Week 13 – 52 Ancestor Challenge – The Old Homeplace – Texas Republic 1841, The Thomas Jefferson Walling Cabin

Thomas Jefferson Walling

Thomas Jefferson Walling (1811-1902) was born in White County, Tennessee to John Walling, Sr and Ann Chisum.  In 1832, he married his first wife, Nancy Ann Price, they had nine children.  TJ and Nancy migrated through Mississippi and Arkansas before settling in Nacogdoches, Texas near his brothers, John and Jesse, in 1836.  It was there that T J took the Oath of Allegiance to the Texas Republic and took part in the Texas Revolution with Captain Peck’s regiment.

In 1841 TJ claimed land near Henderson, Texas in Rusk County and he and Nancy built a one room log cabin measuring 20 by 19 feet, about 10 miles Northeast of Henderson, Texas. The cabin was built from hand-hewn pine timber joined at the corners by square notches and typical of many pioneer farm homes in the area. It is the only such structure known to survive from the era of the Republic of Texas in Rusk County.

When Nancy passed away in 1854, TJ married Eleanor Stone Hardy in 1855. They continued to live in the little cabin until 1859 when they moved to Hill County, Texas to the Walling Bend Community near his brother, Colonel Jesse Walling, who had fought with General Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto.

TJ and Eleanor had four children including my great-grandmother, Nancy Ella who was born at Prairie Valley.   The family migrated across Texas, Eleanor died in 1899 at Edna Hill in Erath County and Thomas Jefferson dying in Merkel, Northwest of Abilene, in 1902.

The house and 307 acres surrounding it were sold in 1859 to John Henderson.  A contract made by Harrison’s widow in 1867 states that  the house is the home built by TJ Walling and the entire contents of the house are listed in an inventory.

In 1982, the little cabin was discovered in the woods near Henderson and thankfully it was rescued. The Rusk County Historical had it dismantled and it was reconstructed at the Depot Museum in Henderson, Texas.  Today the cabin stands furnished as it was during the life of Thomas Jefferson Walling and his family.  The dedication ceremony and erection of a historical marker were attended by many of the descendants of T J Walling.





T.J. Walling Log Cabin

“In 1841 Thomas Jefferson Walling I811-1902) and his wife Nancy (Price) erected this one-room log cabin.  Typical of many pioneer farm homes in this area, it was built of hand-hewn timbers joined at the corners by square notches.

Walling was a veteran of the Cordova Rebellion and Indian Wars, 1838-1839, and lived here with his family until 1859.  The Walling log cabin was moved from its original site (10 Mi. N E) to this location in 1982.”

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1983


Whispers from the Past…..




Week 12 – 52 Ancestor Challenge – Misfortune

Definition of misfortune

: an unhappy situation
2 : a distressing or unfortunate incident or event
My daddy’s family has been a mystery throughout the 40 plus years I’ve been researching.
Mary Rebecca Smith Black
31 Oct 1849 – 30 Oct 1930

Mary Rebecca Smith, my great-great-grandmother, was born on Halloween, 1849 in Georgia.   June 1869, she married John W Black in Grimes County, Texas, three sons and three daughters were born to their union.  John passed away in March of 1884 leaving the 35 year old Mary with six small children from four months to 13 years of age.

One would think that the young mother would have remarried, but as census records bear out, that was not the case.  In 1900 I found Mary and her two youngest children, Wayne and Fannie, living with her oldest daughter, Mary Alice, her husband, John M Machen, and their family.  June of 1911, Mary was committed to the Austin State Lunatic Asylum in Austin, Texas by her son-in-law, W T Higgins.
For 19 years, 5 months, and 13 days, this was her home, this is where she died.
I was able to obtain her commitment papers and her patient file a few years ago.  It was heartbreaking to read that the condition for which she was committed could have been easily treated with Vitamin B-12.
I’ve often wondered if she simply became overwhelmed with life after losing her husband.

Whispers from the Past……