Strong Women Played a Big Part in Local History
By Ruth Crawford,
The Bosque Collection
The following are stories of strong women who contributed to the history of Bosque County, Texas. Keep in mind that these women never voted, couldn’t transact business without male assistance and couldn’t buy or sell property without a male co-signer. For the very earliest, the nearest supplies were in Waco. They bled, sweated, and cried; formed schools and churches; they were overseers of farms while husbands were chasing Indians; lost children and husbands; fought hostiles, famine and plagues. They were women of great character; resolve and ingenuity.
Elizabeth Oakes Barton and her husband moved to Bosque Territory in 1850 on Steele Creek, across the Brazos from Fort Graham, TX. Mr. Barton established a ferry which was a vital link between Fort Graham and Hart Gates. One eventful day, after the water on the Brazos had swollen to a record level, the ferry capsized, spilling Mr. Barton, Mrs. Barton’s young brother, Pleas Everett, another passenger, a wagon and a team of mules. Pleasant Haney Everett grabbed Elizabeth’s young brother; and managed to get him to safety. He was not able to help Mr. Barton, who drowned.
Elizabeth stayed on the farm, raising her two children, selling corn to the soldiers at Fort Graham. (Picture at right provided by James Taylor.) In 1852, she married Samuel Barnes, and she gave birth to eight more children. One morning, as she was doing laundry, a friendly band of Indians passed by the house. Her home located near Steele Creek. The Indians took quite an interest in the baby that was resting in a basket. After the Indians, left one of the older children yelled, “This ain’t our baby” and Elizabeth grabbed the shotgun, told the older children to stay put, and marched off in the direction of the Indians. Sometime later, Mrs. Barnes returned with the correct baby!
After Mr. Barnes was killed at the Battle of Dove Creek, Elizabeth used her pension money and built a rock house. Soon after, the railroad gain righ- of-way through her property. As part of the right-of~way agreement, shrewd Mrs. Barnes insisted that the train stop close to her home, and she get free passage for the remainder of her life. Imagine, she was able to ride a train to Waco!
She died in 1899, and is buried in Kopperl, TX.
The first permanent white settlers came to this county (Bosque) in the year 1850, while this county was comprised within the territory of McLennan County. They were Ewell Everett and family, who settled on the Bosque River, and Albert Barton and family settled on the west bank of the Brazos across from Fort Graham where he established a ferry crossing from Bosque Territory over to the Fort. in the summer of this same year, Barton was drowned by the capsizing of his ferry boat; and his widow, Elizabeth Oakes Barton. a few years thereafter, married Sam Barnes, a noted and influential citizen in the early government of the county.
Elizabeth Barton Barnes was honored (in memoriam) as the first woman of Bosque County when the county celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1904. Born in Hickman County Tennessee in 1825, Elizabeth came to Texas with her parents, Charles H. and Susan Neal Oakes in 1836. They settled in what is now Falls County. In 1842, Elizabeth married Albert Barton and they had two children, Josh and Tea. In early 1850, the Bartons moved to Bosque Territory, settling on the west banks of the Brazos River. Their cabin was located on the Military Road which joined Ft. Gates and Ft. Graham. Albert operated a ferry which crossed the Brazos to the Fort over in Hill County. Land was cleared and corn planted. In June of 1850, Albert was drowned in the Brazos River when his ferry capsized and his body was never recovered. Elizabeth and her children continued to live on the farm.
In 1852, she married Samuel Barnes (picture supplied by Albert B. Barnes) who had settled in the area of Steele Creek. (Steele Creek is about 30 miles due west of Hillsboro and 70 miles northwest of Waco.) Barnes, born in Tennessee, came to Texas in 1835. He fought in the Battle of Bexar in San Antonio and in 1837 enlisted with the Texas Rangers and later served with the S. P. Mounted Volunteers. Barnes settled in Bosque Territory on Steele Creek in 1852 where he met Elizabeth Barton. He became a leader of the early settlers in Bosque County. Samuel Barnes was killed in the Battle of Dove Creek* in 1865, having spent most of his life of fifty-five years serving his country, state, and county.
Elizabeth and her eight children - Andrew, Samuel, William, Jeff, Ann, Mollie, Sallie, and Robert Barnes-- lived in the Barnes cabin after his death. She died in 1899 and is buried in the Kopperl Cemetery.
In 1887, Elizabeth applied for a widow's pension. She listed R. S. Barnes' service in "Texas Volunteer Calvary" - S.P. Ross, Captain and Commander. R. S. enlisted Nov 7, 1847 at Austin - discharged at Waco Village Nov 7, 1848 less than 4 months later on March 1, 1849 the town of Waco was officially laid out and surveyed.
Elizabeth Ann Oakes
Elizabeth Oakes was born in Tennessee in 1825. She was the first child of Charles H. and Susan Neal Oakes. Elizabeth came to Texas with her parents in 1836, and they settled in what is now Falls County near Marlin.
In 1842 or 1843 she married Albert Barton. They had two children: Josh, born in 1844, and Tea, born in 1847.
The Bartons moved to a farm on the west side of the Brazos across from Fort Graham In 1850, Albert also operated a ferry on the river on the Fort Graham-Fort Gates road. It was in June of 1850 that Albert Barton was drowned in the Brazos when his ferry capsized. His body was never recovered.
Elizabeth continued to live on the farm and sold her surplus corn to Fort Graham for feed. In 1852, she married Samuel Barnes who had settled in the area on Steele Creek. To them were born eight children: Andrew, Samuel, William, Jeff, Ann, Mollie, Sallie, and Robert. The youngest child, Robert, was born after his father's death in 1865. Elizabeth also raised a granddaughter, Roberta, daughter of Tea. Tea died in 1880 leaving the infant.
In the 1860 census, Samuel Barnes was listed as a stock raiser, but some farming had to be done also. Elizabeth had to manage the place and keep things in order. She continued to live in the Barnes cabin after Barnes was killed in the Battle of Dove Creek*.
Elizabeth was granted a pension in 1887 and had a new house built in 1888. A stone in one of the chimneys bore that date. The railroad came through her property; that probably helped more than the pension. She now had a way to travel to Waco and other places. Elizabeth visited her daughter, Mollie, at Ozona in the 1890's. While there, she met a man who had been in the Dove Creek Battle with Captain Barnes.
Some family members lived with Elizabeth Barnes during her later years. She died in 1899 and is buried at Kopperl. Although neither of her husbands are buried there, all six of Elizabeth's sons are buried in the Kopperl Cemetery.
Robert Samuel Barnes was born in Tennessee, in 1815. He came to Texas in the fall of 1835, with two older cousins, Lee R. and Hiram E. Davis. They came by boat to Matagorda, TX and enlisted in the Republic of Texas army. They were in San Antonio in December at the Battle of Bexar when Colonel Ben Milam was killed. From there, they went to Milam County where of their relatives had settled.
In the latter part of 1836, a Ranger Company was formed in Milam County under the command of Captain T. H. Barron. In March, 1837 Robert S. Barnes enlisted for a period of twelve months. After serving his time, he settled near Little River in Milam County.
In May of 1845, he accompanied George B. Erath to Waco Village to assist in surveying some lots. Some fourteen months later, Barnes enlisted for a period of six months in Sul P. Ross' Mounted Volunteers. He was discharged in 1846 at Bushy Creek. The company was mustered out of service by General Wool. In Austin, 1847, R. S. Barnes enlisted in Sul P. Ross' Company for a period of twelve months. He served the full term and was discharged in 1848, at Bosque Station. From there he went on detached service to the U.S. Dragoons at Fort Graham as a guide.
R. S. Barnes took up a claim in Bosque Territory on Steele Creek in 1852. He married Elizabeth Oakes Barton, widow of Albert Barton, in 1852 at Fort Graham, and Elizabeth moved from her place near Fort Graham to the cabin of Barnes.
When Bosque County was created from McLennan County territory by an act of the state legislature in February, 1854, Barnes was active in the organization of the new county. At the first election held in Bosque County on August 7, 1854, R S. Barnes presided at the ballot box located at the junction of Steele Creek and the Brazos River where five qualified voters cast their ballots. Barnes was elected a county commissioner and served as justice of the peace.
During the Civil War, R S. Barnes enlisted in the Tenth Texas Regiment in May of 1862, and went to Camp Nelson, Arkansas. There he was wounded; and after his discharge in November of 1862, he returned to Bosque County.
He joined up with the local Texas Militia in early 1864, with the rank of Captain. It was just less than a year later that Captain R S. Barnes was killed in the Dove Creek Indian Battle* near Mertzon, Irion County. The bodies of the men killed in this battle were buried at the site. Robert S. Barnes spent most of his life of fifty-five years serving his country, state, and county.
*The Battle of Dove Creek was a small engagement during the American Civil War that took place January 8, 1865, along Dove Creek in what is now southwest Tom Green County, Texas. Texan soldiers under Confederate captains Henry Fossett and S. S. Totten, misunderstanding which tribe occupied a discovered camp, attacked a tribe of peaceful Kickapoo Indians and were badly beaten by an organized defense.
James Lewis Wade and wife Mary (Molly) Elizabeth (Barnes) Wade and their children.
Albert Burl Barnes, grandson of Robert Samuel and Elizabeth Ann Oakes Barnes. He was married to Annie Fae Flanary.
Charles H. Oakes was the son of William H. Oakes (1753-1818) and Elizabeth Elliott (1754-1841). Both parents were born in King William County, Virginia. William and Elizabeth had 9 children. Charles moved to Tennessee where he married Susan Neal in 1922. In about 1845, they came to Texas with their children Elizabeth Ann (1825-99), Fredonia (1827-48), William E.(1829-68), Robert Allan (1831-1923), Mary (1833-70), America (1835-), Sarah (1839-85), Charles Houston (1840-), Francis Marion (1845-69) and Milton Jackson (1845-?).
The 1840 census has the family living in Hickman, TN. They settled in what is now Falls County. After Charles died in 1847, Susan moved to Waco, where she spent the rest of her life. She purchased 320 acres of land and built one of the first houses in the town. She was at Fort Graham in June 1850 when Albert Barton, her son-in-law, was drowned. Her death occurred at Marlin in 1854 in Waco.
Per Carl Oakes (Oakes Researcher) there was a 1841 appraisal of the personal estate of William (H.) “there being no property but Negroes shown us” in which Charles H. Oakes, “one of the legatees to the west....” had carried off a slave who was a “striker” in a blacksmith shop. This may mean that both Charles and his father were both blacksmiths. It does mean that Charles had moved west. (West likely meant TN.)
Two of Charles’ brothers, Elliot H. and William, moved to North Carolina and finally to Attala County, MS. William’s son, William Cecil Oakes, was married twice. Daughters, Parthenia, by Nicy Ashley, and daughter, Amanda, by Eliza Jane Emmerson, both married DeHarts. Parthenia married John Jackson Dehart, and Amanda married Thomas A. DeHart. They were both born in MS, so might be brothers or cousins. Both of the families ended up in Bosque County, TX. This clearly demonstrates that the Oakes family remained in contact after leaving Virginia.
In the 1900 census, Parthinia Oakes DeHart is widowed and living in Bosque County, Texas with granddaughter-in-law, Ella Nelson(probably granddaughter) and grandson-in-law, Andrew Nelson, and their child, Allan. Andrew was born in Norwa;, maybe it is his parents living next door.
Thomas and Amanda are in the 1880 census in Burleson County, TX. In 1900, Thomas and Amanda lived in Monroe, AK. Thomas appeared in the 1910 census with a new young wife, Mary, living in Mexia, Limestone County, Texas. He was 67 and she was 29; they had two children, ages 4 and 2. He was 77 in the 1920 census in Brazos, TX with children ranging in ages, 5 to 14. There was no wife, only a 51 year old mulatto servant, Florence Morrison. Remarkably, he was in the 1930 census, age 89, now living with his wife, Mary E., age 49, in Hillsboro, TX. Two of his children, Jessie, 24, and Mamie L. Dehart, 15, are in the house.
In June 1936, Mary applied for the second time for a pension because of Thomas’ Confederate military service. He had received a pension until his death on June 20, 1930. Thomas was living in Clifton, Bosque County, TX, when he enlisted. He served in Company G, 21st Mississippi Infantry from June 20, 1861, until he was paroled at Grenada, MS, May 18, 1965. In 1931, a letter of support for the pension was provided by Mrs. A. E. Low of Sheldon, TX. She said Mary married Thomas Nov. 30, 1894. (The year should have been 1904.) She states that she bore him 5 children and very much needed the pension. Daughter, Mr. T. R. Vaughn, of Corsicana, TX, wrote an impassioned letter in 1935 seeking the pension for her mother. The Comptroller said it was not approved because Mary was too young, being born 1881. The law said qualifying widows could not be born after 1873. Mary did eventually receive the pension in September of 1951, in the amount of $100/month. She died January 5, 1961, in Meridian, TX. Her son, Frank, requested a death benefit. Robert Calvert, State Comptroller, approved $200 toward the $855 funeral cost.
Picture at right shows, left to right: Milton Burl Barnes, James Chester Morales, Sandra Sue Barnes and Albert Burl Barnes. Chester and Sandra were the parents of Angélique Morales Pena who provided this photo.
Sandra Sue Barnes Morales. She married James Morales.
Angélique Morales Pena, daughter of James Chester and Sandra Sue Barnes Morales
Angélique Morales Pena,
Daughter of Sandra Sue Barnes and James Morales
Granddaughter of Albert Burl Barnes and Annie Fae Flanary
Great-granddaughter of George Barnes and Alma May Bryant
2x Great-Granddaughter of Samuel Barnes and Elizabeth Ann Oakes.
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Albert Sidney Johnston's Camp Members of 1899, Photograph, 1899
Picture 25, D. O. Barton, maybe a brother of Albert Barton