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