by: Carl W. Mathews
Submitted Nov 1999
Born 1750 - Co. Down, North Ireland
Died 1840 Maury Co Tenn
My wife, Elaine, and I spent five weeks in Ireland in late 1995 and
discovered a reference to John
McCandless, a name I had
remembered from Dawson, Texas. This John McCandless was born in County Down, an area adjacent to and south of
Belfast in 1750 and named for his paternal grandfather. The family
was said to have originated in Scotland. His family had
probably lived in North Ireland for one hundred fifty years when he
sailed June 5, 1772 for America. His voyage of
eighty-two days landed him at New Castle, Delaware on August 26,
1772. It was said that he left New Castle
immediately and traveled to Baltimore, Maryland where he remained
for a few Months.
The reference made no mention of John McCandless migrating with any
siblings, but research has given rise to speculation that he may
have had several brothers come with him. David m.
Catherine Wasson Rowan Co NC William m. Elizabeth Jordan
who had lived at Isle of Wight, Virginia, moved to Orange Co NC
m. Hannah Baldridge in Rowan Co NC Samuel m. Jennett Douglas
in NC It was said that he was drafted into military service during
the American Revolution and served with distinction for three
years, 1875-1878. He was, initially, a wagoner, but
served later as a mounted horseman and attained the rank of
sergeant. John McCandless died in 1840 in Maury Co, Tenn.
He had been living on a pension of $23.33 per annum. Three John McCandless names were listed as having served in the revolutionary
War and were provied pensions
JOHN McCANDLESS #1 Born Co Down, North Ireland
Arrived New Castle, Delaware June 5, 1772
Moved to Mecklenburg Co NC 1773
Moved to Blount Co Tenn 1799
Moved to Rhea Co Tenn 1808
Moved to Maury Co Tenn 1834
JOHN McCANDLESS #2 Born 1754 New London Co, PA
Lived Orange Co NC
Moved to Giles Co Tenn 1832
NOTE: This reference may..probably is in error.
The William McCandless living in Giles Co Tenn in 1850
was born in 1769 and this John McCandless would have been fifteen.
JOHN McCANDLESS #3 Died Hardin Co KY 1827 m. 1785
Jane (Jinney) Mason of Greenbrier VA (Now WV)
Brother: John Mason
Sister: Mary Burkes
The name "Orange" has been given to numerous female
members of the McCandless family through the years. The
name, no doubt, came from William of Orange who was and is a hero in
the minds of loyal North Irelanders. William (1650-1702), son
of Mary, daughter of Charles I of England and husband of
Mary, daughter of James II of England, deposed his father-in-law in
1688. William of Orange and Mary were to rule
England jointly, but William did most of the ruling. He
defeated his father-in-law, James II and an army composed of French
and Irish at the Battle of the Boyne. He sailed into the
harbor of Londenderry, North Ireland when it was under siege after
some teenage "Apprentices" closed the gates to the city
and stirred the citizens to resist. "Orangemen"
(Protestants of Ulster) organizations continue to exist to this day
in North Ireland (Ulster). John McCandless
must have instilled the admiration for William of Orange to his
(Note of Interest: Many of the early arrivals from North
Ireland to America settled in Pennsylvania and, in time, moved south
into the Shenandoah Valley. Their allegiance to William of
Orange prompted the nickname "Billy Boys."
Some of the Scotch-Irish settled in the mountains..the hills of the
Shenandoah Valley, and were "Billy Boys who lived in the hills,"and the term 'HILLBILLY" was born.
No record of the first marriage of John McCandless has been
discovered, but he had, at least, one child prior to his marriage to
Susannah Farmer in 1782. William McCandless was born in 1769,
three years prior to the time John left Ireland.
William McCandless was living in Giles Co Tenn when the 1850 Census
was taken, still married to Hanna Baldridge, whom he had married
in 1798. Kentucky records indicate that John and William
McCandless were living there in the period of 1787-1811. This is
John McCandless #3 who lived at Greenbrier VA. Many veterans
of the Revolutionary were being given land grants in the Kentucky
Territory in the 1780's.
William McCandless married Elizabeth Jordan of Isle of Wight
Co., Virginia in 1794. Elizabeth is dead by 1798
and William married Hannah Baldridge of Orange Co NC in 1798.
Ann Matthews, daughter of John and Margaret McKissick Matthews of
Mecklenburg Co NC married Joseph Y Baldridge c. 1820.
David McCandless was born in Mecklenburg Co. NC December 17,
1791. Logan McCandless was born there in 1808.
Susannah Farmer may have been a widow with children when she married
John McCandless. The 1850 Tennessee US Census reported that
Henry Farmer, age ten, was living with Logan and Martha McCandless.
It is quite possible that the father of Henry Farmer was a son of
Susannah Farmer by her previous marriage and Henry's parents had
The Tennessee US Census of 1850 reported that William McCandless was
eighty-one and blind. Hannah, now seventy-two,
listed her birthplace as North Carolina. Mary
McCandless resides with them and it may be assumed that she is their
daughter. Mary is thirty-five, born when Hannah was
thirty-seven. The census enumerator classifies Mary as
Thomas McCandless, aged
fifty-five (b. 1795) lives in Maury Co in 1850. His wife is
Mary, aged fifty-three and born in North Carolina.
Two daughters are still at home. Frances is twenty-nine and
Susan is twenty. Both were born in Tennessee.
One McCandless family in the 1850 Giles Co Tennessee census is
puzzling. Thomas McCandless is twenty-five and "Anner"
McCandless is eighty-six. They live with the family of William S
Samuel. "Anner," no doubt Anna, is only
fourteen or fifteen years older than John McCandless .
The possibility exists that one of John's first-born sons married
Anna, a girls several years older. Anna's husband
had died and a daughter had married William Samuel.
Son Thomas, unmarried, continued to live with Anna.
Many of the veterans of the Revolutionary War were given Land Grants
in Tennessee c. 1795 and many, many families living in Orange and
Mecklenburg counties in NC made the move to Tennessee immediately
before and after 1800.
John (b 1750) was said to
have moved to Blount Co, Tennessee in 1799, but settled a few years
later to Maury Co. No McCandless families are found in Blount
Co, but are found in counties surrounding Maury County: Williamson,
Marshall, Lincoln, Giles, and Coffee. John McCandless (b1750)
lived his last years in Maury Co. on a monthly pension of $23.33 and
died c.1840 at near ninety years of age. An 1825 land transaction in
Maury Co. is of interest. David and John McCandless, and
Robert Richey purchased land in Giles Co, Tenn. from Sterling Clack
Robertson. It was Robertson who became the Mexican Impresario who
located many families from the Maury Co area in what became
Robertson's Colony centered at Franklin, Texas.
McCandless and Richey families both settled in Western Navarro Co,
originally part of Robertson's grant. Richey was settled in Western
Navarro County in 1847 when Britt Dawson arrived with his cattle and
settled on Battle Creek. David McCandless did not begin
settlement until 1856. William McCandless and Gideon B McCandless
were listed among the signers of
a "Certificate of Character for Francis Slaughter" dated
November 27, 1830 in Maury Co Tennessee. Other signatures
appearing on the Slaughter Certificate were: Robert and John Mack,
early Tennessee pioneers; John and William K Hill; (John Hill
McCandless MAY be related to these families) Nathan Coffee. The
Certificate was required by the Mexican government before
permitting Americans to become citizens and becoming eligible for
the Land grants available in Robertson's Colony in Texas. Francis
Slaughter was associated with Sterling Clack Robertson. His
first wife died and in 1836 Slaughter married Minerva Catherine
Matthews, daughter of Robert and Mary Ann Stewart Matthews of Maury
Co. Tennessee. Slaughter brought his bride and his three
children to Fort Franklin, arriving there December 1, 1835.
Francis and Minerva had three children whose descendants still
reside in Western Navarro Co. Slaughter died in 1842 and
Minerva married Dr. George Washington Hill in 1847.
David McCandless, born Dec
17, 1791, probably in Mecklenburg Co. NC.. died Jan 4, 1876 at
Dawson, Texas, came to Texas, probably, in December 1835 and lived
at Franklin. A large group of settlers from the Maury Co. area
of Tennessee arrived at Franklin on December 1, 1835 and included
Francis Slaughter and his family. Robert Harve Matthews,
brother of Minerva Catherine Matthews Slaughter, , and some family
servants, were, also in the group. And..Martha Patricia
Matthews (an older sister of Minerva and Robert Harve) and her
husband, First Cousin .. James Matthews .. were, probably, in the
David McCandless and his
son, John, were said to have served in the Texas Army during the
struggle for independence, but were not participants at San Jacinto.
Sterling Clack Robertson's command, mustered at Fort Franklin,
reported to General Houston at his training camp on the Brazos, but
were ordered back to the Frontier to protect the settlers from Indian
attacks. Robertson's group missed San Jacinto by ten days. A second
son, Washington McCandless, was on his way to join Sam Houston's
Army but drowned when he attemped to cross the Brazos River. A third
McCandless name was mentioned in a party of Robertson Co. men who
gave chase to indians involved in the 1838 Morgan's Massacre that
occurred near the Brazos River above present day Marlin.
His name was Joseph McCandless. Others in the group included
William Fullerton, G W Morgan, Eli Chandler, Britton Dawson, R H
Matthews. (NOTE: The above is the only reference found on
Joseph McCandless and was related many years after the incident by
an individual well into his eighties. There is a possibility
that "John" was recalled as "Joseph."
The list of settlers
arriving at Franklin on Dec 1, 1835 could well show more than two
McCandless names. That list is found in The McClean Papers at
the Corsicana and other libraries The David McCandless family
settled in Texas in a community known as old Nashville, located
located on the Brazos River a few miles west of Fort Franklin.
Tragedy lost no time in striking the family. It was April 14,
1836 when the eldest son, Wash McCandless, drowned in the Brazos
Macca Orange McCandless Lawrence remembered that he was on his way
to join Sam Houston's army. His Mother, Polly Gordon McCandless, was
overcome with grief and died August 13, 1836. The family moved from
Old Nashville back to Fort Franklin after the death of Polly Gordon
McCandless. A second son, John McCandless, who had joined Sam
Houston's army with his father, drove a stage coach after San
Jacinto between Franklin and Houston, contacted pneumonia on a trip
and died June 11, 1844. Daughter Nancy Elizabeth McCandless married
A F May in 1845 and died February 8, 1847. Susan McCandless
married William Boyles and died December 8, 1848.
McCandless was left alone with his two remaining daughters, Mary
Minerva (Nerve) and Macca Orange. Macca Orange was the
younger, but the first to marry. Joseph Thompson Lawrence, son
of John A and Jane Thompson Lawrence, had arrived at Fort Franklin
c.1840 from Tennessee. He had gone home in 1847, probably to
receive an inheritance, and returned with a family of slaves, Henry
and Malinda Caruthers and their sons, Calvin and Jeffery. Two years
later, October 25, 1849, Macca Orange McCandless married Joseph
Thompson Lawrence. Five years later, Mary Minerva had fallen in love
and on August 16, 1854, married William M
"Bill" Walker, son of William and Elizabeth Walker
who had migrated from North Ireland c.1820. A Walker daughter,
Elizabeth, was the first wife of Brit Dawson.. Tradition states that
they began their marriage by establishing settlement in
western Navarro County in 1854-1856 on the David McCandless 4400
acre grant David McCandless had received the grant acres from the
Republic of Texas who honored the original grant from Mexico to
settlers of Robertson's Colony. David McCandless was
given two additional grants in Navarro County. One, 638 acres
on August 4, 1846, and, another 388 acres on August 5, 1846.
The Robertson Co. Census of 1850 provides a glimpse of the David
McCandless family and reports:
David McCandless 55 NC $5900
James Lawrence 25 Tenn (This was a
census name error)
Macca Lawrence 19 Tenn
John Moody 43 Blacksmith from Scotland
Tabitha Moody 34 Ill.
The 1850 Census places David McCandless exactly where he was
supposed to be, but no mention is made of Mary Minerva who did not
marry until 1854. Was
she on a visit to Tennessee? The birth dates for "Jmes"
and Macca are correct. Who were John and
Tabitha Moody? Another John Moody (c1890) married one of
the Hill daughters in Dawson and had a son, E L Moody. Several other
McCandless families ( any relationship to David is unknown) received
land grants in Navarro Co., at unknown locations.
Sam F McCandles 1476 Ac June 11, 1850
W V McCandles 1476 Ac June 11, 1850
William W McCandless settled at Tellico 1857, a community on the
River east of present day Ennis, Texas.
J O McCandless 320 Ac Jan 28, 1870
David McCandless had chosen a site on the headwaters of Richland
Creek located approximately one hundred miles north of Fort
Franklin. The land was rich prairie soil that surrounded
stands of timber, and most importantly, there was an abundance of
water. David McCandless, eventually, deeded the grant to his two
daughters, Macca Orange and Mary Minerva. It was in 1856 that David
McCandless made a decision to begin efforts to settle the property
himself. Covered wagons were assembled and with Macca Orange and her
husband, Joseph Thompson Lawrence; and the Caruthers family, David
McCandless moved from near Wheelock, Texas to his new home. He
was near his old friend from Maury Co Tennessee, William Richey.
William Richey had preceded David McCandless to the area. He
had married the Widow Cannon in Tennessee. Her daughter,
Susanna, was said to have gathered the bones of the men who died in
the Battle Creek episode in 1838 and placed them under the old oak
where the monument now stands. She married Britt Dawson in1847
David McCandless lived almost twenty years more on the Mexican grant
that had finally become his home. He died on January 4, 1876.
1876 must have been a bad year on the headwaters of Richland Creek.
It was on November 25, 1876 that Mary Minerva McCandless Walker
died. She and William Walker had borne two girls. Both Mary Minerva
(Nerve) and William Walker are buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery
near their daughter, Mary E Walker Berry. Mary E Walker had married
George M Dallas Berry and became the mother of twin boys, Otho and
Sparton. Mary E. died in 1776 and after her death Otho and
Sparton went to live with their grandparents, William and Mary
Minerva Walker. Otho Berry died in 1882 at age ten and
was buried at Spring Hill Cemetery. The surviving twin,
Spart Berry, inherited half of the original grant to David
McCandless, and lived many years in Dawson.
Alice Orange Walker married William G. Martin Oct 18,
1866. A marker at Spring Hill Cemetery records "Homer
Martin son of WG, bd 1866."
Another son, Robert Martin, was born at Spring Hill in 1868.
Other children born to William and Alice O Walker Martin were Berta
(1870), Maud (1873, and Mary (1876). The Martin Family,
apparently, left the area at some point near 1880.
One of David's relatives settled in West Texas. An "Uncle
John" McCandless often visited the Lawrence and other families
in Dawson in the early 1930's.
"Uncle John" would show up about once each year and
his visits were filled with excitement for small boys who were
fortunate enough to listen to his tales. "He
Said" that he had been a Texas Ranger…and his might have
been. He related as how every teengage boy wanted
a revolver to carry on his hip, that the cartridges placed into the
cylinder were not always sized to fit the cylinders. He
always wore cowboy boots and a big hat and looked the part of the
tales he told. One interesting McCandless family lived at Jewett,
Texas, a community a few miles east of Franklin. James
Alexander McCandless married Mary Frances Reeder March 14,1861.
All children with the exception of John (1868) were born in Leon
County, Texas. Son John was born to "James Alexander
McKandles and Mary Francis Reader" at Celina, Clay Co. Tenn, Sept
2, 1868. Celina is approximately 50 miles northeast of Nashville.
Two sources were used to identify John (1868) and Bunk (1871).
The fact that their ages are close and that "John Bunk McCandless" was found in West Texas suggests that they MAY have
been the same person. (Point: There was a relation between the
McCandless family and Clay Co.) The family could well have returned
to Tennessee on a visit when the child was born. Children of James
Alexander and Mary Frances Reeder McCandless :
Zelda 1862 m. 1887 Wm Bethel Durant
Pocahontas 1865 m. 1888 Myrabeau Eugene Coley
John Bunk 1868 (Prob. THE John who visited Dawson) m. Dora May
d. Rachael b. 1900
Webb 1876 m. Mary Emma Morrell
da.. 1902 Zelda Runnells Co
Joe Johnson 1880
Stonewall Jackson 1880
Gen. General Lee 1883 See Below
Sidney Johnson 1886
Gen. General Lee McCandless Wingate, Runnells Co.
TX m. 1st Olivia Holly Date unknown
s. James Custer 1904
s. Jackson Gascal 1906
m. 2nd Lillie Mae Miller Memphis, Hall Co., TXNov 7, 1914
d. Sylvia Lee 1925 Electra, Wichita Co. TX
Miscellaneous Co. McCandless Marriages were: Tenn County
1891 -b Ruth Joel Wheeler Marian
1818 Catherine Robert Pickle Davidson (Nashville)
1854 Marshall M Rebecca E Green Marshall
1857 Andrew Telitha E Sharp Marshall
1858 Susan Ann Martin Fields Davidson
1861 M S Sarah C Hammond Marshall
1861 Robert Malinda House Marshall
1864 Sarah J Leroy Smith Coffee
1864 Thomas Tennessee Johnson Davidson
1865 B F Mary E Clark Giles
1866 Madora A Wm C Jordan Marshall
1867 Stephen Mary N Bass Giles
1867 S H Miss L W Phillips Marshall
1868 Julia Green B Evans Lincoln
1869 M J James M Layton McNairy
1871 L J Miss Addie Griffis Lincoln
1871 James S F J Allison Lincoln
1873 Nathaniel L Margaret Carriger Hamblen
1874 Mary J W M Hamilton Maury
1875 Martha Joseph M Creecy Giles
1875 S M Ellen Britton Giles
1877 John G Leora G Nelson Maury
1880 W S Ms M A Samuel Giles
1883 S C Ms W B Helkmick Marshall
1885 Cordelia A Isaac G Hardin Maury
1877 J W Miss L E Parsons Giles
1879 J W Annie Poarch Marshall
1887 Lizzie J T Smith Marshall
FAMILIES IN ORANGE CO NC - TO 1850
c1775 David b.
1782 John m. Susanna Farmer
1794 William m. Elizabeth Jordan
1795 James M b. David Monroe & Katy Wasson McCandless
(David & Katy had son. David L b. Watauga,
Boone Co 1839
(Catherine Wasson is ALSO SHOWN to have married Joseph
McCanless, and had a son whose name was Napoleon
Bonaparte b. at Gold Hill, Rowan Co. NC 1851)
1798 William m. Hannah Baldridge
1806 Samuel m. Jennett Douglass
1856 Durell m. Jatsy Smith
WATAUGA TWP - BOONE CO NC
1833 Julia b. James M & Selina C Alexander McC
1836 James Alex. b. "
1828 David Colbert b. " Iredale,
1839 David L b. David Monroe & Katy Wasson McCandless
1851 Emily Verdurine m. James Hartley
1854 Jas Wellington b. James Alex & Sarah Franklin McCandless
1857 Mary Jane b. "
1855 Clingman b. David Colbert & Mary Green McCandless
1858 Elizabeth b. "
1859 Juliva Victor b. "
1860 William M b. David L & Mary McCandless
DAVID MONROE & KATY WASSON McCANDLESS\
1795 James M m. Selina C Alexander
1836 James Alexander
1861 m. Mary Frances Reeder (Clay Co Tenn)
1828 David Colbert
1859 Juliva Victor
c1830 Robert b
1850 Ann b. Robert McCandless
McCANDLESS IN STATE OF VIRGINIA
William McCandless, listed in Orange Co. NC as having married
Elizabeth Jordan in 1794 is, also, listed as marrying her at Isle of
Wight, Virginia 7 Jan 1794. This connects the McCandless from
Virginia to Orange Co. NC. McCandless records at Greenbrier VA
now Greenbriar WV
1785 John McCandless married Jenny or Jane Mason
1786 Polly b.
1789 Alexander b.
1792 William b.
1796 John b. to John & Jane Mason McCandless
1805 Timothy Mason b. John & Jane Mason McCandless
1806 Cynthia b.
GILES CO TENN WILLS
Thomas F McCandless wit. Frank Matthews
GILES CO TENN - 1850 CENSUS
Logan 1808 Martha 1821
Henry Farmer 1840
Thomas 1795 NC Mary 1897 NC
Frances 1821 TN
Susan 1830 TN
Thomas 1825 TN Anner 1764 NC
Live with William S Samuel (??Dau of Anner)
William 1769 NC (Blind) Hanna 1778 NC
Mary 1815 TN (Idiot)
John Bunk McCandless was born Maury Co 1837 to John Bunk and
Margery McCandless. John G. McCandless was married in
Maury Co. to Leora G. Nelson
Oct 24, 1877. Mary McCandless married W H Hamilton Feb 18,
1874 in Maury Co.
Williamson Co. Tenn McCandless Marriages were:
1809 William Sally Goff
1821 Sarah Allen Duffill
1823 James Nancy Pomroy
1823 Catherine Willis Pomroy
1841 William Esther Roller
1846 John Mary E Morris
1847 John Phebe Ann Walker
1865 Carroll Miss E L Coleman
1872 J S Sally H Hart
1879 Alice James Davis
1879 James Maggie Hamilton
1880 James C Mattie T Coleman
1883 Jennie M T Gray
1884 William M Betty Gentry
1885 Ardenia M Wm Henry Johnson (Ardenia b. 1868)
1885 D B Millie D Gentry
Carl W Matthew's
Roswell GA 30077
770 587 4350
Western Navarro County, Texas
See the Joseph Thompson
"MAMA, I KILLED A
Joseph Thompson Lawrence
Joseph Thompson Lawrence (b. 1825) was eighteen
when he arrived at Wheelock, Texas in 1843. He had, according to one
story handed down, experienced a "Family Problem" at his home in
Tennessee and had "Gone to Texas," probably, accompanied by his
brother, William, who was two years older. Home, for the Lawrence
boys, had been Rutherford Co., Tennessee, located forty miles or so
South of Nashville.
Samuel and Mary Lawrence lived on Craigs Creek, Augusta Co. Virginia
in 1762. Their sons were John, James, William, and Robert Lawrence.
James Lawrence had married Frances. William married Mary and lived
in Botetourt Co Virginia in 1770. John Lawrence was killed by
Indians in Tennessee in 1787, the same year that Lawrence Thompson
married Kezia Hart in Tennessee. A Thomas Lawrence had wandered off
to North Carolina, but rejoined the family in Tennessee.
Joseph Thompson Lawrence and William Lawrence were the sons of John
A. and Jane Thompson Lawrence and the maternal grandsons of John and
Grizzelle Ellis Thompson. (Lawrence and Thompson families must have
been close for many years by virtue that they lived in the same area
and the Thompsons named a son Lawrence.) No record has been
discovered concerning William Lawrence in Texas, but a William
Lawrence married Agness Dement in Rutherford Co Tennessee and had a
daughter whose name was Lesenby.
Whatever the "Family Problem" Joseph Thompson Lawrence returned to
Rutherford Co. in 1847 and returned to Wheelock with a family of
slaves, Henry Caruthers, his wife, Aunt Malinda, and sons, Calvin
and Jeffery. The return to Tennessee may have been prompted by the
death of the parents and the distribution of inheritances. William
may have returned to Rutherford Co. married Agness Dement, and had a
daughter, Lesenby, in 1849.
Joseph Thompson Lawrence's return to Texas in 1847 may have been
influenced by his interest in the daughter of David McCandless. Two
years later, October 25, 1849 at Wheelock, Texas, Joseph Thompson
Lawrence married Macca Orange McCandless (b.1831).
The David McCandless family of Giles Co. Tennessee had arrived at
Fort Franklin in Robertson's Colony on Dec. 1, 1835. Francis
Slaughter, who had married Minerva Catherine Matthews the previous
summer, and his three children had traveled with the McCandlesses.
Minerva's brother, Robert Harve Matthews and two family servants,
were, also in the group.
David McCandless obtained a lst Class Headright Certificate from the
Mexican government (honored by the Republic of Texas) that entitled
him to one league of land (4428 acres) plus one Labor (177.l acres).
Certificate holders were permitted to select from any unclaimed land
in the Republic and David McCandless made his choice on the
headwaters of Richland Creek in what is now Western Navarro county.
He received his patents to the property on August 4 & 5, 1846. The
land was rich and water, a necessity, in abundance.
David McCandless informed his two remaining daughters they would
each receive one half of the property, but that whoever settled
first could choose their half. Mary Minerva and her husband, William
Walker chose the "Bottom Land" and settled there in 1856.
Macca Orange and her husband, Joseph Thompson Lawrence, moved by
covered wagon to the McCandless land in 1858 and never left. They
brought with them the family of Uncle Henry Caruthers whose members
would become like a part of the Lawrence family. Together, they
worked to improve the land and make a good life for everyone. They
built cabins, dug wells, tilled the soil, raised a few cattle. The
good life was beginning to become a reality in 1860 when cannon
roared at Ft. Sumpter in South Carolina and began a terrible
conflict that would divide the United States for almost five years
and leave scars that would never go away.
Joseph Thompson Lawrence was thirty-five when the Civil War began
and he enlisted October 28, 1861 as a Private. Capt. A .F .Moss had
recruited him for Company "K" of the Texas Dragoon Volunteers. He
was described as six feet four inches tall, florid complexion, blue
eyes and dark hair. His occupation was "Farmer."
He was at Little Rock, Arkansas on May 25, 1962 when he was given a
discharge signed by Lt. Col. R, B. Burleson, Commander. The
discharge was according to "The provisions of the Conscription Law."
Joseph Thompson Lawrence, apparently, re-enlisted and served until
well after Appomattox. CSA Special Order 136, dated Houston, May 16,
1865, transfers Joseph T. Lawrence from Mann's Regiment to Co. "I"
Watson's Regiment. The Order was signed by Robert J. Samuel for Maj.
General J B McGruder.
Joseph T Lawrence had served the Confederate States of America long
and well, but his cause had lost. The bitterness of defeat never
left his mind and he was resentful of the Yankee soldiers who
strutted the streets of the nearest town, Spring Hill, Texas. Some
described Joseph Lawrence as one who, "stood for all that was right
for the progress of his country and the good of his family." Another
stated that, "He seldom expressed himself but was most emphatic and
adamant when necessary."
Bates Savage, eighty-five in 1994 and living in Hubbard, Texas with
his wife of more than fifty years, the former Jo Evelyn Berry of
Dawson, remembers well his Grandma Savage telling of an incident
that occurred at Spring Hill.
The date was sometime after the Civil War had ended, but Yankee
soldiers were still encamped near Spring Hill. Darkness had arrived
and Joseph Lawrence was the single patron in one of several saloons
located at Spring Hill. He was well acquainted with the bartender
and they were engaged in friendly conversation when three uniformed
Yankee soldiers walked into the saloon. The three soldiers began to
make fun and pick at Joseph Lawrence tipping his hat, making remarks
about the South losing the war, and, as Bates Savage expressed
"probably goosing him."
The bartender knew Joseph Lawrence well and took one of the Yankee
soldiers aside and expressed his concern for the outcome of the
situation that appeared to be developing. He stated that Joseph
Lawrence was a good natured individual, but one who would not long
put up with the kind of treatment he was receiving at the hands of
the Yankee soldiers.
The warning by the bartender went unheeded. Joseph Lawrence told the
soldiers to "let him be." The irritating actions and comments
continued until Joseph Lawrence had his fill and with that he
whipped out his six-shooter and shot one of the soldiers. The man
fell dead on the saloon floor and his two companions, both bearing
arms, fled through the rear door of the saloon without any attempt
to draw their weapons.
Joseph Lawrence mounted his horse and rode quickly the several miles
to his home. He dismounted and was met at the door by his wife,
Macca. "Momma, I killed a Yankee!" John Lawrence gathered a few
clothes and some food, told his wife that he was headed for the
heavy timber of the Richland bottom, and where he would be at a
later date so she could bring fresh clothes and food.
His friend, George Washington Savage, had one of the fastest horses
in Navarro County and had loaned the horse to Joseph Lawrence during
the Civil War. Joseph Lawrence had returned the horse to Savage, but
now he needed the horse once more and rode that horse into the heavy
timber of the Richland Creek bottoms.
Bates Savage recalled that, "Grandpa hid out in the timber
for..like..four or five years. He knew that the Yankee soldiers
would not look for him there, but would watch to catch him when he
came to the house which he never did."
When the Yankee soldiers had long since left Spring Hill and when
there was little chance of having any witness to the killing other
than the bartender, Grandma Lawrence gathered her children in the
family wagon and headed South toward Franklin. She noticed that a
lone horsemen had begun to follow the wagon. The horseman remained
far behind the wagon and when Grandma Lawrence stopped the horseman
stopped. She decided that the horseman was her husband, John, but
he, unable to recognize her or the children, was fearful of making
She was wearing a bright red petticoat which John had given her. She
knew he would recognize the petticoat. Off came the petticoat and
she began to wave it high above her head. The horseman came toward
the wagon at a gallop.
The Lawrences hired a lawyer in Corsicana to take the case and
Grandpa Lawrence turned himself into the authorities. The only
remaining trial witness in Texas was the bartender who told the
court what had happened and Grandpa Lawrence was adjudged "Not
Grandma Savage Ann Elizabeth Lawrence who married George W. Savage
in 1874, was going to school at Tehuacana when her father's trial
began at the courthouse in Corsicana, but had not learned the
Two men had arrived one evening from Corsicana and spent the night
at the school which, apparently, served as a hotel and restaurant
for travelers. The following morning the two men were seated at the
long dining table when the students arrived for breakfast. Grandma
Savage related to Bates Savage that she overheard the two men
talking about a trial at the courthouse in Corsicana. She listened
intently. Finally, one of the men asked, "What happened in the trial
of 'Old Man Lawrence?" Her heart jumped into her throat as she heard
her Father's name mentioned.
"Why, they turned him loose." said the other man. "They didn't have
any witness except for that bartender and he told the judge how
those Yankee soldiers had intimidated "Old Man Lawrence" and that
Lawrence did everything he could to avoid conflict, and the Judge
found 'Old Man' Lawrence Not Guilty."
Joseph Thompson Lawrence had ridden fast horse owned by George
Washington Savage for more than a decade and had become attached to
the animal. When the trial was completed he approached Savage with a
proposal to trade one of his fine young horses for the old horse he
had ridden so long. Savage agreed.
Grandpa and Grandma Lawrence lived out their lives on their ranch.
Seven of their nine living children married. Most established
families in or near Dawson.
John D Lawrence married Anna Dawson, Daughter of Brit Dawson, and
their children were Joe, Jim, Vic, Roger, Clint, Carrie, Salley and
Ann Elizabeth Lawrence married George Washington Savage and their
children were John, George, Sarah, Carrie, David, William, Joseph,
James, Karl, Henry, Frank, and Thelma.
Mary Jane Lawrence married Milton Long and their only son, Leroy
Thompson Long who died in WWI.
William J. (Uncle Billy) Lawrence married another of Brit Dawson's
girls, Emily, and their children were David (Mack), Fannie, Ella,
Frank, Hester, Laura, Nannie, Billy, and Brit (Coonie).
Carrie Lawrence never married
Sarah Medorah Lawrence died young.
James O Lawrence married Lenora Wright and their children were
Winnie, Othello, Rozelle, Joe, Bob, Louis, W P (Doc), and Jimmy.
Fannie Lawrence married Jim Sowell and their children were Charlie,
Beatrice, Macca, and Annie.
George Lawrence married Carrie Dempsey and their children were
Curtis, Floyd, and Edna Macca.
Joseph Thompson and Macca Orange McCandless Lawrence were buried in
the Lawrence Family Cemetery located just off Farm Road 709
Northwest of Dawson. Joseph
SOME FAMILY MEMBERS & DATES
William Lawrence b. c1802 m. 1825 Judith Edwards
Elizabeth Lawrence b. 1826
Katherine Lawrence b. c1800 m. 1821 Zadoc Bell
James Lawrence b. c 1790
m. 1st Joanna b. 1799
s. Martin Lawrence b. 1815
s. Thomas Lawrence b. 1818
m. 2nd Sarah Jane Thompson
s. William Lawrence b. 1823
m. Agness Dement
d. Lesenby Lawrence
s. Joseph Thompson Lawrence b. 1825
d. Sarah Catherine Lawrence b. c1834
m. 1864 Tom Carton
d. Nancy Tennessee Lawrence b.1839 m. 1851 John Jackson
The John (b.c1773) & Grizzelle Ellis (b.c1773) Thompson family
structure (unproven) may have been
b. 1793 Jennette m. 1814 Wm McKissick of Maury Co
b.c1796 Henry m.1816 Susan Smith
b.c1797 Jacob m.1817 Temperance Crawford
b.c1801 Sarah Jane m. c1824 James Lawrence
b.c1803 Eddie m. 1823 George Warren
b.c1808 Wm L m.1828 Martha Johnson
b.c1814 Anna m. 1834 Mr. Jones
b. 1815 Salley
b.c1817 Willie B m. 1837 Eliz Collins
b.c1819 Elizabeth m. 1839 William Lewis
m. 1842 Mr. Blivins