SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
ROBISON. Joel Walter Robison (also spelled Robinson in some records) was born in Washington County, GA on 5 Oct 1815 (family bible entry) although land grant papers in the Texas Land Archives indicate he was from Virginia:
Octr. the 8th, 1834
Robison first came as a single man to Velasco in current BrazosCo with his father, John G. Robison, in 1831. Both Robisons participated in the battle of Velasco in Jun 1832 (vol. 1, Lamar Papers). The Robisons are thought to have first moved to FayetteCo in 1833. John G. Robison received title to a league of land in Austin's Fifth Colony on the west side of Cummin's Creek in Fayette County on February 12, 1836 where the family settled. Joel Robison received title to one-fourth of a league of land in Zavala's Colony situated in Jasper County, May 6, 1835 referred to in the above document. He married on November 20, 1837 and on January 18, 1838 he was issued Headright Certificate No. 24 for three-fourths of one league and one labor of land by the Fayette County Board of Land Commissioners.
Joel participated in the Grass Fight and Siege of Bexar in 1835. He was at San Jacinto with Capt. Heard's Company F Infantry, 1st Regiment and was with the group of men who captured Santa Anna which he explained in his own words:
What appears to be the most concise original account by Robison the capture of Santa Anna from his view was published in the Texas Almanac of 1859 (pg. 166) which appears in many sources from that time:
Updates to the Robison biography in the Kemp Papers refer to the following letter from Robison that also appeared in the Texas Almanac preceded by an editiorial statement:
According to F. Lotto, author of "Fayette County. Her History and Her People" published in Schulenburg, TX in 1902, Joel Robison's son Neal who was FayetteCo tax collector at the time related to him that Santa Anna gave Joel Robinson his gold braided vest in appreciation of the ride to the Texan camp. The vest was used many years by the young men of FayetteCo in wedding ceremonies, the vest disappeared at some time over the years in the process, was last seen at West Point and at the time of the writing only one gold button remained of it.
A similar account to that published in the Texas Almanac was discovered in the diary of Dr. W.G. deGraffenried of Round Top, WashingtonCo, TX that he implies was a personal narrative given to him from Robison in 1858:
On 7 Dec 1836, Joel Robison was appointed President Houston to First Lieutenant in the Republic of Texas army and charged with organizing a mounted ranger company to look after security in the Gonzales area, but it is unclear if the company saw significant action and whether Robison spent a significant time in Gonzales to contribute to the area. Robison represented FayetteCo in the Texas Legislature in 1860, 1862 and as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1874. He was a Masonic leader and served in 1850 as Master of Florida (Masonic) Lodge No. 46 at Round Top, FayetteCo.
Joel Robison married Emily Anna Alexander (b. KY; d. 23 Nov 1886) on 20 Nov 1837. They had children Almeida (m. Thomas A. Ledbetter), Samuel A., James, Fannie (m. Dr. J. W. Smith), Lucy (m. J. F. McClatchey), Neal W. (m. Hallie P. Carter), and J. G. Robison who died young. Some grandchildren listed by Kemp were Mrs. Bettie Davis, S. C. Olive, Horwell and R. E. Darch; John B. and F. C. Robison; W. A. Ledbetter; ; K. C. Ledbetter; Annie O., Lena J., Seth I. S., Guy T., Hugh A., Anna and Alberta Ledbetter.
Joel Robison resided in FayetteCo near Warrenton where he was active in public service until his death in 4 Aug 1889. He was first buried beside his wife in the Florida Chapel Cemetery and both were re-interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin in 1932. At the time of his death, he was Second Vice-President of the Texas Veterans Association.
John C. (or G.) Robison, father of Joel W. Robison and family according to FayetteCo history records came to Texas via New Orleans (some records say from Florida). At the custom house at the mouth of the Brazos, he registered his slaves as indentured peons according to Mexican law. He was elected to House of Representatives of the first Congress of the Republic which met in Columbia in 1836. On 26 Nov 1836 he and his younger brother Walter, who was visiting Texas, were attacked and killed by a band of 30 to 40 comanches while they were on the way to neighbor C. Steven's place about five miles away. They were on their way to pick up some supplies from Columbia. Upon learning that Indian horse thieves were in the area, son Joel Robison began a search for his father and about a mile from home found his father's oxen and oxcart and his scalped, nude and mutilated body nearby. Not far away was the body of his uncle in similar condition.
SMITH. Isham Smith is believed to be the I.G. Smith who was a private, along with his brother-in-law, James Hodges Jr., in Capt. Peyton Splane's Company in the rear guard of the Texas Republican Army which was camped at Harrisburg during the Battle of San Jacinto.
Isham Smith (November 21, 1791 Virginia - February, 1867 Gonzales) and wife Nancy Elizabeth Hodges (December 25, 1797 Tennessee - February, 1881 Gonzales) were married in 1811 in Knoxville, Tennessee. They were among the early settlers of Gonzales County. Isham was in the War of 1812 and was a veteran of the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War of 1845. In 1825 Isham and his father-in-law James Hodges Sr. made a trip from Alabama and Tennessee to see Green DeWitt about securing land for their families. They were successful in that venture and returned with their families in 1831, having bought the remainder of the Jose Marie Salinas Grant. Making the trip to Texas with the Smiths and Hodges were Isham's brother Batte and family and the Nathan Davis family. They traveled by boat and docked at Galveston, loaded their household goods on ox carts and journeyed to Gonzales. Isham, Elizabeth and family settled on the Salinas Grant which was located about five miles southwest of Gonzales in the forks of the Guadalupe and San Marcos Rivers and lived there the remainder of their lives. The community was known as Pecan Branch. They raised cotton, corn and cattle on their land and also had a cotton gin and a mill for grinding grain. During the Runaway Scrape they moved to LaGrange, Texas for a while. This was after the fall of the Alamo and Isham wanted his family a safe distance from Santa Anna's soldiers. They hid as many household items as they could, putting a trace chain through the ears of the wash pot, then fastening the chain to the root of a large cypress tree which was growing on the river bank; the root was under water so when they let the pot down into the river neither the pot nor chain could be seen from the bank. What they could not hide or load on the wagon they burned. When they returned to Gonzales the following year they retrieved their pot from the river and other items they had hidden and continued with their farming and ranching. In 1841 Elizabeth's cousin Sarah Davis died. There being no cemetery in the community, Elizabeth and another cousin walked around on the ranch and located a place to bury the body among a grove of live oak trees. Isham and Elizabeth donated two acres of land surrounding the grave for a community cemetery; this land was legally deeded as a cemetery by their son David Smith in 1908. It was known as the Pecan Branch-Smith Cemetery. Isham, Elizabeth, five of their children and many of their descendants were buried there. Isham and Elizabeth Smith had eight children: Tom (1813); James (1815); Harbort (1829 - March 26, 1895); William Wesley (March 28, 1833 - July 20, 1920); Stroud (February 5, 1834 - 1870); David (January 15, 1838 - November 29, 1917); Elizabeth; and Mary Jane.
James, the second son of Isham, married Margaret Connally and had four children: Byrd who married Sarah Bailey and had eleven children, Jason, Jim, Maggie, Kallie, Mary, Media, Dosie, Mattie, Brother, Dollie and Gazie; David (1845) married Elizabeth Breeding and had seven children, Hettie, Rosa, Edward Ross, Ben Peck, Clarence, Olivia and Daisy; James Hodges (1843) who married Camilla Threadgill and had seven children, Carlos, Evelyn, Lettie Olivia, James, Lela, Ernest and John Threadgill; and Elizabeth who married Mike Sharp and had six children, Charlie, Ida, Mammie, Annie, Minnie and Dave.
Harbort married first Mary S. Laird October 10, 1855 and had one son Byrd Houston (August 3, 1857 - March 17, 1940). Byrd H. married August 2, 1875 Missouri "Susan" Elvira Staton (July 1, 1858 - April 13, 1916) and had five children: Willie Laird (June 1, 1877 - October 16,1956) married first Alvie Cleveland and had one child Ethel Mae who married Alfred Tharp, Willie Laird married second Henrietta Hardin (August 4, 1884 - August 10, 1965) and had two children, Mamie Pearl and Ollie Shields; Mary Henrietta (October 7, 1882 - 1978); Claude; Maude; and Lula. Harbort married secondly Sarah Wingate and they had three children: Tennessee who married Baily Kerr; Bessie married Lawrence Donley; and Jim married Annie Pogue. Harbort entered the State Service on the Texas frontier and served for a year. In 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate Service, becoming a member of Captain Weeks Company, Willis Cavalry Battalion of Walls Legion. He was sent to Holly Springs, Mississippi and served under General Van Dorn. He was in numerous battles including the one in Jackson, Mississippi. He also fought in Alabama and Tennessee. After the war he came back to Gonzales, bought several hundred acres of land and continued his life as a farmer. In 1892 he bought a home in the city of Gonzales and lived there the remainder of his life.
William Wesley "Uncle Coop" (March 28, 1833 - July 20, 1920) married Mary Sue Wiggins and had eleven children, Iris, Henry, Wiggins, Ben, James, Betty Jane, Delphie, Callie, William Knox, Iva Lee and Baby. Uncle Coop, who was an ox-cart freighter, was in Indianola and heard about a product called coffee that had been shipped from New Orleans. It was expensive and looked like shelled green beans. He bought a 100-pound bag and took it home to his mother. She was enthusiastic over the poke of coffee and wanted to share it with her friends. A quilting bee was planned and all invited friends and neighbors showed up on the appointed day. Elizabeth had soaked the beans overnight and next morning had added ham and put them in the cast iron pot hanging in the fireplace to cook. The women got on with their quilting and the men sat around outside talking and chewing tobacco. The cooking beans had a strange aroma, had turned an ugly green, tasted peculiar and would not get soft. By mid-afternoon they decided something was wrong with the coffee beans and threw them out. Isham apologized to their guests saying he could not understand what happened because all their family back in Tennessee were writing to them about how good coffee was. It was some months later before they learned how to prepare the coffee beans to make a beverage. Uncle Coop was physically unable to serve during the Civil War, but he served the South well by driving his freight wagon from Gonzales to El Paso and Indianola. He hauled cotton and other produce out and returned with coffee, sugar, flour and dry goods. He was a tremendous help to the citizens of Gonzales. Uncle Coop had fallen off an ox and broken his leg when he was in his early teens. The doctor set his leg and all precautions were taken but there were complications and he developed tetanus. His jaws became locked about one-half inch apart and remained so the rest of his life. He mashed his food well, then pressed it between his teeth with a knife and swallowed it.
Stroud married Fannie Goodson and had three children: Frank who married Effie Roberts and had four children, Lynn, Walter, Earl and Doris; Arthur Byrd "Buddy" married Juanita Bouldin and had three children, Joe, Carroll and Virgie; William Isham "Bully" married Clementine Inez Wilson and had five children, Tom, Sam, Claude, Willie Mae and Clementine.
David married first Frances L. Key and had six children: Billy married Bobbie Dees and had ten children, Irray, Straud, Curl, Edgar, J.P., Eldridge, Beulah, Belle, Velma and Elizabeth; Straud married Bertha Korff and had two children, Ruby and Lillian; David married May Hunt and had six children, Clifton, Virgil, Cecil, Marvin, Delton and Ivey; Gus married Mattie Key and had two children, Maudie and Gladys; Mary Elizabeth married Grant Staton. David married secondly Mitchell Gibbs and had five children, John who married Mattie Miller and had seven children, Lela, Arthur T., Nettie, Jack, Margaret, Maxine and Jo; Nettie married John Webb and had two children, Carl and May; Lula married John Simmons and had three children, Minnie, Jewel and Nelda; Jesse James married Callie Pippins and had six children, Jesse Lee, Hazel, Ima Jo, Dick, Ben and Gene; Oscar married Johnnie Nance and had eight children, Fay, Doris, Guy, Keller, Norine, Florence, Melba Jean and Adele.
Elizabeth married Will James Murphy and had six children, John, Jim, Sudie, Walter, Sally and Mary Ellen.
Mary Jane married J.P. McElyea and had seven children, Ben, Martha, Bill, Fanny, Betty, Ida and Mary Francis.
Seven generations of the Isham Smith family lived in Gonzales County: Isham, Harbort, Byrd Houston, Willie Laird, Mayme Pearl Smith Tharp, Marjorie Tharp Baker Iley, Jack Charles and Richard Glen Baker. Marjorie Iley (From The History of Gonzales County, Texas. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission)
TENNILLE. George Tennille, An Early Texas Pioneer by Ronald Howard Livingston. Born in the period of 1768-1772 (sources differ), George Tennille (a farmer from Missouri) arrived in Texas sometime during the year 1826 with his family, which consisted of his wife Sarah "Sally" Ross (Davis) Tennille (born in the period 1792-1797) and their two sons and two daughters (1). On April 5, 1830, Tennille was granted a sitio (or square-league) of land in current-day Brazoria County, under terms of Stephen F. Austin's third colonization contract (2). This land had previously (July 1824) been granted to one Israel Massey (3); however, for whatever cause, the grant was forfeited. The southeastern corner of the Tennille survey is located about one mile north of present-day West Columbia (4), which originally was named Columbia (founded in 1826 by Josiah Hughes Bell) and was the first capital of the Republic of Texas (5).
While a resident of Missouri, George Tennille was involved with Stephen F. Austin in land speculations in the vicinity of New Madrid. In a volume in which he later kept the journal of his first trip to Texas, Austin recorded "Memoranda Concerning Land Speculations," one of which represented an obligation of $7,400 in favor of George Tennille for a one-half interest in three 640-acre tracts and another containing 200 arpents. Austin added in the memoranda that "I have also a verbal agreement with George Tennille to furnish me with all the claims he can get, which I am to locate for our joint benefit for the half of which I am to pay him 10 Dolls pr acre in 5 years." Austin drew up several notes bearing the date of January 30, 1819, "payable in 1- 2- 3- 4- and 5 years after date." The next year, on the 13th of June, Tennille assigned one of these notes in the amount of $1,500 (payable February 1, 1821) to Pierre Alexander Laforge, attorney for the heirs of Pierre Antoine Laforge, deceased. Writing from New Madrid, Missouri, on June 16, 1827, Robert D. Dawson, on behalf of Laforge, inquired of Austin what prospects he had that he might "ultimately redeem this obligation." George Tennelle (sic) was listed as the head of a household on the 1820 census in New Madrid County, Missouri (*); however, in December of 1821, he was living in Jefferson, Saline County, Missouri, and on the 3rd of that month wrote to his friend Austin by way of a Dr. G. C. Hartt (who was then planning an inspection tour of Texas to locate a suitable place to settle). Tennille asked for general information about Texas and inquired "what arraingments [sic] are made respecting our business in this state [i.e., Missouri]". Further Tennille indicated his inclination to settle in Texas (should Dr. Hartt likewise do so), commenting that he thought Missouri was too cold.
Bounding the entire northern border of the Tennille tract (Brazoria County abstract 131) is the Thomas Kincheloe Davis survey (Brazoria County abstract 184) (6). Davis, who brought his family from Missouri and arrived in Texas in October 1834, was the brother-in-law of George Tennille. In applying for land, Davis specifically requested the league north of George Tennille (7). The selected land was granted on February 19, 1836, though Davis actually was admitted as a colonist under Austin's fifth contract (8). According to historian James A. Creighton, accompanying the Thomas K. Davis family to Texas was Thomas's twin brother, Jesse K. Davis. Creighton also stated that Thomas and Jesse's sister, Mrs. George Tennille, and her family, also constituted part of the immigrant band. Creighton wrote that the move from Missouri occurred over the period from spring to October, but gave the year as 1835. Their journey was interrupted by the loss of the family's horses and mules, stolen by marauding Indians, causing the family to have to proceed on foot until oxen were finally obtained (^).
As aforementioned, the Tennilles had been in Texas since 1826, so (if Creighton's scenario is correct) it is probable that they had returned to Missouri to bring Mrs. Tennille's relatives back with them. Indeed, Jesse K. Davis would appear to have also returned to Missouri for the same reason, since he too had been a resident of Texas for quite some time before the relocation of his kinsmen. Jesse had first arrived in Texas in December 1830 (#). On the 15th of May 1832 one-fourth of a sitio was granted to him in the DeWitt Colony. This grant of land is in current-day Guadalupe County. There are indications, however, that Jesse did not live on his DeWitt Colony survey throughout much of the 1830's. He was a member, for instance, of William H. Patton's Columbia Company (Fourth Company, Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers) at the Battle of San Jacinto. He married Eliza Davis, daughter of Kinchen W. and Frances Pleasants, by bond on 5 May 1835, Silas Dinsmore, Judge of the First Instance (or primary judge) of the Jurisdiction (i.e., Municipality) of Columbia officiating and George Tennille, Thomas K. Davis, Dr. Thomas F. L. Parrott, and James E. B. Phelps (Dr. James A. E. Phelps?) serving as instrumental witnesses. (The marriage records also list George Tennille and Thomas K. Davis as sureties.) On the fifth day of August 1839, Jesse and Eliza were remarried by Daniel T. Fitchett, a justice of the peace, who was a resident of the town of Columbia. Jesse was a resident of Fort Bend County on March 29, 1838, when the Fort Bend County Board of Land Commissioners issued him a headright certificate for 3/4 of a sitio and one-labor of land (the 3/4 of a square league being an augmentation resultant to his marriage). Fort Bend County tax records for 1840, list Jesse as having paid the annual "poll tax" (actually a head tax) there, which further adds to proof that Fort Bend County was his home. Possibly, he was then (and had been) residing on or near the league of Kinchen Davis. Brazoria County land records show that the lower half of the Kinchen Davis headright league, which was situated on the west side of the Brazos River above the mouth of Cow Creek was sold by Davis to George Tennell (spelling of the surname in Brazoria County land records, including signatures by Tennille himself, reflects several variants) at San Felipe de Austin on December 11, 1832.
Brazoria County deed records concerning George Tennille provide a chronicle of his life in Texas. At San Felipe de Austin on December 11, 1832, in consideration of Tennille's payment of all the fees and expenses pertaining to the granting of the land, Kinchen W. Davis promised before alcalde Horatio Chriesman to sell by deed of sale to George Tennille, "So soon as the law of this state will permit," one-half of the sitio granted to Davis by the state of Coahuila y Texas. Apparently, the deed of sale was never made, as indicated by a deed dated November 4, 1854, whereby Tennille's son George (Culver) Tennille and Sarah Ross (Tennille)---widow of George, Sr.--- both of the county of DeWitt, sold to Thomas K. Davis the lower half of the sitio originally granted to Kinchen Davis. The land was described as "situated in the County of Fort Bend on the West of the Brazos just above the mouth of Cow Creek." The deed notes that the property was "the same parcel of land decreed to George Tennile in his life time by the District Court of Brazoria County for the location of said league in a suit against the heirs of said Kincheon [sic] Davis. Also sold by the same deed was approximately 500 acres in Fort Bend County out one of the headright leagues of Thomas Alsbury, sold by order of the Brazoria County probate court to pay the debts of the Alsbury estate.
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS