JOHN T. WESTMORELAND, Danville Mounted Riflemen


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

John Thompson Westmoreland was born in 1829 in Montgomery County, Alabama. His parents were Wilburn Dennison Westmoreland and Elizabeth Simmons. He was the brother of Joseph Mark Westmoreland.

On December 15, 1853, John was married to Nancy Guynn. Nancy was born in Montgomery County, Alabama, in about 1838. According to papers in the vertical files in the Montgomery County Texas library, Nancy's parents were Isam Guynn and Mary Wicker, whose second husband was Albert Worthy. In 1855, John T. and Nancy moved to the vicinity of Danville, Montgomery County, Texas, to join John's brother, Joseph Mark Westmoreland. John rendered and was taxed on four slaves in the 1856 tax year. He had not yet purchased land.

They are enumerated on the census of 1860 with their three children, all born in Texas. According to the Montgomery County Slave schedules of 1860, John owned two slaves, a twenty-five-year-old man and an eighteen-year-old woman.

In the household of John's brother Joseph was John A. Guynn, age eighteen (spelled Guinn on the census), who was Nancy's brother.

In the 1861 tax year, John rendered two slaves but still owned no land. He was likely renting farm land at this time.

John T. Westmoreland was a member of San Jacinto Masonic Lodge 106 at Danville. He was listed as Master Mason in 1857, 1870, and again in 1873.

John joined the Danville Mounted Riflemen on May 4, 1861, and was present for the musters of September 13, 1861 and February 14, 1862.

On April 28, 1862, John enlisted in the Second Texas Lancers with Captain S. D. Wooldridge at Danville, and was named the company bugler. The bugler had the task of blowing the bugle as the men charged into battle.

A Confederate Bugler

He was mustered in at Hempstead at age thirty-three, and rode his horse to Arkansas, where he was dismounted along with the others at El Dorado on July 28, 1862.

After being dismounted, he was trained in infantry tactics at Camp Holmes near Pine Bluff. His regiment was assigned to Garland's Brigade, which was sent to Ft. Hindman at Arkansas Post in the fall of 1862.

John fought in the Battle of Arkansas Post, where he was captured by Union forces on January 11, 1863, and was sent to prison at Camp Butler, Illinois.

John was on the roll of prisoners and also on the roll of those paroled at City Point, Virginia, in April of 1863.

John was unlucky enough to be captured again at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, on the 19th of September, 1863. There is a note on the muster roll following that battle that John “come out missing ” after the battle. A roll of prisoners of the Union Army states that he was “captured by U. S. forces of Army Major General Rosencrans. ” John was forwarded to Louisville, Kentucky, and then sent on to Camp Douglas, Illinois, where he was imprisoned on October 4, 1863. Camp Douglas had one of the worst reputations of any prison camp of the war, and the southern soldiers were terribly mistreated there.

Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas, Illinois

John was apparently kept in prison for the remainder of the war, because the only card in his file after that was one showing that he was forwarded to New Orleans for exchange on May 4, 1865. This, of course, was the end of the war.

He went back to Montgomery County and was enumerated there on the census of 1870 with his wife, Nancy, and six children. A few years later, John and Nancy moved to Colorado County, Texas. They appear there on the 1880 census. Soon afterwards, her mother and stepfather, the Albert Worthys, joined them in Colorado County. They lived in the vicinity of Eagle Lake.

Nancy died August 19, 1921 according to her obituary transcription, and John died October 29, 1911 at Eagle Lake, Texas. They are buried in Lakeside Cemetery. Several of their children are buried in the Eagle Lake Masonic Cemetery.

Photo by Mike Cooper for Colorado County Genweb

John's obituary reads as follows: Chronicle Special: Eagle Lake, Oct. 30.--J. T. Westmoreland, one of the oldest and most highly respected citizens of this city, died yesterday at the age of 84 and was interred [Lakeside Cemetery] this afternoon. The deceased was the father of Messrs. J. R., W. Y., O. W., J. C., R. T. and E. S. Westmoreland and Mrs. J. D. Odom of this city, Mrs. A. S. Holley of Bradey and Mrs. Lena Smith of Houston. Weimar Mercury, November 3, 1911, page 1

Some family information is from a vertical file in the Montgomery County Library at Conroe, and was placed by Barbara Lee Wauson York of Yoakum, Texas. San Jacinto Lodge information is from the records of the Lodge. Service records are from the muster rolls of the Danville Riflemen and from the Compiled Service Records. Information on descendants of James Simmons, including the children of Wilburn and Elisabeth Simmons Westmoreland, can be found on Descendants of James Simmons. Burial information is on the Nesbitt Memorial Library website. John's obituary is from Colorado County Obituaries on Rootsweb. Alabama marriage records were located on the Ancestry website. Montgomery County, Texas, tax lists, provided by Karen Lucas Lawless, were consulted.

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 2003-2012

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