Julia Ann Fitzgerald
Nathan and Julia Ann Fitzgerald came to Texas from Mississippi about 1870 and settled in the Oak Grove community south of Rice in
This couple had 8 children, five boys and 3 girls. They were: Henry, Will, Newnan, George, Ed, Jennie, Alice and a sister who died young.
Nathan was a Civil War Veteran. He served in
Lee’s Army for 18 months. He fought at the Battle of Murphysboro and others. Nathan was born September 23, 1829 and died January 9, 1925. Julia Ann was born January 7, 1844 and died February 23, 1917. Both are buried in
Nathan’s sons, George and Ed, became Gospel Preachers. In the early 90’s there were quite a few members of The Lord’s
Church living in the community. Nathan Fitzgerald decided to build a church building on his property and it became known as “The Fitzgerald Chapel”. This building was used for that purpose for many years. In fact until the members had all passed on or moved away. Later it was sold to be used as a residence and
was moved to other property. This building still stands but in a collapsed condition.
Will Fitzgerald and Jennie Fitzgerald, who married Frank Norris, spent their entire adult lives in Navarro County and are
buried in Rice Cemetery.
Will Fitzgerald was born in 1867 in Mississippi and was married to Mary Etta Campbell. They lived in Ellis County until 1894 when he bought some land in Navarro County three miles west of Rice.
He later added more acres to this plot.
Mr. Fitzgerald wrote a letter to “Farm and Ranch” which was published in that paper May 12, 1906 in which he stated that he was married in 1889 and worked for wages the first year and then began farming.
He started his first crop with 2 ponies, 49 bushels of corn, 100 pounds of meat and $5.00. He had no farming tools but had good neighbors. They lived in the same house for three years and all the furniture in the house cost $3.75.
Right then he made the rule to buy nothing
on credit. He firmly believed in diversification and raised everything that could be eaten, and never bought groceries unless he carried enough eggs and other farm commodities to pay for them.
His family lived in the house on the farm,
which was bought in 1894, until 1916 when he built a house in Rice where they resided until their deaths. Will’s death occurred in 1937. Etta died in 1954.
Will and Etta were the parents of 5 children:
Mary Emma married Jackson Lemmon; she died in 1973, Jack in 1930. They had
two children, Jackson Boomer Lemmon (always referred to as Boomer) died at birth. and a son who died in 1974.
[this paragraph updated by Cynthia Lemmon Jan 2006]
Vannie married Flossie Hall. They had one
daughter and one son. Vannie died in 1969. The old home place has been in the Fitzgerald Family for 83 years and is presently owned by these two grandchildren.
Cecil married Leona Paslay. They had three sons and a daughter. Cecil died in 1962.
Bessie married Luther Murff who died in 1972. They had 3 sons and one daughter. Bessie is the only surviving child and is presently making her home in Ennis. Her son, William Denton Murff has served as Mayor of Ennis for 3 terms.
William married Florence Wright. They have three daughters. William died in 1956.
Mrs. M. V. Fitzgerald, author of this History, passed away Tuesday, September 13, 1977 at Navarro County Memorial
Hospital. She was buried beside her husband in The Rice Cemetery.
By Flossie Fitzgerald
Civil War Veteran
Jane B. Smith 6/2004
Billie Fitzgerald Baker of McKinney, Texas has graciously submitted the following articles and pictures to the Navarro County website in memory of her father, William Sloan Fitzgerald and his parents, William E. and Mary Etta Campbell Fitzgerald formerly of Rice, Texas. This article was written and sent
to the Dallas Morning News by Billie Fitzgerald Baker and published during the Texas 150th Year Celebration about her Grandparents' rural life in Rice, Texas.