The first authentic record of the Isaacks family in the United States is that early in that early in the 18th century Samuel Isaacks came over from Wales and settled in Fredrick County, Virginia. The exact date is not known, but it was sometime about 1725; whether he was married or single at the time is another matter in doubt. Nor do we know the maiden name of his wife. That he emigrated from Wales is reasonably certain, although one authority, John A. Isaacks, of Shandon, California, whose age is now nearing the century mark, maintains that there is a tradition in the family that the immigrant was from Scotland, and that he was undoubtedly a Scotchman. There is some question about his nationality, but it is pretty generally agreed that he was either Scotch or Welsh. There is, however, a tradition in my immediate family, but with no other so far as known, that some three centuries ago a family of Jews, one of whom was our ancestor, lived in Wales and married a Christian woman, on account of which his family disowned him. Where upon he renounced Judaism and added the "k" to his name to distinguish him from the Jews. Until a few years ago when I began delving into the history of the family, I accepted this tradition as true, but from facts gleaned in the investigations, I am inclined to believe that the immigrant Samuel was either Scotch or Welsh.
Until a few years ago I believed the name was essentially Jewish and originally spelled without the "k". Investigation, however, has convinced me that while not common, with the use of the "k" it's a Scotch name; also, it is not an uncommon name in Holland. The Dutch, however, spell it without the "c" - "Isaaks", and sometime without the final "s".
While discussing nationality as signified by names, I may observe that the name "Isaacks" is not limited to Gentiles. Some American Jews - probably European as well use the "k". A notable instance of this is Abraham Isaacks, of Emden and Friesland, who came to New York early in the 18th century, and was naturalized in 1728. He was active in the Congregation Shearith Israel. He was a merchant in New York City. His eldest son, Jacob, moved to Newport, R.I., was a merchant, and ship broker, and rendered distinguished service to the American cause in the Revolution. The first Timothy Dwight, President of Yale, married a Miss Isaacks.
It might also be observed, with reference to the spelling of the name, that not a few Isaacks have dropped the "k", mainly because other people persist in so doing. Probably a majority of my friends, whom I have known and corresponded with for years, persist in addressing me as "Isaacs". In the land grant to Samuel Isaacks, issued and signed by Stephen F. Austin, a photostatic copy of which I have, the name throughout the instrument is spelled without the "k", but in the signature it is "Isaacks". In the North Carolina State Records, Col. Elijah and Capt. Elisha's names are spelled both with and without the "k".
While we have no positive record of how long Samuel Isaacks, the immigrant, lived in Frederick County, Virginia, he must have continued to reside there until his death, for we find his grandson Samuel was born in that county in 1754. There is no record of any children except two boys, Elijah and Elisha, nor do we have a record of the dates of their births or deaths. Of their lives, however, both the North Carolina and South Carolina Archives are rather replete with their doings, especially of Elijah in the North State.
Sometime after 1754 Elijah moved to South Carolina, but before the beginning of the Revolutionary War moved up to Wilkes County, North Carolina. His brother, Elisha, settled in the same county, but as to when or whether he went from South Carolina or Virginia, the record is silent. During the greater portion of the Revolutionary War, Elijah was A Colonel in the North Carolina militia. During the same period, Elisha was Captain. Near the close of the war Col. Elijah was made a Brigadier General, and Captain Elisha was made a Colonel.
During the early 80's both Elijah and Elisha were members of the North Carolina Assembly, Elijah in the Senate, and Elisha in the House of Commons, both from Wilkes County. Evidently at that time North Carolina permitted one to hold a military and civil office at the same time, as both the Senator and Representative were at that time officers of the militia.
Both in civil and military life Col. Elijah appears more active than Capt. Elisha. His name appears more frequently in the Senate Journal than does his brother's in the House of Commons Journal. Elijah appears to have been a bit more intolerant of the British than Elisha. On more than one occasion, as shown by the Journals, he voted "Yea" in the Senate on bills to confiscate the property of British sympathizers, while in the House of Commons, Elisha voted "No" on the same bills.
In the North Carolina State Records, Vol. XXII, pages 211-213, we find a letter written from Canada by one "Col. David Fanning" after the close of the war, in which he describes himself as a "loyal British subject." He complains bitterly that "I was forced to leave the place of my nativity (North Carolina)." He relates many incidents to show how during the war the British loyalists were mistreated. One of these throws some light on the aggressive character of Col. Elijah. "Col. Fanning" says: "Col. Isaacs came down from the mountains with 300 men and formed camp at Cox's Mill in the settlement I had formerly ranged, in order to take me; where he continued nearly three months during which time the following proclamation was issued: "(Proclamation not copied, but was to the general effect that citizens not opposing the Continental Government or resisting the army would not be molested)." "During Col. Isaacs' stay **** he ravaged the whole settlement and burned and destroyed a number of houses belonging to friends of the government *****. Two Captains in each county were appointed by Col. Isaacs to keep the friends of the Government down."
Reading between the lines we may see that in order to win the war it became necessary to "keep the friends of the Government down." Evidently after Col. Elijah's advent, "Col. Fanning" "ranged" in that community no more.
At the Battle of Camden, South Carolina, on August 16, 1780, when Gates was defeated, Col. Elijah was captured and made a prisoner of war. Among others captured at the same time and imprisoned at San Augustine, were Gen. Griffith Rutherford, Capt. Edward Rutledge, and Judge Hugh Rutledge. They were released June 22, 1781. (North Carolina State Records, Vol. XV, page 292).
Our limited research has not revealed anything about the wives (?) of Elijah, or any of his children, except one son, Samuel. Records of Wilkes County show Elijah Isaacs was married to Ann Robins, daughter of Nat Robins, January 18, 1780. This may have been the Colonel. If so, it was his second marriage, for, according to the records, his son Samuel, was born in 1754. This could have been Elijah's second marriage, or, perhaps another son of his, or maybe the son of Capt. Elisha.
Samuel II, son of Elijah, was born in Frederick County, Virginia in 1754.* Sometime prior to the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Elijah moved to South Carolina from Virginia, and with him his son Samuel; but the father soon moved again to Wilkes County, North Carolina. The son, however, remained in South Carolina.
Samuel Isaacks enlisted in the Revolutionary Army first in September, 1776, and served under Col. Henderson, and again in '78 under Col. McCreary. His other enlistments were in '80, '81 and '82. He served under Col. Jones, and finally became attached to his father's North Carolina regiment. He was in the Battle of Cowpens under Gen. Marion. To which regiment he belonged at the time of this battle we have no information. If he was ever promoted as a non-commissioned officer, we have no record of it - presumably he was a private throughout his entire service. Whether or not he was a good soldier the record does not disclose.
Samuel Isaacks II and Mary Wallace were married in 1774. Mary Wallace was a native of Virginia, and born in 1754. From the meager information obtainable, she must have been a remarkable woman. She was a niece of Gen. Daniel Morgan. About the beginning of the 19th century, Samuel and Mary moved to Lincoln County, Tennessee, where Mary died in 1838, and Samuel in 1844. They were the parents of four and probably five ** children, two boys and two girls, Elijah, Elisha, Mary and Elizabeth. Elijah and Elisha were twins, and were born in South Carolina, February 22, 1775, the dates of birth of Mary and Elizabeth are unknown. Elizabeth married a man named Brown. Of her and her descendants, I have but little information. From Mary, however, has sprung some of the leading people of Texas and other states.
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*The War Department record shows the date of his birth in 1759, but this is evidently an error in transcribing. The family record shows it to have been 1754. Besides, his first enlistment was in 1776, when he would have been only 16 years of age, and the further fact that he had twin boys born February 22, 1775. We think there is no doubt that the correct date is 1754. It seems evident - or at least probable - that at some time the War Department mistook the 4 for a 9.
**The Lincoln County Deed Records show a deed dated October 7, 1844, from John W. Isaacks to his interest in the Samuel Isaacks' estate. By having an interest in his estate, he must have been either a son or grandson.
MARY Isaacks and Capt. Jacob Van Zandt were married in Lincoln County, Tennessee, in 1812. The Van Zandts had settled in Franklin, an adjoining county, about the time the Isaacks settled in Lincoln County.
Mary and Jacob Van Zandt were the parents of six children, two, the eldest and youngest, boys, and four girls, all born in Franklin County, Tennessee. Isaac was born July 10, 1813; Thomas J., was born August 11, 1834, and died September 22, 1840, in Harrison County, Texas, at the home of his brother, where he had lived since the death of his mother on January 18, 1840.
The eldest, Isaac the only son to reach manhood, married Frances Cook Lipscomb, of Franklin County, Tennessee, on December 18, 1833, six months before reaching his majority. This was a little more than two years before the Texas patriots had declared their independence from Mexico, and Sam Houston, a Tennessean, had conquered the Mexican army at San Jacinto, and made Santa Anna, the Mexican dictator, a prisoner of war, thereby establishing the Lone Star Republic. The stories of the wonders of Texas appealed to young Isaac Van Zandt, and late in the year 1839 he and his young wife established their home in Harrison County. The next year, in 1840, he was licensed to practice law and the same year, while not having resided in the Republic a sufficient length of time to entitle him to vote, he became a candidate for the Congress of the Republic, and was elected, and re-elected the next year. In 1842, before he had reached the age of 30 years, President Houston appointed him plenipotentiary to the United States. He made the trip to Washington by private conveyance and spent the greater part of two years there. He was instrumental, in connection with J. Pinckney Henderson and John C Calhoun, the Secretary of State, in framing the Treaty of Annexation, which was rejected by the United States Senate. He was elected as a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1845, and led the forces in favor of inserting the homestead exemption clause in the Constitution where it has remained practically unchanged since. He became a candidate for Governor in 1847, but death ended his career before the election. He dies of yellow fever at Houston, October 11, 1847, before reaching the age of 35 years. He left surviving him his wife and five children.
Two of his sons, Dr. L.L. Van Zandt and Major K.M. Van Zandt, both of Fort Worth, since the Civil War have been among the leading citizens of the Lone Star State. Dr. Van Zandt, a noted physician, and the Major, a banker of distinction, both successful in their calling, and are noted for their philanthropy and civic righteousness. Their descendants are of like character. In North Texas, the name of Van Zandt is synonymous with civic and economic righteousness.
The fourth child of Jacob and Mary Van Zandt, Frances, was born in 1824. In 1841, she was married to James H. Hutchins, a native of North Carolina. They were married at the home of her sister Marie (Mrs. Thomas Jones), at Coffeeville, Miss. The Hutchins moved to Texas in 1849, and settled at Austin, where Mr. Hutchins became distinguished as a lawyer. Frances died at the home of her daughter, Mrs Fanny Randolph, in Austin, in 1916, being 93 years old.
The Hutchins had two daughters (and perhaps other children), Mrs. Susie B. McLemore, now past 75 years of age, of Miami, Oklahoma, and Mrs. Fanny V. Randolph, of Austin. To these, especially Mrs. McLemore, I am grateful for much data.
Thus we see that the posterity of Mary Isaacks and Jacob Van Zandt has meant much to the political, social and economic development of Texas.
To Miss Fannie Van Zandt, daughter of the doctor, I am indebted for much of the data used in this narrative.
Returning now to the twins, Mary's brothers. It is regrettable that but little is known of Elisha. That he must have reached manhood is certain, for a grandson of Elijah, John A. Isaacks, of Shandon, California, now past 90 years of age, has heard his grandfather speak of his twin brother in a manner that indicated he did not die in childhood.
As before stated, Elijah and Elisha were born on Washington's birthday a little more than a year before the Declaration of Independence, the achievement of which made Washington the Father of the great American Republic. Hence they were young men of 25, or thereabout, when Samuel, their father, settled in Tennessee. Whether they, or either of them, left South Carolina at the time and moved with Samuel and Mary to their Western home is uncertain. Some known facts indicate that Elijah did, and after a few years continued on westward. According to family history, his second child and oldest son, William, was born in South Carolina in 1800. His second son was born in Tennessee in 1804, and a younger daughter was born in Pike County, Mississippi in 1809. Elijah then lived in Tennessee in the first years of the 19th century and sometime between 1804 and 1809 moved to Pike County, Mississippi, where he lived until the latter part of 1821. (The Pike County records burned in 1884, hence we could get no data from that source).
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TEXAS - THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
Moses Austin, late in 1820, had secured a contract with the Spanish Crown to introduce 300 American Colonists into Texas, a part of Mexico, then a Spanish Possession. Returning to Missouri to mobilize his colonists, his health failed, and he died without being able to accomplish his ambition, but realizing his condition, persuaded his son, Stephen F., to enter the undertaking. It was late in the following year, and after Mexico has achieved her independence from Spain, that Stephen F. Austin, who had in the meantime secured a ratification of his father's Spanish Grant by the Mexican Government, entered Texas with his settlers.
ELIJAH Isaacks, at this time, lived in Pike County, Mississippi. He married Esther Donaho, in South Carolina, in 1797. They had ten children, four boys and six girls. At this time, in the autumn of 1821, the oldest, a girl, was 23, and the youngest, a boy, was one year old. The oldest son was just 21, the second son was between 17 and 18, the oldest girl was probably married, the oldest son had married in Georgia the year before (1820), but had probably returned to Mississippi. As the balance of this narrative has to do with the Isaacks family in Texas, the name and date of birth of each of Elijah's children are given. Elizabeth, August 19, 1798; William, November 6, 1800; Samuel, April 25, 1804; Mary, July 18, 1806; Matilda, July 10, 1808; Mahulda, June 23, 1810*; Mahala, February 24, 1812; Lucinda, July 3, 1814; Andrew, December 3, 1817; and Alfred, October 31, 1820. It will be noticed that all of them were born prior to Elijah's advent into Texas, but that the youngest, Alfred, was only about one year old.
*Papa says two paragraphs before that a daughter was born in 1809 in Pike county Mississippi. Also a descendent of Mahulada, Anita Terry, says her family record say the date is 1809.
The story of fertility of its soil, the mildness of its climate, and the opportunity of acquiring many acres of land with the outlay of an insignificant amount of money, had inoculated Elijah and his two older boys with the Texas fever. On January 10, 1822, he with his family, with the exception of Samuel, and possibly the oldest daughter, crossed the Sabine River, and thus established the Isaacks Clan in Texas. William, with his wife and child, was probably one of the party. If not, he came about the same time. Samuel, who was then 17, evidently impatient at the slow locomotion of ox teams, arrived sometime before, but the exact date is not available. He became one of Austin's first colony, or the "Old 300", while his father and brother, William settled in Bevil's Colony. There is a tradition among his descendants that he came to Texas even before Austin came with his colonists, but with other "Sooners" was "drafted" by Austin to make up his three hundred.
Bevel's Grant embraced what afterwards became Jasper County. It was here that Elijah decided to make his home. He settled on Walnut Creek about ten miles east from the Neches River, and about five miles southwest from where the town of Jasper is now located. His grant of a league of land adjoins on the west the John Bevil grant.
That he entered actively into the civic affairs of the community is evidenced by the fact that he was a delegate from the Neches River District to the Convention of 1832, held at San Felipe, beginning October 1st. This Convention is denominated by John Henry Brown in his History of Texas, as the "First Convention ever held in Texas, and composed of delegates elected by the people of each district." There were 56 delegates
representing 16 districts, San Felipe, Brazoria, Bastrop, Hidalgo, San Jacinto, Viesca, Fayette and Lavaco, La Vaca Mill Creek, Nacogdoches, Ayish Bayou, Neches River, Sabine, Teneha and Liberty.
Stephen F. Austin was President, elected over W.H. Wharton, 31 to 15, and Francis W. Johnson was Secretary. The President appointed Elijah Isaacks on two committees, one "to take into consideration the land business to the East of the San Jacinto River, "the other "to report on the expediency of etitioning for a State government distinct from Coahuila." The appointment of this committee was contested, but on a roll call it carried by a vote of 36 to 12. Isaacks voted for the appointment of the committee. Evidently, he was aligned with the Austin faction; and against Wharton. (Brown's History of Texas, Vol. I , pages 197 to 201).
Elijah lived nearly 40 years in Jasper County, and died November 1, 1859, when he was a few months less than four score and five years old. A fall that broke his shoulder, and not old age, was the cause of his death. During the nearly two score years between the day he crossed the Sabine and his death, he lived under the Mexican flag, the Lone Star of the Republic of Texas, and for the last twelve years under the Stars and Stripes that he had reverenced in South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi. His life span covered two declarations of independence and two revolutionary wars. Had he survived a few months longer, he would have expired under the flag of the Confederacy. His wife, Esther, preceded him in death some ten years, having passed away September 14, 1849. But little is known of Esther's family, except that some of the Donahos came to Texas from South Carolina, and settled in the Neches River country, probably following Elijah and Ester.
So far as is known, all of the Isaacks in Texas are descendants of some one of Elijah's sons.
Both time and lack of knowledge forbid that I attempt to trace the descendants of any of these except William, Samuel and Alfred. The greater space given to Samuel's descendants is because he is in direct line of my own ancestry.
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WILLIAM, the oldest son of Elijah and Esther Isaacks, came to Texas evidently with his father's family, and crossed the Sabine River on January 10, 1822, when he was just past the age of 21 years. He had married Mary Glass †in Georgia in 1820. She was a native of that State, born on August 19, 1805. This, however, is practically all the information I have been able to obtain about her or her family. William's land grant was located in what is now Sabine County, some 20 or 25 miles Northeast from his father's home in Jasper County. His application for the grant is endorsed by "Benjamin Lindsey, Alcalde," who certifies in English (practically all official papers at that time were written in Spanish) that William Isaacks is "a man of moral habits and industrious, and a good citizen, friendly to the laws and religion of the country," and that he was a man of family, consisting of seven persons. The seven evidently refers to the number of children, as the family record shows that at that date, September 2, 1834, he had seven children. His league and labor of land was probably located and occupied in about 1824, although the grant or patent was not formally made until some ten years later.
†Mary Glass is Mary Sarah Glass, this is important because most records refer to her as Sarah.
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He resided on his land in Sabine County until 1845, when he moved to what is now Cherokee County, before that county was created. After it was organized in 1846, probably in the year 1850, he was elected County Judge and served some years as such. After that he was always known as "Judge Isaacks." He served in the Army of the Republic, just when, I do not know, but his name is listed by the Texas Veterans Association as a "Second Class Veteran," which means that his service was after 1836, or at least after the permanent organization of the Government in September of that year. Judge William Isaacks died in Liberty County in June 1874, in his 74th year, while on a visit to his youngest brother Alfred. His wife survived him about six years. They were the parents of 12 children; Marcella, June 6, 1821; Catherine, July 10, 1823; Frederick, July 9, 1825; Minerva, November 26, 1827; David, July 9, 1829; Aby, May 10, 1831; William, December 3, 1836; John A., February 5, 1839; Alfred C., March 23, 1841; Lucetta, March 24, 1844; Oxavine, August 2, 1846; and Elijah, September 19, 1849. Having no satisfactory information as to the others, I shall attempt to write only of Frederick and John A., and their descendants.
FREDERICK married Nancy Deaver, in 1855. She was a daughter of Gabriel Deaver, who came to Texas from North Carolina about 1840, and was of the same family as Judge J.M. Deaver, of El Paso, who for many years was Judge of the El Paso County Court at Law. Frederick was born in Sabine County, but when a comparatively young man moved West to Erath County, where he died about 1870. His wife, Nancy, survived him many years, and lived with her eldest son, Jeff, at Las Cruces, New Mexico, and passed away only a few years ago. They had four children, Mary C., November 5, 1858; Jeffferson D., July 5, 1861; Marion L., June 5, 1863; James N., June 10, 1866. I have no information about Mary or Marion, or their descendants, if any.
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JOHN A. Isaacks was the fifth son of William and Sarah. When a young man, he left Cherokee County and moved to Johnson County. A few years later, about 1865, he moved to Brown County, where he resided until 1887. At that time he went to California, and now resides at Shandon, in that state. He was 96 years old the 5th of last February (1935), and bids fair to pass the century mark. I have had quite a lot of correspondence with him during the past few years, and from his letters I find that his mind is clear and his memory remarkable. To him, more than any other one person, I am indebted for information contained in this narrative. He and Elizabeth Garner were married May 19, 1865. They had one son, William Christopher Carson, named for his grandfather and for Kit Carson, the celebrated scout. He was born February 28, 1866, and died September 27, 1899. John A's first wife, Sarah Elizabeth, died January 3, 1883, and later he married Virginia Crawford.
John A. and Virginia had three children, Sarah L., Dora C., and John O. John O. died in 1929. The other two Sarah and Dora, reside at Shandon California. John A. resides with one of these daughters.
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JEFFERSON D., familiarly called Jeff, was born in Erath County, where he lived until about 1887. He married Mary Jane Scott, and in 1887 had two little children, and having accumulated a small bunch of cattle, a few horses, and a "covered wagon," he and some neighbors started West with all their worldly possessions, looking for cheaper grazing land. Members of the party located at different points in extreme Western Texas and New Mexico. Jeff, with his family and younger brother, Jim, continued to the Organ Mountains, Northeast of Las Cruces, in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. There he established his ranch, and by the early part of the present century Jeff Isaacks was one of the most successful and largest cattle raisers in that section of the Southwest. He shortly moved to the county seat, established a modern farm home, invested in various enterprises in that city, and soon became one of its leading citizens, not only in its commercial life, but more important, in the hearts of its citizenship. Some of the leading people of Las Cruces have told me that Jeff Isaacks was probably first in usefulness and in the love and esteem of the people of Dona Ana County. He passed away on February 8, 1935. Surviving him are his six children, Callie, Will F., Coila, Emitt J., Jesse A., and Ollie J. His wife preceded him in death some two years. It is said that his funeral from the First Methodist Church was more largely attended than any, in the history of Las Cruces. One was impressed by the large number of the poorer Mexican people, many of whom he had befriended in a substantial way, that came with tear-dimmed eyes and dropped a flower upon his last resting place.
Callie Isaacks married Bliss Freman. They have five children, Delbert Bliss, Coila Mae (McElroy), Earl Jefferson, Newell Wilson and Glenna Rue.
Will Isaacks married Myrtle Neighbors. They have four children, Howard, Helen, Ruth and Jeff.
Coila Isaacks married Frank Goodin. They have five children, Marion Jefferson, Ella Marie (Hoster), Geraldine Callie, Coila Jane, and Lydia Lea.
Emitt Isaacks married Ruth Bundy. They have three children, Ethel Louise, Emagene and Walter.
Jesse Isaacks married Anna Belle Lane. They have no children.
Ollie Isaacks married Grace Clark. They have two children, Betty Jane and Robert.
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James N. Isaacks, commonly called Jim, as before stated, moved from Erath County to New Mexico with his brother, Jeff, and lived there many years, then (he) went to Arizona, and now lives at Emery Park. He married Florence Vanlindt, of Dallas and they had five children, four boys and one girl, James Ennis, Henry, Della, Jeff and Allen.
Della, the only daughter, was drowned, with her baby boy, in the Animas River several years ago.
Jeff, the third son, with his entire family of five was drowned when the St. Frances, California dam broke several years ago. Only his and his oldest little girl's bodies were found.
James Ennis, the oldest, and Allen, the youngest, both live at Emery Park, Arizona.
Henry lives in Elida, New Mexico.
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ALFRED was the youngest son of Elijah. He was a little more than a year old when the family came to Texas. He was too young to serve in the Army of the Republic, being a little past 15 when the Battle of San Jacinto was fought, nor was he old enough to secure a land grant as a colonist. He and Sarah Powell were married in Jasper County, March 17, 1842. She was a native of Mississippi, born April 26, 1825, and came with her parents to Texas in 1841. Alfred and Sarah were the parents of 11 children: David Monroe, February 8, 1843; John Tyler, April 8, 1845; Elijah Jefferson, August 6, 1847; Andrew Franklin, November 3, 1849; Elisha Madison, June 28, 1852; Sarah Ann, February 21, 1855; Susan Mary, September 29, 1857; Martha, December 16, 1859; William Davis, February 1, 1862; Betty, February 22, 1865; and Alfred W., February 22, 1868. Alfred lived in Jasper County, probably near his father, until late in 1850 or early in 1851, when he moved with his family, at that time consisting of himself, wife and four boys, to Liberty County, purchased land in Tarkington's Prairie, opened up a farm, and established a home, where he resided considerably more than a half century, an honorable and useful citizen. Soon after he moved to Liberty County, he was elected County Judge. Just when elected or how long he served cannot be ascertained, as no one whom I have contacted remembers, and the Liberty County records were burned with the Court House in 1895, I believe. He lived to be nearly 86 years old. He died August 23, 1906, at his home, where he had lived nearly 56 years. His wife, Sarah, preceded him some eight years (February 8, 1898).
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ELISHA M., the fifth son of Alfred, has lived all his life in Liberty County. He now resides at Humble, and has for many years. He owns the old Alfred Isaacks' homestead in Tarkington's Prairie. He is 82 years old.
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Alfred W., the youngest son, lives at Cleveland, and is Justice of the Peace, or was some two years ago.
I have been unable to secure information about any of the other sons or daughters, except the dates of their births, as given, and that all are dead, except Elisha and Alfred.
Elisha and Alfred, of Humble and Cleveland, and John A., of Shandon, California, are at this time, June 1935, the only living grandchildren of Elijah and Esther.
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Samuel Isaacks III, was twice married. The maiden name of his first wife, I do not know. It was probably Allen. Her given name was Nancy, and she was born July 12, 1802, and died May 28th, 1828. They were married September 20, 1824. To this union were born two boys, William Allen, August 31, 1825, and John LeRoy, March 6, 1827. The last named, however, lived only a few months.
After the death of his first wife, Nancy, Samuel III was married to Martha Richardson, a native of Georgia, born on December 29, 1814. I have but little information about her ancestors, except that I have heard my father, who was her oldest son, remark that his mother's father was a District Judge in Georgia, and among a box of old papers he had, I have read a commission issued by the Governor of Georgia to Benjamin Richardson as District Judge. I remember the Governor's name who signed the commission was Bullock, and the commission was dated sometime in the early 1820's. It, with other old papers, was in my library at Midland when it burned in 1909. Samuel and Martha were married in 1831, and were the parents of 12 children, ten of whom grew to maturity. Wesley Carel, born May 31, 1832; Louis M., February 1, 1843; Andrew J., December 4, 1835; Amanda, February 22, 1838; Nancy, December 29, 1840; Perry Franklin, September 1, 1843; Hardy Burleson, November 7, 1845; Elizabeth, July 20, 1850; Elijah Alfred, August 10, 1853; and Hamilton W., May 4, 1860.
As before stated, Samuel III was one of Austin's "Old 300", as shown by the Land Office archives; he was also a soldier in the Texas Revolution, and my father often told me that he was at the Battle of San Jacinto, although the records do not substantiate this. There can be, however, no question but that he was in the Army at the time of this battle. but I have been unable to find a record of his first enlistment. He was listed as a first class veteran, which means that he served in 1836, prior to the establishment of the permanent Government. The Comptroller's military record No. 7702, in the Texas State Library, shows his discharge, signed by John Ingram, Capt. Jasper Volunteers. The fact that he was one of the Jasper Volunteers indicates that in 1836 he probably resided in Jasper County, the home of his father. Evidently, he did not live many years on his original grant in Fort Bend County. His oldest son, Wesley, was born May 31, 1832, in what is now Angelina County. This county adjoins Jasper, and no doubt he moved there sometime prior to '32, to be in the some part of the country as his father, Elijah. About 1850, he purchased 200 acres of land at Lynchburg, in Harris County, just across the San Jacinto River from the battleground. This land was acquired, at least in part, for the purpose of building wharves and private shipping and loading facilities. Lynchburg was at that time the head of navigation of the San Jacinto. Cold Springs, nearly 100 miles North, in San Jacinto County, was the center and trading point of a very well developed agricultural region, and he conceived the idea of opening up a road between the two points, and establishing a freight line. This he did, and one knowing the character of the country traversed, with its heavy timber and undergrowth, as well as the many streams, will realize what a tremendous undertaking it was. He opened up and operated this line with ox teams for a number of years, but opening up of navigation through Buffalo Bayou to Houston and other roads leading North, as well as the coming of railroads, put him out of business. He continued to reside at Lynchburg until after the Civil Was, when he sold his holdings there and purchased a tract of some 300 acres on Taylor's Bayou, near Galveston Bay, a short distance from where the Bayou enters into the Bay, and three or four miles Northwest from the present town of Seabrook. He lived there until his death in 1878, and was buried under a live oak tree a few hundred yards from his home on the homestead tract. He had lived in Tennessee, the State of his birth, Mississippi, the Republic of Mexico, the Republic of Texas, which he helped to establish, the State of Texas, as one of the American Union, the Southern Confederacy, and again in the United States of America. Among his friends he numbered scores of the Texas veterans, and among them a few leaders, notably Sam Houston and General Ed Burleson, for the latter of whom he named one of his sons.
When I was six or seven years old our family made an extended visit of several months to his Taylor's Bayou home, and my recollection of him and the home place is rather vivid. As I remember him, he was probably six feet tall, "raw-boned", or stalwart, and very active for a man more than 72 years old. He was fond of children, especially boys, and he took delight in instructing me in many things connected with the farm and livestock, and especially woodcraft. To my childish mind he was the acme of perfection, both physically and intellectually. In about two years after our return to the West a letter came announcing his death, and for days my grief was intense. His wife, Martha, it seemed to me as a boy, was a remarkable woman, and I never changed my mind when I grew to maturity. She lived until 1893, nearly 80 years, and while she made her home at or near Houston, after grandfather's death she frequently visited in our home some 200 miles West. I can now recall how, on her first visit, she talked of her fear of the train and her dread of the journey. At that time not so many people in Texas had ridden the railroad cars. Small of stature, probably never balancing the scales at as much as 100 pounds, she was one of the most kindly and motherly souls. One of my sweetest memories is when she held me on her lap and sang "The Promised Land", the first hymn that I can remember ever having heard. She smoked a clay pipe, and my greatest delight was to help her fill and light it.
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WILLIAM II, married Elizabeth Boughton in Jasper County, December 23, 1853. She died May 22, 1870. William died January 20, 1880. Several children were born to this union, among them being Louis A., who is now and has for many years, been a resident of Cleveland, in Liberty County.
The other children of William and Elizabeth were Daniel, Nancy (Gilmore), Mary Jane (Yancy), Perry A., Nathan S., and William Andrew. The only one with whom I have a personal acquaintance or know anything about their families is Louis A., mentioned above.
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LOUIS A., married Nannie Jane Stinson. James Dow is their oldest child. He was born April 22, 1895, and married Ina Jones.
James D. is connected with Gulf Publishing Company, at 1214 Bonnie Brae Street, in Houston. He was a famous football player at Baylor University, probably in 1919-20 and 21. Ina Jones attended the University at the same time, and I believe both received their degrees at the same time, and soon thereafter were married. They have two children, James D., Jr., who is now about 13, and Mary Lynn, who is 6.
Lillian E., the second daughter of Louis A. and Elizabeth, married Judson C. Francis, an attorney, of the firm of Caldwell, Gillen, Francis & Gallagher.
Herman A., the third child, is with Pure Oil Company, at Cove, Texas.
Dr. Hubb E. Isaacks, the fourth child, is a practicing physician in the City of Dallas, and is somewhat prominent, I am told, both in professional and social life. He is unmarried, and resides with his sister, Mrs. Francis, at 4020 Stanford Ave.
Dagma M., married Lloyd S. McGee, who is with the Humble Oil Company, and they reside in Houston.
(A rather remarkable thing about this family is that each of the five children has a degree or degrees from Baylor University).
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LOUIS MONROE, second son of Samuel and Martha, grew to manhood, but was never married. He was killed at Lynchburg, in 1856.
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ANDREW JACKSON Isaacks was married, but I have no record of when or to whom. He died about 1872 or '73. His wife died previously. He left surviving him two children, Melissa and Andrew. The last name died years ago, I believe with children. Melissa married John C. Ballentine, who died some years ago. She resides at Seabrook, near Galveston Bay. She is the mother of three children, Vetta, John Alton, and Allie Lee, all of whom reside in Houston. 1
1 From the family records of Clovis Davis we learn that Andrew Jackson married Nancy Jane Tomlinson, and that he died in 1869. They had three chlidren: Melissa Adeline; Virginia Jane; Andrew Jackson Jr. Nancy survived Andrew and she and her children were living with Samuel and Martha durning the 1870 Harris Co. census. Nancy latter married Julius Friedrichs. They had two children, Lucy and Sadie May. Both Nancy and Julius died between 1880 and 1900. Virgina (Jennie) married Thomas Peter (Pete) Davis. Andrew Jr. died at age 16 without issue.
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AMANDA married Thomas Tanner, but I do not know the date; it was probably 1855 or '56. They lived in Liberty County, where they raised a large family, some of whom, and their descendants, still reside in that and adjoining counties, but I have no further
information about them.
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MARTHA died when but a few months old, and I have been unable to get any information about either NANCY or ROBERT ERVIN. Both must have died at a comparatively early age, or I would have known something about them.
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PERRY FRANKLIN had several children, and I can remember seeing them when I was a boy, but cannot recall whether there were four or five. I think, however, there were two boys and two girls. I cannot recall any of their names, nor do I know the name of Perry's wife.
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HARDY BURLESON, named for Gen. Ed Burleson, married a Richardson. He lived all of his life, I think in Polk and Liberty Counties. He had several children, but I can recall the name of only one, Laura. I have known the name of the man she married, but cannot recall it. I am told that Hardy Burleson left several children and grandchildren, some of whom live in Polk and Liberty Counties, but I have been unable to contact any of them. I do not know the date of his death, but it was a number of years ago, probably 15 or 20.
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ELIZABETH married Henry Cravy soon after the Civil War. There were born to them five children, Sophia, Lurena, Owen, Anna, and _________. All of them, I believe, have passed away, except Lurena. She married Frank Bissonet in Houston about 1890. They still live in Houston, and are the parents of four children, the names of which I do not have, having lost my memorandum, but I remember Samuel, I think the youngest. Elizabeth died January 28, 1882. Henry Cravy survived many years and died in Houston some ten or twelve years ago.
ELIJAH ALFRED lived with his father, Samuel, in Harris County until 1879, when he went West and lived at the home of his brother, Wesley, in Williamson County several years. He was married in 1881 to Emma Foil, at Round Rock, where he resided until his death about 1889. He and Emma had one child, Beulah, who married a man named Sappington. She lived only a year or two after her marriage and left one child, Joe Sappington, who resides at McDade.
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HAMILTON WASHINGTON, the youngest son of Samuel, married Hadgie McMillian, December 27, 1877. They had four children, Lena B., Ella M., Georgia, and Thomas R., all of whom live in Houston, except Ella, who died November 10, 1918. Hadgie died March 19, 1885. May 21, 1890, Hamilton was again married. Ella McCracken was his second wife. She died about 1920, I believe. They had no children. Hamilton W., lived all of his life in or near Houston, and died there at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Scherffius, April 30, 1930.
Lena Isaacks was married to John H. Hill, April 2 1901. They have one daughter, Helen, who resides with them in Houston.
Georgia Isaacks and Henry Irvin Scherffius were married April 4, 1899. They have three children, Henry Irvin Jr., who married Ada Kennedy; Catherine Emily, who married Ramond Forston; an Georgia May, who married Berwin Rader.
Thomas, the youngest son of Hamilton W. is single and lives in Houston.
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WESLEY Isaacks, the oldest child of Samuel and Martha, was my father, and for that reason I am writing of him and his descendants last. He was born in what is now Angelina County, May 31, 1832. Texas was then a part of Mexico, and he was a little less than four years old at the time Texas gained its independence at San Jacinto, April 21, 1836. He remembered events happening just prior to the battle. His childish mind being impressed by the exodus of the families of the settlers, as Houston and Santa Anna's armies advanced Eastward. Houston had sent a company, or perhaps a detachment, of soldiers ahead of his army to escort the women and children to the Eastern settlements that they might avoid the ravages of Santa Anna's hostile army. Referring, again to my grandfather's military service in the Republic, I think it is possible, or even probable, that he was one of this detachment.
There were no schools in Texas when Wesley Isaacks was of school age, or practically none. I have heard him say, however, that he attended some kind of a school one or two winters. There, evidently, he learned to read and write. At least, he acquired these rudiments at sometime. He was, in fact, a great reader, especially of such historical books as he could obtain, and of newspapers. He was always, from my earliest recollection until he moved to West Texas a few years before his death, a subscriber to the Galveston News. But few men outside the professions were better posted on current events than he. His mind was keen and analytical. After reading any bit of important news, especially if it might pertain to or have an effect on politics, domestic or international, he would immediately make an analysis, and arrive at a conclusion as to its effect on the future, at least satisfactory to himself. Often he was right. He had a fine knowledge of the leading public men of the nation, and his knowledge of Texas, its history, its statesmen and its politicians, was truly remarkable. One of my greatest regrets is that I didn't make notes of the many interesting things I have heard him relate about Texans, Texas and its early history, especially the many things he told me about the Isaacks family. I was always interested, but with the feeling that he would be always with me, I did not make notes as I should.
In 1860, just before the beginning of the Civil War, he and Purity Annis Foreman were married in Liberty County. There were born to them five children; the first two, boys, died in infancy, the three who reached maturity were Martha Jane (always called Mattie), Samuel Jackson and Lula Blanche.
Purity Annis Foreman was born in what is now Cherokee County, April 26, 1845, almost a year before the county was created (April 11, 1846). Her parents were Green L. and Julia Foreman. Julia Foreman's maiden name was Hennis. The Foremans came to Texas sometime after 1835, and prior to 1840, probably nearer the latter date. The "Nacogdoches Papers" containing the census of 1835 do not give the name of Foreman, but the Hennis name appears in several places. Joshua and Purity Hennis were parents of Julia and Caroline and four other children. The 1835 census shows Joshua to be 43 years old and his wife, Purity, 37; Julie, 10; and Caroline, 5. Caroline also married a Foreman, John, a brother of Green L. I recall having seen "Aunt Carline," and remember hearing of her death, which occurred in Bell County, I think about 1900. I have, so far, been unable to trace the genealogy of my grandfather Foreman. One difficulty has been the large number of Foreman who came to Texas about 1840. The best information obtainable is that they came from Alabama, and I have heard that the preceding generation of both the Foreman and Hennises were immigrants from Ireland. I regret not being able to further trace the genealogy of my mother. The Foremans that I have known were fine people. My mother had six brothers, George W., Hugh, John W., Baxter, William and Mills, all younger than she, and all of whom I remember. George was killed in Bell County when a young man, leaving a wife and three children. Hugh died about ten years ago at his home in Slaton, leaving his widow and several children, one of whom I was especially fond when a child. She was the oldest, named Mary, and married a man named Ezell. They live at Seymour. She was the first - or at least one of the first - graduates of Texas Christian University after it was established at Waco. John and Baxter both died in 1934; Baxter at his home in Portales, New Mexico, at the age of 82; John at the home of his daughter in Coleman, at the age of 84. William died while still a young man, and Mills, the youngest died at his home at Carrizoso, New Mexico, at the age of 70, about 1930. Green L. Foreman was a Methodist preacher, one of the first to come to Texas. He died about 1860 and his wife, Julia, about 1862.
My mother was truly a remarkable woman. This, I realize, is but the natural thing for any son to say, and yet as I look back upon the life she lived, the manner and care with which she raised and trained her children, I know she was a very superior woman. She was deeply religious, but she was not overly exacting about the conduct of her children, except as to questions involving honesty and the rights of others. From my earliest recollection she was ambitious for me, and believed always in my capabilities. To her training, encouragement and ambition that I might some day amount to something, to my father's sturdy life and his example of high ideals and ethics, and my belief that I inherited some of the good qualities of each, I am indebted for whatever little success I have achieved.
MATTIE, their oldest child, at an early age, was married to Jno T. Marlow, who died about 1902. Some years after his death she was married to Thomas Watson. She died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Lulu Ruffner, at Eastland, April 10, 1932. She had four children, Carol Marlow, who resides and Eastland, and who , until recently, was City Manager of the city; Paul Marlow, who is engaged in the lumber business at Peacock, Texas; Mrs. Annis Marlow Starr, who resides at Iraan, and Mrs. Lulu Watson Ruffner, Eastland.
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SAMUEL JACKSON Isaacks, the only son of Wesley C. and Purity Annis Forman to reach maturity, was married to Minnie Willard Rutledge near Austin, in Travis County, and there were born to them seven children; Maud, (a) teacher in El Paso High School; Rena, wife of W.K. Johnston, Cisco; E. Buford, who married Mary Hannen. He is dean of Randolph College of Cisco. Inez married George Foster, who was cashier of the Burbank, California, branch of the Bank of Italy. He died there in 1930. She is a teacher in Coldwell School, El Paso; Rutledge (is a) lawyer (at) Pecos, (he) married Lily Dale. Jack married Guinnell Austin, and is with the Mountain States Telephone Company. Bill married Helen Dale; he is deputy assessor and collector of taxes, El Paso County.
MINNIE RUTLEDGE, wife of Samuel Jackson Isaacks, was a daughter of Edward and Mary Rutledge, who with two other Rutledges, Thomas and William, emigrated from Tennessee to Texas and settled in Travis County, ten or twelve miles Northeast of Austin about 1850. This family was originally from South Carolina, and it is generally understood that they were of the same family as the famous Rutledges of that State. She died at our home in El Paso, September 2, 1934.
I have five grandchildren, Wade Johnston Jr., son of Rena, Cisco; Samuel Jackson Isaacks V, son of Rutledge, Pecos; Dick, son of Bill, El Paso; Guinnell ("Daughter Baby"), daughter of Jack, and Clyde Hannen adopted son of Buford, Cisco.
Like most country boys of the time, I had but little school advantages, but did some home
study, and when about 19, obtained a certificate to teach; taught country school six or seven years; studied law, was admitted to the Bar in 1902; elected to the 28th Legislature (1903) from Bastrop County; moved to Midland in the Fall of 1903 and, when that town was incorporated in 1907, was elected its first Mayor; appointed District Judge by Governor Tom Campbell in February, 1909, of the newly created 70th Judicial District; elected in 1910; re-elected in 1914; resigned January 1st, 1917, and moved to El Paso, where I formed a law partnership with Judge Dan M. Jackson, who had just resigned as Judge of the 34th District; formed a partnership with Steve Lattner in 1922, which has continued to this writing; was elected and served a Presidential Elector in 1920, and voted for Cox for President; was member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, 1922-24; and served one term on the El Paso School Board.
Lulu, my youngest sister, married Henry Edwards. She died in Bell County in 1897, within two or three years after her marriage, when she was about 22 years old. She had no children.
Father died in Midland, February 9, 1909, shortly before he reached his 77th birthday. Mother died in El Paso, April 18, 1918, a few days before she would have been 73 years old. Both are buried at Midland. For several years before father's death, they lived in my home, and mother so continued until her death. It is a source of deepest satisfaction that I was in a position to provide them with comfortable surroundings in their declining days. That, at least partly, compensated them for their labors and troubles in rearing me to the age of responsibility, and for the many trials, tribulations and griefs suffered on account of my neglect, lack of consideration and innumerable acts of thoughtlessness and disobedience. We often hear the expression, "If I could live my life over," as to what we would do. Many times it has occurred to me that if I could recall my parents, my first consideration would be to so conduct myself as to afford them the maximum amount of happiness.
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