Query: Smith (from Hertfordshire, England)

Hopefully, one or more of our members can help this English researcher who sent the following query. Any and all ideas would be appreciated.

Hello

I do not want to put anybody to any trouble but I was wondering if you can give me any idea how I can obtain information about Deaths in Mineola, Texas in 1883. If indeed there are any remaining records. My Great Grandfather, David Smith (Yes, I know, a very common name) is listed in our English 1881 Census as living in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. I also live in Hertfordshire.

The family story is that he went to Texas to grow Onions! The only other information I have is a copy of a Memorial Card stating that he died in Mineola, Texas on the 16th October 1883, at the age of 38. There could be a querie on his age as it also says he was 38 in 1881 in the Census.

I find it quite sad that he went to Texas leaving a wife and seven children in ‘The Robin Hood’ Public House in Hatfield where he had been the Publican & Dealer to go, as many did, no doubt, to try and find a better life. I hope that it was his intention to send for his family when he
was established. Sadly this was not to be, my Grandmother was his youngest child and only 6 when he died.

I would be so grateful is you could point me in the right direction regarding Death Records for this area as I seem to have drawn a blank so far with my research.

Very best wishes
Sue Waller
s.waller01@btinternet.com

If you contact Sue directly, please also send us a copy of what you are able to find to share with others with an interest in Wood County research.

John Potter Dedication in August

Through the efforts of member Violet Shirey of Rockport, there will be a commemoration of the Civil War service of veteran John T. Potter August 14 at the Shady Grove Cemetery at Winnsboro. Violet has written with several requests for assistance concerning John Potter and family.
1) She is wondering if there is any member has “any ideas what a memorial program would contain.”
2) “I am looking for Kathryn Browning. She is a g granddaughter of John T. Potter. I don’t know what her married name is, but the last I knew of her she lived in Quitman. Her parents were Ambrose and Sis Browning. They are buried in the cemetery just North of Mineola. Is there any way to locate her?”
3) “Also is there a map in your possesion that would show where John T. Potter lived? He lived in Pct 4, Wood Co.”

If you can offer any observations, ideas, or help for her, you can send an email to her at v.shirey@sbcglobal.net. Also, please consider sharing your response as a comment here on our web page. Violet’s mailing address is available on the member contact list on the Members Only Pages which you can access with the link at the top right of this page.

October’s Family History Month Activities

October has become the recognized “Family History Month” in the U. S., and the Wood County Genealogical Society has several events planned for this month.

October 11 (also Columbus Day) is our remodel, rearrangement, and freshen up event for the genealogy research center at the Quitman Public Library. This kicks off at 8 a.m. when we begin to moved books and other parts of our collections so that we can get our shelving, work tables, and equipment relocated in the center. While some members will be around much of the time, others are going to come when they can. We hope to finish by that afternoon so that the center can be used when the library opens the next day.

October 16 is our garage sale fundraiser in front of the Mineola Community Bank during the Highway 80 Garage Sale fall weekend. We are looking forward to a large number of our local members to show up with their garage sale items (already priced and marked) to start selling about 8 a.m. We will start the setup about 7 a.m., and the sooner the better on getting items out and ready for sale.

October 18 is our regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at the Shamburger Room of the Quitman Public Library.

At 6 p.m. we are starting a “Getting Started” or “Help with Research Brickwalls” individual sessions for the general public or members at the library preceding to our meeting time. We need any members willing to come offer consultation or suggestions to come help out. This is a new idea, and we p-lan to alter it as necessary as we go. Also, this is an excellent opportunity to discuss your research/families with another member for ideas on how to get to the next level of research. Because of this we are moving the unofficial “eating meeting” at Peralta’s up to 5 p.m. from last year’s time.

“SOUNDING” AT FORD-GREEN CEMETERY This Friday

Thanks to society member and Wood County Historical Commission Chair Person Lou Mallory for sending the following email which we are passing on to all members:

“Next Friday, May 21, a “sounding” will take place at the Ford-Green Cemetery.
“For your information, a “sounding” is a process where by using a metal detector or other means unknown graves may be found.
Ford-Green Cemetery, long abandoned and forgotten, was adopted by the Junior Historians and the Landmark Commission several years ago.
Today, it is a cemetery association with both State and Federal tax exemption, and organized and approved by the District Court in 2009.
The cemetery association now has ownership and has agreed with the Texas Funeral Commission to do the following:
1. Erect a new fence.
2. Locate unknown graves and mark same.
3. Provide needed maintenance and care.
Anyone who would like to observe the “sounding” is welcome to attend as well as anyone who might be interested in learning the procedure.
“The “sounding” will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Ford-Green Cemetery which is located at the intersection of Country Club Drive and Green Road (County Road 2205).

Looking Back: Five Flags (Plus) Over Wood County

The land which would some day become Wood County, Texas, USA has been the scene of human habitation for thousands of years providing sustenace and dwelling for various peoples because of the bountiful water, forest, land and lifestyle resouces which still attract people here today.

Evidence indicates human presence here in native American Clovis cultures in prehistoric times. Historical evidence points to the arrival of the native Americans known as the Caddos as early as the first Century, A. D. Living in the forests of the Sabine River Valley and its tributaries (including the Lake Fork and Big Sandy Creeks and their water sheds), the Kadhadacho (as the Spanish called them) were in their early period mound builders and the westernmost people of the Missippian Mound Culture. They had abandoned these practices by the arrival of Europeans in the 1500′s. The Spanish and French noted them as they moved through the Sabine Valley area and traded with the loosely allied groups described as the Caddo Confederation. Hasinai Caddo tribes populated this area during historic times.

Indian artifacts have been found from North to South in the county. Examples include the Caddo Trace area at Winnsboro where Indian and Spanish relics possibly from trading have been found and the discovery of Indian villages and burials in the Quitman area. Also, Native American relics have been found south in the Mineola Nature Preserve area just north of the Sabine River.

This first “nation” having dominiion over the area which is now Wood County had no real flag as they are known by us today.

The first European nation to claim the area of Wood County was Spain,

Spain

and Texas north to the Red River was a part of the vast Empire of Spain from the 14th Century until 1821 as part of Spanish Colonial America.

Following the end of the successful rebellion against Spain by Mexico, Wood County was a part of the Mexican State of Coahuila and Texas

Mexico

from 1821 until its own succesful rebellion against Mexico.

The Republic of Texas was born in 1836 and the area that would become Wood County was in the northermost area of the large orginal Nacogdoches County during the period of

Texas

the Republic. It was during this period that Martin Varner settled in Wood County. Varner is recognized as the first settler and also the person who cut the first road into the county (1840). Then, in 1846, Texas became a state of the United States.

That same year Texas became a part of the United States of America, larger counties were broken up, and Henderson County was formed. It included areas from Houston and Nacogdoches

United States of America

counties including the area of present-day Van Zandt and Wood Counties. Just two years later in 1848, Van Zandt County was created and it included the area that would become Wood County when it was created in 1850. (Creation timing was such that Wood County residents of 1850 are listed on the census of Van Zandt County.)

In 1861, Texas followed the actions of a number of Southern states and voted to withdraw from the United States of America and join the Confederate States of America. With the surrender of the Confederate government following four bloody years of warfare in 1865, Texas

Confederate States of America

entered a period of military government by the United States. In 1866 a nullification of the secession vote was passed by a Texas constitutional convention, and in 1869 Texans were again authorized to vote for members state officers. In 1870, Texas’ elected representatives were allowed back into the United States Congress.

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