WILLIAM J. GUYNN



JAMES WILLIAM GUYNN

Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

Please note that the article on James William Guynn was updated
to reflect new material which has been located regarding his parents, brother, and sister. --March 28, 2007.
Further updates were completed in 2012.


This photo of James W. Guynn was reproduced in the Texas Ranger Dispatch Magazine in an article about Guynn written in 2003 by Chuck Parsons.


James William (or William James) Guynn (Guinn, Gwinn) was born in Alabama on September 17, 1840, the son of Isom Guynn and Mary Wicker. Isom Guynn died, and Mary Guynn married Albert Worthy in Montgomery County, Alabama, on January 23, 1847.

In 1850, James William was living with the Albert V. Worthy family in Montgomery County, Alabama.

Although the three children in the family in 1850 were enumerated with the Worthy surname, it is clear that they belonged to Mary Wicker Guynn Worthy and were surnamed Guynn.

Albert Worthy and Mary moved to Texas just prior to 1860, and he was on the tax list of 1860 in Montgomery County as well as the 1860 census. They probably moved in order to join Mary's daughter, Nancy Guynn, who had married John Thompson Westmoreland and migrated to Texas in 1857.

Mary's son, John A. Guynn, was living with Joseph Westmoreland in 1860, but son James William has not been located. He is said to have been living in Colorado County at the outbreak of the war; although he was not enumerated there on the 1860 census, there were three families of Guynns in the Eagle Lake area at that time, possibly relatives.

J. W. Guynn joined Captain R. M. Powell's company of militia in the 17th Brigade, Texas State Troops, in April, 1861. This was the unit known as the Waverly Confederates.

On August 2, William Guynn enlisted in Company D of the 5th Regiment Infantry, under Capt. Robert M. Powell. This company was formed of men in Walker County and was mostly comprised of the militiamen of the 17th Brigade, TST, known as the Waverly Confederates; it later became part of Hood’s Brigade.

After spending four months sick in a private home and various hospitals, William was discharged by a surgeon's certificate of disability on December 1, 1861. By this time, the troops were already in Virginia, where they had gone into winter quarters on Neabsco Creek. There was much sickness in camp, and at one time only twenty-five men of 800 were fit for duty. The men who were discharged somehow found their own way back to Texas.

On April 28, 1862, apparently fully recovered, William J. Guynn was mustered into Capt. S. D. Wooldridge’s Second Texas Lancers, which became Company B, 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry.

He was apparently living in Montgomery County when he enlisted at Danville on April 28, 1862. He gave his age as twenty-one. He had to travel fifty miles from his home to rendezvous at Camp Carter near Hempstead. His horse was worth $180.00 and his equipment was valued at $20.00.

Also joining the same company were Danville residents nineteen-year-old John A. Guynn, and John T. Westmoreland, husband of Nancy Guynn.

William James rode to Arkansas with the rest of the men and was dismounted with them at Pine Bluff. He fought in the Battle of Arkansas Post, was captured, and was sent to prison at Camp Butler, Illinois. In April of 1863, he was paroled from Camp Butler and was exchanged at City Point, Virginia.


On May 17, he was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Dalton, Georgia, and was subsequently transferred to a hospital in Atlanta. During the time he was in this hospital, he requested a new set of clothing due to his clothing having been stolen by the enemy. The clothing was requisitioned by A. P. Calhoun, the Assistant Quartermaster of the Confederate States Army. The clothing receipt for a pair of pants worth $13.00 and a coat valued at $15.00 was signed by J. W. Guynn on May 28th.


The special requisition may be viewed by clicking the small image.


His muster rolls for May, 1863, through April, 1864, have a notation that he was absent on furlough, apparently a sick leave.


James returned to Texas on this furlough and reported to Capt. Poole at Hempstead. He was placed in Company E of the 24th and 25th Regiments Consolidated and was assigned to District Headquarters and promoted to First Lieutenant. However, on the muster of October - November of 1864, he was “Absent Without Leave” from District Headquarters. During the time he was AWOL, he married sixteen-year-old Miss Mary Anne [Kittie] Bridge, daughter of William and Sarah Perry Bridge. She was born February 7, 1848. They were married in Columbus, Colorado County, on November 17, 1864, by A. M. Campbell, Chief Justice of Colorado County.


Upon returning to duty, James was demoted to private and was transferred to Company F in the consolidated regiment. He was sent to Camp Lubbock, where the muster rolls show that he was “recruiting for the regiment” in February 1865. In April of 1865, he was “absent sick.” The last roll he appeared on was 29 April 1865. He was paroled at the end of the war, and his original parole certificate is in a UDC collection at the Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus, Texas.

You may view a larger image of it, along with the transcription, by clicking on the words parole certificate above.

In 1870, James and wife Kittie were living in Colorado County. He was a farmer, age thirty, and Kitty was twenty-two. They had two daughters, Bettie and Carrie. By this time, his mother and stepfather, Mary and Albert V. Worthy, had moved to Colorado County from Tarrant County and were living in the Eagle Lake area. Jamesís sister and husband, Nancy and John T. Westmoreland, moved to the area a few years later, and Jamesís brother, John, moved there as well.

In April of 1872, James William participated in a tournament at the First Grand Volks Fest held in Columbus. He competed as “The Knight of the Farmer” and won first prize, a new saddle. These details from The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas were previously accessible on the web pages of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus, Texas: The second day of the festival opened with another baseball game, this one between the Island City Base Ball Team and the Houston Base Ball Club. After the game, the tournament began. Organized to resemble a medieval tournament, the participants each paid a rather-high $4 entry fee. Each adopted a fanciful nickname, like "Knight of the Lone Star Banner," "Knight of the Garter," "Knight of the Alamo," and "Knight of the Forest." The Knight of the Farmer, James William Guynn, won first prize, a new saddle, and his brother-in-law, the Knight of Colorado, Walter Eldridge "Dick" Bridge, took second prize, a silver pitcher.

James must have engaged in a brawl in 1874, as he is the subject of “Criminal Cause #1195, State of Texas vs. William Guynn, Assault and battery.”
This was detailed in another segment of The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas.

Apparently not satisfied with the excitement of local activities, James joined the Texas Rangers as a second lieutenant on June 22, 1875, serving under Capt. Leander H. McNelly in the Washington County Volunteer Militia Company A. A letter he wrote to the Colorado Citizen newspaper from Camp Santa Maria gave valuable information regarding the Rangersí activities. It may be read in his biographical sketch in the Texas Ranger Dispatch Magazine 19th Century Shining Star: James W. Guynn, written by Chuck Parsons. Guynn resigned on August 27, 1875 and returned home to Columbus. (Note that subsequent research has proven that Guynn was the son of Isom Guynn and Mary Wicker.)

By 1881, he was in trouble again. On September 5, at Vox Populi, James William Guynn stabbed Henry Simpson Abell with a pocket knife.” He was charged in “Criminal Cause #1861, State of Texas vs. William Guynn, Assault with intent to murder.”

James William Guynn was accidentally shot while on a deer hunting trip with several friends on June 27, 1882. The Colorado Citizen newspaper gave a complete account of the accident, which may be read in his biographical sketch on the Texas Ranger web pages.

He died on July 2, 1882 and was interred in the burial grounds at the W. E. Bridge farm, in an Episcopal Ceremony. Today his remains rest in the Columbus Odd Fellows Cemetery in Columbus.

The Colorado Citizen newspaper published the following:

Mr. J. W. Guynn, accidentally shot on the 27th ult. by Mr. J. J.
Harrison, of this city, died on Saturday last, and was buried on
Sunday at the burial ground on Mr. W. E. Bridgeís farm,
by the Knights of Honor, the Rev. C. H. Howard, of the Episcopal
church, officiating at the family residence in this place and at
the grave. He was an old resident of this county, unobtrusive,
quiet and a good citizen, with many friends. To all he was
kindly in bearing, and to his intimate friends generous to a
fault; to his family affectionately devoted. He was a member
of the Knights of Honor, and also of the Knights and Ladies of
Honor. To his bereaved family we offer our sincere condolence.

ďHe feels no more of earthís distress,
No more the griefs or fears,
Such sleep may call for thankfulness,
It hath no need of tears.Ē
Colorado Citizen, July 6, 1882 (From the Colorado County Genweb page)


James Williamís wife, Kittie Bridge Guynn, received a State of Texas Confederate Widow's Pension, based on James's service. She died on May 8, 1930, and is buried next to him in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Columbus. John A. Guynn, James Williamís brother, is also buried in the same cemetery.


The above information has been compiled from census and county records, the Compiled Service Records on file at the National Archives, the Nesbitt Memorial Library web pages, and the biographical sketch of James William Guynn on the Texas Ranger Website. Parents of James William Guynn are found in the Westmoreland vertical files in the Montgomery County, Texas, Library.


For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at fjohnson@wt.net.

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© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014
Content Used with Permission on © Barrett Branches

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