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Freestone County, Texas





Biography of Chief Justice Nelson Tarver

     (1806-1890, buried Cemiterio dos Americanos in San Paulo, San Paulo, Brazil)


1806 - about 1890


Chief Justice Nelson Tarver


Nelson Tarver, a son of Thomas N. Tarver 1770-1833, was born in the Northampton County area of North Carolina about 1806. Nelson's family migrated to Tennessee between 1809-1810. Nelson's had 5 sisters and 2 brothers, all of which were born in North Carolina except for the youngest brother Milton Smith who was born about 1810 while the family lived in Wilson County, Tennessee.


On December 17, 1827 Nelson Tarver was married to Parthena Hall Mason (daughter of Abram Mason and Margaret Curry, bondsman - Abner B. Currey) in Rutherford, Tennessee. To this marriage were born Susannah, Thomas, Green Smith, Mary Ann (wife of Francis Marion Truitt), Sarah Elizabeth, William Brooks, John Wesley, Rebecca Mason, Martha Curry (wife of James M. Watson) and Nancy Jane.


Nelson served as Justice in Gibson County Tennessee in 1841 where he and his family lived from around 1830, about the time that his father and siblings migrated to Kentucky except for Milton who traveled with Nelson. Nelson is recorded in the 1830 Sheriff's List, the 1830 Gibson County Census and the county's tax list for 1834 and 1835.


He and his family moved to Chickasaw County Mississippi about 1846 where he owned land totaling 319.7 acres.  His beloved Parthena passed from this life December 20 1846 while the family lived in Mississippi.


Sometime between 1847 and 1848 Nelson and his family are said to have traveled by wagon train to Texas crossing the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, MS. By 1850 Nelson and his children Green Smith, Mary Ann, William B, John W. Martha C. and Nancy J. were in the area of Limestone County, Texas that was to become Freestone County the following year of 1851. Nelson was elected and served as the first Chief Justice of Freestone County 1851-1852. In the election results that carried his signature, Nelson reported his son-in-law F.M. Truitt being elected to office "F. M. Truitt Assessor and Collector by receiving 48 votes"

the election was held on January 6, 1851 and certified by Nelson Tarver Chief Justice for Freestone County on February 21, 1851.  Nelson is recorded as one of the original petitioners of the Pine Bluff Masonic Lodge which was later absorbed into the Fairfield Lodge were he was recorded as a member.  Nelson also held a land patent in Freestone county for 640 acres issued November 6, 1851.


Nelson remarried in February 11, 1852 to Sarah E. Carroll (daughter of Abner Carroll and Ann Kirkendoff) by Andrew Davis a Methodist minister in Fairfield, Freestone County, Texas.  With Sarah the family grew by four. Their children were Abner D. 1852 and James Y. 1853 born in Freestone County, Benjamin F 1855

born in Hill County and Louisa O 1857 born in Henderson County.   In 1854 Nelson Tarver with John P. Philpot, Joe Tyus, and John Karner solicited J.A. Carroll, a relative of his wife Sarah, to the appointment of Deputy Surveyor of the Denton Land District after he assisted Tyus on an earlier survey expedition in the Brazos River region. 


The families moved yet again about 1855 to Hill County and are recorded as living in Peoria, Texas and attending the Peoria Methodist Church, which was the second church to form in Hill County in 1855.  Nelson was the patentee of 320 acres in Hill County on November 8, 1856 from James Hannah.  All but the

four children with Sarah remained in Hill County and Freestone County for a time. Mary Ann Tarver Truitt and Nancy Jane Tarver moved to Hill County from Freestone after Francis Marion Truitt died of pneumonia 23 Nov 1862 in Vaiden, Mississippi during the Civil War. He was buried in the Vaiden Cemetery, Vaiden Mississippi.  Green Smith died before 1860, William Brooks later became the 6th

County Clerk of Hill County serving from 1866-69, John Wesley stayed in Hill county until after 1880 when he moved to the Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory living there until 1901 when he returned to Hill County Texas where he lived until his death in 1902, Martha Curry remained in Hill County until after 1870

moving to Palo Pinto County with her husband James M. Watson. 


Between late 1856 and 1857 Nelson with Sarah and children moved to Henderson County. He and his brother Milton Smith and nephew Thomas M are recorded as member of the Walnut Creek Methodist Church. He and his family are recorded in the 1860 census in Henderson County living next door to his brother Milton.  Nelson and Sarah had their mark and brand registered with Henderson County, Sarah on November 15, 1857 and Nelson on December 12, 1857. In 1861 Nelson had a Bill for Relief before the 9th Texas Senate that was passed by 1862.  Nelson and Sarah stayed in this area until after 1865 when the Civil War ended.


On January 25, 1867 the family, Nelson, Sarah and their four children, departed from Texas at Galveston on an English ship the brig "Derby" with the Frank McMullan and the Confederate exiles that migrated to the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The journey hit hard times when the ship ran aground in Cuba from the

winds of an early hurricane in 1867. Nelson is recorded in the New York Times February of 1867 as being one of the passengers and is referred to as Judge Tarver of Freestone, Texas". The shipwrecked passengers were picked up by the steamer "Mariposa" and taken to New York where they arrived on March 26, 1867

to await the arrival of a transport streamer to Brazil to where they would finish their sea voyage to their new home. They sailed from New York on the steamship "North America" of the Brazil line departing on April 22, 1867, arriving in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 20, 1867. Nelson and family are recorded in the Census of November 9, 1867 of the McMullan Colony. They are reported as settling first in the Juquiá River settlement near Iguape, Sao Paulo, Brazil moving then to Santa Bárbara D'Oeste, Sao Paulo after the first

settlement failed. Graves for Louisa Tarver MacAlpine, Benjamin F Tarver and some members of their families can be found in the Campo Cemetery near Americana, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Descendants of Nelson Tarver are still found this day in the United States and Brazil.


The Nelson Tarver Family:


Nelson Tarver

Born: 1806 Northampton County, North Carolina

Died: est. 1890 Santa Barbara D'Oeste, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Parents: Thomas N. Tarver b 1770 in NC d 1833 in Hickman County, Kentucky

Susannah (maiden name unknown) b 1770 d 1833 in Hickman County, Kentucky


Spouse: Parthena Hall Mason Born:  22 July 1801 in Williamson County, Tennessee

Died: 20 Dec 1846 in Mississippi. Married December 17, 1827 Rutherford County,



Spouse: Sarah Elizabeth Carroll Born: 1830 in South Carolina Died: Unknown date

in Sao Paulo Brazil. Married February 11, 1852 in Freestone County, Texas


Children of Nelson Tarver and Parthena Hall Mason


Susannah Tarver:

Born: about 1828 no report on death date other than had died before 1890. No marriage record found at this time.


Thomas Tarver:

        Born: 1829 died in childhood before 1839 in Tennessee


Green Smith Tarver:

        Born: about 1830 in Tennessee

        Died: in Texas between 1856-57.





Mary Ann Tarver:

        Born: 1833 Tennessee

        Died: 15 Feb 1924 in Hill County, Texas.

Married Francis Marion Truitt Born: 1829 in Alabama Died: 23 Nov 1862 in Vaiden Mississippi. Married about 1850 in Limestone/Freestone County Texas.


Children of F.M. Truitt and Mary Ann Tarver: Sarah P. Truitt, Green Smith, William Henry Truitt and Mary S. Truitt.


Note for Mary Ann Tarver: 1850 Census has Francis M. Truitt listed as a female in the house of Nelson and Margaret A. Tarver as being born 1833. A letter from Jewel Rose Tarver stated the F.M. Truitt was Mary Ann but research has proven that the census recorder put the incorrect sex for F.M. Truitt and that Margaret A. was actually Mary Ann Tarver and that the census was taken before F.M. and Mary A were married in 1850.


Sarah Elizabeth Tarver:

        Born: 1835 in Tennessee

        Died: 1836


William Brooks Tarver:

        Born:  07 Dec 1836 Gibson County, Tennessee

        Died: 22 Feb 1918 Carter, Oklahoma.

Married Nancy Geraldine Turner Born: 31 Oct 1842 in Texas, Died: 18 Oct 1918, Carter, Oklahoma.

Children of William Brooks Tarver and Nancy Turner: Jimmie Turner Tarver and

Ann Tarver


John Wesley Tarver:

        Born:  abt 1838 in Gibson County, Tennessee

        Died: 8 Mar 1902 in Hill County, Texas

Married Hulda Jane Williams Born: abt 1841 in Missouri Died about 1877 in Hill County, Texas.

        Marriage preformed about 1860.

Married Mrs. Sarah F. Lively Born:  1854 in Macon County, Georgia Died: 23 April, 1936 in Hooker, Texas County, Oklahoma

        Marriage date: May 30, 1880 Hill County, Texas

Children of John W Tarver and Hulda J Williams: John Edward Tarver, Mary Emma Tarver, Cora Ileta Tarver, Francis Nelson Tarver, Carra Bell Tarver, Thomas Luther Tarver and Marion Tarver.

Children of John W. Tarver and Sarah F. Lively: John W. Tarver, Florence Tarver, and Willie Beatrice Tarver.


Rebecca Mason Tarver:

        Born: 1839

        Died: 1839 in Tennessee


Martha Curry Tarver:

        Born:  30 Mar 1842 in Gibson County, Tennessee

        Died: 4 Jun 1898 Santo, Palo Pinto County, Texas

Married James M. Watson Born:  abt 1825 in South Carolina Died: 1882 Palo Pinto

County, Texas

Children of Martha Curry Tarver and James M. Watson: Nancy P. Watson, Francis Brooks Watson, James M Watson, Robert Butler Watson, Edward Tarver Watson, Marion

A. Watson

Notes for Martha Curry Tarver: Reported by family to be first married to a

Sullivan but no records of that marriage has been found. Hall Family record

misstates Martha Curry as being the wife of William B. Tarver as census Texas

records and family records provide evidence that she is a sister.


Nancy Jane Tarver:

Born: abt 1843 in Tennessee

Died: 1888 in Hill, Texas, USA


Children of Nelson Tarver and Sarah E. Carroll:


Abner D Tarver:

        Born: abt 1852 Freestone County Texas Died: Unknown

        Married Lilly Carr in Sao Paulo Brazil


James Y Tarver:

        Born:  abt 1853 Freestone County Texas

        Died: Unknown


Benjamin F Tarver:

        Born: abt 1855 Hill County Texas

        Died: 30 Jan 1913 Santa Barbara D'Oeste, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Married: Maria Getrudes Pinheiro Born: abt 1860 Died: 29 Dec 1949 Santa Barbara

D'Oeste, Sao Paulo, Brazil

        Children: Reported to have had 11 children.


Louisa O Tarver:

        Born:  abt 1857 Henderson County Texas

        Died: 19 Sept 1926 Santa Barbara D'Oeste, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Married:  Napoleon Bonaparte MacAlpine Born:  1844 Alabama Died: 1 Sept 1921 Santa Barbara D'Oeste, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Children found:  Elizabeth MacAlpine, John Edwin MacAlpine, Robert Watson MacAlpine


Civil War Veteran                     Unit                     Parent

John W. Tarver                 12th Texas Infantry - Co K son of Nelson Tarver

James M. Tarver        12th Texas Infantry - Co A    son of Milton S. Tarver

Francis Marion Truitt          Waul's Legion - Co F         son-in-law of Nelson Tarver

William B. Tarver              12th Texas Infantry - Co K son of Nelson Tarver

Thomas M. Tarver               9th Texas Infantry - Co E son of Milton S. Tarver

George Y. Tarver               12th Texas Infantry - Co K son of Milton S. Tarver


Notes: Thomas M Tarver first served in the Confederate Army then was captured and held as a Prisoner of War. After the War was over he served for a time as a union soldier his headstone is a Union Army Marker showing him as a Corporal in the 6th United States Volunteer Infantry Co. A.



Dan Ellis and Linda Harris

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