October 07, 2004

Great Story

While the following has only one Hughes mentioned, it is such a great story and an insight into our history I want to place it here.

JAMES BENJAMIN WHITTON

The following bio was taken from page 446 of the book entitled " Rusk County History" compiled and edited and used with permission of the Rusk County Historical Commission.

Transcribed by Claudia Schuster
Submitted by Gloria Briley Mayfield, Rusk County TX Coordinator

Even though I was not born in Rusk County, I feel as if I have roots here. It is the birthplace of my grandfather, James Benjamin Whitton.

In the late 1850's my great-grandfather, William Washington Whitton, and his wife, Mary Lydia Hughes, daughter of Bengar and Mary Lydia Benton Hughes, sold their farm in Coweta County, Georgia to move to Texas. There were nineteen families and a hundred slaves in the colony. Three Whitton families were in the colony. They consisted of my great-grandfather, his older brother, John, and their widowed mother, Catherine, with her seven young children: Elvera, Beadie, Enoch, Cassie, Mary Ann, Robert, and James.

Leaving Georgia, they traveled overland to New Orleans, Louisiana, where the nineteen families boarded a ship and sailed up the Mississippi to Shreveport. The families spent a week in Shreveport, buying supplies and resting from the long journey.

From Shreveport they rode overland to Texas; but when they camped at Rake Pocket in Rusk County, it was discovered that one of the slaves had smallpox. They were put under quarantine in the camp, fortunately the disease did not spread. The officers held them under quarantine so long that the families decided to settle in East Texas. In 1853, John Whitton's family and their mother, Catherine, left Rusk County to settle in San Augustine County. Two of the Whitton children married while they were in Rusk County. Beadle Whitton married Silvester Swain, and Enoch Whitton married Martha Ann Thompson.
My great-grandfather, William decided to make Rusk County his home because the land was so fertile. In 1851 he bought five hundred and fifty acres of land two miles from Rake Pocket, now Pine Hill, on Murvaul Creek. They got their mail at Rake Pocket, but the farm was closer to Buzzard Roost, a small village. In this village, Jim little had a country store and four large freight wagons which hauled supplies to and from Shrevesport for merchants in Henderson.

While they were living in Rusk County, William and Lydia had two sons. My grandfather, James Benjamin, was born in 1853, and his brother, John Jasper, was born in 1854.
When the Whittons left Georgia, they brought from their orchards their fig cuttings and peach tree seedlings, which they planted here. Many of the fine fig and peach trees here today may have descended from those brought from Georgia.

John Whitton had now become deputy sheriff in San Augustine County. In 1855 persuaded my great-grandfather, William to sell his farm in Rusk County and to move to San Augustine. This he did and San Augustine became his permanent home. It was there that Grandfather married Ida Lavina Baggett, daughter of Thomas Wesley Moore Baggett and Harriet Bland Baggett.
Over one hundred years have passed since this happened, and in 1960 I came to make my home in Rusk County with my husband, Billy Nations, and my two sons, Ken and Mike. I know my ancestors would be happy to know that they still have descendants here.

Submitted by Miriam Whitton Nations.

Posted by JHSGran at October 7, 2004 11:21 AM
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