Friday, April 6, 2012

GO WEST! Eighteen on a Wagon Train to Texas 1880

I've known for years that all four siblings of my paternal 2nd great grandfather, William M. Wallen, left Kentucky shortly after the 1880 census was taken, but I was never certain of just exactly when they left. I only knew through births and deaths that they were in Texas by 1882. William's siblings were Oliver P., Isaac Newton, Lucy Jane, and Daniel Thomas. These five were the children of Jesse B. and Louisa (Tyree) Wallen.

Interior Journal - 20 Aug 1880
Last year I came across two articles in Kentucky's "Interior Journal" newspaper, that gave me new clues. The first one, dated August 20, 1880, told of the Justice of the Peace in the Skaggs Creek precinct, O. C. Brewer, resigning his official position in contemplation of moving out West. The second article, dated October 1, 1880, was more exciting: "O. C. Brewer and Oliver Wallen with their families, and several others - in all eighteen persons - left here last week for Texas. They will settle in Honey Grove or Paris, others are to follow." So, now I had a very close date, they left the last week of September 1880.
Interior Journal - 1 Oct 1880

To the best of my knowledge, through research, these are the eighteen people that left Rockcastle Co., Kentucky for Texas, grouped by families:

1) Orville C. Brewer and his wife 2) Marinda R. "May" (Bolin) Brewer, daughter of  Orville's former neighbors, George and Phoebe Brewer, who were already living in Cooke Co., Texas.

3) Oliver P. Wallen and wife 4) Mary Jane "Mollie" (Collier) Wallen and their three daughters: 5) Laura Ellen, 6) Lucy A., and 7) Lucinda. Mollie was 7 months pregnant with Sarah E. when she made this trek.

8) Isaac Newton Wallen and wife 9) Mary Frances "Fannie" (Sutton) Wallen and their two sons: 10) Andrew J. and 11) Daniel Thomas. In 1938, Fannie was interviewed about her life in Kentucky, Texas, and Oklahoma and the resulting story became a part of the "Indian Pioneer Papers". That interview can be read here: Pioneers to Indian Territory 1881. That title isn't exactly correct now as we know they left in 1880 and, not only that, they also lived in Texas for 10 years and didn't actually arrive in Indian Territory until 1890. However, the story Fannie tells is an excellent testament to the history, the hardship, and the grit of these early Kentuckians who traveled west by wagon and how some lived after settling at their destination.

12) Lucy Jane (Wallen) Sowder and her second husband, 13) Madison "Mattie" Sowder, and Lucy's two daughters by her first husband, William R. Sutton: 14) Louisa Sutton and 15) Fannie Mae Sutton, and Madison's two sister's: 16) Mary Jane Sowder and 17) Rebecca Sowder. I will write more about this family in my next post.

18) Daniel Thomas "Uncle Tom" Wallen - I wrote about Uncle Tom in this post: Treasure Chest Thursday: From Diamond Came Gold.

These families did not settle in Fannin or Lamar counties as indicated by the Interior Journal's October article; instead they traveled a little farther west and settled in the counties of Denton and Cooke.



  1. Great post! And a good reminder to look at neighbors and associated families of your ancestors when they show up in a new location. This cluster included a lot of people that were my cousins to some degree and I love that you are telling their story.

    1. Nan, I've had this post in mind to do for quite some time, ever since I found the articles in the Interior Journal. What finally inspired me to write it was a ridiculously messed up "tree" I found this week on about Lucy, wife of Madison Sowder. It made me want to pull my hair out! So tomorrow, there will be another post on Lucy and Madison. And maybe then I can also correct another Sowder; their daughter Rebecca Ellen. She married John Bitton Anderson and all over Ancestry her maiden name is spelled wrong and no one seems to know she is the daughter of Lucy and Madison because her name is so far off. I think it may have been spelled that way on the marriage record, but it's bad enough that, if you didn't know, you couldn't connect her to her parents. Sigh! I just hate it when anyone messes up my family!

  2. You've had so much luck researching newspapers. When you strike god, you strike gold. Great post.

  3. Enjoyed this article! Very interesting stuff here Lisa.

  4. LOVE this! It's a bit later than my own family ended up in Texas from Kentucky (and one resigned as a court clerk to go!).

  5. What a gold mine of information! You've done a grand job providing an overview and links to further information. This is the sort of post I dream of finding in my own searches. Care to adopt me?