Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994

TIP1 MRC- 1Q0 10

be completed to New Orleans. Father had
visions of numerous families coming in and
locating around us. There was a large crop
of cotton ready for the picking when we
went on the place. Imagine anyone as green
as Father, who had always lived in a city and
knew nothing whatsoever about farming
(though he had an intense love of the soil)
with a family of five daughters, an adopted
son of 14, and a wife (who knew nothing of
roughing it) taking over a place like that!
Father's dreams of people joining us
were never realized, and we went through
some hard and trying times. We were all
taken down with chills and fevers. It was a
miracle we all pulled through. None of us
knew anything about the country and took
terrible chances eating the wild fruit and
coming in contact with the many poisonous
snakes, which were plentiful.
It was a grand place for us children.
Father bought a skiff, which we named The
Emma. With an experienced seaman, 14year-old
Phillip, everyone felt that we were
perfectly safe on the bayou. It was fun to
pile in the little skiff when it was time for
the steamer to go by and ride the waves in
the wake of the ship. The officers got to
know us and would throw fruit and newspapers
to us. It was all very exciting.
We stayed on the farm until the following
summer. By that time, we were all
more dead than alive. Father put the place in
an agent's hand to sell. He told him he could
have all he made over a certain amount. The
agent nearly doubled the price, so again we
came out losers. Part of the farm was on the
San Jacinto Battleground. We were told that
the tree Santa Anna surrendered under was
on our land. That district was later taken
over by the government and made into San
Jacinto Park. The adjoining land was named
Deer Park. Some of the earliest strawberries
are grown there, and it is really a very fine
country. Emma and I visited in Beaumont
several years ago, and a very happy and delightful
time we had with our dear sister,
Eva. Her daughter-in-law, Gertrude, drove
us through Lynchburg on our way to Hous

ton and we tried to locate the old farm, but
to no avail. Later, we heard that one of the
oil companies had large tanks on it.
After leaving the farm, we went back
to Houston. Father and Phillip got work and
Mother started a boarding house. Poor darling,
always so brave and ready to push the
heavy load uphill.
Living not far from us was an English
family named Woodhead. They had two
sons, Ben and Harold, about Emma's and
my age. We all became very close friends.
Ben and Harold were our constant playmates.
We heard that the Woodheads had
preceded us to New Philadelphia, and had
been taken-in on the same swindle. They had
lost a little baby there and John, the father,
had had to make the little coffin and bury it
himself.
It was a strange thing, meeting up
with them. Our families have intermarried
and are all very close together now. John
Woodhead used to say he had found husbands
for nearly all of the Pontefract girls.
He introduced two Englishmen, Tom and
Fred Shepherd, from Darlington, England,
to our family and later they married my two
oldest sisters, Eva and Jennie. Later, John's
brother, David, came out from England and
married Emma. Sarah married Phillip when
she was just turned sixteen. They were both
very young. I married Harry Hodges, an
Englishman, too. So all five girls married
Englishmen.
Sarah and Phillip were married first.
Tom Shepherd and Eva were engaged. Tom
came from Beaumont to be best man. The
day after the wedding he persuaded Eva to
the idea of being married the next day,
which they decided to do. Father was working
in Harrisburg at the time, and after
Sarah's wedding had gone back there. Eva
and Tom went to Galveston for a few-days
honeymoon. They had tried to reach Father
to tell him about their marriage, but had not
been able to do so. When the train passed
through Harrisburg on that Saturday, Father
was coming home on it. The first people he
saw were his eldest daughter and Tom. He

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Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994. San Antonio, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39868/. Accessed September 18, 2014.