History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 652
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HISTOR Y OF TEXAS.
the gospel of work, without which no soul is
greAt or good. He was reared to farming,
manl's most natural vocation, where mother
earth welcomes her children, and whence,
primarily, comes all nourishment.
Arrived at man's estate, Mr. May was
married, August 12, 1825, to Margaret Caldwell,
an estimable lady of his neighborhood,
who proved, through the trials of after life,
a faithful and helpful companion, realizing
the poet's dream of
"A perfect woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command."
The young couple settled near Mr. May's
father in White county, whence they soon
afterward removed to the vicinity of the lead
mines, near Galena, Illinois, where they lived
for a number of years. Induced by the
favorable reports of the Southwest, toward
which a general exodus was setting in, young
May started with his wife and fatnily, November
13, 1840, for Texas, arriving at what
is now Gonzales county, that State, March
20, 1841. They settled on land in that
vicinity and engaged in farming, where they
resided, unmolested, until 1842, when the
Indians made one of their raids into the settlements,
and Mr. May, with his neighbors,
was obliged to retreat from the impending
danger, fleeing to a more thickly populated
district, stopping at what is now La Grange,
in Fayette county, where they prepared defences
and held their fort until peace was
In 1846, Mr. May ventured west again,
settling in what is now Caldwell county, where
he acquired considerable land and opened up
a large plantation and built an elegant home,
surrounding himself with all the comforts
and many of the luxuries of life, intending
to pass the remainder of his earthly career
in the peaceful enjoyment of home and the
society of his children, all of whom were
grown, married and comfortably settled near
him. Alas, that such Arcadian happiness
should be interrupted by strife between brothers
of the same country! But thus it was,
emphasizing, inost strikingly, the mutability
of human affairs, and affording a gigantic
object lesson of the horrors attendant on the
settlement of differences by war instead of
arbitration. Perhaps this was the lesson
which was providentially intended to be
taught, ushering out the dark days of barbarism
and bringing in the brighter days of a
The war coming on, Mr. May naturally
cast his lot with his neighbors, and the upholding
of the time-honored institutions of
the South, enlisting in the service of the
Confederacy, and contributing liberally of his
means to the maintenance of that cause. He
had three sons and five sons-in-law, all of
whom volunteered their services at the first
call of their country. Of these, one son,
Milton, was killed in the battle of Milliken's
Bend; Joseph was seriously wounded at the
fight at Pleasant Hill, Missouri, and was sent
home, an invalid for several years; Morris,
alone, of all the sons, returned unhurt in
battle, but with health much impaired, while
the five sons-in-law filled soldiers' graves.
Thus, at the close of the war, to which Mr.
May contributed so largely of his means
as to leave himself almost impoverished, and
has given that which was dearer than wealth,
the precious members of his family, he found
himself broken in health and spirit, and with
the care of six widows, and their fatherless
children, all looking to him for support.
Now was exhibited that unfailing courage
and determination, such marked elements of
his character through life, and which were
the direct results of his early experiences
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/701/: accessed April 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .