A Walcott Family in Texas

The story of the Walcotts in Texas is just one chapter out of the bigger story of Walcotts in America. Other sites go into great detail on the arrival of Walcotts to North America in the early 1600's. Here, I am going to focus on the arrival of Walcotts to Texas, and their migration. I still have a LOT to learn, and this site will be updated / corrected when new information comes in. Sometime this year, I hope to visit Brazoria, Matagorda, and Wharton counties to read some probate records; and hopefully, I will get to Honey Grove Texas, till then, here is what I have.

The first record I have found of Walcott activity in Texas is a Fannin land grant from the Republic Of Texas. (PUT IN LINK) This document is a transfer of 1280 acres of land in Wise County (near Decatur Texas) from Joseph B. Atroff, to Esek Dexter Walcott. It was signed in Houston Texas, on Jan. 16, 1838 by Esek D. Walcott, Jodeph B. Atroff, and witnesses. The document states that Esek Dexter Walcott is "of" the Republic Of Texas. The signature of E.D. Walcott looks the same as the one on the E.D. Walcott letter at the University of Mississippi. I have a copy of this letter; it was written in 1828 and gives some insight into why E.D. Walcott left New York to move to Mississippi.

E. D. Walcott was my GGG Grand Father. Born in Rhode Island in 1792. He moved from New York to Warren County, Mississippi and started a cotton plantation. We have a letter written by him announcing the birth of my GG Grand Father Dexter Esek Walcott. The letter also speaks of politics and life in Mississippi at the time. (PUT IN LINK TO LETTER AND TRANSLATION)

In the 1840's, two nephews of E.D. Walcott moved to Texas, Horatio Nelson Walcott and Benjamin Stewart Walcott. I am still researching Horatio Nelson Walcott, who arrived in Houston and became a justice of the peace. As of now, I know little else of his activities. The other nephew of E.D. Walcott, Benjamin S. Walcott (brother to Charles Dolittle Walcott, a famous geologist) arrives at Honey Grove Texas Via Mississippi in 1848. Honey Grove is in Fannin County along the Red River. There is a nice write-up about B.S. Walcott by the Honey Grove Texas Historic Society. (PUT IN LINK) They call him the first land developer in Texas. There is a historic marker in Honey Grove which celebrates his life there.(PUT IN LINK) B.S. Walcott was born in 1829 in New York. He died in 1878 in Honey Grove, Texas. I have a 1926 Obituary (PUT IN LINK), and a photo (PUT IN LINK), of Benjamin Orton Walcott - Benjamin S. Walcott's son - he looked remarkably like my grandfather, Phillip Walcott. B.O. Walcott, born in 1852, was a prominent citizen of Honey Grove. His home was built in the 1880's and is still standing (PUT IN LINK). The obituary goes into some detail about Benjamin Stewart and Benjamin Ortan Walcotts' lives. B.O. Walcott's son, Dr. Henry Walcott, moved to Dallas. B.S. and B.O....... not good initials now days.

Back to my direct line. Four of E.D. Walcott's children are known to have moved to Texas, Charlotte White, Ann Eliza, Louisa Irean, and Dexter Elliot. I do not know what prompted the move to Texas. Was it possibly the death of their father, possibly the financial crisis in 1840 that ruined a lot of cotton planters in the deep south, or the lure of good land. Whatever the reason, his son Dexter, and two daughters, Charlotte Walcott Yeiser and Ann Eliza Walcott Perkins, are in the 1850 census record of Matagorda County and Brazoria County, Texas.

Matagorda County was the most Southern type county in Texas. The culture was centered around cotton, rice, and sugar cane plantations; much as it was in the deep south. E.D. Walcott's children lived as neighbors along upper Caney Creek, the most fertile area in Matagorda County. Having once been the channel for the Colorado River, Caney Creek was deep and navigable, giving planters access to the interior of the county and a way to transport crops to the port of Matagorda. So many plantation homes arose along Caney Creek that it became known as plantation row. The city of Matagorda also had many large plantation homes and was seat of county government till the court house was moved to Bay City following the repeated destruction of Matagorda by three hurricans/tropical storms in 10 years.

Charlotte Walcott, born in Whitestown, New York 1816, married David Yeiser, a wealthy planter in Warren County, Mississippi in 1837. Using the 1850 and 1860 census data for Brazoria, County which shows age and place of birth, the Yeisers appear to have moved to the Republic ofTexas around 1840-1842. (LINK TO CENSUS) Children were: Felicia 1840; Ann E. 1842; Laura 1846; William 1851. David Yiesar was not on the 1860 census for Brazoria County.

Ann Eliza Walcott, born 1822, was married in Warren County, Mississippi in 1838 to S.W. Perkins; who became a prominent figure in early Texas history. S.W. Perkins was a wealthy planter, military, and political leader before and after the Civil War. He was a representative to the Republic of Texas Congress, State Congress, and Chief Justice for Brazoria County for 12 years till his removal during reconstruction. (PUT IN LINK) There is a historical marker near West Colombia, Texas marking the site of the Perkins family cemetery. The marker states that S.W. Perkins and his wife Ann Eliza Walcott came to Brazoria County in the 1840s. Ann Eliza is buried their along with two of her children. (PUT IN LINK) The Handbook Of Texas states that S.W. and Ann Perkins came to Texas in 1840. The Perkin Plantation was near Bailey's Prairie. (LINK)

The 1850 census shows: S.W. Perkins 41 Farmer, A.E. Perkins 27, Edward D. 10, Benjemin 2, and Dexter Walcott 22 Farmer.

Noted in an area newspaper: September 10 1845, Died in Bailey's Prairie, William, son of the Hon. S.W. Perkins, age about 4.

The 1860 census shows: (FIND CENSUS)

A third daughter, Louisa Irean Walcott was born in 1826 in Warren County, married Dr. Robert Scott in Warren County, Mississippi in 1844 and moved to Texas. Died 1855 in Texas. I have found mention of the Scott family in Honey Grove and Comanche, Texas, but as yet, I do not have documents.

The son, Dexter Walcott, my GG Grandfather, had been living with his sister and brother-in-law, S.W. perkins, in the 1850 census, was married 1851 to Sarah E. Richey in Liberty, Texas. (PUT IN LINK) Sarah Richey was the daughter of William and Fannie Richey. William and Fannie were from Virginia and arrived in Texas at Liberty County. William was given a 3rd class land grant from the Republic of Texas, January 2, 1840; the grant was augmented by 320 acres in 1849. Hope to have more on the Richey's later.

The 1860 census shows Dexter E. Walcott still living in Matagorda County on Upper Caney Creek; occupation given as planter. By 1860, Dexter and Sarah had three children. Fannie White born 1854, Annie Perkins born 1857, and William Richie born in 1859. A second son was born 1864, Dexter Elliot. (PUT IN LINK TO CENSUS)

During the Civil War, Dexter served with the Company D, 35thTexas Calvary (Browns) from 1862 till the end of the war. (PUT IN LINK) There are records of minor skirmishes Dexter took part in as the 35th Calvary guarded the Texas coast. There is a historical marker in Matagorda describing the events of December 30, 1863, when Company D, led by Capt. E.S. Rugeley, engaged union forces trying to occupy Caney Creek and close the port of Matagorda. (PUT IN LINK) Federal troops were never able to close the port. Later, Dexter's daughters married two of E.S. Rugeley's son's. (LINK) Dexter also served with the son of John Duncan. Dexter later marries John Duncan’s daughter. Another interesting note, I found a picture of a Union General Henry Walcott, who looks very much like my brother, Gary Walcott. (PUT IN LINK)

The war brought many changes to Texas and Dexter Walcott's family. In the 1870 census, Dexter is married to Sarah Jane Duncan, born 1834. Sarah was the daughter of John Duncan and she and Dexter were living on the Duncan plantation with two of Dexter's children, William and Dexter Elliot Walcott. (PUT IN LINK) Dexter's other children, Annie and Fannie Walcott, are in San Antonio, Texas living with their grandmother Fannie Richey. (PUT IN LINK) Annie attends Catholic school. I can find no further records of Sarah Richey Walcott. Did she die in childbirth, the yellow fever epidemic of 1865-1867, or other causes, I will be looking for clues when I next visit Matagorda.

John Duncan was one of the wealthiest men in Texas before and after the civil war. (PUT IN LINK) John Duncan arrived in Texas when it was still part of Mexico and fought at the battle of San Jacinto (though reluctantly) and had very large land holdings throughout Texas. He built a paddle wheel steamer to transport goods up and down Caney Creek. The remains of a steamer thought to be his are now an archaeological site under investigation. (PUT IN LINK)

It is not yet known if Fannie and Annie ever lived on the Duncan plantation. We do know that in 1870 they are living in San Antonio. By 1873, Fannie is in Matagorda married to Frank Rugeley; and by 1877 Annie is in Matagorda, married to Irvin Rugeley. Fannie White Walcott, born 1854, married Frank Rugeley Feb. 12, 1873. Frank Rugeley, born 1848; died May 25 1920. Fannie was active in the Episcopal Church and a member of the E.S. Rugeley United Daughters on the Confederacy Chpt. 542. I have found records of one child - James Walcott Rugeley, born on Nov. 22, 1874, died of Tuberculosis on Dec. 16, 1935. I found mention of Fannie and her son James in a newspaper article. (ADD LINK)

Annie Perkins Walcott, born 1857, married Irvin Rugeley, 1877. Irvin Rugeley, born 1854; died in 1906 Matagorda County. 1900 census shows Annie living with her daughter Maude Rugeley in Harris County, Texas. 1930 census shows Annie living in Matagorda on Ave.F. She is head of household, owns her home valued at $6000. She is 62, widowed, and is able to write. She was born in Texas, Father born in Mississippi, Mother born in Virginia. Her occupation is Landlady. She is living with her daughter Maude Crawford, age 46. Annie Perkins Walcott Rugeley died Nov. 18, 1939 in Bay City, Texas. She was buried Nov. 20, 1936 Bay City, Texas.

After the death of John Duncan in 1878, Dexter, Sarah Jane, William, and Dexter Elliot move to Comanche Texas. John Duncan had donated the land to form the town of Comanche - which happened to be surrounded by land owned by him - and Sarah Jane Walcott began selling land. Dexter and Sarah lived very nicely in Comanche, building one of the finest homes in North Texas. (PUT IN LINK TO PAPER) , I have a photos of the home (PUT IN LINK). If you ever visit Comanche you can see the fence and hitching post that was part of the home located at the corner of Austin St. and Walcott St. (ADD LINK TO PHOTO) Dexter and Sarah are mentioned many times in the local news paper - The Comanche Chief (PUT IN LINK). There was a lot of traveling by the Walcotts and family from Comanche to Matagorda and Honey Grove, Texas. Dexter died in 1887 and is buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery. Sarah's child hood friend, Helen Milne Sartwell, also lived in Comanche. After the death of their husbands, both widows moved back to their roots in Matagorda County. Sarah is in the 1900 census living in Alvin, Texas near Houston; she arrived just in time for the 1900 hurricane that destroyed Galveston. Sarah died 1904 in Glen Flora, Texas, just north of Wharton, from congestive disease complicated by Malaria. She is buried next to her son from her first marriage, Duncan Gordon, in the Wharton city cemetery.

A note here about the Walcott family's religious beliefs; they were Episcopalian. In 1838, the Rev. Caleb Ives established the first Episcopal Church and school in Texas at Matagorda, which was attended by the Walcotts and Duncans. Sarah Duncan Walcott donated the land and helped construct St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Comanche Texas in 1887. Sarah's friend Helen Milne Startwell's son was the priest in charge of St. Matthew's in 1897. The church was finished about the same time Dexter Walcott died. The church still stands and is in daily use. (LINK)

Dexter and his father-in-law, John Duncan were Masons; and both belonged to the International Order Of Odd Fellows.

Comanche, Texas was not as good for William and Dexter (Jr.) as it was for Dexter and Sarah. Comanche was a farming and ranching community and did not lend it self as well to two young men looking to make a future for themselves as a larger community would. The end of the civil war was hard on Texas, especially rural Texas. Cotton and cattle prices were low, and times were tough. The severe drought of 1885-1887 brought near starvation to some in Comanche County. Times were so desperate that crime skyrocketed and vigilante justice was common. These and other factors led to the rise of the Populist political movement in Comanche County that took root all over the country and still can be found in many places in the U.S. Dexter (Jr.) left Comanche and lived in Decatur, Texas. He did well for himself and his family until his early death. William stayed in Central Texas and lived to the age of 80.

Dexter E. Walcott, born 1864. Dexter spent his teenage years and early adulthood in Comanche. Dexter was married Feb. 26, 1890 to Theresa Thompson Halsell, born 1871. Dexter and Theresa lived most of their adult lives in Decatur, Texas. They had 9 daughters who helped him run a dry goods store. Dexter died in Lubbock, Texas in 1925 from Pneumonia, complicated by Influenza. His stated occupation was investor. Dexter's funeral took place in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Decatur, Texas. Theresa died 1962 and is also buried in Decatur . ( PUT IN LINK) Decatur is in Wise County, Texas. Wise County is where E.D. Walcott had land in 1838 (LINK) Daughters include: Hortense born 1890 Maude born 1893 Juanita born 1894 - died 1902 Boyd Texas (LINK) Frances Herndon born 1896 Lorena born 1899 Helen Louise born 1900 Marie Elliott born 1902 - died Marie E. Stewart; Dec. 14, 1998; Humble Texas, age 96. (LINK) Josephine born 1903 - died 1968 Virginia born 1906

Special note: I find it interesting that out of 9 daughters Dexter did not use the name Sarah. Dexter did not know his mother Sarah but he was raised by his stepmother Sarah Duncan Walcott. I found no probated will from Dexter at the Comanche County court house. In Texas, at that time, all property of a deceased spouse belongs to the surviving spouse, if no will exists.

William Richie Walcott was born in 1859. William listed his occupation as cattle herder in 1880, later went to work for the railroad. William married Georgia Carnes in Eastland, Texas in 1881. Georgia Carnes was the sister of Sheriff John Carnes of Comanche, Texas. Sheriff Carnes was the Sheriff in Comanche County when the infamous outlaw John Wesley Hardin shot Deputy Sheriff Web (from Brownwood, Texas) outside a Comanche saloon. Sheriff Carnes refused Hardin's surrender on the grounds that he could not protect Hardin from the mob.

William Walcott died in Hillsboro, Texas in 1939. (PUT IN LINK) Georgia died in Comanche, Texas. I have photos of her parents. (PUT IN LINK) In 1936, my dad, Kenneth Walcott, then around 13, went with his father Phillip to Valley Mills, Texas to visit William. All of William's sons showed up along with many of his grandchildren - sounds like a birthday party. That night Dad remembers a fun evening with a lot of singing. Someone was playing the guitar and everyone trying to sing like Ernist Tubb, a country singer from San Angelo. That was the last time Dad remembers seeing William Richie Walcott.

William and Georgia's children were:

Note: There is conflicting information about the dates of birth for William Walcott. I am working to resolve the matter.

Sarah E. Walcott : born 1881, died 1881, Delcon, Texas

William R. "Bud" Walcott was born on Dec. 21, 1883. Bud married Willie Pitts Feb 3, 1919. Willie was born in Llano, Texas. She was the daughter of Dr. James and Mary Pitts. In 1920, William, Willie, and Jay, their 3 month old son, were living on Chestnut St. in Brownwood, Texas - Staying with them were Phillip and Cora Walcott --William's brother and sister-in-law. In the 1930 census, the family - William R., Willie, William H., Frances, and Billie - had moved to San Angelo. Staying with them is May, Willie's sister, and her two children.

William's WWI draft cards, filled out in 1917, states he is 33 years old, born in 1883, lives in Comanche, Texas, works as a mechanic, gives his next of kin as - "unreadable" Lara Walcott of Ft. Worth, Texas. William is described as tall, slender, eye color - "unreadable", hair color - brown.

William was a hard working man, at one time ran a cotton seed oil processing plant. William worked as a mechanic for the railroad during the depression, till he retired. He died in Big Spring, Texas 1964. Willie died in San Angelo, 1979. (LINK TO SAMPLE OF WRITING) Children: Jay Walcott Howard William Walcott Frances Walcott Billie Reinhart Walcott

Dexter Walcott was Born 1894 in Comanche, Texas; died 1972 Big Spring, Texas. Dexter married Mary Pitts Dec 10, 1920. Mary, daughter of Dr. James and Mary Pitts, was born Dec., 1902 at Sipe Springs, Texas. Dexter and Mary were only married two years. From the stories I have been told Dexter, lived a colorful life. At different times Dexter listed his occupation as mechanic, junk dealer, and salesman. My father tells a story of staying with Pete and Dexter when he was about 12 years old. Dexter and Pete took him out on the road to help sell "chicken medicine". Pete and Dexter would go to farms selling a medicine that would cure whatever ailed a chicken. They would, just as often, barter as sell, taking roosters, scrap iron, or whatever as money. Another time, Dexter took my father to a shooting range to pick up brass; anything to make a buck during the depression. I once met Dexter. I was about 6 years old and Dexter had been to the VA Hospital in Temple. After his visit to the hospital, Dexter made the trip to Austin to visit. In 1939, at the age of 13, my father was in a steam engine explosion in the town of Comanche, Texas (LINK). While in the hospital at Gorman, Texas, Dexter came to visit. While there, he wrote in Kenneth's "memories book" here is the message he wrote. (LINK TO SAMPLE OF WRITING)

John "Pete" Walcott: Born 1890, Comanche, Texas, died 1975, Big Spring, Texas. Pete married Loda Lee Pits on Oct. 12, 1914. Everyone called Loda - Lodie. Pete's WWI draft registration card states his age as 25 in 1917, born in Comanche, Texas, works as a machinist, has a wife and child. He is described as tall, slender, eye color- "unreadable", dark hair. Of the four brothers, Pete was the only one that could not read. He memorized the ingredients of the "chicken medicine" and could recite it to a customer at will. Pete and Dexter were very close; they would gamble from time to time; cards and dominos were favorites. Around 1938, dad and his mother, Cora, came to live in Comanche and take care of his grandmother, Georgia. After a year, Pete took Georgia to his house to watch over her, as she had become senile. Pete's house was just outside Comanche, on Indian Creek, off the road to Brownwood. There Pete ran a gambling joint. Liquor was sometimes supplied by bootleggers such as the Suttons. The last time my father saw Pete and Dexter was during WWII. Dad was on leave and stopped in San Angelo to visit his uncles. Dad spent a night out-on-the-town with Pete. The next day, he visited with Dexter. Dad, Dexter, Dexter's girlfriend, and her two children went roller skating.

Dad knew Pete's sons. He remembers taking the bus from Brownwood to Fort Worth with Carl to buy whiskey.

Children: Raymond G. Walcott Born Nov. 14, 1916, Comanche, Texas. Died July 30, 1978. Frenchie Dale Walcott Born April 29, 1918, Bluff Dale, Texas. Died May 15, 1972, Big Spring, Texas. Carl Oliver Walcott Born Nov. 14, 1921, Breckenridge, Texas. Died March 26, 1976, El Paso, Texas.

Phillip Carney Walcott, called "PC", was born in Cisco, Texas, in 1888, died Dec. 12, 1944, Brownwood, Texas. Phillip was my Grandfather. Philip's WWI draft registration card of 1917 states: Age 30, address is Valley Mills, Texas, born July 19, 1888 in Cisco, Texas, occupation is farmer in McLennan County working for Hue Bonds, he is single, tall, slender, eye color-grey, dark hair. Phillip was drafted. He served in the Army and received a Honorable Discharge in 1919. Phillip received a disability pension from the Army for, as yet, unknown reasons. Phillip wrote well and would often quote Shakespeare. We have a photo of PC Walcott (LINK) that has a strong resemblance to B.O. Walcott in Honey Grove, Texas. Phillip ran or worked in cotton seed plants, owned a dry goods store and ran a truck farm near San Angelo for a time. Lost most of what he had during the depression. Married Cora Burns Oct. 1919, McLennan County. (LINK TO SAMPLE OF WRITING)

Philip and Cora's children: Thelma Louise Walcott; born 1920 McLennan County, Texas, died Feb, 1968 Sea Drift, Texas. (near Matagorda) Buried in Tivola, Texas. Phillip Alton Walcott; born May 1921, died Jan. 1972 Fort Worth, Texas. Buried in Arlington, Texas, Retha Ellen Walcott; born 10-15-23 Valley Mills, Texas, died Aug. 1983 Ft. Worth, Texas. Vera Lou Walcott, called "Tommie"; born 6-16-27 Valley Mills, Texas, died March 1982 Ft. Worth, Texas. Virgina Walcott; born 3-7-1930 Valley Mills, Texas; died Dec. 2000 Ft. Worth, Texas. Kenneth LaDell Walcott; born Oct. 10 1922 - current age 83 Married Dorothy Earlene Sellers 1947 - current age 75

I am Kenneth and Dorothy's son, Melvin Walcott. If you can add to this, or want more information, contact me at walcott@nationwide.net. There is a button at the top of the page for email.

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Updated: 11-16-06

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