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Children of Andrew Kent and
Family legend relates that 10 year-old Elizabeth, 3 year-old Andrew Jackson and 16 month-old Phinette died on the Runaway Scrape after the death of their father in the Alamo. Andrew Jackson was said to have been separated from his mother and siblings at a river crossing and never seen again.
Author Paul Boethel in History of Lavaca County relates:
".....in 1840 Peter Billings and family of DeKalbCo, TN moved to LavacaCo, TX and the Zumwalts, Kents and Billings took a liking to one another, almost of epidemic proportions...running over with double cousins. Louisa Kent married James Billings, [Bosman Clifton Kent married Rebecca Billings]......
David Kent married Elizabeth Billings, Elizabeth was known as the meanest wife in forty counties." David and Elizabeth had 11 children. David Boyd Kent later married widow Margarete Waldrope while living at Leakey, EdwardsCo, TX in the 1870's. They had one son Bosmon Clifton Kent in 1889.
Sarah Clifton Kent
Abraham Dillard was born May 4, 1801, according to Bible records, near Fort Chiswell on the New River, Wythe County, Virginia where his parents [James Dillard and Margery "Majer" Cole according to Debbie Dillard] lived long enough for him to be born. When about fourteen years old he went with relatives to live in Tennessee and from there to Texas by early 1827. Little of the younger years of Abraham was known but he seemed to have traveled around quite a bit to. Missouri and Kentucky and was likely to have had an earlier marriage before coming to Texas. Early land grants listed him as a bachelor. He married January 25, 1838 Sarah Clifton Kent (1816) named for her aunt Sarah Zumwalt who married Bosman Clifton, a "would-be" preacher. [Abraham Dillard and Sarah Clifton Kent are thought to have met during the flight or return to the DeWitt Colony of Alamo widow Elizabeth Zumwalt Kent and children during the Runaway Scrape-WLM]. Abraham lived on his original one-fourth league on Doe Run Creek three miles from Washington-on-the Brazos. There were adjoining land grants of Gates, Dever and Bird. His headright was granted in Austin's second colony.
His brother Joseph Dillard (December 16, 1792-December, 1835) came to visit him in January, 1834 and applied for land. Joseph married December 1, 1814 Susanna Beeson (Susan Beason) (August 3, 1797) and their children were: Elizabeth Ann (Lizanan in Bible) (September 1, 1816-February 20, 1868); Daniel Boon (January 21, 1819-April 5, 1877); Jane (March 24, 1822) married George W. Shoaf; Henry (August 10, 1824) married H.C. Taylor; Jacob Wyan (June 16, 1829) married Mary Stockton; Temple (October 1, 1831); William (December 24, 1826) married Mary A. Ellison; Abraham (January 22, 1834-July 29, 1908) married Savannah Ellison, sister of Mary, daughters of N.P. Ellison. Joseph's widow Susan married William Burnett (1800 Kentucky) in Washington County October 21, 1837. He was a widower with children and had two brothers living in Texas, Matthew (1795) and Crawford Sr. (1804), both born in Kentucky.
Abraham Dillard was in the First Regiment of Volunteers in the Battle of San Jacinto. He was in Captain William Warner Hill's Company but due to illness that day, Hill had to remain in camp and Captain Kimbrough led his company [Capt. Robert Stephenson led this company in the battle. Capt. Kimbrough commanded a separate group--WLM]. during the famous battle. Records indicated Abraham was paid for services from October 8, 1835 to June 1, 1836 when his company disbanded. There was also an affidavit signed by Abraham for the loss of a mare valued at $50.00. Captain Swisher signed his honorable discharge for services October 8, 1835 to December 22, 1835; Captain Hill as Headquarters Company Commander signed his honorable discharge for services from March 1, 1836 to May 30, 1836 as well as for "one brown mare mule valued at $15.00." He was granted 320 acres in 1838 on Peach Creek in Gonzales County and 640 acres "for having participated in the Battle of San Jacinto." When Abraham joined the Texas army, he was enlisted at the home of Asa Michell by his friend Captain Joseph P. Lynch.
He was five feet eleven inches tall, of dark complexion and had blue eyes and light hair. From records and papers on file, it seemed he was well liked by friends and neighbors, was industrious and worked hard improving his land and farm. His occupation was farming and raising stock and he clerked in a general store in town until he had accumulated enough to buy into a partnership. His brand was recorded as "AD" and a notch in the left ear. He and his wife Sarah were happy and looked forward to the arrival of their first-born child. Life dealt a cruel blow and such was not to be. On a hot summer day in July, 1839 he was clearing some of his new land and a large tree toppled over and crushed him to the ground. He was not able to go for help and it was some time before he was found. Friends took him to the nearest house and as it became evident he would not long survive, a will was hastily written July 24, 1839 which stated: "First, that all my past debts be paid and second, that all my estate both real and personal, do give and bequeath unto my wife, Sarah C. Dillard and my infant yet unborn . . ." He signed his name with an "X" and died the next day July 25, 1839. Sarah Clifton closed his estate in due time, and October 8, 1839 their daughter Sarah Elizabeth Dillard was born posthumously. It was said that Sarah's mother [Elizabeth Zumwalt Kent] rode horseback from Gonzales to Doe Run Creek to be with her daughter [when Sarah Elizabeth Dillard was born].
Sarah Clifton [Kent Dillard], widow of Abraham Dillard, married her first cousin William Henry Harrison Baldridge April 28, 1841 in Washington County. In June, 1842 she died in childbirth. It was likely that she and her Baldridge infant were buried together near Abraham Dillard. Sidney Lord Richards (From The History of Gonzales County, Texas. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission)
Isaac K. Kent
Louisa married James Billings (abt 1820-1863) on 11 Mar 1841 in Gonzales in presence of Richard Neal, Justice of the Peace. An anecdotal history by Chester Wilkes Ambush at Billing's Springs describes the Billings family history and adventures in KerrCo, TX. Louisa and James Billings had 9 children.
(Photo: Naomi Louisa, daughter Rebecca, and grandchild)
Bosman Clifton Kent
Bosman Clifton Kent (photo courtesy of descendant Mrs. Patsy Fannin) was named after his uncle Bosman Clifton who married his mother Elizabeth Zumwalt's sister Sarah Zumwalt in St. CharlesCo, MO in 1814. Six years old when his family arrived in the DeWitt Colony, twelve year old Bosman Kent was too young to take part in battles of the Texas Revolution even at their culmination in 1836 when his father died in the Alamo. However, as a teenager he was involved along with brother David Boyd Kent and cousins Andrew and Isaac Zumwalt in minuteman activities led by his uncle Capt. Adam Zumwalt in the Lavaca River area. At age 18 when General Wolls forces captured San Antonio on September 18, 1842, he and the company joined Col. Caldwells unified command at the Battle of Salado Creek (written as "Salary Bottom" in Davids application for his pension) in which the Mexican army was defeated and retreated to the Rio Grande. According to family legend, Bosman Kent was with the group who continued in pursuit of the Mexican forces to the border and was part of the disastrous Mier Expedition along with his cousin Isaac Kent Zumwalt. Records do not substantiate the story, but sister Mary Ann Kent related that he was there at the drawing of the beans and drew white. The family speculated that he escaped imprisonment in Mexico since he was small, dark in complexion and spoke Spanish very well enabling him to pass for a Mexican in some situations. In 1855 Bosman sold his land in DeWittCo to brother David Kent and made a homestead on 160 acres on North Grape Creek near Fredericksburg in GillispieCo. near James Billings and his sister Louisa Kent Billings. He later sold out again to brother David and moved to NuecesCo west of Corpus Christi. He later moved back to DeWitt and Lavaca counties.
Because of his small stature (5 feet 2 inches tall and about 100 pounds), Bosman Kent was allowed to joined the Texas Rangers at first only as a bugler, but was one of the first to use the Colt six-shooter against Mexican bandits and in the War with Mexico. He served under Capt. Ben McCulloch in Col. Jack Hays regiment as a scout. He is credited with saving Capt. Ben McCulloch's life in the Battle of Monterrey. Mexican lancers had cornered Ben McCulloch and nearby Bosman had only an empty pistol. Nevertheless he charged the lancers branishing the empty pistol, they turned and ran into a gully. According to stories about the event, the Mexican soldiers were frightened because it appeared he was waiting to take careful aim at each one individually. On 23 Sep 1846 in another battle in the same war, Bosmans arm was broken from a blow from a Mexican lance and he was mustered out of service, returned to Lavaca County and married Rebecca Billings. Bosman and Rebeccas children were known for being independent rowdy types as their father. Some children lived from time to time with relatives and others left home at an early age.
Bosman Kents son, John R. Kent, established a ranch in the Davis Mountains in El Paso County. One morning a band of five men approached the ranch house and the Kents welcomed them as was the custom in that isolated area and period. The Mexican bandits, who were recognized by others in the region, shot John Kent dead and looted the buildings. Family stories relate that Bosman Kent never totally recovered from this loss. He sold the ranch and embarked on a systematic mission to find his sons murderers. Being short, dark and fluent in Spanish with no accent and using his Texas Ranger investigative experience, he posed as a Mexican peasant and on a burro set off into Mexico to track the killers. Mexican residents warmed to him and aided him where possible. The Rurales police, some of which he had been associated with in the border Ranger service, also were cooperative. The Rurales actually had tracked down the same bandits and killed all but two of them. Bosman tracked the remaining two back into the US to Del Rio and just missed them at the train station. He telegraphed the Texas Rangers at Uvalde, the remaining two bandits were met by Rangers at the station in Uvalde and killed as they got off the train. After his wife died in about 1868, Bosman moved to Chavez County, New Mexico and established a stage coach line that ran from Carlsbad to Roswell. One of the main stops, which housed fresh horses and provided rest and food for passengers, was at Tar Lake close to Lake Arthur, New Mexico. Edmund Kent, his youngest son, visited him in New Mexico and invited him to retire and return to his Lavaca County, TX. Bosman declined explaining how he loved the country, the plentiful deer, the mountains and their beauty which were missing in Texas. Bosman was found dead one morning on the steps of his dugout residence in his beloved mountains. Fresh water was in his coffee pot and a partly smoked Bull Durham cigarette was in his hand.
Elizabeth Zumwalt Kent
Married (1) 6 Jun 1845 LavacaCo, TX William
Byas. They had 7 children
According to Byas descendants, the exact birthdate of Mary Ann Kent (photo courtesy of Mrs. Patsy Fannin) is unknown although 6 May 1825 is on her tombstone. Grandchildren are said to have estimated her birthdate and placed it on her marker. A more accurate birthdate and that of her brothers and sisters is thought to be that in the family Bible of son William Riley Billings. That record indicates that Mary Ann was born in CallawayCo, MO on 16 Dec 1827 and the seventh child of Andrew and Elizabeth Zumwalt Kent. She is believed to have been named after father Andrew Kents brother Williams wife Mary Ann Zumwalt. Mary Ann came to Texas with the Kent family in 1830. According to Mary Ann, father Andrew Kent had money in a bank in MO owned by Moses Austin and they lost all of it. She mistrusted banks throughout her life.
On 6 Jun 1845, William Byas and Mary Ann Kent obtained a license to marry from County Clerk Benjamin Pike of GonzalesCo and married in LavacaCo on 13 Jun 1845 with Justice of the Peace J.H. Livergood officiating. William Byas came to Texas about 1837 at the age of 13 leaving his widowed mother and family on a farm in PickensCo, Alabama. His father died in about 1830 and the children had to work both on the small farm and for others at minimal wages to support the family. He hired out to drive a wagon with a group leaving for Texas despite the protest of his mother. The wagon train traveled overland through Mississippi, Louisiana, into Texas to the Brazos River at Ft. Bend, over the Colorado River at Brenhams near La Grange and then across the Navidad, Lavaca and Peach Creeks to Gonzales. At first young Byas worked for people in the train with which he had come to Texas, helping build cabins, clear fields and hauling freight and supplies which became a career in addition to farming and ranching. Like many freighters in those days, he utilized ox carts until he could afford a full team or mules or horses. He began to haul from Lavaca Bay to Gonzales on the Indianola-Austin Road originally surveyed by Byrd Lockhart that began at a point on the bay called Powderhorn (Indianola) and went north along the west bank of the Lavaca to Hallettsville where it forked to Gonzales and La Grange and Austin. The route went across the Andrew Kent league crossing a notorious creek called Hubless Branch. Hubless Branch was named because wagon wheels sank below the hubs while crossing the black mud surrounding the branch during a rain. Crossing Hubless Branch at times was a half-day or so work and freighters often camped nearby after the exhausting cross. Nearby was the Andrew Kent homeplace in which the unmarried Kent children Isaac, Bosman, Mary Ann and Nancy Jane lived at the time and it is there that freighter William Byas is thought to have met Mary Ann.
Mary Ann inherited 1107 acres of the Andrew Kent league and it is there that the young couple built their first homestead. In 1845-46 Byas was on the road about six months of the year and carried supplies in the Mexican War of 1846. The rest of the time he spent farming and ranching on the Kent homestead. He was one of the 79 original voters in the newly founded county of Lavaca on 13 Jul 1846. Sometime after the birth of their first child Joseph Byas on 10 Aug 1847, Mary Ann and William Byas separated and William is thought to have served in Capt. Suttons Texas Rangers when he was recruiting at Petersburg. Among the troop were many friends, relatives and neighbors including David and Bosman Kent, Isaac Kent Zumwalt, John Arnold and Ben Highsmith. Mary Ann is thought to have looked after ailing stepfather Joseph Kent, whom she loved as did all the Kent children, very much as her own father. In the 1850 census of LavacaCo, Mary Ann, William and Joseph Byas were listed. Sometime in the 1850s they moved to a homeplace on Big Brushy Creek. They sold 200 acres of the northeast part of her share of the Andrew Kent league next to Isaac Kents plot to Richard Heath for $200 on 19 Aug 1852. Mary Ann bought $50 worth of cattle and mules from Seth Baldridge in Sep 1852. There additional children John C. (b. 1852), Mary A. (b. 1854), Isaac (b. 1856), Susan Emily (b. 22 Jan 1858), William Benjamin (b. 1861) and William Riley (b. 25 Dec 1864) were born.
The 1860 census of LavacaCo showed the family living on Big Brushy Creek. On 1 Mar 1861 Mary Ann Byas bought 140 plus acres on Big Brushy Creek from W.W. Mays for $52.54. William Byas enlisted in Co. A of the 34th Texas Cavalry, Alexanders Regiment, 2nd Partisan Rangers of the CSA in 1862. In the period, Mary Ann sent Joe with a horse to inform his father of urgent need of his presence. Joe replaced William in training at the age of 15 while he was on leave, but went home because of the difficulty of the training for a 15 year old. On the way he met father William returning to duty and rode his horse back home. Joe maintained the family under the difficult conditions of war until William was furloughed because of illness from his post in Louisiana in Mar 1864. He returned but again the rheumatism was too severe and he was transferred to a local reserve unit in Texas. He died prior to activation of his unit in Feb 1865 at age 41. The family barely survived the Civil War years with their land intact, but the homeplace became rundown and their livestock scattered. At that time widow Mary Ann began to sell parts of her inheritance to survive and pay taxes. Between 1865 and 1869, she sold 100 acres to Levi Ezzell, 100 acres to G. Sherley for $100, 100 acres to Henry Crocker, 50.5 acres to Jonathan Sherley for $50 and 279 acres on Lost Creek to Milton B. McCoy for $435.
[Photo left: Widow Mary Ann Kent Morriss' one room cabin on the Guadalupe River near Kerrville where she lived until just before her death at age 90. The cabin was used as a prototype on postcards and other illustrations as a relic of Kerrville's historic past and was preserved until 1932 when destroyed by a flood]
Malaria plagued the Lavaca River valley region in fall 1869 and on recommendation of doctors, friends and relatives, Mary Ann and family joined her sisters family, Louisa Billings, in the drier climate of Mountain Home in KerrCo after selling the 140.75 acre plot to W.R. Parr for $150. In the 1870 census, Mary Ann and family were living on 300 acres on Johnson Creek above Ingram with post office address Kerrville. Nearby were the families of Y.H. and Louisa Stockman and Louisa Billings. Sickness, either malaria or typhoid fever, continued to plague the family. In one day John C. at 18, Mary A. at 16, Isaac at 14 and William Benjamin at 9 died of the fever. Both Joe and Susan Emily were near death at one time, but recovered.
On 29 Jan 1879 Mary Ann Kent Byas married blacksmith and farmer Robert Chambers and became stepmother for two Thomas children, Emley about 15 and Zeb about 11 at the home on Byas Branch. On 18 Jul 1881, to the surprise of family and friends, 56 year old Mary Ann Kent Byas Chambers married John G. Morriss who was about 71 and a widower of many years. In LavacaCo, he had been married to Sarah Billings. According to Byas descendants John Morriss was an exemplary husband and stepfather as well as a fine Christian.
(Photo left: Four times widowed Mary Ann Kent in later years at the well near her cabin).On the broad reaches of the upper Guadalupe while the age old cypress trees whispered strange tales of other days, she spent her declining years. The little cabin stands hard by the road, the door was never locked, and the stranger was ever welcome. Many who have gone that way have carried with them on the long journey kind memories of the aged widow's hospitality. Grandma Morriss continued to live in her little log house until a few years ago, when failing eyesight compelled her to give up her home. Since she has lived with her son, Riley Byas, whose home is near the old place, where she can still hear the storm winds tearing at the rugged breasts of the mountains and the Guadalupe in time of flood, as it thunders against its rockbound shores. So has lived, and still lives, one of the last--perhaps the last--child of a Hero of the Alamo--Note from a local newspaper shortly before the death of Mary Ann Kent.
On 9 Jul 1846, Nancy Jane married John Arnold in presence of Edward A. Clark in GonzalesCo. Little is known of this couple except their land transactions. In Sep 1846, John and Nancy Arnold sold 200 acres to Gabriel Zumwalt for $200, the western half of Nancy Jane's portion of the Andrew Kent league. The same tract was again sold to David Jones. On 27 Dec 1847, the couple sold 201 acres they bought from William and Mary Ann Kent Byas four months previously. The sale was to Greenberry Tankersley for $170, $130 less than they paid for it. On 17 Sep 1848, the couple sold 200 acres to David Jones for $250. This is the same land that they sold to Gabriel Zumwalt two years before. John Arnold was in the Texas Rangers through 6 Oct 1848 after which there are no records of him or wife Nancy Jane. In 1852 the family was living in Petersburg on the Lavaca River in LavacaCo. Nancy is said to have had 4 children with second husband Tankersley.
Andrew Jackson Kent