TEXT OF THE ABOVE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE:
Fairfield, Oct 24.
A mile off the traveled highway, in a peaceful countryside of Freestone County, lives a man who took part in that colorful and strange emigration of the 60s, when more than 100 men from Hill, Navarro and McLennan counties.. The fall of Gettys-burg and the new government rankling in their hearts, turned their faces toward an alien land, and founded homes in South America rather than begin their lives anew under what they termed a "Yankee regime."
That countryside home in Freestone County, with the peaceful fields stretching away from it, and the lovely cedars lifting green plumes along the creeks, is in curious contrast to the South American country where Dave Nettles spent his youth. No birds flash through the trees with a bewildering radiance of color such as those on which Dave Nettles, then a little boy, gazed in wonder when he entered the strange South American world. No baboons now come at night to plunder the fields, and the only cry is the weird hoot of a dusky owl or a whippoorwill calling through the gloom. The wild tropical hurricane that he saw sweeping the area and the ghastly shipwreck that stranded himself and other emigrants on the Cuban coast are only memories.
But to Dave Nettles it is a clear memory. Lying on a cot in the open hallway of his comfortable old country home he told of that voyage from his native land, of his childhood in the new country and , smiling a little, he showed a long scar on his hand.
"I got that from a six foot lizard. I was just a kid and that lizard was getting the better of my dog."
A six foot lizard is enough to tax the faith of any East Texas reared individual, but the integrity of Dave Nettles, the high standard of citizenship that he maintained is attested by a grand old man of the section who said a few days pre-viously:
"When Dave Nettles ells you a thing, Its's just that-a-way."
Faces Turned From Home.
It was a terrific undertaking, but these men had lived through four years of unbelievable hardships. Their wives who had helped them shoulder the burden did not shrink from the long journey before them.
Dave Nettles was 6 years old. He remembers with vivid clarity how his family prepared for the journey. His father was Bluford Nettles, a prosperous and strong man; his mother was Margaret Burleson, of a staunch pioneer family. There were four children. Dave William, the older sister, a lovely, fragile girl of 14, who was later to capture the heart of an Englishman in a romantic affair: and there was a fat baby boy who was never to leave the land where he had spent hs two short years of his life.
At last the journey began, a march that might have been a dramatic moment in a modern talkie picturizing the old days, for the emigrants set out in wagons, most of which were pulled by oxen. The people were light-hearted enough. They believed that prosperity and happiness lay ahead. They did not know of the dangers and hardships they were to encounter.
At he Galveston port the baby son of Bluford and Margaret Nettles died, and was buried there a little way from the sea, binding forever the hearts of the young father and mother to the shores of the homeland.
Set sail From Galveston
At last the ship was ready, and the tall white sails were lifted in the breeze. The hearts of the people beat high as they carried their belongings aboard the vessel. Dave Nettles recalls clearly how excited he was, how weary he became at last, and how the rolling waters made most of the passengers ill, and how the first pangs of longing for the security of home touched the travelers. Then came the most dread-ed of all sea disasters. an event that Mr. Nettles says will be stamped upon his mind forever, in all of its horror and despair.
One evening at about 6 o'clock a strange darkness crept over the waters and the passengers began to cast uneasy glances at each other and whisper things that the children could not hear. The sailors hurried back and forth. The captain's face was grave. A little shudder seemed to run across the sea and the sky was shrouded in a greenish darkness. Far out on the waters the white caps began to rise to a height that travelers had not seen before. Fear was on every face and Mr. Nettles recalled that several men and women dropped to their knees and began praying.
Suddenly the tropical hurricane was upon them, with a fury that one unaccus-tomed to the sea would believe impossible.
"Nothing can ever quite describe what it was like," Mr. Nettles said. "It tore at that ship and the waves were literally mountain high. Hope of life was gone. I learned later that there was not one who believed that rescue could come in any form."
Ship Driven To Doom.
The wind was driving the ship mercilessly toward her doom. It seemed certain that she would either go to pieces at sea or be crushed against the rocks of some island shore. Deliverance came strangely and unexpectedly. When the ship struck land, it struck the Cuban coast, and was grounded in the soft sand. Even then escape did not seem likely, for the ship was washed over on one side by a wave, righted itself and then was knocked over by a succeeding wave. In some mirac-ulous fashion the sailors, waiting for the moment when the boat should be swept over on its side, lowered the passengers one by one to the sands. It was, Mr. Nettles says, a game with death, the howling wind and the angry sea. The scene was one of indescribable confusion in which prayers for deliverance and screams of anguish were strangely mingled.
Almost immediately after, the last passenger and crew ad reached safety. the ship was pounded to pieces, and the wreckage was licked into the sea by the hungry waves.
The sun rose in the morning upon a sorry sight. Food and household furnish-ings were gone. In drenched clothes the emigrants huddled there upon the shores of Cuba, far from their native land, but they thanked God for their lives.
The Cuban government, came at once to the rescue. Mr. Nettles recalls how a rich plantation owner, one Doctor Marellos, sheltered many of the emigrants n the spacious rooms of his beautiful home.
A month passed and the emigrants formed a definite course of action. The shock of the hurricane was gone, and they were ready to take up their journey anew, but no ship sailed from Cuba to South America nor to Galveston. They must sail from Cuba to New York and thence to south America. After a number of days the emigrants reached Havana, and took a ship to New York.
Stop Made At Norfolk
The long voyage with the strain of the hurricane, and the grief over the baby left in the little grave at Galveston were too much for the young mother, who felt seriously ill. The ship bearing the emigrants touched at Norfolk, Va,, and here the Nettles family remained until mother was well and could travel to New York.
The family reached South America a year behind the other emigrants. but they never joined the colony the emigrants founded thee, and where some of them live now. The father fell ill with smallpox at Rio de Janeiro. After his recovery, the family moved inland to a prosperous little town, where they bought land at a very low price.
Dave Nettles speaks gently and affectionately of his days where his youth was spent. Not until he was 21 did he set foot upon the soil of his native land.
Alien Land To Parents
"It was a rich and beautiful country," he said, "and I loved it. " Although my father and mother never did. There hearts were too deeply rooted "back home," and they never really learned the language. With us children, it was different. We picked up he language from the native children with whom we played. We never went to the native schools, however. Our parents taught us at home. I never went to a public school in my life.
"There were only a few American and English-speaking families where we were, but it never bothered me. My real friends were the native boys, and it was the joy of my life to hunt with them in the tropical forests and on the rich prairies.
"The forests near our house were filled with beautiful birds of all kinds and of wonderful colors. There were golden canaries, the great, richly colored parrots and the tiny parakeets, known as "love birds.' Planting corn was a simple matter. One punched a hole in the ground with a stick, dropped the corn and covered it up. It needed no other cultivation, and grew luxuriously."
Mr. Nettles smiled a little at a reminder of the six foot lizard incident and sur-veyed the scar on his hand. "Well, anyway," he said, "I got the best of that lizard. I was just about 13, and I always hunting with some of the native boys. They ere friendly, and knew the lay of the land and the habits of the animals. That day, we were chasing this big six-foot lizard, only they look much larger than that when you're chasing them. Suddenly, the lizard and my dog came together in a wild combat. There was a great deal of swishing, yelling and growling, and it dawned on me that the lizard was getting the best of my dog. Without realizing the danger, I rushed toward the fighters, and before I knew what was happening the jaws of the lizard had closed on my hand. Blood was running down my arm. I was powerless. The prompt action of a little native boy saved my hand and probably my lie. I re-member clearly that he rushed toward me, putting the blade of his large hunting knife between the lizard's jaws and slowly pried them open and set me free. Well, we killed the lizard."
A Unpleasant Memory
Mr. Nettles killed a baboon once, too, but he doesn't like to think about that even yet. The baboons destroyed the crops. They uttered sounds which were weird and unpleasant to hear at night. Often the came in great droves to rob the fields.
"One night," said Mr. Nettles, "a negro workman warned us that a large drove of baboons were in one of the fields. The chattering mob came swinging through the trees to join those on the ground.
"They were as large as dogs even when they walked on all fours, and swinging through the trees by their tails they looked twice their size. Suddenly the negro whispered and pointed. A great fellow had swung himself a little clear of the others and was clearly outlined against the moon. He made an excellent target. I knew that if I killed one, the others would flee and our fields would be safe for many days.
"I raised my gun. The great baboon never moved. I fired. There was a blinding flash from the old gun, a report that echoed through all that jungle world, but above it all, and lingering after the sound of the gun had died away there arose a long, wild despairing cry, so human in its anguish that I shall never be able to erase it from my memory. I came back through the moonlight with a resolution in my heart. I have kept it. I have never killed another member of the monkey tribe."
Then there was the story of the native boy he had horse-whipped because the native lad had teased him.
"Well, I had my revenge and the result was that a strong friendship developed between me and that boy," Mr. Nettles said. "There was no young man at all of South America that I hated to leave as I did him when we started for the homeland of my people."
Mr. Nettles' older sister Mary meanwhile developed into a charming young women. More than one young Englishman wooed her. The successful suitor was young Nevill Edenborough from London. His best friend was Frederico Mercer, who specialized in photography at Curtyba, capital city of the province of Parana. Mercer made a number of pictures of Mary, one of which is still in possession of the Nettles family. (See Edenborogh story at the end)
Nevill Edenborough married Mary Nettles and built for her a magnificent home with 25 rooms, beautifully furnished. The estate was called "Shakker."
Old Folks Yearn For Home
Two children had been born to Bluford and Margaret Nettles in this new coun-try. One daughter had married and established her own household, The children had grown up and spoke the language of the people of this land, but the hearts of the father and mother were yearning for the homeland. Thirteen years after they had landed in the South American port, the mother and her daughter boarded a ship for Galveston. The son-in-law and the father and sons remained to settle business affairs.
"I was restless for a long time after I returned," Mr. Nettles said. "I went out to the Pacific Coast. Then I returned to Texas and fell in love."
Mr. Nettles settled himself more comfortably and fingered the pair of old scis-sors his mother had taken to South America with her and brought back with her again.
"No, I've never roamed any more. I tell you where I'd like to go, thorough. I'd like to see South America again. Sometimes I've a good mind to do it, too."
Hopson Burleson was one of thirteen children born to David, Jr. and Sally Hopson Burleson, natives of N.Carolina. They moved to Tennessee, then to Blount County in Alabama. Hopson married Sally Burleson, his cousin. The Burleson moved to Texas; they became prominent in many ways. Hopson came to Nacogdoches County in 1834 and settled there. During the time he was living there, he fought with the Mexican army against the Indians that were raiding Texas at that time. On October 16, 1835, the governor of Mexico gave him a land-grant that included a league and a labour in Freestone County for his participation. In 1850 his brother John moved to Freestone County and he sold 320 acres of this land to him. Several of his descendants still own and operate some of this land. One of them has the original Spanish land-grant[now on file at Navarro College Library]. Hopson moved to Freestone County on his land soon after 1835 with his family. [TX Tax List Index, 1840-1849 lists a Hopson Burleson in Bastrop County in 1840; 1850 US Census Records show Hopson, Sarah, and 8 children in Leon County.] His home was located about six miles north of Fairfield. The house-site is on the west side of Interstate 45. He spent the rest of his life there and is buried in the Hopson Burleson Memorial Cemetery on the east side of the highway near the overpass. He also served his county as commissioner for a number of years.
When Mr. Burleson settled here, there was much work to be done; logs to be cut for houses and barns, rails to be split for fences and land cleared for farming. He had a huge underground cistern curbed with rock, also a well. This was accomplished with slave labor. They are still there. Their main crops consisted of corn, cotton, feed-grain and vegetables. Most of the hauling was done with oxen and wagon. Their cotton had to be taken to Houston; it took several weeks for them to make the round trip. Because of marauding Indians, several farmers would go together. On these trips, they would bring enough staple groceries to last a year.
While living in east Texas, a frightening experience happened to Sally and her children. Mr. Burleson had to be away for a few days and left her and the little ones and their Negro cook alone. Several times one day they noticed Indians hiding in the brush near the house. Knowing the Indians intended to harm them if they found out they were atone, they stayed hidden in the cabin all day. Sally and the cook packed some food and other necessities and waited until dark to escape. There was a spring branch and a cave near the house they could -hide in. They knew any noise might mean capture or death for all of them. While they were running there, the three-year old-boy stuck a thorn almost through his foot and he did not make a sound. When they were safe in the cave, Sally's baby boy cried and they could not quiet him. They knew the Indians would find them if he did not stop. Sally had the cook to take the baby to the water-hole to drown him three different times while they were hiding out, and each time the baby stopped crying.
Once, white living in Freestone County, Hopson and three men had to make a trip to South Texas on business. On returning, some Indians tried to massacre them; while running for their lives, they had to separate to try to make it to the woods to hide. Hopson was riding a mule and had to leave it, the last the others saw of him, he was running for the woods with the Indians chasing him. They did not know if he got away or not. The men were reluctant to tell Sally, so they drew straws to see who would do the talking. They weren't certain how she would react as she was expecting another baby. When they told her, she calmly said, "How far was Hopson from the brush?" They told her about how far and she said, "Hopson made it, don't worry about it he'll be home." Early one morning about six weeks later, she looked out the kitchen window and saw Hopson walking up the trail. Her baby was only two weeks old but she was so anxious to see him, she did not stop to open the gate but jumped the high rail fence and ran to meet him. Hopson had a flute that no one could blow but him, and as soon as he got to the house, he went outside and blew it. Neighbors came from miles around as they knew that Hopson was home. Hopson had had a hard time, he had almost died of thirst. He put pebbles in his mouth to keep his mouth and throat moist. He was without food and water for days. He had to hide during the day and travel very carefully at night until he was out of Indian range. Hopson and Sally had five sons and five daughters. The sons were: Oliver, David, Isaac, Joshua and Wilson. Oliver, Isaac and Joshua lost their lives in the Civil War. Oliver and Isaac never married. David married Sarah Dunigin [Dunagan]; Joshua married her sister, Lucy Dunigin [Dunagan]; Wilson [Moses Wilson] married Amanda Winders. The daughters-were: Margaret, Nancy, Alice, Ellen and Zillah Dee. Margaret married Bluford Nettle; Nancy married William Coleman; Alice married his brother Ansel Coleman; Ellen married John Spires; and Zillah Dee married Anthony Graham Pullin. After Sally died, Hopson married a widow, Demoss. Later she died and he married a widow Vickers. Hopson died in 1884. [2nd wife: Mary C. Brinton, wife of George DeMoss; 27 Oct 1872 in Freestone Co. / 3rd wife: Marcella Ransene wife of Berry Vickers; 27 Oct 1875 in Freestone County.]
Dave Nettles' peaceful homein Freestone County, a quiet spot in strange contrast to other scenes in which he escaped death at sea to find a new home in South America with his parents, who believed that the defeat of the Confederacy meant unhappiness under a Yankee regime.
Dave Nettles of Freestone County, surviving participant in a curious and colorful incident following the war between the states
Dave Nettles, shortly sfter his return to the United States many years ago.
Bluford Nettles, father of Dave Nettles, who, rather than live under a Yankee government at the close of the war between the states, joined 100 other East Texans to make a new home in another land.
Margaret Burleson Nettles, Dave'smother, who suffered disasters and pioneer hard-ships that her family might be established in another country under what they conceived to be a happier existence.
Henry Edenborough, fifth child of Samuel & Sarah Edenborough (née Bolton) was born on 14 May 1812 at Bruce Grove, Tottenham, Middlesex. At the age of 15 he was employed by the Honourable East India Company in the Mercantile Marine Branch as a midshipman, per Lord Lowther (1827-28), andAbercrombie Robinson (1829-30).
By late 1833, Henry had left the employ of the HEIC and had made at least one voyage to Sydney as captain of the schooner Emma. Then in 1834, he took up the position of master of a newly-built 380-ton barque part-owned by his father Samuel. This first voyage as the newly installed master of theAugusta Jessie was to Tasmania, arriving 22 Jan 1835 with a cargo of 210 male convicts.
Several more voyages to Australia followed before Henry married Margaret Stedman in London in 1836. They eventually travelled to Australia, on board the Elphinstone in 1840, to take up residence at Wollogorang in the Goulburn district of New South Wales. It is believed that the impressive homestead that still stands today was built by Henry in 1846.
The first of Henry and Margaret’s six children, Henry Bolton, was baptised in Sydney shortly after his parents arrival in the colony in 1840; the remaining five children though – Charles Allen (1842), Bishop Reynold (1843), Margaret Annie (1845), Edith Jane (1846) and Spencer Neville (1848) – were all born at Wollogorang. (Neville would marry Mary Nettles, Dave's older sister in Brazil)
The 1841 census of New South Wales shows that Wollogorang supported four ticket-of-leave men, five shepherds, eight gardeners and stockmen, and four domestic servants.
As if running a large sheep and cattle station wasn’t enough, Henry also involved himself in the local community; gave an acre of land for an Anglican church as well as a further acre for a cemetery and became a Justice of the Peace before being appointed a Magistrate of the Territory in 1844. Henry is often quoted as being a colourful figure who owned a racehorse but this statement is incorrect and it was in fact Henry’s younger brother, Horatio who spent some time in New South Wales, who was the racehorse owner.
The Goulburn Herald of 17 Jan 1849 stated that Governor Fitzroy, Deas Thompson (the Colonial Secretary) and party “partook of luncheon” at Wollogorang and “were much gratified at the off-handed and unpretending hospitality of Mr Edenborough, for which the gentlemen of the district know him to be so remarkable”.
In 1854, Henry sold Wollogorang and all stock to his neighbour, J W Chisholm, and with his entire family returned to England arriving there at the end of 1854.
Henry died at Chesham Lodge, Surrey, on 6 Feb 1855, aged 43 years. Margaret survived her husband by 14 years dying at Sheffield Gardens, Kensington on 26 Oct 1869.
In 1992, Henry was honoured for his participation in the development of Australia by having his name affixed to a plaque located near the Overseas Shipping Terminal on Sydney Harbour.