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Thursday, February 16, 2017

More Texans who lived through the Civil War

Once again, I search for which ancestors lived, had children, moved, or died during and right after the Civil War.  That way I hope to find how that conflict impacted my ancestors, many of whom lived in Texas. Fortunately there were very few actual battles in Texas.  

My Father's Ancestors, The Swaseys:

I've already posted some of the history of the Swasey ancestors, one of whom was a blockade runner for the Confederacy, though he'd been born in Massachusetts, and spent most of the war in a prison back in Massachusetts in Fort Warren.  Captain Alexander Swasey's ships.

Fort Warren, Georges Island, Boston harbor (where political prisoners were held from Confederacy)
and Captain Alexander Swasey's ship the Ella Whaley

Guard House at Fort Warren

The Swasey family were my ancestors on my father's mother's side.  I've recently posted some information about her Phillips and Gainer ancestors, who were from the south.

Now to take a look at my mother's side of the family. Incidentally, my mom and dad were both born and raised in Texas, so that's the history from which I'm finding most of my information.

My Mother's Ancestors:

Great grandmother Eugenia Almeda Whitty Booth didn't live very long, (1852-1875). I spoke about her life HERE, and Here.

Her family, the Whittys, came from Alabama, and she was born in 1852 in Marshall Texas, shortly after they arrived.

Marshal Texas:
Plantation home in Marshall Texas
In 1860, Marshall was the fourth-largest city in Texas and the seat of its richest county, (Harrison.) Developed as cotton plantations, the county held more slaves than any other in the state. (Wikepedia)

 A former slave displays a horn in 1939 that was formerly used by planters to call slaves on the outskirts of Marshall. Many freedmen moved to Marshall from rural areas during Reconstruction, creating their own community and seeking the chance to live away from the supervision of whites. After Union troops departed at the end of Reconstruction, Democrats formed the White Citizens Party, establishing an insurgent militia dedicated to white supremacy. (Source Wikepedia)
The Whitty Family:

But by 1857, 5-year old Eugenia and the Whitty family lived in Subdivision, Hill County, Texas, about 200 miles further west from Marshall.

This site became the town of Woodbury, near Hillsboro, about 12 miles away. Eugenia's father, Mr. Carroll Whitty was a wagon maker, and he'd been one of the first settlers in Hill County, doing a bit of land speculation. He and 2 partners bought lots and sold them to the original families.

WOODBURY, TEXAS. Woodbury is on Farm Road 309 twelve miles northwest of Hillsboro in north central Hill County. Anglo-American settlers began moving into the area about 1850, and the community was established in 1857, when Carrol Witty, William R. Nunn, and Rev. Thomas Newton McKee purchased property and offered it for sale. After the Civil War settlers began moving into the area. The first business, a dry goods store, opened in 1869. A general merchandise store opened the following year. A post office opened in Woodbury in 1871. In 1892 the town had a population of 200, two general stores, a drugstore, two blacksmith shops, and a steam-powered cotton gin and gristmill. By 1900 the school registered 114 students and employed three teachers. The town was bypassed by the rail lines, and by 1936 only 148 people and two business were in Woodbury.  (Source: Hill County Historical Commission, A History of Hill County, Texas, 1853–1980 (Waco: Texian, 1980). Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976).

The Booth home in Hillsboro TX in the 1990s
Eugenia Whitty Booth married at 17 to a young attorney whose family moved from New York state through Indiana, and Illinois. Her husband,  Richard Booth (1846-1879)  (more info here) was the son of an attorney William L. Booth (1818-1894) (more here) who became a pillar of the community in Hillsboro, Texas.  They both lived through the Civil War. But I don't know anything about their involvement or even their opinions of it.

My great grandmother, Eugenia Almeda Booth Miller, (1874-1936) after whom I was named, was raised by her father's family in Hillsboro, Texas. The William L. Booth's home in Hillsboro was where Eugenia Booth grew up after the death of first her mother when she was 2, and then her father, Richard R. Booth who died when she was just 6.  

The story is that Richard Booth was a 32 year old attorney who was killed by the person he was prosecuting, in Hempstead, Texas.  Texas surely did have a wild side to it in 1879. I haven't got the whole story, but the murderer's name was "Richard (Dilk) Springfield," according to a 5th cousin once removed (or something like that.)  I don't know if he was from Springfiled, or Dilk was his name. I hope he was prosecuted.

Hempstead, Texas
Hempstead, TX : LIENDO PLANTATION (Civil War Re-enactment in progress ...
Liendo Plantation, Hempstead Texas, Civil War reenactment in process.
Hempstead, Waller County, (where Richard Booth died in 1879) is about 50 miles northwest of Houston...and 178 miles from Hillsboro.  But Richard's father, William Lewis Booth and family had also lived in Hempstead during the 1880 census. They were probably back in Hillsboro by 1884/5 however, when William L. Booth's wife, Hannah Conn Booth (1819-1884) died, at least that is where she was buried.
During the Civil War the town (of Hempstead) served as a Confederate supply and manufacturing center. Hempstead was the site of a Confederate military hospital; three Confederate camps were located in its vicinity. Despite occupation of the town by federal troops during Reconstruction and recurring yellow fever epidemics, Hempstead prospered after the Civil War. Availability of transportation facilities and the surrounding area's large cotton production facilitated growth of textile manufacturing and cotton processing industries. Merchandising and processing grew rapidly between 1867 and the 1880s. The town prospered as a transportation center and became Waller county seat in May 1873. Hempstead's commercial, manufacturing, and processing sectors suffered large financial losses from fires between 1872 and 1876.Texas....
The town had a school by the 1850s; classes were held in various buildings including the old jail. A freedmen's school operated from 1866 until 1870. The first public school opened in 1881....The Central Texas Teachers Association began summer normals at Hempstead in 1890. Violent settlement of disputes, often fueled by political and social disagreements involving the Ku Klux Klan, Radical Republicans, Greenbackers, Populists, and prohibitionists (see GREENBACK PARTY, PEOPLE'S PARTY, and PROHIBITION), brought Hempstead the nickname "Six-Shooter Junction" through the early twentieth century. Radical Republicans held a state convention at Hempstead in May 1875 and a "black and tan" convention in June 1875. Hempstead blacks were politically active before disenfranchisement. They established Methodist and Baptist churches by 1891 and a Lone Star Masonic lodge in 1893. The Grange established a store in the town in 1874. Hempstead's relatively large Jewish community provided a significant stimulus to the town's economy from its founding through the early twentieth century. One of the earliest synagogues in Texas outside of larger population centers was established at Hempstead in the 1870s. Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Episcopalian churches were constructed there around the time of the Civil War.

File:Liendo Plantation, Hempstead, Texas.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Liendo Plantation, Hempstead, Texas

I do know that Richard Booth and his father were Republicans, and were involved with the convention in Dallas of 1873 to choose who the Republicans would run for the governor and lieutenant governors offices.  More about them is coming soon.

Others of my own blood line who lived through the conflict or the reconstruction?  I'll post them on another day!

Today's Quote:

All of the self-help articles in the world can’t save you if you never take action.

Thomas Oppong

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