JOHN A. GUYNN, Danville Mounted Riflemen JOHN A. GWINN/Barrett Family Branches


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

John A. Guynn was born in Alabama on May 22, 1843. He was the son of Isom Guynn and Mary Wicker. After Isom's death, Mary married Albert V. Worthy in Montgomery County, Alabama on January 23, 1847. He was living in the Worthy household in Montgomery County in 1850, along with a brother and sister.

John came to Texas with the Worthy family in about 1857, and by 1860 he was enumerated as a student living in the household of Joseph M. Westmoreland at Danville, Montgomery County, Texas.

John's sister was Nancy Guynn, wife of Joseph’s brother, John Thompson Westmoreland.

John Guynn joined the Montgomery County militia, the Danville Mounted Riflemen, in the spring or summer of 1861 and was listed on the muster rolls of September 1861 and February 1862.

In November, 1861, John A. Guynn joined Captain R. F. Oliver's company of infantry, Company I, of what is now known as the Ninth (Nichols') Infantry. The men were recruited to work in the fortification of Galveston to protect Texas from invasion by sea. His description showed that he was 5 feet 9 inches high, dark complexion, dark eyes, black hair, and by occupation a drover.

He continued serving until April 24, 1862, when he was paid $6.00 for his travel miles from home to Galveston and back.

On April 28, 1862, John enlisted at Danville in Captain Wooldridge's company of the Second Texas Lancers which became Company B, 24th Texas Cavalry. This was the same day that James William Guynn enlisted and was a month later than most of the men enlisted. He gave his age as nineteen. His home was fifty miles from the place of rendezvous, Camp Carter at Hempstead. He gave no value for his horse and equipment.

John trained at Camp Carter, then in May he rode to Arkansas with the Second Lancer regiment. He was dismounted at El Dorado, along with the others. After training as an infantryman at a camp near Pine Bluff, he was sent to Ft. Hindman at Arkansas Post, where he spent the fall building winter cabins. He fought in the Battle of Arkansas Post on 11 January 1863 and was captured and sent to the Union prison at Camp Butler, Illinois.

He was paroled in April 1863 and was exchanged at City Point, Virginia. Upon being paroled, he was admitted to the hospital at Petersburg, Virginia. A notation on the hospital roll states that he was suffering from “catarrhous,” which was a nose and throat discharge.

Confederate Hospital

Many of the prisoners who were exchanged in Virginia were admitted to hospitals upon their arrival, having made the long trip from Illinois knowing that they were almost too sick to travel.

John was discharged and returned to duty on May 9th. He received back pay in June, and in August he received compensation for the fifty miles he rode to rendezvous from his home the previous year.

There is a note on John’s muster roll of January and February of 1864 that he was absent on furlough, but he was counted present on the roll of March and April, 1864.

After that time, no rolls survive for any of the men in Company B. He was not on the parole list for the surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina. He apparently went back to Texas on his furlough and was assigned to the Trans-Mississippi Department.

His original “Parole of Honor” (click on link for transcription) is in his file at the National Archives. It was signed by him and by the Provost Martial at Columbus, Texas, on 14 July 1865. It shows that he was in the Army of the Trans Mississippi Department and was surrendered by General E. Kirby Smith.

Following the end of the war, John apparently took up residence in Houston, Texas. The Tri-Weekly Houston Union published the hotel arrivals in September 1870, and shows that he checked into the Hutchins House Hotel, and that he was a resident of Houston.

Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. UH Digital Library.

At some time after this, John settled in Colorado County, as did James William Guynn, John T. and Nancy Westmoreland, and Albert and Mary Worthy.

On July 10, 1876, John married Mrs. Ella A. Harris McNeely, born September 25, 1847 in Columbus, the daughter of Ira A. Harris and Dilue W. Rose. Ella’s mother, Dilue, was well known for writing about her childhood experiences in the infamous “Runaway Scrape,” in which the women and children of Texas fled Santa Ana’s armies. In fact, one of my cousins is a descendant of Ira and Dilue Harris, and I have known of Mrs. Harris’s articles since I was a child.

Ella's first husband was A. C. McNeely, whom she married in 1866 and by whom she had two daughters and one son, all of whom died as children.

John and Ella were enumerated in the town of Eagle Lake, Colorado County, in the census of 1880. John was a clerk in a store and was age 36. By 1880, the couple had one son, Milby E. Guynn, born 1878.


Click on photos for larger image.

After this time, John became a traveling salesman, known in those days as a drummer.

Two more sons were born to the couple: John A. Guynn, Jr., in 1881, and William Cleveland Guynn in 1883.


Click on photos for larger image.

John A. Guynn died on June 8, 1894. His obituary was published in the Weimar Mercury:

The Mercury regretted very much to hear of the death of that veteran drummer, Capt. John A. Guynn, which occurred at Eagle Lake Friday night of last week. His kindly face, pleasant demeanor, and gentlemanly deportment won for him friends wherever he went, and he was always a welcome visitor to the business men of this section. His remains were laid to rest Saturday afternoon in the Odd Fellows’ cemetery at Columbus. Peace to the memory of noble Capt. Guynn.

Weimar Mercury June 16, 1894, page 4 (from the Colorado County Genweb page)

Here is a photo of Ella with her three sons, probably taken a couple of years after their father died.


Click on photos for larger image.

Thank you to Ella Harris Hoff for contributing these beautiful photos from her family collection.

Ella died on 12 March 1913.

Mrs. Ella Guynn
Eagle Lake, Tex., March 12.--Mrs. Ella Guynn, one of the older residents of Eagle Lake, died this evening at 6 o’clock. She leaves three sons, M. E. Guynn, active vice president of the Eagle Lake State Bank; John A. Guynn and W. C. Guynn, both connected with the rice business; an aged mother Mrs. Dilue Harris; one sister, Mrs. George S. Zeigler, and two brothers, L A. Harris of Altair and Guy Harris of Galveston. [Interment in Columbus Odd Fellows' Rest]

Weimar Mercury, March 21, 1913, page 3 (from the Colorado County Genweb page)

Both John and Ella are buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Columbus.

The above information was compiled from county records, from the Westmoreland file at the Montgomery County library, from the Compiled Service Records which are on file at the National Archives, and from the website of the Nesbitt Memorial Library at Columbus, Texas. John's birth date is taken from his grave marker inscription. However, his age as given in military records does not agree with this birth date. Note that the title of "Captain" was one of respect, not position, as John served throughout the war as a private. Thank you especially to Ellen Harris Hoff for sharing her Harris family records and for allowing us to display the Guynn family photos.

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 or by contacting Frank at

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© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014
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