I'm so excited to be a permanent member of Sweethearts of the West, and to be affiliated with such a wonderfully talented group of authors. Thank you!
In relation to my previous post on family and their immigration to the Southwest and Texas, I bring you a post on the phrase, Gone To Texas, and a brief story on my family's beginnings in Texas.
Gone to Texas, often abbreviated GTT, was a phrase used by Americans immigrating to Texas in the mid-1800's. They moved to Texas for many reasons, often to escape debt incurred during the Panic of 1819, to start over again or to begin for the first time, to get land or to look for adventure as well as for new fortunes. Obtaining "land" seemed to be the driving force for most of those who came to Texas. People became so obsessed with the hopes promised and the romance of Texas that "Gone to Texas" or "G.T.T." was often written on the doors of abandoned houses or posted as a sign on fences.
After Davy Crockett was narrowly defeated for re-election in Tennessee, he famously said,
My ancestor, Amon McCommas, was one so obsessed. He came to Peter's Colony in December 1844 from Virginia, stopping for repairs successively in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri. Accompanying him in his journey was his wife, Mary, their grown children, James B., John (my g-g-grandfather and a soldier in the Mexican war), Elisha, William M., Amon, Jr., Stephen B. (died a soldier in the city of Mexico, December 24, 1847), Rosa, Armilda, and Mary E.
Also along for the adventure were Amon's two brothers, Stephen B. and John C., and a sister-in-law Mrs. Lavinia McCommas and her children.
Circulars printed for distribution and posted in public places advertising the rich lands of the Red River and Trinity Colony in Texas lured many to this area of North Central Texas. One advertisement stated that the Peters Colony was “peculiarly adapted to the successful growth of cotton and tobacco,” and, “Indian corn, rye, barley, oats, sweet and Irish potatoes, peas, beans, melons, figs, garden vegetables and all the fruits.” Circulars further claimed that “the country abounds in wild game, such as buffalo, deer wild turkies, prairie hens, quails, and grey squirrels, and the forest with wild honey.” With advertisements such as this, it is easy to see why so many families decided to emigrate to Texas.
Every family settling in Texas during this period was to receive 640 acres of land and each single man 320 acres, provided they lived on and work the land for three years.
I'm in awe of so many families, not just my own, starting out with their meager belongings to travel hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles to a complete unknown. When the McCommas' reached their destination, Peter's Colony, they set up camp on the banks of the Trinity River, where Elder Amon McCommas preached the first Sermon.
Amon settled, with his family, five miles northeast of where the city of Dallas now stands. At that time, Dallas contained only five or six families, settled along the banks of the river. He was a Campbellite preacher (Deciples of Christ Minister) and he founded the Christian Church of Dallas in 1845 with twelve members. In 1846, Amon chaired the meeting that formed Dallas County and was later elected as the first Chief Justice of the Dallas County Commissioners Court. He was a farmer who owned the first "tread - mill "(grist mill powered by mules) in Dallas. He served as president of the first county fair, which later became the State Fair of Texas.
This is how the families of my Texas Code Series, the Bennings and McTiernans, came to be in Texas. By the 1850’s, the Peters Land Company was reorganized under the name of the Texas Emigration and Land Company, which offered 320 acres to married men and 160 to single men, plus a "free cabin, seed, and musket balls.”
Ian Benning and Dermot McTiernan came to Texas from Ireland in 1862, received their land, fought with Texas in the Civil War, then went back to Ireland, married and returned to Texas in 1875. These two novellas are works in progress that I hope to have ready in the next couple of months. Above are their covers that I'm excited to share.
In the meantime, my new release, CODE OF HONOR, Texas Code Series, Book One, is available for Kindle and print on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/muln4r9, and on http://createspace.com for print.
Find me on my website: http://carracopelin.com
Thanks for stopping by today. Leave a comment and say howdy, I love hearing from y'all!
What a wonderful, fascinating post, Carra. I enjoyed so much reading about your family history and how early pioneers came to Texas. I also love how you incorporated that history into your writing. So happy you are with us on the Sweethearts of the West. ~ AshleyReplyDelete
Wow, Carra, I had no idea you were Texas royalty. My husband and I were married at East Dallas Christian Church and members there for several years before we moved to Richardson. So nice to learn we have more things in common. Great post, and great covers!ReplyDelete
I knew your family has been in Texas for many years, but never knew the full story until now. thanks for sharing your amazing family history with us, Carra.ReplyDelete
I love the covers for your upcoming novellas!
Welcome to the Sweethearts, Carra! Your family certainly has an interesting heritage. Something about Texas -- maybe the area's wild and wooly reputation -- seems to have been particularly attractive to preachers. My mother's first ancestor to migrate to Texas was a minister, too. :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Ashley. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Texas has such a colorful beginning/history. It's fun to know my ancestors had a hand in making this area what it is today.ReplyDelete
I'm honored to be a member of Sweethearts of the West.
Caroline, you and I have always been in close proximity and one of these days we must sit down over a Dr Pepper and compare notes! Thank you for your encouragement and support. ;-)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Lyn, and you're welcome. We all love to talk about our family! I'm glad you like the covers, too.ReplyDelete
Kathleen, I think you're right about some driving need to tame Texas. In our genealogy search, we found my husband's g-g-g-grandfather helped found Corsicana, Texas and he was a Methodist minister. ;-) Thanks for the welcome, it's good to know you!ReplyDelete
Carra--If there's anything I love, it's Texas history. Genealogy--I love to know about it but do not want to research it. Fortunately, my two sisters, who live in North Texas--I'm in San Marcos--love genealogy. And they discovered an ancestor who lived here before 1836 when Texas was beginning to fight Mexico for our independence. And then he lived in Texas whenReplyDelete
it was a Republic.
So, this qualified us to be Daughters of the Republic of Texas. It took three years to get all the proof, but I give my sisters credit for our membership.
In fact, they also found a second ancestor that would have qualified, and I've learned it is rare in the DRT for a member to have more than one ancestor.
Sadly, we know little about either man. I should write about that one day..I know basics, but wish I knew more about those courageous men.
I congratulate you on your novels!
We just returned from a family reunion so it was very fun to read about someone else's genealogy. Very fascinating how you're incorporating family history into your work. I plan to so also but I haven't quite come up with the outline yet.ReplyDelete
Celia, congratulations on your ancestors and your membership in the DRT. It is indeed time consuming and in some cases difficult or impossible to prove ancestor connections. I was able to help my mother prove ours and thoroughly enjoyed our time together doing so. Good luck with your second ancestor!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Ciara. I'm so glad you could visit today.ReplyDelete