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Freestone County, Texas Biographies


     Biography of Chief Justice Thomas Nelson Tarver   (1806-1890, buried Cemiterio dos Americanos in San Paulo, San Paulo, Brazil) 1806 - about 1890


     Chief Justice 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 re-ceiving 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 Juqui‡ River settlement near Iguape, Sao Paulo, Brazil moving then to Santa B‡rbara 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 Missi-ssippi. Married December 17, 1827 Rutherford County, Tennessee Spouse: Sarah Elizabeth Carroll Born: 1830 in South Carolina Died: Unknown date in Sao Paulo Brazil. Married February 11, 1852 in Freestone County, Texas

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