Along with everything else, Hurricane Harvey took with it decades worth of files, maps, notes, coordinates, names and research I had on my external hard drive; so for the time being, this site will be on hiatus until I finish republishing. I will upload as I go, so each post will reappear on its original date and can be found in the Archive section in the right sidebar. If you need to contact me for any reason in the duration, my contact info is found in my profile. Wish me luck, guys. - JES
William B. Bridges, early Texas farmer and public official and one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, immigrated from Arkansas to Texas as early as April 1824 and received a sitio of land now in Jackson County on July 21 of that year. In April 1831 Mexican officials filed a character certificate and a land application under his name, listing him as a single farmer from Arkansas who was twenty-three years of age. In 1838 Bridges received a headright certificate for a labor of land in Gonzales County. W. B. Bridges was listed in the July 17, 1841, issue of the Austin Texas Sentinel as being delinquent in paying his 1840 taxes in Gonzales County. Bridges may have served as justice of the peace in Fayette County in 1843. On September 17, 1871, the Columbus Citizen reported the burial of a William Bridge, who had come to Texas "around 1825." Source
Note: The exact location of Bridges' grave is unknown, but most historians believe that he was buried in the Lyons Family Cemetery, which is shown within the borders below in its entirety. It is now completely surrounded by Schulenburg's City Cemetery.
Zadock Woods, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was born Zaduck Wood on September 18, 1773, in Brookfield Township, Massachusetts, the son of Jonathan and Keziah (Keith) Wood. By 1796 he had moved to South Woodstock, Vermont, where he married Minerva Cottle in 1797. They had six children. Woods and his family moved to the St. Charles District of Missouri Territory around 1801 and were the first white settlers granted land in that area. The town of Woodville (or Woods' Fort) was established at Troy, Missouri, and Woods's inn and tavern was its first stagecoach stopover. Woods' Fort, commanded by Lt. Zachary Taylor, was a principal defense post during the War of 1812. Woods fought with Andrew Jackson in Alabama and New Orleans. After a lead-mining venture with Moses Austin ruined him financially, Woods and his family joined Stephen F. Austin's Texas colony in 1824. His original land grant was in Matagorda County, but the family settled farther up the Colorado River in Fayette County. His fortified home in the vicinity of present West Point was called Woods' Fort (or Woods' Prairie) and was used by the colonists as a place of refuge from Indian attacks from 1828 to 1842.
Woods's son Leander was killed in the battle of Velasco in 1832. Zadock mustered under Capt. Michael Goheen and Col. John H. Moore to fight in the battle of Gonzales, the battle of Concepción, and the Grass Fight near San Antonio, all in 1835. He returned home on December 3 of that year but was again involved in the Texas Revolution the next spring, when he housed a ten-member company of Tennessee volunteers under Daniel William Cloud on February 10, 1836, on their way to the Alamo. The family took part in the Runaway Scrape, fleeing before the advancing Mexican army. Minerva Woods died on March 28, 1839, and was buried in the Woods' Prairie Cemetery. In 1842 Woods and his sons Norman and Henry G. were recruited by Capt. Nicholas M. Dawson to fight with Mathew Caldwell's forces against Mexican general Adrián Woll at Salado Creek. On September 18, 1842, Woods was killed in the Dawson Massacre. His son Henry escaped, but Norman was captured and taken to Perote Prison. Zadock Woods was buried in a mass grave by Salado Creek but was reinterred six years later at Monument Hill-Kreische Brewery State Historic Site in La Grange. Historical markers in Troy, Missouri, and West Point, Texas, note Woods as a significant early pioneer. Source
William Bacon Wright, Confederate legislator, was born in Columbus, Georgia, on July 4, 1830, the son of John Wright and a relative of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. According to his obituary in the San Antonio Daily Express he graduated from Princeton at the age of seventeen, but the university has no record of his attendance. He is also said to have established a law practice in Georgia in 1849. After residing briefly in Eufaula, Alabama, he moved to Texas in 1854 and established a law practice in the Lamar County community of Paris, where he soon became one of the region's foremost attorneys. In 1857 he helped to found a male academy in Paris. Wright was elected as an alternate Democratic statewide elector for the 1860 presidential election. In December of that year he was appointed chairman of a committee to draw up a plan of secession for the state. In October 1861 he was elected to represent the Sixth Congressional District in the first regular session of the Confederate House of Representatives, where he served on the Patents, Claims, Enrolled Bills, and Indian Affairs committees. Although an opponent of taxation, in general Wright supported the policies of the Jefferson Davis administration. His most significant contributions to Confederate legislation were the exemption from conscription of all militiamen serving in frontier defense and the exemption from impressment of all slaves employed in the cultivation of grain. He was defeated in the congressional race of 1863 by Simpson H. Morgan and served for the remainder of the war as a major in the quartermaster corps on the staff of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith.
After the war Wright practiced law for a time in Clarksville before returning to Paris in 1873. He is said to have defended the accused in ninety-three murder trials without losing a single case. He also remained active in politics, serving as a member of the Judiciary Committee of the Texas Constitutional Convention of 1875. Wright married a Miss Greer of Georgia in 1849, and they had four children. After her death he married Pink Gates of Mississippi in 1868; they had six children. In 1885 Wright moved to San Antonio, where he engaged in banking until his death on August 10, 1895. He is buried in Dignowity Cemetery. Source
James Shannon Mayfield, lawyer, legislator, and soldier, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee on November 1, 1808, to John and Polly (Martin) Mayfield. James Shannon married Sophia Ann Crutcher on July 10, 1833, and the following year the family relocated to Jackson County, Illinois. Between 1834 and 1871 the Mayfield family expanded to include seven children. In 1837 Mayfield arrived in Nacogdoches County, Texas, where he joined the military to combat incursions from Native Americans and began practicing law in Nacogdoches with Joseph M. White. In 1839 he accompanied Albert Sidney Johnston, David Burnet, I. W. Burton, and Thomas J. Rusk as a commission to propose to the Cherokee Indians that they leave Texas upon payment for their improvements by the republic. The Cherokee refused the offer on July 16, 1839, which resulted in hostilities with the military. Mayfield participated in the ensuing battles as aide-de-camp for Brigadier General K. H. Douglas and authored field reports for Johnston. Mayfield represented Nacogdoches County in the Fifth and Sixth congresses (1840-42) and introduced the Franco-Texian Bill. From February 8, 1841, to September 7, 1841, Mayfield served as secretary of state under Mirabeau B. Lamar, except for the period from April 30 to September 7, when Joseph Waples and Samuel A. Roberts served consecutively in his place. On October 28, 1841, Mayfield relocated his family to La Grange in Fayette County, where he continued to practice law.
During a speech in the Texas House of Representatives on January 4, 1842, Mayfield disparaged fellow congressman David S. Kaufman. The two men exchanged gunfire and Kaufman ultimately died from a wound to the abdomen, but the encounter was considered a fair fight and Mayfield did not face charges. On September 16, 1842, Mayfield assembled a company of fifty-three volunteers from La Grange, to follow Capt. Nicholas Dawson in an attempt to repel Gen. Adrián Woll's Mexican army from San Antonio. His group, joined by others under the command of Jesse Billingsley and W. J. Wallace, arrived at the scene of the Dawson massacre on Salado Creek while it was occurring. Mayfield, as the commanding officer, determined that his group was too far outnumbered and remained in the distance until the following day, when he joined the command of Mathew Caldwell. Mayfield commanded one of the battalions but opposed pursuing Woll further south due to overwhelming force and the inevitable arrival of Mexican reinforcements. In 1842 Mayfield was a member of the Somervell expedition but did not join the subsequent Mier expedition. Congressman Robert Potter died in 1842 and bequeathed one-third of his estate to Sophia as well as his favorite horse “Shakespeare” to James. In 1843 he presented himself as a candidate for major general of the Texas army but removed himself from consideration because, he said, of ill health. It is probable, however, that accusations of cowardice during the Woll invasion leveled by Mathew Caldwell and Edward Burleson had much to do with his decision. Mayfield represented Fayette County at the Convention of 1845 and in September challenged Burleson to a duel but did not go through with the engagement.
In 1846 Mayfield served as an inspector of the La Grange Female Institute and in April he helped organize the Democratic party in Texas. On July 28, 1849, he killed Absolom Bostwick in self-defense during a political argument regarding the special election of the sheriff. Bostwick’s death led to the discovery of an organized gang of thieves operating from Missouri to the Rio Grande. In July 1850 Mayfield was one of a committee appointed in a meeting at La Grange to consider insurrectionary movements in Santa Fe County. Sophia died in La Grange on March 2, 1852 and James passed away later that year on December 3. The Mayfields were buried in the front yard of their home in La Grange, but relocated to the La Grange Cemetery in 1858. On March 6, 2004, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas held a dedication ceremony to adorn the grave with a bronze medallion identifying Mayfield as a “Defender of the Republic of Texas.” Source
Alfred Henderson Wyly, soldier, presumably joined the Texas army at Groce's Retreat on the Brazos River, where he organized and was elected to command of a small company from the "Redlands" about April 6, 1836. The company was assigned to Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, and served at the battle of San Jacinto. Wyly was discharged on July 24, 1836. He was married to a widow named Josephine Louise (Burk) Williams, and they had five children. His family lived in Rusk County from 1848 until at least 1855. He died on May 11, 1867, at Hempstead, where he is buried. Source
William Bluford DeWees, pioneer settler and public official, was born in Virginia on September 8, 1799. He first visited Texas on a keelboat excursion up the Red River in 1819. In late 1821 he accompanied a group of four families from Arkansas to the Austin colony; the party arrived on the lower Brazos River on January 1, 1822. On August 3, 1824, DeWees and his partner, James Cook, who constituted one of the Austin colony's Old Three Hundred households, received title to a league of land on the Colorado River in the southern part of what is now Colorado County, about ten miles below Columbus. DeWees then obtained title to a second half league on the west bank of the river at the site of the Columbus township, on April 28, 1831. As property owner, developer, and early settler of the site he became known as a founder of Columbus. The census of 1825 listed him as a gunsmith, and he appears as a blacksmith in the census of 1826. In 1840 he held title to 1,207 acres, claimed another 887 acres under survey, and possessed a personal estate that included eleven slaves, thirty cattle, nine horses, and a carriage.
DeWees traveled in Mexico in 1826 and 1827, then took up residence in San Antonio, where he lived for almost two years before returning to his home on the Colorado. Beginning in 1837 he held a series of public offices in Colorado County, including justice of the peace, associate land commissioner, and associate justice of the county court. In 1865 he was again elected justice of the peace for Precinct 1 of Colorado County. Later that year he was appointed to a term as county treasurer by provisional governor A. J. Hamilton. But DeWees's political career and reputation were ruined in 1866 when he was charged by his successor with misappropriating $1,200 in county funds and was successfully sued for that amount in district court. His appeal of the decision was denied in 1870.
DeWees married a daughter of Austin colonist Benjamin Beeson, probably named Lydia, in 1823 and eventually became the father of two children. His wife apparently died before 1850, and DeWees probably married a German immigrant named Angelica. In the early 1850s he covertly collaborated with writer Emmaretta Cara Kimball Crawford in producing a journal of his pioneering experiences that purported to be a compilation of his letters to a Kentucky resident named Cara Cardelle; this volume of dictated reminiscences, actually written by Emmaretta Kimball, was published in 1852 under the title Letters from an Early Settler of Texas to a Friend. DeWees died in Colorado County on April 14, 1878. Source