Chapter 14: William Ragsdale Coleman, son of Wylie Coleman, Including a diary of his trip to Texas, 1851.

Contents | F | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | A1 | A2 | A3 | A4
Previous Chapter     |     Table of Contents     |     Next Chapter

The Robert Coleman from Virginia to Texas, 1652-1965

Chapter 14:  William Ragsdale Coleman, son of Wylie Coleman, Including a diary of his trip to Texas, 1851.

     CHAPTER 14

     Buck Coleman)

     William Ragsdale Coleman was the eldest child of Wylie Coleman and
     Sarah Ragsdale. Born, Fairfield County, South Carolina, October 4,
     1800. Died, near Hallettsville, Lavaca County, Texas, October 29,
     1881.  Resided in Winston (later Choctaw) County, Mississippi, from
     1835 to 1860.

     by FRANK R. COLEMAN *

     An excellent sub-title for the life of William Ragsdale Coleman
     might be "The Life Story of One of the Many Colemans with Restless
       He first saw the light of day in the first year of the Nineteenth
     Century in Fairfield County, South Carolina. At the age of
     thirty-five, he moved to Winston (later Choctaw) County,
     Mississippi. At the age of sixty, he moved to Lavaca County, Texas,
     where he lived another twenty-one years. By modern highway, it is
     1281 miles from Fairfield to Lavaca, being 624 miles from Fairfield
     to Choctaw, and 657 miles from Choctaw to Lavaca.
       When Sarah Ragsdale Coleman died on August 3, 1820, William
     Ragsdale Coleman was nearly twenty years of age. His brothers and
     sisters were Nancy Ann, age 18; Joseph Ragsdale, age 17; Sophia,
     age 15; Griffin Roe, age 13; Elizabeth A. and Robert F., twins, age
     10; Rebecca, age 7; Wylie W., age 5; Henry Jonathan Francis Wyatt,
     age 2; and Sarah, age 8 months.
       The mother was only thirty-nine years of age when she died,
     leaving eleven children, of whom seven were under fifteen years of
       On January 22, 1822, Nancy Ann, then age twenty, married Richard
     Nolem, and left home.

       Wylie Roe Coleman, the father of this large family, recognized
     the need for a second wife. To protect the interests of his
     children in his estate, he entered into an ante-nuptial written
     contract with Mary Seymone that in the event she survived him,
     after the contemplated marriage, she would claim only a child's
     share in his estate. Because it is an interesting document, of a
     kind no longer used, this contract has been copied in full in the
     chapter on Wylie Coleman. Elihu Coleman, the only

        *Frank R. Coleman of Dallas, Texas is the son of Thomas Blewett
     Coleman and grandson of William Ragsdale Coleman.

- 146 - .

                                              THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     child of this marriage, was only nine months of age at the time
     Wylie died on October 16, 1824. The graves of Wylie and Sarah are
     located about 150 feet from his old home, about nine miles West of
     Woodward, in Fairfield County, but near the Chester County line.
        Joseph Ragsdale Coleman married Julianna Banks in February,
     1824, leaving the nineteen year old Sophia as the oldest daughter
     and William Ragsdale Coleman as the oldest son at home. The next of
     the children to marry was Elizabeth A., the twin, who married John
     Williams, in October, 1826. Then, on January 9, 1827, Sophia
     married her first cousin, Williams Charles Coleman, the son of
     Allen Roe Coleman and Sarah Coleman, themselves first cousins.
        By the time the year 1830 rolled around, William Ragsdale
     Coleman, approaching his thirtieth birthday, was ready to set up a
     home of his own. On January 26, 1830, he married Miss Sarah Newport
     Head, a native of South Carolina, the daughter of William Head,
     Sr. and Susannah Gibson Harrison Head. Susannah was the daughter
     of Captain Burr Harrison and his wife, Elizabeth Dargon. Captain
     Harrison was a Revolutionary soldier and served under Lafayette at
     Yorktown.  Captain Burr Harrison was the son of Thomas Harrison,
     grandson of Thomas Harrison, Sr., great grandson of Burr Harrison,
     and great, great grandson of Cuthbert Harrison of Virginia.
        Thus the descendants of William Ragsdale Coleman and his wife,
     Sarah Newport Head, were distant relatives of the illustrious
     Harrison family of Virginia, which produced two American
     Presidents, namely, William Henry Harrison, and his grandson,
     Benjamin Harrison. Sarah Newport Head was related to President
        The Head family lived in Chester County, on the waters of Little
     Sandy River. The parents of William Head, Sr., were Richard Head
     and Sarah Newport. William Head, Sr. and wife, Susannah, moved to
     old Winston County, Mississippi, now Choctaw, where they lived
     about three miles East of the William R. Coleman home. The location
     is now about three miles South of Ackerman and immediately East
     of Highway 15. Their graves, marked, are now in the Tombigbee
     National Forest, Choctaw Unit, and are situated across the highway
     from the Howard McDowell residence. William Head died July 1,
     1837. His wife died July 2, 1844.

                                THE BLEWETT FAMILY

        Thomas Blewett received a land grant, consisting of 2000 acres,
     situated on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina, from King George II.

- 147 - .


     He made extensive improvements, including a large mill, on the
     land.  He had a son named Thomas Garton Blewett, born 4 July,
     1789, at Blewett's Falls, South Carolina.
        Thomas Garton Blewett moved to Chester, Chester County, South
     Carolina, where he married Regina de Graffenried (born at Chester,
     South Carolina, May 8, 1799), who was a descendant of the
     Landgrave, and daughter of Tscharner and Eliza Allen de
        The slaves of Thomas Garton Blewett constructed a two story
     spacious brick mansion in the town of Chester, in Chester County,
     South Carolina.
        The family moved to Columbus, Mississippi, in 1833, where the
     same slaves built another two story brick residence. He named one
     plantation "Pee Dee," another "Chester," and a third "York." The
     cultivated areas included 1600 acres in cotton, 1000 acres in corn,
     and some 300 acres in oats, wheat, potatoes and peanuts.
        It is evident that William R. Coleman had great admiration for
     Thomas Garton Blewett, eleven years his senior. He named his third
     child, born in South Carolina, Thomas Blewett Coleman, and his
     fifth child, born in Mississippi, Regina Blewett Coleman.
        Griffin Roe Coleman, another brother, had reached the age of
     twenty-two years. He chose a wife and married Susannah Cockrell,
     February 9, 1830.
        Apparently, Wiley Roe Coleman left no will. The record shows
     that William R. Coleman and Henry Jonathan Coleman were
     Administrators of the estate. (Henry Jonathan Coleman, the youngest
     son of Robert Coleman who married Elizabeth Roe, to reach maturity,
     was a brother of Wiley Roe Coleman and an uncle of William R.
        In making preparations to move from South Carolina, W. R.
     Coleman sold 279 acres in Fairfield County to John and William
     Bryce (sons of William Bryce). This land was a part of the landed
     estate of Wiley Roe Coleman. William R. Coleman had acquired
     Griffin R. Coleman's share of 95 acres, also Elizabeth's share of
     94 acres and Rebecca's share of 94 acres. This conveyance is dated
     May 17, 1834, and was witnessed by Henry J. Coleman and William W.
        Henry J. Coleman appeared before David R. Coleman, Justice of
     the Quorum, and made affidavit that he saw William R. Coleman sign,
     seal and deliver the deed of conveyance.
        In February, 1829, he had sold 50 acres in Chester County,
     situated at the head of Little River, to Jonathan Thomas and

        In 1832, he sold 40 acres in Fairfield County for the sum of $1250.00

- 148 - .

                                                THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     to Hugh Murdoch, said land known as the saw-mill tract, and was a
     part of the estate of Wiley Roe Coleman, his father.
        By this time, his brother, Robert F. (twin) had married Margaret
     Smith, in 1832, and his sister, Sarah (at the age of 14), had
     married Wiley U. Gilmar, December 8, 1833.
        His brother, Wiley W. W. Coleman, at nineteen, was nearing the
     age of maturity, and another brother, Henry Jonathan Francis Wyatt
     Coleman, sixteen years old, both nearly old enough to care for
     themselves, but the twelfth child of Wiley Coleman, Sr. (the child
     by his second wife), Eli, was only ten years of age.
        To complete the record of the children of Wiley Roe Coleman,
     during the succeeding years, Rebecca Coleman married John W.
     Robinson, in February, 1835. Wiley W. W. Coleman married Mary
     Coleman, in February, 1836. Eli Coleman married Elenor Beasley, in
     the year 1844.  Henry,Jonathan Francis Wyatt Coleman married
     Alcy.Cockrell, an old maid, November 28, 1848.
        Since his obligations to his father's family had been taken care
     of, William R. Coleman was free to move and to satisfy his urge to
     settle on the virgin and fertile soil of a new State.
        Three children, born in South Carolina, were members of his

        1. William Head Coleman, born December 13, 1830.
        2. Sarah Susan Coleman, born April 3, 1832.
        3. Thomas Blewett Coleman, born October 12, 1833.

        William R. Coleman named his third child as "Thomas G. B. Cole-
     man," in his diary of 1851, thus establishing the fact this son was
     named for Thomas Garton Blewett, of South Carolina and Mississippi.
        William R. Coleman was responding to the same urge that a number
     of his relatives had shared. Five of his uncles, namely, John
     Roe Coleman, Grimn Roe Coleman, William Roe Coleman, Solomon Roe
     Coleman, ald Francis Roe Coleman, all sons of Robert Coleman who
     married Elizabeth Roe, had moved to Greene County, Alabama, along
     with two of his aunts, namely, Sarah Coleman and Elizabeth Coleman.
     This makes a total of seven persons in one family that had restless
     feet, and all moved to Greene County, Alabama.
        Five of the children of Robert Coleman, who married Elizabeth
     Roe, namely, David Roe Coleman (Daddy Dave), Robert Roe Coleman,
     Wiley Roe Coleman, Allen Roe Coleman, and Henry Jonathan Coleman,

- 149 - .


     remained in South Carolina and reared families. The remaining two
     children of Robert Coleman and Elizabeth Roe died young.
        The Colemans in South Carolina used many nicknames. Here are

        1. David Roe Coleman, Senior, "Daddy" and "Daddy Dave."
        2. Albert, son of David Henry Coleman, "Ob."
        3. David Roe Feaster, "G. W. Punkins."
        4. Trezevant D. Feaster, "Trez."
        5. Wiley Coleman, "Screw."
           He was the son of Robert Roe Coleman and Nancy Coleman.
        6. David Andrew Coleman, "The Squire."
        7. Jacob Feaster, "Squire Feaster."
        8. Henry Jonathan Coleman, Senior, "The Steamer."
        9. William Ragsdale Coleman, "Buck."

        After the trip from South Carolina to Mississippi, the following
     children were born:

        4. Eliza Jane Macon Coleman, January 30, 1835.
        5. Regina Blewett Coleman, December 17, 1836.
        6. Louisa Harriet Coleman, September 10, 1838.
        7. Henry Jonathan Coleman, March 25, 1840.
        8. Anna Rebecca Coleman, November 26, 1841.
        9. Mary Anner Harrison Coleman, June 23, 1843.
       10. James Burr Head Coleman, January 13, 1845.
       11. Marcia Maranda Coleman, May 3, 1848.

        The family lived on a plantation comprised of about 1760 acres
     of land, and included the plantation which Williams Charles Coleman
     sold to William R. Coleman in 1839. Slaves were used to help
     cultivate the land, and the sons of William R. Coleman worked in
     the fields.
        The two story house faced west and included a two story porch,
     or balcony, from which William R. Coleman could watch the overseers
     and workers in the fields.
        There was a row of negro slave cabins located across the road
     from the residence. The doors of the slave quarters opened toward
     the main house where their master lived. There was a spring nearby
     which furnished water for all.
        Thomas Blewett Coleman told his children that he would play, as
     a boy, with the little negro slave boys on the farm. He spent most
     of his childhood and young manhood on the Mississippi farm, and
     learned how to be an excellent marksman with a gun and learned how
     to be a successful farmer.

- 150 - .

                                               THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

        On one occasion, William R. Coleman had left the older son,
     "Bill" (William Head Coleman), and the younger son, "Tom" (Thomas
     Blewett Coleman), in the charge of a negro overseer, a slave, and
     gave the boys specific instructions to work all day in the field,
     while he would be away from home. Upon his return at the close Of
     the day, he asked for a report from the overseer, as to how much
     work the boys had done. The slave replied: "Marse William, dem two
     boys dun nothing but fit and fit all day long." (Fight all day
        For fear that he would become a bad example before his young
     children, Thomas Blewett Coleman would not talk about the following
     incident until his children became older. When a barefoot boy on
     the farm, he had disobeyed his father, while working in the field.
     William R. approached him to take hold of him, in order to
     administer the necessary punishment. Tom started running as fast as
     he could. Climbing over rail fences and running across the cotton
     field, with William R. close behind, in hot pursuit. When the chase
     ended, a double dose of punishment was administered.
        The farm provided cattle for beef and hogs for meat needed to
     supply both the whites and the negroes. Wild game, which included
     deer, squirrels and wild turkeys, became a supplementary source of
     meat.  Tom would clear a strip, about 150 feet long, in the woods,
     draw a line on the ground, bait the line with shelled corn and wait
     for the wild turkeys to find and eat the corn. From his hiding
     place behind the piles of brush, he would shoot down the line of
     turkey heads as the corn was picked up.
        The young men wore long trousers, with straps at the bottoms
     buckled under the shoes, to keep the trouser legs down, just like
     the pants shown on the posters of "Uncle Sam," the well known
     caricature representing the United States of America.
        Some of the slaves were assigned work in the fields, others were
     to help with the housework and the care of the white children.
     Before Tom was old enough to be depended upon to wash behind his
     ears, one of the negro women slaves would bathe him. When the
     ordeal was over, the slave would ask: "Now, how do you feel, better
     or wusscr (worse)?" To this question, Tom would always reply:
     "Wusser (worse)."
        William R. Coleman's old home and plantation was sold to his
     first cousin, Isaiah Daniel Coleman.

        William Ragsdale Coleman had become restless again. Although he
     had become prosperous, he was interested in acquiring new land in
     the State of Texas. In 1851, William R., in the company of his son,
     Thomas Blewett Coleman, who had reached the age of eighteen, and a
     cousin named George Davis, made a trip to Texas and he recorded in a

- 151 - .


     Diary, the route, the mileage and various comments on the soil,
     crops, the kinds of trees, and general conditions he found along
     this way. After traveling for fifteen days on horseback, they
     crossed the eastern boundary of Texas, averaging twenty-six miles
     per day.
        The travelers reached Nacogdoches, one of the three oldest
     settlements in Texas, and two other towns made famous in the early
     history of the State, namely, Washington-on-the-Brazos and
     Independence. The Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at
     Washington-on-the-Brazos, and for a time served as the Capitol of
        Concerning the land on the Brazos, he made the following comment
     in his Diary: "Rich land-through a beautiful high prairie country.
     A very healthy looking country. Land selling from $1.00 to $10.00
     per acre.

        Note: It is of interest to record the fact that my mother,
     Martha Jane (Simpson) Coleman, was born during the year 1851 in
     Macon County, Alabama. Her parents were David Butler Simpson and
     Arabella Butler Callaway.

        "Fine cedar groves and plenty of pin oak and evergreens.
     Generally the richest country and the prettiest prairie country I
     have ever seen.  Thickly settled with rich farmers. Plenty of
     cattle, horses, sheep and hogs to be seen for miles. Some droves of
     sheep appear to be one thousand head." He was favorably impressed
     that this area would be a good location for him.
        The travelers proceeded to Bastrop on the Colorado River, then
     to Austin, the State Capitol. His comment about Austin was as
     follows: "A very healthy place. Three female academies, with fine
     churches." He had seven young daughters and he was noting places
     where schools would be available for them in case the Move to Texas
     was made. After looking at the rich level land on the east bank of
     the Colorado River near Bastrop, he made favorable comment on the
     land in the Diary.
        At Austin, they turned north to Georgetown, and there turned
     east, starting the return trip to Mississippi. They passed the
     falls of the Brazos River below present Waco, and visited the towns
     of Fairfield and Palestine and went to visit Frank Coleman, living
     thirteen miles north of Palestine.
        The travelers passed through the towns of Rusk, Henderson,
     Elysian Fields and on to a town located on the line between
     Texas and Louisiana, known as Lickskillet, now called Latex,
     thence to Shreveport, Louisiana, and then back to Winston
     County, Mississippi.
        His impressions concerning the land on the Brazos were so

- 152 - .

                                             THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     that his first decision was to settle there, but in 1860, when he
     moved to Texas, he bought land in Lavaca County. He had passed
     through Round Rock, in Fayette County, while on the inspection
     trip, and Fayette County lies to the north of Lavaca County, and is
     an adjoining County.
        Although the war clouds were gathering, prior to the Civil War,
     William R. had made plans to move to Texas in 1860, when he was
     sixty years of age, an age at which most people would hesitate to
     make a move of this kind. On December 15, 1859, he entered into a
     written agreement with Isaiah Daniel Coleman, his first cousin, to
     whom he had sold the farm, that he would vacate the premises by
     October 1, 1860. He sold his large walnut dining table having a
     seating capacity of twelve persons, and other furniture, but moved
     some of his furniture and equipment, horses, slaves, etc., to
     Lavaca County.
        On July 13, 1860, William R. Coleman paid cash $4,446.00 for
     446 acres of land located six miles northwest of Hallettsville, and
     on the east bank of the Lavaca River. He purchased this land from
     A. W. Searcy and wife, Mary Louisa Searcy.
        On September 18, 1869, he purchased 377 additional acres,
     adjoining the first tract, from Thomas J. Ponton. He paid $100.00
     cash, signed notes to pay $850.00 in gold on December 25, 1869
     (Christmas Day), and $619.00 due twelve months from date of deed, a
     total of $1,569.00.  The total acreage was 823 acres.
        A letter written by Eliza Jane Macon Coleman (who was an
     unmarried daughter and a school teacher) is addressed to Thomas B.
     Coleman, her brother, at Hallettsville, Lavaca County. The letter
     bears the date of January 29, 1861, written and mailed at
     Lexington, Mississippi. In the letter she expressed hope that he
     had recovered from his "little fit of homesickness."
        Homesickness for Mississippi became a serious matter, and a
     family conference was held to decide what should be done.
        Texas was a very young State, having been admitted to the United
     States in 1845, following a short period of existence as the
     Republic of Texas. Life in the new State required the endurance of
     hardships.  The State lacked schools and cultural advantages. Life
     in Texas was so different from the life the children had become
     accustomed to on the plantation where most of the work was done by
     slaves, and where life was comfortable and easy in the midst of
     relatives and friends.
        Lavaca County is located in the south part of Central Texas, in
     the Texas Coastal Plain Area. The Lavaca River, from which the

- 153 - .


     derived its name, flows across the central part of the County in a
     southeasterly direction The Navidad River flows across the eastern
     part of the County. Both rivers empty into Lavaca Bay, an arm of
     Matagorda Bay.
        Gonzales, the main town in DeWitt's colony, is located about
     twenty-eight miles to the west of the Hallet settlement, and San
     Antonio de Bexar is about ninety-five miles to the west. Goliad,
     or Presidio la Bahia, is situated about sixty-two miles to the
        All of the four sons of William R. Coleman volunteered for
     service in the Confederate Army. Thomas Blewett Coleman was among
     the first recruits to drill on the streets of Hallettsville.
        1. William Head Coleman served in the famous Walker's Texas
     Division, C. S. A., was wounded and disabled early in the war.
     Later, he served two terms as Sheriff of Lavaca County.
        2. Thomas Blewitt Coleman enlisted in Co "A" 8th Texas Infantry
     and served four years, mainly in Louisiana and Arkansas under
     General Edmund Kirby-Smith

        3. Henry Jonathan Coleman was killed on the second day of the
     Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, in the northwest corner of Arkansas.
     March 8, 1962, was the 100th anniversary of his death. The Yankees
     called this battle the "Battle of Pea Ridge."  A comrade by the
     name of Newt Anderson was by the side of Henry Jonathan Coleman
     when he was shot down.
        4. James Burr Head Coleman served in Co "D," 2nd Texas Cavalry,
     Pyron's Regiment. After the war, he moved to Coleman, Texas, where
     he was President of the First National Bank in January 1896.
        Also rendering service in the Confederate Army, was William
     Ford, who married Sarah Susan Coleman, daughter of William Ragsdale
     Coleman. William Ford received a wound in the arm during the war and
     died later from the effects of the wound.
        Thomas Blewett Coleman hastened home at the close of hostilities
     to help make a living for the family, which suffered privations and
     hard-ships, along with other Southern families, following the
     fall of the Confederacy, during the years of the Reconstruction

        Rural churches in the State of Texas have been noted for having
     consecrated pastors, and congregations great in the spirit of
     consecration, dedication and Christian fellowship, although often
     limited as to numbers. The rural church known as "North Grove
     Baptist Church" was a

- 154 - .

                                               THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     church of this kind. Although the life of the church covered a
     short span of ten years, its activities comprised an important
     chapter in the life of William R. Coleman and his family.
         He came to Texas with letters for himself and family, as well
     as for two slaves, from the Concord Baptist Church located in
     Winston County, Mississippi, of which he had been one of the
     founders in 1837.
         Thomas Blewett Coleman served as Church Clerk of the North
     Grove Baptist Church for most of the time, and the minutes were
     kept in his handwriting. The Articles of Faith, Church Covenant
     and Rules of Decorum are in my mothers's handwriting.
         The minutes of the first meeting reveal a list of the fourteen
     charter members. On Page 3 appears the following entry:
         "On Saturday, the 29th of May, 1875, the following Brethern
   and Sisters presented themselves with letters of Recommendation
   for the purpose of being organized into a regular Missionary
   Baptist Church:

      J. P. and Margaret Garrison
      W. R. Coleman
      S. N. Coleman
      M. M. Andrews
      E. J. Coleman
      S. S. Ford
      T. B. Coleman
      W. W. and Lavina Page
      T. M. Tyler
      S. L. Tyler
      T. F. and T. L. Tyler

        "On motion, Elder B. F. Carr was called to the chair as
     Moderator and A. S. Bunting, Clerk. After prayer by Elder P.
     Harris, the Church Constitution and the Articles of Faith were
     read, and adopted. The right hand of Christian and Church
     fellowship was then exchanged, after which, the Church was de-
     claimed (proclaimed) duly organized.

        "The Church then proceeded to elect three Deacons, Brethern
     William R. Coleman, John F. Garrison and W. W. Page.
                                              B. F. CARR, Moderator,
                                              A. S. BUNTING, Clerk."'

        William Ragsdale Coleman, his wife, Sarah Newport (Head) Cole-

- 155 - .


     man, his three daughters, Miss Eliza Jane Macon Coleman, Mrs. Sarah
     Susan (Coleman) Ford, Mrs. Marcia Maranda (Coleman) Andrews, with
     his son, Thomas Blewett Coleman, all presented themselves for
     membership on letters from the Hallettsville Baptist Church, to
     become charter members.
     Martha Jane (Simpson) Coleman, wife of Thomas Blewett Coleman,
     was accepted as a member, at the time of the second meeting of the
     Church, and on a letter from the Hallettsville Baptist Church.
     On later dates, the following relatives were received:

       Miss Florence N. Andrews, granddaughter of W. R. Coleman.
       Miss Anna B. Ford, granddaughter of W. R. Coleman.
       Miss Lula Ford, granddaughter of W. R. Coleman.
       Miss Anna Sue McLelland, relative of the wife of W. R.
         Coleman .
       Mrs. Mary Anner Harrison (Coleman) Simpson, who was a
         daughter of W. R. Coleman and wife of W. B. Simpson.
       William B. Simpson, son-in-law of W. R. Coleman and brother
         of Martha Jane (Simpson) Coleman.

     The minutes do not give a definite location for the first lot
     and house of worship, but on the 27th day of October, 1879,
     William R. Coleman signed a deed donating three acres of land, a
     part of the William Ponton League, and situated about five miles
     northwest from Hallettsville, for the establishment of a Baptist
     Church, with space for a cemetery, and providing that the Church
     building, when constructed, was to be available for use as a
     Use was made of the Church building as a school. The two oldest
     children of Thomas Blowett Coleman, who were David William Coleman
     and Ernest Head Coleman, attended school there, the school term
     lasting for three months during the year.
     In February, 1877, W. R. Coleman asked to be relieved of the
     duties as Deacon, and T. B. Coleman was elected Church Clerk.
     In July, 1877, Brother H. V. Cole was licensed to preach, and
     Thomas Blewett was ordained as a Deacon.
     The name of T. B. Coleman appears on many Committees appointed
     by the Church, and on the lists of delegates to the meetings of the
     Association, as well as to State Conventions.
     In the record for 1878, little "Davie" W. Coleman (David William
     Coleman), oldest child of Thomas Blewett Coleman, and at the age of
     seven years, is listed as having made a contribution to Missions.

- 156 - .

                                                      THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     has set a record for longevity for the Coleman family in Texas,
     having passed his 90th birthday before he departed this life on
     December 24, 1961.
     On September 5, 1885, a resolution was adopted and the church
     organization was dissolved at North Grove Baptist Church.
     William Ragsdale Coleman, the chief sponsor for the Church, had
     departed this life on October 29, 1881, and his widow with several
     members of his family had moved to Coleman, Texas.
     For the Spring Term of Court, 1863, William R. Coleman was
     summoned to serve as a Grand Juror.
     He was summoned again to serve on the Grand Jury March 13, 1865,
     and when he did not answer the summons, a One Hundred Dollar fine
     was levied against him for defaulting. Apparently, he had a valid
     excuse, for on March 16, 1865, at his request, the fine was set
     aside. (Vol. "C," P. 43).
     Page 263, Vol. "D," Minutes of District Court at Hallettsville,
     dated November 2, 1868. Presiding Judge, Wesley Ogden; Sam C.
     Lackey, District Attorney; W. H. Coleman, Sheriff; T. A. Hester,
     Clerk. William R. Coleman summoned as a Petit Juror-defaulted-was
     fined Thirty Dollars. Minutes for November 7, 1868, show "It is
     ordered by the Court that the fine of Thirty Dollars entered at
     this term of the Court against William R. Coleman be set aside."
     The name T. B. Coleman appears several times as having served on
     the Grand Jury and on the Petit Jury.


     On December 30, 1835, William R. Coleman was in Winston County,
     Mississippi, and witnessed a deed from Abram Miller to Samuel T.
     On July 1, 1837, he was one of the five founders of Concord
     Baptist Church, then in Winston, but now in Choctaw County.

     1843. Inscription on the Tombstone in Old Concord Church Ceme-
     tery, "Sacred to the Memory of Anna Rebecca, daughter of William R.
     and Sarah N. Coleman. She departed this life November 4, 1843,
     aged 1 year, 11 months, and 8 days." (Nov. 26, 1841-Nov. 4, 1843).

- 157 - .


     Whision County Personal Tax Assessment Roll, 1847.

       "Wm. R. Coleman
       1 pleasure carriage, $150
       1 clock, $5
      30 head of cattle
       1 piano, $1,000
      20 slaves under 60 years of age

      AUGUST 27, 1850

      Family No. 17.
      Whistoll County, Mississippi.
      U. S. Census of 1850.

      William R. Coleman, 49, b. S. Car.
      Sarah, 41, S. C.
      William, 19, S. C.
      Thomas 11, S. C. (this age for Thomas appears to be error)
      Eliza, 15, b. Miss.
      Regina, 12
      Louisa, 10
      Henry, 9
      Mary, 7
      James, 5
      Marcia, 2

     Also residing with the family were James Williams, teacher, age
     21, born in Alabama, Catherine Williams, l7, b. Ala., Jane Hudson,
     40, born Virginia."

     4th Sunday in August, 1853. Protracted Meeting, Concord
     Baptist Church. "Received for baptism, and baptized on the 1st
     Sunday in September, Eliza J. Coleman, Francis Coleman (son of
     Griffin Coleman), Thos. B. Coleman. P. 121 of the Minute Book.

     U. S. CENSUS OF 1860. Winston County. Enumeration of June 20,

     WM. R. COLEMAN, born in South Carolina, value of personal
     estate, $34,000, value of real estate, $10,800.
     S. N. Coleman.
     Wm. H. Coleman, personal property valued at $3,300.

                                        - 158 - .

                                                      THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     Thomas B., 24, personal property, $2,300.
     E. J., female, age 23, school.teacher.
     L. H., 20, music teacher.

     There are other names after L. H. too dim to read.

                                   Louisville, Miss.
                                   May 2, 1860

     Rec'd of Edward Foster Twelve Hundred and Fifty Six dollars for
     a steam mill I have this day sold him for sixteen hundred dollars
     leaving bal due me of Three Hundred and forty four dollars. And
     should I.htm#N007014">I fail to furnish said mill I am to pay him 10% interest
     on the amt. paid me until I refund it. The said mill to be 18
     Horse Power.

                                     W. R. Coleman

     (Evidently, William Ragsdale was here selling his steam mill in
     contemplation of his forthcoming move to Texas).

     Saturday before the second Sunday in September, 1860. Page 167
     of the Concord Church Minutes.

     "Granted letters of dismission to Bro. W. R. Coleman, T. B.
     Coleman, and Sisters S. N. Coleman, E. J. Coleman, Susan Ford,
     Louisa Coleman, and servants Sam & Abram."

     May 15, 1882, Lavaca County, Texas, Last Will and Testament of
     William R. Coleman proved. Will dated April 3, 1879. Mrs. S. N.
     Coleman Executrix. Owned 575 acres of land, about six miles North
     of Hallettsville, valued at $6,900.
     January 12, 1885. Will proven for Mrs. Sarah N. Coleman, dated
     the Unknown day of October, 1882. Named daughter, Mary A. Simpson, wife
     of W. B. Simpson; daughter, Marcia M. Andrews; son, James B.
     Coleman; granddaughter, Florence Andrews; son, W. H. Coleman;
     daughter, Regina B. Lemman, wife of Dr. D. S. Lemman; Louisa H.
     Wilkins, wife of Dr. B. B. Wilkins. Thos. B. Coleman, Executor.
     The Estate settlement shows that the land was sold and bequests
     were paid.
     Original Invitation in the possession of J. P. Coleman by the
     courtesy of Mrs. Robert Stainback, 631 North President, Jackson,

       "Mr. Andrew Hemphill
       The pleasure of your company is respectfully solicited at W. R.

- 159 - .


     Coleman's to attend a Quilting Party on Friday the 23rd of Dec.

                     W. H. COLEMAN"


     Copied from William R. Coleman Family Bible by Frank R. Coleman
     on July 13, 1954, through the courtesy of Mrs. Mary Coleman
     Johnson, and through the kindness of Mrs. Hampton Cottar, 135
     Roberts Cut Off Road, Fort Worth, Texas.
     The Bible is large, old-fashioned, with heavy covers, large
     print and made by the New York Bible Society.
     One of the pages near the front cover has the following words in
     Old English lettering:

                   WILLIAM R. COLEMAN'S BOOK

     The handwriting for the first part of the family record is old
     style showing the use of a pen with a very fine point. The
     handwriting appears to be feminine; it does not have bold masculine
     strokes. The letters are small but formed with accuracy, beauty,
     skill and uniformity that made it a wonderful document to read.
     Then in later years, others added entries with marked contrasts in
     the handwriting.
     WILLIAM RAGSDALE COLEMAN, Son of Wiley Snr. and Sarah
    Coleman, Born in South Carolina on the Fourth day of October
    AD 1800.
     SARAH N. COLEMAN, daughter of William Snr. and Susan G.  Head,
      Born in South Carolina on the Twenty-first day of June AD 1809.


     WILLIAM HEAD COLEMAN, Son of William R. and Sarah N.
       Coleman, Born in South Carolina on the Thirteenth day of
       December AD 1830.
     SARAH SUSAN COLEMAN, daughter of William R. and Sarah N.
       Coleman, Born in South Carolina on the Third day of April 1832.
     THOMAS BLEWIT COLEMAN, Son of William R. and Sarah N.
       Coleman, Born in South Carolina on the Twelfth day of October
       AD 1833.
     ELIZA JANE MACON COLEMAN, Daughter of William R. and

- 160 - .

                                                       THE ROBERT COLEMAN

     Sarah N. Coleman, Born in Mississippi on the Thirtieth day of
       January AD 1835.
     REGINA BLEWITT COLEMAN, Daughter of William R. and
       Sarah N. Coleman, Born in Mississippi on the Seventeenth day of
       December AD 1836.
     LOUISA HARRIETT COLEMAN, Daughter of William R. and
       Sarah N. Coleman, Born in Mississippi on the Tenth day of
       September AD 1838.
     HENRY JONATHAN COLEMAN, Son of William R. and Sarah N.
       Coleman, Born in Mississippi on the Twenty-fifth day of March
       AD 1840.
     ANNA REBECCA COLEMAN, Daughter of William R. and Sarah
       N. Coleman, Born in Mississippi on the Twenty-sixth day of
       November AD 1841.
     MARY ANNER HARRISON COLEMAN, Daughter of William
       R. and Sarah N. Coleman, Born in Mississippi on the Twenty-third
       day of June AD 1843.
     JAMES BURR HEAD COLEMAN, Son of William R. and Sarah N.
       Coleman, Born in Mississippi, on the Thirteenth day of January
       AD 1845.

     (In different handwriting.)

     MARCIA MIRANDA COLEMAN, Daughter of W. R. Coleman
       and S. N. Coleman, was born on the 3rd of May, l 848.
     FLORENCE NEWPORT ANDREWS, Daughter of P. A. & M. M.
       Andrews, was born on the Sixth of March, 1868.
     SUSAN FRANCES HEAD, Daughter of William W and Mary A
       Head, Born in Mississippi on the Thirteenth day of November
       AD 1837.
     A MELVINA WlLLIAMS, Daughter of John Jr and Elizabeth Ann
       Williams, Born in South Carolina on the Twenty-second day of
       January AD 1829.
     NANCY CATHERlNE WILLIAMS, Daughter of John Jr and
       Elizabeth Ann Williams, Born in Alabama on the Twelfth day
       of April AD 1833.

                      FAMILY RECORD

       HEAD, Married Twenty-sixth day of January AD 1830.

- 161 - .


       Married Eighteenth day of April AD 1867.
     (In the following entries several persons contributed information as
     shown by several styles of handwriting).

       Eighteenth day of January AD 1842.


     PEARL COLEMAN BISCO, Daughter of Wm Head Coleman
       Died August 13, 1935. Son, Jack Coleman Bisco whose father was
       Michael Joseph Bisco.
     MATTIE SIMPSON COLEMAN, Wife of Tom Coleman, died
       August 19,1935.
     WILLIAM HEAD Snr., Departed this life on the 1st day of July,
     SUSAN GIBSON HEAD, Departed this life on the 2nd November
     BURR HARRISON HEAD, Son of William, Senr. and Susan G.
       Head, Departed this life on the 25th day of january 1845.
     WILLIAM WOODWARD HEAD, Son of William Senr. and Susan
       G. Head, Departed this life on 13th March 1847.
     (The following notation in the handwriting of Thomas Blewit Cole-
     ELIZA JANE MACON COLEMAN, Daughter of Wm. R. and
       Sarah N. Coleman, Departed this life on the Twentieth day of
       June, 1880.
     WILLIAM RAGSDALE COLEMAN, Departed this life on the
       Twenty-ninth day of October,1 K81.
     SARAH NEWPORT COLEMAN, Departed this life on the Twenty-
       first of November,1884.
     WILLIAM HEAD COLEMAN, Died December 15, 1890.
     JAMES BURR HEAD COLEMAN, Died June 12, 1905.
     LULA H. COOMBS, who was Louisa Harriett Coleman Coombs,
       died September 21, 1917.


                      MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

     THIS CERTIFIES that the Rite of Holy Matrimony was celebrated
     between James Burr Head Coleman of Coleman, Texas,

- 162 - .


     and Mary Eliza Livingston, of Coleman, Texas, on May 1st, 1878 at
     Coleman, Texas.

     by REV. B. I. McLELLAND            { C. C. Fountain

                       WITNESS       {

                                {Kate S. Price

     James Burr Head Coleman was son of William Ragsdale Coleman and
       Sarah Newport Head.


     James Burr Head Coleman born in Mississippi, January 18th, 1845.
     Mary Eliza Coleman Born June 8th, 1860, in Gonzales, Texas.
     Marcia Gertrude Coleman Born March 21st 1879, in Coleman, Texas.
     Florence Estella Coleman Born October 30th 1881, in Coleman,
     Casey Livingston Coleman, Born June 10th, 1883. Born in Coleman,
     Charles Pelham Coleman, Born December 6th, 1887. Born in Coleman,
     Mary Finney Coleman, Born May 121h, 1890. Born in Coleman,
     Thomas Clarence Coleman (twin), Born July 24th, 1893. Born in
       Coleman, Texas.
     Maggie Claire Coleman (twin), Born July 24th, 1893. Born in
       Coleman, Texas.
     James Sidney Coleman, Born January 11th, 1896. Born in Coleman,


     C. L. Coleman, of Mineral Wells, Texas, and Nell Evans, of Wagoner,
       Indian Territory (no heirs) on December 27th, 1906, at Wagoner,
       Indian Territory.
     Maggie Claire Coleman, Mineral Wells, Texas, and Marion L. Long,
       Ft. Worth, Texas, on February 7, 1912.
     Mary Finney Coleman, Mineral Wells, Texas, and George F. Miller,
       on October 9, 1912.

                                        - 163 - .


     Charles Pelham Coleman, Mineral Wells, Texas, and Addie Harris,
       Yukon, Oklahoma, July 3, 1919.
     C.L. Coleman married Ora Dunn (Davis). (No heirs).
     Charles Pelham Coleman married Melanie Johanna Meckel, March 7,
       1931, San Antonio, Texas.


     Marcia Gertrude Coleman, Died October 14th, 1880.
     Florence Estella Coleman, Died May 28, 1883.
     James Sidney Coleman, Died January 13th, 1896.
     James Burr Head Coleman, Died June 12th, 1905.
     Mrs. M. E. Price, Died June l9th, 1909, mother of Mary Eliza
     James Archibald Livingston, Died 1909.
     Mary Finney Livingston, Died 1910.
     Maggie Claire (Margaret) Coleman, Died March 7, 1942.
     Mary Eliza (Livingston) Coleman, Wife of James B. Head Coleman,
       Died February 2, 1943.
     Addie Harris Coleman, Died December 6th, 1939.
     Casey Livingston Coleman, Died March 4, 1931.
     Mary Finney Coleman (Miller) married Joseph (Alex) Johnson,
       January 24, 1930.

     (Copied by Frank R. Coleman, on July 13, 1954. Bible in the
     possession of Mrs. Hampton Cottar, 135 Roberts Cut Off Road, Ft.
     Worth, Texas.)

     Dear Mrs. Arnold:

     I deferred writing from day to day waiting for Thomas and his
     family to be established in their home. I.htm#N007356">I promised you I would take
     up my pen, to give you a description of their establishment and
     their prosperity.

     In the first place I have the pleasure to write that we all
     enjoyed uninterrupted health, altho we had a tiresome time in
     coming as we must expect, traveling fifteen hundred miles and more
     but travelers can form an idea of the difficulties we had to
     encounter passing over mountains, rivers and bridges and I must say
     the most beautiful scenery I ever beheld. After we left Virginia we
     had a rough country to pass through, East Tennessee, and very
     little better in Middle Tennessee. Indeed the whole state, at least
     on the Public road, were a set of uncouth and disobliging people,
     in Knoxville they looked a little more civilized. The traveling
     through Alabama was very little better. They called their

- 164 - .

                               THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY


     MRS. ETHEL HAWLEY, great granddaughter of Will-
     IAM RAGSDALE COLEMAN, and her husband, W. E.
     HAWLEY, at the McDowell Farm, Choctaw County,
     Mississippi June 7, 1949.

     Taverns, Stands and their accommodations intolerable. Passing
     through the country that the Choctaw Indians sold to the
     government, where I most dreaded, we had the best accommodations.
     Our bills were very high and our fare intolerable and I would advise all

                                        - 165 - .


     that immigrate here to come in their cars or by Steamboats, unless
     their Company is sufficiently large to buy their own provision and
     have a tent.  We had to pay from sixteen to twenty dollars every
     morning and we were traveling seven weeks. Never laid by but one
     day, Betsy wanted some cloths washed for her children. We had to
     travel every Sabboath day.  Every rainy day our bills were so
     enormously high.  Without partiality permit me to inform you, we
     had not gone six miles in the State of Mississippi before we
     discovered a visible change for the better. The houses are neatly
     built, have a light, neat and airy appearance. We had good
     The first night we got to Columbus, l6 miles from the line
     dividing Mississippi from Alabama. There we were more comfortably
     fixed than we had been since we left Virginia and our bills were
     lower. We passed through some beautiful and flurshing villages and
     some of the most splendid plantations that you could conceive.
     Figure to yourself a field so extensive and the corn so high that
     it looked like a map of sapplings or stake drove so thick in the
     ground, with four or five ears of corn on them. The whole field
     covered with pumpkins, the largest I have ever seen. Cotton
     fields as far as your eyes can view, resembling a great river
     frozen over and covered with drifted snow. The potatoes, not
     patches, but fields of them, and yams that they have here in
     abundance. You know I promised you Mrs. Arnold, I would describe
     every thing exactly as it is, and I.htm#N007407">I do assure you I have never in
     my life seen such cows and you may buy one at any time with a
     young calf for $12.00. One was offered Thomas yesterday morning
     for that price. I.htm#N007411">I've never eaten better bacon and I never saw
     larger hogs. There is not a day scarcely the huntsmen don't
     bring in deer, sometimes two. I thought l never tasted such
     excellent meat, but I am almost tired of seeing it. Some days they
     bring in wild turkeys by the horseload, shoot them not a half mile
     from the College. Partridges, rabbits, squirrels, in short, let me
     assure you that we can procure every article you have in the market
     at Washington and much cheaper.
     We arrived on the 11th of November, in Jackson, the Capital of
     Mississippi, a very flourishing city. The State house is a very
     handsome building very much like the Capital to Washington. On a
     smaller scale Steamboats passing to and fro on Pearl River. Jackson
     is built on table land with the river running below it. l think it
     empties in the Mississippi River. The Trustees of the Centenary
     College have purchased this beautiful place called the Brandon
     Springs, in Rankin County, 18 miles from Jackson. The Medicinal
     spring is handsomely inclosed with a

- 166 - .


     dome, and on top a cupelo with a gilt hall and a large leaf, a walk
     from the spring to a pavilion elegantly enclosed with seats all
     around, and all kind of trees, enclosed with a latticed all painted
     white from thence the walk continues to a botanical garden. You
     pass through the garden to a centree building that is now called
     the Domitory. It has 42 rooms, two of them very large, then on both
     sides are 24 cottages painted white. Some with three and some with
     four rooms, little porch in front with lattice work. After passing
     the Dormitory there are five very large houses, the President's
     house have five rooms down stairs and four above. lt is a large two
     story house with Galleries all around, handsome white pillars, a
     carrage house, stable, meat house, good kitchen, pantry, etc. In
     short, they have every comfort.
     Betsy and their children are delighted. Every room in the house
     is handsomely papered. Thomas gets twent-five hundred dollars per
     year, house, fire wood and expence of Doctor free. The Doctor has
     six rooms to his house, built in Cottage style, no upstairs and
     interior very handsome. The Multifiora and honeysuckles making the
     porch perfectly green. He has for his Salary two thousand dollars,
     house and firewood free from expence. I have a cottage with two P
     (defaced) rooms and board with Thomas. I insisted on this
     arrangement. They have so much company is not always agreeable to
     me besides if I had gone to live or have a room in Thomas' house it
     might wound James feelings. I did not like to cause him
     mortification. Betsy and the girls are very affectionate to me.
     There are from 55 to 60 houses all very handsome, neatly
     painted.  The College is in a very nourishing state. lt is thought
     superior to any in the South. All the Servants that came from
     Washington are well and much pleased. Sprig says he would not go
     back if he could. Jenny declairs she would not, she is hired to
     Thomas. If you should see Ben inform him his children are well.
     Henry and Nora live with the Stward.  In the college Maria is
     unrse to Betsy's boy. Van Buren and Geroginna lives with Son Thomas
     and drives his carriage. James has a man by the name of Emanuel
     driving his carriage and cultivates his garden.

     I.htm#N007487">I.htm#N007486">I believe I have told you all the news. I should like to see
     you all very much but if I.htm#N007489">I have my health next summer I would
     prefer staying here.  We have excellent water. There are four
     wells and I.htm#N007492">I think there are five or six cisterns. I am sure there
     are more than a dozen springs in the circumference of less than a
     mile. I have seen very little frost, not one particle of snow,
     indeed I can scarcely realize that it is the 12th of January.

                                        - 167 - .


     I wish you, dear Mrs. Arnold to give My love to Mrs. Simpson
     and all their family. Give my love to Miss Lucy, say to them l had
     my reason for not visiting them if they knew all they would not
     blame me, but i can assure theM I feel much attached to them. Now
     you must read this letter to them and write me all the news. The
     Miss Thorntons send their love and bid me tell they never will
     forget your kindness. l thank you for your goodness in staying
     with me. l never put my wrapper on I don't think of you. If we
     don't meet on earth, I hope we may meet in heaven where parting may
     be no more; farewell, God forever bless you is my prayer.

                                S/ JANE C. THORNTON

     January 12, 1842.

               W. R. COLEMAN'S DIARY OF HIS TRIP
                     TO TEXAS IN YEAR 1851

                 (OCTOBER 9, 1851 to DECEMBER 19, 1851)

     October 9, 1851, started to Texas. William Ragsdale Coleman,
     George Davis and Thomas B. Coleman (a son of William Ragsdale
     Coleman). From William Ragsdale Coleman's to Kosciusko, 30 miles,
     Attala County. Then to Thomas Town, 16 miles, Leake County. The
     crops this far are sorry. Cotton something over one-half a crop.
     Health tolerably good. Land generally very poor and dry, except
     about 10 miles North of Thomas Town, which is good.
     3rd Day. Then to Sharon, 24 miles. Land level, but rather poor
     and much worn. Thickly settled with a goodly number of Meeting
     Houses.  Badly watered.
     Sunday, October 12, to Canton, Madison County, 7 miles. Land
     good and level. Crops very poor.
     Then to Jackson, 26 miles, Hinds County. Land good and generally
     level. Crops very sorry. Cotton not a half a crop, and corn very
     October 13th. 10 miles southwest of Jackson. Land good and
     thickly settled and wealthy people. Then 6 miles, very poor and
     very broken.
     Then to Gallatin (which no longer exists), Copiah County, 24
     miles, making from Jackson to Gallatin, 40 miles. Poor, broken long
     leaf pine country. Gallatin is a poor place, secluded in a long
     leaf pine country, in the dark corner of Mississippi.

- 168 - .

                               THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     Then on the Natchez Road to Rodney, Jefferson County. A good
     appearance of health.
     Thursday, October 16th, arrived in Rodney, 54 miles from
     Gallatin.  Rich land. Cotton good, Corn very poor.
     Thursday, October 16th, 1851, at 12 o'clock arrived in Water
     Proof, Louisiana, Tensas Parish. Fine land, cotton making one and
     one-half bales to the acre. Thickly settled and finely improved.
     Friday, October 17th, to Tensas River, 14 miles. Land good,
     cotton one and one-half bales to the acre. Corn not more than one
     to five bushels to the acre. Certainly a sickly country, but finely
     improved and thickly settled with wealthy citizens. Land perfectly
     Saturday, October 18th. From Tensas River to Harrisonburg, Cata-
     houla Parish, 20 miles. Land rich, sickly, and wet. Many overflows.
     Many deaths. Then to camp at night 17 miles through a very broken,
     poor, pine country. Road very bad. Still Catahoula Parish.
     Sunday, October 19, 1851. Thence through a very poor pine
     country, then through a large portion of level postoak country.
     Exceedingly poor. A portion of which very rocky in places. Thickly
     settled, with the worst looking citizens that I ever saw. Many old
     settlements made many years ago either died out or quit. Mostly
     French or Creoles. The water exceedingly bad and scarce and very
     sickly. I have not seen a healthy citizen for the last 60 miles.
     To Little River, where steamboats run in the winter, but now
     ford it.  Then to Gabriel Barron's, 10 miles, Rapides Parish, then
     to camp at night, 23 miles (this is near where Alexandria now is).
     Still very poor country, some prairie and some long leaf pine.
     Creeks and branches all dry. Hogs very sorry. Still thinly settled,
     sickly, hardly a person remaining out of every six settlements. The
     people gone. Farms badly mistreated. The state of society
     wretchedly bad. I have seen but two Meeting Houses for the last
     hundred miles.
     October 21, 1851. Then to Red River, 15 miles, the high land is
     tolerably good. A mixture of oak and pine. Cotton and corn sorry.
     Thinly settled and with poor people, many French and Mexicans. Red
     River is a fine stream but very low at this time, not boatable. It
     overflows its banks immensely. The bottoms are immensely rich, all
     stiff red loam. Many places for miles it is sanded over with red
     sand five or six feet in depth, thrown out in overflows, not many
     wet marshes. Many ash, pecans, and cotton trees of enormous size.
     Then to Natchitoches, 10 miles. This place is a large and
     beautiful town situated on the former banks of the Red River, but
     the river has

                                        - 169 - .


     made a new channel 10 miles distance. Steamboats still run the old
     channel in times of extreme high waters. There are many French and
     Mexicans here.
     October 22nd. To fort Jesop, Sabine Parish, 25 miles.
     October 23rd. Then to the town of Many, 7 miles, then to Sabine
     Town, 18 miles. Steam boats run here. People appeared healthy.
     October 24th. From Sabine Town, Sabine County, Texas, to Milam,
     the county seat, 9 miles. Then to Thompson Allen's.

     (15 days after they left home, the travelers have reached Texas.)
     Following is the mileage schedule entered in the back of this

     To Kosciusko 30, to Thomas Town 16; to Sharon 24; to Canton 7;
     to Jackson 26; to Gallatin 40; to Rodney 54; to Water Proof 12; to
     Tensas River 14; to Harrisonburg 20; to Little River 41; to Gabriel
     Barron's 10; To Red River 38; To Natchitoches 10; To Fort Jesop 25;
     to Many 7; To Sabine River 18 Total distance to Texas 392 miles.
     Average mileage per day on horseback 26.

     October 25, 1851. To San Augustine, a considerable Town. The
     county site of Augustine County, 18 miles. The land from the Sabine
     River is very rich. High class country. Fine running creeks. Some
     good springs. Up to camp tonight 9 miles. This is a very healthy
     and old settlement, and very thickly settled. It appears that there
     may have been settlements made one hundred years ago. The land is
     very red and exceedingly rich. The people appear very healthy. This
     part of the country is very thinly timbered. Generally large
     hickory and blackjack, and a mixture of walnut, ash, mulberry,
     buckeye, blackhaw, and many other rich growths that we do not know.
     Not a particle range but the best upland country of the same
     distance that I have ever seen. There is a great deal of rock in
     some places. Some limestone rock. Up to Melrose Town, 16 miles,
     Nacogdoches County.
     October 26, 1851. Now to Nacogdoches Town, 10 miles, a consider-
     able Town, a great distance from trade. They haul from a distance
     of eighty to one hundred miles. Some parts of the country about
     Nacogdoches is exceedingly sandy.
     October 27, 1851. Monday. From Nacogdoches todays travel up to
     feed time 13 miles. Very sandy country tolerably level well
     watered, healthy, and thinly settled. The range improving but not
     good, then to Dunlap, a little town, 2 miles, situated on the San
     Antonio Road in Nacogdoches County, a sorry place. Then to
     Ashmore's in Cherokee County, 12 miles, a level and beautiful
     country. Land good and well

                                        - 170 - .

                             THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     watered, situated on or near the Angelina River, just cleaned out
     for steamboats, great place for fish.
     October 28, 1851 . Then to John Conner's, 1 mile. Fine land.
     Healthy country. Stayed at Conner's two days.
     Thursday, 30 October. From J. Conner's southwest to Austin
     James, by Mrs. Leach's, 8 miles, where we took dinner in a valley
     between two mountains. Rich land, with walnut, pecan, ash,
     mulberry. Red land.  Then to the San Antonio Road at Tany's Fort, 8
     miles, finely watered and some extra good plains.
     October 31st. Then to the Neches River, 6 miles, land good and
     level and fine. This river is small, not navigable. Wide swamp
     and great overflow. Then to Crocket, 27 miles. Exceedingly poor,
     generally badly watered, thinly settled, Houston County. From the
     Neches River the country is very level and sandy with some prairie
     or barrens. Very thinly timbered except on the creek. Crops very
     poor, but little cotton planted .
     Saturday, November 1, 1851. From Crocket to Camp Ground, on the
     Cincinnati Road, 10 miles. The driest of any place since we left
     home.  Then to camp at night 12 miles. A great many salamanders.
     Sunday, November 2nd. From camp to the Trinity River at Cincin-
     nati, Walker County, 11 miles. Sickly. Then to Stubblefield's down
     Trinity River, 8 miles.
     Monday, November 3, 1851. Stayed all day with Stubblefield.
     Tuesday went to look at Mr. Haskell's land. Rode 10 miles to
     get to it through a very poor country, badly timbered and badly
     watered, then back 10 miles. Stayed two days more on the 5th and
     6th. Davis is sick.
     Friday, November 7th. Started from Stubblefield's then to
     Huntsville, the county seat of Walker County, 10 miles. Then to
     Anderson Town, 35 miles. Large prairie country with some cedar
     grove, near Anderson.  Not a drop of running water. Anderson Town
     is a new town just built up and a considerable town with two
     meeting houses and the Baptist were sitting in conference when I
     passed through. The creeks and branches are generally rock
     bottomed. This evening the land is exceedingly rocky. The timbered
     portion is good.
     Then to Brazos River at Washington Town. Rich land. The Brazos
     is a small stream. Washington is situated on the western bank of
     the Brazos, on a high bluff.
     Then west to Independence, in Washington County, 12 miles,
     through a beautiful high prairie country. A very healthy looking
     country. Land

- 171 - .


     selling from $1.00 to $10.00 per acre. Fine cedar groves and plenty
     of pin oak and evergreens. Independence is a small town situated on
     the prairie. Generally the richest country and the prettiest
     prairie country I have ever seen. Thickly settled with rich
     farmers. Health good and good well water and some springs.  People
     well fixed. Plenty of cattle, stock, horses, sheep and hogs to be
     seen for miles. Some droves of sheep appear to be one thousand
     head. Some mesquite. Still Washington County.
     November 10, 1851.  Then to Roundtop, small country town in
     Washington County, through rich prairie. More beautiful country
     than ever. 30 miles from Independence to Roundtop.
     November 11th. Then to Bastrop, on the Colorado River, in
     Bastrop County, 40 miles. Through a portion of Lafayette County.
     Bastrop is situated on the West side of the Colorado River in a
     rich valley.  Beautiful buildings, many stores, and a beautiful
     stream. People look healthy.
     Thursday, November 13, 1851. From the eastern banks of the
     Colorado River through the Colorado valley. Some black prairie soil
     but generally a black sandy soil. Exceedingly rich and as level as
     a floor.  Cannot be surpassed for fertility and beauty. Fine crops
     of corn.  We then crossed over the Colorado. The stream is a
     beautiful one without any swamp. It has a gravely and rocky bottom.
     Thence Northwest up the Colorado Valley to Austin. The land in
     the valley on the river selling from $5.00 to $8.00 an acre
     unimproved, but improved at $10.00 to $30.00 per acre. 10 or 15
     miles off of the river good land can be had for $1.00 and $2.00 per
     Austin, the capitol of the State, situated on the banks of the
     Colorado River, in Travis County, a large and beautiful place. A
     very healthy place. Three female academies, with fine churches.
     November 14th. From Austin north to camp at night, 9 miles,
     through a rich country, all prairie. Not a sprig of any kind of
     November 15th. Then north to Georgetown in Williamson County, 16
     miles. It is 7 miles to Walnut. A prairie country, some sandy, but
     generally black and some chocolate color. Much limerock. Thence all
     the way to Georgeville. Very rocky of lime and thousands of
     flintrocks.  Land exceedingly rich. Georgeville is a small place,
     only three years old and is somewhat a promising place situated in
     a large prairie. Timber generally scarce here.  Rails hauled three
     miles. A beautiful high elevated country very rocky. Bell County
     and Nolinville is immediately north of Georgetown and a large
     number of the Rangers are stationed forty miles north of

- 172 - .

                              THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     Thence from Georgeville east to camp at night through prairie
     country, very rich and land very high. Crossed Saint San Gabriel
     River, which is a very beautiful river 75 yards wide and a perfect
     rock bottom.
     November 16th. From camp to camp again 22 miles. Crossed many
     nice running creeks with some timber. Abounds with deer, wolves,
     and splendid range. Crossed Little River this evening and camp.
     Little River is one of the branches of the Brazos running
     northeast. It is large enough for small steamboats. Thinly settled,
     passed only three or four houses today. We are on a small trailway
     running from Georgtown northwest to the fall of the Brazos River.
     November 17, 1851. From camp in Williamson County 28 miles,
     entirely a prairie country generally level. Some portions of this
     land good but generally poor. Passed no settlers today. On Elm
     Creek considerable swamp, low and wet, for 6 miles. Very brushy.
     Still a trail. Sorry portion of Texas. Deer and bear and wolves
     aplenty. This is a disagreeable, inconvenient, and sickly portion
     of country.
     November 18, 1851. From camp to the falls of the Brazos River
     in Falls County, 3 miles through timbered and sandy land. The
     Brazos is about 100 yards of channel and seems good for navigation
     to the falls.  There is considerable falls and boats cannot go
     above them. Then East 18 miles to camp at night. The Brazos bottom
     is about 6 miles wide, of red stiff land, with a very uneven
     surface. Overflows some. The growth is generally large hackberry
     cottonwood. Then through a prairie country. Bad water and thinly
     timbered up to camp on the Blue Ridge which amounts today to 21
     miles. The Blue Ridge is a beautiful rich sandy ridge 7 or 8 miles
     November 19th. Today's travel from camp on the Blue Ridge to
     Springfield in Limestone County, 20 miles, through a beautiful
     black sandy prairie country. Level and rich, with many creeks, all
     bushy and some timber on them. Springfield is a new place. West of
     the Town 100 yards spring sufficient to turn a saw mill. There is
     much cedar about this place. Then to camp at night 6 miles.
     November 20, 1851. From camp in Limestone County north of east
     on the road that leads from the falls of the Brazos to Fairfield,
     the County seat of Freestone County, 20 miles. This is a beautiful
     sandy prairie country up to Fairfield. Fairfield has had its rise
     since the first of July, 1851, and is quite promising with three
     good stores. From there to camp, 9 miles. The country from the Blue
     Ridge to this place is very desirable.
     November 21, 1851. From camp to Parker's Bluff on Trinity River,
     5 miles above Magnolia. This is a very sandy country, rather
     broken, well

                                        - 173 - .


     watered, but rather poor and very thinly timbered. The Trinity is
     small here but steamboats come up here. The Trinity overflows its
     banks for 5 or 6 miles and has a very sickly appearance.
     From Trinity to Palestine, 10 miles, the County seat of Anderson
     County. Two last miles up to Palestine, high, red land. Palestine
     is considerable place with good churches, female academy, and
     masonic lodge with 14 stars. Then north to Frank Coleman's 12
     miles, beautiful sandy country, good water, rather broken in
     places, Land generally good, tolerable good timber in places, then
     8 miles northeast to the Neches River, the Mosley neighborhood.
     There is a small town rearing up here.  A very popular neighborhood
     and good female schools.
     November 26th. Then back south to Palestine, 23 miles, then east
     to camp 12 miles, thickly settled. Land from $3.00 to $10.00 per
     acre.  There is but little cotton planted in this part of the
     country and but little from the Colorado River on the upper road to
     this place. Corn from 75% to $1.00 per bushel. From camp east of
     Palestine to Rusk, Cherokee County, 20 miles, then to Mud Creek, 3
     miles. Then to New Salem, in the County of Rusk, a considerable
     town, situated in a red land country, surrounded by hills and
     November 28, 1851. From New Salem to camp at night 13 miles.
     November 29, 1851. From camp to Henderson, 13 miles, situated in
     a beautiful sandy country. A considerable town. Said to be
     the healthiest town in Texas. Then to camp at night 11 miles.
     November 30, 1851. From camp to the Grand Bluff on the Sabine
     River. This town is a very small place. 20 miles from camp, this
     portion of country is generally poor, lies level, and heavily
     timbered, with fine water. Generally thickly settled with bad
     looking people. Then from Sabine River to camp at night 10 miles,
     Panola County. Steamboats run this river two or three months in
     thee year. Seldom any cotton planted.
     December 1, 1851. From camp to Elysian Fields, 5 miles, thence
     to Vernon, or Lickskillet, at the line of Texas and Louisiana, the
     line runs through the Town. Then to camp at night, Desoto Parish,
     Louisiana, 15 miles, through good land, lies well, only full of
     mounds, not a drop of running water. Large plantations and thickly
     settled. Rich planters from the appearance of buildings, etc.

     December 2, 1851. From camp to Shreveport, 6 miles, thickly
     settled by wealthy planters, fine buildings. Shreveport is a very
     considerable town, large and fine buildings, situated on the west
     bank of Red River at the mouth of Caddo Lake. Then to Bayou Cross,
     4 miles in the swamp.

- 174 - .

                               THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     Then to Bayou Red Chute. Then on the high land up to camp, 4 miles.
     December 3, 1851. From camp 16 miles through a tolerable level,
     low, wet country, thickly settled, some good places, but not
     Then to Minden, a beautiful and large town. Fine houses and a
     pleasant place. Healthy situation. Then to camp at night, 5 miles.
     December 4, 1851. From camp to camp, 26 miles, still in
     Claiborne Parish, hilly country. Thickly settled.
     December 5, 1851. To camp in Jackson Parish, 25 miles, about
     thirty or thirty-five miles south of the Arkansas line. The state
     of society has been wretchedly bad for the last 50 miles.
     December 6, 1851. From camp to Trenton on the Ouachita River, 20
     miles, through a poor country. Trenton is a pretty little town
     situated on the west bank of the river. Then to Monroe on the east
     bank of the river. The Ouachita is a considerable stream and fine
     steamboat navigation. Monroe is a considerable town, the county
     seat of Ouachita Parish.
     December 7, 1851. From camp in Ouachita Parish to camp through a
     part of Bastrop Parish to camp in Morehouse Parish, 19 miles.
     Today's travel has been all swamp, first Ouachita swamp then
     Mississippi swamp. This morning traveled up a lake about 6 miles,
     thickly settled.  Large plantations. Exceedingly rich and level.
     Fine buildings. Wealthy citizens. Roads very bad.
     December 8, 1851. From camp to camp across a bayou and across
     Death River, 17 miles, still Morehouse Parish. The road today has
     been exceedingly bad. Many deaths lately with pneumonia.
     December 9, 1851. From camp in Morehouse Parish to camp in
     Carroll Parish, 16 miles. Bad road, across lakes and flat lands
     generally. Overflows to a great extent. Very miry and a good deal
     of water on the ground. Some canebreaks. Have seen only four
     settlers in the last thirty miles. Camped last night where we could
     not hear anything but owls and wolves and the bellowing of
     December 10th, 1851. To Bayou Mason, 5 miles. Then to Tensas
     River at Featherstone, 7 miles, then to camp, 6 miles, making in
     all 18 miles today.

     December 10th. This day's travel has been through wet overflows
     across lakes and bayous. It commenced raining last night. Today
     still raining. Have not seen any appearance of the sun. Tonight
     we are in the muddy swamp far distant from any house and we do
     not know whether we are on the right road or not. The swamp is so

                                        - 175 - .


     bad we are much disheartened. Many miles of swamp to go before we
     reach Vicksburg. No settlers.
     December 11, 1851. From camp to Richmond, Madison Parish. A
     considerable town, situated on the banks of Roundway Bayou. One of
     the finest hotels I have ever seen. Then across the swinging bridge
     75 yards long, then east 15 miles, thickly settled, fine farms,
     rich planters.  Land making from one to three bales per acre. Ducks
     and geese by the thousands.
     December 12, 1851. From camp to Vicksburg, 15 miles. From
     Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi, 8 miles. Vicksburg is
     situated on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River. A very
     considerable town, exceedingly broken, much washed land.
     Saturday, December 13, 1851. From camp to Smith's Ferry on the
     Big Black River on the Canton Road, 18 miles. Plantations badly
     watered.  Big Black here has not any swamp. Steamboats run far
     above Smith's Ferry. Then to Brownsville, 10 miles.
     December 14, 1851. From camp to Livingston, 14 miles. Rail
     timber is very scarce. Livingston is a little dry town. One good
     meeting house Madison County. From dinner to camp, 11 miles. Still
     Madison County, thickly settled, with rich planters. The land much
     worn out.  We are tonight within two miles of Canton.
     December 15, 1851. To Canton, then to Sharon, then to camp.
     December 16th. Then to Thomastown, then to Kosciusko.
     December 19, 1851. Then to W. R. Coleman's, 30 miles.

     We note from the diary that some of the expenses incurred on
     this trip were as follows: Toll Gate, 50 cents; Heat, 15 cents;
     Ferry, 40 cents; Whiskey, $1.00; 3 pounds of sugar, 30 cents; one
     tin cup, 9 cents; Fodder, 75 cents.
     This journey took W. R. Coleman through 11 counties in
     Mississippi, 15 parishes in Louisiana, and 20 counties in Texas.
     Total mileage covered on this trip, 1506.
     In the same little book which contained the Diary of the Trip to
     Texas, are found additional notations as follows:

     The following entries were found in the W. R. Coleman diary of
     the trip to Texas:

     February 3, 1842, left with James --- to pay Mr. Horne in
     Gainesville, $90.00. Paid. Signed. George Gentry, Cherokee County,

- 176 - .

                              THE ROBERT COLEMAN FAMILY

     May 19, 1843, rec'd of C.htm#N008091">Isaac Coleman $15 S. C. money.
     May 30, 1843, paid to lsaac Coleman in consideration of theUnknown
     $15.00 as follows: 1 load of corn supposed to be 28 or 30 bushels, 5
     bushels of meal, 5 bushels of peas, corn and meal at 37 1/2, peas at 75.
     June 25, 1843. Left with Mr. James Y. Unknown $20.00 to be changed and
     $8.00 to be sent to Robert Coleman.
     W. R. Coleman received of W. H. Head $250.00 to be paid in
     Marion, Alabama.

     Entry shows that on July 24, 1851, W. R. Coleman made a trip to
     Marion, Alabama. He recites the distance to Louisville 15 miles,
     then 30 miles to Ward's in Noxubee County, then shows 43 miles to
     undecipherable point. He paid 25% for a watermelon, 45% for three
     glasses of cream, and $2.75 for staying overnight. He paid $1.50
     for crossing the Warrior river, 50% for crossing the Tombigbee, and
     paid $1.00 for a handkerchief. He was to have visited Eutaw,
     Greensboro, and Clinton.
     He shows the addresses of James M. Coleman, Macon County,
     Alabama. Alfred Coleman and Matthew Coleman and Stephen Coleman,
     Marshall, Texas, Harrison County. Notes he started home from
     Marion, Alabama, on Thursday, July 31, 1851.

                                        - 177 - .

                      [MAP OF TRIP]


     On Oct. 9, 1851 my grandfather William Ragsdale Coleman, with
     my father Thomas Blewit Coleman, and George Davis a cousin, started
     to Texas from the farm in Mississippi.  He kept a diary on the
     trip.  This journey, made to find good farm land in Texas brought
     the travelers into Texas only 15 years after Texas became a
     Republic.  On Dec. 19, 1851 he reached home after traveling 1506
     miles.  It is probable that the trip was made on horseback.  In
     1860 grandfather moved his family to Texas and settled on a farm
     about 3 miles norwest of Hallettsville.  As you read the diary, the
     progress of the travelers can be traced on the map.
     Prepared by Frank R. Coleman - August 25, 1956.

            [MAP OF LAVACA COUNTY, TEXAS drawn by F.R. Coleman]

- 178 - .


Previous Chapter     |     Table of Contents     |     Next Chapter

Contents | F | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | A1 | A2 | A3 | A4