Jane Wood Frazier Patterson was interviewed in the spring of 1910, and gave her memories of her life. There are some errors in the letter. A few include the story about the family in Leon County. I refer you to the letter written by Isabella Riddell Wood about their journey to Ft. Graham. This articles also states that brother Hugh left for the Gold Fields of California was never heard from since. We have letters from Hugh so…I don’t know about the “never hearing from him again” unless he went to California almost a decade after the Gold Rush. Our letters stop before the start of the Civil War. I am still on Hugh’s trail. Hopefully, I will learn something amazing soon.
The Hillsboro Mirror
Wednesday, July 27, 1910
Sketch of Mrs. Jane Patterson and Her Parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Wood – Located in This County 60 Years ago – Thrilling Incidents of Frontier Life.
Probably the most interesting character in Hill County is Mrs. Jane Patterson, who lives with her son on the farm about two miles southwest of Brandon. This old-time country home is very picturesque, with a beautiful and level black land farm in the rear.
Around the house is a rustic fence enclosing many beautiful flowers and shrubbery, and in front of the building a large lawn extending about one hundred yards and then suddenly it breaks off into a deep gulch which separates the house from the public road, giving this home a very secluded appearance.
For almost fifty years, Mrs. Patterson has made this place her home, and at any tie if a weary traveler stops while passing this way, he is always given a hearty welcome, and finds a delightful place to rest.
Mrs. Patterson, who was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Wood, was born in Scotland seventy-seven years ago. She was reared on a farm but had excellent advantages, and was given a good education. Her teacher was an old-time school master who had also been the instructor of her mother. He taught the same school for forty years without a vacation, which is quite different to our method of continually changing teachers.
When Mrs. Patterson was about 17 years of age, a man from Sheffield, England, who represented an English company, visited this part of Scotland, advertising lands in Texas. This English company had contracted for a large body of land from a man named Kimball, which was situated near the village of Fort Graham and Kimball, and lying along the west side of the Brazos river. The many wonderful advantages and undeveloped resources of this new state of Texas was pictured in glowing terms and soon Mr. Wood was induced to try his fortune in this great state of Texas. Two other families were also induced to make this new state their home. Mrs. William Parks and family, a former Captain in the army in Scotland, with his wife and John Patterson, a young man who afterward become the husband of the subject of this sketch.
Mr. Wood had been a dairyman and farmer, and by his industrious haBits, business sagacity and honest and upright dealings had accumulated considerable property for a man of his class.
He was one of the most honored citizens of his vicinity and loved by all who knew him. About the time of his departure a poor young man who had labored for many years for Mr. Wood, not being able to present his employer with any gift worthy of remembrance, penned the following lines which have been translated into English and every descendant of the family given a copy, which they prize higher than any earthly possession:
Dear James: –
It is against my will
That I bid you farewell,
Since you are bent to gang away
And leave the Glassford dales.
To cross the wide Atlantic
Where foaming billows roar,
And fix your habitation
On Texas’ fertile shore.
Full twenty years are now rolled past,
Since we’ve acquainted been,
And ever since I’ve found in you
A feeling, poor man’s friend.
Aye, may a day I’ve wae you wrought
And many pound from you have got,
But now to me that fount is dry
Since you’re awa I’m needed not.
Relations, friends and neighbors
All you leave to fall or stand,
While you amongst strangers seek a home,
Within a foreign land.
You and your family are revered
By a vast circle round,
As they to you did plainly show
That their regard was sound.
You will be missed in many places,
And at the kirk likewise,
Your pew was always neatly filled
By active girls and boys.
Now, since you will cross the deep,
Where dangers do attend,
May he who stills the raging waves
Protect you to the end.
And when you reach the distant spot,
May plenty there abound,
And happiness attend the old,
The young may virtue crown.
May happiness still be your lot,
Forever to remain,
All I can do is wish you may
Prosperity retain, and remain yours,
Mr. Wood succeeded in selling his farm at $485 per acre and contracted for several hundred acres of the Texas land mentioned above at about ten cents per acre. Great preparations were made for the voyage to America. No one had any idea of the climate or other conditions of things in Texas, and as Scotland was a very cold country, Mr. Wood purchased seventy-five pairs of all-wool blankets and all would need protections from the chilly blasts of winter. Several large hogsheads of fine Chinaware and large chests of various kinds of carpenter’s tools were added. Many other things which were thought to be necessary were put on board.
With considerable difficulty, this little company of people landed in New Orleans in the spring of 1851, having been to sea about fifty-two days. At that place, they boarded a steamer and crossed the Gulf to Galveston and thence up the Trinity River to Moore’s Bluff, which was the head of navigation on this river.
It was a long, tiresome journey, and all were greatly fatigued, but the hardest part of their travels had not begun. Here they rested a few days while the men were securing wagons and teams to carry the people and their possessions to that new home on the Brazos. These Scotchmen had never used any kind of a wagon except a cart and one horse. This was all that was necessary to pull a load in the old country, so they were greatly amazed to see the large ox-wagons and the several yokes of oxen hitched up to these prairie schooners. Not being accustomed to driving such teams it was necessary to employ teamsters, and when all were loaded on these big wagons, they started across the country, which was almost a wilderness. The weather was extremely warm, and these people coming from a much colder climate found the heat very oppressive. The atmosphere in these swamps was full of malaria and this, too, was very hard on the little company who had been used to breathing pure air. After a few days’ travel, Mrs. And Mrs. Wood and three children became very ill with fever and were left at a house which they passed as it was thought best to get those who could travel out of these swamps, before they, too would be down with fever. It was only a few more days’ travel until Mrs. And Mrs. Parks with their children were very ill and were compelled to be left at a house on the roadside. All the other members of the company continued to move on, but while passing through Leon County, James, the little son of Mr. and Mrs. Wood, who had remained with the wagons, was taken very ill and died in the arms of those who were doing all that was possible to relieve his suffering.
They had no lumber to make a coffin but his little body was wrapped neatly in a pair of blankets and gently laid away in a grave which the teamsters had prepared. About the same time Christina, a beautiful daughter, who had been left with her parents on the roadside, also died.
Mr. and Mrs. Parks, who had been left on the roadside died, their deaths occurring six hours apart.
Those remaining with the wagons continued to press on toward Fort Graham, but before reading their destination, little Martha, another daughter, answered the roll call to the world beyond and was laid to rest in the Ft. Graham Cemetery. Thus it will be seen that from June 10 to 16 three of Mr. Wood’s family were taken away besides the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Parks.
A small, one-room house was secured and all who had withstood the perils of the journey moved into this cabin and with the use of the tarpaulins that were brought along as part of the baggage, they were soon fitted up to spend the summer. The wagons were started back at once to gather up the sick left on the road, and it was a number of days before all were gathered together again under the same roof.
Ft Graham was then a very wild, frontier village. The soldiers who were stationed here to protect the white settlers from the ravages of the Indians formed the larger portion of the inhabitants. After Mr. Wood and family had recuperated they began to visit the different portions of the country and finally decided to located in the eastern portion of the country o account of the beautiful country, plenty of water and other conveniences.
After further investigation, he decided to purchase the claim of E.S. Wymar on Pecan Creek, just below old Brandon, which is now the home of W.B. Ward.
For many years, Mr. and Mrs. Wood continued to live in this community being among the most highly honored citizens of the county.
At the time Mr. Wood located in this county, the settlements were very few and far between. The only post office in that portion of the county was at the residence of Henry Hollis near where Brandon now stands, and was called White Rock. The mail was carried by a boy named Smith, his route extending from Waco to Dallas and furnished mail to the people of White Rock twice a week.
This boy rode a mule and had set up stakes a portion of the way as a guide so that he would not get off his route, there being no roads through the country then.
Mr. I.M. Martin lived where the old town of Brandon was afterward located. Mr. Martin had erected a small corn mill and built a dam and a race with an undershot water wheel. And when there was plenty of water, he would grind the corn for that portion of the county, by when a drought came, which was frequent, all would have to carry their corn to Corsicana. This city then was a very small town. Waco and Dallas were also very small, inland towns.
No one ever imagined that these little towns would someday become great cities.
The friendly Indians roamed over the wild prairies in their hunting expeditions, and the deer, antelope and wild turkeys could be seen at most anytime.
These Indians would frequently visit the homes of the white men and would sell nice turkeys ready dressed, or a venison ham for only 25 cents.
There were very few patches in cultivation then, and the cattle and horses kept fat the year round on the prairie.
The people did not clamor so much for the paltry dollar then as it was an easy matter to make a living. They all enjoyed a visit from a neighbor and frequently a family would go and spend a day or two with a friend.
When there was a Church service anywhere, nearly all would attend, the ladies wearing the sunbonnets and the men in summer seldom wore a coat, but the preaching was always from a man of God and was accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and much good was accomplished. After the service it was customary to spread dinner an all would remain and partake of the feast and after dinner they would sit around in the shade spending the evening in pleasant conversation.
This Wood family proved to be quite a factor in building up the citizenship of Hill County. Miss Margaret Wood was married April 7, 1852, to J. Rance Davis and soon afterwards moved to the home now occupied by J. F. Fletcher, where this couple lived for nearly fifty years. Both have passed to their reward but are survived by four children, Mrs. Nannie Warren, of Hillsboro; John H. Davis, of Cottle County, Mrs. W.A. Hunton, of Miles, Texas, and J. Will Davis, of near Bynum. All of the above are prominent citizens in their respective communities.
Miss Isabella Wood was married to the lamented R.A. Ferguson, who died a few months ago near Brandon. From this union there are seven children, all of whom reside in this county and are numbered with the most influential citizens. They are Mrs. J.E. Armstrong, of Irene. Mrs. L.H. Giles of near Brandon, Mrs. G.L. White, of Hillsboro, and four sons, R.M., J.W., H.W., and Joseph B., all of whom reside in or near Brandon.
Miss Jeanette Wood, another daughter, was married to W.B. Ward, both of whom still reside south of Brandon, on the old homestead of the Wood’s. They also have reared a find family of children who are influential and substantial people of their vicinity. They are Mrs. Dan Hargrove, David Robert, Charley and Miss Belle, all of whom live with their parents or nearby.
There were two sons of Mr. and Mrs. Wood, one of whom died in the civil war and one went to California during the gold excitement, but the has never been heard from since, and it is supposed that he died soon after reaching there.
The subject of this sketch, Mrs. Jane Wood, was married a few years after her parents settled near Brandon to Monroe Frazier who was also a member of one of the most prominent families of the county.
Their marriage was a very happy one, but in a few short years, the war between the states broke out and the husband as a true citizen answered his country’s call and enlisted for service in the Confederate army. In 1862, probably from exposure, he was taken sick and died.
Besides his devoted wife, he also left three small children, who are still living and are leading citizens of the county. They are James Frazier of Brandon, the father of our county attorney, A.M. Frazier; Monroe Frazier, who lives south of Brandon, a few miles, and Mrs. T.C. Stinson, formerly of this county, but now living in Cottle County.
Mrs. Frazier was married the second time to Mr. John Patterson, in 1865. From this union are three sons, John, William and A.R., all of whom are good substantial citizens living in or near Brandon.
Mr. Patterson died in 1877, and since then Mrs. Patterson had continued to live at the old homestead, which is only a short distance from the place where her father located a half century ago.
It is very interesting to visit this home and see the many relics that are kept in memory of the old home in Scotland. Several pieces of furniture, various kinds of silverware, and may quaint and curious articles. Mrs. Patterson has a silhouette of an uncle of hers, which is a profile showing only the outlines of the person in black. This was made before the days of photography and are seldom seen now.
Mrs. Patterson joined the Presbyterian Church when a girl, while residing in Scotland, and has ever since made her Church first in all things. It is her greatest pleasure to attend diving worship, and help to lead someone to Christ.
The boys and girls to whom she has talked and prayed with would make a large host, and hundreds of them who now are prominent citizens, were brought to recognize their responsibilities and make a start toward right living by her motherly advice.
By her kind, sweet disposition she has always won the love and admiration of everyone, and her home has ever been attractive to the young people, and she would not lose an opportunity to speak to each boy or girl, man or woman about their soul’s salvation.
Mrs. Patterson has reared two families of children, and each time when the children were small her husband was taken, thus leaving the responsibilities upon her, yet she succeeded in giving each child a good education and all are now filling responsible positions in life. It has always been her custom to hold family prayer, and each evening after all the work was done, she would gather her little ones around her, read a portion of the Bible and then invoke God’s blessing up on her family. This beautiful scene, as a certain person who visited her home remarked, was enough to inspire him to do good the remainder of his life.
If our land was only filled with such characters, modest and unassuming, yet possessing a strong determination to do good unto all, we would have no fear of the rising generation.
We feel that our country is blessed by having this sainted mother in our midst, and we trust she may be permitted to live many more years and when the final summons shall come, may she have a triumphant entry into the bright mansions which have been prepared for her.