Liberty County History

An occasional gathering place for articles, documents, photographs, records and other ephemera dealing with the history of Liberty County, Texas.


Kevin Ladd is director of the Wallisville Heritage Park at Wallisville, Chambers County, TX and lives in Hardin, TX. He is chairman of the Liberty County Historical Commission and writes for "Texas Illustrated," a monthly publication of the Liberty Gazette newspaper, which is devoted to local history and folklore.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some Thoughts on Liberty County History

As chairman of the Liberty County Historical Commission in Liberty County, Texas, my mind often turns to historical matters both large and small, perhaps even trivial. This year, 2006, is an unusual one for our county. The City of Liberty, founded in 1831 by the Mexican land commissioner Jose Francisco Madero [in the days of Coahuila y Texas], is one of the oldest municipalities in the State of Texas. Even as slow as I am with anything remotely resembling math, I can figure out that the city is 175 years old. Along about 1824 the Atascosito District was established by the new Mexican government as part of a liberalized immigration policy which encouraged Anglos to make their homes here. The Atascosito District covered a vast region of Southeast Texas. Two years later the local government compiled what we now know as the 1826 Atascosito Census [180 years ago], an unusual listing of all the settlers of the region. Roll the clock ahead another decade. Soon after the Texas Revolution broke out, Liberty County came into existence in 1836 [okay, that would be 170 years ago], one of 23 original counties in the state.

My ancestors came at different times to Liberty County. There was Jesse Devore, who came here from Louisiana in the 1830s, and even served on the Liberty Committee of Safety in 1835. His son Cornelius Devore, for whom my great-grandfather Cornelius Ladd was named, served in Captain William M. Logan's company and fought at the battle of San Jacinto. Benjamin and Hannah (Weed) Abshire came here around 1843 from Louisiana, settling in what was once called the old Cracker's Neck Community. They came along with Hannah's brother, Benjamin Weed and his wife Sarah Hanks. They brought all of their children, both married and unmarried, and a bunch of grandchildren, all of their worldly possessions, probably some livestock, and they came meandering down the old Opelousas Trail. Old Benjamin Abshier was about 55 years old when he came, a veteran of the War of 1812. Hannah was a little bit younger. His brother-in-law, Benjamin Weed, was about 48. Another one of my ancestors, a great-great-great-grandfather named Charles Duvall Brashear, came in the early 1850s, moving his wife, Eliza Caroline (Pearce) Brashear, and their children. He had been the sheriff in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, and the first mayor of Marksville. He was in his mid-50s when he came, and he could have traced his ancestry back to some of the early families of Maryland. His was a very good genealogical line, but he probably didn't know that much about it.

I also think of my great-great-grandfather, James Blount Reavis, a young fellow born in Raleigh, North Carolina about 1815. After his father died and his mother remarried in Tennessee, he sort of fell out with his stepfather and came to Texas. he first appears in the records on September 19, 1838 at Matagorda when he enlisted in Captain Martin K. Snell's cavalry company, part of the Army of the Republic of Texas. He signed up for three years and then later settled between Devers and Hankamer. He married Miss Fannie Fowler, daughter of John and Marie Zilpha (Abshire) Fowler. She was, as one might glean from this, the grandchild of Old Benjamin Abshire and his wife Hannah and likely traveled in the great concourse of Abshire-Weed family members who came here in 1843.

In short there is nothing at all exceptional about my ancestors or my family. They are quite likely no different from anyone else's ancestors who came and stayed in this one county for well over a century and a half. But they are special in my heart, and I love to ponder their lives and times in this same county where my own life is played out however ungallantly it may be.

I have decided to work with this blog concept and share some of the rich history of Liberty County with other folks who share my belief that this is a good place to live and a good place from which to be. Sit back and let's see what unfolds.

And happy trails until next time.


Blogger James W Dorsett said...

Do you have any information on Captain Theodore Monroe Dorsett?

9:49 PM  
Blogger James W Dorsett said...

Do you have any information on Captain Theodore Monroe Dorsett? He was my fourth great grandfather and he lived in Liberty around the time the census of 1826 was done

9:50 PM  

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