Tag Archives: American County Histories
Bandera County

Meet Mrs. Mary Jane Walker

This short memoir appears in Pioneer History of Bandera County (Texas) by J. Marvin Hunter. Bandera County, formed in 1856 from Bexar and Uvalde counties, is a located on Texas’s Edwards Plateau. This volume is in our American County Histories:  The Southwest collection.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

From the Forward

Bandera county has a wonderful history. During the seventy-five years that have passed since white people settled this region, history has been in the making. Many tragedies have been enacted, many privations endured, many dangers experienced during this long span of years—three-quarters of a century. We have yet living with us some of the hardy pioneers that came with the first settlers, men and women who are today nearing the century mark, but still active and full of life.

The rising generation ought to know something of the cost of the blessings we today enjoy, and it is the purpose of this volume to place on record a correct history of these pioneers, and tell of the sacrifices they made in order to redeem this great land from the hands of the roving bands of Indians who had always claimed it.

Mrs. Mary Jane Walker

Born in Claiborne Parish, La., November 18, 1834, and now in the 88th year of her age, Mrs. Mary Jane Walker, nee Moore, looks serenely back upon the great span of years that intervene between her childhood days and the glorious present, and rejoices that she has lived to see the wonderful changes that have taken place. Grandma Walker makes her home with her son, John Travis Walker, and family on Chalk Creek, Bandera county. She came to Texas with her parents in 1853, and located near Austin. On June 22, 1857, she was married to William Andrew Walker, in Blanco county. After living in Blanco and Llano county for awhile she and her husband came to Bandera county that same year, 1857, remaining here awhile, then went back to Llano county. They returned to Bandera in 1866 and located on Laxson’s Creek, afterwards buying the Joe W. Minear place there. Nine children were born to them, four of whom are still living, Mrs. Cynthia Artie Reed of Lima, John Travis Walker of Bluff, Joseph Daniel Walker of Seymour, Mrs. Selina Argie Ferguson of Pear Valley.

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StocksHalifaxNovaScotia1750

Crimes and Punishments in 18th Century Virginia

In A History of Orange County Virginia, Chapter XV: Crimes and Punishments, you can find a compilation of highlights from various criminal prosecutions.

This volume can be found in American County Histories » Virginia County Histories.

Crimes and Punishments

There are some notable instances of crimes, and particularly of punishments, in the earlier records; punishments that in these days would be called barbarous, but which were the identical punishments for the particular crimes prescribed by the laws of England, then the laws of the colony. A crime by a servant against his master, by a wife against her husband, if sufficiently grave, was “petty treason,” as in the cases of Peter and Eve hereafter narrated.

Hog stealing seems to have been so persisted in that special penalties were denounced upon it, until finally a second conviction was punishable by death; and hogs, then as now, had a special fascination for the negroes.

It is to be observed, too, that (rape) the “unspeakable crime,” though of rarer occurrence in those days than now, was by no means unheard of as has been asserted.

The tradition that Negro Run, formerly Negro-head Run, was so called because the head of a negro who had been drawn and quartered for crime had been set up near it, is not sustained by the records of Orange; if true, the incident must have occurred before the County was formed, but there really seems no substantial basis for it.

The cases that follow are taken from the order books where they still may be read at large by the curious. It must be borne in mind that in those days the County Courts were often constituted “Courts of Oyer and Terminer,” that is, to hear and make final determination.

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Private-Joe-Cobb

Plug Uglies: The Boys of Carrollton

This story appears in Carroll County and her People by Private Joe Cobb:

Plug Uglies, was a name assumed by an informal and disorganized organization of school boys at Carrollton in 1866, between the ages of fifteen and twenty years, for fun.

In 1857, when John and Chas. Rodahan built the first brick court house–for ten thousand dollars–the old wooden court house, two stories high, was rolled off the square to the south-east corner, where Mr. Wyley Stewart’s store now stands. The old house was usually occupied by Dr. Tanner’s and “Uncle” Tom Chandler’s goats in the day time, and by the Plug Uglies at night. Lee was the regular elected captain, being the tallest and best one to plan “ways and means” for fun for the boys. The object was for nothing but innocent fun. Some of the older men and politicians were hard to convince that it was not for political purposes.

Being just after the Civil War, when government was in a state of chaos and the “Ku Klux Klan” was on the rampage in Georgia and the south. The Plug Uglies may have had some influence in deterring evil doers and suppressing crime, though that was not its object, but was for fun for the boys. They would fish, hunt and bathe together. Often at night, between the hours of 9 and 11 o’clock they would meet, make speeches, go serenading with old tin pans for tambourines, kettle drums or anything with which to make a noise. There was a quartet of excellent singers, led by Cliff, who as everyone knows is an expert vocalist. They would always be treated by the good matrons to cakes, pies and other good eatables at once, so as to get rid of the boys.

Carrollton’s witty poet, George, expressed of the Plugs the day after Christmas, in the first verse of a poem which was published thus:

“’Twas Christmas night–the solem clock
Had tolled the hour of one,
When Olifton, with a dozen more,
Resolved to have some fun.”

The poem gave an account of what was done by the Plugs that night; unhung gates, removed buggy wheels, rang the school and church bells, serenaded, and engaged in other “innocent” amusements. When the bells were ringing some believed it was a fire alarm and that jovial, good natured gentleman who had a store up town, Col. John B. Beall, drew a picture of himself that night as he ran to what he thought was a fire, with his hat flying behind him, as he hopped, jumped and ran with his stiff leg greatly in evidence. No real injury was done, no property damaged and everybody laughed and took it as a joke.

All of those boys are now old men; some dead, others married and have nice families and are amongst the best citizens of the county and state.

There is an organization now called Plug Uglies in Boston, Mass.–the object of which we are not informed, but no doubt took the name from the original Plug Uglies at Carrollton, for it was the only one ever heard of since 1866.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

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From Bull Run to Appomattox

This reflection appears in John C. McEldowney, Jr.’s book, History of Wetzel County, West Virginia, published in 1901. This volume is fully searchable and can be located in our American County Histories collection.

Bull Run to Appomattox

So in the once hostile and bloody fields of Virginia all now is peace, but the scarred bosom of the earth still tells the story of 1861 to 1865.

Perhaps it would interest the young people as well as the old soldiers to hear some brief description of these well known scenes.

The soldier of the west by such a visit will better realize the heroism of his comrade in arms in the eastern armies. No one can look over the scene of the conflicts in Virginia without according to our comrades of that army the full mead of praise which brothers should always award to the achievements of each other.

As a crow flies it is only 120 miles from Bull Run to Appomattox. Measured in time it was a journey of nearly four years. Measured in blood and tears it was a thousand years.

The journey was by various and devious routes; through mud and mire, through sunshine and through storm, through summer heats and winter snows, through dangers by flood and fire, through dangers by stream and wood, through sickness and sorrow; and by the wayside death always stalked grimly and claimed his own.

Twice did Bull Run witness the defeat of the cause of the National Union. It was indeed a fatal field to the federal army. When we approached that historic spot from Manassas Junction we met a large number of negro children on the road in holiday attire going to the “breaking up of school.”

Had Appomattox not closed what Bull Run so disastrously began there would have been no school for these colored boys and girls. They were the living evidences of the changes that were brought about by the fearful journey which the Union troops traveled before the humiliation of Bull Run was atoned for by “peace with honor” at Appomattox. The two hundred years of enforced ignorance must now be compensated by the privileges of education.

Sumter was the scene of the first encounter, but it was at Bull Run that the greatness of the contest upon which we had entered first was realized.

The confederates gave this battle the more euphonious name of Manassas. It was their victory, and they had a right to name it, but yet in history it will no doubt remain as Bull Run until the end of time.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

boston-women

The Women of Boston (1880)

When an English gentleman was asked what seemed to him the most remarkable thing in Boston, he promptly answered, “The Women!” Mary Carpenter said “she did not see what more the women of Boston could ask for,” so favorably did their position compare with that of women in any other country.

There is a strong and recognizable type of Boston women whose characteristics are clear and enduring; and the gradual formation of this type may be traced from the earliest periods of the town’s history, as in leading individuals those qualities are clearly seen which have made the woman of to-day what she is. The Boston woman inherits from a line of well-bred and well-educated ancestors, mostly English, a physical frame delicate and supple, but enduring. It is capable of great nervous force and energy, and can be made to serve the mind and will almost absolutely. But she is liable to attacks of disease, and under unfavorable conditions her nervous energy degenerates into irritability. More intellectual than passionate, her impulses are under control; and she is reserved and cold in manner, while a gentle purity inspires confidence even before it awakens affection.

Her morality is stern and exacting, and she does not understand the temptations which beset other natures; her own sense of chastity is so high that, like the lady in Comus, she walks amid a thousand dangers unheeding and unharmed. She shrinks from contact with evil until it appears as suffering, when duty and benevolence overcome her sensitiveness. She is speculative in theology, while conservative in her tastes; and, though indulging great freedom of thought, is devout in her habits. This conflict sometimes produces a strain upon her feelings too great for endurance, and she seeks refuge in an established church. Perhaps this is only a brief rest in her onward career, or it leads to a life of moral or benevolent activity in which she is content. Her aesthetic nature is serious and refined, preferring the classic music to the modern opera, and pre-Raphaelitism to sensuous beauty. The subdued style of her dress marks her position in the scale of refinement.

Aristocratic by tradition, she is in danger of becoming exclusive and narrow; but, liberalized by education, she is democratic in her work, if not in her tastes and social habits.

Her hospitality is not free, for her time is precious and her housekeeping orderly; but the old Boston matron made home a radiating centre of goodness and happiness. She gives the name of “friend” carefully, but holds it sacredly.

By Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

Source: The Memorial History of Boston, September 17, 1880.
Image: Godey’s Lady’s Book, March, 1878