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Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Whittingtons, Part 4: Gibson and Weston

Gibson and Weston Whitenton were among the sons of James and Frankie Whittington who left Tennessee and moved on to Texas. Two more of their younger brothers would follow them.

This is Part 4 of the series about the Whittington family of North Carolina and Tennessee and Texas.

Part 1: The James and Frankie Whittington Family
Part 2: William and Richard
Part 3: Agatha and Telitha
Part 5: George, Solomon, and Othaneil
Part 6: Cason Coley, James Henderson, Quintillian, and Frances Ann

Gibson Whitenton

Gibson (he spelled his surname Whitenton) was born 29 June 1807 in Johnston County, North Carolina. He was the fifth child and third son of James and Frankie Whittington. When he was born, his siblings were William (8), Richard (6¾), Agatha (4½), and Talitha (2). He and his next younger brother, Weston, seemed to be close friends as well as brothers.
Gibson was a member of his father’s household on the 1820 and 1830 census records for Johnston County, North Carolina. He probably appeared on the 1810 Census as well, but very probably the family was on the federal listing for Wake County and that return is missing from the archives and was never microfilmed. Sometime in the 1830s the family moved to Tennessee, and Gibson went with them.

Gibson married Elizabeth Williams in Madison County, Tennessee, on August 20, 1840. He and Elizabeth were both 33; her birth date was April 16, 1807. He had been living with his father’s family, but he and Elizabeth immediately set up housekeeping in a little home nearby. In the 1840 Census the two of them were living next door to his brother Weston’s family, and just two houses away was Gibson’s father’s family. Together Gibson and Elizabeth had the following children:

  • Sarah James Frances Whitenton, born 30 September 1841 in Madison, Tennessee.
  • Elender Whitenton, born 30 June 1842 in Madison, Tennessee.
  • Martha L Whitenton, born 1844 in Dyer, Tennessee.
  • David William Whitenton, born 27 October 1847 in Madison, Tennessee.

In 1850 Gibson and Elizabeth were living in District 17 of Madison County, Tennessee. Their family consisted of Sarah JF, age 9; Ellender, age 8; Martha L, age 6; David W, age 3; and a hired man, George Smith, age 18. Gibson’s farm was worth $250.

Just about the time of Father James’s death in 1853, Gibson sold his Tennessee land and went to Texas to join his brother Weston in Goliad County. In 1854 Gibson owned a horse, eight cows, one yoke of oxen, and some hogs. His total worth was $104. He had to pay 75¢ poll tax, a reminder that this was the South where elections were restricted to those who could afford to vote. His state tax was only 15¢. Probably he started out down there working for his brother since he didn’t have any real estate property on the first tax roll.

The next year his tax assessment shows he gained one cow, but his total worth dropped to $79. Gibson and Elizabeth must have been struggling at first to get established in Texas, but their circumstances soon improved substantially.

In 1860 Gibson’s farm was worth $1100 and his personal property $600. The census showed his age was 53, that he was born in North Carolina, and his occupation was a farmer. His wife and children were all identified only by their initials. The children’s ages were correct, but his wife had shaved several years off her age. People have always wanted to be younger than they are!

We don’t know what happened to Gibson during the Civil War, if he was affected in any way. Certainly he did not seem to be affected economically; the evidence is that he continued to do well, based on tax records from the years of the War.

The 1863 tax roll listed $1015 worth of property for Gibson, consisting of “Land, Horses, Cattle &c”. This is a little lower than his worth before the War started.

The 1864 tax assessment showed that Gibson’s total worth was $910, consisting of land and livestock (horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs). He had 198 acres worth $500; the original grant was owned by S. Byrnes. The poll tax had risen to $1.00; his state tax was $5.55; his county tax was $1.38⅓.

One year later his situation was a little improved. He had a total worth of $982. He had 200 acres from S Byrnes valued still at $500.

The voter list for 1867 showed that on July 30, 1867 Gibson lived in Precinct 3 of Goliad County and had been there for 15 years, which might be rounded up since it seems hard to believe that he and Elizabeth would have struggled nearly five years to get land and begin to live comfortably. Two or three years of struggle, give or take a year, seems more realistic for their situation.

On the agricultural schedule for 1870, Gibson had 202 acres of land, with 22 under cultivation yielding 300 bushels of Indian corn. His farm was worth $700. A little oddly, Gibson listed no livestock of any kind, while next door his brother Weston had plenty. It makes one wonder whether the brothers were sharing the animals that helped work the farm.

On the 1870 census population schedule, Gibson was 63 years old, still farming, and he listed his worth as $696 of real estate and $500 of personal estate. This is the highest relative value Gibson realized in the five years immediately following the War. Postwar economics caused Gibson’s relative wealth to decrease for several years after this.

Living with Gibson in 1870 were his wife, Elizabeth, and their son, David, who was 22 at the time. Also living in the same house were their daughter Sarah and her husband David Kersey. The Kerseys reported that they just got married in July, and the census was also taken in July, on the 22nd of that month. Finally, there was a young hired man living there too, named Thomas Adcock, age 18, from Mississippi. Next door were Gibson’s brother Weston and his family.

Their daughter Martha L appears to have married Samuel H Jones in June 1869 in Dyer County, Tennessee (or Sam Johnson—there are marriage records for both names with the same bride). Perhaps she was there visiting relatives when she met him. They moved to Missouri and had a daughter in 1871, Lizzie Jane. Nothing further is known about their family, except that Martha died in 1874.

Sadly for Gibson and his children, Elizabeth died the next year on May 17, 1871. She was 64 years old. However, living near Gibson’s brother Weston was a family named Jacobs, and they had an attractive, widowed relative named Mrs. Mary Ann Jacobs. Not five months after Elizabeth’s death, Gibson married Mary Ann Jacobs in DeWitt County on October 8, 1871. What did the children think? Was this quick, or were there extenuating circumstances?

Mary Ann had been born in South Carolina on March 9, 1832. She had at least one daughter from a previous husband, but the daughter’s last name was not “Jacobs,” so there is a little mystery about Mary Ann’s relationships.

The 1871 tax rolls for Goliad County show Gibson’s relative wealth had decreased. He had 197 acres from “Squire Burns” valued at just $1 per acre, and his livestock consisted of 6 horses valued at $100, 22 cattle valued at $100, 280 sheep valued at $228, and miscellaneous property valued at $59. His total property value was set at $684. Based on the value of the land, Gibson probably was grazing the cattle and sheep on it and not cultivating any.

Gibson’s state tax was $3.42, then for some reason the poll tax was left blank, and the next column shows 17¢ for a total state tax of $3.59. His county taxes were broken down into categories for county, special, road, repair, and school taxes. His were $1.71, $3.42, $2.71, 68⅔¢, and 34⅓¢, with the total appearing to be $8.86⅔ (I know that doesn’t add up, but that’s what is written on the form). In addition to these taxes, he had to pay 25¢ to a “justices fee,” and 40¢ to a “justices commission” with a total of 65¢ to “fees and commissions.” When we complain about our taxes today, we can see there is a long history of taxes piling up on a person.

In 1872, Gibson’s tax roll showed 200 acres at a value of $250—inflation must have hit, or he was cultivating a few acres with a crop that gave him a good return. He had more value in livestock as well: 5 horses at $100, 2 cattle at $25, 300 sheep at $1 apiece. The total of his property this year was $730, a little better than the year before. His taxes were $10.47.

In 1877 Gibson’s tax roll showed apparently different lands in his possession. In this year, the original grantors of his lands were Turner for 207 acres and O’Neil for 113 acres. The value of these two pieces of land together was $576. He had 2 dogs valued at $200 and a “carriage, buggy, or wagon” valued at $50. Can you imagine today buying a dog for more than you paid for your ride? His relative wealth was close to the same as five years before.

The 1880 Census found Gibson on June 22nd of that year nursing a broken leg. He was 72 years old and still reported his occupation as “Farmer.” His wife “Marianna” was 48, keeping house, and was born in South Carolina, as were both her parents. Her daughter Florence Deeton, age 19, was living with them.

Next door to them on one side was the family of Gibson’s son David, a farmer like his father. David at that time was 32, and his wife, Amanda, was 26. Their son, Jesse H, was 1. David and Amanda had gotten married in 1874. Their children would be:
  • Jessie Henderson Whitenton, 1879–1952
  • Charlotte Elizabeth Whitenton, 1881–1960
  • David William Whitenton, 1883–1964
David Sr. was a farmer like his father. He died in Goliad County on April 4, 1912. His wife, Amanda, died in 1920.

Next door to them on the other side was the family of Gibson’s daughter “Ellinda” as this census taker wrote it. Her husband, John Adcock, was 41, and Elender was 37. Perhaps John was a relative of the hired man from ten years before, Thomas Adcock. John’s and Elender’s children were:
  • Elizabeth, 1864
  • Margaretta, 1867–1891
  • Alexander, 1870–1951
  • William Moody, 1873–1948
  • Robert Jefferson, 1876–1895
  • David W, 1878–1969
  • Gilbert Adolph, 1882–1957
John and Ellender moved to Pearsall, Frio County, Texas, soon after the census was taken. There Ellender died January 20, 1883 at the age of 40.

Four or five houses away from Gibson’s son David was the household of Gibson’s eldest daughter and her family. David B. Kersey was 44 at this time, a farmer, and Sarah was 38, keeping house. Their children were:
  • Talitha Elizabeth, 1871–1910
  • Martha J, 1874–1886
  • Matthew James, 1874–1962
  • Gibson A, 1876
  • Elender Cassandra, 1877–1969
Sarah and David Kersey prospered and lived all their lives in Goliad County. David died in 1913 and Sarah in 1929.

The final record we have showing Gibson on his farm is a tax assessment from 1885. He had two pieces of land totaling 227 acres, valued at $681. He had 2 carriages, 2 horses, 20 cattle, and 220 sheep. The value of all of these was $840, making his total worth $1521. Gibson was a prosperous man.

Gibson died 8 January 1888 in Goliad County and was buried there beside Elizabeth. His second wife, Mary Ann, died November 21, 1898.


Weston Whittenton

Weston was born January 8, 1809 in Wake County, North Carolina. Records for Weston spelled the family name Whittenton. When he was born, his older siblings were William (10), Richard (8), Agatha (6), Talitha (4), and Gibson (1½). He and Gibson seem to have always been close.

Weston married Lucy Ann Williams in Wake County, North Carolina in about 1830 when they were both about 21 years old. They had the following children:
  • John R, born in Wake County in September 1832.
  • James William, born in Madison, Tennessee in mid-to-late 1837.
  • Sarah C, born in Tennessee 17 April 1840.
  • George M, born in Tennessee in 1843 and died between the ages of 7 and 17.
  • Mary Elizabeth, a twin born in Texas on 17 February 1851.
  • Lucy Ann, a twin born in Texas on 17 February 1851.
As can be seen by the births of the children, Weston and his family moved to Tennessee about 1837 or a little before. The 1840 Census shows them in Madison County, next door to Gibson and his new wife. The census has problems though, because it lists a male child age 5–10 and two female children ages 5–10 and under 5. We know the older female child should have been a male instead. Then the total in the household says 6, although only 5 are shown. One is engaged in agriculture, which of course would be Weston.

Weston and his family moved to Texas sometime after George’s birth in 1843, but before the Census was taken in September 1850. This was curious, Weston’s move. He was right in Victoria County where his older brother William died in 1849, and yet Weston never claimed any part of the estate that was being probated right at that time, with notices being posted in three different places in the county. If he had just moved there, it’s possible he missed all the notices, but it’s a stretch of the imagination to think that he moved all the way from Tennessee to the very county where his older brother was known to have been living and then did not contact anyone about him. If he moved there before, say in the mid-to-late 1840s, he must have contacted William—and if so, perhaps they had a major falling-out. Even so, why would he not claim part of the estate? Weston was not doing all that well at the time. The whole thing is odd to say the least.

The 1850 Census for Victoria County shows Weston Whittenton on September 13, 1850. Weston was 41 years old, his wife, Lucy Ann, was 39. The children were: John R (age 18), James W (age 13), Sarah C (age 10), and George M (age 7). Weston and John R were listed as farmers.

By 1854 Weston had moved to Goliad County near Gibson and his family. Perhaps some of their closeness stemmed from the relationship of their wives. Both women were from the Williams family originating in Wake County, North Carolina, but their exact blood relationship to each other is unknown.

Weston acquired a farm worth $140 on a stream called Coletto. He had a horse, 2 cows, a yoke of oxen, and some hogs. His total worth was $221. The poll tax was 75¢. His state tax was 33¢. The next year his tax report shows the same value for his farm. The livestock changed though—he had two horses, one cow, and his oxen and hogs rose in value from $50 to $65, making his total worth $255.

The 1860 Census, taken in July that year, shows Weston’s farm was more modest, worth $250, but his personal property was worth $600. His 22-year-old son James William was farming with him, and he had a young man from New York living with him and raising stock with a worth of $800. His family consisted of his wife, Lucy Ann, his son James William (age 22), twin daughters Martha Elizabeth and Lucy Ann (age 8), and Mr. F. Greenly, the stock raiser from New York.


Weston’s son John R, age 27, was enumerated twice in 1860. On June 1st he was reported as living in Texana, Jackson County, Texas with his wife, Martha W., age 22, and their daughter, Allice L., age 3, with his wife’s family, William and Sarah Probst and their other children. John’s occupation was a saddle tree maker and he had a personal estate of $300, and his birthplace was Wake County, North Carolina. Martha was reported born in Live Oak County, Indiana. Allice was born in Goliad County, Texas. Living with the family is 77-year-old John A. Anderson, a cabinet workman whose worth is $200 and who was born in Anderson, South Carolina. In the other enumeration on July 26th, John, age 27, was listed as a farmer in Goliad County with no estate. Martha and Allice were with him, and John’s brother James William, age 22, was enumerated with them but had no occupation listed.

It is interesting that both John R and James William were enumerated twice, with James being once with his parents and once with his brother’s family.

It seems likely that the truth must be something like this:
  1. John R moved his family to Texana in late May and was recorded by the census taker there.
  2. The Goliad County census taker came around and Weston reported his and Lucy’s family, including James.
  3. The Goliad County census taker came back later to ask about the empty house near the Whittenton farm, and Lucy reported her son John R’s family as if they still lived there, to make sure they did not get missed by the census, and she did not know the details of his occupation nor his property value. She included William with his brother’s family (not knowing Weston had told the census taker he lived with them now), and perhaps James William did live with his brother up until they moved.
What is most interesting is that one report uses James’ first name, and the other report uses the middle name, William. That’s what makes it likely that two different family members did the reporting. Since “James” is the same as Weston’s father’s name, and “William” is short for Lucy’s maiden surname, perhaps they each favored their family’s part of this son’s name. It does make it seem as if the one son were two people though.

The Civil War erupted right after this census, and Weston’s sons John R and James William served in the Confederate Army. John enlisted in the Texas infantry, serving in the 8th Regiment under Col. A.M. Hobby, Company E under Lt. Col. John Ireland. The regiment spent most of the War defending the coast between Corpus Christi and Galveston from Union invasion, but in March 1864 they went over into Louisiana and fought in the Battle of Mansfield on April 8. 

James William went to DeWitt County (next door to Goliad) and joined William O. Yager’s 3rd Battalion Texas Mounted Rifles. Yager’s Regiment was consolidated with the 8th Cavalry and renamed the 1st Texas Cavalry Regiment. Pfc. Whittenton was a member of Company B. They fought a few skirmishes in Texas and then went over to Louisiana and fought in the Battle of Mansfield, on April 8, 1864, and he was killed in that battle. His brother apparently was with him because their units were put together in that battle. James’ name underwent a metamorphosis during the War. His first enlistment is under the name “J.W. Whittington.” But during his six months’ service in that regiment, his papers were filed under the name “W.J. Whittenton.” Then when he was formally listed with the 1st Regiment, it was under the name “William J. Whittenton.” From this evidence we can conclude that he went by the name of “William” and reversed the order of his names. Of course it must have been devastating to Weston and Lucy for James to have been killed.

John served until the War was over, but there is no record of when and where he and his company were captured or surrendered. On August 16, 1865, he took the oath of amnesty at the Courthouse in Victoria County, Texas.

In 1869 the tax assessment for Weston’s property showed he had 72 acres worth $300. He had three horses and 25 cows and a total worth of $480. His taxes were 72¢ for the property and $1 for the poll tax. It looks as if he had the cattle grazing the land rather than farming it. His total worth was $780 for the year, so his financial situation looked very much the same as ten years before.

Weston’s son John R still held property in Goliad County or perhaps had moved back there, for his tax assessment is on the next line. He had 5 acres worth $200, so probably he had it all under cultivation in cotton or some high-value crop. He had two horses, seven cows, and “merchandise” for a total worth of $458. His taxes were 68¾¢ for property and $1 poll tax. John’s first wife, Martha, had died before 1870, and his mother-in-law moved in with him to take care of his daughter Alice.

The 1870 Census was taken July 22nd in Goliad County and shows Weston at age 60 (he was really 61), as a farmer with land worth $250 and a personal estate of $230. This looks as if his worth has gone down over $300 in one year, with $50 of it being land. What could have caused such a drastic decrease in fortune? Perhaps he gave some land to one or another of his children and personal property to the others.

On May 3, 1871, twin daughter Lucy A. Whittenton married William Noll in Goliad County. They had a daughter, Christine Elizabeth Noll, born 4 July 1872. William apparently died right around that time, for Mrs. Lucy Ann Noll married Charles Andrew Johnson in Victoria County on July 6, 1874. They had three sons who lived to adulthood, and apparently two other children died young (the 1900 census recorded that Lucy had borne six children, four of whom were living).

Weston died also in 1871 (we hope it was after Lucy’s wedding). This was also the same year that his brother Gibson’s first wife died. Weston’s exact death date is unknown. The next known record of Weston’s widow shows her paying property taxes in 1871 on what she had after Weston had died. She apparently was not left any land. She had 1 horse, 30 cattle, and miscellaneous property to make her total worth just $310. In 1880 she was living with her daughter Lucy Ann Johnson, and that is the last record we have of her.

John R married again in June 1872 to Margaret Jane Probst, who was born in December 1837. She was a younger sister of his late wife. They had no children together.

Weston and Lucy’s daughter Sarah was married to a man named John W. Kuykendall, and they had at least four children:
  • Dora Florence (February 1860)
  • Cynthia (1862)
  • John M (1867)
  • James W (February 29, 1870)
In 1880 Sarah reported on the census that she was living with these four named children in Cuero, DeWitt, Texas, although her son John M was also recorded as living with his grandmother Lucy Whittenton in his aunt and uncle Johnson’s family. On January 25, 1887 Sarah married James Maddox. He died before 1900, and there Sarah was in DeWitt County alone in her home. The record shows that Sarah bore six children and that two had died before 1900. Since the four who are named above were all still living in 1900, either Sarah had children with John Kuykendall who died unnamed (there is a span of five years between two of the living children as well as the years after 1870 and before John died when she could have had children), or she had two children with her second husband and both died. Sarah died 15 October 1920.
Lucy Ann Johnson died May 24, 1901. John R died in April 1902 and his widow, Margaret, died in 1921 in a home for Confederate widows. Nothing is known further about Lucy Ann’s twin, Mary Elizabeth.


Note: If you would like to purchase a complete book of the series with updates, sources, and more, please send me a message.

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